Juxtaposing Woodcuts

I was fortunate to meet Claire Bourne from VCU’s English Department yesterday. In addition to all sorts of fun conversations around her upcoming course on Marlowe (and the WordPress site) and the FileMaker database she built to see more deeply into her research,1 Claire mentioned she was on Twitter (roaringgirle) which opened the door to yet another interesting world of people on Twitter. One of Claire’s tweets comparing two different, but very similar, woodcuts did catch my eye as an interesting target for Juxtapose. woodcut on this 18c TITUS ballad = copy of one on TP of 1 IRON AGE (1632) | Misc 289783, Huntington via @EBBA_Ballads pic.twitter.com/e1EJYqFz1c — claire m. l. bourne (@roaringgirle) August 13, 2015 It took a few minutes to cut/paste into PhotoShop. I then resized them so they were roughly the same size. Despite their aspect ratios being a bit off, I think it turned out well. I also opted to do the vertical scrolling option as I felt it made it easier to see the differences than the horizontal option. Nothing fancy but a solid way we can look at media in a way that helps drive understanding. 1 How awesome is that? I also had fun reminiscing FileMaker was something I spent a lot of time with back in the day.

Voyant (Green) – it’s a peephole!

h/t the wily Alan Levine Seeing Cindy’s post which put “As We May Think” in a tag cloud, I started wondering about other text visualization options and understandings they might drive. ManyEyes was long my default for this type of thing but the hassles with Java security have driven me away. So I decided to give Voyant a try. Will Berry1 had used it so well with students, it seemed worth a more in depth exploration. You can play with the text of “As We May Think” in Voyant here. As you can see you get the typical tag cloud. You do have the additional ability to hide words using pre-constructed common word lists or custom lists you build yourself. That can be awfully useful. You also have the ability to select certain words from the corpus2 and they will be charted in relative or raw distribution rates across the corpus. Incidents of “as”, “we”, and “may” are depicted below. You can also view occurrences of selected words contextually. Below are “record” and “thought” as I was curious how closely they would parallel one another. I think the contextual piece is nice, not quite as nice as the branch stuff ManyEyes does but nice and space appropriate. It’s interesting to see that in combination with when the words appeared. Bush […]

“Truth” through omission

The mission is “Truth” through omission. Can you get at the underlying truth of a historical document through blackout poetry? Blackout poetry has been fairly popular for a while1 but I haven’t seen any done on historical documents with the intent to get at a deeper, if fairly melodramatic, “truth”. I decided to use The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. It makes for a pretty interesting way to interact with a dry document and requires a pretty close, and repeated, reading. I like the idea of redaction being a way to expose, rather than hide, things the government would rather not have said. The text from above . . . The United States of America in violation of the principles of the of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked the Communist regime in North Vietnam the United States has territorial, military, political ambitions in that area desires the Congress approves the United States regards the Constitution its obligations reasonable assured except that it may be terminated earlier by concurring resolution of the Congress. 1 It appears Austin Kleon invented the idea in 2010 which seems crazy.

Four Leaf Clovers, Question Paths, & Literal Names

Yesterday, I decided I’d look for four leaf clovers getting in and out of my car. Not hanging out searching, just opening my eyes and paying a bit more attention. Wikipedia tells me there’s one four leaf clover per 10,000 three leaf clovers. What surprises me is despite their relative rarity just how many four leaf clovers seem to be out there. It’s like interesting things. If you just start looking around, you end up amazed at how many interesting things surround you daily that you never noticed. One interesting thing leads to another. It gets to be harder to pay attention to more mundane things like crossing the road because there are so many interesting things to see and think about. Generating Questions I tried to take pictures representing each question I had walking to work the other day. I only decided to do it about halfway in but it was interesting to see it snowball because I made it intentional. The results are embedded below as a set. Additional questions are sometimes in the descriptions and won’t be visible in the embedded view. Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. Literally Literal Dodge Caravan takes on a very odd feel if you read it literally. I decided to start capturing all the car/bike names I came across that were also actual […]

