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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 10:09

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

There’s a bit of convergence here, as I am writing poetry every day with Mary Lee over at a Year of Reading, while also keeping an eye out for the work that Chris Lehman is doing with teachers as poets, and of course, this familiar home of Slice of Life.

teacher-poets

The other day, Chris suggested that we write a poem about a “sliver,” which just seems to echo so nicely with Slice of Life. I wrote about watching one of my students writing a poem in what we call “inside this” — using figurative language to capture the essence of inanimate objects. He was struggling and then found inspiration with the assignment itself — writing a poem about the poem he was supposed to be writing about.

So, I wrote a poem about his poem about the poem. And then I made it tappable.

Peace (in the slice),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry, Slice of Life"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 09:40

Today’s Wonder poem is about Mount Everest, and the mountain and its role as  an unpredictable force of nature has been in the news lately (sadly) with the avalanche that has taken the lives of native guides. Mary Lee captures that role of the mountain in her powerful poem this morning. I decided to go after the mountain with wonder, in the form of a haiku.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

 

Peace (in a few lines),
Kevin

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 09:38

I have been invited to talk about technology and youth to a group of mothers (it’s a Mothers’ Club and they are very supportive of our school) in my school district tomorrow night. This presentation will guide my discussions, and I am going to share out this great resource: The Social Media 411 for Parents.

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "my classroom, Technology Resources"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 09:32

Today’s Wonders of the World Poem is focused on the Great Barrier Reef. I found myself entranced first by the colors, which are brilliant, and then on the sobering news of how Global Warming and environmental change is killing off the reef, making it gray and solid. The poem then become a metaphor poem (or is every poem ultimately a metaphor poem in the end?)

Your Tongue as Pen to Stories of the World (Great Barrier Reef)

You used to splatter me with paint:
bright blues;
interesting oranges;
radiant reds.

I’d lounge here quietly in this cascade of colors,
letting the currents bring you in and out,
and in again as with the tides,
your tongue as pen to stories of the world.

But even I can hardly fail to notice that
with each passing day,
our hues have become a bit more duller
and our movements, ever slower.

Where once the solid form of us was teeming with love
and alive with wonder,
now, it is becoming little more than
a hardened reminder,
a silent statue of remembrance to
what once might have been.

Here is the podcast, too.

Audio and voice recording >>
 

Peace (on the reef),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 09:46

Webmaker

I feel like I can’t shout quite loud enough about the resources being developed over at the Mozilla Foundations’s Webmaker space. Here, the philosophy of the “open, remixable web” comes to fruition with a series of projects and tools that invite you to remix and remake in your own light, with tutorials on coding and creating that provide entry points for just about anyone with an interest. Mostly using its Thimble (a webpage-style publishing tool) and Popcorn (a video and digital story tool) platforms, Webmaker offers free and interactive ways to become engaged with digital literacies.

You will need an account with Webmaker to save work (but you can tie it to other email accounts) and I am still navigating the best way for my sixth graders to create work in our environment where they don’t have school emails (ack). But at the very least, you can explore the world of making the web with its remixable templates, and there is the built-in ease of publishing in a matter of minutes just by clicking the “remix” link on any of the projects, tinkering with code and text, and remaking it into something new.

There are also sections at the Webmaker space for how to teach with its tools, where all sorts of “kits” are available for free, and freely remixable for your own situation. You can also use their blank templates for your own lesson plans and ideas.

Go ahead. Remix. Publish. Share. Make stuff and have fun.

Peace (in the open world),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "TeachtheWeb, Technology Resources"
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Date: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 09:26

Today’s Wonder poem is about the Grand Canyon. I found myself thinking of the water more than the rock with this one.
GrandCanyonVertigoPeace (in the look down),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 10:16

Untitled
We’re starting our planning for this summer’s Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (notice how we don’t say “course” — that’s important) or CLMOOC. We’re in a very soft launch mode right now, but you can visit the FAQ page and add your email to our update lists.

