Tinkering With Voices in Poetry

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Illustration by Melvina Kurashige

Tinkering, playing around, experimenting: that’s learning. So when Kevin Hodgson [@dogtrax] read my “On Starting: A Poem for Three Voices,” he suggested recording those three voices in a podcast.

Kevin invited Melvina Kurashige [@mkurashige] and me to an online, collaborative sound recording tool called SoundTrap [there’s an app too.] With just a few tests and his great Google doc tutorial, we each recorded the voices for the poem. Melvina created the illustration [above] and Kevin added music and transferred the recording to SoundCloud.

 

I wanted to create an animation, but I did manage to create an illustrated version of our poem by drawing illustrations in SketchBook and importing them into iMovie. I downloaded the SoundCloud version and matched the timing of the recording to the images. I added in Melvina’s illustration and, of course, the credits.

On Starting on YouTube    On Starting at Soundcloud

 

I was impressed with how easy SoundTrap is use; a collaboration with students would work with a light learning curve. Imagine students creating their own poems for two voices, or creating a podcast for the school. See the SoundTrap Edublogs for more about an education edition. To get a feel for how to use it, check out their Tutorials at Vimeo.

I’d like to thank Kevin for making it happen — he wrote about it here: “Tinkering with Voices/Playing with Poems” — and to Melvina for accepting the invitation and taking the initiative to create the SketchNote of the poem.

Now, go tryout SoundTrap [there’s an app too.] in the free version to see its versatility, and then… share what you do with it! Really, you’ll have a blast.

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Illustration by Melvina Kurashige

SOL17 DoodleaDay Sketch50 Haibun

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A Message from Robins

A Haibun Poem

I awoke to a new day announced at first light by a chorus of robins, a celebration of the last #doodleaday, ready for April 1st — the beginning of #GloPoWriMo or Global Poetry Writing Month.

Robins announce spring,

Chirping, chattering, tweeting

Me awake at four.

Yes, they chirp alarms

Unwanted, unneeded, yet

Inspired a poem, yes?

Oh, haiku power,

joyous chaos rises to

Humble my complaints.

Ha! And we two sing

Word play- Global Poetry

Writing Month: April!

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Tomorrow starts Global Poetry Writing Month [#GloPoWriMo], or in the United States, it was once called National Poetry Writing Month [ #NaPoWriMo], started and nurtured by Maureen Thorson at napowrimo.net.

So when I woke up today, I knew I wanted to start my April off with some ideas. I started with the pre-GloPoWriMo post by Maureen, suggesting a form of poetry I hand not heard of before: haibun. I love the examples, here, which Maureen shared in her post.

What better way to end #doodleaday than with a new style of poetry, especially since the topic today is: Why Do I Doodle?

I doodle to enhance the message. As a participant in Sketch50, I discovered that topic today is “two people talking.”

So my doodle of two people talking in haiku enhances the message of my morning waking up to the dawn of Global Poetry Writing Month.

The prose introduction plus the conversation of haiku creates the haibun poem. What a fun day of sketching and doodling!

Thank you to Royan Lee  for the excellent experience he created for us in #doodleaday prompts!

And thanks to Melvina Kurashige whose tweet helped me with drawing people

And thanks to Deb Baff whose tweet also helped me with drawing my two people talking:

So — if you’re not sure about your drawing skills, develop a growth mindset and do #doodleaday and Sketch50 so you can doodle to enhance your message or to take notes.

And, get ready for National Poetry Month!

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Resources for Poetry Month:

Be sure to check out the resources at Poets.org:

National Poetry Month information, including a downloadable, clickable poster

Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 27 & Find a Poem for Your Pocket

The Dear Poet Project

30 Ways to Celebrate—  #NPM17

A Poem a Day

Thirty Days of Writing Prompts by Kelli Russell Agodon

National Poetry Month links by Sheri

Online Interactives from Read/Write/Think: Theme PoemsAcrostic PoemsDiamante Poems

or learn from poets:

Kinds of Poems by Kathi Mitchell

Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids

Giggle Poetry How To

Not sure you want to write a poem every day? How about reading one every day. Find one you like. Link to it in your Kidblog and let us know:

Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?