A Strange Aside – A Rejoinder About Crackers

I saw this interesting photo on the Smithsonian Libraries Tumblr which led me to this online archive of Forest & Stream from the 1890s. Where I found the letter included below (because of the interesting photograph beside it). Bonus points for the ability to download specific pages with or without the OCR data. The letter makes for an interesting read in a variety of ways. Just another example of how much amazing content is out there. A Rejoinder About Crackers While I do not wish nor intend to enter into controversy with “A Georgia Cracker” over the manner in which I described my first meeting with a “Florida Cracker,” still if you will kindly allow me a little of your valuable space in which to defend myself, I promise not to transgress again. Now, in the first place, if “A Georgia Cracker” will kindly look on page 507 of Forest and Stream, in the first column near tbe top, he will find these words: “There may be a better class of this part of the human race than we met. I hope there is.” I did not say that there was not a better class of these people. That I hoped there was. My assertion that we did not meet this better class, however, I still stand by. While I […]

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Vocabulary Acquisition & Digital Word Walls

Kendall Latham worked with all of our ITRTs this past Friday around best practices in vocabulary acquisition. She gave us a decent overview of the research including the idea that it takes upwards of 13 interactions with a word to make it stick. That’s a lot more interactions than normally happen. We also have a push in a number of schools around word walls. This has the normal mix of decent implementation and compliance implementation. It did start me wondering about ways we might use online word walls to take this to the next level as both a teacher led interaction and as a way to aggregate diverse student content in ways that would be interesting.1 I thought about a range of examples I’ve encountered over time and space that might be educational/inspiring/worth thinking about. General Activities Around Words 2 100 Words – Defective Yeti – a quiz that allows you to select a portion of words from a total and enter your self-created definitions. It then provides a place for you to see your definitions vs the official definitions and decide if you were correct. His tool gives you an embedable “score sheet” but I wonder what could be done with aggregate data in terms of redisplay and in terms of analyzing submissions. It seems it wouldn’t be too […]

Rebuses and Icons in English

I saw this in the August 2013 National Geographic. It reminded me of when I taught 6th grade English. I used rebuses quite a bit. It was a fun way to help reluctant readers and writers. The National Geographic article sparked a few new ideas though. First, using The Noun Project as a source gives you and your students a huge repository of icons to use for games like this.1 The portion of the article that got me interested was the idea of intentionally misinterpreting the rebuses or reading them from right to left so they tell a completely different story. It feels like there are some opportunities there. Take a series of icons and – summarize a book, article, or poem make a rebus palindrom make a rebus when read right to left means the opposite of the left to right reading (I can’t find the opposite of a palindrom) create a famous quote (bonus points for how fast your classmates figure it out) use them for simple writing prompts (add variables for student interpretation (e.g. look at this literally, read it left to write, interpret is like a surrealist). That way you and your students are not bored and they have a reason to read other students’ interpretations. At this moment in time, I’d build a random viewpoint […]

Some Elementary Attempts

I’m working more closely with some of our elementary specialists this year. It’s been a good while since I worked with this age group. I’m pretty excited the potential to do some interesting things. Measurement is a big issue for our students in elementary. It spans math and science standards and kids are not connecting it with their lives. I’m playing around with some graphic ways to get students engaged. When I tried this out with my own kids (ages 9, 7, 5) they all really wanted to know how big the dog was. I realize it’s not the best sample but they aren’t shy if they don’t like things. I don’t know that will stick with an apple as the visual reference object. I’d like it to be something they have in their hands at the time and on a regular basis.1 I hope to encourage a lot of measuring against their own bodies. My kids like that- holding their hands up to where on their body the dog’s head would be. It might also be interesting to run a number line down the wall and have kids move to the numbers to indicate guesses, kid of a kinesthetic graphing exercise. I am pretty sure I saw that someplace. I’m attempting to imitate some of Dan Meyer’s three act […]

What Transitionary Personalized Learning Might Look Like

In most English classes the teacher chooses all of the content in addition to all of the assignments. In some classes you’ll get to choose between a few books, assignments, or essay topics that the teacher has provided. The projects tend to tier upward in terms of sophistication and/or length.1 There is essentially one broad common experience for everyone and virtually every structural element originates with the teacher. The student ability to alter the class is limited to asking questions. That leads to a fairly predictable experience built to produce similar products which are easier to compare to one another. English, in particular, seems to beg for a different paradigm for course participation/creation. I talked some about the mechanism for infusing student selected media into a course in the previous post, so I’m doing this backwards to some degree. The lower portion of the image above is a rough conceptualization of what the course itself might come to look like as compared to a traditional course (the upper portion of the image). A chunk of this is colored by how I’ve seen elements of #ds106 play out. I have always loved the idea that participants can submit project ideas. Linking those ideas to the student work created based on them makes it far more powerful and interesting for everyone. It […]