Ms Murray’s E-Portfolio

Marshall University Writing Project blog for Summer Session 2006

Blogging and Beyond Writing Prompt

October 14, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

“Without question, our ability to easily publish content online will force us to rethink the way we communicate with our constituents, the way we deliver our curriculum, and the expectations we have of our students.  It also has the potential to radically change what we assume about teaching and learning, and it presents us with important questions to consider:

1) What needs to change about our curriculum when our students have the ability to reach audiences far beyond our classroom walls?

2) What changes must we make in our teaching as it becomes easier to bring primary sources to our students?

3) How do we need to rethink our ideas of literacy when we must prepare our students to become not only readers and writers, but editors and collaborators as well?

4) How do we best put to use the reams and reams of “digital paper” that weblogs provide?”

1 – Our curriculum needs to take into account that our students write and read – in short bursts – far more than most people realize.  We need to address appropriate editing, writing and the concept of audience, and we need to stress that their audience is FAR wider than the teacher or their classmates.  We also need to stress (unfortunately) safety issues concerning what they write and post.  We may need to modify HOW we teach, as well.  Since the students are basically trained for short bursts of reading and writing, then perhaps we need to teach this way at first; and given they need to learn sustained reading and writing skills, we perhaps need to teach them how to extend those short bursts into longer and longer times.

2 – We perhaps need to go back to teaching research skills using primary sources, and we need to stress evaluation of primary sources.  I like being able to provide a wide range of primary source to my students, but I have difficulty explaining to them why one is “better” than another.

3 – As before, we now have students who read and write in short bursts, and who often only take in one line of text, rather than several.  We need to expand their ability to read and comprehend multiple lines of text – in other words, to expand their focus.  Literacy may no longer mean the ability to read and comprehend the “oldy moldies” – Ivanhoe, Shakespeare in the original Elizabethan English, Milton, or even Swift.  Perhaps, literacy is now more technical and functional, rather than creative – our students now show their creative sides through visual media rather than written. 

This possibly means we need to expand our definition of “literacy” to include literacy in other mediums.  Is a visual poem any less relevant or creative than the written one?  Is a digital story any less important than a bound book?

4 – This I have no clue how to address; I have 4 blogs now, and actually only keep up with one.  Other than this class, and the digital stories class, this blog has been silent – taking up space on the internet highway – as median trash? – and ultimately ineffectual.  So what do I do with it?  What do I do with the other 3?  I don’t want to wipe them out – I put too much into them to kill them.  But I do feel guilty about not using them more often.

Gran Porch

October 7, 2006 by · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Gran’s Porch: An Eight Room Poem


Dark screens boxed in by white wood that in my memory is always pristine;
Old chairs along the wall, standing like sentinels,
     waiting for the old and young alike.
A stand ashtray I used as a gauge to see how much I’d grown since I’d been here last.
Fishing poles like rafters adorn the open ceiling, bobbers hanging low,
     hooks ready to catch the unwary;
The screech of the old, used-up, stretched spring announces a visitor,
and clangs gong-like to slam the old door closed.

Being here reminds me of growing up –
of summers by the pond, watching snakes stitch across the water,
turtles showing only their heads above water for a taste of air,
Thanksgivings at the Kid’s Table,
The herb garden, the smell of spearmint under the porch,
The smell of damp and reptiles in the laundry beneath this old white room.

In the morning, the sun lights the valley indirectly,
as fog rises like ghosts from the pond,
and steam rises from coffee cups warming hands.
At twilight, the little valley darkens first,
Shadows creeping up the hill toward this room like nightmares.
At night, the solemn, single light housed in an old jar
Keeps the Boogey Man away,
but is a beacon for moon moths, fireflies and little children.

The splash of a fish -
The grunt of a bull frog -
Crickets and cicadas singing their legs off –
The wind in the trees, sighing like lost lovers –
The smell of cigarettes, coffee, and Old Spice.

This is calm.
This is peace.
This is love.
This is important.

This Porch is Family.


October 7, 2006 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Peace is …
     a red, peeling porch
     white iron rails and uneven steps
     a cup of coffee in my hand.

Peace is …
     a blue plactic pool
     filled with sharks, boats, whales
     anda little boy.

Peace is …
     tomatoes and peppers splashed with water
     squash and zucchini flowers waving by my ear
     the scent of spearmint and garlic chives.

Peace is …
     taking time to hear my son’s stories
     as he becomes the Captain of his world
     saving whales and slaying bugs in the

     late afternoon sun.

Table of Contents

July 11, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

For those looking for my writings – if you look to the left, you will see a series of categories, with links.

“Table of Contents” contains all chosen work for MUWP-SI’s E-Portfolio.

“Other Public Writings” contains everything that DIDN’T make it into the MUWP, but were still worth posting (in my imperfect opinion).

Happy Reading!

Welcome to Murray’s World of Chaos!

June 22, 2006 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Welcome to my blog for the MUWP Summer Institute 2006. Here I, as the rest of the Fellows, will be posting my writings, reflections, journals, etc. that we work on as the Institute progresses.  Most of my work will be in Pages, not posts, so look to that link to read my musings, if you are so inclined. :-)