Your Days Are Blooming Like a Bed of Flowers

This week’s Day in a Sentence became Day in a Simile, and everyone was wonderful (again!) with their entries. There is such a thrill to peak into my moderation bin and see all of the submissions and know what great quality writing and reflection is going on in your lives. Flowers to everyone this week!

Without further ado, here are your Days in a Simile:

Larry boiled his week down to this: “Teaching my Tuesday ninth grade English class was like experiencing the Five Stages of Grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — in an hour-and-a-half.

But he also explains, “I’m sure all of us teachers have experienced that, often, when we get a new student if it’s a boy the girls want to show off, and if it’s a girl then the boys want to do the same. Well, on Tuesday I got a new boy and a new girl in my ninth grade English class.”

Yep — been there, had that, Larry, although not two new in one day.

Bonnie wonders if her simile makes sense. Sure. It certainly has imagery to it, don’t you think? (poof)

My week is has been a clean blackboard, just waiting for exploding chalk dust to bury it until spring.”

The Great Thaw is on the minds of many in the winter regions, including Michelle, a friend from the National Writing Project.

My week is like black ice that cannot be melted or cracked–at least, not until a good thaw comes in the form of spring break (mid-March).

Matt is busy … with his Wii, and writes a simile as beautiful as a poem. (now move that arm and get that controller swinging, Matt!)

My week walked in beauty like a stone. We found and purchased a Wii which was like going to the dentist, getting a free toothbrush, and finding out you don’t have any cavities.”

Illya had a hill to scale but conjured up breakfast for a simile.

With my brain sizzling like bacon in the pan, I try to climb the mountain of preparation which will lead me to a successful course week of preparation of English teachers.

Ben B. was a bit, well, literary in his submission. Let’s hope his week ended better than it began.

This week’s Totalitarian unit was like Shakespeare — ‘a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Janelle is seeking tasty treats and new terrain.

My week has been like experimenting with new cuisine. There are some tastes you like, and some that you could do without…. but at least, you’re trying it!

Ann O., a friend from the Twitterverse and Delicious network, is new to Day in a Sentence and I welcome her words and her presence.

My week is like a marathon race with a long stretch ahead and much pacing needed but a clear eye on breaking through the ribbon at the end.

Eric compares his day to a movie and maybe he has some major stars lined up for the parts?

Today is like a slow motion moment in the middle of a movie action scene.

Karen is all about variety this week.

My day is like a Levenger catalog, with my pens moving me from my journal, to my Circa class notebooks, to my journal again, and then to a book with the page carefully marked with a Levenger bungee bookmark.

Alice‘s sentence comes via Tumblr, a microblogging application that I have not yet ventured into (just starting to Twitter, you know?). She had a terrible day and she had to recast her original entry (a bit of profanity filtered in) before settling on this culinary comparison.

Today was like a sandwich of filet mignon on buffalo chip bread: my desktop o/s was fried last night when the server crashed, so I had to be re-imaged; the school day went great; I got my cell phone lost/stolen at the end of the day.

Donna was playing some virtual “red light green light” due to weather conditions and the cancellation of many events in her life.

My day is like a traffic light because I start off in one direction and opps! the light is red so I can’t go.

Sara’s blog detailed her sick week with the flu (sounds like my house).

My Tuesday was as tipsy as a tilt-a-whirl, because getting over the flu is not as easy as it sounds!

Ouch! Dentist simile coming up from Cynthia. Bring on the laughing gas!

Teaching the Codys and Treys of the world is like having impacted wisdom teeth extracted without anesthesia day after day after day.

Ann M., a friend from Australia who just awarded me a Thinking Blog Meme Award (thank you!), had news from a parent:

My week has been like a merry-go-round, with the highs including a statement from a grade6 parent that her boy no longer plays computer games, but now just at school 4 weeks.

Tina, who is part of my Western Massachusetts Writing Project, composed her simile late at night, she says, and as vacation week was winding down.

Sleeping in during February vacation is like breathing underwater.”

Elona found her week in a jar in the cupboard.

