He stood so still

He stood so still while the world moved on around him. Just a little animated gif made from two shots I took walking past this gentleman staring so intently at his phone. He didn’t move a bit but because I was walking the shot shifted some allowing me to animate it and give you this 3D feel. I know I’ve seen this before but my memory of the name for it is hazy. It did lead me to stereoscopy, stereo photography and animated stereograms so sometimes a bad memory leads to good things. And it turns out at least one person would call this a stereoscopic animated gif. I also figured this was a #ds106 assignment and was not disappointed. Since this was the first #ds106 assignment I’ve done in a long while, I threw in a tutorial as a form of tithing. I do all of this of my own free will and in spite of Jim Groom’s personality rather than because of it.

JavaScript Poetry

I set myself the slightly odd challenge of creating a few interactive poems using JavaScript elements. I plan to do this every so often for a while.1 Each creation will have my own poetry,2 an image, and some element of JavaScript driven interactivity that relates to the poem. The theme came about because I was reading Don’t Bump the Glump to my youngest. I like playing with words and have a long list of strange ideas that I’ve never brought any further. I also want to keep learning JavaScript and to mess with a variety of js libraries. On the art/drawing side, I’m working on my vector drawing skills in Illustrator. The two examples I’ve done so far have just been thrown up as bare bones HTML sites3 and have used completely different js libraries. They’re both built off already existing examples that I modified. I don’t consider that cheating but will probably move more towards from scratch construction as I get better at things. The Grabbit The goal: Eyes that will track mouse movement. It’s iframed in above but the full size page is here. The start: A brief search led me to this Code Pen. It uses jQuery as the main library. I’ve got think more about mobile when doing interactive stuff with js. I think I can […]

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“Small People” Limited Time Offer

As an English or foreign language teacher I’d be all over the “small people” quote by BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. It’s not going to be useful much longer so act now. Questions: Should this comment make people mad? What did he mean? What should he have said? It’s a beautiful entry to arguing about word choice, synonyms and nuance. In this case, one word really mattered quite a bit. It might be fun things like have students reword famous quotes/sayings using synonyms to make them offensive or otherwise rob them of power. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” becomes “A chopped up house, will fall down.” Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 lakes” becomes “Our state has a lot of standing water” After you get them written, you could have them post them in some way and students could try to figure out what the original quote was. Another bonus was I found that I could search MSNBC video by certain keywords- in this case, small people. It highlights those words in a transcript and shows the points in the time line where the words occur with colored dots for the video. A really nice way to quickly get where you want.

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Weird Books

My favorite kind of edtech use- free, quick and slightly odd1. The Weird Book Room is, obviously, a collection of really odd book titles and covers2 This is prime fodder for all kinds of entertaining creative writing activities. Things I would want to try- Show the students three or four covers/titles. Their task is to pick one3 and write a Amazon style summary of the book totally based off the odd title and cover. The focus here would be on style, looking at how these reviews generate interest and what structural components they normally contain. Instead of a summary write a review of the book as if you’ve read it. Give it 1 or 5 starts and write your review accordingly. I’d put a heavy slant on opinion and bias on this one, encouraging students to put themselves in personality roles with strong opinions and assuming that voice. Use the titles in poetry. Students could just use the title as the first line, or they have to use X number of words from the provided titles. Lots of options. If you had the time, students could write the book or at least a pitch for the book. Have them generate a character list, plot summary, etc. As a frustrated art teacher, I’d give the titles and have students create the […]


Wolverine poems and other gifts from the Internet

Picture CC from DuneChaser Four people got to this blog today searching for “wolverine poems.” I hate to leave people disappointed. I’m not sure which wolverine they’re looking for so I’m covering my bases. Wolverine: The Haiku Wolverine is the man with adamantium bones and sharp claws. Wolverine: The Animal Carcajou, skunk bear, you glutton! I call you out as a big weasel. This did inspire me but it also got me thinking about how many fun sources for poetry/writing prompts that are out there just begging to be used. I’d love to do things with Google Trends. Take today’s (at around 9-10 PM Eastern) trending topics- No. 1 with a bullet is “applebees menu1.” I would also be forced to use #44 “goonies 2” Then it’s on to #64 “agent cody banks” and finish it off with #47 “19 pound indonesian baby” and #48 “sycophants definition.” I consulted the Applebee’s menu yet again. It had answers, but not the ones I wanted. I was hungry . . . for knowledge. “Is Goonies 2 an actual possibility? Am I getting my hopes up for an inevitable disappointment?” I wondered again. My mind tends to drift when I am stressed. I tried to relax. I knew Agent Cody Banks was on the case. I had no way of knowing that a […]


Wolverine Love Poems

I’ve been interested in using this Garfield Minus Garfield site for a while. Here are a few ways I might use it. Instant creative writing prompt- Write a love poem to a wolverine. Or write a love poem from the perspective of a wolverine. Or simply write a love poem using the word “wolverine” at least once1 The image matters. Having images like this always changed the quality and engagement I got from my students. And we have a vocabulary exercise, in this case, for the word consume. Depending on where the student is at, they could match words to provided comics, find their own comics matches etc. I’d probably have them find their own matching comic and create a sentence along the lines of “Though Jon consumed the socks, the meal did not quench the fiery passion in his heart.” If you feel like really making your students work, you might white out all the words and have them use the comic of your choice to explain something complicated or leave the words in and ask them to provide the context that will make it make sense. For instance- this comic re-worded could become . . . a look at King George III’s thoughts on the American colonies2. Part of the assignment would be explaining why your comic makes […]


Not Very Punny . . .

. . . but I couldn’t resist. Not timeless certainly, nor broadly applicable but I’d have some fun with this in an English classroom. It’s along the same lines as the remixed “Read” posters Dan started and I did a few of a while back. Lil Wayne and one of his lines from A Milli1. Not sure if I need to be this obvious but it’d depend on the class. If, for some reason, you want the big version of either just click on the image. 1 A good song but probably not playable in most classrooms and if you can get away with it I’d play the version with Jay Z instead.

Wordle Poetry Exhibit

A Little More Wordle and Poetry

Well, you know how I love Exhibit and I’m also a poetry fan. So after messing around with it some the other day and seeing some interest from a few people who put in their own poems- I decided to see what other poems might be on there and see if I couldn’t display them in an interesting way. Go mess with it. Add your own wordle poem if you’d like (the css in the embed code will likely mess things up temporarily but I’ll fix it). Now, if I had a class1 I’d get a bunch of these done for a number of poems from the same author and probably the same genre. Then you could sort them by author or genre and do a surface analysis. Do the big words matter? Are the “big words” shared between poems, across authors? Does it matter? Where things could get interesting is creating fake Wordles that do represent the words you think matter most2. Students would falsely elevate the number of words to make them larger regardless of occurrence. Then the explanation of why becomes an interesting conversation- especially when comparing the two. 1 or more free time 2 Oddly, most of my favorite lessons involve faking data, rap, animal attacks or, hopefully, all three