Monday, July 8, 2013

Connected Learning Weekly Update

(from NWP)

ConnectedLearning.TV Webinars
This week kicked off the NWP-hosted month of webinars at Our series, titled Writers at Work: Making and Connected Learningis investigating writing and connected learning. Yesterday was our first webinar, "Making as Writing/Writing as Making." It was a fantastic start to our series, with insightful guests, a great lively conversation on the Livestream chat, and followed with a fantastic follow-up Twitter conversation this morning.

You can catch the archive of Tuesdays show here, and you can also see a short Storify put together by Jon Barilone at about the webinar.

Coming Up Next Week
Quite a few very exciting opportunities are happening next week:
  • On Tuesday, July 9, at 10am PST / 1pm EDT we're continuing with our Writers at Work series with, "What Does 'Interest-Driven' Look Like?" You can find out more information, and participate on the day here.
  • You should also remember to join us next Thursday, July 11 at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT for a follow-up #literacies Twitter chat, where we'll be discussing the webinar.
  • The first of a two-part webinar series with Suzie Boss is happening next Wednesday, July 10, from 10-10:30am PDT / 1-1:30pm EDT. Boss will be talking with Elyse Eidman-Aadahl about practical strategies to jumpstart students' creativity and problem-solving capabilities. You can find more information here, and you can watch the webinar here on Wednesday.
  • SimCityEDU is also hosting a webinar next week, "New Visions for Learning: Playing SimCity in the Classroom," also on Wednesday, July 10, at 2pm PDT / 5pm EDT. They will be discussing how the SimCityEDU community is getting the most out of digital games in the classroom. You can find more information about the webinar here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Young Writers Anthology Reception

Some of Western New York's finest young writers gathered on Wednesday, May 29th at Canisius College for the Writing Project's Young Writers Anthology Reception. Students in grades 1-12, who were published in this year's anthology, joined together with family and friends to share their original work. Guests were treated to poems, short stories and artwork.
Earlier this year, young writers were encouraged to submit their work to the YWA committee, run by Kara Heine, Janeen Sullivan and Jaclyn Twichell. From the hundreds of submissions, just over a hundred were chosen to be published. This is indeed a great accomplishment for these students and you could tell from their faces and the faces of their guests, that they were very proud.
As teachers, overseeing this whole process, it is hard to put into words the feeling that we have on this final night. When a child approaches you to thank you for the opportunity or a parent tells you how much the experience has truly meant to their child, it makes our job a little more special. The pieces in the anthology take on heart instead of being just words.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Making Plans for #Makesummer

The final days of school are winding down. Yesterday I corrected the last assignment my 9th graders submitted, not counting final projects. I'm gaining elevation and can smell the fresh cut grass and see the breaking daylight at the end of the tunnel.

In the summer I like to do stuff. Read. Take pictures. Take the kids on mini-adventures. Make stuff. This summer I am trying to enhance that by joining the National Writing Project Making Learning Connected MOOC. (By the way, I think I've dropped out of the Mozilla Webmaker's MOOC -- maybe just temporarily -- as I kind of got lost in the rush of end of year grading/planning/APPR-ing. I may go back and revisit next week.) This summer the Writing Project has joined with the McArthur Foundation, Mozilla, Digital Media and Learning and others to encourage this to be #makesummer, a summer of "making and connecting."

As such, here's a list of what I hope to make and share this summer (in order of likelihood to be completed):

  1. My garden - last summer I dabbled with some tomatoes and peppers in a small garden in a sunny side of my yard. I was able to grow a few cherry tomatoes and some mottled green peppers. This winter I did a fair amount of research and right now I am going a few steps further. I built a 4x8 raised bed on the east side of my house and intend to add another smaller bed this weekend. I bought compost. I planted heirloom tomatoes, sugar snap peas, green beans, a few varieties of basil, cilantro, epazote, chives, zucchini, yellow and spaghetti squash, spinach and some mesclun. Ideally I would like to grow a large percentage of my vegetables this summer. Since I am a voracious vegetable eater, this is going to take some time, study, and tinkering to make things work. I know that the only way to learn is to struggle, fail, and get up and try again, but I hope that I'm successful enough to bring some seeds to bear (literally and figuratively). My kids are in on the act so it is a fun activity. I have also been collecting discarded wooden pallets and plan on building a few herb boxes in the coming weeks. Lastly, I'm experimenting with an upside down tomato growing design I saw somewhere online. We'll see where this goes but there is plenty of opportunities for making and sharing. 
  2. Video - This summer I have to finish two home movies. I went to Disney three years ago and Delaware this past summer. The Disney film has over a thousand shots and is very intimidating. I am four minutes and one theme park in. I've been using this video as inspiration so the editing has taken some time. I have yet to begin editing Delaware but it is on the docket. This is the summer I catch up!
    A Spanish Roadtrip from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.
  3. My Curriculum - This summer I will be involved in a weeklong Moodle seminar with my local BOCES. I will be redesigning my AP Literature class into a "flex" blended learning class. Basically, my whole class in going online save for f2f discussions and exhibitions and I need to redesign and imagine for that space (as well as create/curate countless videos to help teach). This is a daunting and exciting task, made even more so because my intent is to redesign my English 9 and Digital Writing Workshop courses in this image as well. 
  4. Shoe Rack - My shoe rack in my garage is a disaster. I am going to take inspiration from 1000 Things to Do With Pallets and build a shelf/crate system to organize the kiddie shoe chaos. 
  5. Writing - I've been getting up everyday in 2013 at 4:30 AM in order to have a good breakfast and get some work done. In the summer, that work lessens. I have a few story ideas in the can and for once I'm aspiring to set down a schedule and write. In Parade the other day Stephen King stated he writes 1500 words a day. That's not so daunting. I can totally do that.
That's the list thus far. Mix in some reading, long walks with the kids, workouts, running and numerous kids soccer/hockey games and you have a snapshot of my summer plans. Just keep in mind that I frequently overaspire and underdeliver -- which, in hindsight, creates a fair amount of stress but I think is the best way to go about things. Here's to a summer of making and connecting. What are your #making plans this summer? - Joel Malley

