School’s out Friday

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a Rives‘ video on School’s out Friday. He is a master of the art of storytelling, and this tale is no exception. Take note of the use of music to help create mood. It’s given me an idea for the Spoken Word Poetry PBL task coming up for my students. Maybe they could create a soundtrack to accompany their poems? Hmmnnn…think I’ll float that past them when we return to school…

Seriously cold, chilly and grey in Melbourne at the moment. Zero chance of finding any sun tomorrow. Hibernation seems to be the only option! Hope the forecast looks better wherever you may reside. 🙂


School’s out Friday

Well, who would have thunk it? I’ve always known Rives as a performance poet, but tonight, as I was searching around the Web for something to share with you here, I discovered that he is also a paper engineer. He’s very passionate about his craft – you’ve just got the check out the Advent calendar paper cube to see the brilliance in his art. I have to admit to a fondness for clever paper craft like that, where someone’s workmanship surprises you with hidden layers. I would have spent hours playing with that as a child had I been fortunate enough to have something like that.

For those of you who have never seen Rives’ performance work, we’ll revisit ‘Is 4am the new midnight‘, where Rives waxes his lyrical origami this time.

No time for lyrical origami for me tonight. The lure of sleep is strong, after another frantic week of work. I would be so pleased if my to do list had shrunk this week, but I think I’ll be looking at the same list and adding to it on Monday. Hopefully the weekend ahead will provide a slower pace and I’ll feel a little more in control when I next walk through the doors of my employ.

I hope you have a weekend that gives you what you need. Happy Father’s Day this Sunday to all the Dad’s out there. A special Father’s Day call out to my husband, who is far and away the best father I know. My kids are very lucky children.  🙂

School’s out Friday

Rives is a favourite of mine. This is an oldie (2006), but from Rives, it’s always a goodie. I think Mark Zuckerberg might have been listening to this, because Facebook can pretty much do a lot of things he articulated in this poem when he waxed lyrical about Napstar, Friendster and the other ‘ters’ that were the ‘in things’ in 2006. It makes 2006 seem like an age ago when you realise that many of the sites he referenced don’t exist today. Six years is a lifetime for some Internet start-ups. In six years they can live and die, or if they’re lucky, be consumed by the big guns who reward them grandly, but render them faceless as they improve their offering.

Today, I took my own advice and used 12 minutes of class time to show the subject of yesterday’s post to my Yr 10 students. It was really encouraging to see them laughing along as I did, and taking note of Shawn’s recommendations for rewiring our brains to promote happiness within us. I proposed that we follow his advice for 21 days, and I’m going to start here by listing three things I was grateful for today.

1. Having the opportunity to teach students who have open minds and who are willing to try new things to improve their learning.

2. Laughing with my daughter as we shared stories from our day.

3. Having the opportunity to see live theatre performed, penned by Australian master playwright, David Williamson.

I was thinking I could share what I’m feeling grateful about here, but I’m not sure it’s the right vehicle. I’ll play it by ear I think. What I do want to do is adhere to this, and other recommendations from Shawn Achor, for the 21 days. I want to see if I can rewire my thinking, and look for the positives around me more than the negatives. I know what it’s like when you’re working in an energised state, and I think I need that pick me up right now.

You haven’t heard much about it of late, but my back room renovation is nearly complete! New carpet is laid next week, and by the end of Tuesday night, we should be enjoying a vastly improved back room in our house. I may even include a picture next week!

Enjoy your weekend. Mine will include a visit to the picture theatre to see ‘The Hunger Games’. Can’t wait really.  : )

Rives responds – real life digital literacy

Recently, I posted about my daughter Cassidy’s emoticon story that she completed for an English project. It was inspired by the poet Rives, who delivered ‘A Story of Mixed Emoticons‘ at TED 2008. While I was looking at Rives’ blog, I noticed that he provided an email address where you could contact him. So contact him I did.

