Current Events … as rap

This is an interesting site … The Week in Rap takes the current events and creates a video, with a rap song whose lyrics explain the news of the day. They do a pretty decent job, too, and I bet kids would be engaged to listen and watch and then think about the importance. And, of course, perhaps then they could make their own Current Events Rap song.

Here is the video about the inauguration:

The Week in Rap – Obama’s Inauguration from Week in Rap on Vimeo.

Peace (in bustin’ rhymes of the times),

Talking about the element of Comics

Scott McCloud has put out a series of books (Undertstanding Comics, etc.) that have really brought a focus to the conceptual design and creation of comics and graphic novels to a new level. He fearlessly explores the literary aspects of comics and about how the combination of the visual and the word — and the ability to break down any and all walls of traditional storytelling structures.

Here is Scott, giving a great talk at the TED conference. It’s part autobiography, part comic book discussion, with more great insights.

Peace (in comics),

Meta-Tech-Trends within the Horizon Report


The Horizon Report from the New Media Consortium is always an interesting document and I have not yet read the 2009 edition (but I intend, too, and you can too, with this link to the pdf). The organization does a fine job of thinking of applications that are impacting education now and into the future.

The main topics in this 2009 report:

Time-to-Adoption: One year or Less

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years

I noticed that they created a list of what they are calling MetaTrends, which are based on five years worth of research and the list seems intriguing.

Here is a bit from the Horizon Wiki:

While the currents and eddies of emerging technology are complex, it is clear that the Report has been following at least seven metatrends with some regularity:

It seems to me that these trends represent a greater integration of technology into our daily lives, with more concepts of collaboration and user-generated content into the Cloud world. Plus, the idea of us becoming part of more intricate networks makes a lot of sense. There is a lot here to digest, but it is well worth a look.

Peace (on the horizon),

On the prowl for Days in a Sentence

Hello out there in the wired world!

This week’s edition of Day in a Sentence is back to the basics: Reflect on your week or a day in your week, and then boil it down to a single sentence, add it as a comment to this post, and then wait with high levels of anticipation for this weekend when I release them all together as a collaborative, community effort.

Sounds simple, right? You bet. And you are invited to join us — veterans and newcomers alike. This is not one of the exclusive spaces — we aim for inclusiveness. So please add your Day in a Sentence. We want to know how things are going for you this week.

Here is mine (listen to the podcast):

My classroom was full of laughter this week as my students found joy in the creation of new words, which will be added to a four-year-and-growing online collaborative wiki dictionary project that already has hundreds of invented words.

And here is a little video introduction I had created for the dictionary wiki that I refer to in my sentence (I will share out more about that project in the coming days). The passage here is from Frindle, by Andrew Clements, and it all about the power of the dictionary.

Peace (in words),

A Great Series of Resources

Tom B. has created a couple of amazing slideshows about using Google Docs, Google Earth, Interactive Whiteboards and Flip Video cameras in the classroom. The ideas are rich and if you are wondering about these programs, Tom’s slideshows should point you in the right direction.

I found this one about the flip/portable video cameras to be very helpful:

Peace (in sharing),


Audio Letters to the New President

Super Obama

My sixth graders have been working on writing letters to the president and yesterday, we podcasted them reading them letters (which will be mailed off to the White House). Their writing was very impressive, I think, with topics on the environment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, education and, of course, the Obama girls and their dog.

Here is a sample of a few of the letters.

We were too young to take part in the National Writing Project/Google venture Letters to the Next President that took place during the primaries but I think our students feel as if they do have a voice and they seem realistic about the problems facing our countries and yet, they remain very optimistic that President Obama has the power to rally the nation.

Peace (in student voices),

When Obama Met Spidey

I write reviews of graphic novels and comics for The Graphic Classroom on a regular basis as I continue to explore the ways in which image and words can come together for our young readers and emerging writers (I am considering teaching a summer camp on graphic novels and comics — what do you think? Would kids come?).

This week, I grabbed a copy of the most recent Spider-man comic because it has new President Obama on the cover, and the review just got posted over at the Graphic Classroom. The comic is flying off the shelves at comic book stores — a signal of both the allure of Obama-mania and the desire to learn more about the man (and maybe the continued popularity of Spider-man, too)

Head over and read the review of what happens when pop culture meets the comic book world.

Peace (in comics),

How to insult your teacher and get away with it …


We are in the midst of a unit that looks at the origins and the fluidity of our English Language. Yesterday, we talked about Shakespeare (making the connection between Hamlet and Lion King was an eye-opener for many of them) and about the power of language that the Bard used when having one character tear another one down with words.

So, I passed out some insults taken from the plays and told my students that this was their chance: they could fling and hurl verbal insults from the list at me. Many blushed, others laughed, and then they got into it. The old words rolled off their tongues — not always easily, of course, and they laughed even harder when I noted that they would have some things to say that night when their parents asked what they did in school that day.

In one of the writing classes, I recorded them. I am sure you want to hear, right?

Listen to the insults

And if you are curious about the reference sheet I gave them, here it is … feel free to use it.

Peace (in the power of language),

Voicethreaded Days in a Sentence


This week’s Day in a Sentence moves over to the Voicethread platform. If you have not used Voicethread, it is a wonderful application for merging voice and/or writing with images. The direct link to our Day in a Sentence Voicethread is here or you can use the embedded Voicethread down below.

We ask that you boil down your week or a day in your week to a single sentence and then share it out with us.

Peace (in threaded voices),