My week was like a jar of crunchy peanut butter- most smooth but crunchy in a few places to keep it interesting.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a sentence. Next week, the Day in Sentence (in its traditional format) will be hosted over at the TeachEng.US site that Ben has set up as a collective resource for classroom teachers. He is always looking for new writers, so feel free to peruse the site during the week and give him an email holler if you are interested in contributing. NOTE: Ben has a classroom photo contest going on and you can get more info at the site.

Peace (in community),
Kevin

Wow! Peter and the Wolf, in Clay

This is an amazing claymation production from Poland of Peter and the Wolf as claymation. Another wonderful YouTube discovery. The movie, nominated for an award this year, comes in three parts.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/P1SzWa3g0Nw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/anfDudtwPNo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/L3gYD00_k0I" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (in music, storytelling and claymation),

Kevin

Twittering Around on 2008-02-23

  • Getting kids to bed earlier so we can get lost in "Lost" and work our way through some strange island madness #
  • Boil down your week or a day in week and share out: http://tinyurl.com/2tbqmy It’s community writing. #
  • From my iGoogle Page -Quote of Day: "There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you." — Peter De Vries #
  • @budtheteacher Good luck with Learning 2.0 Bud. I like the concept of a student panel. I hope you blog it out later for us. #
  • @glassbeed I saw that they are trying to do a version of Phun for the XO laptops. It seems intriguing and a way to get kids to program. #
  • My heart broke a bit as I unscrewed the last section of the crib (motto: 3 kids slept here!) & put it on Freecycle for someone else. #
  • Another Twitter Song Debut: just finished this political rocker called ‘Tomorrow’s Never Gone’ http://www.box.net/shared/f000ksy880 #
  • @hickstro Looks like a great session, Troy. Intriguing links. #
  • Just caught "Spiderwick Chronicles" with older son. It was OK. Noticed John Sayles as a scriptwriter, though. Indie film icon. Strange. #
  • @mmkrill We have the same story reader at our house. If my son saw that Blue story, he would be soooo jealous. #
  • @whatsit81 Interesting facts in the video at that site, eh? So much is doomsday and then the world finds a way to make it work. #

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Ultimate Blogs: a review

I just finished the book Ultimate Blogs, edited and collected by Sarah Boxer. She readily admits that a book about blogs seems, well, strange because, let’s face it, the peculiarities of blogging don’t always translate so well into a book format. And this book, while nice, is surely already outdated. That said, Boxer does a nice job of culling out some interesting writers from the Blogosphere and highlights their ability to create a very lively writing persona via their blogs. I didn’t like all of them but I did find myself enjoying quite a few of the bloggers in the book.

Masterworks from the Wild Web (Vintage Original)

Here are a few that struck my fancy:

  • Under Odysseus — a blog about the Trojan war, with a modern bent, from a soldier serving under Odysseus. Sounds lame but it isn’t. The writer injects humor and tradition into a modern retelling of the story. The best in the book, for me.
  • Midnight in Iraq — this blog was featured in the New York Times and the writer is no longer a soldier or in Iraq, but the posts are illuminating and intriguing and humanizing. He now blogs about being home.
  • Julia {let there be hippogriffs} is a blog about a mom and her views on fertility and being a mom and wife. Insightful in so many ways into the human experience.
  • Ironic Sans — Offbeat ideas, slight rants and just an incredible creative mind is at work here. Not much more to say.
  • Eurotrash — talk about a writer finding their voice. This blog is it. She entered the blogosphere with a scathing review of a reviewer of restaurants for the Times (I was on the floor, laughing so hard) and continued into other areas.
  • El Guapo in DC — Remember Hunter Thompson? El Guapo reminds me a bit of that. The blog is about his adventures with friends. Strange adventures. Strange friends. I don’t think the blog is active anymore. Too bad.

Peace (in blogging),
Kevin

PS — Just for kicks, I did a video review of the book on Amazon. Wondered what it would look like.

