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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.


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Greg McVerry

A successful Homebrew Website Club New Haven

2 min read

Creating a learnign space on campus for students and alumni to gather to share their experiences has enriched my online teaching and provided students with an avenue for agency and artisty

On 2019-02-06 the local New Haven Homebrew Website Club met. As part of the global movement we join together to hack on websites. For many of my students this means building a site for the first time. For @SCSU alumni who attend they carry the website they began as students out in the real world and bring examples of how they use their sites in their classrooms.

New Name

At Wednesday's meeting we did decide a few things. Participants do not connect with the Homebrew Website Club. They do not know the history of the computer club once attended by Jobs and Gates and do not really care once they learn. So after some discussion we decided to revert our name back to the Elm City Webmakers. We will still host homebrew websiote club meetings but will brand these gatherings of the Elm City Webmakers.

Great Location

picture of room

Huge shout out to Dean Hegedus for building the active learnign lab where we meet. Today I was joined in person by two people. Natalie Caldwell, a student, and Drew McWeeney, an almuni

Awesome Goals

Natalie began byworking on her site. She wanted to learn how to add Bridgy and then to customize fonts and colors. Natalie even played with a bit of microformats

Drew came to the Elm City Webmaker gathering to work on his Grav site. Drew is working on instructional design for the American Red Cross. After discussing why he was using Grav for whta was a single webpage we decided to roll up opur sleeves and learn to spin up a web page by writing HTML.

Overall a great first meeting this month. I am looking forward to seeing even more people in two weeks.

Greg McVerry

#edu307 Newsletter Update and Launch of WorldViews

2 min read

Assessment of Slide Deck:

Here are the criterion I will use to assess your module two "literature elements slide deck"

  • explicit definition
  • easy examples
  • pop culture examples
  • text based¬†analysis
  • use of color to draw attention to key details
  • learning progression
  • an explanation¬†of why
  • even a check for understanding (this lat bit isn't required but if you want to document evidence that you know how to measure knowledge growth..or even write a quiz question you might want to try. Hint try "action buttons"
  • I would have added annotated examples of longer pieces, like copy a slide and then highlight where the alliteration occured.

As a reminder here are some examples I analyzed. 

Next Module

In our next module, we will consider how worldviews influence our definitions of children's literature and literacy. You will also be assigned to your book club group as part of this module. You will have two weeks to get together (either virtually or in person but at the same) to discuss two books. 

As a group we will write one model book review. This will be the template we use for the rest of the semester.

You will also need to stop by the Curriculum and Learning office and pick up the two novels we will read together. We will start these throughout the module. I will be posting reading prompts and fun discussion questions for the rest of the semester. I picked two books I love, "Handbook for Boys" and "Bucking the Sarge."

You also need to get together with someone or a small group (your choice) and discuss the reading "Thrice Lesson Learned." I will schedule two video chats for next week after8:00 pm if anyone wants to join one of those discussion groups.

Please remember you should strive to have the other readings done and your reflections up by Monday.

Reply Post

Did you read something by a peer you loved? Send them a reply post. Simply include a link to their post in your reply and hit send. 

That is soon. I will record a video version of this message either tonight or first thing in the morning.


Greg McVerry

My Random Collection of Slidedecks on Workshop Methods #edu407 #edu305

2 min read

Hey and below are links to many of the slidedecks I have curated and created over the years. I wish I was better at knowing who made what originally but images and videos and slides I found got mismatched together.

I will record videos for some of these throughout the week but here you go:

Workshop Methods

Readers Worskhop Conferences (some mine mainly someone else;s):

Reader's Workshop (not mine)

Writer's Conference (remix mainly someone else's)

Writer's notebook

Tag TEAM Writers worskhop

Reader's Notebook

Talking and Writing About Texts

Teaching notetaking

Reader's Workshop

Greg McVerry

Embracing the Struggle while Feeling Vulnerable #EDU307

1 min read

My first blog post! This is exciting!

Yes, something about blogging makes our writing special.

I feel that my goals as a writer are a little tougher to think about. I think my number one writing goal is to understand that it is okay to struggle sometimes.

I want to thank everyone for struggling in this class as you set up blogs. In any classroom, you must ask students to make themselves vulnerable. That is at the heart of intellectual risk.

The addition of blogging to a class that for many of you is your first online experience...That takes vulnerability and struggle.

Thank you for sticking with me.

Quotes from



Greg McVerry

My Definition of Children's Literature #edu307

1 min read

Hey I know the assignment was to define children's literature with no words but the first rule of poetry is to always break the rules except, rule number one.

Besides, since I decided to do a remix I could pull a lawyer card and say I defined children's literature as alchemy...though then the teacher in you should ask if my visual metaphors would still meet this goal.

Either way here is my definition

Greg McVerry

#edu407 #edu305 #edu307 Friday Update and Office Hours

3 min read

Hey everyone,

 Working from home today. Happy to help anyone get started. It would have to be over a screen chat. I can walk you through connecting. Take about ten minutes. Just stop by chat if you need help.

Meeting on the Weekends

I will not have much weekend availability. I know many of you will be doing your work on the weekends but I coach youth sports, and am a cub scout leader, and have two part-time jobs. So weekends are tough.

