Writing & Technology in Merry Old England
NCSU@University of Surrey, Guildford, England Monday, July 25, 2001
9:30 am
University of Surrey,
Bldg AC, Room 51&52

Facilitator: Ruie Pritchard
Note taker: Susan Szep
Attendees: Everyone except Tiffany – who did not make the flight and has not responded to e-mails so far.

Minutes Agenda item: Health & Safety Briefing
Presenter: Paul Daniel. Safety Manager
Discussion: 9:40 am – 9:50am
  • Information card handed out to all.
  • Procedures related to foreign evacuation – fire or other.  All alarms will go off – really loud.  Just make your way to nearest exit point.  Follow the green running man signs.  An assembly point would be good for us to have.  There are fire marshals wearing yellow who will direct us. 
  • Smoke detectors in the ceilings in each room are sensitive to smoke, hair spray, heat from hair dryers, steam from showers. 
  • If you observe a fire – just go to a corridor and find the break the glass box – press it and it will break and sound the alarms.
  • Medical:  from any university phone dial 3333 – and there will be someone on campus 24x7 to provide assistance.
  • Security: dial 2002
  • Laundry in bottom floor of Bldg AA.
  • Traffic: just watch out for buses.  They aren’t mindful of pedestrians or pedestrian right of way.  Use the pedestrian paths.
Agenda item: Intro & Report of Scribe
Presenter: Ruie Pritchard/ Kevin Barham
Discussion: 9:50 am – 10:05am

  Scribe now does not have to be so detailed (that was for benefit of people who were not present at previous sessions) – but should probably find out where people went and what they did during free time to keep notes up.

o    Kevin Barham – review of minutes from July 9th.
o    These will be posted on Moodle site.

Agenda item: Overview of types of writing
Presenter: Ruie Pritchard
Discussion:10:05 am – 10:45am Share one expository essay from each group with large group.

Theories of Discourse: Over the two weeks of our course, as students, we will be moving through the dynamics of discourse, scaffolding from what is happening now in the present (expressive) to the abstract.

For more information, please see comments[SGS1] .

§   Ruie asked us to share[SGS2]  how others taught us or how we instruct/guide students in new content.

o    4 principles:
1.     Deconstruction has a purpose for analyzing what you are reading.
2.     Piaget – student learns/retains only what is integrated with Prior Knowledge.
3.     Student learns from decentering – moving away from what you know to hearing what others know, to incorporating a distant audience.  Moves towards abstract thinking.
4.     Stage theory – you don’t skip stages – scaffolding important.

o    Belief in these 4 principles will result in a different writing program[SGS3] . 

Break @ 10:45 am

Agenda item: Overview of Types of Writing & Return of our Essays.
Presenter:Ruie Pritchard
Discussion:11:00 am – 11:25 am

Ruie will have us share 8 different essays over the week – not because they were “the best” but because they represent how we responded to the various topics.

·         Going against the norms – Kim & Leanne

Agenda item: Poetic Writing Into the Day: Bio Poems
Presenter:Ruie Pritchard
Discussion:11:25 am – 12:10 pm

Examples of poems handed out to model.  30 minutes given to start poem.
Post all to moodle by due dates – see the discussion thread.

Action items:
  • Personal Bio Poem.  Write & Date the poem - Due Monday, 7/25 - post to moodle.
  • Bio poem on a historical figure – see our syllabus on the moodle site.  An additional choice is a bio poem on a character (from a book?)  Due Friday, 7/29 - post to moodle.
Agenda item:Googlemaps and campus cataloging
Presenter:Kevin Oliver
Discussion:12:15 pm – 4:10 pm

Examples of maps that have been done & how this can be tied to our teaching.  Students can include citations and links to related sites.

Action items: 
  • Begin a 2 hour tour of campus to start our google map documenting our trip to England - Completed project due by the end of the England course.
Agenda item: Wrap up/End of Day Session Reflection
Presenter:Ruie Prichard/Kevin Oliver
Discussion:4:10 pm

Action items: (These links are on moodle daily.) Go to the wall wisher link – browse through the pictures and find one that triggers a response that you have had with a writing experience.   Due Daily!
Scribe Notes!

