Your Day/Week in A Sentence

Today marks the first official time I am in charge of the Day in the Sentence feature and I am happy to report that we have a lot of people submitting their words to our collective voice. My aim is to keep the feature running for now here at this site, but to eventually pass it off to the community of bloggers and have others guest-host the feature. I imagine our friend, The Reflective Teacher, would enjoy knowing that his idea can blossom into a community of teacher-writers who connect every week.

So here goes:

A new colleague, Cheryl Oaks (who led a great K12 Online presentation and has done some podcasting with me via a Ning site), writes, “My week in reflection: I’ve been blogging about web 2.0 tools, good ideas, ideas about how to get new people involved in 21st century tools, this week I blogged about a day in the life of a 7th grader with the 1-1 laptop, time to spread best practice in the classroom. Over and out , Cheryl Oakes”

Nancy is back in the classroom after a break and glad to be there, too, as she reports, “Back to work after a two-week sojourn and the kids are mighty happy to see me!”

Now, the holiday spirit can often bring up conflicting emotions, as the Mindful Teacher explains, “My room was filled with riotous costumes except for a couple of kids who didn’t participate — for one, it seemed to be a cultural issue; for the other, he couldn’t bear to be uncool even though he knew that being the only one out of a costume wasn’t cool either — besides wearing a bright orange shirt on Halloween is a giveaway that you think its important.”

Bud the Teacher may be missing the classroom a bit, as he writes, “I’m spending more time talking tech with administrators than teachers; I sure hope that is a good thing for teachers in the long run.”

My good friend, Lynn (with whom I am co-presenting a workshop at the upcoming National Writing Project), reminds us that chaos is always on the doorstep of the classroom. She reports, “As a writing teacher I want to be like my models—Nancy Atwell, for example—but, the best I was able to do this week was to dispose of 3 constantly disruptive students, and by sending them out, allowing a class a break from chaos and (what was for them) a descent into thirty minutes of writing.”

Bonnie, who is about to entire Conference Overload, writes, “This has been a peaceful week as I move into conference mode next week for two action-packed weeks that I will be sharing with great friends of collaboration but first I have to get rid of a head cold and get my guitar ready to go more public to get my hands to stop shaking when I play for the world beyond my safe walls of my home.”

Family is always important and Tim writes that he has been trying to keep hold of that center, writing, “The week unfolded with a reaffirmation of the things that truly matter in life- family and spouse–and I managed to keep my eye on that center throughout which I believe was reflected in my connections with my students.”

Mr. Murphy gives us just enough to wonder just what is going on in his classroom, as he reports, “Everything came crashing down, but in the meantime my students and I got to murder a man.”

The pranks of Halloween visit Cynthia this week, as she muses, “The week began as usual in Room 13–some arguments, some disruptions, but mostly cooperation and teaching and learning–then Wednesday morning came and brought with it an early Halloween prank (or perhaps an act of “revenge” from some disgruntled students)–a trashed room and a missing podium–making it rather difficult for my oral communication students and me to effectively deliver our speeches.”

The Big Game was on Delaine‘s mind. “Cross-town rivalry week kept the yearbook students and me busy with all the activities leading up to the big game tonight.”

We’d still like to know how your week went and so feel free to add your comments to this post and leave a blog address, too, as I try to create a web of contacts. And I hope you return next week with some more of your writing, and possibly podcasting your voice. Spread the word — build a community.

Peace (in reflection),

I am taking over Day/Week in Sentence feature

Some bad news came this week, as some of fans learned that The Reflective Teacher is taking a break from blogging. He has been incredibly generous with his time and resources and got many of us working each week on his Boil Your Week/Day Down to a Sentence. It’s an idea I have used many times.

In the past, I have guest-hosted the feature for him, and I told him I would continue to take the reins of the weekly venture, as best as I can, in his honor, until the day he returns to blogging.

So, if you would like to participate, here is how it works:

  • Reflect on your week
  • Write a sentence that captures the week
  • Use the comment feature on this post to write your post. I hold it in moderation until all of them are submitted.
  • I collect them all and then publish as a post over the weekend
  • If you want to podcast as well as write, please do (please?) One resource is PodcastPeople, which allows for easy, no hassle podcasts. Just create a show and provide the link in your post.

So, go ahead and give it a try. It’s yet another way to connect with teachers around the world.

Peace (in reflection),


PS — Here is my Week in a Sentence, as a sample.

I heard some news this week of two of my former students who have troubled pasts and difficult lives and the news wasn’t good — both are already labeled behavioral problems and both are on the edge of the world, about to drop — just as I predicted and just as I strongly warned about last year, to no avail.

Listen to the podcast

Or head to my PodcastPeople site

The Great Pumpkin Contest — 2007

My neighborhood is a tight community, with all sorts of unofficial events meant to draw us together. Each year, one man — you can see him here the video dressed up like a clown — organizes a pumpkin contest, and more than 100 pumpkins are often put on display.