This is why I do not use a Sunday to Sunday schedule. I want to be involved and like me, your busy lives may lead you to catch up a night or two before assignments due. I want to hang out with the class when the flurry of activity is going.

However, if you see me online, feel free to ping. If I can I will happily hop on a call, you may hear my children screaming....Teacher's curse you can raise anyone's children but your own. 

Office Hours

 I will be on campus M 10-11 12-2, T 11-12, W10-11. Some days meetings get scheduled during my office hours. I will post a note to chat when this happens.

Workshop Time

I offer workshop time W 12-1. You can come in and work with me, meet with groups, get peer feedback. It is a workshop. Come work and focus on for the content or technical help.

You can also come the and 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month to get help on your personal websites or blogs. This is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 to accommodate working students. I also encourage almuni and other students who want to work on their websites to stop by as well. 

Chat Room

If possible please try to leave your questions in the chat room on the website (#edu407 and ...#edu305 you can ask in class) rather than email. I want to leave my email more open for advising and coordinator stuff.

Plus if you have the question someone else does as well. Answering student queries by email would be like having each child come up to your desk rather than raising your hand.

Of course if you want to keep it private you can email me or DM using the chat tool (would require sign up).

New Technology

Having to try new technology is hard. I understand. I had never taught before AND I had to redesign the course for online learning.

Online isn't alone. We will be hanging out and working together a lot in these classes. If you learn something share it with a classmate.

I am also going to continue to release tutorials. I will build a tutorial page on the website but I need to lay it out all out. Until then you can find the tutorials on the feed page for your classes. 

Greg McVerry

Microcast Topics for #edu405 and #edu307 with @peggysemingson

1 min read


What do you think of this list? It may look daunting but if we have a loose script for each on standard format be a wonderful investment of our time. If you would like to join us for 5-10 minute audo microcasts thinking these topics:

  • oral language develoment'
  • stages of reading
  • theories of meaning making
  • predictors of reading success
  • phonological awareness
  • phonemic awareness
  • phonics-cvc words, onets rimes,
  • phonics-consonant blends
  • phonics-consonant digraphs
  • phonics-vowel dipthongs
  • phonics-r-controlled blog
  • spelling- syllables and affixes
  • spelling- derivational meanings
  • comprehension-background knowledge
  • comprehension-dialogical reading
  • comprehension-text based analysis
  • comprehension- text based discussion
  • Strategies for Book Clubs
  • Interactive Read alouds, guided reading, literature circles
  • Academic vocabulary
  • Teaching with nonfiction
  • Teaching with Novels
  • Assessment Strategies
  • Favorite Classroom routines


Greg McVerry

Starting the Mythology Module in #EDU307

2 min read

It's time for the mythology group to take over the class. I am excited for this unit. Probably one of my favorite topics to teach in Middle School. Also the unit that launched my career as an academic studying how the web changed how we read and write.

In fact I won the Connecticut Educator Computer's Association teacher of the year award in 2006 for the unit. I must have the unit somewhere on a hard drive.

  • We first compared how our reading changed by reading a book,¬† static website, and a multi media website. Students blogged their responses and used our class discussion board.
  • Then the students designed a fictional cuture and wrote a creation myth to reflect that culture.
  • They then had to write a hero tale with the common elements of a myth and publish it online
  • Then we read Greek myths and did the usual stuff.
  • Finally they were assigned a God in the Pantheon and in small groups made interactive slidedecks with PowerPoint. They had to have action buttons and map out navigations.

I am excited to take on the tasks outline by the Fantasy Group.

  • Choose two of the readings and annotate or post notes.
  • Write a reflection on fantasy. Utilize details from the readings. Do your best not to just post a summary.
  • Choose a fantasy you enjoyed as a child. Write a story about a new character who lives in the same world. Include common elements of fantasy.

Greg McVerry

Choosing Course Delivery #OpenEd #EdChat #HigherEd #Literacies #Edtechchat

2 min read

Over the last few years I have explored a variety of tools for open course development. Asa refresher I design my online learing space with three elements: a hub with materials, an individual site for each learner, and a class stream.

I am debating how I want to present my hubs. I orginally created a Wordpress site with multiple courses.

Last year I tried building a class in HTML/CSS and Javascript using a bootsptrap framework. I could host all of this in my GitHub repo.

I am not sure which method I prefer: Wordpress or a blank HTML page as a canvas.

Over the summer I got back to Wordpress course design. I was hired by a client to develop a learning managament system. I went with Wordpress and the Sensei plug-in from Woocommerce. We added a paid theme Guru and topped it off with a Discourse with SSO integration. We also added Buddypress and BadgeOS for good measure. 

The platform came out great.

Yet I am still drawn to trying to develop class Hubs in the most basic HTML possible (while getting some design love). I imagine a future where other professors openly share their coursework. Where a new teacher  can fork a repo rather start from scratch.

Still the Wordpress page looks prettier (for now).

I think for this semester I will keep with the dual approach. EDU106 will remain a hub in Wordpress and EDU307 will go through a round of iterative development.