Slice of Life: The Line Thief

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

Yesterday morning, I did my daily “tour” of other folks engaged in the Slice of Life. Part of the month-long adventure is not just sharing, but also connecting through comments. But I decided to go at it a bit differently yesterday. Instead of leaving prose, I stole lines from people’s posts and built poetry out of those stolen lines, and then left the poems as comments for my fellow Slicers.

I didn’t think too much or too deep about it. Instead, I read the post, tried to find that “center of gravity” and then used those words as the basis for a free-form poem, moving around the perimeter of the theme. It was interesting, reading and writing, and then moving on. Later in the day, I noticed that a few folks mentioned on Twitter how fun it was to find my poems, like little wordy surprises sprinkled around our Slice of Life community.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

I took the poems that I had left (I remembered to make notes of where I had been so I didn’t get lost) and created this collection in Prezi. Thank you to the bloggers who unknowingly inspired me to write my poems, and I hope the comments as poetry were a nice little surprise for you.

Peace (in the poems),
Kevin

Click and Listen: The #11poem Collection

I’ve been thinking about how to best share out our #11poem project. Of course, yesterday, I shared out the full podcast, with all of voices together into a one file. But I still think there should be something more — something that has us all together and yet, separate, too.

So, I thought: what about a clickable image? I went to ThingLink and did just that.

Peace (in the poem),
Kevin
 

When #walkmyworld met #sol14 (poetry ensues)

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

 

Yesterday, I found my writing brain toggling between a new poetry writing event with the #walkmyworld project and thinking about Slice of Life, so just like that famous commercial where my peanut butter met your chocolate, I realize that today’s post is bit about both.

For #walkmyworld, the latest event idea is to write and share a Twitter-friendly poem about place. Greg and Ian suggest Haiku as one form whose brevity fits in nicely. Before school, as I was sitting on the couch with my youngest son, reading, we looked out the window. A little bird flew in and on the single branch of a bush right outside our window, it just balanced there, looking in as we were looking out.

That’s a haiku moment, if ever there was one, and I wrote it on the drive into school (repeating it over and over in hopes I would not forget the rhythm). I then used Vocaroo to record a quick podcast and then shared the poem on Twitter with the #walkmyworld hashtag. Then, later in the day, I saw someone was using Haiku Deck for sharing out some poems, and I thought: of course.


Voice Recorder >>

This morning, I moved the poem into Haiku Deck to make the piece more visual.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Last night, I started to think of another poem, and how to visually represent it. Night was falling and the white snow was fading away. The stars were already coming out, and yes, it is bitterly cold here in New England (although, thankfully, we were spared the latest storm in my neck of the woods). The poem that emerged tried to capture that, and then I used an app that I have to create this visual poetic collage:
Dim the stars

Peace (in the poems),
Kevin

Book Review: Spy School

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BjfhPLLUj4I/T9SjDP6P_LI/AAAAAAAABpk/jrp2Yt1V3TI/s1600/spy%2Bschool.jpg

A few years ago, after reading some Carl Hiaasen with my class, I saw the book Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs in the book store. The cover had the same sort of style as Flush and so I picked it up. It was a fun read, certainly influenced by Hiaasen’s style of humorous writing and focus on hijinks and the environment, albeit with the setting of a zoo, of sorts. Still, it was a fun, fast read, with lots of chuckling on our part. I guess some students liked it too because Belly Up went missing from my classroom library not long after I put it there.

Darn kids.

So, when I saw that Gibbs had another book out (and a sequel), I kept it on my radar. Finally, my son and I dove into Spy School as a read-aloud and as soon as it was done, we were searching for Spy Camp. My son is nine years old, so spying as the source for stories has great appeal (that Gibbs, he knows his audience). The novel tells the story of Ben, who gets invited to join a super-elite school for young spies-in-training, only to find out things are not what they appear to be and suddenly, the hunt is on for a mole in the espionage establishment.

There’s plenty of action, and pretty decent characters, as Gibbs establishes some of the ins and outs of the spy agencies, and puts Ben’s life in danger more than a few times. Luckily, Ben has a protector of sorts in Erica, a beautiful girl whose espionage skills would rattle James Bond on a good day. She’s a one-person wrecking crew of smarts and skills. And Ben is smitten (my son wasn’t all that interested in that element of the story).

Spy School is a good, adventurous read for middle school kids, particularly boys. Gibbs has found a solid topic to build some novels off, and my son and I are going deep undercover … to read.

Peace (this blog post will self-destruct in five seconds),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Collecting Voices, Stitching Together Poems

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

Yesterday, I was collecting voices from across the world. Collecting and collating voices. It was all part of an impromptu digital adventure that emerged from a P2PU Course called Rhizomatic Learning. The course ended but our inquiry has not, and so when one of the participants began to write a style of poem that has 11 words on Twitter based on days of the week, I had this idea: what if each day, more and more people wrote and podcasted and shared poems from the week? And what if we pulled them all together?

11poem_Pyramid

That was my job, and so yesterday, I was using Audacity to string together more than 30 audio files of podcasts from folks from all geographical spaces around the globe but whose footprints are all over my #11poem Twitter hashtag feed: Ron, Marianna, Tanya, Nick, Simon, Terry and Estelle. They generously lent me their words and their voices, and I stitched us together into this single podcast.

Listen to it. Every time I do, I am amazed at how it blends and flows, and how the digital composing transforms each of our single poems into something larger and incredibly amazing. The shortness of the poetic style, the common themes, and the use of voice … even after listening to it many times as I was editing it together, I still find it amazing to hear.