Friday, July 29

                We began the morning a wee bit late as people ambled in from their unchanging breakfasts.  At approximately 9:20-ish, our fearless leader informed us that she would be speaking with ten classes of international students and wanted to take in our topics for our final projects to those students.  We went around the room and volunteered our future lines of inquiry.  The possibilities were diverse, ranging from folk tales to perspectives on US Policy to a day in the life of a high school student to poetry to the lives of Muslim women.

                Ruie then led us into our “Writing into the Day” activity which was a selection of neat-o dorito ideas about writing unique postcards using poetry and sentence modeling.  The first was an anagram about your experiences in the UK featuring your own name, the second was the same but using a word like “England” or “Exhaustion” to create your poem.  Another possibility was the “Before this…After this” format.  My personal favorite was the “A Day in the Life of” activity where you present your reader with chronological snippets of the day that ring true, not necessarily ARE true (kind of like James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces which begs the question what is truth when we are telling our own experiences, but I digress).  We then wrote sentences modeled off of other writers.  The two sentences we worked with are: 

§  F. Scott Fitzgerald – two preposition phrases, verb, subject – reverse normal sentence order ‘zoom in’ – start large and shrink in to subject “Zoom In”

·         On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about halfway between the Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud rose-colored hotel.  I relax there now.


§  Ruth Firor – subject, past verb phrase, present verb phrase

·         The lazy October afternoon, bathed in a soft warmth of a reluctant sun, held a hint of winter’s coming chill.  I have bundled up to write to you. 

I, personally, rather enjoyed Keshetta’s ode to her blister as a nice bit of comic relief in the day.  Ruie then magically morphed into Martha Stewart and shared a variety of hints for decorating with post cards including decoupage, framed art, table tops, and journal making.  We were instructed to write four post cards and turn them in as hard copies and choose one to post on the moodle. 

                We took a break for lunch.  However, many diligent workers chose to stay in the classroom and take a working lunch.  Many others decided to take a nap.  It takes all kinds on this adventure.

                After the break we worked with our writing groups to revise either our room description or initial impression of England assignment.  This gave us another opportunity to gain proficiency in googledocs.  We focused on use of detail and showing instead of telling in our revision efforts.

                Next came the scribe reports, starring Ann Marie and the duos Ashley & Anna and Taylor & Jane.  Ruie also reported regarding her visit with the international students and informed us that not all of the students were going to Oxford.  However, many did seem interested in talking about music, folk and fairy tales and the high school experience.  This is, in fact, not a one-way relationship; it is a symbiotic one.  The international students have their goals from us as well.  These goals are to practice English and do an assignment where they ask us questions.

                Our illustrious instructors than gave us, their sniveling students, a much-anticipated spreadsheet featuring a breakdown of the class’s assignments and when those assignments are due.  We had a lovely question and answer session in attempts to quell any confusion.  Afterwards Kevin introduced us to the Prezi web 2.0 tool as a possibility for both our classrooms and our online Weebly portfolios.  He showed us one he created regarding his arrival in England.  We watched an introductory video and then were given ample time to work with this new technology and create our own presentations. 

                We then, in the immortal words of Fleetwood Mac, went our own ways.  Some of us continued to work (ahem, nerds!), some of went to see Harry Potter in 3D (double nerds!), and some of us went to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant (lucky!) but did not, in fact, see Jamie Oliver who is my future ex-husband.  But, that's another story that I won'g get into now.

AnnMarie Anthony                                      

Scribe for July 26, 2011

8:30-9:00  Gathering

9:10  A reading from Jane on Jane Austen in the 21st century

9:20  Susan read through previous day’s scribe notes

9:25  Megan talked with us about Google docs and the power of online feedback for our students.  We explored Google docs to help us understand how this process would work with our students.  Google docs is in real time and provides an opportunity for immediate feedback.

9:30  Keshetta presented on how she successfully uses Google docs in her classroom 
* During this time, we also discussed what to do for students without internet access at home- some suggestions included students using the public library, going to a friend’s house, or staying after school to work in the computer lab.
* Everyone in the class then set up a Google docs account if they did not currently have an account.

