txting julius casear: bewr the ides of mrch

This week I'll try...

...to actually write a blog post.

...to give each student, everyday, a chance to show his mad Shakespeare interpretation skills. 

Two weeks ago, I signed up for a group text messaging service (Cel.ly) and set up two of my courses. Students joined a "cell" for the class and it allows me to send group text messages (without my knowing the students' phone numbers), receive responses from students that are only seen by me, and share selected student responses with everyone. I sent an MFTB (Men from the Boys) question the first weekend, where students had to interpret a few lines from Julius Casear, to try it out and I heard from many students (mostly "boy" responses, for now). 

This week I'll try something similar everyday, from the night's reading, giving them several short (1-3 lines) passages to choose from. (This is an idea that was sparked by Joy Kirr's recent blog post - http://kirrscholars.blogspot.com/2013/02/paraphrase.html). We do close reading everyday in class but this will be the first time I'll get a chance to hear from everyone each day. It will give us a jump on the next day's discussion and I'll see how they are doing with the reading. Hopefully, this will also give those whose hands rarely go up a chance to be heard when I use their correct response as an example to everyone. 

Students will be able to submit responses via text through Cel.ly, online via a form (Google), or old school on paper handed in at the start of class. We can go over a few responses and discuss which are closest and why. The advantage of the text and online responses is that sample responses can be displayed for the entire class to see. What I still need to determine is if it makes sense to give the students a correct answer after their response or wait until class the next day. I am sure they will have the answer for me by the end of this week.


  1. I'd heard of teachers using texting with their students, but I stayed away, because I didn't want to share my number... This seems feasible now, and I'll have to think on it.

    As for the right answer, I hope students figure it out in class during your discussion. That's how it's supposed to happen, even though it's so hard for me to hold my tongue! I'm so very glad you could get something out of my post. I usually don't post about lessons, but I'll have to try to do that more often!

    1. Joy,

      The follow up to this is that the main difficulty using many different methods to receive the responses is that I get the responses in many different methods! Not a surprise at all. This summer I hope to figure out how to aggregate all the responses in one place easily, so it's just a matter of a little shuffling and then displaying it for all to see the next day.



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