Space: the new (literary) frontier

George Mayo, who helped pull together the Many Voices for Darfur project, is at it again — this time, he has launched an online magazine to showcase student writing. It is called Space and it is an offshoot of the YouthTwitter Project that he and others (including friend Paul Allison) have begun as a way to connect students together.

George is using Google Docs as a main platform for the online publication and students submit pieces of writing through YouthTwitter. I really wanted some of my students to get some “space” and so we joined YouthTwitter as a classroom account (for now) and submitted six short stories based on the Chris Van Allsburg book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (which I wrote about before and even did a podcast book review). I used Google Page Creator to put the stories on their own webpages and then shared the web addresses via YouthTwitter.

One day, I read a concrete poem that George submitted (about concrete poems, appropriately enougy), so I figured I would submit some writing myself — a concrete poem in the shape of a saxophone that I created a few years ago and share with my students every year.

Today is the first publication date of Space and it is a nice mix of student work. I would love to have my students move more into hyperlinked poetry (next month, I hope!) and multimedia creations (I have some burdening moviemakers in class). I think the digital platform holds some interesting opportunities for students to compose and publish for a real audience (always a good thing).

Space might even inspire me to venture into hyperlinked poetry myself, something I have considered but never pursued. Thanks, George, for the inspiration.

Peace (in publication),
Kevin

I Dream in Twitter: A Podcast Poem

I’ve been thinking about Twitter a lot lately, about the pros and cons, and I woke this morning with the lines of this poem dancing in my head. (Twitter is a network that connects people by asking them to write about what they are doing right at that moment) So I worked on it and recorded it as a podcast, sharing it out.

I would love to know what the Twitter friends think about it.

I Dream in Twitter
Listen to the podcast

I dream in Twitter
in 140 characters
that cut off my thoughts before they are complete
and then I wonder, why 140?
Ten more letters would serve me right
as I write about what I am doing at that moment
in time,
connecting across the world with so many others
shackled by 140 characters, too,
and I remain amazed at how deep the brevity can be.

I find it unsettling to eavesdrop on conversations
between two
when you can only read one
and it startles me to think that someone else out there
has put their ear to my words
and wondered the same about me.
Whose eyes are watching?

Twitter is both an expanding universe
of tentacles and hyperlinks that draw you in
with knowledge and experience
and a shrinking neighborhood of similar voices,
echoing out your name
in comfortable silence.

I dream in Twitter
in 140 characters,
and that is what I am doing
right
at
this
moment.

Peace (in poems and podcasts),
Kevin

Twitter — explained

Wanna know about Twitter?
The folks at Common Craft have done it again.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/ddO9idmax0o" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

@Peace (in the twitterverse),
Kevin

Twittering Around on 2008-02-27

  • Incredible multimedia video on Darfur — gave me tears this morning. Wonder how kids will react? http://www.cfr.org/publication/13129/ #
  • @theother66 Snitter? What is Snitter? The words we stumble upon on our networks …. 🙂 #
  • Alerted principal to the Darfur Project and he is on board with full support. "We need to give them opp to write for the real world." Yeah! #
  • When I explained the word "genocide" to my sixth graders, the room went completely quiet. Our work to understand Darfur begins tomorrow. #
  • I’m doing virtual arm-wrestling with other teachers to get access to laptops for next week. Good so many want it. Bad that I want it, too. #

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Twittering Around on 2008-02-26

