Free Access, If You’re Patient and Persistent

Covers of the Journals with Articles included in the Rhetoric & Change CollectionRoutledge (Taylor and Francis) is offering a nice collection of articles to mark the RSA conference this weekend: Rhetoric & Change: A Free Access Article Collection in Collaboration with the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA).

It looks like a grand collection; however, the fact that you have to read and download everything one-by-one leads me to believe that Routledge is more interested in trying to keep you on their site than actually providing free access to key pieces.

A well-designed site would have a “Download All” option. I would have been willing to fill out a short survey and give them my email address for such access. Sure free != easy, but it could and often should. Shame on Routledge!

distinguished instructors?

Filigree — Nicolás Paris (1977), by Pedro Ribeiro Simões on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 licenseToday’s news bulletin from Virginia Tech announced, “Two faculty members receive 2016 SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award.” It’s a good and wonderful thing for the two professors: Jacqueline E. Bixler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Spanish, and Michael F. Hochella Jr., University Distinguished Professor of Geosciences.

It also gave me a couple of ideas. One rarely hears of a “Distinguished Instructor.” If the academy really wanted to support and recognize the work of the best instructors, we would find a collection of Distinguished Instructors at every school. But we don’t.

Further down, the article mentioned that “Bixler is an inductee in the Academy of Teaching Excellence….” Now the ATE is a Virginia Tech organization, and instructors can be included. As my eyes wandered over that sentence however, I wondered why the discipline hasn’t created some national or international academy that recognizes excellence on the part of adjuncts and other non-tenure track faculty.

Since adjunct positions frequently require instructors to teach at multiple institutions simultaneously and/or to hop from one institution to another, as the job market requires, those in the adjunct category may not be able to build the recognition at one institution to be recognized by its academy. Why not create something as a field that allows us to recognize the body of work across institutions and raise the profile of some of the hardest-working teachers out there?


[Photo credit: Filigree — Nicolás Paris (1977), by Pedro Ribeiro Simões on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license]

just 10 minutes a day…

Watch Face, by Chris Roach, on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-NC 2.0 licenseOn Wednesday, I happened upon Daphne Gray-Grant’s “How 5 minutes a day can revitalize your writing.” I am writing constantly, so I’m not sure how much I need revitalized. I do know however that I have lots of quick thoughts or ideas that I want to get down so that I might be able to expand upon them later.

I posted this thought about Gray-Grant’s article on Facebook that day:

Wondering about this gimmick as a writing strategy/resolution. I have so many one-off, short, undeveloped ideas floating through my head. What if instead of saving them for later (which almost never materializes) or giving them up because I don’t have time or the know-how to do the relevant research, what if instead of all that, I try to write them down in five minutes or so?

The 10 in tengrrl makes me feel like that should be ten minutes rather than five, but even ten minutes a day is probably doable as long as I don’t get it into my head that every day has to be a stellar accomplishment. Maybe it’s time to create a new five (or ten) minute blog. I just have to decide whether this is a silly gimmick or a strategy for publishing ideas and stories that I too often give up on.


[Photo Credit: Watch Face, by Chris Roach, on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-NC 2.0 license]

@newsfromtengrrl for 2013-05-11

On Writing When You Aren’t Sure What to Write

New growth on a treeI need to write what I call a spare blog post, that is a post that I can send to the editors of the Bedford Bits blog to use one week when I’m sick or overwhelmed and don’t have time to do my normal, weekly post.

At NCTE, we called these evergreen posts, a post or article that could go up any time of year, something useful to teachers or that teachers were always looking for. For our purposes there (usually to be included in the INBOX newsletter), we leaned toward topics like grammar and persuasive writing.

Try though I have for two days now, I simply cannot think of a good, long-lasting idea to write about for my spare Bits post. I can come up with some timely topics that would be great for today or next week. I can think of ideas that would connect to current events or articles about education.

But a generic idea? I’m just out of them. I feel like I’ve used every good, generic idea I have ever had. All of them. I’ve spilled them out into Lists of Ten, Inbox blog posts, and my other writing until there’s just nothing at all left. What do you do when that happens? What do you do when all the ideas you had stored up seem to be used, and yet the looming deadline says that you need one more?

2000 Posts!!!

2000 Posts on!I logged into the blog just now to add the January Ink’d In to the newsletter archive list (yes, I’m behind) and found this summary information. That’s right. There are officially 2000+ posts here now.

