Fantastic Find: grammarly.com

So I have been very fortunate this past couple of months to have increased my readership. Thank you. I am very glad to have people reading the blog and finding it useful. It is even better when people comment and leave feedback about the blog.

In saying that, with an increased readership comes an increase in spam comments but also negative comments too. I should not say “negative”. I should say “constructively critical”. I have approved most of them because I think they are necessary. They remind me that my work still needs improvement and that I need to refine my writing and publishing processes. It demonstrates that my readers are important and that I value their contribution to my blog, which is true.

As you may have guessed, I have found that the negative comments seem to appear when it comes to my grammar.

I was not schooled in grammar can you believe. I was of the generation where learning what a “clause” and a “present participle” are (say, what?) was non existent.

The quality of the blog is important to me. So recently I have been making sure that my posts have been of top notch quality. I have been using a new website I found called grammarly.com

It is an automated proofreader and grammar coach. You do have to sign up and pay but in saying that the service is quite reasonably priced, and the website is easy to navigate. The explanations are also easy to understand. I imagine this is because English is my first language and I converse and hear it daily so the rules make sense. They offer you a free 7 day trial before you pay your subscription fee.

I found that using grammarly.com made me focus on my writing a lot more and be more considerate when editing my work. These are valuable skills we want to ensure our students have.

Most of my students were not schooled in grammar either. So I think this would be a worthwhile website to encourage kids to use when they are working on assignments. It is another pair of eyes, and it does not just make the corrections without first explaining why you need to change them. You do have to save your documents in Microsoft Word and upload them which I did find a little bit cumbersome when I’m already using a blogging interface. However, if you are blogging with students or doing some other writing that will require publishing, this is a worthwhile tool in which to invest.

Does my writing sound/read differently? It has been edited with grammarly.com. Comments (good and “critical”) are always appreciated.

Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc

We’re Now on Facebook

Stage Door

I finally created  a space for posts from the DTN to be made available in your News Feed on Facebook.

If you would like to keep track of all your Drama related stuff through here, please like us.

https://www.facebook.com/dramateachersnetwork

Thank you for your support of the blog.

Facebook Page & Blog Post Image Credit:

Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

slimmer_jimmer via Compfight cc

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the DTN

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks for reading my blog this year. I have appreciated all the comments and feedback and definitely take it all on board when trying to think of new posts to write. I hope you have had a personally and professionally successful year and I hope this continues into 2013. As my gift to you, I have a guest post that I have been sitting on for quite some time written by my PLN colleague JF Cameron.

Funny Pictures

Image Credit: Christmas Buzz

Best Australian Blogs Competition 2012

I am really proud to post that the Drama Teacher’s Network has been nominated in this year’s Sydney Writers’ Centre, Best Australian Blogs Competition.

We have been nominated in the Commentary category, to be judged by Greg Jericho but we’re also up for a People’s Choice Award.

This is where you come in. It would be fantastic if as many readers, subscribers, followers would vote.

To vote, click on the link on the right hand side of this blog. It will take you directly to the survey page. Blogs are listed alphabetically so scroll on down to “D” and you will find the blog listed under “Drama Teacher’s Network.”

It’s one vote per person so tell as many of your friends as possible to come and vote too.

Over 940 blogs have entered so it’s going to be tough.

I want to personally thank you for the time you’ve taken to read my blog. Whether or not this is your first visit, the time you have taken does not go unnoticed and it is motivation for me to keep on writing. DTN is a small blog but we have a fanstastic network of readers and followers and hopefully we can continue to grow. Many thanks, again.

Voting closes on Thursday May 9th at 5pm. Winners will be announced on Friday 10th May.

Follow #bestblogs2012 on Twitter for more information on the competition.

Image Credit: Rosie the Blogger / Mike Licht / CC BY 2.0

#PLNlove – Workshop 4

So last Thursday our little group of rookie bloggers finished their four week workshop series on blogging. Please have a look at the great blogs that are starting to blossom:

Also, some great new people to follow on Twitter include @eslenglishatjac and @meshye1.

It has been fun sharing my love of blogging with the staff and it has been wonderful to follow up with some of them and see that they’re still doing things with their blogs that I showed them in the workshops. The journey continues for them and where it takes them is an unknown with many stops most likely on the way but I’m sure it will be a trip worth taking.

I have added all the workshop notes to a new page called #PLNlove which you can find at the top of the blog. For further detailed guidance on blogging I thoroughly recommend checking out the full version from which I developed my notes here.

Image Credit:Fim da Linha / Fábio Pinheiro / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

#PLNlove – Workshop 3

We only have two workshops left in our #PLNlove series of blogging workshops for staff at my school.

This week we are looking at a stack of things. These include:

  • Avatars;
  • Working with Images;
  • Embedding Media;
  • Widgets;
  • Tags & Categories.

There is a lot to get through but the group was absolutely fantastic last week and managed to get through the content really quickly.

Today they will post a link to their latest blog post in the comments below. Their post will include an image and some embedded media. Their avatar should appear in the comment box and when linking to their post the new widgets they have added will be on display.

Comments are always appreciated 🙂

The notes provided for these workshops are modified from the Kick Start Your Blogging Challenge. Copyright of @SueWaters and @edublogs. Used with permission.

See the full notes at http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/challenges-2/30-days-to-kick-start-your-blogging/

Image Credit: Some of the details on my Moleskin, Kim Joar, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

#PLNlove

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day this week and my great desire to “pay it forward” and achieve some of my professional goals  this year (I’ve posted about this before here), I am offering a blogging workshop for my staff after school for four weeks this term so they can feel, in my honest opinion, the great love and enjoyment blogging can bring. We are starting this afternoon and I’m excited!

It is a variation on the fantastic free professional learning I took part in in the school holidays of January 2011 as part of the Edublogs “Kick Start Your Blogging Challenge.”

In Week 1 we are looking at:

  1. What is a blog?
  2. Creating a brand new blog.
  3. Changing the theme and appearance of a blog.
  4. Commenting.

Today the teacher’s will be setting up their blogs in a one and a half hour session. The first part of the session will be a guided demonstration of how to do the things listed above. The second part of the session is an opportunity to take some time to play with their new blog and have someone on hand to guide them through any troubles they may be having. Many teachers often comment that they never get enough time to just “sit down and play” so many are glad that they have allocated the time to some professional learning for themselves today and for the next four weeks.

As part of the activities I have set, each participant will be posting a comment on this post with a link to their newly created blog as well as answering the following questions:

  1. What part of this first activity did you find easy?  Or the most enjoyable?  Did you find any tasks easier than you expected?
  2. What parts of this activity did you find hard and why?  And if you are stuck with a step(s) — tell us in your comment so we can give you some help!
  3. Make sure you leave your blog URL in your comment so we can drop by and visit your blog and leave a comment!

It would be really wonderful if you could click on the links, head on over to their page and let them know what you think. Comments are always appreciated and this is how we learn and grow through blogging: sharing and commenting.

About the Blog Post Title: For those unfamiliar as yet to Twitter and the use of hashtags, this is a very popular tag followed by many teachers when talking about the affection they have for their blog and the professional learning network.

The notes provided for these workshops are modified from the Kick Start Your Blogging Challenge. Copyright of @SueWaters and @edublogs.

See the full notes at http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/challenges-2/30-days-to-kick-start-your-blogging/

Image Credit: Big Heart of Art – 1000 Visual Mashups, qthomasbower, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)