Newspapers, past-present-future

This clip from CBS is an interesting piece that looks at the history of newspapers, and the advent of blogs, and wonders whether blogs are someday to follow the downward path of newspapers. The video is well worth a quick view if you have any interest in the media (old and new).

Watch CBS Videos Online
Peace (in the press),

The Last Slice of Life

(This is the last post of the Slice of Life project)

Has it really been a full month of daily slicing? I guess so. I had not intended to write every day in March for Slice of Life but I got so caught up in the moments, and the network of connections, that I just kept right on going as the days of March rolled along. I appreciate all the work that Stacey and Ruth put into Slice of Life and I am amazed at the quality of writing that I found when I went back to travel around the blogs (not nearly enough … I apologize).

I was thinking about Slice of Life and its effects as I stood staring at the white bucket hanging from our tree with a tube running into the bark. Our neighbor taps our trees for sap and then boils it in his yard into syrup. The kids love this — the fire and thick smoke draws kids from near and far — and like Slice of Life, it only lasts for a short intense period of time. The sap runs when the conditions are right and then it stops. But the sweet taste of memories remains with us for some time, as we get some of the syrup in little jars. Our neighbor has already packed up his fire and syrup pans but the bucket is still on our tree for now, ready to collect whatever may still drip out. But, we’re on our own now if we want to create syrup.

Slicers, I hope all of your words keep flowing like the sap from our tree, and that your experiences are just as sweet. You are welcome to tap my tree any time you want — read the words, watch the movies, listen to the songs, engage in conversation. In the end, we all get something out of the connections we make in these virtual writing networks. Projects like Slice of Life remind us of that.

Thank you for sharing your month with me.

Peace (in slices),

(audio) Slice of Life: songs

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)

I’ve been tinkering with some new songs lately, and as with most of my writing, a lot of it will not go farther than my living room. Not long ago, my band broke up (amicably) and I have been playing guitar with one of the members, working through some material and planning for an open mic night here and there. It’s been fun and creative and who knows where it will lead. Yesterday, I was plunking some chords and this song came out. It is pretty rough and it may not go anywhere, but I’ll share it with you as it was a slice of yesterday when the house was quiet. The lyrics are inspired by that quietness and about being called “mean” by one of my kids recently for laying down the law of the house (thus, the reference to me being a “mean ‘ol man” in the break of the song).

The vocals are, well, shoddy. But I wanted to get it recorded so that I would not forget it, in case it ever amounts to anything more. This one is called “Way out of Tune” because we always joke how I can’t keep one of the strings on my guitar in tune and my voice, well, is often out of tune. It’s good to poke fun at yourself from time to time.

Listen to Way Out of Tune, the demo

Peace (in music),

Days in Couplets, released

It was a bit of a poetic challenge this week for the Day in a Sentence folks: create a reflective couplet. I am pleased to present the rhymes and semi-rhymes and more:

First off, Anne M. admits that the rhyme thing … well, it didn’t pan out. But Day in a Sentence if nothing if not flexible, so:

A few days of adventure have just passed me by
It started off calmly , with problems so few,
Then a meeting in Melbourne, my husband came too
We drove in a car to get there on cue
Unfortunately, just at dawn we hit a kangaroo
It went down and damaged our car which is not new
We were able to drive on to the city oh, so far
My husband went to see the grand prix live with cars
And at night we slept above a nightclub full of jive.
After seeing the footy albeit ‘live’

Cynthia seems like she is having a blast.

Splashing in mud puddles one after one
Tommy LaRue and My-My having an afternoon of fun

Val captures the sense of freedom, no matter the weather:

Seven days mindless fun
Regardless of the lack of sun

There is a clear sense of “rush” to the lines of Marg‘s couplets, isn’t there? But also, a hint of something calmer on the other side of chaos.

Student teachers, meetings and 2 sports days in the mix
Some colleague camaraderie was the perfect little fix.
5 days left till end of term, I’m dragging to the line,
2 weeks of reading, catching up, and then we’ll all be fine.

No, Alex, it is not bad. No stress with Days in a Sentence. Just sharing and reflection. I won’t count the syllables or check the rhymes. Plus, you’re on break!

Off on Spring Break for an entire week
Hoping for my Work in Progress to tweak

I can always count on Ken to come up with something witty with his poetry, which is like a first language to him.

The day has come to split a thought in two
And write a pair of lines to rhyme on cue.

It’s a trio of couplets! (I like the sound of that). Thanks, Alan.

It’s football season in Australia
My team got beaten, that’s a failure!

Today has dawned with clouds of grey
Where is the sun to light the way?

Is the gloom that blankets me
Part of my sport misery?

sara wrote about tests, too (like me), which don’t make for fun rhymes but she, of course, found a way to be playful about it.

finally, our stupid state tests are all done,
so show us the door, we’re ready to run!

Gail P. gives poetry a try and comes out shining. Way to go, Gail.