A Poem a Day by GottaBook

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 This blog is:

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Why Do I Doodle?

Part of Sketch50: two people talking

Part of #GloPoWriMo / #NaPoWriMo  @NaPoWriMo at napowrimo.net started and nurtured by Maureen Thorson

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Doodling Song for Today:

I’ve Got A Name by Jim Croce 

One of the strategies my students follow is to “name it

Not a dog — give it a name: a German Shepherd, or a bouncing white poodle

Not the floor — name with description and nouns: but the muted colored tweed carpet

Or like Jim Croce — not the wind blew but

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky

Enjoy this story, this poem, this song by Jim Croce: I’ve Got A Name, because you can picture  the images in your mind…

SOL17 DoodleaDay 25 Triumph


How does a person shake out of a slump?

In January, I set goals which I didn’t meet, although I tried. I had challenges and ideas, but they did not inspire me as I’d hoped. Too much going on in the news, too much to consider and worry about. 

Then, DoodleaDay by Royan Lee started in March.  Listen to a song, and doodle. Wow. I could do that. And, the March Slice of Life challenge started — a doodle with a song and a slice from life: a refocus that starts with art.

I’m not an artist, my lines are never straight, and what’s perspective? But doodling? I could doodle. And the first few doodle prompts provided some tips. And in researching [of course, I had to research…], I discovered zentangle doodling. 

It also reminded me of my classroom.  The last fifteen years has seen an emphasis on one standardized test and its scores, which refocused all work by teachers and students to reading, writing, and math. So much was eliminated: art, music, even social studies and science. But kids can’t focus on just those– learning isn’t just skills. Learning is thinking and doing and connections and reflections. So one thing I did was to bring in art, and to take art breaks. Just simple things, like draw five dots, then create an action figure from those five dots:


Or Scribble Art: draw a line, and make some thing of it:


Or small art: Give everyone a one inch square and a topic. Mount the results on black paper and hang. [I have a picture somewhere…]


These didn’t take much time, but ah the sound of joy and relief in the classroom. The sound of sharing and chuckles and success. Art is the human story in shapes; art centers us; art gives expression to our feelings and hopes.

So, in the classroom, our schedules and impromptu art sessions helped build our relationships with each other and improve our classroom climate; art rounded out the mandates and made us whole. 

And that’s what Royan Lee’s DoodleaDay did for me!  Thank you, Royan Lee!

Shake out the slump with art!

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Resource on Art in Education: Commensense: Art in ELL Classroom

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If you’re down, and your smile can’t be 

Found;

If you’re sad, and your mind needs some

Glad;

Give a sigh, and grab a pen, close your

Eyes;

Make a squiggle, add some spark ’til you

Giggle.

Make a start, find yourself, find your glad in

Art.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: triumph and failure

Doodle Prompts March 21-31

Doodling Song: Bellamy Brothers: Let Your Love Flow

SOL17 DoodleaDay 15 Blowin’ In The Wind

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I spend time each day to learn from others by reading their ideas linked to in tweets on Twitter. Before November 8th, this daily activity inspired me and my work; the twitter feed offered the opportunity to share, learn, grow, reciprocate, and remix to make the world a better place.

After November 8th, I took some time off. I found the world had shifted off the humane course of a world seeking peace– seeking liberty and justice for all. It careened of a cliff and away from but a call to:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

~Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson

I don’t know if you felt it, that tremble under your feet that knocks you off balance; a feeling of dread that the world beneath your feet is crumbling away. Before November 8th, our country opened up that joyous word: freedom — it acknowledged and upheld differences; it celebrated a world that includes everyone. Yes, places in the world were still horrific, and the world was trying to help that. Yes, sometimes the opportunities were not available as easily for some than others. Yet, we were as a country working on those. We were not perfect, but we were open; we had avenues to take to promote freedom and justice for all.

Then we elected oligarchs, white supremacists, anarchists, illiterates whose sole purpose is to disrupt and control.

I thought that the Republicans were American patriots — that they would see the evil in the actions and the power negating freedoms, but now they are complicit.

I am a fool; I thought our government of the people, by the people, and for the people through our elected representatives would govern for all the people.

