Kym Francis – Shark Texts

text shark

raw shark texts

Hello, hello! I am a middle school Language Arts teacher from Edmonton, Alberta who works best under the gun of deadlines and consider myself to be an expert procrastinator. (These superpowers combined with my inability to navigate this blog have led me to be posting a very late introduction.) I am currently in my ninth year of teaching and the halfway point of my MET journey, and I am looking forward to this course!

Outside of teaching and course work, I enjoy travelling, photography, and camping/hiking. I have been fortunate to travel frequently, taking advantage of our summers. After being surrounded by the endless noise of teenagers, I enjoy the peace and quiet in traveling. In a quest for those quiet places, I have recently enjoyed a memorable trip through the Yukon, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories. Awesome.

in the classroom, I have been fortunate to work as a part of the Emerge one-to-one project, which focused on studying the results of placing one to one technology in the hands of students. The three year project began six years ago now, and we placed laptops in the hands of grade seven students for all core classes. Since then, we have expanded our Emerge project, despite the death of the laptops! As the technology aged and became unreliable, we were forced to change our program. I have come to appreciate the demand that technology places on us to be flexible and open minded. Just when we have figured out one way of doing something, everything changes.

Our program has now expanded through all students in grade 7-9 and we encourage students to use personally owned devices instead. I have learned to be very flexible in working with various technologies and student abilities. At the beginning of our laptop project, we really strived to make every single project and learning activity technology-based. Now, I am much more confident my ability to allow responsibility to shift to the student – and encourage the use of technology as one tool to demonstrate understanding of material. Although students appreciate the ability to access technology, often they can feel frustration at being ‘forced’ to used technology to demonstrate understanding. As great as our ever-changing technology is, and as many doors as it may open, we need to not forget the creative power of pencil and paper.

In thinking about this need to define text and technology, and considering the need to be flexible and promote creative thinking in our students, I included this picture of a student creating an assignment to summarize new knowledge of sharks and oceans. After making the connection to my shark photograph, I began thinking about the Raw Shark Texts (by Steven Hall), in which a text-based shark feeds off of typed words. In my mind, the very best examples of literature and texts are the ones that break your brain a bit.

Looking forward to working with you!

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