Twittering Around on 2008-02-22

  • @murcha I am not sure. I will email Gail D and see how things went. They intended to record the session and post as podcast. I hope they do. #
  • Woke up this morning with ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ in my head — the result of seeing Harlem Globetrotters. Big hit were African tumblers. #
  • Correcting papers in coffee shop when stranger commandeered my XO Laptop for 20 minutes (w/my blessing). He was astounded at possibilities. #
  • @susanettenheim I like Delicious because I have all sorts of people in ‘network’ & I collect via RSS. It’s like opening a bag of candy. #
  • Writing a new rock song — thinking politics and the winds of change on horizon. U2 says: ‘3 chords and the truth.’ Easy for them to say. #
  • @crafty184 Great article. I follow the Teach Jeff Spanish in my RSS feed. — Kevin #
  • @speters Ha! Don’t you wish you could track where the ‘other’ XO is going? I do. At least, the country. How hard would that be? #
  • @njtechteacher The Web 2.0 VT is interesting but a bit overwhelming. I wish there were a more concise index for such a large VoiceThread. #
  • @mrmayo Thanks for sharing this. I had heard about your project (my pre-Twitter days). What an interesting collaborative concept. #

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Some Xs and Os in the local newspaper

After writing about my XO laptop for the larger newspaper in Western Massachusetts last month (view article in Springfield Republican newspaper), the other local newspaper (which had rejected my piece) came knocking on the door, asking to do their own article. I was more than happy to respond because the more people know and understand about the One Laptop Per Child program, the more likely it is that people might support other endeavors of this sort.

This article was very balanced, I thought, and talked as much as the possibilities of the laptop program as the difficulties. (I am still frustrated that the program that my kids and I showed her did not work when she was sitting here but as soon as she was out the door, it started up fine. Doh)

Read the article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette

What is interesting is that, following the first article, I started to receive a few emails from folks in my area who either have an XO or are waiting for theirs to arrive (shipment has been frustrating for many people). One of the folks waiting for their XO happens to be a friend who lives right across the street from me, and we didn’t even know that we were both on the XO bandwagon. He is very jealous that I already have mine and he and his children were over here the other day, fiddling around on mine.

Also, one of my best friends from college, whom I see very year for a friendly Pool Championship of the World, emailed me to say that he also has one of the little machines and thinks I should have been more technical in my article. (He’s a geek). A college professor who used to live in my city and who used to work at a newspaper where I also once worked emailed me, too. One woman wanted some technical advice (as if I could help — hey, I’m a writer!).

Anyway, the second article runs, and my neighbor and I get an email from yet another person in our part of the town who also has an XO and who walks her dog along our street at times. So we are making plans to start up an a little XO club in the coming weeks. Pretty nifty how connections can be formed. It makes me wonder how many people in my city of Northampton have an XO and it demonstrates a few weaknesses of the XO program.

The OLPC organization should:

  • find a way to allow folks in similar geographic areas to connect
  • tag the second computer (it was give one, get one) so that the donor knows which country it is going to
  • do a better job with customer service (my neighbor is being patient but is frustrated with the delivery network)

Peace (in XOs),
Kevin

Twittering Around on 2008-02-21

  • @blkdrama You know I want to know where you go next, so that I can follow with our Western Massachusetts Writing Project (shout out to NWP) #
  • The morning report: paying load o’ bills, cleaning humidifiers, packing lunch for little son, getting ready for dentist mayhem w/older sons #
  • Life Cycle of Book on cover of New Yawka: writer writers, publisher publishes, reader reads, men on city corner burn for heat. end of story. #
  • 10 year old says, "Why do people talk about Global Warming? This is not Global Warming. I’m freezing." — New England Winter morning #
  • @paulallison Hmmm, I like phrase: "These literacies …are multiple, dynamic and malleable" in the NCTE statement #
  • If it’s winter vacation week (and it is), then why do I miss my students so much? (even after an hour grading Parts of Speech projects) #
  • @cathyjo So many defin of digistory, but here are some from my students http://dogtrax.googlepages.com/digitalsciencepicturebooks — Kevin #
  • @cathyjo And this was a blog post about converting digistories to video http://tinyurl.com/3akfsf — Kevin #
  • You are all cordially invited Day in a Simile (a version of Day in a Sentence) http://tinyurl.com/2tbqmy — Kevin #
  • Bringing boys to see Harlem Globetrotters tonight — Anybody remember Meadowlark Lemon & Curley Neal? I do. (cue: theme song) #
  • @garageflowers Yikes — I do, now that you mention it. Prob on Youtube, I bet, if I took the time to check. Funny memory check there, friend #
  • @garageflowers And here it is: http://youtube.com/watch?v=vSHZdgwiiKI Kevin #

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Youth Radio at the MegaConference Jr.

