Monday, September 22, 2008


Blogging is a very useful tool for the English classroom, especially when it comes to reading, understanding, and talking about literature. Students can read their assigned literature and then discuss, ask questions, and offer their interpretations via a class blog. This is a great homework alternative because kids are already on the computer, so they won't even realize that they're doing homework. Students can read each others interpretations and ideas and come to a deeper understanding of the reading. They can also learn to have a better appreciation for others' ideas and interpretations. Blogging can also be used for giving assignments or for providing supplemental information for my students.
Many students are required to write an autobiographical story for English class. A blog is a great place to do this, and it allows revision and changes so that students can go through all of the necessary steps in the writing process. I can grade the blogs just like I would a typed paper, but it would eliminate the need for all that printed paper. The blog would also be useful for making suggestions for the students writing during the revision stage. There are many uses for blogs in the English classroom, and I am sure that I will continue to find more uses as I develop lesson plans for my students.

Technology in the English Classroom

Unfortunately, I did not use much technology at all while in school and neither did my teachers. My school was not equipped with computers in the classrooms. Once in a while, one of my teachers would use an overhead projector, but that was about it. I even graduated before they replaced all the chalk boards with white boards! I never had a computer class in school and I was allowed to drop typing class to take ROTC instead. I had no desire to punch a keyboard, which is ironic when thinking about my love for English class and writing!! I did manage to type my final research paper for my honors English class my senior year, but I remember having lots of problems with using the computer for this. I didn't discover the internet or e-mail until I started college. I really despised computers at that time, and only used them to type papers. Another ironic thing is that I ended up marrying a software engineering major! It is a good thing though because he has taught me much about computers and helped me to overcome some of my computer phobias. I now rely on the computer daily, and I feel that I am slowly finding my way into today's technologically reliant society.
I am excited about using technology in my classroom. The internet provides students with so many resources for research and writing, and PowerPoint presentations and WebQuests provide more interesting way to distribute information and assignments. There are also many full text literature resources available on the web and my class can become less reliant on the textbook. I like the idea of giving assignments via the web as well as class assignments. E-mail also makes me available to my students when class is not in session. English classes have had a bad reputation for being boring, and I think that technology can make my class more fun and interesting. With a focus on communication, my students will be able to create brochures, newspaper articles, and other materials in place of the standard book report or research paper. Sudents will be able to present their research or information in other formats, but I will still be able to grade for the usual requirements such as grammar, mechanics, etc.
There are so many thaings that technology can do for the English classroom and I think that many teachers have yet to catch on. I hope that I can be part of the new wave of English teachers that create a classroom environment that welcomes and encourages technology use.

About Me

My name is Kellye McDowell and I am a post baccalaureate student at MTSU. I graduated with my B.A. in English in 2005 after a long college career and several moves between Tennessee and Florida. I first graduated from White County High School in Sparta, TN in 1994. Although I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, I thought I would search out other options in effort to find a career where I could perhaps earn more money and respect:-) I also had no idea what I would teach if I chose that route. I dabbled in nursing, criminal justice and came very close to earning my degree in psychology before ultimately coming to terms with my desire to teach. On this road to teaching, I have lived in seven cities and attended four colleges while following my husband as he got his software development career off the ground. We were married in August of 1998 and moved to Sarasota, FL that October. We spent four fun years in Florida and I earned my A.A. with a concentration in psychology from Manatee Community College while down there. We moved back to Tennessee 2002 where I began school at MTSU.
In 2004, we welcomed our first baby girl into the world, Kathryn Faith. Afterall, we had been married for six years and were ready to start our family. When "Katie" was 10 months old, I returned to MTSU to complete my degree, which I did in August 2005. In 2006, we welcome our second daughter, Abigail Grace. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for a while before completing my teaching certification. It turned out to be the best for our family for many reasons.
When Abigail was five days old, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Phenylketonuria (PKU). Her body failed to make an enzyme necessary to breakdown the amino acid phenylalanine in protein. I was shocked and devastated, but not without hope for my baby girl. When Abigail was 8 months old, my husband and I founded the Tennessee PKU Foundation to provide support and encouragment to other families affected by PKU. Since our founding date in February 2007, we have raised more than $40,000 for PKU research and have held many support events for affected families. Although life's events have put my career goal on hold, I would not change a thing. I could have never started this organization otherwise.
I returned to MTSU this July to finally complete my goal of becoming a teacher. I have had 4 1/2 wonderful years as a stay-at-home mom, started a non-profit organization, and just recently celebrated ten years of marriage. I am so excited about finally being a teacher and about making English class a fun environment for my students. English class doesn't have to be boring and full of lectures about grammar usage and literature. My students will be encourages talk and share their thoughts and interpretations. My class will be a safe environment where students can express themselves and experiment with their creativity. I can't wait to begin building my future as an effective teacher.