Looking at Poetry Through Wordle

I know, late to the party, but I wanted to do a little more than say “Hey, wordle is pretty cool and stuff. You should use it.” So here’s how I’d use Wordle to attack poetry. Take a few poems from the poets you cover, mash a few of the poems together, and create a wordle for each poet. Then have the students match them to the author. The Stevens one is pretty obvious with blackbird standing out that way but the other two will require a little more attention. The key is to make them identifiable but difficult. Too easy and it’s useless. If you presented these as problems to be solved at the beginning of the unit then you’d be able to get some interesting conversation going1. I’d post them on the wall as big posters and maybe let people put their votes as to the author under each. Then they move their vote each day as students find out more about the poet and their works. So for Wallace Stevens I picked the poems available in Wikipedia – “Anecdote of the Jar,” “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” “The Idea of Order at Key West,” “Sunday Morning,” and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” And I did a few Richard Hugo poems as well- “Death Of The […]

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High Speed Film Making

We had a pretty interesting staff development team meeting on Wednesday. We met Lucas Krost the director of a local film company who’d won the 48 Hour Film Festival1 and had their film screened at Cannes. So we spoke to him for a while. Lucas wasn’t a fan of school (if I recall correctly he was thrown out of five high schools). He told the story of how he eventually found editing and film work. It was a good story but nothing you haven’t heard in variations a number of other times. What was interesting was hearing how this group communicated and worked together to make a film in only 48 hours. So here’s what we did following the conversation. We drew a genre from a hat and got our topic- 21st Century Skills. We then had 48 minutes to write our scripts and 48 minutes to film and edit. My group of 6 drew cop/detective for genre. The hardest part for us was coming up with the idea which took pretty much the whole 48 minutes due to differing ideas as to how to attack the project. We never wrote a script so all the dialogue is freestyle2 We then shot the thing in about 25 minutes leaving a grand 23 minutes for editing. It took a frustratingly long […]

Teaching the Election – The Internet Way

Here are the things I’d be working into the mix if I were teaching English, government, math/stats or history in this fine political season. Political Bias? Lifehacker pointed out this cool little Greasemonkey script “Memeorandum Colors script colors sites that usually link to conservative topics red, and sites that generally link to liberal topics blue (the colors get darker or lighter depending on the sites’ linking activity). The result is a quick visualization of what kind of political site a link points to using colors.” Let them read how it works and think about how that might slant things in strange ways (what if I’m conservative but am consistently linking to liberal blogs in order to attack them?) This would be the start of a conversation between the class and myself. What purpose does this script serve? In what ways can we use the data it generates to inform what we’re reading? What happens to readers and the way we consume information as ideas like this become more commonplace? Red vs Blue Book Buying Here’s a chance for some discussion of voting demographics and a chance to really get some good critical thinking going with data and causation. The maps are of “red” and “blue” books and their purchase rate (through Amazon) prior to 2004 and 2008 elections. The great […]

WordCamp ED in DC!

WordCamp Ed is a WordCamp focused entirely on educational uses of WordPress — in schools and universities. The inaugural WordCamp Ed will be held at George Mason University on Saturday, November 22nd featuring a morning of pre-planned speakers, and a barcamp-style afternoon breaking into smaller discussions and sessions. SIGN UP NOW! I’ll be there and I’m hoping to see some of you.

Feeling a Little Beat Up

So, it’s been a while since I felt like I just flat out sucked at a lesson. There’s a number of reasons for that. The main one is I don’t teach every day (or it’d happen a lot more often). Secondly, I’ve probably been doing too much in my comfort zone- a bad sign. And last of all, with this new position I’m doing lots of things but much of it within relative isolation or with people who are of like minds. Cue opportunity for the exact opposite of that. Circumstances Second day of two days of staffdev Day of week: Friday Time: 1:00 to 3:30 Topic: 21st Century Skills – Information Fluency and Research Teachers: 29 HS Math mixed with Career and Technical Ed. Setting: Crowded, warm and large lab tables Website: http://henricostaffdev.org/infofluency The math teachers had been rough before with the introductory 21st skill module. So I really wanted a shot at the math teachers. We’d been working frantically on creating all this content for about ten days. I’d felt pretty good about our take and how solid it was for most of the subjects but really didn’t like it for math. The basic idea was information fluency consisted of a cycle of five things.

09

Honda’s Musical Road

The Santa Monica ad agency RPA cut half-inch grooves into a quarter-mile stretch of Avenue K, in the exurban L.A. desert city of Lancaster. The grooves were synched in such a way that driving over them at precisely 55mph caused Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” — a.k.a. the Lone Ranger theme — to echo in the air around you. –VSL So how cool would this be for physics, science and math? Lots of concepts to explore in a simple entertaining little Youtube clip. Wonder what it’d take to make your own version? Not necessarily with a real car- maybe a remote controlled model?