10:10  Break

10:25  Ruie read to us while we kept our eyes closed, guiding us through a visualization of a room we created for ourselves- emphasis was placed on connecting with our senses.  We then wrote about this room we created in our mind’s eye.  Afterward, we worked in our writing groups to share our visualizations through Google docs.
-Ruie assigned a free write to have text written to practice revising strategies.  The topic is our first impressions of England.
-Kevin had us download “writing modes”  

11:40 Gareth talked to us about the history of pubs and taverns

12:35  The class formed pub lunch groups and took a lunch break (collecting video and pictures during the outing)

Approximately 4:00  After lunch, Gareth spoke about Charles Dickens.  This presentation included readings and paintings about Dickens and his works.   

5:20  The group was dismissed, though many people stayed late into the evening to continue working

Scribe Notes for 7/27/2011

As a group:
  • Met at 8:45 and headed for the train station.
  • Boarded train from Guildford Station at 9:34 and headed to Waterloo Station in London.
  • We boarded a double-decker bus and rode to Russell Square where we walked to Dicken’s House. Our tour guide was not able to accompany us through the house but we were given information guides about the house and the upcoming celebration of Dickens’ 200th birthday. There was also an informational movie that could be viewed on the lower level.
  • From there many went to the British Museum. Some of the exhibits visited included the Rosetta stone, mummies from ancient Egypt, ancient Greek and Roman architecture, medievall Europe crusader artifacts, and various other exhibits from around the world. At this point various groups split up and explored London.

  • St. Paul’s Cathedral - A 526 step journey to a miraculous view of London. The cost is £14.50, but well worth it!
  • King’s Cross Station/Platform 9 ¾ - Tribute to Harry Potter with a cart. This is free!
  • Globe Theater - The story of Henry VIII and his notorious second wife, Anne Boleyn, was on production for the evening. Groundling seats (standing) were phenomenal and costs £5.00
  • Strada - Chain restaurant throughout the United Kingdom. It has authentic Italian foods and great wine. There is also one in Guildford
  • Westminister Abby - This is a popular church where Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Katherine, recently married, as well as many others. There are many famous people buried there as well. The cost is £13.00 with a valid student id card or £18.00 if not.
  • Big Ben and Parliament
  • 10 Downing Street - This is where the prime minister of the United Kingdom lives.
  • Trafalgar Square - This is a large square with various shops and great photographic opportunities.
  • Buckingham Palace - A great opportunity to view the changing of the guard, as well as, view Katherine‘s (Duchess of Cambridge) wedding dress. The cost is £18.00
  • London Eye - A large ferris wheel that gives you a view from the top of London. A standard ticket is £16.74.
  • There were various other stops in pubs, cafes, shops, etc.

Note: Meet at 8:15 at the Senate House for our trip to Winchester and Portsmouth.
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A real live fox on campus near the cathedral.
Two fake, stuffed foxes in the back of a car, next to the live fox!
I went to the Tourist Information Center on High Street today to inquire about area walks and possible bike hires.  There are plenty of good trails but no bicycle rental place; although, there will be a new place opening in the rail station on the 1st of August (according to nice ladies in TI). The TI is not where it is on the map, it is across High Street from the location listed.   

I am planning to take the train to Salisbury on August 1 and doing a tour of Stonehenge and Old Sarum if anyone is interested.  I also think I will go to Bath on Friday, August 5.  The train for both of these destinations is less than 30 pounds round trip. 

In the meantime, here is a list of free things to do around Guildford:

North Downs Way - Long hike right outside of town.  See national trails website.  I plan on doing this Sunday during our free day if the weather is nice.

River Walk - Up to four mile walk through the town and by the river - easy and flat.  Maps are at the Tourist Information.

Free Guided tours - guildford.walks.org.uk - in the evening on the July 28 and August 4.  Those are historical walks; there is a free ghost tour on August 2 at 7:30p.

Free Guided Walks - www.guildfordwalkfest.co.uk - Sunday the 31st on the free day - Nordic Walk and Geology Walk (with a professional geologist)

Historic Places:

Guildford Museum (brochure says it has a variety of interesting things?)

