NetNarr: Getting My Alchemy On

Each day, I continue to use the prompts from the Daily Arganee of Networked Narratives to write a short poem or piece as a creative exercise. I am more apt veer off-topic than to stay on-topic with the prompts, but I aim to go where the muse takes me. Periodically, I’ll go in and gather and curate them into a short video.  The one above is my recent collection. These down below are some of the past collections of the short pieces — which I compose in an app that only allows six seconds of framing.

When NetNarr is over, I’ll have to figure out what to do with all the pieces ….

Peace (telling it),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Computer Use

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: As a professional development facilitator with our Western Massachusetts Writing Project, I’ve too often run into situations where our teachers and programs have been shut out of computer labs for weeks at a time, all because the computers were being used for testing and data collection. Mostly, this was in our urban high-needs schools, where access to computers was already limited for many students. It drove me crazy. Now, my own school is making the shift to have students take our state’s standardized testing system (MCAS) online, with computers. During our training session yesterday after school, as we learned about the teacher portal and the student interface, it occurred to me again that the vision of how I see computers — as a means for composing with media and pushing the boundaries of what we define as writing — and how state administrators see computers — a means of gathering data on students and schools — are often in conflict with each other. On the other hand, our school community — not one to often provide money for our school, which is near the lowest in the state in per pupil expenditures — did allocate quite a bit of investment last year for new computers. However, the town did that because of the worry about state testing, not for fear that our students aren’t learning important technology and communication skills. We take what we can get, I guess, and make the most of it.

Six Word Slice of Life Testing

Peace (power it up),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Take It Easy

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: After a week of mostly over-scheduled days — both in school and beyond school where there was little time to breathe — yesterday was a nice break in the action, a chance to just hang around the house with nothing much to do. Which, of course, is not true, but what had to be done could be done at a leisurely pace. I did some work on report cards (due this coming Friday) and watched NCAA basketball (I am still alive in my pool) and walked the dog (the sun was out for a bit) and dipped into a collaborative song project for a little stretch of time (the song is coming together) and I read (newspaper and books). So, I did stuff, but nothing felt rushed. Which is a nice thing for a Sunday.

Six Word Slice of Life Nothing

Peace (laying back),
Kevin

#NetNarr: Hacking/Remixing the Game of Chess

Merry Hacksters Title DS06

A few years ago, for DS106, I was part of a group that did a collaborative radio project that centered on the art of remixing. My segment centered around an activity I do with my sixth grade students, remixing and hacking the game of chess to create something new altogether. It is part of our Game Design Unit.

Here is the radio segment I did:

Peace (hacked for greater good),
Kevin

PS — here is the entire Merry Hacksters Radio Show

Six Word Slice of Life: Musical Friends

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: Three of my friends, who are our neighbors, got together to learn some songs for our neighborhood Christmas gathering in December, and decided they were having so much fun, they would become a band. Leonard Grove and the Chestnuts. Those are three of the neighborhood street names where they live. Last night, they made their debut in a local restaurant, and the neighborhood packed the house to standing room only to listen to our friends play music for two hours. It was fun to see and hear them (they are talented … one of them used to tour all over the world with a pop bluegrass band) and to see how supportive our neighborhood is. Afterwards, I was walking our dog and a neighbor who was there asked about the status of my band — we’ve just got a new singer and are looking for a bass player — and she added, “Let us know when you’re playing, and we’ll be there, too.” I love that kind of community spirit.

Six Word Slice of Life Playing Music

Peace (sounds musical),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: From Design Flow to Interactive Story

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I wrote the other day about the ways my sixth graders were making design plans to create Interactive Fiction stories inside Google Slides. Since then, they have been working hard to bring the stories to fruition, and by yesterday, many were finishing up the writing and proofreading of their stories. I enjoy this time of reading the finished game/stories, after so much work with conferencing on narrative ideas and technical assistance.

Six Word Slice of Life Student Stories

You can read a few of their stories (It’s best to go full screen to experience the pieces … use the hyperlinks to move along the narrative choices):

 

Peace (make a choice),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Kids, Dancing

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: Yesterday was our annual Sixth Grade Quidditch Tournament at my school. My class (they chose Tsunami as their name) came close to winning, but not close enough. Still, they had a blast, playing our version of Quidditch all day long in our gym before the rest of the school and visiting families. At night, the teachers’ team — Pink Fury — took on sixth graders in a fun match, and I will be feeling the effects of that event for a few days, I am sure. My six words are not about the tournament itself, which I have written about in the past, but about what happens in-between the games. The DJ (DJ Fred: mailman by day, DJ by night) kicks up the jams, and a horde of students rush to the gym floor to dance together. It’s quite a sight to see hundreds of elementary students — from young kids to older kids to adults — doing line-dancing and other popular moves in sync, all with smiles and laughing and joyfulness. I wish I had a picture of all that but it is clear in my mind — this ocean of young dancers.

Six Word Slice of Life Dancing

Peace (dancing it),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Peaceful Silence

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: This is the time of year when the work we did around routines earlier in the year can begin to pay off. Sometimes. We’re into an independent reading unit, and I try to stay true to the need to carve out about 15 to 20 minutes of each class for quiet reading. The kids sprawl out around the room, and after getting settled, they are almost all quiet, immersed, engaged in their novels. I love that silence.

Six Word Slice of Life Silent Reading

One of my students saw a video from last year, when we did our Mannequin Challenge of frozen readers, and he asked if we could do one this year. So, yes, of course we did. It was a ton of fun.

Peace (on the pages),
Kevin

#NetNarr: GameLoop GameSounds GameOver

This week, in Networked Narratives, the theme is on games and one of the challenges is to use audio to tell a story, and the audio should be game-themed. I decided to try to make a short song loop, with game sounds. No story except, there’s always a “game over” moment in a game.

By the way, if you want to join me in annotating the video hangout session that the NetNarr folks and guests did on the topic of gaming and learning, come into the Vialogues with me. I’m slow-watching it and adding comments off to the side.

Visit the Vialogues

Peace (play it),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Dog Greeting

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I sort of remembered that our sister-in-law asked us to watch her dogs while she and her family went away for a few days. They live in Rhode Island. We’re in Western Massachusetts. She decided to deliver their dogs a few days early, with another storm approaching. So, I was surprised to walk in our door after school and see three dogs, instead of just our Duke, pushing all of their faces towards me and knocking into my legs with wagging tails and leaning bodies. Such a greeting party and so happy to see me! And then, they did it all over again every time I entered the house.

Six Word Slice of Life Dogs

Peace (wags its tail),
Kevin