Basically, it will be a summer of play and exploration and learning, all under the umbrella of Innovator Educator‘s Summer to Make, Play and Connect. We had great success, and a blast, last summer and we’re working to build on that experience for Round Two. Making Learning Connected runs from June 13-August 1, 2014 and we use the Twitter hashtag #clmooc.

More information (and periodic teasers) to come …

Peace (and play),
Kevin

 

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Making Learning Connected MOOC"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 10:01

One thing I have been intrigued about when it comes to doing some research on the topics for the Wonders of the World poems are the translation of names of places on the list that Mary Lee has pulled together. So, this morning, when I was learning about Chichen Itza, the Mayan city, I was intrigued by the poetic translation of the name as “the mouth of the well,” and that led me into my poem.

As some of you know, I’ve been trying to work in different technology as best as I can into my poetry writing (although I am starting to feel that I might just fade the technology and concentrate on the writing as the second half of the month unfolds. We’ll see …)

This morning, I decided to check out Mozilla’s Webmaker space, to see if there were any cool remixable projects that might work well with my poem of looking ahead and looking behind. I did find one, although it is a bit more advanced than I am used to. But the beauty of Webmaker is that the original creator leaves notes in the code for the remixer (Webmaker rocks!), so all I had to do was follow the instructions to create my own interactive poem page of “A Drink from the Mouth of the Well.”

Drink from the Mouth of the Well

(Click on image and it will take you to the poem)

I like how it came out, with each hovering over a section of the poem revealing a stanza. I did podcast the poem but could only fit it at the bottom of the page, which is not ideal, although I suppose this way, the audio does not disrupt the reading of the poem in sections.

Peace (in the remix)
Kevin

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry, TeachtheWeb"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 10:11

This is an amazing resource about Web Literacy ideas. Click on a skill and see a pathway forward towards new skills that connect back to the original inquiry. (nicely done, Laura Hilliger and other folks at Mozilla). Plus, the whole resource is remixable, so you could revise it for your own audience and purpose.

(Thanks to Mike Downes for the screenshot and for Doug Belshaw for sharing this out)

Peace (along the many paths),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "TeachtheWeb, Technology Resources"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 09:35

It’s difficult to read about Machu Picchu (as I did this morning for our Wonder poem selection) and not be saddened by what the Spaniards wrought when they came to South America and reshaped the world with violence, and illness, and their quest for gold. I understand I am looking at it from a modern perspective, but still …

So, this morning’s poem about the city on the mountain is in the form of a ransom note (using the cool ransomizer generator:
History held ransom

to the armies of Spanish invaders;

abandoned walls

carved in by Inca creators,

scared, and on the run

fleeing armed strangers

who traveled from the edge of the world

bringing untold dangers

of time and wind and daggers

of violence and royal decrees and wagers

that gold and conquest become the power;

yet here, now,

these ghosts are now natures painters.

:)

Here is the poem in plain ‘ol English:

History held ransom
to the armies of Spanish invaders;
abandoned walls
carved in by Inca creators,
scared, and on the run
fleeing armed strangers
who traveled from the edge of the world
bringing untold dangers
of time and wind and daggers
of violence and royal decrees and wagers
that gold and conquest become the power;
yet here, now,
these ghosts are now nature’s painters.

Peace (in the poem),
Kevin

 

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 10:35

Icy Revolution Collage
Today, we play our annual Quidditch Championship between the four sixth grade classrooms. I don’t know if my homeroom team — Icy Revolution — will win or not, but I do know that the day is going to be crazy, hectic fun. And loud. Real loud.
(and tonight, the kids play teachers in a Quidditch match. So, yeah, tired bones … here I come)

Peace (with a snitch),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "my classroom"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 09:35

Today’s Wonder Poem is about Petra, or the Rose City of Jordan. Here’s another Wonder of the World that I knew very little about until Mary Lee put it on the list for poetry. I decided to write my poem in an open source writing platform called TitanPad. It’s sort of like Google Docs, in that you can collaborate, but I like how it creates a “timeline” of revisions, which I then captured as a short video of the writing of the poem. I can say there were no dramatic revisions here, just a bit of moving around words and fixing syntax. So the timeline-effect is not as dramatic as it could be.