Pushing through the week
At times with heavy load,
I long for days to pass, to bring the week its close
But then I am renewed,
A student’s learning shows,
And I’m reminded why – this is the path I chose.

See you later this week.

Peace (in poems),


(video) Slice of Life: playing with photostory

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)
There was so much going on yesterday — from the New England/New York Writing Project Retreat, to the convening of combined Technology Teams from Western Massachusetts and Hudson Valley writing projects, to bringing a van full of 8 and 9 year olds to see Aliens V. Monsters (I was not impressed but the kids loved it) to ….. — but I want to focus on some play time.

In preparation for a Digital Storytelling Conference next weekend, Mary F., Tina and I sat around my computer in a comfortable, dark barroom of the Hotel Northampton as I showed them a bit about Photostory3. The two of them — wonderful people, wonderful teachers and curious technologists — will be leading a session in a few days on the tool and although both have tinkered with the software, we wanted to do something together.

So, we grabbed some old images from my laptop (left over from a trip to Chico, California, for the National Writing Project’s Tech Matters retreat, when my friend Lynne C. was showing me her Photobooth program on her Mac) and on the fly, created this little doozy. It was great fun and that sense of engagement is exactly what I see in my students when they work with the program, and what we hope teachers will experience themselves on Saturday.

Here, then, is our masterpiece:

Peace (in mirror images),

Slice of Life: Connecting with Network Friends

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)

Yesterday, after a rush home from school and a quick hello to the family, I was back out the door to the first day of a retreat of the New England Writing Project, where our conversations will be centering around ways to keep teachers in our National Writing Project sites connected. I met up with two other Slicers (Hey ya, Bonnie and Tdawg) who were also there, as our focus will be on using technology (ie, social networking) to keep teachers in the loop of the work of their sites.

It was great to see them, along with two others (Mary F. — from Day in a Sentence — and Steve) and our discussions were focused on a presentation we are collaboratively giving today to the various site leaders on the rationale of using technology for what we call “continuity” in the writing project, and then, more importantly: the logistics of the launch of a networking project that will get underway in the fall. (Oh yeah, and Mary and Tdawg and I are also talking about next weekend’s Digital Storytelling event run by our site).

In the midst of those discussions, we looked and discussed the merits of Twitter and Facebook, checked out a Ning site that I set up for technology liaisons within the National Writing Project, dove into Photostory for a few minutes and just had a rich conversation. Plus, I had a Guinness, so it was all good, and today will be even better, I bet.

Virtual friends are nice but when you couple that kind of sharing and writing with meeting/seeing/reconnecting with someone in person, it makes the friendships even better, right? So, when is the Slice of Life vacation package going to be announced?

Peace (in the moment),

Slice of Life: Off to Mars

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)

What kind of whim is this? One I rarely pass up.

I saw someone (Bud the Teacher?) post something about sending your name to Mars on a microchip in a future Mars Rover via NASA. This is my kind of adventure: I get to send part of me without having to endure the grueling travel. So, I did it, and now my name will be forever etched upon a chip heading to Mars, although whether anyone or anything(!) will ever read it is another story for another time (and another place, too, I bet).

But, at least I am certified, with a number and everything. And I am clearly Part of History. (You can come, too, if you want. I’ll bring the beverages if you bring the food. We’ll have a grand ‘ol time — plenty of stories to tell. Just think the Slice of Lives we could put together.)

Mars Science Lab: Send Your Name to Mars

Peace (in space travel),

Slice of Life: baseball begins

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)

Last night, I sat in on a meeting of coaches for the local Little League teams as they “drafted” young players. I offered to help a neighbor coach his team this year. My son was on his team last year and we think highly of this man, and plus, I wanted to see what went on behind the doors. Basically, all players are evalulated and rated following an evaluation day earlier this month, and then it goes around the table as coaches choose players for their teams. It’s difficult. We wanted a balanced team, both in terms of abilities and also personalities. I was happy with the outcome, even though there are a few names on the team that we do not know.

And next week, practice will begin. Baseball season is here.

Peace (on the mound),

Days in a Couplet

With Poetry Month around the corner, I thought we could once again try Day in a Couplet, in which you boil down your week or day into two lines that rhyme. No other rules or regulations to stymie your creative minds. Use the comment link on this post, and I will collect and republish the couplets sometime over the coming weekend.

Here is mine:

Next week shall bring us the big state tests
And along with that, unfortunately: stress

Peace (in rhyme),

(video) Slice of Life: So you wanna play Quidditch?

(This is part of the Slice of Life project)
This is a slice, a few days removed, as I have finished up the Quidditch video project that we shot with kids last week. The idea here is to begin to share our game of Quidditch with other schools and to celebrate playing the game for 10 years at our school. This project was fun to edit, if a bit time-consuming, but I like the final product. I realized early on that the video footage of the kids playing the game was too hectic to really understand from an outsider’s standpoint, so I moved to use still shots with the voice-over from the book.

Eventually, this will find a home at our school website, with written explanations to go along with the video.

Peace (in golden snitches),