  • Is programming the new literacy? Interesting article by Prensky in Edutopia. http://tinyurl.com/2nafoy #
  • Ben is seeking Day in a Sentence from all of you http://teacheng.us/?p=62 I hope you consider participating. #
  • @blkdrama I use a flip vid camera for web-based stuff. Not quality for DVD, but very simple to use and easy to transfer (USB connect) #
  • Found some interesting Darfur videos from band, Mettafix http://tinyurl.com/yw9lqs maybe helpful to engage kids in project #
  • @blkdrama Advantage of Flip is ease of use. No tape involved. All flash memory. Light as heck, runs on AA batteries, etc. #
  • @alexragone Is that my personality profile you are reading? hahahaha oops, got to go. Another entanglement on the way. #
  • Students working on expository paragraphs "how to raise a kid" — some struggling, some have funny advice. #
  • Gosh, my students were noisy as heck this afternoon and I was thinking that earplugs are a great technology innovation (if I had them) #
  • More Snow!!!!!!!!! And sleet on the way!!!!! Good lord, when will winter end? Ready for flowers. #
  • @pkittle Time to hit the Sierra Nevada (brewpub) #
  • @courosa Just added some thoughts to your VT. It seemed to be there and working. Are the gremlins after it? #

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Twittering Around on 2008-02-25

  • Going to try out Day in a Sentence idea with my sixth graders. Boil down a day into a sentence and post to class blog. Maybe podcast. too? #
  • interesting to watch 6th graders try to condense a day into a sentence and then blog http://epencil.edublogs.org/ #
  • @mmkrill No — regular edublogs. But we do use Edublogs Community for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and love it. #
  • @kolson29 Thanks for visiting (and commenting on comics). #
  • @mmkrill Oops, meant to write Edublogs Campus, not Community (altho I love the community, too) #
  • Nothing like a tech hiccup in edublogs to try the patience of 11 year old bloggers. We got through it. But barely. #
  • The kids and I started reading The House of Dies Drear today and they already started getting creeped out with imagery and setting. Good. #
  • @kolson29 "Universal access" – yes! But so many schools use computers for testing & not for exploration (it seems to me as I work w/teachrs) #
  • @teach42 If you mean Twitter, it was James Farmer, as TwitterTools at my edublog gave me a launch pad (& push from Bonnie K. helped) #
  • Thinking about meeting on Wed with new National Writing Project ExDir Sharon Washington. Great opp. to talk convergence of tech and writing #

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Twittering Around on 2008-02-24

  • @JLWagner Hot cocoa (spiked?) might be just the thing. Glad to see you are still keeping a smile, Jen. #
  • Pulling together contributed Days in a Simile for publication tomorrow. http://tinyurl.com/2tbqmy #
  • Woke up way too early and so what do I do? I write. Full of ideas for an article on RSS for National Writing Project. Focus, focus, focus. #
  • @NCavillones I like the sonogram image of the little person. Go ahead and regale us with tales, and we’ll celebrate along with you. #
  • @kevinessdack Just starting to hook kids on Star Trek. I have DVD collection, with older & newer mixed in. They clamor for Spock! #
  • Is there (silent) glory in whipping 7 yr old’s butt in Chinese Checkers? Ummm. Yes. (payback for rotton behavior yesterday) — the bad dad #
  • PS — I let him win the second game. — not so bad dad #
  • @mrmayo This scavenger hunt from site is perfect: http://tinyurl.com/2wzdnf #
  • @garageflowers perhaps you humble him by winning big (see my earlier twitters, re: Chinese Checkers) — advice from bad dad, part deux #
  • I just spent 50 minutes getting interviewed about tech work by Natl Writing Project. I hope my thoughts were clear through this stuffy head #
  • Finished music video for new song. http://tinyurl.com/2pwcbl – working on reflecting on process #
  • @whatsit81 I’ll post my reflection on songwriting tomorrow (on blog). Still thinking it through. Thanks. #
  • Heading off to the theater downtown to see Moscow Circus — 3 year old is sooooo excited, he could do a flip and tumble right now. #
  • Older son’s HW: Watch TV & track violence. BUT we don’t let our kids watch TV (only vids now & then). Feels strange writing to teacher. #
  • The Moscow Circus was fun, altho a little cheesy. How did that girl bend her body like that? Yikes! My back aches just thinking about it. #
  • @LParisi The comment there made me chuckle. I thought it was brooding but not sad. And yes, big hair day! #

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Twittering Around on 2008-02-23

