Days in haikus

I put a challenge out this week for Day in a Sentence — use the poetic form of a haiku to reflect on your week. Here are the haikus that were submitted. I know some folks pass when it comes to Day in a Haiku, so we may have more readers than writers this week. That’s OK. (Note: Day in a Sentence is now bi-monthly and Bonnie will be guest hosting in two weeks. We hope you can join us.)

A shaken Ken writes:

The day I wrote this,
An earthquake shook Wellington;
I was distracted.

Cynthia notes that her haiku is inspired by her students work with a town partnership.

Festival highlight…
Students read “My Homeplace Is…”
Oh, so proud teacher.

Jim/Jan (who is new to Day in a Sentence, so welcome — not sure if it is Jim or Jan who wrote …) noticed the week on a bright note.

What a week it was
it flew right by with a whirl
lots of laughs and smiles

sara loves her meetings! (slight mocking … sorry)

grade level team meetings,
you mock my crafted agenda
with off-task tangents.

On the hunt for a house is Amy.

Looking for a house
Oh so many to choose from
This will take a while

Glen — my comic strip mentor — has such a marvelous way with words.

Electric sparks spit
Bold digital sleight of hand
Canvas refreshes

Paul had a tractor. Now he has memories.

Sold my old tractor
She was a beauty Ford N
Sad to see her go

Gail P. seeks some peace in the days of hectic energy.

aiming for zen-like
coaxing stress from the schedule
takes bit of finesse

Cheryl turned to technology for her haiku, using a site called Computerized Haiku, which she suggests might be a starting point for students who struggle with haiku.


Thanks to all you Haiku-ians and see you in two weeks over at Digital Bonnie.

Peace (in three lines),

PS — I used the site recommended by Cheryl and came out with his:


Mr. Teach goes viral

Here is the second comic about Mr. Teach’s accident with his Smartypants Board, which just happened to be captured on video and, well, as most things are now — the video went viral.

Peace (in the pain),

Mr. Teach Takes it on the Chin

Some of you may know that I had to get four stitches on my chin last week after a self-inflicted injury during a whitewater rafting trip with my students. It has to do with a bucket, the desire to drench some students with water and a slippery boot. Ouch!

Of  course, I can’t let a moment like that get away from me, so Mr. Teach — sorry, dude — has a run-in with his Smartypants Board and injures his chin, too. I decided to make it a “virtual field trip” experience because the idea of getting injured on a virtual field trip had me chuckling.

Peace (in the face),

Creating a Class Biopoem Podcast with Myna

The other day, as my students were finishing up a Biopoem writing project, we worked together to pull pieces from their work and create a collective Biopoem Podcast that would represent everyone in the class. In the past, I have used my little handheld voice recorder to do this. This year, with my new Interactive Board shining brightly at the front of the room, I decided to do something a bit different.

I decided to use the new audio site, Myna, and allowed students to record and then watch me go through the process of mixing the podcast. They were completely fascinated by the process and a number of them asked for the web address for the site to try on their own (with parent permission, I warned them).

Take a listen to one of the classes:

Class Biopoem Podcast

Myna is part of a free suite of tools from Aviary.Com and it is still in beta. But, it is an interesting alternative to Garageband (and does not require you to be on a Mac), although Myna a bit limited right now in loops that you can use.

In an earlier post, someone asked about the differences between Myna and Audacity.

So, here goes:

Myna is web-based. Audacity is a local program.

Myna has loops. Audacity does not have loops.

Myna limits each live recording to just one minute (meaning you have to divide up a longer podcast). Audacity has no limit to recording time.

Myna allows you to export as MP3 and Wave, as does Audacity (if you have the LAME encoder).

Myna gives you an instant embed code (although the code seems buggy and I had to remix a file a few times and then gave up and used my to host the files). Audacity — since it is not web-based — does not allow you to embed.

Myna has a pretty design, with color coding and simple drop-and-drag options. Audacity is basic in design and streamlined.

Myna has fewer advanced options for dealing and messing with recorded audio tracks, but more than a enough to create interesting podcasts. Audacity has many levels of tools.

Neither one costs a penny. (love that)

I hope that helps people do some exploring. I think Myna is worth trying out, although for now, I am doing any recording there under my own account, as my students do not have individual emails. The Aviary folks, however, mention they might be developing a school-centered platform, so I will keep an eye on that.

Peace (in the sound),

Email and Principal Penn

Yesterday, I received an after-school email from my principal– joking that he noted a resemblance to Principal Penn. If so, that was certainly not intentional (really!). And as I noted in an earlier post, my own principal is as far from the tech integration spectrum as you can possibly be from Principal Penn (although he will be coming along as I develop him further). Where Principal Penn is clearly so out of the loop that you could not imagine such a thing, my boss carries around his Mac laptop to all meetings and urges teachers forward with technology.

I told my own principal the truth: Principal Penn is yet another side of me — the side that sort of wonders about the validity of technology in the classroom and the character reflects the periodic feeling that I am on the wrong side of the curve sometimes. I hope that side of me in my comics gets balanced out by the positive energy of Boolean and Mr. Teach. (OK, so maybe not Urth so much).

Comic feng shui?


Peace (in the Penn),


Day in a Haiku!


I’m going poetic this week. For Day in a Sentence (which will now become a twice-monthly activity as we share hosting among many bloggers, starting with Bonnie in two weeks), I ask that you consider a haiku reflection of your day, or your week.

Traditional haikus are five-seven-five, but who’s counting? You write your haiku as you see fit.

To contribute, just click on the comment link to this post and I will gather up the haikus and post them together over the weekend.

Here is mine:

Emotional fragile
student almost melted down:
But stress turned to smiles

Peace (in three lines),

The Pat Hunter Award

I had the honor this weekend to be given the Patricia Hunter Award for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. The award is named after one of our site’s founders, and although Pat Hunter passed away before I became part of our network, her spirit remains infused in our site today.

Pat Hunter nurtured teacher leaders and saw things in people that they may not have seen in themselves. She was a mentor and a leader. In a monograph book project that I worked on for a few years for the National Writing Project about the history and inquiry done at our WMWP site, Pat Hunter’s name and legacy came through loud and clear in many of the stories that formed the center of our work.

I am greatly honored, therefore, to have been this year’s recipient of this award and follow in the footsteps of many past recipients whose teaching and leadership I greatly admire. I also took the time during my acceptance to encourage teachers to continue, or begin to, explore multi-modal composition with their students and to use technology as a means for composition in the classroom. I guess I couldn’t miss a chance to stand on the pedestal for a second or two.

Peace (in humility),