Audio Postcard: Second Week of School

DSC01722 (2) -01 DSC01722 (2) -01 flickr photo by suzyhazelwood shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

The First Six Weeks of School research project is tracking through audio postcards the experiences of teachers going back to school. I did an audio postcard on the first day of school and now, this second one is from the second week of school. I talk about community building and consistency of schedule, and how both are so vital in my mind to the beginning days of the year. The recording is done on my phone app, rather impromptu.

Peace (every week forward),
Kevin

Slice of Life: Not Enough Standing

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

I’ve never been a sitter in the classroom. My chair at my desk rarely gets used when school is in full and regular session. I am always on the move, working with students on their writing or cruising the room to answer questions or to check on how things are going. When I write, I sit in a student desk in the midst of the kids and write along with them.

Or I’m standing, talking, dancing, jumping. Whatever it takes.

So this start to the year, at home for two weeks of Distance Learning to begin, at my kitchen table, it feels so sedentary and stuck, like I am glued to the wooden chair. Every sensory break in our Distance Learning schedule that we have, I am outside, playing with the dogs in the yard or walking at a brisk pace through the neighborhood. Anything to get moving. I wish I had a standing desk here at home, so I could get up and be on my feet.

And of course, I urge my students to do the same at every break we’ve built into the day — get away from the screen, get some fresh air, go run and jump and play, be active.

I don’t know how computer programmers or other office workers do it, sitting all day with a screen as companion. It will do for now, this situation, because of the Pandemic we are in, but this kind of teaching from a chair is just not good for the body.

Peace (on the go),
Kevin

Upon The Pendulum Swings Hope

I had been working on a music track with hope in my mind when I learned of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, so I quickly pivoted the song to honoring her and her words, and her voice. The Hope image comes from my friend, Sheri Edwards, and the colorful spectrogram running behind Sheri’s art was created from the audio track itself. Some of us in CLMOOC are working to create pieces of art related to the theme of Hope.

Peace (and hope),
Kevin

A Poem on the Passing of RBG

Upon the Passing of RBG

Stunned, but not
surprised, and the first
thing I thought of upon news
of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing
was my own mother, long gone,
the first feminist activist I knew,
and loved, loudly forcefully
arguing demanding articulating
for recognition of the rights
of all women to the cluster
of us in our small space

We listened
We heard
We changed
but did this country?

Will we still?

Peace (before it gets worse),
Kevin

CLMOOC: Hopeful Explorations

Hope is a Four Panel Comic

Within the CLMOOC community, some of us are starting to chat about how to launch a collaborative project around the idea of “hope” as counter to the darkness of the world right now. A few of us are toying around with the theme in different ways (comic, above).

More info to come later .. I hope …

This picture (below) was a hope-themed response to a Daily Create via DS106 yesterday that asked for a picture or gif with a girl, a cow and the moon.

Hope is a Girl with a Moon for a Guide

Peace (is where we begin),
Kevin

Audio Postcard: The First Day Back to School (sort of)

DSC01722 (2) -01
DSC01722 (2) -01 flickr photo by suzyhazelwood shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

I’m taking part in a research project that documents teachers and the first weeks of school, back from the Pandemic. We’re asked to record our experiences as audio postcards.

Here’s my first audio postcard, after the first day (yesterday). I talk about the successful moments and the strange situation of teaching from home. I’m doing these on my phone, with a mobile app, to record in the moment.

Peace (talking it out),
Kevin

At School, but At Home

Video Chat Reality

We return to teaching today. For the younger grades in our school, it will be in-person, hybrid. For the older students, like my sixth graders, it will be remote learning, for a few weeks, and then we do a phased-in hybrid. Since our school Internet can’t handle so many video conferences at once, many of us teachers are working from home for now (fiber upgrade coming).

I’m ready and excited and nervous and anxious, as is natural, but being home for the first day of school with students is one of the oddest feelings I’ve had. Not just all the technology glitches that might happen to disrupt the plans, but just not being in the physical space with colleagues to talk to in the hallway and with students to connect with in a shared four-wall classroom space.

Well, so it begins …

Peace (from the start),
Kevin

Comic: Revival, School or Circus?

Revival, Circus or School

I really appreciate that our principal worked to get our school a bunch of large tents for outside mask breaks and learning areas as we deal with social distancing. But the school grounds look strange with all of the tents.

Peace (breathe it in),
Kevin

Book Review: Keep Scrolling ‘Till You Feel Something

This book is a joke. I mean, you can’t even read the cover of Keep Scrolling ‘Til You Feel Something: Twenty-One Years of Humor from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency once you take the paper sleeve off. You have to hold the binding up to the light, and twist it a bit, just to realize, the entire thing … just a big fat joke. Sixteen books better than this one? Is that what it says? Only sixteen? ‘Cause I got a larger list going somewhere over here.

Skip over the 600+ pages of nonsense to read more about the contributing writers. Informative? Well, sort of, if you can get past all the insider jokey references to humor writers, about living in either New York or Hollywood, and a smorgasbord of deadpan verbiage. (say that last bit out loud in the voice of the Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef … now, THAT’s funny stuff) Even the final pages of Additional Contributors are a big joke. Email as someone to thank? I think not.

Then go on, go on and dig your way through the pages of this brick of a book. Don’t hurt yourself as you hold this behemoth of paper. It’s heft might hurt your wrists. Drop it on your foot and you’re for sure on a trip to the emergency room, signing away your life to the health care industry. I blame the editors.

Before you open the book up, though, it’s fair to ask: McSweeney? Who’s the heck is he? Or her? What’s that? You won’t find a good answer inside. Instead you get so-called Back Stories and Behind the Scenes malarky (I’m stealing that one back from Biden) that will provide little to no insight into McSweeney it/him/herself.

And just look at the writers here. Jake Tapper? Really? Are we to believe the lefty CNN guy is funny? Come on. Jake Tapper, who are you, really, anyway? Plus lots of names you never heard of. John Hodgman? Ellie Kemper? Mingled in with some people you may think you might have heard of once, but, you know, probably not. Given the joke that this book really is, the names are likely jokes, too. You could spend a few hours trying to crack the humor code, but why bother? You’re not going to laugh anyway.

It’s not that kind of joke book. The one that makes you laugh.

Last of all, why buy the book when all of this material is apparently online? For free. If you can find it. If you care to look. Yet the book costs a pretty penny, let me tell you, and the joke is on me, and you, if you spent your last penny on the purchase. At least, you won’t have to indulge again for another 21 years. If books are even around. Stories may be gone, too, for all we know.

Yep, Keep Scrolling ‘Til You Feel Something is a joke. And so is this review. I am full of malarky and loving it.

Peace (it’s in the book, next to the decorative gourds),
Kevin