I hosted it up at YouTube.

This is the final poem itself:

Rose City (Petra)

This city carved out of stone and rock -
red with time -
calls to me

How many hands
dug deep into mountains to remake it?
How many lives
were lost in the mountain to reshape it?

This city standing on the precipice -
red with stories –
calls to me

Where are the ghost defenders
praying deep into the night to save it?
Where are the brave contenders
seeking for the right to take it?

This city shackled in the earth -
red with history –
calls to me.

Peace (in the writing),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 09:53

It really is true: there’s nothing new here. Not with Twitter. Not with Facebook. Not with blogging. Not with any of the social media that we keep saying has “upended” traditional media. In this fascinating look at social media over the past 2,000 years, Tom Standage digs deep into our historical roots to show how the flow of information along social lines has been one constant thread through various phases of civilization.

Writing On the Wall is a fascinating read (and I heard about it from a book review column a friend of mine does at the Boston Globe, where her focus was books about social networking), starting off with Cicero in Rome, asking friends and allies to make sure they sent news of politics and government via notes, complete with comments, delivered by friends, and then moves into the use of pamphlets and scrolls and the printing press and more communication systems from the past that eerily echo the present.

In fact, Standage argues that the media empires that are now starting to fade (ie, newspapers) are the anomaly of history — in that the power to curate information and spread it out fell into the hands of a relative few (ie, publishers and editors and reporters) — and that if you look before and after that blip in time, you can see how prevalent the impact of widespread information is by “the people.”

And all of the same arguments back when Plato was railing against written text (as inferior to oral tradition), and when the Church was railing against Martin Luther and the Reformation Movement, and when the elites in the Arab world were worried about coffeehouse gatherings, and when the King of England was railing against Thomas Paine, and … well, it goes on and on, this railing against the power to publish being put into “the wrong hands” and what information might do to us. Sure, some of what gets published in any space is lies, distortions and more, but when the flow if open and moving, a reader has a better chance of judging veracity and weighing the impact of information, and good will prevail.

Right?

Standage writes:

“…social media is not going away. It has been around for centuries. Today, blogs are the new pamphets. Microblogs and online social networks are the new coffeehouses. Media sharing sites are the new commonplace books. They are all shared, social platforms that enable ideas to travel from one person to another, rippling through networks of people connected by social bonds, rather than having to squeeze through the privileged bottleneck of broadcast media. The rebirth of social media in the Internet age represents a profound shift — and a return, in many respects, to the way things used to be.” (page 250)

Peace (on the wall),
Kevin

PS — here is a talk that Standage gave to Google about social media:

 

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "books, Technology Resources"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 09:34

Today’s topic for the Wonders of the World poem is the Panama Canal. I had this vision of lovers on either sides of a lock. I sort of went into an ee cummings mode here.

… and a canal between us …

you, there;
me, here;
waiting, wondering when the water
will rise up to reach us

i stand, forlorn,
knowing that perfect equilibrium
is hard to find
particularly when everyday is a day under
construction

you seem more serene
having more faith
in the ways of the world that I do
or perhaps some knowledge of past history
of lovers divided by a cause

and when we are in this place

where even a kiss becomes political
where there is always the threat of invading armies
where the influence of market forces
has us on edge

i still find ways to float you notes
in little paper boats
that rise and fall with the release of water
knowing that somehow my poems
will make their way into your heart
and into our home

You can view the poem in a prettier form at Notegraphy, too.

And a podcast. It felt right that I needed voice to this one. Do you agree?


