I am taking over Day/Week in Sentence feature

Some bad news came this week, as some of fans learned that The Reflective Teacher is taking a break from blogging. He has been incredibly generous with his time and resources and got many of us working each week on his Boil Your Week/Day Down to a Sentence. It’s an idea I have used many times.

In the past, I have guest-hosted the feature for him, and I told him I would continue to take the reins of the weekly venture, as best as I can, in his honor, until the day he returns to blogging.

So, if you would like to participate, here is how it works:

  • Reflect on your week
  • Write a sentence that captures the week
  • Use the comment feature on this post to write your post. I hold it in moderation until all of them are submitted.
  • I collect them all and then publish as a post over the weekend
  • If you want to podcast as well as write, please do (please?) One resource is PodcastPeople, which allows for easy, no hassle podcasts. Just create a show and provide the link in your post.

So, go ahead and give it a try. It’s yet another way to connect with teachers around the world.

Peace (in reflection),

Kevin

PS — Here is my Week in a Sentence, as a sample.

I heard some news this week of two of my former students who have troubled pasts and difficult lives and the news wasn’t good — both are already labeled behavioral problems and both are on the edge of the world, about to drop — just as I predicted and just as I strongly warned about last year, to no avail.

Listen to the podcast

Or head to my PodcastPeople site

The Great Pumpkin Contest — 2007

My neighborhood is a tight community, with all sorts of unofficial events meant to draw us together. Each year, one man — you can see him here the video dressed up like a clown — organizes a pumpkin contest, and more than 100 pumpkins are often put on display.

Here is a tour of this year’s crop of strange pumpkins:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=4035392027853588895" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (in pumpkins),
Kevin

Another Intriguing Video about Today’s World

Michael Wesch and his crew is at it again, with another intriguing video that tries to explain and capture our world — this time through the concept of information and what it all means in the digital age.

One quote: ‘There is no top to the World Wide Web

Certainly worth a visit:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-4CV05HyAbM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (without material form),

Kevin

Using Gizmo — warts and all

As part of the K12 Online Conference, I have been most active in the Flat Agents of Change Ning site. One of the tools introduced there is Gizmo, an alternative to Skype that is designed to allow for easy recording of phone conversations.

Gizmo is a free phone for your computer

I set up and had a wonderful conversation with two of my fellow Ningers, Cheryl and Sarah, yesterday morning, via Gizmo. We chatted for about 30 minutes or so and it all seemed to work fine.
But then I ran into trouble.
First, the .wav file that Gizmo recorded would not open up in my Windows Media Player. It said that my player would not support the file type. So I tried to move it into Audacity, hoping I could convert it into an MP3 there. No luck. Then, I tried to send it to Zamzar conversation site and it came back as an empty file. No luck.
Sarah had also recorded the session, so she loaded her file up into her PodcastPeople, but it sounded all squirrely in the playback mode. However, if you did the direct download from her show as an MP3, the audio file worked fine.
So I took that downloaded file and then tried to upload it into my PodcastPeople site.
Again, no luck. Like Sarah’s, it was all gobblygook.
I didn’t give up (the mantra of Web 2.0ers everywhere).
I took the MP3 download from Sarah’s site, and moved it in my Audacity, and the exported it as an MP3.
I tried to then upload that into my PodcastPeople and, 18 hours later, PodcastPeople is still trying to digest the file.
So, I went over to my handy Box.Net site (where I normally host podcasts) and uploaded it, and that worked fine. (Note: the file is big and the flash player seems to buffer forever, but it works quicker if you click on the direct link)

So here is the conversation.

It was too long of a process, however, and I need to figure out if Gizmo is worth it.

Peace (in the process),
Kevin

PS — Another element of the K12 Conference was a flickr group, where people from around the world submitted a photo or two of dusk on the last day of the conference (Saturday), and I took this photo of the set-up of a pumpkin contest in our neighborhood — I also took some video that I will try to share later this week.

Here is the link to the When Night Falls flickr group.

