Making the transition back to K-12 teaching last year, Dr. Cicely Cobb knew she had to set herself apart in a special way while on the job hunt.

In the effort to create her own niche, Cobb launched her blog, “The Chronicles of a High School English Instructor,” in August. Now a freshmen and senior honors English teacher at Desert Vista High School, Cobb has made a name for herself as her blog has received more than 12,000 views since its launch.

“I knew that I had to create a niche for myself,” said Cobb. “But I never thought in my wildest dreams I would reach that many.”

The blog is mostly used as a teaching tool for her students, posting topics on writing, class announcements, and other resources for digital literacy. In the classroom, Cobb is challenging students to look at their own daily writing, both on paper and online.

“My goal is for students to see the connection of everyday writing practices and what they do in the classroom,” said Cobb, mentioning that texting, emails, and Facebook posts or comments are included. “It’s not that literacy isn’t part of their lives, it’s just not in the way we need it to be.”

Cobb encourages her students to think about the text messages they send, the comments they post, and what their voice is to their audiences. By thinking of literacy in a way they can relate to, Cobb has seen peaked interest in her students and some improvements in their overall writing assignments.

“Kids love the Internet, and we have to reach them at their level,” she said.

With the idea to embrace typing on computers instead of only handwriting essays, blogging or engaging in comment threads and other digital approaches to literacy, Cobb said she hopes that more teachers and educators will be inspired to embrace it as well.

While her students are still getting used to the idea of using more technology accompanied with their assignments and learning resources, Cobb also wants to start workshops for the community on the topic.

“Digital literacy is here to stay, it’s not going anywhere,” Cobb said.

Visit Cobb’s blog at doctorceescorner.blogspot.com or email her at thedoctorofenglish@gmail.com for more information about future digital literacy workshops.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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