A Month of Morning Doodles (Collected)

Every morning, all month long, I have been doodling on a theme with my friends in CLMOOC (Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration). My approach has been to keep it simple: I used a stack of very small sticky notes, and my doodles on a sticky note were often done in pencil. I purposefully kept myself to a short time limit — read the theme, get inspired, doodle and share.

Collage bw

As a result, some of my doodles … look like they were done by a toddler with a big pencil (which is not to disparage any toddler artists out there, or the use of big pencils). Drawing has always been a creative weakness of mine, but I liked the freedom of the daily inspiration and I was often very impressed by the doodling of others in the #DecDoodle Twitter stream and elsewhere.

I gathered up all of my 31 doodles and sorted them, with a time-lapse camera running, and then put them all into an Animoto video. I lost the small bits of color I ever used  in the doodles in this video theme, but I could not resist the party elements.

Thanks, in particular, to Susan W. for inspiring the month of making art in CLMOOC!

Peace (doodle it!),
Kevin

Wandering the Map with Eyes Closed, Ears Open

My friend, Wendy, sent me a map from Australia. It is part of the CLMOOC Postcard Exchange, and last month, we were working on mapping as a theme in CLMOOC. Wendy’s map is a Soundscape — the drawn map connects to a playlist on Soundcloud that connects back to the map itself, all with an invitation from her to make a path on the map.

Hmmm.

I was intrigued and wondered how best to honor her invitation. I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and let my imagination wander around her soundscape. Her mix was a collection of her own recording, and then chosen songs from within Soundcloud.

Hmmm.

I realized that the listening was giving me a way into her map, which was a sort of story. So I decided to jot down some ideas as I listened, and then found a poem emerging, which later became a sort of free-verse rap of sorts, with stanzas connected to different points on her map that connected to different music in her soundscape.

Hmmm.

I decided she probably needed to “hear” my poem response, and so did a version (listen above) and shared it out, hopeful that Wendy knows her map has kept me traveling forward. The words in parentheses connect to her tracks and her points on the map.

A Snail’s Pace: Soundscape Response

(Welcome)
I am here
inside the sounds
of this map
that a friend
has drawn true,
a snail’s wandering,
slow, ambling motion
into the unknown blue —
this space is here
between me
and you —
I keep my pen
in its place…

(Sea Turtle)
… where echoes
bloom inside
the clicketyclack
of turtle shells,
the railroad track,
the path, it yells,
as it beckons me
forward …

(Sky)
… the sky’s filled with
fallen stars, of birds
fluttering
from afar, their wings set
to the beat of
forever blue, forever
this line follows
magnetic north, true
..

(Forest)
… my feet are in motion,
dancing among the fallen
trees of
the forest,
all hallucination
and emotion,
all appreciation
and devotion,
for gravity has me
turned around,
upside down,
off the ground,
I’m always almost
there …

(North East)
… I hear the noise,
of the Northeast arrow,
the corridor calling my
name, I’m game
for the adventure,
I follow the sparrow …

(South East)
… of the Southeast
flow, something goes
in the direction of justice,
words folding
my heart into
bass lines and mad
rhymes and
a brave face
against these troubling times …

(South West)
… I am disappearing again
into the fingers
of the keyboard, the V
of the geese of the sky
of the distant shore,
where the poems
always flowing …

(North West)
… I’m going,
I’m still going,
you can’t stop me,
everyone is always knowing
this map is more
than the snail’s pace,
it’s the way we play to create
the world as a safe space and
you’ve drawn me out
with love
and peace
and filled us
with your grace.

Peace (off the map),
Kevin

A Whale’s Lantern: Musical Collaboration Across a Network

Whales Lantern

For the last six months or so, I have been writing in and exploring around Mastodon, a federated social networking space that is free from corporate structure. Federated means there is no one central server or space where people are located. Instead, there are “instances” where people connect to and write from (instances are hosted by individuals and most instances have a theme). All instances can share across the larger Mastodon network. I know that will sound confusing. Upshot for me: it’s becoming a neat, creative, connected space that is more than just an alternative to Twitter.

In late September, someone in the Mastodon timeline put out a call for musicians to collaborate together for an album project.  They hoped to leverage the connected element of common interests into a music project. I took the plunge, and became part of what is now known as A Whale’s Lantern project — a collaboration of musicians who have made music through the Mastodon network.

While I didn’t know who I would be partnered with, as names were drawn randomly, it turns out I was paired with a friend from other connected spaces: Laura Ritchie. She’s a cellist and music teacher and wide-range thinker.

 

Yesterday, our “album” was released on Bandcamp. Laura and I worked on a song that I wrote called I Fall Apart (Like Stars in the Night) and the whole group of us, including some of who didn’t get time to finish their collaboration, are in the midst of writing up our reflections. Collaboratively, of course, and hopefully, it will be published in a Mastodon open journal called Kintsugi in the future.

Check out A Whale’s Lantern: Flight into the Nebula.

Peace (listening to the muse),
Kevin

Getting Teachers Doodling

Teacher Doodles at PD session

I was facilitating a professional development session yesterday afternoon with my colleagues, and I wanted to find an engaging “write into the day” activity. The topic of the PD was using Google Classroom to help ease flow of information and assignments to and from teachers and students (currently, I am the only one using Google Classroom in our school).

I remembered all of our work this summer in CLMOOC with doodling and drawing (and this month has been DecDoodle via CLMOOC, so I have been doodling every morning on daily themes) and using illustration as a way to think on the page.

