Muddling through the blogosphere

About Blogwalker

Kigali cow ceremony.

A little about me:

I am a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant, a Google Certified Innovator, a Common Sense Educator, and a Technology Integration Specialist for the Elk Grove Unified School District (Elk Grove, California). And I love to travel.

In my 20+ years in education, much of my focus has been in supporting students in becoming “change writers,” empowered to use technology in ways that make a positive difference in all the communities to which they belong, online or face-to-face. Besides BlogWalker, I also co-curate Elk Grove USD’s Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project and their Digital Citizenship initiatives.

Through BlogWalker, I continue to explore a question posed several years ago by a NWP colleague: What does it mean to be teaching, writing, and learning in a digital age?

I welcome conversations and collaborations,

Gail Desler @GailDesler


  1. Just wanted to say hello and tell you I enjoy your blog. “The nobody knows you’re a dog” was cute but to the point. Sounds like you have lots of stresses in CA. If you would care to learn about education in South Dakota I invite you to check out my blog You’ll probably learn the grass in not greener on the other side of the fence!

    Fred Deutsch
    Watertown, SD

  2. Dear Gail,

    We are a team of graduate students studying innovation and change at the University of Minnesota who are researching how much influence teachers do, or do not have, with regard to decisions concerning teaching, learning, curriculum, assessment, and overall public education innovation. We are studying “forums” such as blogs, where people gather to share values. For a variety of reasons, we have been unable to find an easy conduit to initiate a discussion with teachers. As a result, we have turned to blogs, such as this one – an innovation in itself – to attempt to engage you in dialog.

    We have set up The Education Innovation Blog,
    as a place where we hope to gather your stories, thoughts and opinions on innovation and creativity in education – both what would benefit you as a teacher and what would benefit your students. The blog includes a link to a 10-minute survey that we have developed. We hope this survey will serve as a starting point for discussions. We would very much appreciate your taking the survey and sharing this request with as many of your colleagues as possible. If you find this survey/blog interesting, please post it on your blog so other teachers can see it. ALL SURVEY RESPONSES WILL BE CONFIDENTIAL! The survey will close as of April 30th, however the blog will remain active and results and discussion of this project will be posted there.

    Your postings to the blog will be public. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please post them to our e-mail address,, we will strip them of identifying information and post your remarks anonymously.
    If you have any questions, please e-mail us at Thank you, we hope you will choose to participate and assist us in our research!

    Ben Cashen, Mike Fink, Kristi Mueller, Jen Trochinski, Sarah Waldemar, Wendy Wustenberg, Kun Yang

  3. Hi BlogWalker,

    I just wanted to make sure that you were invited to our education “Blogger Summit”. We hope you can make it and feel free to share this invitation with any other bloggers in the area that might be interested. The invitation is attached below.

    ED In ’08 Blogger Summit


    Strong American Schools is excited to announce the ED in ’08 Blogger Summit. Conference details are as follows:

    May 14th – 15th
    Palomar Hotel, Washington DC
    Registration is Free!

    An opening reception is scheduled on the evening of Wednesday, May 14th. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served before the screening of a new documentary film on education, Two Million Minutes. A Q&A session with the filmmakers is set to follow.

    Then join us for an all-day conference on May 15th. Nowhere else will you have an opportunity to meet and network with fellow education bloggers, participate in panels, attend workshops, and help tackle some tough questions on the state of education in America.

    Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP today!

    Register at

  4. Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blogging and saying hello. I think we may have a lot in common and I look forward to meeting you out in the network. You mentioned you weren’t sure what happened to me, here is a brief re-cap of sorts:

    Hope to hear form you more soon.

  5. Jabiz, thank you for sharing the link. What a powerful letter – and example – you’ve put out there. Much food for thought, but I’ll comment more on the post itself.


  6. Gail,

    I know I’m procrastinating on the meme you sent me. Sorry. In the meantime, back at ya’:


  7. Larry, with all the projects you’ve got brewing, not need to explain!

  8. Hey Gail!
    Suzie forwarded a blogspot email to me– sorry Ididn’t get it in time. I’m in Philly doing workshops and visiting the School of the Future (microsoft) and Science Leadership Academy (Chris Lehmann, principal).