I am both excited and disappointed that our Youth Radio podcast community is going to be part of the 2008 MegaConference Jr. event today. I am excited because it is another way to showcase the possibilities of the collaborative project that brings together the voices and writing of young people from around the world. I am sad because our school is on vacation this week and I can’t get my class to attend.

But, lucky for us, we have Gail Desler, who is helping teacher Jim Faires bring their California class into MegaConference Jr. and she tells me they are planning to podcast their 25 minute or so presentation and seminar on the Youth Radio adventure. Their event begins at 5:05 p.m. (easternUS time) and the link to their event is here. I hope to try to pop in from home, if I can.

Youth Radio began as a way for my students and I to use podcasting with other students. First, it began through friends in the National Writing Project network but it has now branched out considerably to others in various online networks. The podcasts come and go, periodically, and it is a struggle for many of us find the time in our curriculum to really integrate Youth Radio. That is a reality. Another reality is that there are many school districts who are blocking all Web 2.0 applications such as blogging and podcasting, or there is such fear in the community about online predators, that such a project as Youth Radio can’t be sustained. That makes me frustrated on behalf of my colleagues and worried that this is the direction that my school district may venture.

When I watch my students listen to the voices of others around the world, or when they read the comments of peers from other states and countries, I realize the power of these connections through voice and writing. It is very meaningful.

Here is an example of a podcast thread this year. My class invented new words as part of a study of the English Language and we posted a podcast of the words on Youth Radio. A class from Spain was intrigued, and created their own words. That led to a class in Australia to want to do the same. Now we have all these creative words and all these wonderful voices.

Take a listen:

Good luck today, Gail and Jim and our friends from Butler Elementary School in California. You make me proud!

Peace (in podcasts),
Kevin

Twittering Around on 2008-02-20

  • @murcha Got the mp3 and posted it just now. Loved hearing your kids and their invented words. http://youthradio.wordpress.com/ Thanks!!! #
  • @pkittle Where can we find the Gaiman book, Peter? I am definitely interested (says the graphic novel geek in me). Keep me posted, please. #
  • Six Word Motto Results http://tinyurl.com/32gbde I agree w/ Larry/Alice that too many seem negative #
  • Older son woke up — lost voice & has trouble breathing (Yikes) — rush to doc. Diagnosis: bad case of Croup. Now on meds to ease breathing. #
  • You are invited Day in a Simile (a version of Day in a Sentence) http://tinyurl.com/2tbqmy — Kevin #
  • Listening to some wonderful Australian student voices and their invented words on our collab Youth Radio http://youthradio.wordpress.com/ #
  • @cathyjo I left a comment for your friend and put her into my rss feed. — Kevin #
  • Downloading new activities for XO laptop (including Scratch & Moon program & star chart) and am amazed at wealth of offerings. #
  • Nice VoiceThread about XO from lucky teacher (who received two donated XOs) http://voicethread.com/#q.b64010.i332076 #
  • @crafty184 Nice work. The music was creepy and I like the fade-outs and use of shadows. The straight-faced custodian cracked me up. — Kevin #

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Day in a Simile/Survey

Hello!

Day in Sentence IconThis week’s Day in a Sentence is actually Day in a Simile. (Once again, props go out to Larry for another great suggestion). Boil down a day or your week into a simile/sentence and share it out with our growing community of writers and teachers and others.

Just use the comment feature here on this post and submit your simile. Of course, podcast links and videos and any other format is always welcome.

One possible format is: My Day is like a __________ because _____________.

Also, I have been tinkering with Google Forms (which is a quick survey that you can create within Google Docs and Spreadsheets) and I was hoping I could get you all to take a very short survey. First, I am interesting in your thoughts about Day in a Sentence. Second, I want to see how Google Forms works and I promise to share out the information when it is done.

So, pleasepleaseplease, take a second and take the survey. Thanks!

Oh, and here is my sentence/simile.

My week has been like one of my saxophone solos, with many many harmonious parts followed by a few bad notes that just made me cringe.

Peace (in collaboration),
Kevin