Storyboarding with Powerpoint

My sixth graders started out the year in literature class reading the short novel, The Whipping Boy, and worked on a storyboard project that uses the computer and Powerpoint to identify the main plot points in the book. The book is about a prince and his whipping boy and it is set in Medieval times (aka The Dark Ages). The story is a twist on the class Prince and the Pauper story.

This use of Powerpoint allowed me to both introduce the program to the students (and get them using Paint for illustrations) and get a sense of their ability to identify main elements of a story. We shared these via our classroom blog, too.

Click on the pictures or student names down below to view the Microsoft PowerPoint slideshows created by students on the major scenes on the book:

the whipping boy projectjk

Jessica

THE WHIPPING BOY KIRA

Kira

The whipping boy slide show nick

Nick

Peace (in powerpoint),
Kevin

Building Online Communities for Youth

Some colleagues from the National Writing Project (Chris Sloan and Paul Allison) are also part of the K12 Online Conference and their work was released today and deserves a good listen as they discuss the ways they have nurtured two Elgg-platform social networking sites for middle and high school students. It is an amazing project and deserves kudos and attention.

Along with the podcast and presentation, they are also opening up the lines of their Teachers Teaching Teachers weekly chat session at EdTechTalk to anyone interested in discussing the project.

All the information is at their K12 presentation site: http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=188

Peace (in partnership),
Kevin

K12 Online Conference — We Get Released!

Our Collaborative ABC Movie Project gets released to the K12 Online Conference today and Bonnie and I are thrilled, nervous and wondering how our presentations will be received. We mixed up our formats a bit by:

  • First, Bonnie created a powerful overview movie of the reasons why we launched our ABC Movie project

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/MbjmHWV940I" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

  • Second, I created a podcast of my own. Take a listen.
  • Third, we put together a Webpage presentation that features the various tools that we used in the project, plus some nice podcast reflections by
    Bud
    Cynthia
    Gail
  • And finally, in that Webpage, there is a hands-on collaborative story project that uses the letters of the alphabet and VoiceThread (please join in!)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=6879" width="450" height="500" wmode="transparent" /]
The presentation also marks the true public showing of the various movies that we created in Jumpcut along various themes (thanks to Bonnie) and so here they are for your viewing:

Passions

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=0AD1624060C511DC9E05000423CF3686&asset_type=movie&asset_id=0AD1624060C511DC9E05000423CF3686&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Family

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=D22883CA60AA11DC96F2000423CF3686&asset_type=movie&asset_id=D22883CA60AA11DC96F2000423CF3686&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]
Role Models

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=DC07F2D860D011DC806F000423CEF682&asset_type=movie&asset_id=DC07F2D860D011DC806F000423CEF682&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Place Inspirations

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=D34DDCC660C511DCA91B000423CF382E&asset_type=movie&asset_id=D34DDCC660C511DCA91B000423CF382E&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

School Days

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=3C3CB50660C411DCAE0A000423CF385C&asset_type=movie&asset_id=3C3CB50660C411DCAE0A000423CF385C&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Oddballs and Ends

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.jumpcut.com/media/flash/jump.swf?id=E3AC268E6E8711DC82AB000423CF381C&asset_type=movie&asset_id=E3AC268E6E8711DC82AB000423CF381C&eb=1 ” width=”408″ height=”324″ wmode=”transparent” /]

Thanks for joining on this journey

Kevin and Bonnie

Getting Jing-y with It

I am trying out Jing, a screenshot/video site and it seems to be very cool. You download the program, follow the simple rules for screen video or photos, and then the program uploads to its server and you can share from there — either as a link or as embedded code (such as this picture down below)

And how about the video? Edublogs allows you to embed it as a flash file (good) but the size doesn’t seem to be working right. Wow. It’s too big for my blog theme screen. Oh well, here it is and here is the direct link to my video tour of some of my blogs.


