Once again, we celebrated International Dot Day (inspired by the book, The Dot) in the classroom this week by having students write very short stories, with a circular theme (object, motion, etc) and then use the Visual Poetry site to “paint” the objects with the words of their stories. And once again, the creativity of some students just amazed me. We shared them out at our Padlet wall of circle stories.
The other night, I was able to join some facilitators and friends interested in next month’s Write Out project (learn more) in a National Writing Project Network gathering on Zoom. Everyone began in one huge room and then headed off into Zoom-room breakout sessions.
In our room, we shared an overview of the place-based Write Out (October 13 -27, with Oct. 20 National Day on Writing as a centerpiece) and then spent some time exploring resources and elements of place-based learning, before coming back together to chat again and reflect. The video is an edited version of that gathering in Zoom.
Here are some notes from our collaborative explorations:
Next month, the second year of Write Out will be taking place. From October 13 through October 27, with the National Day on Writing right in the center on October 20, we hope to engage teachers and students and park rangers and other public space stewards into looking at how stories inform our sense of place.
Here in Western Massachusetts, on the National Day on Writing, we are hosting a Writing Marathon on the grounds of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, with hopes of teachers exploring the museum, its history and primary sources as inspiration for writing, and to bring that sense of curiosity back to students.
If you live and teach in Western Massachusetts, we hope you will consider joining us for this writing celebration. We may even have a Button-Making-Activity! The Armory is even offering small stipends for registered teachers.
Sheri Edwards has set up a collaborative Slideshow for anyone who wants to take part in the upcoming Dot Day celebration. Dot Day is connected to Peter Reynold’s picture book, The Dot, about art and creativity and individual spirit. International Dot Day is celebrated in schools and organizations all around the world. Officially, this Sunday is Dot Day, but as the site notes, that date is rather flexible.
Last year, for CLMOOC, I set up a collaborative drawing, and asked folks to add their mark to the file, creating a collage of colorful dots and writing. (I also do a Dot Day activity with my students — I will do that on Monday, I think — here is a teachers’ guide to some Dot Day activities, if you need some ideas)
This year, Sheri has set up a Five Dot Challenge, which involves simply putting five dots down on a page, and then connecting them to make a person. Then, write a small poem or small bit of writing, and upload into her Google Slideshow.
When someone invites me in, I often jump. So it is with Ian, who is running a university course called Revolutionary Poets Society, and the name caught my attention when he began sharing it out via Twitter. I’m going to poke around, from out here in the open (Ian will have students in his classroom, I believe).
His first post is a call to create six word memoirs, which I have done more than a few times but always enjoy it (and my sixth graders are working on their own right now as part of a getting-to-know-you activity). Then, Ian asks folks to take it a step further by sharing it with others, and sparking conversations about the word choices and ideas. Maybe inspire others to write their own.
I decided to bring my new six (or seven) word memoir into a relatively new online space — Yap.Net (join in if you want — it’s a closed network for sharing works in progress, etc)– and ask folks for feedback.
First, my words:
I am no longer who I was
Actually, my original six were:
I’m no longer who I was
but the contraction seemed to be cheating, somehow, in my head when I read it to myself and so I broke it out. Which leaves me with seven instead of six.
What does it mean? I was going for the concept of each day brings a different you/me/us — with new experiences and insights — with echoes of the past but a step forward towards the future. Or something like that.
I shared my words out in Yap.Net and posed the technical question: Who or whom? (I wasn’t quite sure, because I thought Whom was technically correct with I as the subject, but it sounded terrible on my lips, while Who seemed wrong grammatically but sounded right on the tongue.)
Well, the grammar query sparked a conversation, with mixed signals, as one friend thought it was Whom but Who was better used, and another friend, self-described grammar queen, stated that Who is right, not Whom. Others jumped in with their own words, including one in the form of a poem and another that reads like a painting on a canvas, and the thread of discussion was neat.
Interestingly, I don’t think anyone called me out for the Seven versus Six.
I’m not a huge badge fan, even though I see the potential. I’ve used Mozilla’s Open Badges over the years to gather together different online badges that either I have earned or created (mostly via CLMOOC but also, in the early days of Thimble and Web Maker, etc.). This week, I received a notice that the Mozilla Open Badges Backpack (which was a handy place to transfer badges earned in different platforms) is closing up, and that things will move to Badgr. The email included a file of all my badges, so I figured I would put them into a collage — sort of a Badge of Badges.
In our CLMOOC community, we periodically send postcards to each other as a way to stay connected on paper, with a stamp, and mailbox delivery. Some of us do it more frequently than others, and I have lapsed a bit on getting postcards out the door. (See a post I wrote about why we do this postcard exchange) There are more than 60 people on the mailing list right now, which is pretty neat. Not everyone is active, of course, which is to be expected.
I figured my work with the upcoming Write Out initiative — an offshoot of CLMOOC, in a way — gave me an opening, or inspiration, to use some artistic National Park postcards as a invitation for folks to consider joining us for place-based writing and the National Day on Writing in October with Write Out. Write Out is a two-week place-based writing initiative.
Yesterday, I mailed out nearly 40 postcards to the CLMOOC folks who are on the list and live in the US, and then I sent a handful more to folks outside the US because I didn’t want those friends who regularly send me postcards to feel left out. Write Out certainly does not have to be US-centered, but most of the focused outreach will be between National Writing Project sites and the National Park Service.
If you were on the postcard list and live in the US, keep an eye out for a park postcard.