I am a fool.

Today, I looked at the blogs of people I follow on Twitter. One post, My Un-Representative by Alan Levine [@cogdog] really hit my heart- the ideas touched exactly how I’m feeling.

Look at the graphic at the top of the post — this is a Wikimedia Commons public domain image representing the House of Representatives, 2017.

houseofrepresentatives2017_publicdomain.jpg

There are, indeed, more Republicans [red] than Democrats and others [blue].

Yes, we elected them, but how did we elect them? In fact, the Republicans selected us, the voters by rigging the voting districts. It’s called gerrymandering, and this January, 2016 Washington Post article explains this concept and this fact [bold, mine]:

The GOP scored 33 more seats in the House this election even though Democrats earned a million more votes in House races. Professor Jeremy Mayer says gerrymandering distorts democracy. (The Fold/The Washington Post)

I knew gerrymandering existed, but did not think it was that bad, and in fact, I thought my state [Washington] was fair with a bi-partisan system. It turns out I’m wrong: Read the DailyKos article on why this doesn’t work either.

Some resources to correct the effects of gerrymandering:

End Gerrymandering

The Fold/The Washington Post

Brennan Center for Justice

FairVote

Still, despite knowing about gerrymandering, I’m still a fool. Because although there are more red than blue representatives and senators, I believed they represented ALL the people, not just their party.

Yes, I thought the people elected still had to be Americans and consider all Americans in their elected responsibility as my representative in the House or Senate.

freedom_iconsre Yes, I believe in our freedoms, our rights, and the freedom to live one’s life in one’s own way.

That means that our representatives need to consider all the people, to hold up those rights for all Americans. In the past, we have expected our rights to extend to anyone in our country. But that was then, now we have the inhumane, unAmerican travel ban.

Since we all live with others, freedom comes with responsibilities. One of those is to respect the freedoms and ideas of others, which I certainly expect my congresspersons to do.

respect_iconsre

Respect means listening to and accepting other ideas, tolerating that which is different, and acknowledging ways to allow those differing ideas a voice and a life in our complex and dynamic communities. I expect this of our elected officials in Congress.

In my classroom, it means we have a talking stick, a Native American way to hand off a time to share and give one’s voice [and everyone has a  voice to solve an issue].

compromise_iconsre

Another responsibility key to our democracy is compromise. We find common ground so that our country of diverse ideas and cultures can live together in peace and respect. I expect that elected officials work together to compromise so all people are represented, not just the elected person’s party.

And in my classroom, sometimes we compromise on how we spend our  time– some students want more time with the teacher and others want to work in their own small groups. I shorten up my part, and then students set their goals and work in the areas and ways that best help them succeed in their projects.

cooperation_iconsre

In order to compromise, listening and understanding respectfully is a must and so is cooperation. I expect that when a law is created, that bi-partisan cooperation takes precedence over party political manipulation.

In my classroom, students and I cooperate– giving each other ideas and feedback on our writing or videos or blogposts. We help each other be successful.

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Sometimes issues are so complicated, that we need to collaborate to get things done — the people we elect need to research and present different ideas to each other in order to analyze what would work best to solve the issue in cooperation and compromise.

In the classroom, sometimes students have different jobs [researcher, interviewer, composer] and sometimes they have parts of topics for which they are responsible for so when their team meets, everyone has part of the information needed to complete a project. That’s collaboration, which then requires cooperation and compromise respectfully to consider and solve the big picture issue.

doodleaday_iconssre_freedomI know these concepts: freedom, respect, compromise, cooperation, and collaboration work together — and I know that they work because that’s how things happen in  the real world.

So I’m expecting the elected officials, Democrat, Republican, Independents, work together for all Americans, and not just for their party.

How about you?

Look for and support those officials who seek each other out and begin the listening process to uphold the Constitution and our American values which are now under siege by the current and very lost administration. Help them find the way back to the great America, the one that fought for and created laws — not for order — but for liberty and justice for all.

The answer is blowing’ in the wind — and we must listen in freedom for all to find the answers together.

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Maybe just you can,

Maybe you say,

Maybe you shut me up,

Maybe you pray your way.