  • Getting kids to bed earlier so we can get lost in "Lost" and work our way through some strange island madness #
  • Boil down your week or a day in week and share out: http://tinyurl.com/2tbqmy It’s community writing. #
  • From my iGoogle Page -Quote of Day: "There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you." — Peter De Vries #
  • @budtheteacher Good luck with Learning 2.0 Bud. I like the concept of a student panel. I hope you blog it out later for us. #
  • @glassbeed I saw that they are trying to do a version of Phun for the XO laptops. It seems intriguing and a way to get kids to program. #
  • My heart broke a bit as I unscrewed the last section of the crib (motto: 3 kids slept here!) & put it on Freecycle for someone else. #
  • Another Twitter Song Debut: just finished this political rocker called ‘Tomorrow’s Never Gone’ http://www.box.net/shared/f000ksy880 #
  • @hickstro Looks like a great session, Troy. Intriguing links. #
  • Just caught "Spiderwick Chronicles" with older son. It was OK. Noticed John Sayles as a scriptwriter, though. Indie film icon. Strange. #
  • @mmkrill We have the same story reader at our house. If my son saw that Blue story, he would be soooo jealous. #
  • @whatsit81 Interesting facts in the video at that site, eh? So much is doomsday and then the world finds a way to make it work. #

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Twittering Around on 2008-02-22

  • @murcha I am not sure. I will email Gail D and see how things went. They intended to record the session and post as podcast. I hope they do. #
  • Woke up this morning with ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ in my head — the result of seeing Harlem Globetrotters. Big hit were African tumblers. #
  • Correcting papers in coffee shop when stranger commandeered my XO Laptop for 20 minutes (w/my blessing). He was astounded at possibilities. #
  • @susanettenheim I like Delicious because I have all sorts of people in ‘network’ & I collect via RSS. It’s like opening a bag of candy. #
  • Writing a new rock song — thinking politics and the winds of change on horizon. U2 says: ‘3 chords and the truth.’ Easy for them to say. #
  • @crafty184 Great article. I follow the Teach Jeff Spanish in my RSS feed. — Kevin #
  • @speters Ha! Don’t you wish you could track where the ‘other’ XO is going? I do. At least, the country. How hard would that be? #
  • @njtechteacher The Web 2.0 VT is interesting but a bit overwhelming. I wish there were a more concise index for such a large VoiceThread. #
  • @mrmayo Thanks for sharing this. I had heard about your project (my pre-Twitter days). What an interesting collaborative concept. #

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Twittering Around on 2008-02-21

  • @blkdrama You know I want to know where you go next, so that I can follow with our Western Massachusetts Writing Project (shout out to NWP) #
  • The morning report: paying load o’ bills, cleaning humidifiers, packing lunch for little son, getting ready for dentist mayhem w/older sons #
  • Life Cycle of Book on cover of New Yawka: writer writers, publisher publishes, reader reads, men on city corner burn for heat. end of story. #
  • 10 year old says, "Why do people talk about Global Warming? This is not Global Warming. I’m freezing." — New England Winter morning #
  • @paulallison Hmmm, I like phrase: "These literacies …are multiple, dynamic and malleable" in the NCTE statement #
  • If it’s winter vacation week (and it is), then why do I miss my students so much? (even after an hour grading Parts of Speech projects) #
  • @cathyjo So many defin of digistory, but here are some from my students http://dogtrax.googlepages.com/digitalsciencepicturebooks — Kevin #
  • @cathyjo And this was a blog post about converting digistories to video http://tinyurl.com/3akfsf — Kevin #
  • You are all cordially invited Day in a Simile (a version of Day in a Sentence) http://tinyurl.com/2tbqmy — Kevin #
  • Bringing boys to see Harlem Globetrotters tonight — Anybody remember Meadowlark Lemon & Curley Neal? I do. (cue: theme song) #
  • @garageflowers Yikes — I do, now that you mention it. Prob on Youtube, I bet, if I took the time to check. Funny memory check there, friend #
  • @garageflowers And here it is: http://youtube.com/watch?v=vSHZdgwiiKI Kevin #

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