    Let’s schedule some other time. My email is
    Best, Jane

  9. Gail,

    Out paths have crossed a number of times in the past few years (EETT &, more recently, at the 2007 CLMA Conference). I am going to be teaching an “Advanced Technology” class (special thanks go to Ted for this assignment) at Mitchell Middle in Rancho Cordova this coming year — the focus is to be on Web 2.0 — unfortunately, until now, this class has not existed. As a result, I do not have a blueprint on a course outline. I have some ideas but would prefer to have them backed up with some concrete proof that my thoughts my actually work. Could you help me out and/or point me in the right direction so I can track down some already in use curriculum. Thanks so much!


  10. Hey, Pete, I’m teaching a one-week mostly Web 2.0 workshop at the UC Davis Area 3 Writing Project the last week of July. Can you join us? It costs $300 dollars – but Ted could pay for you:-).

    I’m heading out tomorrow morning for a 21 Century Literacies conference, but will be back in town on Thursday. Let’s connect.

  11. Dear BlogWalker

    I enjoy reading your blog, and was wondering if you would like to do a link exchange. My book blog’s url is Every week, I make a nonfiction book recommendation in the topic areas of education, history, technology, biography and/or humor. I have already put up your link. Please reply if you would like to do a link exchange. Thank you.


    Sally Friedman

  12. Sally,

    Thank you for the compliment and for sharing your blog – which I’ve already added to my Blogroll. I’m looking forward to more book reviews!


  13. Hi Gail (and other teachers),

    I’m putting together a poetry anthology honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. Ravi Shankar and Patricia Smith will co-edit with me. I want student submissions from all over the world and am hoping you can help me spread the word. As you’ll see below, it would be an extraordinary opportunity for any students whose poems are accepted.
    Peter Kahn
    Oak Park/River Forest H.S.

    The Golden Shovel anthology is based on a new form that National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes created with his poem, “The Golden Shovel” honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. I worked with Terrance a couple of summers ago and started using the form with students with great success thereafter.

    Thus far, we have commitments from some top contemporary poets in the United States, including Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner and Maxine Kumin; Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn; National Book Award winners Marilyn Hacker, Mark Doty, Nikky Finney and Jean Valentine; as well as National Book Award finalist Patricia Smith (who writes, “what an astounding idea for an anthology! I am SO in….This is sheer brilliance”), Nikki Giovanni, Linda Pastan, A Van Jordan (“I love this idea”), Kwame Dawes, Carol Muske-Dukes, Fred D’Aguiar, Adrian Matekja, Afaa Michael Weaver, Matthew Zapruder, Brian Turner, Matthew Dickman, Stanley Plumly, Cornelius Eady, Kim Addonizio (“Love it!”), Willie Perdomo, Kimiko Hahn, Camille Dungy, Roger Bonair-Agard, Kevin Coval, Jericho Brown, Patrick Rosal, Marilyn Chin, Aracelis Girmay, Evie Shockley, Ross Gay, Tracy K. Smith, David St. John, Alicia Ostriker, Eleanor Wilner and Marilyn Nelson as well some top UK poets. Philip Levine and Sherman Alexie are considering it, too.

    One of the underlying missions of this anthology is to provide an opportunity for students to present their work alongside emerging and established professional poets through the inspiration of Terrance’s new form and in celebration of Ms. Brooks. Below, you will see a link for high school submissions and another one for college submissions. If you wouldn’t mind, please distribute the links widely as you see fit.
    High School/Secondary School Submissions (ages 13-18):
    College/University/Grad School Submissions:
    (We hope to eventually transfer to the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University)

  14. Thanks for letting me know about this wonderful opportunity, Peter. I just visited the Golden Shovel site as well as the site – and am very pleased to add your project to today’s post on National Poetry Month.

    Very pleased to promote your work with student poets,

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