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Six Image Memoir

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

I never would have expected that I would be thinking about digital literacy this weekend, but here I am in the front yard of my brother-in-law’s house on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington connected to the internet. Next to me is my niece focusing on writing essays for medical school applications. My nephew is shopping for ski bindings. My brother-in-law is working on a grant, and his wife is reading Seattle Times on her phone. We are all connected to the world as we connect to each other.

On the Making Learning Connected site, Kevin Hodgson (who is always thinking about digital literacy) invites us to make 6 image memoirs.

This was harder than I thought it would be. I decided to use Haiku Deck. I perused images and tried to pick out ones that reflect my personal life as well as my professional one. They are so interconnected. When I began blogging three years ago, I did not realize just how appropriate my site name is to the purpose of my writing. Reflections on the Teche does not limit me to only writing about teaching or only posting poetry, but I can do both. My memoir includes my active self (teacher, wife, mother) as well as my reflective self.

It is important in this digital age to encourage our students to not only participate, but to also be reflective and thoughtful about purpose.

Click on the link to view my 6 image memoir on haiku deck:

https://www.haikudeck.com/p/BdTRIF9pjf/6-image-memoir

sunset profile

Link up your digital literacy post or your six image memoir.

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

On Kim Douillard’s blog “Thinking Through My Lens,” she invites us to tell a story with images to the word through.

Today, on Celebration Saturday, I celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I am privileged to be here with my mother-in-law a respite from the heat of the south. My sister-in-law is our tour guide. Yesterday she led us on an informative tour of the flora of The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

Here is my five-image story/poem from our day trip to Bainbridge Island.

Through the window of the ferry, we sail away from Seattle.

Through the window of the ferry, we sail away from Seattle.

Through a forest of birches, rhododendron reflect on a passing stream.

Through a forest of birches, rhododendron reflect on a passing stream.

Pacific angels send a breeze of salty healing air through my lungs to lighten my heart.

Pacific angels send a breeze of salty healing air through my lungs to lighten my heart.

Even the root of the fallen hemlock becomes sculpture through God's eyes.

Even the root of the fallen hemlock becomes sculpture through God’s eyes.

Follow me through the Japanese Garden to discover gnomes among the moss and fairies in the trees.

Follow me through the Japanese Garden to discover gnomes among the moss and fairies in the trees.

Blog Gem Poem Gift

Poetry Friday Round-up: Poetry for Children

Poetry Friday Round-up: Poetry for Children

Image created on tagxedo.com by Donna Smith

Image created on tagxedo.com by Donna Smith

Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Summer Poem Swap.

Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Summer Poem Swap.

In the mail last week, I received a poem swap gift from Donna Smith. While I loved the poem that seemed to be written just for me, I didn’t fully appreciate it until I read Donna’s Poetry Friday post last week. I could not get over the amount of time she spent on the process. In an email exchange, I asked her these questions. Her answers are in italics.

Did you select one blog post or multiple ones to get the word cloud?


I selected the blog’s main url, not a single post, but either could be done. I just wanted a larger picture of the overall blog contents, not just one day’s take on it. I was also afraid that some words would go together too much and sound like the actual blog post. I didn’t want it to be just about a post or a poetic rewrite of it, but more a “found” poem.

It was helpful to read through a bit of the blog where some of the words came from. I could remind myself of who I was writing to and discover more about the recipient, in case I could incorporate any information. I did some research on the “Teche”, not having been familiar with that term up here in the north. It was fun learning about another part of our country!

On your blog, you said you printed out the words and cut them up. Why did you choose to do it this way? I would think that you could just look at them and pick out words without the labor intense work of cutting. I wonder if the longer process led you to deeper writing?

You don’t have to type, sort, print and cut them, but I like the familiarity with the words I get with this more hands-on “direct contact” approach. Being able to move them around physically was good and did help with the deeper thought and connection in writing. Having them set for a bit helped put them in my mind where I could play with them some, too. It became easier to “find” the poem the more I got acquainted with the words. Cutting them apart might not be necessary for everyone. I would still recommend typing them to see them all at once and sorting them by their parts of speech.

Reflections
by Donna JT Smith July 2014

Imagine
the beginning
of a summer
journey:
a personal
mountain
traveled.
Listen
to the clever
chatter of leaves,
Follow
the flight
of
song birds,
Celebrate
old bayou
voices and memes,
Climb
to the stars
in silence,
Know
every life
is connected
to another,
Believe
and love deeply,
Challenge
your heart,
Illuminate
your life,
Spread
joy
in your corner
of the world;
Make
time to write
your
reflections
and
dance
on
the hazel Teche.
–Donna Smith, all rights reserved

Thank you, Donna, for the time, energy, and creativity you put into this poem gift.

Reflections

Follow this link to read more spiritual journey posts.

Follow this link to read more spiritual journey posts.

Fragments of sin are a part of me.
New brooms shall sweep clean the heart of me.
Shall they? Shall they?

When this light life shall have passed away,
God shall redeem me, a castaway.
Shall He? Shall He?
–Marianne Moore, public domain

Holly Mueller invites us to reflect on our spiritual journey each week. Today her theme is Follow. I also subscribe to Kim Douillard’s blog Thinking Through My Lens. She invited me to think about containers. So my creative-spiritual being thought about these things while I visited St. Marks Cathedral in Seattle today. We went to Centering Prayer. Sitting in silence in this holy space was a special gift. I let go completely and allowed my mind to rest.

The container of my mind holds many fragments.
Closing my eyes in prayer,
letting the mantra cleanse me, I am freed.
My container is opened.

