Even Cyborgs get the Flu

It’s hard not to resist making fun of all of our worries about the H1N1 flu virus (even if it does concern me, given the germs that linger in my classroom).

Peace (and chicken soup),


The Return of Day in a Sentence

dayinsentenceiconWelcome back to Day in a Sentence, which took a respite from the action but is now back in action. I invite you to consider joining us for this week’s Day in a Sentence — the first since June, I believe — and it is simple to participate.

  • Reflect upon your week, or a day in your week
  • Boil it down to a single sentence
  • Share it here by using the Comment Link with this blog post
  • I will gather up all of the sentences and publish them as another blog post sometime over the weekend (probably on Sunday)

I am starting to set up a bimonthly schedule for Day in a Sentence to roam the blogging planet and if you are interested (a bunch of you already expressed interest via our Day in a Sentence survey, so no need to repeat), please leave me a note with your sentence.

Here is my Day in a Sentence:

I am getting geared up for going down the river on our annual Whitewater Rafting Adventure with our entire sixth grade.

I look forward to your words.

Peace (in the sentence),

Examining the Exquisite Corpse

The Exquisite Corpse

What a name — Exquisite Corpse — and just that name alone got my students thinking and writing yesterday. The Exquisite Corpse is an activity in which one person starts a piece of writing (or artwork), and passes it (the corpse) along to the next person, who adds to it and then passes it along. The end result is a fascinating hodgepodge of creative energy and often bizarre offshoots from the original idea.

Yesterday, we talked about this concept and then read aloud together the first ebook  installment of an Exquisite Corpse story that has been started by author Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and famous for his Stinky Cheeseman stories (ask any kid, they’ll tell you), and which will be added to every two weeks by famous authors — such as Katherine Paterson, Natalie Babbit, Steven Kellogg and more — over the next year (yep — a year long novel writing project published online in a flash format).

My students were fascinated by the myriad of clues (a wonderful lesson in foreshadowing, by the way) left by Scieszka in the first chapter as twin siblings Joe and Nancy (not their real names, they will soon find out) are on a train (with dynamite on the bridge ahead) trying to rescue their parents by solving clues. Oh and along the way, they will meet such things as a monkey dressed as a pirate, mad scientists, two meatballs, a roller-skating baby and Star Wars lunchbox, plus much more mayhem. How in the world the story will unfold will be interesting to watch.

We used Scieszka’s first chapter for our own short story writing in class yesterday, continuing the adventure along. There are many twists and turns (one story featured talking meatballs, another had aliens from another time dimension) and my hope that when we read the next chapter next week, we can discuss why the author (Katherine Paterson) did what she will do with her writing.

Peace (in the unfolding mysteries),


Scientific Method Adventure: a graphic novel review

Yesterday, my review of a book in a really engaging graphic novel series finally hit the page at The Graphic Classroom. It revolves around a series of graphic novels called Max Axiom, who goes on adventures around scientific themes. Capstone Press, which publishes the books, also just put out a new series in which a character — Isabel Soto — goes on historical-based adventures (I sent in a review of The Great Wall of China).

As part of my review, I interviewed my fellow teacher — Lisa Rice — about using the Max Axiom graphic novel in her classroom as she was teaching our students about the Scientific Method. Lisa loved the idea and I think the use of these graphic novels opens the door to comprehension for some students (not all, perhaps).

Peace (in the books),

Introducing: Boolean’s New Cyborg Friend

So, here is my new character which Boolean built out of old abandoned computers that he has gotten off a site called Freejunk.. More strips are coming with her in it. Actually, in the early days of Boolean Squared, Funk the llama was an alien from outer space who crash-landed on Boolean’s lawn. But, I decided to move away from that idea and made Funk a llama who loves the music of James Brown (I still like that idea).

I guess I have slightly resurrected an early idea of Funk with Boolean’s new cyborg. I think she is cute.

Peace (in the parts),

Imminent Return of Day in a Sentence

I took the summer off from hosting the Day in a Sentence feature that mostly takes place here at this blog, but also travels very nicely (it packs tightly into virtual pockets) to other blogs. I’ve been the main host for some time and I started to have doubts about whether to keep it going, to be honest. (And as a back story, the Day in Sentence did not originate here — it started with another blogging friend — The Reflective Teacher — who decided to retire from blogging and he gave me the go-ahead to continue with Day in a Sentence at my blog, along with help and wonderful support from from Bonnie).

Anyway, last week, I sent an email out to the 100-plus folks on my Day in a Sentence list and asked them to take a quick survey to gauge their interest in continuing the feature and if they would be willing to take on more of the hosting duties. I was so happy that so many folks took the survey (see the results above). Clearly, we all see the value of this reflective writing and the connections that we make. Not one person said “no” to the concept of Day in a Sentence. That was a powerful statement to me.

It also helped that Bonnie and I used Day in a Sentence as a prompt at our new iAnthology networking site and folks just loved the idea and wrote such powerful reflections. It reminded me of why I got hooked so long ago.

So, here is what I think:

  • We’ll keep Day in a Sentence up and running;
  • We’ll move it from once a week to twice a month;
  • We’ll have many more guest hosts this year (thanks to all of you who offered … I’ll be in contact soon)
  • And Day in a Sentence will start up again this coming week.

If you are visiting this blog and want to host the Day in a Sentence feature one of these weeks, just let me know via the comment section here and I will add you to the eventual master list of hosts.

I like that Day in a Sentence will be on the move, traveling the world on the fuel of words!

Peace (in a sentence),


Boolean and the Cyborg

Here is my third installment of Boolean Squared as Boolean culls through a pile of old computers to begin building his own cyborg. Dangerous, you say? Perhaps. But comics are all about danger. Wait until you see what he constructs from the carcasses of discarded computers.

Peace (in the refuse),

I’m a Curator — You can be, too

Loraine County Community College Invitation Ticket
I’ve written about the upcoming National Day on Writing which is being sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (and supported by my own National Writing Project) but it is coming up soon and I want to keep getting the word out about the event. (see the flier)

Here is how NCTE describes it:

Writing is a daily practice for millions of Americans. But few notice how integral writing has become to daily life in the 21st century.To draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in and help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft, NCTE has established October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing. To celebrate composition in all its forms, we are inviting diverse participants –students, teachers, parents, grandparents, service and industrial workers, managers, business owners, legislators, retirees, and many more — to submit a piece of writing to the National Gallery of Writing.

The National Gallery is shaping up to be an interesting site where hopefully all sorts of writing will be posted and perused and show the power of our writing as a nation.

So, as part of the new venture that Bonnie and I are helping to foster — an online social space for National Writing Project teachers, mostly in the New England/New York areas which we call the iAnthology (and which now has more than 100 members) — we have created our own gallery for the National Day on Writing and are going to be trying to urge folks in our network to consider publishing some of the pieces they are developing.

It occurs to me, though, that I would love to find a way to get my students involved and I need to sort through the various release forms and think about what that would be. I know one person has set up a gallery designed specifically for graphic stories and comics, so that may be an option for us to consider (if I can get that far with my students).

And you can set up a Gallery, too, or at consider posting some of your own writing, or your students’ writing. Let’s celebrate our love of writing and show its power as a nation.

CAVEAT: I wonder how many pieces will be posted that in a multimedia format (podcasts, videos, etc.)

I do love this powerful statement from NCTE:

NCTE members value writing as a tool for learning and live the importance of writing daily.

Peace (in the sharing),