Undercroft (some kind of underground trading post thing)

Guildford Castle Grounds (to go inside cost 2.80)

Guildford Cathedral (on campus)

Cultural Events:

Friday and Saturday are market days on High Street

There is a big Farmers Market with live animals on August 2 and July 31

See our class in photos!
*TRAVEL NOTES for Saturday, July 23
Arrive at least 2 hours prior to flight time. (Flight leaves RDU at 6:15).
Print your e-ticket from the JTB website. Link was sent by Ruie on May 24 to our email.
Look for Kevin Oliver and Megan Poole. They will have a list of travelers.
At Heathrow, B-Line tour coach will be waiting to transport us to Guildford.

To begin the day, we enjoyed such delectable delights as scrumptious sausage and cheese rolls and decadent chocolate cake on a stick. After that, my day was pretty much set, but I will continue with other events of the day. Tanya got our blood flowing by leading us in a humbling attempt to remember the Alliterative Adjective Game we played during the previous class session.

Formally beginning the day at 9:17, Sara read her scribe report from June 18.

Dr. Donna Morrow (Dynamic/Dragging Donna), who had recently arrived from New Zealand, was introduced to us in person. She is a professor at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ, where she has lived for 14 years. We also welcomed her husband, Dr. Gareth Cordery.

Donna greeted us with a traditional tena koutou greeting of New Zealand’s Maori people, which was a beautiful way of acknowledging everyone present in class, those who were absent, and those who have gone before us. She also gave each of us a stunning piece of iridescent paua shell. Remarkably, as Donna distributed the paua to us, she recalled each of our names and alliterative adjectives! Very impressive!

Ruie distributed hard copies of the course syllabus and course overview.  She noted that the correct calling code in England is: 011 44.  We also received emergency contact cards from the Study Abroad Office, which we should carry with us, and we received our insurance card for the trip.

We must pay for internet access and have a cable to connect to the internet in our dorm rooms if we desire. However, many other areas of the University of Surrey campus are wireless.


Ruie led our discussion on Peer Response Groups.  When responding orally to another’s writing, keep the writer as a third person. Example: “The writer could make this point clearer…” or “I don’t understand where the narrator is going…” instead of “You didn’t make any sense here…” Do not make your responses personal.

In peer groups, you should always face one another. Peer response does not mean “editing”, but is meant to provide feedback for acknowledging strengths and areas where improvement can enhance the writing. The writer reads his or her own writing, never apologizing for it, and then allows each of the group members to respond. The first round of response always focuses on something positive or something you liked about the paper. A second round of response provides suggestions or statements that will lead the writer to consider revision. Provide specifics as you respond. Don’t just say “I like the detail”, but be specific about which details spoke to you.

It is important that the writer does not speak but carefully listens while others give responses.  Many times, we jump to correct every “mistake”, but it is important to wait and listen, because our “mistakes” could prove to be effective after all. Let the paper speak for itself.

Learning happens more for the group than it does for the writer. Through peer response we learn a composing vocabulary.

We practiced peer response using a student sample paper called “Trouble”. During our discussion, we discovered that a lot of different aspects of writing can come out of peer response. In this case, we responded to the paper’s emotion, descriptive detail, point of view, sense of time passage, word choice, tone, vivid verbs, etc.

“Take the opportunity to elaborate.”


Dr. Cordery (Generous Gareth) is an avid Charles Dickens fan. He provided us with practical reminders for our journey.

-- It is a long walk from the plane to Immigration at Heathrow (10 minutes)
-- Have your passport and return flight ticket conveniently available
-- Have rollers on your luggage – even your carry-on to make movement faster
-- We will go through Immigration before retrieving our checked bag at the Carousel
-- Then, if we have nothing to declare at Customs, we will exit through the GREEN door.
-- Have our location/address for the University of Surrey available…Immigration/Customs may want to know where we are staying and for how long.

He suggested we pick up a monthly “London Planner” – July/August edition. It is a great guide to the city.  Also, pick up a small, portable map of the London Underground (tube).

Ignore the money changing booths at the airport!

Try your ATM card at the airport when you arrive.  Make sure your bank and credit card companies know you are traveling abroad so they will not place a block on your accounts.

To change money, go to the main banks, Thomas Cook, or major travel agents. Ruie noted the post office in Guildford is a great option as well.

