I wrote up a review of Troy Hicks and Jeremy Hyler’s new book at MiddleWeb: Create Compose Connect (Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools). I find the book useful in a lot of ways, particularly as it shows ways to enhance learning with technology with some specific projects.
Today’s topic for the Wonders of the World poetry is the Amazon Rain Forest. I tried to write a prose poem, of sorts, and wrote it with the intent of “performing” it as a podcast. I wrote with flow, I hope.
Never an Explorer (Amazon Rain Forest )
I could never explore
the forest: Too many bugs.
Too many birds to keep me up at night;
Too many words
that would escape my imagination.
Too much heat I’d have to fight off.
I’d no doubt become delirious,
in this often mysterious
crawling just beneath the surface,
so that even if I left you this poem,
tacked to the giant tree in the center of the wood,
in a place barely understood –
not on any map that we’ve ever known –
nothing would be left of my words over time
but the invisible ink of an explorer
gone way out of his depth –
struggling for rhythm, grappling with rhyme –
No, I’d be the one who never made it back home,
the writer who give his life
for the wildness of the world,
and that isn’t going to happen this time.
My latest post for my blog at MiddleWeb is a series of notes to writers of articles in Educational Leadership journal, which focused on the craft and teaching of writing this month. I used ThingLink to compose my responses.
There’s a bit of convergence here, as I am writing poetry every day with Mary Lee over at a Year of Reading, while also keeping an eye out for the work that Chris Lehman is doing with teachers as poets, and of course, this familiar home of Slice of Life.
The other day, Chris suggested that we write a poem about a “sliver,” which just seems to echo so nicely with Slice of Life. I wrote about watching one of my students writing a poem in what we call “inside this” — using figurative language to capture the essence of inanimate objects. He was struggling and then found inspiration with the assignment itself — writing a poem about the poem he was supposed to be writing about.
Today’s Wonder poem is about Mount Everest, and the mountain and its role as an unpredictable force of nature has been in the news lately (sadly) with the avalanche that has taken the lives of native guides. Mary Lee captures that role of the mountain in her powerful poem this morning. I decided to go after the mountain with wonder, in the form of a haiku.
I have been invited to talk about technology and youth to a group of mothers (it’s a Mothers’ Club and they are very supportive of our school) in my school district tomorrow night. This presentation will guide my discussions, and I am going to share out this great resource: The Social Media 411 for Parents.
Today’s Wonders of the World Poem is focused on the Great Barrier Reef. I found myself entranced first by the colors, which are brilliant, and then on the sobering news of how Global Warming and environmental change is killing off the reef, making it gray and solid. The poem then become a metaphor poem (or is every poem ultimately a metaphor poem in the end?)
Your Tongue as Pen to Stories of the World (Great Barrier Reef)
You used to splatter me with paint:
I’d lounge here quietly in this cascade of colors,
letting the currents bring you in and out,
and in again as with the tides,
your tongue as pen to stories of the world.
But even I can hardly fail to notice that
with each passing day,
our hues have become a bit more duller
and our movements, ever slower.
Where once the solid form of us was teeming with love
and alive with wonder,
now, it is becoming little more than
a hardened reminder,
a silent statue of remembrance to
what once might have been.
I feel like I can’t shout quite loud enough about the resources being developed over at the Mozilla Foundations’s Webmaker space. Here, the philosophy of the “open, remixable web” comes to fruition with a series of projects and tools that invite you to remix and remake in your own light, with tutorials on coding and creating that provide entry points for just about anyone with an interest. Mostly using its Thimble (a webpage-style publishing tool) and Popcorn (a video and digital story tool) platforms, Webmaker offers free and interactive ways to become engaged with digital literacies.
You will need an account with Webmaker to save work (but you can tie it to other email accounts) and I am still navigating the best way for my sixth graders to create work in our environment where they don’t have school emails (ack). But at the very least, you can explore the world of making the web with its remixable templates, and there is the built-in ease of publishing in a matter of minutes just by clicking the “remix” link on any of the projects, tinkering with code and text, and remaking it into something new.
There are also sections at the Webmaker space for how to teach with its tools, where all sorts of “kits” are available for free, and freely remixable for your own situation. You can also use their blank templates for your own lesson plans and ideas.