OnPoEvMo: A Stone’s Throw, July 2007

Did you ever have one of those days? You know, when it begins with a shattered window? Sigh.

This installment of the One Poem for Every Month for a Year project is about one of my sons causing some havoc at our house. At least I can say that he gave me some writing inspiration on an otherwise uninspiring day. (Just don’t tell him that — it would leave him off the hook).


A Stone’s Throw
(July 2007)
Listen to the poem

The sound of shattered glass
is no way
to start the day
and the frantic sobs of the seven year old,
screaming: “You are going to kill me”
is like icing on the cake.
Summer is the time of idle plans
and imagination
but that doesn’t explain how a
rock and a sock
and gravity
combined forces to leave a Pollock picture
of glass pebbles on the driveway
nor does it excuse the need to enter
the twisted labyrnth of the insurance company
on a day designed for rest and relaxation.

Peace (with the unexpected),


Teachers Teaching Teachers: A Tech Matters Reunion

Last week, I went on Teachers Teaching Teachers once again and found myself in conversation again with some friendly voices from last summer. A few of us from Tech Matters 2006 used the forum to talk about what we have been up to and how we view the use of technology for creation of a vibrant community.

I talked a bit about the ABC Movie Project, my Ning experiment, Youth Radio and a few other tidbits that sprung out of Tech Matters (which is a week-long retreat for technology and technology-minded folks in the National Writing Project). It was wonderful to hear Joe, Bonnie and others once again.

Take a listen to the podcast from TTT

Peace (with connections),

Six Claymation Movies

Here are the final claymation movies made in the second (and final) week of an experimental animation camp:

Dora the Turtle
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

It’s All Gone Wrong
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

The Magic Burger
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

Talent Show
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

The Blue Blob of Doom
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

Work in Progress
Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

Concept Mapping — the WMWP Blog Network

As our Massachusetts Writing Project moves further into the Edublogs network (via premium service), I have started to map out the various connections of our blogs so that we can think about how best to strengthen the ties between the various initiatives. Our hope is to have a vibrant web of activity among our various sites.

I turned to Bubbl.us to work on a concept map. It was fairly easy to use, although I wish I could have embedded it directly into this post. Instead, I have to provide a link (via this picture) and let you wander through the sites yourself. The map includes individual links to various blogs in our network.

Peace (in networks),

The Future of the Book: Sixth Graders

Towards the end of the year — as part of my digital book project — I had my sixth grade students take a final survey and one of my questions: What do you think books will look like in the future?

Here are some of their answers:

  • I think books in the future will have people popping out of the pages and talking like a mini-play. In the future, you will not even have to read the books, just listen to them.
  • I think they will be little squares that will be digital and project visual images
  • Books will be holographic.
  • Books will be high-tech and cool, and a printed out copy will have special effects.
  • I think books will still be on paper but they will have videos and sounds in them. They will be more high-tech. They will have clear, beautiful pictures and videos of what is actually happening at that moment. And they will have the feelings that people have (example: If the book says, she felt the cold wind on her face, then a chilly wind would come out of the book).
  • In the future, you will read books from the computer. I think this because it would save paper and would add cool effects to the stories to make you want to read them.
  • I think that in the future, there will still be paper but many books will be digital. I think that the digital book will be very interactive and voice-activated, with movie clips, sound effects, movement and even hyperlinks to different endings.
  • In the future, I think books will become automatic. They will have a special speaker inside that will tell you the story.

What strikes me is that so many of these comments suggest a passive reader, and I would hope that a push towards technology integration would allow the reader a larger role into the storytelling (for example: rearrange the story, or add a character, or find a way to alter the shape of the story arc).

Peace (in pages of the book),

Shedding My Skin — a new look

It was a year ago that I started up this blog project (thanks to some friendly pressure from my NWP colleague, Maria) and look where I am now — 267 posts and 191 comments in 23 categories — plus over 700 spam messages caught and killed! (this, according to my dashboard page).

Recently, James Farmer upgraded the Edublogs network and one of the bonuses of that Herculean effort is a wider variety of themes so I decided to celebrate my Blogobirthday by adoption a new theme (which may yet change again, who knows?) It’s flashier than my old one, although if you use an aggregator, chances are you will never see the changes (which is perfectly fine and acceptable).

But if you are here, let me know what you think and thanks for being a reader over the past year. It’s been a wonderful ride so far.

Peace (with blown out birthday candles),

Four Days in Summer: An overview of Animation Camp


Last week marked the first of two claymation-animation summer camp programs that I am teaching (next week, with my wife) and I decided I needed to write down and record what I was doing each day for future reference. I will need to go back later and do some more details but I am sharing my overall plan for four days of working with middle school students.

Here is the summer camp plan

I created this document with Google Page Creator — a not-so-fancy but easy-to-use part of the Google Suite of Internet Dominance.

Peace (with clay),



VoiceThread Experiment

James shows us how to use VoiceThread on Edublogs (I should have asked how to do this weeks ago) and other flash-based programs, so I am giving it a try. (here is the tutorial, by the way)

And you can try something too – add your voice to my thread (you will need to register for voicethread to do so, however). This was an experiment that I posted via Classroom 2.0.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=2246" width="400" height="500" wmode="transparent" /]

Did it work?

Peace (with flash),

Summer Camp — part one

I have been running a claymation animation summer camp this week for middle school students (mostly fifth and sixth graders) as a new experiment (and more next week). Kids have been using Pivot Stickman, MovieMaker, Stop-Motion Animator and other tools to create mini-movies. I am working on writing up my curriculum (for myself and for anyone else who is interested) and will share that later.

I have a blog up and running so that parents can view some of the daily work (the blog is at http://masswp.org/claycamp/)  and the final movies (with a sci-fi theme) are being worked on right now and we are inviting parents in tomorrow to view the showcase premieres.

Also, I have used TeacherTube for sharing videos because it is quite easy to use and seems to be a safe way to share video without any qualms about kids wandering around to different, inappropriate links.

But here are a few of the creations so far:

Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at TeacherTube.com.

Peace (in the hot classroom),