We are called to Follow as we are called to Be still and know.
Today I looked into the font at the entrance to St. Marks and saw this reflection.
A God-centered mind will reflect only love.

St. Marks font

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

I continue to try my hand at creative endeavors. #CLMOOC Challenge for this week is fairly easy, a 5 image story. I got the Tapestry app on my phone (free), so it was easy to upload 5 silly shots of my cat hiding in a grocery bag. It was as though she thought she was invisible. We are a little nutty about our animals. I took some shots of this cat trick and made a 5 image Tapestry story. Unfortunately, wordpress does not embed Tapestry. Click on the link. I promise it’ll only take a second. Can you add the words?

https://readtapestry.com/s/ZDImIgGiA/

Mimi in a bag

Last week I got my brain fried in pre-AP training. I finally had some time to process and work with a frame that my colleague Beth and I came up with. We want to use the theme of Wonder for our year. I tried Wonderopolis with my students a few times last year and they loved it. In my thinking/planning journal we brainstormed what each letter could stand for and began planning to use this format for our daily language lesson. I’m thinking it can guide my whole week.

Wonder frame

I am such a teacher-geek passionate teacher that I spent hours planning out Wonder frames for the school year.

First I selected an interesting Wonder from Wonderopolis, such as Fireflies. Each Wonder includes a video, a nonfiction text passage, vocabulary, links, and interactive quizes. A teacher’s dream website! I mean who doesn’t get excited about learning about bioluminescence?

On Monday, students will read and paraphrase a quote: “All that I know about us is that beautiful things never last, that’s why fireflies flash.”

On Tuesday, they will analyze a Robert Frost poem about fireflies: (Underline the word(s) that fireflies are compared to in the poem and explain how they are similar to fireflies.)
“Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.” Robert Frost

On Wednesday, they will define bioluminescence and use it in a short paragraph.

On Thursday, they will edit this sentence, “Fireflies may be none for there glow power but their knot alone. “
On Friday, they will read another passage from Mental Floss and make an inference.

I can only imagine how my classroom will be buzzing about fireflies. In the meantime, my students will be able to read their own choices (I am determined to channel Donalyn Miller this year) and will be writing their own pieces during writing workshop. I’m excited to find a way to feel like I am incorporating valuable lessons without sacrificing student choice. Here is a pdf file of the Wonder template for ELA (2).

Brain Flood

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

high water

It’s been raining for days. You can hear the grass growing. Everything is lush and green, but at some point the ground gets saturated and overflows. When the rain comes too fast, the water floods the streets. On Friday, businesses closed early so people could make their slow flooded way home.

Sometimes we do this to our students. This week I attended the Rice University AP Institute. My brain went into flood mode. Too much information in, not enough draining out. I learned a valuable lesson about being a student. Finally on Friday, we were given the time to design our own lessons. The room was buzzing. My colleagues and I designed a frame for our teaching this year. We were able to sit and talk and process the water of information. We must give our students this time.

Digital learning can be about gaining knowledge, but mostly it is about processing knowledge. This summer I’ve been flooded with new ways for my students to process information. I’ll need to hand this learning over to them and give them time to find the right application for them. Will it be Prezi, Thinglink, or Haiku Deck? Maybe blogging, Animoto, or Tapestry? The important thing is to control the flood waters, try not to overwhelm them, and give then the time to process and apply.

Let’s continue the conversation about online learning communities for our students. Sheri Edwards has set up an edublog called Connect 2 Learn. Check it out and add your ideas.

The Educator Collaborative is Live! Join the group. Besty Hubbard has a group for Young Writers.

Link up your DigiLit Sunday post:

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston's Herman Park

Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston’s Herman Park

Did you miss me? I spent the week at Rice University in Houston attending a Pre-AP training. While I gained a great deal of information on teaching pre-AP, this post is about the wonderful free stuff we experienced in Houston.

On Wednesday night, my colleagues and I joined my friends at the Miller Outdoor Theatre for a free musical performance of “The Best Little W*#rehouse in Texas.” What a great performance! And Reese entertained us with stories about this true history of Texas and how his great uncle frequented the place. Picnic blankets, big dogs, wine, and musical entertainment, it doesn’t get much better than that!

sebastian

Matise from the Museum of Fine Art, Houston

Matise from the Museum of Fine Art, Houston

On Thursday evening, we visited the Museum of FIne Art for free. Every Thursday the museum is free all day and open until 9 PM. While we were eating in the cafe, my friend Sarah joined us. Sarah is an artist and gave us a wonderful tour of the museum. While we were visiting, I brought up the puppy that Sarah rescued. She and Reese found a stray puppy along the highway from Galveston. The dog was in rough shape. They cared for her for 2 weeks and decided it was all too much to handle with their older (and perfectly mannered) dog Tilly. Sarah brought her to the poodle rescue. But her heart would not let go. So on Thursday, Marigold (so named because she was beautiful yet stinky) came back home to Sarah. We all turned and looked at Candice who had just been telling us about the loss of her dog in December. Right there in the art museum, a match was made. Before returning to our hotel, Sarah took us to meet Marigold. If I’ve ever seen love at first sight, this was it. Candice has two young daughters. What a surprise for them! We traveled home yesterday with 5 women and all our stuff plus one dog. Marigold was the perfect passenger. Now she has found the perfect home. As my husband likes to say about our rescue animals, “She has found a soft place to land.”

Marigold curls up with her new mom on the long ride home.

Marigold curls up with her new mom on the long ride home.

Happy Family:  Marigold is now being called Coco for her fur that looks like coconut.

Happy Family: Marigold is now being called Coco for her fur that looks like coconut.

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