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer of Making and Connecting

If you’re anything like me, you have a lengthy list of summer “to do’s” in the can. Maybe you are planting a garden, building a shed or redesigning the curriculum for one of your classes. For many teachers, summer is the time for ourselves and when we have time to ourselves seldom do we sit around and while the hours away.For the National Writing Project, this summer is no different. 

The NWP is spearheading a nationwide effort to encourage folks to take part in the Summer of Making and Connecting. Here’s a description of the initiative from the NWP:
The National Writing Project is launching an Educator Innovator initiative this summer that will work to connect educators—in schools and universities, libraries, museums, science centers, and community-based organizations—with a specially curated set of learning opportunities that support their interests in creative and powerful learning for the young people they work with.
The Educator Innovator initiative is part of an overall summer campaign, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, called the Summer of Making and Connecting. The goal of this summer campaign is to encourage a broad range of people to take the summer to engage in creative and connected learning – to make something, to learn a new skill in a new way, and to experience their own creativity and capacity in fields as diverse as the arts and engineering.

Sound interesting? If so, you can get involved immediately in a number of different ways.
1. Sign up with the NWP Educator Innovator blog to receive news of opportunities in regards to the Summer of Making and Connecting.
2. Join the network at Make Summer. Here's the description:
The Summer of Making and Connecting organizes hundreds of events, projects and programs in communities across the nation, around the world, and online to help youth connect learning to their interests and to enable teachers to learn from and network with their innovative peers.
The campaign will engage hundreds of thousands of people in creating things on the web, with hardware, and on paper—working in schools and community spaces and at kitchen tables. The campaign brings together organizations from the worlds of DIY, making, writing, and learning to build the Connected Learning movement.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Karen Lewis blogs over at The Burchfield Penney

Karen Lewis, resident WNYWP poet and teacher, was recently invited to blog for the Burchfield Penny art gallery website.

"The Deckled Edge" Karen Lewis
It begins with the deckled edge. Deckle: the frayed edge, the natural edge, the feathered edge of watercolor paper. I find myself collecting them. Slicing the ragged landscapes into strips. Running my fingers along their mountainous terrain. I imagine...
Follow the link to read the rest of her piece.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Cool People, Messing With All This Cool Stuff" Simon Hauger: The Workshop School

Note: This has been reposted from the Connected Learning Inquiry Group by Joel Malley 

Yesterday Christopher Rogers shared this talk by Simon Hauger about The Workshop School, a school in Philadelphia where kids build hybrid cars amongst other things. Hauger became disenchanted with the “hot mess” that he and his kids see in urban education and he joined with a few other folks and created his own school where kids could use their hands and build.

It was an interesting talk. The quote was full of wise nuggets that jive with Connected Learning. Here are a few bits that stuck out to me between that talk and a few other things I’ve experienced the past few days.

  • “But...uh...when are we ever going to use this.” - a kid named Tony, speaking with a Math teacher who was reviewing radicals with his small group of kids.
  • “Whenever I wanted to take on a new sport, I would apply another love of mine--figuring out how things work. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had questions running through my mind, like “Why does a clock tick?” or “What kind of machine wraps a stick of butter?”...In my early twenties, when I took up running, I approached it in much the same way.” - Chi Running, Danny and Katherine Dreyer, a book I browsed on Amazon yesterday
  • “Why is school boring? Because people are naturally curious...naturally creative.” - Simon Hauger
  • “I don’t learn best by being lectured in the classroom...but by figuring out problems that are actually useful.” The Workshop School
  • “School should be about students solving real problems” - a student at The Workshop School
  • Useful. What a weird word. Full of use. To be used. Having purpose. Isn’t this something we are all desperate for?

When I think about these snippets, the talk from Hauger and the learning and being that embodies that video, and the core principles of connected learning, I can’t help but understand that the connections are palpable.

Equity. Participatory. Social. Look at that video.

Equity. Kids are working on hybrid vehicles. They are tinkering. They are engaged. Their work on this burgeoning field elevates us all and their success elevates their community.

Full participation. Kids are tinkering. They are doing and being. I haven’t read Ernest Morrell, as Chris shared out in another post, but I can’t help to think that these kids are becoming.

Social. The kids are working together. Hauger is presenting challenges and then guiding. Kids are playing together and figuring things out.

It was a powerful talk. Take ten minutes and check it out if you have the time.

Pushback Question
But, isn’t this just a fancy version of the auto class or cosmetics class students at my school can take if they choose to leave my school after half a day and attend the vocational school my district contracts with?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ballot for the 2012 New York State Reading Association's Charlotte AwardCharlotte Award

Named for the main character in E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, the purpose of the Charlotte Award is to encourage students to read outstanding literature and ultimately become life-long readers. Additionally, the award recognizes the authors and illustrators of such literature.

The Ballot for 2012 was announced today. We waited with baited breath to find out who would be nominated....

The Pre K-2 Primary list for this award is as follows:

Bubble Trouble
City Dog, Country Frog
Clever Jack Takes the Cake
Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes
Memoirs of a Goldfish
Stars Above Us
The Cat Can’t Stay
Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!
We Planted a Tree