Dialogue Notebooks: Using And Creating AI Thinking Partners

NowComment and AI: Dialogue Journal

I am fortunate to be connected to folks in my National Writing Project circles like Paul Allison, who administers Youth Voices network and the NowComment annotation site. Paul has been at the forefront in my circles in thinking a lot and experimenting with the possibilities of Generative AI as a technology tool that could help readers and writers.

I had noticed that Paul and a few others NWP-affiliated folks were experimenting with the concept of AI Thinking Partners at NowComment — AI generated bots that engage with a text — but I have only just dipped my toes into what he has been doing, now that my school year is over. Then I saw him ask folks to experiment by keeping a daily Dialogue Journal in NowComment, and experiment with the AI Thinking Partners that he and others have been building out (using the API of ChatGPT).

I jumped in and I have made my journal (from June 24-July 1) public, so feel free to peruse my daily writing, which was themed each day on thinking about Artificial Intelligence (which I have been doing a lot since ETMOOC2 in the Spring). Then, after my journal writing, I would ask the Thinking Partner to engage a bit in discussions with me in the margins.

Read my journal

Paul also met with me to talk through some of the steps to creating my own Thinking Partners, and I made three: JazzHands, with a creative arts persona; HaikuHere, which is designed to turn a text into haiku; and WriteOutRanger, which is an experiment for the Write Out project to have an AI “park ranger” engage in discussions about place-based learning.

AI Thinking Partners

I am still thinking through the elements of all this, and wondering in the back of my head how this might be helpful or not to students in a classroom. For now, I am in experiment mode, playing around and trying to learn through experience the possibilities of embedded AI Thinking Partners. I know I need to learn a lot more about Prompt Engineering, and Paul and others have gathered together a lot of resources to explore on this topic.

Peace (and Inquiry),

PS — Do you want to set up your own AI Dialogue Notebook in NowComment? Here are the instructions at the NowComment site. Let me know how it goes.

Tiny Art Gallery

Tiny Art Boxes

This was an interesting surprise. I was biking the local rail trail when I spied a box up on a stand, and thought it might be a new Little Free Library. Nope. It was a Tiny Art 4 All display, one of five newly installed small boxes of public artwork located along the trail that will feature local artists, changing the art every few weeks for the year. I stopped at a second box a bit later and will need to go another time to find the other three. I love our small art-centered city.

Peace (and Art),

This Morning: A Poem of Decay and A Song of the Future

Gradual Decay

My mornings often begin with a poem (usually from a one-word prompt off Mastodon) and a response to the DS106 Daily Create. The poem was from the word “gradual” and the video/song was from a prompt about the future via an image of Bryan Alexander giving a presentation about the future. The music I composed was themed in three movements: Curiosity, Concern, and Creativity.

Peace (Making It),

PS – I’ve also been doing something related to further explorations of AI Thinking Partners with my NWP friend, Paul Allison, but I will share more about that another day.

Remembering Duke (Farewell, Old Friend)

Duke the Dog Collage

We had to put our dog, Duke, down yesterday. He had a good life, living 15 years, a long time for a big dog. Nearly all of that time was with us, after we rescued him from the streets of the Carolinas as a 9 month old pup.

Duke has often been sleeping near me in the mornings, when I write. And walks with him have given me time to think. He was a gentle dog, to people and other animals, and I will miss him dearly.

Our younger dog probably does not yet understand why he is missing or where he is (we are also watching a relative’s dog, so there is another canine presence here, which is helpful).

The house feels a bit empty, for sure. We’ll miss him. Good dog.

Peace (and love and sadness),

Students Give Me A Grade (and Offer Feedback)

MrH Assessment by Students

I usually end the school year (students ended on Friday and I still have to go in to the building today, thanks to a crazy winter) by having my sixth grade students give me an assessment as a teacher. I provide some guiding questions, and their answers help inform my reflections as a teacher going forward.

It was heartening to see that many of them noticed their own progress as writers and readers this year, and that they were mostly engaged in nearly all of our various activities (even if some they liked more than others).

As a final step, I invited them to leave me comments or anything they wanted me to know or suggestions for me to improve as a teacher.

Two responses stood out for:

I want you to know that you made me feel welcome and made me feel that I could be myself and that you were there if needed. I think you make sure to help everyone and make sure they know you are here for them which shows that you really do care about all your students. Thank you for making ELA so much fun and being such an amazing teacher!!! I’ll miss you!!!!!

I want you to know that you taught me to be a better person. Not only you taught me how to be a better writer but you taught be life lessons and that it is ok to be different. You taught us many different things and I’m so thankful I got to have you as a teacher this year. You are you all-time favorite teacher and you have always been there for me and I know you always will be. I think you were the perfect teacher and don’t need to change anything about your teaching. So thank you for being such an amazing teacher.

It’s a nice way to bring the school year towards closure.

Peace (in Words),

Write Across America: Nebraska

I’ve been circling around a few days late to the National Writing Project’s Write Across America visits, in which different sites host writing activities. The last virtual visit was to Nebraska, a state which I don’t know much about. Thus, the title of my poem, which I then made into a digital format. And I sure hope I got the basic facts right, too.

You can read the poem as text here.

Peace (Wandering The Terrain),

Poems: Of Poets and Pianists

Always Wandering Away

Two poems, from two one-word prompts. The first was this morning’s poem– with the word “precision” and my mind went first to “imprecise” and then to my daily poetry writing, which is admittedly a bit lazy, in that I don’t often return to revise or edit or do much to keep poems moving forward.

The second was from the other day, with the word “piano” and jazz pianist Keith Jarrett sprung to mind, particularly his vocalizations as he plays.

Silence In The Gaps

And of course, that almost requires a soundtrack:

Peace (Where Words Inspire),

Poem: Nearly The End

The Start and Finish Line of the
The Start and Finish Line of the “Inishowen 100” scenic Drive flickr photo by Andrew_D_Hurley shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

The one-word prompt for this morning’s poetry was “habitat” and immediately, the ideas of my students (whom I love, don’t get me wrong, but I am ready to be done with the year) as ‘invasive species’ in their temporarily adopted habitat of school sprung to mind and the poem unfolded.

Their adopted habitat
becomes their hallways
and classrooms,
lockers and lunchrooms,
playgrounds and fields

Wandering in search
of connection and friendship,
ideas and mischief,
and always, permission
to be who it is they are
becoming –

Invasive species, they are,
but always welcomed
as curiosities from the start,
taking seed like vines
inside the labyrinth
of our hearts,

only to arrive at the day
when they become un/uprooted
from the grounds
on which they have covered,
and then gone, disappeared –

Approaching summer
seems, then, like fallow fields,
but soon enough, another
crop of adolescent interlopers
suddenly, like clockwork,

Peace (and Endings),