Friday, November 16, 2007

digital zine thoughts.

so, i've been thinking a lot about a cumulative project for the end of my unit/end of the semester that is able to highlight my students' progess in myriad ways, utilizing the technology that we have available to us in order to give kids choice in how they choose to develop their work. i see it happening like this:

alt-x - where the digerati meet the literati (clever catchphrase!)

a place either divided by genre, by topic, or even divided by students (such as, you can see all of destinee's work here) that can highlight a few pieces of their best work, which they would select and develop in preparation to "publish" it. workshopping would be integral to the process, we would also integrate editorials, persuasive essays, journalistic pieces, poetry, fiction, rhyming, acting, and i would allow students to visually represent their ideas, as well. i think about using comic life to create comic books, having them make videos of themselves performing their work (or videos as their work). there are endless possibilities to how this could go.

but we are limited by not being able to post these things online like as a regular e-zine, so i'm thinking a DVD format would work best. but i worry about students not being able to share it with their folks for lack of technology, so i would want to have a viewing of their work, inviting parents in to go through the zine with their kids, or even having live performances from their work in the zine.

all of these ideas are just forming, so this is a think-aloud, essentially. but i think that it could be an incredibly fun project for students and we could integrate much of the benchmarks into a semester-long mega-unit that culminates here. i'm going to propose it and i'm going to start getting the words into my head so that i can see what grants i can write.

and i'm glad i suddenly have my unit plan forming - but just like my individual lesson plans, which can never seem to fit into one class period, my unit plan will not fit into 5-6 weeks, ha. my inner overachiever really is a gay man with delectable taste - who tends to think large and elaborate. you know how i do.

oh, and having Pete come to us from Clemente yesterday was amazing! more about that soon.


Monday, November 12, 2007


i want to post the video we "found" about school reform for tomorrow's 649 class SO BADLY, but i cannot give it away. check back here again after tuesday night. i also wanted to talk quickly about the fact that "Crashboomlove" is the best book of poetry i've read in awhile and i'm sure that my students will be into it during my poetry unit in the spring. i'm thinking about writing a grant to get copies for my students for free, i bet i could talk to ming louie, from the detroit public library about how to go about this. speaking of ming, here's a magic trick that he did when he was talking about the program we're participating in:

oh and there's nothing like getting an idea and then getting the chance to implement it almost immediately -- my kids are doing projects on "the watsons go to birmingham" and wouldn't you know it? a bunch of them want to do claymation dioramas, ha!

anyhoo, back to old english, where i belong to beowulf.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

text msg break up

if you've ever seen kelly's text msg break up video, you'll appreciate this. but if you've ever worked on a text analysis, you will also appreciate this. the part of me will be played by me. the part of text analysis is played by will mcgrath. (and this is an actual transcription of said break-up w/ t.a.)

me: text analysis, we're breaking up. i've spent too much of my life on you.

text analysis:
baby wait! i can change. just give me one more chance. i... i love you.

me: no! i've heard this all before. i'm tired of being the only one who works on this relationship.

t.a.: me me me! that's all you were ever intersted in!

me: true, the text was amazing, but you were only ever interested in my body, not in my mind! i'm through!


p.s. i'm done!!!!


Friday, November 2, 2007

claymation and playmation

yay to claymation! katie j. and i had a lot of fun making this lil nugget, using i-movie and stop-animation... i feel that stop animation videos will be making many blog appearances in the future, as they are time consuming, but incredibly fun! i hope i can find a way to use them with my students, who are always talking about how they want to do dioramas and creative projects, maybe they can use this to illustrate a scene from a novel we're working on (the watsons go to birmingham?) i would have to think of ways for everyone to work on one... such as some people being responsible for creating the figures, some people taking photos, some people working on set, some people responsible for the final edit/music/etc. maybe i could work with mr. dominguez in the mac lab at school, so that more students could be involved, taking the rough material and making it their own through the editing process. that would be pretty cool!

i also wanted to talk about my day at roosevelt elementary... we are working on producing two plays; i'll be making them into movies and showing them publicly at the school in the beginning of december (it's on a friday morning, if anyone wants to go to the final viewing!). today i worked with 9 students; we did a reading of the script and the kids were so cute, so dramatic! we rehearsed "the billy goats gruff", assigned parts, understudies and backstage crew to help with direction, sets, costumes, etc. we brainstormed for some set and costume ideas and i had both the actors and the understudies first do a read-through (while sitting at a conference table, they felt so grown up!) and then started to mark it out... showing me where the bridge should be that the goats trot, trot, trot over and what other types of set requirements they had for their "masterpiece". i'm trying to be helpful in giving them direction but also let them be creative with it, as they have a lot of great ideas. 3rd and 4th graders are so much fun, and it was cute that they were very excited to see me, even though they'd only just met me last week. and elementary school kids are fun because you just have to act excited, and that excitement will radiate, and absorb into them.

not to mention, carrie is a really wonderful teacher. she has the kids in very strong routines that are incredibly effective, from quieting them down to communicating with them about cleaning up, how much time is left, and she does this call and response thing with them, as well as has a class currency, where students earn them for positive behavior, answering a question correctly, listening attentively, etc. and have to give them up for unruly behavior, or to buy supplies and fun things (cool pencil cases, erasers, computer time, etc.) i remember doing something like that in 5th grade, but it wasn't worked so completely into every aspect of the classroom. anyway, i'm excited to go back next week.

and now to stop procrastinating on completing my text analysis.