Teacher Doodles at PD session

So, my prompt for colleagues at the very start of the session was “Doodle what Flow looks like in your classroom setting” and we septn about 15 minutes doodling and then sharing. A few looked at me at first like, you want me to doodle? Yes, indeedly do. Or yes, indeedly doodle.

Teacher Doodles at PD session

The range of drawings and representations was pretty cool, and provided a nice frame for our discussions and exploration of Google Classroom from the standpoint of making the management of student work and assignments and interactions a little easier (as long as you understand Google’s impetus to build easy-to-use products to hook long-term users).

Peace (doodles away),
Kevin

 

Mapping the Journey of a Character in the World

Regarding the Fountain Student Map4I was thinking of ways to use Google’s My Maps feature with my sixth grade students, as a way to get them to play with mapmaking in connection to literature, and decided to use the travels of a character from the book Regarding the Fountain. Florence Waters travels the world, sending postcards, telegrams and other notes to a classroom in the book, which is very non-traditional in format.

Regarding the Fountain Student Map3

My students had to “pin” her locations around the world (there are more than a dozen places she travels), adding a quote from the book (with page number) and some sort of image to represent either gifts that Florence is mailing to the classroom in the novel, or a representation of the geographic place. (I saw a few students realize they could use animated gifs, which I should have shared out with everyone, giving the pins a little more life.)

Regarding the Fountain Student Map2

Then, I had them calculate distance traveled throughout her entire journeys, using the line draw tool (which gives distance between points). I also showed them how to customize the pins, which many did to represent Florence in the world.

Regarding the Fountain Student Map1

All in all, this was a very successful mapping project, and incorporated geography and math with literacy in a hands-in immersive way, and they were fully engaged in this work (which took longer than I expected to complete but well worth it.)

One change for the future: I should have had students estimate the total distance first, and then compare their calculations to the estimate. Why didn’t I think of that?

Peace (map it),
Kevin

PS – if you use Google Apps for Ed, like we do at our school, you may need to have the technology folks turn on Google maps in the student accounts. My Maps is not part of the walls of the traditional Google suite. We sent a notice home to families about the use of maps.

Musical Landscapes: Sunlight Moonlight Starlight (Song Six)

I am immersing myself in making music, and found myself connected to the idea of a musical landscape, a musical map of ideas expressed not in latitude and longitude, but in sound, melody and rhythm.  This project connects back to this month’s Pop-Up Make Cycle with the CLMOOC.

I have already shared out Five pieces:

This sixth and last song of the collection, Sunlight Moonlight Starlight, is just the sense of wonder of the sky during a walk at night along our quiet neighborhood streets.

Take a listen to Sunlight Moonlight Starlight.

Thanks for opening up your ears to my sounds. I am thinking how to pull all of these tracks together into more of a map.

Peace (in wonder),
Kevin

Musical Landscapes: Bird Off Balance (Song Five)

I am immersing myself in making music, and found myself connected to the idea of a musical landscape, a musical map of ideas expressed not in latitude and longitude, but in sound, melody and rhythm.  This project connects back to this month’s Pop-Up Make Cycle with the CLMOOC.

I have already shared out Four pieces:

This fifth piece, Bird Off Balance, came after watching a bird on the power wires on the street in front of our house, and how it seemed to always be on the verge of wobbling off the wire. It never did, of course. It was always in balance.

Listen to Bird Off Balance.

Thanks for taking time to imagine through listening what I was seeing.

Peace (in balance),
Kevin

Musical Landscapes: Cue the Queue (Song Four)

I am immersing myself in making music, and found myself connected to the idea of a musical landscape, a musical map of ideas expressed not in latitude and longitude, but in sound, melody and rhythm.  This project connects back to this month’s Pop-Up Make Cycle with the CLMOOC.

I have already shared out three pieces:

This fourth piece, entitled Cue the Queue, is inspired by the bird talk I heard while walking our dog, Duke. A flock of somethings were chattering up in the pine trees of the front drive. When we walked close, the entire tree went silent. As we wandered past, the chatter started up again. I imagined one lead bird, with baton, queuing them up. Meanwhile, the beat is that of the dog and I, walking away.

Listen to Cue the Queue

Thanks for taking the time to pay attention.

Peace (in the quiet),
Kevin

Musical Landscapes: Under Each Leaf (Song Three)

I am immersing myself in making music, and found myself connected to the idea of a musical landscape, a musical map of ideas expressed not in latitude and longitude, but in sound, melody and rhythm.  This project connects back to this month’s Pop-Up Make Cycle with the CLMOOC.

I have already shared out two pieces:

This third piece, Under Each Leaf,  is inspired by what the title says. I was looking under a certain leaf in our yard as I was doing some raking, and found bugs and critters all beginning to settle in for the cold, as if the leaf were a blanket of some kind.

Take a listen to Under Each Leaf.

Thanks for taking the time to lend your ears.

Peace (under us),
Kevin

Musical Landscapes: Busy in the Trees (Song Two)

I am immersing myself in making music, and found myself connected to the idea of a musical landscape, a musical map of ideas expressed not in latitude and longitude, but in sound, melody and rhythm.  This project connects back to this month’s Pop-Up Make Cycle with the CLMOOC.

Yesterday, I shared out the first piece, entitled Interlocking Parts.

This one, Busy in the Trees, is inspired by the way the squirrels and other small animals dance and jump and cruise through the trees of our yard. It’s a circus act of sorts. The last note of sustain is the tree branch slowly going back to static mode after the last leap of the squirrels.

Take a listen to Busy in the Trees.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.

Peace (sounds like),
Kevin