My most recent Working Draft blog post is up over at Middleweb. I mull over the challenges and benefits of being a sixth grade educator with a middle school model mindset teaching in an elementary school.
Just like adolescent kids, we sixth grade teachers often wonder: where do we fit in?
Peace (in the sharing),
Yesterday, students in each of my classes did some podcasting for the National Day on Writing.
They had written an artist statement about a Lions’ Club international Peace Poster project now underway with our art teacher, with a theme of Our World/Our Future. When their posters are hanging up around the school, their artists statement will be part of that. I am still mulling over the best way to connect the podcasts to the posters in a digital space. Maybe Voicethread …
Here are a few of the podcasts:
Peace (in every poster),
If you have not had the free and wonderful K12 Online Conference, you should. It kicks off today and runs for the next two weeks or so, but it doesn’t matter if you miss a day or a presentation since everything is archived online and readily available. You can even go back to the last few years of presentations via the archives. The K12 Online Conference is a powerful example of teachers sharing expertise and exploring the intersections of teaching, learning and technology, and more.
There are themes of open learning and outside learning spaces, and more.
Check out the 2013 K12 Online Conference Schedule.
And here is the opening pre-conference keynote by Shannon McClintock Miller.
See you online!
Peace (in the connections),
Today, I hope to do some podcasting with my sixth graders, using Soundcloud, for the National Day on Writing (which officially was yesterday, I think, but the Sunday spills over into Monday in my mind). This year’s theme is Write to Connect (or Write2Connect), and I played around with some comics and memes yesterday, sharing out into various online spaces to spark the ideas of writing.
How do you celebrate writing?
Peace (in the connections),
I’ve been working with three other folks on creating a collaborative radio show for DS106. Our name is The Merry Hacksters and our 25 minute show is about hacking and remixing in the world, for good. We have pieces about toy and game hacking, a view of Minecraft and remixing from a kid viewpoint, how hacking tools can help social change, and hacking of historical archives. There’s a lot of great stuff in the show (if I don’t mind saying so myself), which gets its official release on Tuesday when DS106 has a release party of sorts.
But I made this short audio teaser this morning, capturing some of the sounds from the show.
Peace (in the listening),
I am tinkering with an software program called, eh, LICEcap that allows you to create animated gifs for screenshots. I hosted the animated gif in Flickr, but to share the animated version from there, you have to navigate to “all sizes” and copy/share the original. A typical embed in Flickr doesn’t do the trick.
And on behalf of the National Day on Writing, I created this:
Thanks to Doug Belshaw for sharing this one out in his newsletter.
Peace (in the writing),
I am fortunate in that I am co-facilitating a roundtable session this morning at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project‘s Best Practices conference. The session I am part of evolved from a year-long partnership in which three WMWP leaders (myself, and two others) led professional development around literacy at an urban elementary/middle school. During the year, we moved from the Common Core implementation, to the introduction of a true Writing Workshop model, to using technology and digital media, to having teachers launch into a classroom inquiry project.
Today, in our Dialogues with Donahue session (the name of the school), we will be talking about the hurdles and the successes that were part of our year together, framed around the essential question of “what does literacy look like” at a school and how do you bring teachers together to begin to foster a shared vision of what writing and reading looks like in the classroom. The inquiry projects were at the heart of this work, allowing teachers to develop an important question and working to make change in their classroom, and school.
This was also the most difficult part, as many of these teachers had become accustomed to stand/deliver professional development, and not inquiry-based work. Some of the teachers will be sharing their journey today and involving the audience in examining their own school climate around literacy and doing some thinking about inquiry themselves.
An added bonus: Peter Elbow, whose work — including the influential Writing Without Teachers — has informed writing instruction for decades now, is the keynote speaker for our WMWP Best Practices event. I have my video camera and he has given me permission to tape his talk, so I will see what I can do with the video in the coming days. Elbow’s topic is about speaking and listening, as tied into his new book Vernacular Eloquence, and the connections to writing.
Peace (in the day ahead),
Over at DS106, the Daily Create the other day was to create a fake news story in the vein of The Onion., with satire dripping off the page. How could I resist that? I decided to poke fun at Connected Educator Month, particularly with the idea of technology and what seems to be an overabundance of commercial/advertising tweets now in my Twitter stream for #ce13 (the hashtag for Connected Educator Month) each day.
I used Mozilla’s xRay Goggles to hack the front page of Educational Week, using the text from the Daily Create prompt for one story and then concocting a few more (including recess for teachers!).
As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about Connected Educator Month. On one hand, it is a fantastic way to create awareness about the power of networks, sharing and connecting beyond the walls of your school. There’s real power and authenticity in those experiences, in my opinion. On the other hand, it seems like commercial ventures see the Connected Educator Month as a way to target teachers for their wares. I just went through my Twitter followers and removed about 15 to 20 accounts that were pure business ventures trying to sell lesson plans, interactive boards, technology solutions, etc. That rubs me the wrong way.
Thus, the hack.
Peace (in finding balance),
Tapestry, which is a neat online and app tool that allows you to create “tap-able” stories, just released a new tool called HieroGlyphy yesterday that me intrigued. You can now embed animated .gifs into the story itself. I adapted a #25wordstory of mine that I posted on Twitter earlier this week and used the new tool to create this story (so, it combines Twitter, animated .gifs and Tapestry — thus, the mishmash). I’m still tinkering with the tool (and note to teachers: the .gifs in the Tapestry library may not be appropriate for kids). I don’t know if you can upload your own .gifs (I don’t think so).
And this morning, after Washington reached their 11th hour agreement, I wrote this one:
Peace (in the mishmash),