A Month of Six Words, Gathered Together

During March, I wrote a Slice of Life every day, and framed it around a six word slice — six words to capture a moment or the say. I often added some context after or before my six words … because I guess writers can’t resist writing. I then gathered my collective six words to make this video, as an act of curation if nothing else.

Peace (more words than I can muster),
Kevin

 

Get Your Alchemy On (The Lab is Open)

NetNarr Alchemy Lab

For the past two months or so, a group of us open participants in the Networked Narratives have been working behind the scenes on the construction of an immersive, virtual Alchemy Laboratory of Stories. (Officially, NetNarr is a university course being taught in the US by Alan Levine, and in Norway by Mia Zamora, with some intersections with Maha Bali in Egypt, and with open doors to the open learning community — that’s where I am).

Many folks in various online communities (including CLMOOC and DS106, and some NetNarr students) have contributed time and resources, and media projects, that are now part of the NetNarr Alchemy Lab experience. In fact, there are nearly 50 media objects created by nearly 20 people in this Alchemy Lab project.

Pretty cool collaboration.

I’ll reflect in writing more about the experience another day, but for now, I want to invite you to come tour the lab we built through open invitations to create stories in a networked way. You can view the Alchemy Lab in a browser, or on mobile devices, or with Google Cardboard devices. Layered links will either surface media projects or will give you a link forward to projects. The exit (on the ceiling) will bring you to yet another place where we invite you to make some digital art and share it, too.

We hope you enjoy the experience.

Follow this path to the door into the lab

Peace (and convergence),
Kevin

PS — special props to Wendy and Sarah and Todd for coordination and planning, and to Susan for her wonderful artwork, and to Niall for his technical prowess and advice.

Six Word Slice of Life: Songs in the Head

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: The last few days, I’ve had three different musical projects in my mind, all different yet all interesting. The first is a collaborative song I am working on with someone I don’t know, through a partnership via the Mastodon social network as part of a second round of a music project known as The Whale’s Lantern. Participants get paired up with others and the task is to write and record a song. My partner is Luka,  a professional musical engineer and musician from the other side of the world (from me). We’re getting to a nearing point with our song, which we are writing and recording remotely. The second is a Christmas song that a friend and I wrote many years ago, but he has always wanted to have it produced rather professionally, so he has been working with a local music producer, and a demo that the producer created of our song (I wrote the lyrics) is stunning. We’re going to see if the two of us can do the main singing on it, but I am skeptical about that. The third is a personal tribute to a CLMOOC friend (who may even read this) who lost someone close, and shared some writing, and I felt inspired to write a song for him, with his words but also expanding the theme of the song a bit. I obsessed over it yesterday for hours, finally getting a demo down. Three songs, tumbling in my head.

Six Word Slice of Life Songs

Peace (sounds like),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Postcard Remix

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Six Word Slice of Life Postcards

Context: This month, in the ongoing CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) community, our postcard theme (we send postcards to each other all year long) is Remix. I decided to remix the audio of a Hangout we had over the summer in which we chatted about the art of sending postcards to each other. On postcards I sent out earlier this month, I included a URL to the audio remix, and then shared out this video (which is really just visual audio). It’s been neat to get some reaction from the folks who received my postcard, and also from others in CLMOOC who read updates from the postcard receivers, and react.

Peace (in the post),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Quiet Wriot

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: There’s something magical about watching classrooms of students, working hard at a piece of writing. The quiet focus, and deep attention, of the young writing talent is evidence in the quiet. Yesterday, my students were working on a “story remix” activity — retelling a story from another character’s perspective (in this case, Rikki Tikki Tavi) — and I just marveled at the way so many them were so quickly lost in their writing, nearly oblivious to the time on the clock. Forty-five minutes after starting their stories, I brought them up for air, as we wrapped up our writing session.

Six Word Slice of Life Quiet

Peace (write it),
Kevin

 

Six Word Slice of Life: Voting Rights

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I still remember the day after the election of Trump, and my middle son coming down the stairs, with unmasked disbelief in his eyes. “How could this happen?” he asked, and I rambled out some answer that along the lines of, “I don’t know … we don’t really know the heart of our country … I don’t know.” (Now, of course, the news of Russian interference and social media hacking and other odd elements help somewhat explain the trend towards Trump, but not really the election itself … not completely … we know this corrupt fool is still supported by many, too many). Today, my middle son turns 18 and is ready to vote in elections, local and national, and for that, we celebrate. I would not say he is overly politically active, but he is politically aware and intelligent, and what we need is more aware and intelligent voters. Happy birthday, kid. The world needs you.

Six Word Slice of Life Voting Rights

Peace (like candles and wishes),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Computer Use

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: As a professional development facilitator with our Western Massachusetts Writing Project, I’ve too often run into situations where our teachers and programs have been shut out of computer labs for weeks at a time, all because the computers were being used for testing and data collection. Mostly, this was in our urban high-needs schools, where access to computers was already limited for many students. It drove me crazy. Now, my own school is making the shift to have students take our state’s standardized testing system (MCAS) online, with computers. During our training session yesterday after school, as we learned about the teacher portal and the student interface, it occurred to me again that the vision of how I see computers — as a means for composing with media and pushing the boundaries of what we define as writing — and how state administrators see computers — a means of gathering data on students and schools — are often in conflict with each other. On the other hand, our school community — not one to often provide money for our school, which is near the lowest in the state in per pupil expenditures — did allocate quite a bit of investment last year for new computers. However, the town did that because of the worry about state testing, not for fear that our students aren’t learning important technology and communication skills. We take what we can get, I guess, and make the most of it.

Six Word Slice of Life Testing

Peace (power it up),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Take It Easy

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: After a week of mostly over-scheduled days — both in school and beyond school where there was little time to breathe — yesterday was a nice break in the action, a chance to just hang around the house with nothing much to do. Which, of course, is not true, but what had to be done could be done at a leisurely pace. I did some work on report cards (due this coming Friday) and watched NCAA basketball (I am still alive in my pool) and walked the dog (the sun was out for a bit) and dipped into a collaborative song project for a little stretch of time (the song is coming together) and I read (newspaper and books). So, I did stuff, but nothing felt rushed. Which is a nice thing for a Sunday.

Six Word Slice of Life Nothing

Peace (laying back),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Musical Friends

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: Three of my friends, who are our neighbors, got together to learn some songs for our neighborhood Christmas gathering in December, and decided they were having so much fun, they would become a band. Leonard Grove and the Chestnuts. Those are three of the neighborhood street names where they live. Last night, they made their debut in a local restaurant, and the neighborhood packed the house to standing room only to listen to our friends play music for two hours. It was fun to see and hear them (they are talented … one of them used to tour all over the world with a pop bluegrass band) and to see how supportive our neighborhood is. Afterwards, I was walking our dog and a neighbor who was there asked about the status of my band — we’ve just got a new singer and are looking for a bass player — and she added, “Let us know when you’re playing, and we’ll be there, too.” I love that kind of community spirit.

Six Word Slice of Life Playing Music

Peace (sounds musical),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: From Design Flow to Interactive Story

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I wrote the other day about the ways my sixth graders were making design plans to create Interactive Fiction stories inside Google Slides. Since then, they have been working hard to bring the stories to fruition, and by yesterday, many were finishing up the writing and proofreading of their stories. I enjoy this time of reading the finished game/stories, after so much work with conferencing on narrative ideas and technical assistance.

Six Word Slice of Life Student Stories

You can read a few of their stories (It’s best to go full screen to experience the pieces … use the hyperlinks to move along the narrative choices):

 

Peace (make a choice),
Kevin