Record and upload audio >>

Peace (amid the waters),
Kevin

 

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 09:43

The Delta Works sounds like a band out of Memphis, doesn’t it? But it’s really a complex engineering system to hold back the ocean in the Netherlands, and as I read about for this morning’s Wonder of the World (with Mary Lee), I had this vision of a shape poem in my head. I had shared Coggle out with some folks last week, and so I decided to dive back into the mindmapping site and create a flowchart poem of the Delta Works.

You can “read” the poem as static image here:
Delta Works_A Flow Chart Poem(1)

Or you can play around with the embedded flowchart from Coggle:

Peace (in the flow),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 09:46

I wish I had a ton of money so I could buy up every poster about writing that artist Grant Snider creates. Alas, I am a teacher, not a banker. But I urge you to go to his site – Incidental Comics — and get inspired by his visual insights into writing and creativity. His work is wonderful. I’ve ordered two of this posters for my classroom.

Here are some of his posters about poetry which you can purchase in his Poster Shop. (Just so you know, I don’t know Grant. I have his feed in my RSS and just love his work.)

(read more of this comic)

Peace (in the poetry),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 09:31

Today’s Wonder of the World poem prompt is about the Itaipu Dam in South America. I can’t say that I knew much about it, so thanks to Mary Lee for putting it on her list of wonders.

I was imagining the sheer volume of water flowing over the structure as I read about the dam– just a mad rush of flow and a $20 billion controversy in a part of the world where so many people struggle — and so I wrote a poem that I then converted into ASCII code, as if my words were something different, in this case — numbers and code, moving over the edge of this space.

068 097 109 110 046 013 010 073 116 039 115 032 098 105 103 046 013 010 066 111 108 100 044 032 101 118 101 110 046 013 010 065 032 110 101 116 032 111 102 032 101 110 101 114 103 121 013 010 119 104 111 115 101 032 115 111 117 110 100 116 114 097 099 107 013 010 099 097 110 032 098 101 032 104 101 097 114 100 013 010 109 097 110 121 032 109 105 108 101 115 032 097 119 097 121 044 013 010 097 032 115 111 117 110 100 105 110 103 032 115 116 111 110 101 013 010 111 102 032 114 097 119 032 102 108 111 119 046 013 010 072 111 119 032 109 097 110 121 032 109 111 117 116 104 115 013 010 099 111 117 108 100 032 104 097 118 101 032 098 101 101 110 032 102 101 100 013 010 102 111 114 032 116 104 101 032 099 111 115 116 032 111 102 013 010 116 104 105 115 032 101 110 103 105 110 101 101 114 105 110 103 032 102 101 097 116 063 013 010 068 097 109 110 046

Wondering about the poem? You can go into the ASCII/Text converter and convert it back.  Just copy and paste my poem above into the converter. Or you can cheat and go to this link.

Peace (in the flow),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 11:28

Today’s Wonder of the World poem is about the Golden Gate Bridge. As I thought about the bridge, I remembered images of earthquakes (sorry, San Fran friends), and that’s what led to this haiku.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Peace (in the shake),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Poetry"
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Date: Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 11:09

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Each Sunday, a bunch of teachers (thanks to Margaret) are sharing out various technology tools that might have value around reading and writing. This week,  I thought I would showcase a site called Poetry Genius. It’s part of a collection of annotation tools that include ones around song lyrics. What I like about Poetry Genius is the ability to layer in other media, and if enough folks are adding annotations (which we did during the #walkmyworld project), it starts a conversation about lines and phrases and stanzas.

One of my #walkmyworld poems was this one: Trading Fours on a Saturday Night.

You can embed the projects in other sites:

They have an Educator Genius account for classroom teachers, but the age of students have to be at least 13 years old (although the way around that could be do a classroom collaborative annotation on a whiteboard)

Peace (in the annotations),
Kevin
 

 

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Technology Resources"
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Date: Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 10:06

Stephen Colbert on the Common Core? Yep.

Peace (in the funny),
Kevin

Author: "dogtrax" Tags: "Common Core, humor"
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