Now never mind that about 2/3 are probably news update summaries. And let’s not mention that there are some missing posts on a Zip cartridge somewhere. Let’s just revel in the nice, pretty numbers :)

Mmm. Wisconsin Swiss Melt!

My 1st Wisconsin Swiss Melt in years.No news posts today. I’m on the road home from Columbus.

Had a great time at the Stampin’ Up Regional yesterday. So many ideas and so many wonderful swaps! I love that Stampin’ Up folks are so interested in sharing ideas. I have a great basketful of examples to inspire me now.

Just as exciting, on the way home I got my first Wisconsin Swiss Melt in years. Mmmm. The news can wait while I enjoy this tasty treat. I’ll catch up tomorrow.

My Top Blog Posts for 2011

i iz blogginz / leef IÂ  alonzeThese were the most popular posts on my blog during 2011:

  1. 6 News Stories to Connect to Orwell’s 1984
  2. Text + Image = Tagxedo: The Next Generation of Word Cloud Fun
  3. Teaching Students About Headlines, Titles, and Subject Lines
  4. List of Ten: Fun with Crayons
  5. Poem 3: Green Eggs and Ham
  6. Community Building Classroom Activities: A Round-Up
  7. Which Books Would You Ban?
  8. Write a Poem a Day for National Poetry Month
  9. Top 10 Things to Do with a Banned Text
  10. What’s the Trick to Building Community in the Classroom?

I know that normally these yearly posts are a nice reminder of what’s happened during the year and easy posts for the weeks during winter break when there’s less going on in education.

This year, the list turned out to be an eye-opener for me as well. Half of the posts that had the most hits in 2011 showed up on the list in 2010. In fact, only three of the posts listed were even written in 2011 (3, 7, and 8). There is no question that Teaching Students About Headlines, Titles, and Subject Lines made the list because it was promoted by Guy Kawasaki on Google+. There are similar stories behind the other two posts from 2011. Which Books Would You Ban? got an extra push from some librarian colleagues, and Write a Poem a Day for National Poetry Month was cross-posted on several educational sites.

I guess I have a goal for 2012 now. The posts I’m putting on my blog aren’t doing enough to capture anyone’s interest. It’s nice to have posts from 2009 and 2010 that are still popular, but I’d like my current posts to have readers too. Here’s to writing some posts in 2012 that connect with more readers!


[Photo: Lolcat submitted by brad, on ICanHasCheeseburger]

Happy Christmas!

Ugly Christmas SweaterIt’s a slow day for educational news, with the U.S. on winter break, so in lieu of news, I’d like to share my Ugly Christmas Sweater greeting card.

It’s part of a 25 Holiday Cards Challenge I tried this year. You can find details on how I made it in My Digital Studio and the other 24 cards on my Cardmaking blog. Happy Christmas everyone!

While I’ve Been Away

My beautiful flowers from ReadWriteThink. I <3 you. Thank you so much.You may have noticed that I’ve been away for a while. There have been no @newsfromtengrrl updates since early this month, no blog posts on Bedford Bits, and none of the usual updates for ReadWriteThink or Bedford. There’s not even an inappropriate greeting card around.

So much for that streak I had going with daily posts. Being sick seems to ruin things like that, and essentially I’ve been sick since Labor Day weekend.

It turns out I had a bit of a skin infection (cellulitis), and some clogged pores in the same area turned into a mightily infected abscess. I went to the doctor’s office Thursday the 8th, when I realized it wasn’t getting better on its own (and at that point, I didn’t know what it was). The doctor sent me directly to the hospital ER. I ended up spending a week in the hospital, with surgery to drain the abscess on Saturday evening (the 10th). In the process of all the testing, they have me on medicine for my high blood pressure, and they found that I have Type 2 Diabetes.

Obviously I’m sparing you images of all that, and instead, giving you an image of the lovely flowers that ReadWriteThink sent me. There are beautiful daisies hiding away in there among the yellow lilies and other flowers.

I’m still recovering, but trying to get back on track with all the news updates and work for ReadWriteThink and Bedford Bits. I’m taking lots of meds now, and they seem to make me quite drowsy. The whole eating with diabetes thing is causing trouble as well. I hope to be back to normal soon. In the meantime, please be patient with me. Thanks everyone.