Here is a tour of this year’s crop of strange pumpkins:

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Peace (in pumpkins),

Another Intriguing Video about Today’s World

Michael Wesch and his crew is at it again, with another intriguing video that tries to explain and capture our world — this time through the concept of information and what it all means in the digital age.

One quote: ‘There is no top to the World Wide Web

Certainly worth a visit:

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Peace (without material form),


Using Gizmo — warts and all

As part of the K12 Online Conference, I have been most active in the Flat Agents of Change Ning site. One of the tools introduced there is Gizmo, an alternative to Skype that is designed to allow for easy recording of phone conversations.

Gizmo is a free phone for your computer

I set up and had a wonderful conversation with two of my fellow Ningers, Cheryl and Sarah, yesterday morning, via Gizmo. We chatted for about 30 minutes or so and it all seemed to work fine.
But then I ran into trouble.
First, the .wav file that Gizmo recorded would not open up in my Windows Media Player. It said that my player would not support the file type. So I tried to move it into Audacity, hoping I could convert it into an MP3 there. No luck. Then, I tried to send it to Zamzar conversation site and it came back as an empty file. No luck.
Sarah had also recorded the session, so she loaded her file up into her PodcastPeople, but it sounded all squirrely in the playback mode. However, if you did the direct download from her show as an MP3, the audio file worked fine.
So I took that downloaded file and then tried to upload it into my PodcastPeople site.
Again, no luck. Like Sarah’s, it was all gobblygook.
I didn’t give up (the mantra of Web 2.0ers everywhere).
I took the MP3 download from Sarah’s site, and moved it in my Audacity, and the exported it as an MP3.
I tried to then upload that into my PodcastPeople and, 18 hours later, PodcastPeople is still trying to digest the file.
So, I went over to my handy Box.Net site (where I normally host podcasts) and uploaded it, and that worked fine. (Note: the file is big and the flash player seems to buffer forever, but it works quicker if you click on the direct link)

So here is the conversation.

It was too long of a process, however, and I need to figure out if Gizmo is worth it.

Peace (in the process),

PS — Another element of the K12 Conference was a flickr group, where people from around the world submitted a photo or two of dusk on the last day of the conference (Saturday), and I took this photo of the set-up of a pumpkin contest in our neighborhood — I also took some video that I will try to share later this week.

Here is the link to the When Night Falls flickr group.

Storyboarding with Powerpoint

My sixth graders started out the year in literature class reading the short novel, The Whipping Boy, and worked on a storyboard project that uses the computer and Powerpoint to identify the main plot points in the book. The book is about a prince and his whipping boy and it is set in Medieval times (aka The Dark Ages). The story is a twist on the class Prince and the Pauper story.

This use of Powerpoint allowed me to both introduce the program to the students (and get them using Paint for illustrations) and get a sense of their ability to identify main elements of a story. We shared these via our classroom blog, too.

Click on the pictures or student names down below to view the Microsoft PowerPoint slideshows created by students on the major scenes on the book:

the whipping boy projectjk




The whipping boy slide show nick


Peace (in powerpoint),

Building Online Communities for Youth

Some colleagues from the National Writing Project (Chris Sloan and Paul Allison) are also part of the K12 Online Conference and their work was released today and deserves a good listen as they discuss the ways they have nurtured two Elgg-platform social networking sites for middle and high school students. It is an amazing project and deserves kudos and attention.

Along with the podcast and presentation, they are also opening up the lines of their Teachers Teaching Teachers weekly chat session at EdTechTalk to anyone interested in discussing the project.

All the information is at their K12 presentation site:

Peace (in partnership),

K12 Online Conference — We Get Released!

Our Collaborative ABC Movie Project gets released to the K12 Online Conference today and Bonnie and I are thrilled, nervous and wondering how our presentations will be received. We mixed up our formats a bit by:

  • First, Bonnie created a powerful overview movie of the reasons why we launched our ABC Movie project

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  • Second, I created a podcast of my own. Take a listen.
  • Third, we put together a Webpage presentation that features the various tools that we used in the project, plus some nice podcast reflections by
  • And finally, in that Webpage, there is a hands-on collaborative story project that uses the letters of the alphabet and VoiceThread (please join in!)

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The presentation also marks the true public showing of the various movies that we created in Jumpcut along various themes (thanks to Bonnie) and so here they are for your viewing:


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Role Models

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Place Inspirations

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School Days

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Oddballs and Ends

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Thanks for joining on this journey

Kevin and Bonnie

Getting Jing-y with It

I am trying out Jing, a screenshot/video site and it seems to be very cool. You download the program, follow the simple rules for screen video or photos, and then the program uploads to its server and you can share from there — either as a link or as embedded code (such as this picture down below)

And how about the video? Edublogs allows you to embed it as a flash file (good) but the size doesn’t seem to be working right. Wow. It’s too big for my blog theme screen. Oh well, here it is and here is the direct link to my video tour of some of my blogs.

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OK, I also don’t like that there does not seem to be a tool bar for stopping the video once you have it started. I guess the direct link to the video is the best way to go, but I wish it was a nice embed here at the blog, too.Peace (in experiments),