Tuesday, June 30, 2009

dungeons and donuts

Had I had an answer as we drove through the tunnel, I would have surely had a better response to my son's question:
Do donuts live in tunnels?
And once again, I'm thinking about the creativity death clock that governs much of education.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

why now?

June and I'm asking the type of question that frustrates, confounds, and leads to coffee binges:
  • Do we (teachers) want to figure out how to leverage technology or do we just want to have someone mandate its use?

Friday, June 12, 2009

does this count as transformative?

Can we consider what follows a case study for the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Media Literacy Education?

The premise is:
Ever wish songs just sang what was happening in the music video?
I'm sure there's a good writing project in all of this, but are we really in a position to foster and encourage creativity?

Wait...I've said too much.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

sifting through farts

My wife told me that Totlol is vanishing as of July 1.

Totlol lauched in May 2008, and one year later, the founder of the site notes in his farewell message:
I find myself running a website that is loved and growing but has no future. It needs a long term sponsor and I can't find one. I just can't support and develop it all by myself anymore.
There was an option to submit a message to the site's creator, Ron.

So I wrote:

Thank you. I wish that I knew of some massive sponsor that would help preserve your site. I don't. I teach. So that makes me unqualified-squared as a source of help.

Like you, my now four-year old son always 'wanted to see'. There are only so many 'where the hell is matt' videos worth showing a toddler. And a 16-second clip of a panda sneezing loses its power of captivation after a few viewings.

My wife and I have shared this site with other parents, with our families, and even with coworkers at teacher in-service workshops. Please don't tell my administration.

If not you, I hope someone, somewhere, with a wallet stuffed with Costco-sized funds, recognizes that there is an audience in need of a site like Totlol. And that audience is growing.

Heck, since you launched the site, my progeny has doubled.
I know that there are other places to find content. Miro and Joost come to mind, but they're not designed for children, they just happen to have secured the rights to show certain kid-centric programs.

For now, DVR will have to do. And a little something we like to call reading. It requires adult participation, but with summer right in front of us, I should have some free time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

any(one) can tweet

Sitting at lunch, sodium pretending to be 'soup', Joyce and I talking about Sesame Street turning forty. And since we've already limited our conversations to 140 characters a piece, we're now discussing Twitter. And Sesame Street.

What would Cookie Monster tweet?
"Cookie 'sometimes food'? Sometime this! Myum-myum, myum-myum!"

What would Elmo tweet?
"Mr. Noodle creepy to Elmo. Keep window shade down from now on."

What would Ernie tweet?
"@Bert. Thank goodness for twin beds."

Like Historical Tweets, I think that asking students to create tweets for the Sesame Street gang would be a quick, engaging activity, perfect for our creative writing cour -

Maybe we have bigger issues than access to micro-blogging platforms.

Monday, June 8, 2009

on fostering collegiality

It started with an email. Six people responded, and all of them agreed to participate in the 2nd Annual Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. But one of the respondents suggested that I forgo the invitation to play; instead, put every teacher in the tournament. He noted:

Some will play, but they won't respond.

Some will play, but only if they're approached to play.

And those that won't play, well, each one is a forfeit that counts as a win for those willing to participate.
I'm loading my division with naysayers!

This is an attempt to foster a greater level of faculty collegiality. I'm all for it. But there's this part of me, reticent, skeptical and wary, that I'm on the verge of receiving a plethora of emails from those offended at being included. They'll demand that they not be involved. And their emails will more than double the number of emails from those who have previously accepted the invitation to participate.

But I'm going to try, because I don't mind taking a longer, more competitive road to the championship.

Friday, June 5, 2009

an email for maternity return

So sweet of you to offer to bring lunch for us still here in the building. The things a new parent will do just to have some time away from those little wondrous creations that smile at us while wearing a poop-filled Pamper.

I want:

A Coca-Cola!!!

And I know that Dan wants the Panini of the Day, but it's rainy out, so I'm not sure I want today's offering, all rain-soaked and tepid.

So I'll take a:

Turkey hoagie!
with provolone!
and some lettuce, pleasantly laid upon aforementioned meat and cheese.
and quite literally, 'a little bit of mayo', because a healthy dollop will lead me to gag, maybe even vomit. And no mayo is stupid.

Bring on the calories. Leave the diaper.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

dead messages

This is the email that I sent to the teachers:
I'd like to thank all of you for a great year. As we move ever-closer to the celebratory last day, and as you begin the process of collecting text books and other items distributed to the students, I'd like to remind you about bringing order and closure to your classroom set of laptops.

Please insure that all laptops are in their correct locations in the cart. Additionally, please make sure that all power cords are placed on their appropriate shelves, and that they are plugged in to the computers.

In advance, I thank you for maintaining the presentation and physical condition of your classroom set of laptops.
This the email I would have sent to my colleagues if I still taught a class:
Some of your laptops see those books on the other side of the room. They've noticed that when you collected them, you put them in neat stacks. In fact, they've noticed that you went so far as to take your left hand and smooth the stack from top to bottom, just to make sure that the books were in perfect order.

But some of your laptops are blind. Some of them are powerless. Some of them are lost. Let's listen to computer CFF-5:

Where am I? What shelf is this? I'm so tired. I'm running out of energy. Usually, I'm on a shelf, feeling myself getting stronger every minute, but recently, I feel depleted and soporific. And I can't see. There are all these cords dangling in front of me. But as bad as I have it, my buddy CFF-20, well, he's facing the wrong way. He can't even see out of this cart. And CFF-12, he's put one of his corners on me and he won't move. He can't move. He's not even in straight.

Why are those books treated so well? Don't we deserve equal treatment?
There are some parts of my new job that I dread. It's killing the joy of composing emails.