[kml_flashembed movie="http://content.screencast.com/media/6f4cb39e-4355-4c2e-9726-f06cd49f6134_34715e9e-9d15-422b-be20-a267ce07ef33_static_0_0_video.swf&width=1007&height=589"" width="500" height="500" wmode="transparent" /]


OK, I also don’t like that there does not seem to be a tool bar for stopping the video once you have it started. I guess the direct link to the video is the best way to go, but I wish it was a nice embed here at the blog, too.Peace (in experiments),
Kevin

What I am learning: K12 Online Conference

I’ve been trying to set aside some time to explore the K12 Online Conference Workshops and keynotes, but it is difficult to carve out the hours needed. So I have tried to focus a bit on what I am interested in seeing what happens.

A few things that I have discovered as the conference is about halfway through its schedule of released workshops and presentations:

  • Thankfully, the entire conference will be there forever, so I can always go back (note to self — go back)
  • I have been participating most in the podcasting workshop called Flat Agents of Change that uses a Ning site at http://bitbybitseedlings.ning.com/ to gather people together to use some tools for audio. I set up an account with Podcastpeople and it worked quite well, and I may use it for an upcoming workshop on podcasting. They also suggest using a site called Gizmo, which is similar to Skype but allows easy conferencing and recording of the conferencing for later podcasting (So you could interview and record in Gizmo, and then podcast it via Podcastpeople). I’ve also introduced a few forums there, and need to resist taking over their site. So, please, come join this podcast site and give the tools a try.
  • I have followed the Release the Hounds workshop because I was interested in the concept of the “unproject” in which students propose and work on their own multimedia projects — primarily in math — and the teacher is a partner in the creation. But students have control over their learning.
  • I tried to use the Trailfire in the Trailfire workshop because I like the idea of setting a “path” through the Internet for my students, and I even had a project in mind regarding Greek Gods and Myths in preparation for a novel we are about to read. But I just cannot get my Trailfire to work and so another kick in the tires for technology that is frustrating.
  • I came upon a program called Jing for sharing screenshots and video tutorials, etc, during one of the presentations and I haven’t yet installed it but I am on my way. I want an easy way to share with others and I want it to be free. So, maybe Jing is the route — it seems interesting.

On Monday, the K12 folks will be showcasing the workshop that Bonnie and I have created about our Collaborative ABC Movie Project and we certainly hope to have a lot of folks explore our project with us and also — even more important — to contribute to the hands-on portion of our workshop, which involves the use of VoiceThread to create a collaborative ABC project across the world.

K-12 Online Conference 2007

Peace (in K12 Online virtual worlds),
Kevin

OnPoEvMo: Forgotten Relics in a Flattened World, October 2007

This is the final poem in my year-long project to create at least one poem per month for an entire year. Some months have been easier than others and the past two months, I have felt the well go a bit dry on me. But I wanted to wrap things up somehow and this poem came to me one early morning. My next step is to come back to all 31 poems (yep — 31) and see which ones are worth editing and revising and publishing. My intention is to use Lulu self-publishing to put together a book of the poems from the year.

But for now, here is the last podcast poem:

Forgotten Relics in a Flattened World
(October 2007)
Listen to the Poem

It’s done now
30 poems plus one and I’m done
but I don’t think I will ever be finished
with this one —

the words will never stop dancing
although sometimes they break apart if I drop them
and shatter into a million different thoughts —
I bend down to collect them with my fingers
and glue them back together in a frantic attempt
to understand —

even then, some words will scuttle off to the corner and collect dust
as forgotten relics
until the time comes when I am in no mood for anything
but quiet —
it’s then that they come out of hiding to join me
as old friends crawling into my pocket
for my fingers to hold as comfort food–

a year spent in poems is absurd
if you think about it —
the pressure to create something so great
sits so heavily on the mind
that you feel as if there were no more poems anymore ever to be found
no more rhythm anywhere in this world that you haven’t beat your head upon
or felt the pounding of in your heart —
the flattened landscape slowly becomes something literal
you wonder if the edge of the abyss is just beyond you,
just beyond your vision,
just beyond you …

no, this poem will never be done,
not ever.

Peace (with self-motivated projects),

Kevin