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Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Missed the Point! It's not a Pencil. Additional Assignment #5

Tom Johnson
I was thoroughly surprised (and disappointed) when I read the blog posts last Sunday after breaking my arm and nose and returning from Chicago.
Here's what surprised and disappointed me about those that I read (about 50 out of 150):

1) Over 1/3 who had done Blog Post #10 did not mention the article Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home
2) Only one student clearly identified the issue being discussed in the article and demonstrated an understanding of what she read!

Tom Johnson was talking about computers NOT pencils!

Even if you are not familiar with metaphorical writing, there were plenty of clues that you should have seen. Not the least of which was his very first sentence: "This post was largely influenced by Larry Ferlazzo's latest post and my own experience with 1:1 computing and my friend Javi's experience with a Parent University."

So...did you miss the point, even though there was no pencil?

As a teacher to be, YOU have to know how to READ. Some writers use metaphors; others satire; others humor; others fancy words. Tom Johnson (is that his real name?) uses all of these, especially the first three. You have to have your brain ON when you read his work.

Go to Tom Johnson's adventures in Pencil Integration

It also helps to know all you can about him. You should now know he has two blogs. His other blog will be his only blog now. He has written Teaching Unmasked: A Humble Alternative to Waiting for a Superhero which you can get for free!

What else can you find out about him?

Read his last four posts on Tom Johnson's adventures in Pencil Integration:
Just Teach Them to Solve for X (This was written for EDM310!)
Sketchy Portraits: 8th Grade Identity and Pencils;
He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils;
The Medium Shapes the Learning

Write at least a paragraph in a post on your blog in which you summarize the main ideas (beliefs/attitudes) he expresses in those posts. Leave him at least one comment on one of his posts.

Due Sunday 11/21 at midnight.

Turn Your Brain ON!


  1. Actually Dr. Strange,

    I noted his real name in my post "A blog post by John Spencer, an educator in Phoenix, AZ." I had a feeling that this might be satire so I wrote "I think that this is a story that far to many teachers are familiar with in some form or fashion." Unfortunately, we're all familiar with stories as ridiculous as this, so it's no surprise to me that the satire was overlooked.

  2. Okay, I mentioned his post and noted his real name but.....It is like me writing a story about dirt when I am really talking about trees. What is with the metaphor? Why not say exactly what you are trying to discuss? Why not put it into words that we all understand instead of a metaphor. If we are to be educators we should be able to speak to our students in a way that they all understand. I am not trying to sound ugly, it is just my thoughts. I, obviously, was not the ONE person who "got it". I do enjoy the required reading that we are assigned but it really shouldn't come as a surpirse when the majority of us "don't grasp the point".
    PLEASE don't take this the wrong way!! :)

  3. I am shocked at this post! I cannot believe that this message went over so many heads! Metaphors are one of the most important components of our language. I want more for my colleagues! People need to read between the lines! But, I realize some people may not even see "the lines". This is because of the life they have led. I am not judging. I am simply pointing out one, important fact: this lack of understanding is proof that even the slightest difference in societal rank can cause a drastic difference in culture and life experiences. I am glad that we were assigned this reading for post #10. I am forever grateful for enlightening experiences. I want for all teachers to allow themselves to be enlightened.

  4. Mary, this post obviously went over all heads but "ONE". You can read my post and realize that I understood the basics. I do not believe metaphors are one of the most important components of our language-----learning and teaching in general is, if you believe you can throw metaphors around at all of the ages of students we will be teaching, more power to you. I sincerely hope you succeed with that. I, however, believe in education being taught in a way everyone understands. I suppose this is a surprise to some but not everyone catches metaphors. I do not understand the comment you made about those people not reading between the lines or even seeing the lines "because of the life they have led"?? The life they have led??? Really? I am not saying you’re judging anything or anyone; I just simply don't understand what you are saying. I am just looking for a little clarification.

  5. Jennifer, first I want to say, I visited your blog. Wow! I am envious! Mine is no where near as impressive and I am not being coy. But I am writing back to clarify. So, here it goes. Someone who has lived a white, middle-class life is not going to automatically think about the issue being satirized. The issue is: poor people don't have access to computers. Because poor people don't have access to computers, they do not know how to use them for educational purposes. On the rare occasion that a poor person does have access to a computer, it, generally, is used for entertainment. This is my life story. However, I did not realize what a big issue this is these days until I was a student of Dr. Brenda Juarez. If you have not taken the course "Education in a Diverse Society" yet, when you do, please sign up for Dr. Juarez's course. It would be unfair to you and your future as an educator if you took this course without her instruction. I am not being a brown noser. I am just telling it like it really, really is. My presence in her class is the only reason why I was able to understand Tom Johnson's metaphor. If you would ever like to get together in the lab and talk about this issue further, please feel free to give me a holler and let me know. I would be very glad to share all that I have learned. I truly love this class. I believe that all of us are in this together. So, please let me know if you want to talk. I can express my thoughts way better in person. Thank you for your interest and concern.

  6. After reading all of these comments, I feel the need to say just one more thing; Although I did understand that pencil meant computer, I don't necessarily think that I am the "one" that Dr. Strange is talking about because I don't know if I was clear enough in my post. That is all, thank you.

  7. Remember, I read less than 1/3 of the blogs. So the numbers for the whole are quite likely similar in proportion bur larger in real numbers.

  8. Mary, Thank you for clearing that up for me. I just did not understand what you were meaning, I was confused. I see your point of view and respect it. My thoughts are just a tad bit different. I definitely understand about explaining better in person, it is hard to portray your thoughts and feelings through a post at times. I hope I didn't offend anyone, including you. :) I am just blunt, haha.
    And thank you for your compliment on my blog! I am trying really hard to keep it up.

  9. I am posting this comment to express the shame in myself for not picking up on the metaphor. Yes, sadly, I missed the point. I just went back and reread the blog post, and it made TONS more sense. John T. Spencer (I believe that's his real name) did an excellent job with his post, and I'm sure he was VERY amused with all of us who didn't quite understand (I know I would be)!

  10. Jennifer,I am so glad you said that!!! I agree with you completely.

  11. :) You made me feel better Kayla - I was wondering if I was the only one thinking this way.

  12. No Jennifer, you are not the only one! I am so glad you posted this!!