Maybe you slam the door

Maybe you build a border

Maybe you block me out

Maybe you hear my shouts.

Maybe I stand louder

Maybe you can’t ignore

Maybe in the crying

Maybe you’ll feel your heart.

Maybe you’ll open up,

Maybe you’ll listen,

Maybe you’ll see the person

Maybe you’ll step up.

Maybe you’ll open a window,

Maybe you’ll open a door,

Maybe you’ll take my hand,

Maybe together we stand.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: icons: metaphors for concepts

Doodling Song: Peter, Paul, and Mary Blowin’ in the Wind

House of Representatives 2017 Image: “United States House of Representatives 2017” is a Wikimedia Commons image place in the public domain.

SOL17 DoodleaDay 14 Inspire Word Art

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Inspire

Involvement

Necessary;

Sprout

Partial

Ideas–

Render

Excellence

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Classrooms of inspiration live by student involvement, sprouting partial ideas, and working together to render excellence for projects that help make the world better — or maybe just make the classroom better.

That climate is rendered by a teacher willing to give students agency — the belief in student abilities to work out their own solutions. It’s a climate filled with creation rather than compliance.

Project-based, inquiry learning allows students to take control of the curriculum in ways that the standards and targets are met in different ways by different students, depending on how the students choose their path to solutions.  Good sources for project-based learning are found at the Buck Institute for Education [BIE]. For projects based on immigration: see here.

Another way to think about classroom curriculum is to create the environment for students to experience the learning targets and discuss their learning in a constructivist way. Seymour Papert explains this here. A simple way to say this is:

“The good way to learn is to use it now.” Seymour Papert

A basic example in the language arts class can occur for teaching simile. Read this book to students of any age: Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Woods. After enjoying the book, reread the text and discuss how the author uses word choice to create meaning. And discuss the format of the sentences using that word choice to create meaning. Students soon can write their own, explaining their comparison, meaning, word choice, and grammar [like/as] to create their vivid descriptions. Students use the book to use their own language to learn by doing, and then learn the name for this figurative language: simile.

Another way to inspire classroom climate and learning is to use music. I just discovered this from Amy Cody Clancy today which provides suggested music for different content and context: Songs To Use For History / Literature.

Another way to include music is to find music related to students’ lives. My teaching career lived in a Native American community, and we were lucky enough to have our own celebrity, the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and role model for our students. He is so missed for his leadership, his community actions, and his music.

Here is one of my favorite songs [I think I have all of his music] — which can inspire many discussions and help build relationships.

My Heart Drops, But I’m Proud by the late Jim Boyd, Colville Tribal Chairman and musician

 

What inspires your life and work?

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today – Word Art

Doodling Song: My Heart Drops, But I’m Proud by the late Jim Boyd

SOL17 DoodleaDay 7 Inner Critic

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How do you overcome your inner critic?

#DoodleaDay is helping me have that conversation — the one in the above doodle. It’s so common, isn’t it? Especially if you’re just starting a project of any kind. For me it was starting blogging, and then to keep up with blogging.

And now it is doodling– I doodle in lines and squiggles; I’m not an artist, but I think this doodling daily is improving that, along with overcoming my blogging arguments.

So my advice to myself and my readers is to to keep trying — and like that last part on the doodle:

we learn when we read and watch what others do,

so acknowledge those who went before

by honoring them with your take

on what was learned from them,

and share so others learn too.

Just go where your heart takes you and share it–

As sharing like this makes the world great!

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Places I’ve learned:

Resources to Start Blogging:

The Fear of Sharing by George Couros 

A Series of blog posts on blogging by George Couros

Why Educators Blog: A series by Sue Waters from Edublogs.org Scroll down for more posts

A JumpStart in Technology Class by Jennifer Gonzalez [I’ve take it; it’s awesome- my work here]

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haiku sol17 blossoms hail.001.jpeg

Ideas blossom

Doubt hails to destroy, yet melts

to open thought’s bud.

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This post is:

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today:  Inner Critic Conversation

My Doodling song — one of my very favorites:

Title Song from Star Trek Enterprise: Where My Heart Will Take Me (Faith of the Heart) originally written by Diane Warren, reworked by Dennis McCarthy for Star Trek Enterprise and sung by Russell Watson.

