“Living Your Life in Hyperlink”

A few weeks ago (probably as he was compiling his web-famous Top Ten Lists), Larry suggested that I go through our Day in a Sentence archives and cull out some of the better sentences for an End of Year Review. That’s more difficult than it sounds. There were so many good sentences and who am I to judge the quality of the sentences or the stories behind the words?

I decided on something I call “emotional resonance.”

As I went through the many wonderful sentences and read them aloud to myself, I was searching for that tingle inside of me that meant the words had touched me emotionally. I recognized that some of these same sentences were still very familiar to me, even after a few months time. (I also did not choose any of my own sentences). There really are some wonderful, reflective writers out there and I am thankful they send their words my way (or the way of our guest hosts) every week.

So, here, in no particular order at all, are the sentences that resonated with me this year:

  • “This week I learned that a friend whom I haven’t seen for a long time is quite ill and probably dying, which put into perspective the whole rest of my week, and made another comment I read stand out for me, which was that ultimately the only problem is isolation, and the only solution is connection, leading me to ask myself this week how each activity led to either connection or isolation, and to choose the ones that led to connection, and I have to say that the thing I (still) love most about being online is that it’s one vast complicated web of connection!” — Marian Thacher
  • Write this for her, write that for him, write this other thing for someone else, will there be time to write for me?“– Karen
  • On a Sunday morning when gray skies promise snow and light winds sift through barren branches, inside, with warm scrambled egg bellies, we read newspapers and listen to the humming that emerges from a newly built fort of blankets on chairs.“ — Tom
  • “As a former community organizer turned teacher, I’ve been reminded this week of the old organizer adage that taking shortcuts will bring you to detours, which in turn will lead you to dead-ends.” — Larry
  • This week’s resounding applause from parents and students at parent teacher conferences reinforced my belief, as unpopular as it may be to many, that you can reach them best if you are courageous enough to step into their world!“ — Sue
  • There’s nothing more satisfying than connecting people with people and opportunities that support their passions, their great thinking minds, and their vital voices; it’s like living your life in hyperlink!“ — Susan
  • Swimming in a murkey sea of curriculum and meetings, I grasp for moments of bouyancy, clarity, levity; a lifeboat looms ahead, providentially named NWP Annual Meeting, and I strike out for it, suddenly energized.” April
  • Time trickled slowly through meetings while outside, leaf-fall turned the grass into sunset.” — Diane
  • Sometimes it’s okay to leave your guilt bag at school for the night and focus on other things.” — Jeff
  • 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.” — Bonnie
  • Monday-8:35 am-ready for the week, lesson plans set, bring em on! Monday 3:24 pm-Can I stay home tomorrow and not grade papers and not plan lessons and not read the novel we will be starting in a few weeks and play on the computer all day and watch all my Tivo’d shows and just be a kid again????? Huh, can I?”Ms. Q
  • Contemporary medicine said it wasn’t possible, but mother nature proved them wrong: my wife is expecting.” — Joe

And I leave you with this sentence, which still has me wanting to know more:

  • Everything came crashing down, but in the meantime my students and I got to murder a man.” — Mr. Murphy

Peace and please contribute (or keep contributing) in 2008,


Day in a Sentence: Happy Holidays

It’s started out as another slow week here at the Day in a Sentence front office. I was thinking the writers were on strike, just like in Hollywood, or maybe they were just taking a well-deserved break from the action. Then, the words came pouring in and my bin was overflowing with treats. In any event, I want to wish everyone a peaceful holiday (if you are on one) and a wonderful New Year.

Here are the entries for this week:

First up is my friend, Joe, who has just joined me and some others in the Youth Radio network and he posted some of his students’ personal narratives this weekend. Joe had a bit of a pleasant surprise this week: “Contemporary medicine said it wasn’t possible, but mother nature proved them wrong: my wife is expecting.” (Big huge congrats to you and your wife, Joe).

The Mindful Teacher is ready to relax. “Survival is my goal this week of parties and pinatas and 2nd Grade buddies and holiday crafts and parties and . . . thank God it’s Friday and we all get a break!

Eric reminds us that family is most important and also (speaking as a father of three little boys, including one with an ear infection) that putting out fires comes day and night. “I have not left the house so far this week except to shovel snow for an hour, go to the pediatrician and a short refuge of yoga, due to the illness competition between my two girls, which is clearly being dominated at night by the older (7) and by day by the younger (3).”

Matt (who will be our first guest host for Day in a Sentence in the 2008) has a laundry list of things he hopes to do, although I notice that laundry is not on the list — but a new computer is (lucky man). “Vacation is a chance for teachers to catch up with old friends, play tennis, play the guitar, fix the car, visit the doctor, clean up the house, reflect on the year behind and the one ahead, read a book, straighten the virtual desktop, and buy a new 24-inch iMac.

