It must be the hectic end of the year mindset but my brain has not been working on much poetry lately. This morning, however, this short little one popped up at 4:30 a.m. as my cat woke me up and I was smiling at a phrase our two-year-old son has been saying, completely out of the blue.
Listen to the Poem
“I like worms,”
he says so matter-of-factly that to doubt the words
would be to doubt his very person,
even though the words come out of nowhere and
roll off his two-year-old tongue like a song
once lost and now found.
Last month, his word was “yesterday.”
Yesterday, his word was “tomorrow.”
Today, it is “worms.”
Who knows what the real tomorrow will hold for him
and he’s not waiting, either, as he dances
on his toes across the room, humming a melody
in an ode to his newfound love of
Peace (with slippery crawling things),
Some friends, Troy and Dawn, from the Red Cedar Writing Project, have been working to integrate podcasting into speech class, and then researching the impact such Web 2.0 tools may have on student learning. They are doing this for a variety of reasons, but one of them is that they are writing a chapter for a book I am co-editing on emerging technology and learning (yeah!).
Troy and Dawn recently guest-hosted Teachers Teaching Teachers and I wanted to share the podcast of their show, since it was very informative on many levels.
Listen in on the discussion
Peace (in a pod),
This is an amazing morphing video of women in art (although one person commenting at YouTube noted that as an American Indian woman, she felt left out — a valid point). This kind of animation is very cool but way beyond me.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nUDIoN-_Hxs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Peace (by moving together),
The other day, one of my sixth graders asked me if I had ever used Pivot for animation, which led to an interesting discussion about how this freeware software could be used with MovieMaker to create a little animated film.
So I figured I would try it out and now I am hoping to let my students try their hand before the school year runs out (soon!) and also to use this very simple, yet cool, software as an introduction to the Claymation Animation Camp that my wife and I are running this summer for the very first time (gulp).
Here, then, is the premiere of The Incredibly Crazy Clocks, using Pivot to create the animation (it comes out as an animated .gif file), then I imported the file into MovieMaker where I added some original music of mine, and a title, an I got a mini-movie.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=6106772181624048098" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]
Peace (frame by frame by frame),
My band (The Sofa Kings) goes back into the recording studio today and probably tomorrow as we work to get down in digital form (it used to be tape, but no longer) the energy of our live shows and the textures of our original songs. We’re planning to record six originals today and we did five songs a few months ago, so we will have a CD in the fall of 11 songs (if all goes well).
Of the six, four are songs that I either wrote or co-wrote, and I am always amazed at how much the songs take on a new shape with The Sofa Kings. Some songs become unrecognizable from their original incarnation and others just get enhanced on so many levels. It’s such an interesting process to bring a song to the band and see what happens. Many songs end up getting tossed (I have this imaginary dumpster in my head where lyrics and chords go, although they are never really gone — like a good Earth-friendly citizen, I recycle my own thoughts into new thoughts, and the melodies I like come bubbling back every now and then).
Last time, I brought the video camera, but I am not going to do that this time. Today, I will just be “in the moment” and not worry about the right shot, or creative angle, or how that will look on video.
Here is the little movie from last time:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=89177096634365723" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]
Peace (in sound),
This video is part of my Collaborative ABC Movie Project and it deals with baseball and kids, and the connections between my own baseball memories and the experiences of my sons this year.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-8891800749316318329" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]
Peace (with innings and outs),
This is a pretty cool site called Delicious Network Explorer that allows you to visually “see” the connections in the delicious social bookmarking network. You can type in a username and then it draws connections between the people who are in your network.
Here is what my network looks like, with the 33 people who are connected to me via Delicious (unfortunately, there was no easy way to share the picture so I had to do it manually):
The colors have meaning, too, including who has included you as a friend, and a fan, etc.
Peace (in the network),
My sixth graders are nearing completion of a book project in which they used MS PowerPoint to create and publish their own fictional Science Journey Stories as a picture book format. Their intended audience (we start sharing our books tomorrow at our school) was other students in grades first through fourth, and I have been presenting mini-lessons on some deeper aspects of PP to give them some ideas on how to use the tech to create a different kind of book.
They are also publishing their books to our Making Connections Science Weblog, which is a much larger project in which my students and other middle school-age students from three other schools in Western Massachusetts have been doing shared science experiments, posting scientific abstracts and now publishing science-based fictional stories.
Meanwhile, I am also planning to write about this science picture book project for as a chapter for a book on technology and the classroom that I am helping to edit with two esteemed college professors. As a result, I have been having my students reflect on how using the computer has been altering their composition process, and how their books will be different once I print them out on paper. I’ll share some of those observations at a later date.
Anyway, here are a few of the books:
Journey into the Cell
Adventure of a Cell
Water, Water Everywhere
The Adventure of Mel the Cell
Inside a Cell
Elmo and Dorothy Explore the Cell
Rudolph the Rappin’ Raindrop
Peace (in pictures),
One morning, I had this line running through my head — “I am inside my guitar” — and fashioned this poem for my OnePoemEveryMonthforaYear Project.
Inside My Guitar
Listen to the Poem
I am going to crawl inside my guitar today
and take refuge with the dust
and broken picks
and whatever gremlins might live inside the house of sounds.
I intend to gaze up at the six strings
as they break the current of air with vibrations
and I’ll marvel at the way they all work together,
seamlessly, it seems, as a rainbow filling my head with wonder.
I’ll twist along with the turning screws,
and come unbound, then rewound,
then brought back into tune by some magnificent ear
that hears only the notes.
This wooden closet will be my home,
a dark place where no one else can go,
just me and me alone,
until I am ready to surf out on a shimmering note
and land in your ear as a whisper that sings to you all day
until your head falls back on the pillow
and I return to this world, once again.
Peace (in poems),
There was an interesting short article in this weekend’s USA Today Magazine about the things that parents and teachers fear most about young people using the Internet. Many assume that it is porn or spam or computer virus infection or some other terrible thing but in fact, what most adults worry about is the bombardment of advertisements into the eyeballs of their kids.
And I agree.
Whenever I consider what sites I might have students going to during and after school, I always first take into consideration what kind of advertisements might be there, and it drives me crazy just how prevalent it is and how hard it is to avoid. I know commercialism has its place in our society but it seems to me that the promise of Web 2.0 is often compromised by marketing tactics. My first reaction whenever I see a cool, free site is: how are they getting money for what they are doing? I wish this weren’t so. I wish I could just find something neat, use it and thank the developers for making my world a better place (and open source folks are doing that, so thank you!).
I know my students and my own kids are not immune to the bombardment of products in the world but when sites offer free games, embedded with advertisements right in the game (never mind pop-ups), I just can’t stand it and silently join the forces of teachers who avoid technology for various reasons. Luckily, I can often bring myself back when I remind myself that my role as a teacher is to teach my students how to critically examine these trends, and how to make good choices about technology, and how to look at mass media through the lens of marketing, etc.
Peace (on a rant),