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Doodle by Sheri Edwards

Blossom image and poetry by Sheri Edwards

Perhaps I is an acceptable way to WE #immooc

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Have you ever received pushback when sharing, “I did…”  It’s common. Eyes rolling. Arms folding. It’s a problem.

In conversation about this with others, it was easy to accept the ideas they suggested to not use the word “I.” Those sharing the solution used the word “I.” They used the word “I” because it’s their way to solve the problem of pushback and that’s how the issue needed to be framed and could be framed in our trusted conversations. They found a problem, and they solved it, and they shared it, using “I.”

To dig into this idea further, perhaps in some schools, the trust among teachers is too low and the willingness to share to further improve student learning is also not developed.

Teachers are professionals, yet coaches and others continuously, not purposefully, intrude on that professionalism.

The sad thing is, that we want people to share, so to not be able to use the word “I” to put oneself out there, take a risk, and share “your” classroom strategies, without “eye-rolling” and pushback. — that is a problem.

So, yes, a strategy suggested is to use the word “we,” as in the above paragraph.. Asking inviting questions [ “Has anyone tried…”], another suggestion, also works.

Still, people need to feel safe to share; teachers need to share their ideas and experiences so the school knows, teams know, and peers know the ins and outs of what instruction and learning is occurring.

So, what else could be done so everyone is actively listening and willing to share?

How can this negative mindset be flipped for active, interested engagement by all staff?

This is a problem for many innovative leaders.

One strategy making the rounds again is establishing “norms” of behavior everyone will agree to, such as:

  • Honest and forthcoming with communication
  • Speak up and ask clarifying questions.
  • Respect others’ ideas positively; listen and engage respectfully.
  • Be interested
  • Be professional, on time, prepared.

However norms like this can also receive pushback since norms– well, don’t they seem obvious?

Perhaps a reminder of the school mission and purpose statement at the beginning of the sharing meeting would be helpful. Again, this keeps the vision on “ours” and “we” in mind: our goals are the same; we can learn together.

Perhaps the sharing could be framed as a possibility with the listeners sharing afterwards what could work in their classrooms, so that everyone is using the “I” word.

Perhaps sharing the Two Rules of Improv used in Pixar as explained by Randy Nelson for Edutopia would help develop a more accepting mindset (video at end of post).

The two rules are:

1. Accept all offers
2. Make your partner look good.

How could “the offer,” the sharing, be more acceptable?

Share reflectively. Reflection includes what one would do next time to improve. As Randy Nelson says, it’s “error recovery, not failure avoidance.” Frame the sharing as a problem solved. People share “I tried this…, and next time I would…” which shows a willingness to recover, improve, and master.

How does the listener make their partner, the sharer, look good?



Listeners are interested when they know there’s a dilemma, and so accept the offer. And listeners must not judge or make suggestions for the sharer; instead they accept the share as a starting point and build or adapt a possible version for their own work. According to Randy Nelson, this is collaboration: amplification of ideas. “Possible” means they don’t have to actually do it, but they are interested and have given the person sharing an acknowledgement. This is where technology helps; perhaps open a Padlet for sharing these possible amplifications. Again, this is a mindset shift: be interested in what others have to offer, not just share what is interesting, and collaborate: each listener accepts an offer of ideas and amplifies a small idea which opens up possibilities for everyone.

And sharing of something actually done shows a “proof of a portfolio, rather than the promise of a resume,” as Randy Nelson says. These conversations framed as collaborative amplification to build ideas for everyone could build trust, gather ideas for everyone to improve, gather input for portfolios, and perhaps become an entry point for blogging to share further. The word “I” shows risk, reflection, problem-solving, and trust, whether as original sharer or as amplifier.

Somehow, sharing with an “I” needs to be acceptable. Reviewing vision statements, using “we,” asking “I wonder if..” or other questions, establishing norms, and framing conversations as collaborative amplification could help develop trust and focus. Still, sharing needs to be acceptable.

What other ways could the mindset of “I” to build “we” be developed into acceptability?

How about amplifying the idea with yours in this Padlet or in the comments below?