Currently, £1 GBP = $1.60 USD.  So, £10 GBP = $16 USD.  Also, see the currency and temperature conversion chart that Susan Szep created for us!

Remember, a £2 coin is smaller than a £1 coin.  Gareth shared samples of British currency (to view, not to keep, unfortunately!)   Easy come, easy go.

Public restrooms use coins (around 20p). Have some on hand…just in case. All pubs are required to have a loo. McDonalds has public restrooms, as do most department stores. Always ask for the LOO – not the restroom.

*Security Notes: Keep a copy of your passport/documents in a SEPARATE place from the official documents.  Make lots of copies of your passport, other documents and emergency information. Leave a copy at home with someone you trust. Susan suggested we scan our passport and documents and email a copy to ourselves, so that we can easily access our credentials in an emergency.

Be careful with carrying valuables on your person. A waist belt under your shirt is recommended. Carry wallets in the front side pocket, not the back pocket.  Keep your backpack in the front and carry purses, etc. across your body, not over one shoulder.

Gareth suggested for trips to London to purchase cheap day return ticket with travel card, giving you access to all of London’s transportation system. Trains from Guildford go to Waterloo Station in London. Have your Travel card / Oyster Card (recommended for frequent trips into London) ready to use at the tube gates. Movement in the Underground is very fast. 

He suggested carrying a backpack with snacks, small bottle of water, collapsible umbrella, map, tube map, cell phone, and pen.  Traveling in London takes a long time, so don’t try to schedule too much in one day.

On Wednesday, July 27, we will travel to London for the Charles Dickens house/museum and a walking tour. The rest of the day will be open for exploring London! 

The theatre ticket booth at Leicester Square offers great day-of deals.

FINDING OUR INNER POET with Dr. Sally Buckner

After our break at 10:30, we gathered again for a special guest speaker, Dr. Sally Buckner, who is an accomplished local poet.

She asked us “How does a poem MEAN?”  A good poem suggests more than it actually says. A poem has to give the reader something new.

We participated in composing several frame poems, using templates from her packet (posted on Moodle).

When revising poetry, always aim for using specific words, not general terms. A “tree” becomes a “willow”, etc.

During lunch, we shared our expository essays in our Peer Response Groups.

TPACK: Affordances and Constraints

At 2:25, Donna presented the TPACK Model. As more technology is integrated into our teaching, we must be mindful of what it allows us to do better and what it is changing about the way we teach and learn.

At our tables, we discussed old ways of doing things that are outdated or have been replaced by new technology, such as rotary phones > cell phones/Skype, books on a shelf > Kindle, rabbit ears on the TV > satellite, etc.

Donna is currently reading _The Shallows_ by Nicholas Carr, which discusses the impact the internet is having on the way our brains work.

As teachers, we must think about the affordances and constraints of technology. What does it allow us to do and what does it keep us from doing, or what does it pull us away from? 

Constraints are not necessarily negative and affordances are not necessarily positive. It’s about what is inherent in the technology tool.

TPACK = Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge by Mishra and Koehler (2006).
Part of the total package of teaching
We teach certain ways based on our content. How does adding technology and using tools such as wikis, blogs, podcasts, etc. shift where we get content and how we teach (pedagogy)? Videos, online images, and museum websites open up a whole new realm of content. Wikis, digital stories, etc. can have a huge impact on our pedagogy.

As teachers, we must know how to operate the technology and teach it also. We have to make sure all the bells & whistles and occasional frustrations of technology do not overtake the quality of our pedagogy or our content.

Web 2.0 tools are designed to be intuitive and fairly simple to use once we understand what their capabilities and limits are.

We spent some time exploring Web 2.0 tools and turning one of our poems from Dr. Buckner’s session into a multimodal format.


Megan reminded us about our Weebly accounts. Our Weebly page will be a very important aspect of our coursework in England.

We can view our class weebly at  http://surreyteach.weebly.com.
However, we must log in at www.weebly.com to edit our personal pages.

It is important to find a balance between appealing graphics and organizing the content our pages effectively.

This was a very busy, fun and productive day! We look forward to meeting together again in ENGLAND

May we have safe travel, life-changing experiences, and always...good times!