I’m still thinking about where we go from here. It feels as if there is something else that needs to happen with the collective podcast of poems, but I am not sure yet what that is. I’ll share out some of our resources tomorrow, and there will be an invite for you to remix us. For now, I invite you to listen to the voices.

And write your own poem. You’re invited.

Here is a visual collection of my poems from the week:

MonSunday Collage

Peace (in the poetry),
Kevin

 

Sunday is a Poem

I am still working on writing a #11poem every day for each day of the week as part of a collaborative offshoot of the #rhizo14 community, and I am working to gather all of our poems together as an audio poetic pyramid in the coming days.

Here is what Sunday looks like from my poetic stance:
Sunday11poem

Here’s what Sunday sounds like:

And here is my visual of how the poetic pyramid is coming together, as more people joined us every day.
11poem_Pyramid

Peace (in the poems),
Kevin

Slice of Life: It’s a Dog’s Life

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

 

Duke at Dog Show 2014

42 wags. 20 seconds.

That’s what our dog, Duke, did to garner first prize — a blue ribbon, no less — in the category of “tail wagger” at a Dog Show fundraiser for our city schools. He may not be the smartest dog in the crate. In fact, he is not that bright. But he sure is full of love and happiness, and plenty of tail wagging, so he gets his blue ribbon, a whole lot of treats from a lot of strangers, and plenty of praise from the kids, who adore him.

I’d give that an extra wag of the tail for Duke.

Peace (and the dog),
Kevin

PS – He tried out for “softest ears,” too, which we thought he’d be a “contenda” but apparently not. We still love his soft, droopy ears.

Strangely Captcha

Today’s Daily Create asks us to create with captcha — the anti-spam words that you rewrite on blogs. The whole notion of captcha is fascinating, I think, as it relates to books and words and crowdsourcing and more. Anyway, I decided to do a search of other Meandering Minds in the blogosphere (we are quite a few, actually) and settled in on Meandering Mind, using Courtney’s blog for generating captcha. I left her a comment, too, to let her know I was borrowing her captcha and connecting our meandering minds together.

I went a bit further than the Daily Create, generating a bunch of captchas and then trying to create a short visual poem.

Captcha Poem

Peace (in the text),
Kevin

Slice of Life: The WayBack View

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

I was curious as the 2014 Slice of Life Challenge starts today to remember when it was that I first began writing Slice of Life posts. OK. I admit. I couldn’t remember. Luckily, my blog did (thanks, Meandering Mind! I owe ya a beer!), and so I dove into my blog dashboard to see what I could see.

Here’s what I found.

First of all, I have written 238 Slice of Posts over the years (well, now we’re at 239 with this one). That includes the March challenges each year as well as the periodic Tuesday Slice of Life pieces. I wasn’t always a regular writer for the Tuesday challenges. I wrote when the fancy hit or I had a small moment with larger reverberations in mind. I always appreciate the audience, though, and the Slice of Life community is one of the warmest, most supportive group of teacher-writers you can find (this side of the National Writing Project).

So what I realized? I’ve done a whole lot of slicing over the years.

The first piece I did was on March 1, 2008. That’s right. 2008. You can read it here, if you want.

This was the Slice of Life icon back then.

Back then, I was writing about reading The Lorax to my sons. That was a favorite book of ours (still is, I guess). Reading that slice again brought me right back to that moment. Isn’t that interesting? Our writing has power over time, and here is where Slice of Life is most interesting for me: not only does it force me to notice and document the moments of our days, it forces me to keep a record of those days.

I’m now culling through 238 posts because I am interested in doing a sort of auto-ethnography of myself to see what I was writing about. I know there are themes each year. If you read me, you know that Quidditch is about to start, as ell as baseball season. Some things recur in different forms each year in our lives. We just don’t always take note of the patterns.

My aim for the next day or two is to create an infographic of sorts (to be shared out as a slice, of course) But for now, I am going into my 7th year of Slice of Life with open eyes and an ear for the world.

How about you? Come join the Slice of Life challenge. Write every day. Share what you write (use the #sol14 hashtag on Twitter). Invite others into your world. Make your way into the world of others. Make connections.

Peace (in the slice),
Kevin

This might be helpful:

http://twowritingteachers.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/solsc-getting-started-1.jpg

The CLMOOC Reverberations

More Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with NWP radio on BlogTalkRadio

Last night, I took part in a National Writing Project radio show about our summer’s Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration. With my friend Paul Oh at the helm, the hour-long discussion was less about how the MOOC came to be (although NWP Program Leader Christina Cantrill and I did that) and more about how the CLMOOC experience has come to impact teachers and writing project leaders.

I did my part and then listened as Jenn Cook, of the Rhode Island Writing Project, and Michael Weller, of the Los Angeles Writing Project, and Rosie Slentz, of the Redwood Writing Project chatted about how their experiences over the summer have come to inform their teaching and their work with other teachers.

As one of the facilitators, it was not just gratifying to hear these stories on the radio broadcast; it was touching in a way that I can’t quite express here. We spent many hours planning the CLMOOC and many, many more hours helping to facilitate it. With hundreds of teachers involved, we knew folks were engaged in our Make Cycles. And I suppose we assumed that there would be some residual benefits after the summer ended.

But here, Jenn and Michael and Rosie brought to light stories of those experiences, and with Paul’s masterful questions, we come to see how CLMOOC continues to live on in spirit. Not that it wasn’t an interesting enough experiment, but hearing personal stories really does bring the whole adventure of the MOOC back to life, and — not to get too sappy — warmed my heart as I listened. I suspect my co-facilitators would say the same thing. The MOOC had an impact. We sort of knew it but to hear it makes that observation real.

And of course, we want others to remake and remix our MOOC.

Peace (in the appreciation),
Kevin