I stumbled across this video the other day. Had me laughing.
Peace (in the funny),
Over at our National Writing Project iAnthology space, this week’s writing prompt (we write every week there) asks us to consider what we would say if we were giving a commencement speech. I decided to add a little humor, and cultural references, to mine even as I thought seriously about what I would say in that situation.
You can listen to my podcast of what I wrote, too.
First of all, thank you for letting my holographic image speak to you today. I was busy elsewhere, and I figured, if Tupac could do it, so could I, right? You all know what I’m talking about. Your parents? Probably not. I suspect you learned about it from a friend on Twitter, or on Facebook, or through a txt msg telling you to chk ths lnk. If you don’t mind, I’d like you all to take out your cell phones right now and tweet a few lines from my speech. Use the hashtag “hesstilltalkingtous” so I can check it right now from home as my holographic self talks to you. Heck, I may even retweet you even as I am talking to you.
I was thinking about what kind of metaphor I could use for today’s speech. But the more I Googled “Commencement Speech,” the more I realized that all the good metaphors have been used up by the real famous people. I later had to go on eBay to bid on a few left-over metaphors, and this is what I got:
You’re all hyperlinks now.
I know that sounds odd, but think about it for a second. You’re moving into a world that is full of connections, whether it be global or local, and the more the Internet and wired world develops, the more it is apparent that the infrastructure of the Internet — the backbone of it all — is the hyperlink. One thought connected to another thought; one person connected to another person.
If it hadn’t already been taken, I might even pull out the quilt metaphor at this point. But, let’s face it: quilts are the past. Fiber optics is the now. The future? Who’s to say? But if we cast our lives in the role of a hyperlink, of ways to find similarities and differences between us in a cohesive package of intelligent links, then maybe understanding, compassion and development of ideas will be nurtured in us all.
Just think of what the Web would be without links. It would be a land of dead ends. It would be static pages that lead to nowhere, and would be difficult to find. It would be ideas set only in isolation. It would be horrible, don’t you think? So, I think we all need to give a little shout-out to Tim Berners-Lee, the main (but not only) visionary who understood in the early days of the Internet that linking ideas together would be a powerful way to use information.
So, what does it mean to be a hyperlink? It means you have an obligation to the world and it means you have a support system and it means that your ability to grow and prosper is unlimited. Still, don’t be hemmed in by my metaphors or my definitions. Break free of tradition as you see fit. The world is always a better place for the innovators, visionaries and those brave folks who saw something as it is and decided they would rather see something as it should be.
I see my holographic is shimmering a bit, so I want to wrap up by saying, it was a pleasure not being here today. If you lost track of my ideas because you were too busy playing Angry Birds beneath your gown, it’s OK. I’ll be sending you my link later.
Have a good life.
Peace (in the talktalktalk),
Thank you, Video Amy (from Edutopia), for sharing out your collection of videos that poke fun at standardized testing. We’re in a little lull right now — we’re past the ELA state test and next week, we move into Math — but these videos lighten the mood a bit. I’ll be sharing this collection with my colleagues.
When I was doing my Boolean Squared comic, I had a storyline about testing in education, too. Here is one of the comics from that story.
Peace (in the funny stuff),
Just remember today’s date and have fun watching this …
And, as a bonus from Japan, this “re-imagining of Google Maps as an 8-bit system:
PS — see this entire list of Google Pranks.
Yesterday was dress-down day at our school, where staff can dress casual and donate money into a fund to support families and staff of our school who might need a little extra help. Normally, I just wear jeans and a dress shirt. But yesterday, as we were about head into February break, I decided to put on my Nerdy Book Club sweatshirt. (For those not in the know, the Nerdy Book Club is an online collection of teachers, librarians, writers and others who like books. There is a blog website and a #nerdybookclub hashtag on Twitter. You can join, too. You just did. That’s how simple it is.)
I got a lot of interesting reactions to wearing the sweatshirt, which I had hoped would generate some conversation. Here are some of them — from students and colleagues.
- What books are they reading? They don’t really have titles.
- Nerdy Book Club? Where does that meet? In a library?
- That’s my husband… right …. there. (points to the Nerd in image)
- Let me get this straight. You’re all teachers. You love books. And yet, you are nerds? That’s so weird.
- Those kids look pretty happy on your shirt, Mr. H. Must be good books.
- I think my mom is part of that Nerdy Bookie Club. Or, she should be. She reads, like, all the time.
- Do Kindles count for your club?
- No offense, Mr. H, but I don’t think I’d want to be in that club. Sitting around, reading? No thanks.
- I get the nerd part. That’s you, Mr. H. But how do books fit into it?
- There’s a stain there, Mr. H. Looks like you spilled juice or something.
Peace (in the nerdiness),
It is the first time in recent memory that my 13 year old and my 7 year old sons both agreed on a movie that they wanted to see: The Muppets. Now, granted, we are a Muppet household (which doesn’t mean that my third boy is a puppet, by the way) in that we have Muppet DVDs and their humor is sort of ingrained in our DNA (again, we are real people). Part of this is because I have often used The Muppets in my classroom as a way to get at script writing and story development, and character trait work. Plus, um, humor in writing.
(You can even watch last year’s puppet show performances at our Puppet Show Website)
So, I packed up the boys and we all went to the movies yesterday. I guess I have seen enough reviews to know that the latest version is a sort of return to the old days when it comes to humor, and heart, and witty dialogue, and the reviews were right. There’s a nice combination of fun, adventure and some soul searching that goes on in the movie, and there is a feeling that, well, maybe The Muppets have a chance to get a little foothold back in our culture. The storyline plays with that idea, but for a long time, I wondered if the death of Jim Henson had irretrievably damaged the Muppets as an entertainment empire.
I guess not, thanks to Jason Segal.
One thing I kept grinning at is how many songs were in the movie, and what my 13 year old was thinking. He’s into action movies, and pushing his way into more “advanced comedy” flicks (ie, the movies that make Mom and Dad uncomfortable for him to watch) but he said he liked The Muppets and didn’t mind the songs so much. And since he said next to me, we kept whispering the cameos by actors and actresses that we know from other movies and television shows.
The Muppets is a keeper.
Peace (on a string or two),
This is the third piece of my Occupy the Classroom webcomic. You can view the first comic (about the Occupy the Classroom kids) and the second comic (about the Iced Tea Party) over at Flickr. I felt the need to introduce some closure, and why not use a new student as the one who can bridge the divide? The “uniter, not fighter” in all of us.
See this comic at Flickr.
Peace (in the funny pages),
Yesterday, I poked fun at the Occupy Wall Street with a comic called Occupy the Classroom. Today, I offer the counter to that: the Iced Tea Party movement (you knew it was coming). Tomorrow, I try to wrap it up with … well, I won’t say yet. You’ll just have to come back (and no, it’s not that I don’t know what I am doing.)
View the comic on Flickr, too.
Peace (in the tea),
I had this idea the other day to turn around the Occupy Wall Street into Occupy the Classroom as a webcomic. So this is what I came up with. Now I am thinking this idea may need some more episodes down the road (what about a counter Tea Party group of kids? I like that.) It came to me that many of the attributes of the Occupy Movement makes sense for a classroom culture (as long as the teacher doesn’t act like the Oakland Police Department).
(You can also view the comic over at Flickr.)
Peace (in the funny pages),