Book Review: You Can Never Find a Rickshaw …

  • You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons: The World on One  Cartoon a Day

I’ve been slowly savoring Mo Willems’  You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons for a few months now. This book — with its subtitle: The World On One Cartoon A Day –  is a collection of one-page comics and illustrations that Willems did when he went on a low-budget backpacking tour of the world, starting in the United States and then heading out to Europe, Asia and more. The tour began before Willems was a published author of crazy kids’ books  (the Pigeon books and more) and before he was married, so he was a single man on an adventure with his pen and paper.

Unlike most tourist guides, Willems’ illustrated insights capture the daily color of life (shining through Willems’ own sense of humor) and what makes the book special is that Willems went back to his drawings and added short narratives of his memories of the scenes. Or his faulty memories. Or, in some cases, he admits he doesn’t even remember drawing the scene.

The use of comic illustrations is another lens into culture, I realized, and I think I learned as much about Nepal and Paris and China as I have from any other book that I have read.

Give Willems’ book a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Some Final Reflections about New Literacies Initiative

The Massachusetts New Literacies Initiative week is over, but I surely hope the real work has not yet begun — that of our teachers bringing ideas back to their school districts and emerging as leaders around technology integration. Here is my reflective voicethread that has some final thoughts at the end (It’s been a day-to-day threaded journal). My intention is to showcase some of the projects in the next week, just to give you an idea of some of the work that was being done.


And here is a Wordle that we created of words and phrases that came to mind about their week at the Institute. I can’t help but notice that “overwhelming” and “amazing” are high on the list.
wordle new lit

Peace (in the reflections),

Kevin

New Literacies: Day Four

I added another page to my reflective VoiceThread this morning as we begin to wrap up our time at the Massachusetts New Literacies Institute. Yesterday, our keynote speaker was Dr. Bridget Dalton, who talked about reaching diverse (ie, struggling) learners with technology, and a guest visitor was our state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester.

Here is a video of Dr. Chester addressing us (with Don Leu using a virtual Sen. Kerry to lead the introduction via Voki):

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

New Literacies: Day Three

Here, I continue my Voicethread reflections at the Massachusetts New Literacies Institute. Yesterday, the featured speaker was Dr. Yong Zhao, who spoke of global competencies in the digital age and railed against the move towards nationalized education. He stressed the need for creativity over testing. Yes!

Meanwhile, in one of the sessions yesterday around multimedia composition, we were put into small groups, given a Flip video camera and told to make a movie in 20 minutes on a topic. My group’s topic was the United States’ Intervention in North and South Korea. We decided to be creative (Dr. Zhao would have been happy) and make a bagel puppet show. I’m not sure we got all the nuances right (ahem) …. but it was fun.

Peace (in the talking food),
Kevin

New Literacies: Day Two

I continue to use my Voicethread as a reflective tool for the New Literacies Institute going on this week here in Massachusetts. I keep adding a “page” to the thread. Yesterday, we had the great pleasure of listening to and working with Dr. Sara Kadjer, who was insightful about the world of digital literacies and the classroom. She is on leave from her college post in order to get back into the classroom. Very inspiring insights!

Peace (in the exploration),
Kevin

Slice of Life: On the Charles

(This is part of the Slice of Life writing activity at Two Writing Teachers)

I woke up this morning, my brain still running with thoughts from a conference I am attending around technology and learning, and I drew open the shades of my hotel room. There, before me, lay a most beautiful and tranquil scene. The Charles River. My hotel here in Boston overlooks the Charles and I don’t know how I got so lucky to have a room on the ninth floor overlooking this river that weaves through the city, but I am not complaining. I get up early most days anyway and the orange tint of the sunrise glittered on the Charles this morning. Even at that hour, there were a few boats already sailing. Last night, as I strolled to the hotel from the conference, there were teams of rowers — full Regatta-style longboats cruising down the river as a team, all oars in motion together as the voice of the leader echoed out across the top of the water — gliding across the surface of the water. Across the river from me, there are a few majestic brick buildings that make up Boston University and at night, the lights of Fenway Park are visible in the distance. It’s a nice way to wake up and get the day started here in Boston.

Peace (in the slice),
Kevin

New Literacies: Day One

Here is my reflective Voicethread around the New Literacies Institute taking place here in Massachusetts. Each day, I am adding a podcast reflection. Thanks to Gail and Heidi for adding some thoughts and questions to my preconference podcast. I invite you to add your thoughts and questions to the thread.

Here is a short video I made around our work on defining New Literacies, where tables in the room tried to symbolize their view of New Literacies.

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Mass New Literacies: Pre-Conference Meet-up

I just posted some thoughts about the preconference meeting of the New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute on this voicethread. I’ll add thoughts each day and re-embed. Please add your own thoughts to the thread, if you want. The institute begins this morning, so … getting ready.

Peace (in the thread),
Kevin

Threading My Voice at the New Literacies Institute

I have decided to try to use Voicethread for reflecting on the coming week in the New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute here in Boston. I encourage you to add your thoughts, or questions, or reactions to my own thinking as I go along, and I will try to answer and respond as best as I can. Each day, I will add a new page to the Voicethread and re-embed it here at the blog.

Peace (in the thread),
Kevin