Tag Archives: John Green

School’s out Friday

It’s been a HUGE week for me, but not nearly as huge as the week that John Green has had with the release today of ‘The Fault in our Stars‘ worldwide.

I find John absolutely fascinating. He’s not only fascinating, he’s entirely relevant to the subject I teach, ‘Language of our Times’. This Year 9 elective is designed to help students understand the nature of communication in today’s world. My students are currently completing a task that required them to work collaboratively to research John’s use of social media channels to grow his audience. The second part of the task then required them to individually produce a feature article about John’s methods that could appear in a digital newspaper. They need to think about the headline, lead and the structure of the paragraphs to follow. As they write, they needed to hyperlink to relevant content and find suitable pictures and YouTube videos that would complement the written text.

What I’ve seen them produce so far has been fantastic. I’m pretty blown away by the skills some of them have to write with the kind of conversational tone that works well in a feature article where your subject matter is someone who uses the Internet to good effect like John Green does.

Why was my week huge? Well, I presented at EduTECH in Brisbane. I’ll write a post over the weekend that explores what happened there. I’ll leave you with this though.

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Yep, it was huge. Not sure I’ll ever see my name trending ahead of Tony Abbott again. ;)

Enjoy the weekend. I intend to. :)


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School’s out Friday

The love affair with John Green continues…

You can’t tell me there’s not at least one common misconception you might have believed that has been now been corrected for you forever more from this Mental Floss video. I think this would be fun to use with kids – I’d like to see if they knew of the misconception, or if most of what they hear here is entirely new to them in the first place!

I held a parent meeting at school today to discuss Digital Citizenship, and one of the things discussed was the fact that our children all seem to love YouTube and can spend hours being ‘distracted’ there. If the distractions they meet are anything like the videos created by John and Hank Green, then my take is that they are worthwhile. They sure beat some of the mind numbing drivel being served up on commercial television of late.

Once again, apologies for the absence here  - did not post School’s out Friday last week if you happened to notice, and am scraping it in tonight at 11.54pm. You never know, a window of opportunity might present itself this weekend and a post may materialise…or, maybe not. I may find myself curled up in a corner, claiming back the sleep I seem to be depriving myself of lately.

Enjoy what comes your way this weekend. Make the most of the fine Autumnal weather we have been promised (if you’re living in Melbourne, that is). :)


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School’s out Friday

Have you figured out yet that I am madly in love with the mind of John Green?

Mental floss on YouTube. Just my thing. Those kind of random, weird, but strangely addictive pieces of useless information that make for the most interesting discussion fodder. I wish John Green lived next door to me. We’d have a lot in common. I’d invite him over for a cuppa or glass of wine and I’m sure we’d laugh into the wee hours. I’ll just have to get my dose of John Green via YouTube, cuppa or glass of wine in hand. I’ll laugh by myself, and maybe leave a comment on YouTube. If you’re anything like me, you’ll subscribe to Mental Floss on YouTube, and the videos might just be some of the most entertaining parts of your week.

Off to bed for me. I’ve just posted this tweet on Twitter.

Sometime, over the last week, I sent out my 20,000th tweet. The last five years here have been the best prof. develop. I’ve had. And all free.

Some of you might be thinking that I’ve wasted a lot of time on Twitter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The learning made possible from the network there has been a decisive part of my growth as an educator. I’m forever grateful to Clay Burell for introducing me to his network and supporting me in my early days there. You were very generous Clay – I am indebted to you.

Have a wonderful weekend. The weather looks good for Melbourne, and I intend to spend some time outdoors appreciating it. I hope you have a similar outlook where you live. :)


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School’s out Friday

Is John Green making sense to you here? Because he’s making a lot of sense to me.

Copyright laws are vexed, but so is creating work and sharing it, only to receive no compensation other than the satisfaction that comes from helping others. That works for awhile, but the reality of most people’s existence is that they need to earn money to feed themselves and their family.  What John Green is doing for his nerdfighters is truly admirable. We need more people with attitudes like this – people prepared to make the effort to seek out creators and share profits from work they have remixed or modified from an original source.

My son showed me the Sweet Brown video last night, and it got me thinking. Take a look here.

Sweet Brown has been the subject of Internet memes, and the catchy remix is now available for purchase on iTunes. Who is benefiting from remixing content like this? Sweet Brown, or the owners of the YouTube channels who are hosting advertisements while they rack up 16 million views poking fun at someone’s speech inflections? I note that she seems to have a website (if it is run by people associated with her) and you can buy tshirts and book her for appearances. I certainly hope she’s making some money out of this, because you can bet other people are making money from her.

