Sketch-er-ama Collaboration

I was part of a small team of strangers, becoming friends, from around the world who were taking part in World Sketchnote Day on Saturday by playing a global game of “pass the sketch.” The idea is that one person starts a sketchtnote, and passes it to the next, who adds to it and passes it along, etc.

The whole thing was organized by some real passionate sketch-noters and I had signed on because it sounded interesting. And it was. The team of five of us made an interesting canvas, and all of the teams involved — not sure how many there were but quite a few — were sending sketches around the world via Twitter, too.

You can see some of the collaborative work and passing of the drawings via the hashtag: #passthesketchnote

And this video is a nice overview by Carrie, a main organizer:


I do have my students do visual-notetaking/sketchnoting in class, particularly when doing active listening to stories. While not much of an artist myself, I enjoy the process, and always appreciate the opportunity for collaboration with others. Thanks to my team — #14 — for their wonderful art, and for allowing me a corner to do my own bit as the canvas traveled the world.

Peace (ink it),

MadLib-ification Remix-ification of Poet-ification


This is a response to Terry’s post about Madlib-ification. I decided to respond quite literally … creating an interactive Mad Lib (via Mad Takes), based on the poem he riffed off, which I riffed off … with apologies to James Wright … go on and play it .. make a remix poem …
Peace (fill in the blanks),

Mad:)Takes - free online ad-Lib word game similar to Mad Libs™

MadLib-ification of a Poem


Graphic Novel Review: This Place (150 Years Retold)

There may not be a more beautiful pushback against a prevailing cultural narrative than This Place (150 Years Retold), a collection of graphic stories that dig deep into the indigenous peoples of Canada, and all the myriad of ways their lands have been stolen from them, and their heritage, reduced.

I am neither Canadian nor indigenous to the soil I live on, so I openly profess much ignorance and little knowledge of the background of these stories. Alas, I can hear the echoes in the ways my own country has treated Native Indian tribes here, and in the ways other natives of other lands were treated when white Europeans stepped ashore and decided the land was theirs. The pattern of removal from communities, abuse in state-sponsored schools and foster homes, the theft of language, forced assimilation and more is a terribly familiar one.

It’s hard for me here to capture the powerful scope and artistic merit of this collection. So let me say that the variety of graphic novelists here — there are 10 different stories — have different styles — some more modern than others, even as they tell of ancient tales — that neatly connect together the narrative of a people constantly being pushed to the brink by the Canadian government.

The stories almost always center on the people, and the mystical nature of people and the land come through in ways that tap into the creative power of comics and graphic arts. The medium does justice to the stories, as the stories inspire the push at the edges of the medium.

The editors also enacted a brilliant move to complement the stories. They included a running timeline that begins in the 1860s and stretches to the current day by the last story (which is a look ahead into the future of the tribes). I learned more about Canada than I ever knew. What emerges in this collection is a love of tribal nations, the skills of powerful tribal leaders, and a love of the land and of the past, even as both are systematically encroached upon with relentless might of the government.

This Place (150 Years Retold) is appropriate for high school students and older, and it would be a powerful supplement to any historical inquiry into Canada as a nation, or to a study of native people pushing back against assimilation. In the ideal world, this graphic novel collection would not even be the supplement, at all, but would be the main text. But I know that day is probably still far off from this day. Until then, linger on the stories.

Peace (in the lands and people),

Annotated Sound Files: Turning Terry’s Poem into Song

Terry Poem Song Annotated

Yesterday, I shared the song I created after reading Terry’s poem. This morning, after reading some lovely comments from him about process and time and effort, I went back into my sound project and began to annotate where his words influenced what sounds. I found it a useful bit of reflection and I suspect Terry might find it a bit intriguing, too.

Note: Shrinking the project to see all the tracks made everything tiny. Apologies.

Read yesterday’s post to better understand the annotations

Peace (sounds like dawn),

Words Translated Into Song

My friend, Terry, posted a beautiful poem of a morning with his wife, on the porch, at his blog on his birthday. I read it a few times and thought I could just hear the glimmers of a song simmering below the surface of this lines. Luckily, I had some time to make just that — a song interpretation of Terry’s poem, with sound files, beats, loops and small snippets of his poem (read by me).

What I find interesting is how I was both trying to capture my own feeling of reading Terry’s words but also being intentional in taking it in a new direction. If you read his poem, you should hear some of his moments. You may also wonder what I was thinking, as you listen to other elements. Mostly, I was trying to capture the heartbeat of his piece.

Doing this kind of work brings you deeper into the text, a closer kind of reading. Every word has the possibility of something to give. I hope Terry enjoys the interpretation, left for him as a gift for his birthday.

Peace (in song),

Slice of Life: Noticing the Days

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

When the Winter Solstice hit us last month, my wife made note that the days would start getting longer again. Then I forgot. Yesterday, I noticed, and remembered. I was driving my son to track practice at a time about 30 minutes later than usual, and the day still had light. A few weeks ago, we would have been drenched in the dark of the short day/long night.

I pointed this out to my son — this observation of more daylight — and he looked out the window of the car, nodded, and that was that. But I kept my eye on the trees, the lawns, the people, the clouds across the blue sky. It’s still the heart of winter, no doubt, but the day pushing itself larger is a sign that somewhere down the road, spring awaits us.

And there will be plenty of sunshine and daylight to see it.

Peace (in the view),

Gathering Quotes Together: NCTE Definition of Digital Literacy

I’m slowly reading and digesting, and appreciating, the National Council of Teachers of English revised definition of Literacy in a Digital Age, and I am appreciating the depth of the inquiry.

This is the final post, with a curated collection of quotes from the various aspects of the definition of digital literacies that I have been taking a closer look at over the last few months.

Peace (in words and beyond),

Explaining Mastodon and the Federated Networking Space

I am still pretty active over on Mastodon social network, but I know some folks either don’t know about the federated social networking space (a kinder, safer, more thoughtful alternative to Twitter and Facebook and more) or ask, Is Mastodon still around? It sure is.

I saw this video and thought it would be helpful for anyone wondering what Mastodon is, and how to envision a federated network (basically, the network is a series of networks, all hosted by users and connected via hubs … there is no Mastodon corporation trying to leverage your activity for advertising money).

See this piece by Laura Kalbag about questions/answers about Mastodon and then, if interested, maybe jump here to get started with the Mastodon Quick Start guide. 

Peace (dispersed but connected),

(find me on Mastodon, too)