While I was waiting for a flight to LAX, I received an email from Rives. He was directing me to his latest post, where he had featured Cassidy’s own emoticon story. Here’s what was in his post (Cassidy’s video was embedded at the top of the post);

Hi Rives, I’m a teacher from Melbourne, Australia. We have being doing a thematic study of Romance and Relationships and have used your ‘Story of mixed emoticons’ in our classes to help with this. The students had to produce a creative task using technology in response to the theme. My daughter attends the school and her response was inspired by your mixed emoticons story. Just thought you might like to know that you are inspiring people all over the world, –J

[J is referring to the emoticon piece that I performed at TED 2008. Incidentally, my piece always ends with a hot & sexy music cue (“Laid” by the band James) which TED didn’t have the rights to so…they left it out. The result is much flatter than I like and it also seems to make the deliberately ambiguous ending even more ambiguous: does the emoticon couple get together? I say they do; J’s daughter, in her charming, flattering version, seems to take the other side of the dollar. Which in Australia is a coin.]

How cool is this! Please visit Rives’ blog to see for yourself.

What’s even cooler is the fact that Cass is able to see for herself the power of a connected Web. She’s watching the stats grow on her YouTube video and knows that it’s because Rives’ post is driving traffic there. Her simple, (charming!) video project has an audience and is finding its way to far more people than it would if she had kept it on her computer hard-drive and shared it with just her teacher. Cass got a ‘B’ for this project. Do you think that really matters in the scheme of things? Look at the learning that has taken place outside of the structures of school. She knows what can happen if you decide to take the plunge and share your work with the world. She knows that you can reach out and connect to the people who influence you, and sometimes they just might sit up and take notice. She knows that her positive digital footprint is growing as a result of this. She has learned skills that are important in the world we live in today.

At ISTE2010, having students establish a positive digital footprint was a theme I heard over and over again in sessions I attended. I also heard many teachers talking of school structures that prevented them from posting student content publicly and using student’s names on the Web. Hopefully, a story like this will help teachers work with their administrations to convince them that we need to assist and support our students to share their good work in public spaces.We need to help them grow their digital footprint in a positive way.

Cass is lucky. She has a mother who understands the Web and can support her with her learning. Many of the students we teach have parents who don’t understand the workings of the Web. It’s imperative that we as teachers avail ourselves of knowledge and help our students develop digital literacy understanding, in all its forms.

Thanks Rives, for taking the time to acknowledge my daughter’s work. : )

A story about longing, loving, and coming to a realisation

I am one very proud mother tonight. This is the work of my beautiful daughter; it’s her multimodal creative response for an English assignment based around the theme of ‘Romance and Relationships’. It’s all her own work, inspired by the poet Rives and his ‘Story of mixed emoticons‘ that we used as stimulus material in our English classes.

My response when I saw it was, “That’s going straight to YouTube”. It’s a pretty impressive addition to her digital footprint in my view. She’s definitely a product of her upbringing, of this I have no doubt!!

School’s out Friday

Last week I featured Rives and his conspiracy plot tale. In response, Angela Stockman let me know about this one from Rives, ‘A story of mixed emoticons‘. I used it with my Year 9 class this week and it led to a spirited discussion about the morphing of language over time and how symbols can transcend language barriers. The video is embedded in our class Ning and we have a forum discussion based around it. What was really wonderful was looking at the faces of my students as they watched this tale unfold. They were so focused and all of them had that open mouthed half smile you see when people are genuinely engrossed in something amusing. Those are the classroom moments I savour.

Hope you have wonderful plans for the weekend ahead. Can’t say I have much planned, but let’s face it, any weekend is a good one!


School’s out Friday

This is the poet, Rives, speculating on the mysterious hour of four in the morning. It’s worth hanging in there for the entire 8 minutes of his performance, just to appreciate the effort that’s gone into sourcing the material for this clever and very amusing TED Talk. Wouldn’t this make a great investigative activity for a group of students, who just might find that they could immerse themselves in the hunt for appropriate examples. It’s a task I’d find fun. It could even be a really useful team building exercise for staff on a Professional Development day. Imagine groups coming back to deliver their findings on the mysteries of different hours of the morning!

Long weekend ahead for Australians as we commemorate ANZAC Day. I hope your weekend treats you well.

Enjoy. : )