One day, I will write something other than a School’s out Friday post. Cameron Paterson sent me this tweet tonight:

“You are too busy. Come back to us, please…Hope the new job is fun and challenging.”

My new job is fun and challenging. I’ve been learning a lot about managing a school network, and am indebted to the wonderful IT team at my school who have worked so hard these last few weeks rolling out a new printing solution for our school and getting everything ready for the start of the year. I’ve got a heck of a lot to do, but haven’t we all?

Right now, what I’m looking forward to is sleeping in tomorrow. I hope you get to enjoy the same luxury. Have a relaxing weekend – find some time for you. :)


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School’s out Friday

Sylvia Martinez shared this video on Twitter this week. It was perfect for this week’s School’s out Friday post. I hope it makes you smile.

School resumes for most teachers here in Australia next week. In my new role, I’ve been back already for the last fortnight. We’re rolling out a new printing solution throughout the school and this week has been occupied with the finite details that need ticking off to ensure all goes smoothly next week. I’ve been consumed with that, and with the thought processes necessary for the new subject I’m teaching this year. I’m knocking out the final details for this semester’s coursework  - it’s called ‘The Language of our Times’ and its focus is on the communication methods we use in today’s world. There’s a real opportunity to create a learning community using new tools and sites. Part of the course will see us looking closely at ‘The Fault in our Stars‘ and how its author John Green is changing up the way authors interact with their audiences. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to do something very different with this course and hopefully I’ll be able to share our learning here.

I’ve plenty to do before next Tuesday still. I hope you’re enjoying the last days of the holiday break if you’re here in Australia. Best of luck with the 2013 school year on your return. :)

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You are special…and we’re counting on you

So says John Green. Don’t take my word for it. Take a look.

This is John Green’s, ‘An Open Letter to Students Returning to School’, one of his Vlogbrothers entries posted on YouTube. It was my opener for my Year 10 English students today, and it sparked plenty of healthy discussion about what we should be teaching in our classrooms, and what are the skills young people are going to need to be successful in their future lives. After this vibrant, healthy discussion, we had to pick up Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, something John Green would probably consider a waste of time, since Baz Lurhmann has done a pretty good filmic interpretation of it!

What I especially loved about this video was his parting message, that schooling is about me – you need to watch it through to see John’s intent. My kids liked it to. I think it made them reflect, for a moment, about school’s higher purpose, about why they are sitting in rooms learning about Physics, Biology and English.

At the end of the video, John suggests viewers go and visit Crash Course, the YouTube channel he and his brother Hank are developing to support the teaching of Biology and World History. Take a look at John’s treatment of World History (the videos are on a playlist and scroll through) – I think they might keep some of our students a tad more interested than some of the educational videos I’ve seen in the past!


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School’s out Friday

This is John Green. He of ‘Looking for Alaska‘ fame. He of the number 1 position on the New York Times Bestseller list for Children’s chapter books right now for ‘The Fault in our Stars‘. He of ‘Vlogbrothers‘ fame on YouTube.

OK. Unless you’re a Teacher-Librarian you probably have no idea who John Green is. But if you watch this video, you’ll get a sense of the kind of guy he is. He’s fun. He writes novels that teenagers love. He’s an author who understands how to use social media well to engage a new kind of audience. He’s someone modeling the new ways people need to work now to generate readership and income. Worth taking notice of, and perhaps sharing his story with your students.

His Vlogbrothers work on YouTube is something he started with his brother Hank in 2007. It was a really interesting premise called Brotherhood 2.0.

Brotherhood 2.0 was a project created by John and Hank Green in 2007. It started on January 1st of that year with the premise that the brothers would cease all text-based communication for a year and instead converse by video blogs every weekday. The project was made available to the public via YouTube and on their Brotherhood 2.0 website.[2][3] On July 18, 2007, Hank Green uploaded a video of himself playing and singing his song “Accio Deathly Hallows” in honour of the seventh Harry Potter book. This video was the first Vlogbrothers video to make the front page of YouTube, and the starting point of the brothers’ success as vloggers. The project ended on December 31st, 2007, but due to their popularity the brothers continued making videos even after the final day had passed. Now Hank and John continue to create vlogs, but less frequently (every Tuesday and Friday, as of 2012).


The video above is from the Vlogbrothers channel. If you like quirky stuff, tune in.

Big weekend ahead. My brother is getting married in my front garden on Sunday. So that means Saturday is dedicated to cleaning. Lucky me!

Enjoy your weekend – make the most of whatever comes your way. : )

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