Mary had many challenges before her this week (including writing her sentence, she notes) but I think she passed them all with flying colors. At the very least, she fine-tuned her sentence to capture her week. “Brevity was the key word for this week, and although trying to be more concise has been a challenge, it has allowed me to connect with others in new ways: I struggled with Twitter and its character limit of 140; revised my ‘Week in a Sentence’ contribution multiple times; and finally passed the challenge to my EFL students who wrote story pyramids (instead of more lengthy and detailed paragraphs) about their favorite graded readers, movies, and Japanese folk tales.

Alice may be exhausted but she is also rejuvenated by the efforts of the students. Maybe that is a sentence that can sum up the various weeks for most of us. Thanks to Alice for sharing. “As the week progresses (and I find myself recovering from short sleep, migraines, etc.) I start the day focusing on survival, but I am amazed by the amount of writing, and the effort my ELD students are continuing to put into their work–it’s made my week.”

Bonnie‘s love for the movies comes through in her sentence, as does her compassion for others. “I am filled with movies at the moment, seeing them, writing about them on my blog and planning how I can fit more in and last night Charlie Wilson’s War was outstanding, and in the midst of everything movies, I made time for contributing to charities, so it’s not just about my pleasure.

Karen thought she missed my deadline but I will always try to flex any deadlines for her. She just posted some very cool information about digital portfolios at her site. “The semester is over, my house is clean, and my children are home for the holidays so I am ready to start the one week of the year when I do little work; instead I pay close attention to my life, savor it, and give thanks for it.

Nancy is moving on (maybe to my neck of the woods? She was considering it at one time and even did some scouting of Western Massachusetts) and I hope she stays connected and doesn’t have too many “misadventures” out there. “It’s been a wild ride but on January 29th, it all comes to an end as I hang up my teacher hat and seek new misadventures.

Larry must have spent much of Saturday scouring his resources because he came up with some fantastic Top Ten lists that all of us could bookmark for future references. Thanks, Larry, for doing the work for us. I particularly like the ELL sites and they are something I will be sharing through my teaching networks. “It’s been fun, and helpful for my own planning, compiling lists of the year’s best websites of the year in various categories — Best Online Learning Games, Best Web 2.0 Applications, Best Internet Sites for English Language Learners.

Gail got caught reading (good for her) and then did some writing (good for her, too). “Started reading Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and couldn’t put it down – not to worry, there’s still one more day to finish Christmas shopping.”

Christina had food on her mind and invites us into a virtual festive feast.”My sister and I had a phone conversation about how our Christmas plans have changed now that our kids are grown and we don’t have to jump through hoops: she’s making French toast with sausage ‘n gravy and watching videos, and I’m having a Marie Callender’s turkey dinner and working on my website with YouTube music videos playing in the background!

And Mr. Murphy continues to find faith in his student’s ability to learn and demonstrate learning. “Don’t know how long it’ll be till I return to blogging, but what I’ve found via my new online class is that students can churn out some impressive work — one of whom weaved a magical web tying Ayn Rand’s anthem to an analysis of our culture — and that they’re happy to show up for class.

Cynthia longs for her family at this time of year (and I had the pleasure of meeting her son last month in NYC). “The trauma of giving and grading exams and the glory of the school-wide Christmas program were all mixed up the last week of school before at school Christmas vacation, but the best part of my week happened on Wednesday and Thursday when Adair, Tommy, and Tommy LaRue and Win arrived home for a long visit; family at home is what my week was all about.”

Cheryl is knee-deep in technology, helping others find a path from one platform to another. “My last week of work for the year 2007 found me reflecting on the monumental changes that have occurred in my district, namely 170 moodle pages were developed since August 2007, 50 HS teachers migrated to using Macbooks from PC without too many tears and this brings me to say have a great winter holiday break, see you in 2008.”

And Lynn sums up everything with one word: “Peace.”

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Peace (in partnerships),

Day in a Sentence: December 19

Larry did an outstanding job with the Day in the Sentence feature last week and I want to invite you all to join the growing community of contributors. And thanks to Cheryl for the mention at the TechLearning site, too. Day in Sentence Icon

It is simple:

  • Boil down your week or a day into a single sentence
  • Use the comment feature here to share your sentence (comments are moderated so be alarmed if they don’t show up)
  • Please leave your blog address so that we can link to you and expand our community of Web-based contacts
  • I encourage you to podcast your sentence — either provide a link to your own podcast hosting site or you can email your mp3 file to me at dogtrax(at)gmail(dot)com if you want.
  • I will compile all of the writing all for release on Sunday

Here is my sentence (and you can listen as a podcast, too):

I entered the delicate art of negotiations with 11 year olds this week as I tried to make them understand that a puppet play for little kids should probably not have references to Brittany Spears coming out of rehab nor should the play have characters being sent off to a “special needs facility” as some kind of punishment nor should we celebrate the life of “gangsters,” and I once again realized how much my students are caught up in the collision of pop culture and media overload.

Peace (in collaboration),