Posts Tagged ‘#clmooc’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

It’s Poetry Friday, and I don’t have a post prepared.

I followed links to CLMOOC, a summer gathering of writing project folks to stretch their thinking. Kevin Hodgson writes:

Here in CLMOOC, we’ve always actively pushed back on the “massive”. While MOOCs often were built to scale large, CLMOOC has often comfortably settled into the small. So, this July and August, we invite you to look closer at the world, to find balance with the small scale of things around you.

Kevin Hodgson

Kevin introduced a new term to me, feldgang. A feldgang is slowing down to notice something in a new or different way. This idea fascinates me. Poetry lends itself to feldganging (not sure if that is a real word.)

This morning I am combining feldgang with greenbelt writing, that writing that is wild and unpredictable and possibly of no real worth at all. A first draft of a poem while looking out my kitchen window:

The chickadees come to the feeder
They flitter their tiny bodies
in the trees, and try to stay unnoticed,
like butterflies to a bright flower.

I notice them
and think of this simple act
of feeding the birds,
a small plastic feeder,
some seed from a plastic bag.

I invite these small visitors
to my kitchen window.
I laugh at their tiny tweets.
Begin my day with a lighter step.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I missed the Saturday Celebration post, so I am double-dipping today.

I want to celebrate good old-fashioned snail mail.  This week I received the invitation to my daughter’s wedding (coming up very soon on Oct. 1st), a #clmooc postcard from Karen Fasimpaur (she tells me she lived and taught in Tanzania?!), and a poetry exchange card from Joy Acey (make that 2 cards from Joy: the heart and the zebras.)

I celebrate the connections I have made through this blogging adventure that encourages me daily.

snail mailzebra card


Today is #DigiLitSunday.  I tweeted out the topic of #motivation.  This year is my tenth year teaching young gifted students.  I have redefined my role of teacher from someone who imparts knowledge to someone who motivates learning.  My students are way smarter than I am when it comes to a measurement of intelligence.  I am ineffective if I stand before them and tell them what to do.  It just doesn’t work.

I have learned the art of motivation.  And technology has been right beside me.  I love Animoto for its immediate access to cool designs and background music for video production.  I turned to Animoto this week to motivate my students to explore Wonders on Wonderopolis and to practice creating a thesis statement.

My students were motivated by choice as well.  Many of them find interest areas through their reading.  I Survived has become a favorite series.  Andrew wanted to know more about tsunamis after reading I Survived the Japanese Tsunami.  He watched videos, read a Wonderopolis post, and then branched out to search further questions.


Kaiden was inspired to learn about club foot from the book The War that Saved my Life.  

Some students were motivated by watching each other’s videos.  Jacob decided to research earthquakes after seeing Andrew’s video about tsunamis.  (Andrew and Jacob attend different schools, but they keep in touch on our Kidblog site.)


Motivation can come from me, the teacher, from other students, or from books, and even from conversations.  I went to Tanzania, Africa this summer and was chatting with Lynzee about the giraffes I saw.  She wanted to know why giraffes have such long necks. Wonderopolis answered her question.  Here is her video.

Obviously, I had a hard time choosing which video to share with you.  Another cool aspect of teaching with choice and technology is the variety of projects that are produced.  My students can now learn from each other as we post each video on our Kidblog site.

Please share your motivating #DigiLitSunday posts here.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Swinging for Addyson

Swinging for Addyson

1. When I heard the news that one of our students had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, I pulled out my crochet needle and created a prayer blanket for her. Saturday I gave her the blanket at a ragball fundraising event for her medical bills. Her smile says it all. Keep Addy and her family in your prayers as they continue to fight this battle.

Make yourself a park ranger.

Make yourself a park ranger.

2. Celebrating #clmooc and collaborative learning: This week marked the sixth and final make cycle of #clmooc. NWP joined the National Parks Service to encourage getting outside and exploring your national, state, and heritage parks. Kevin Hodgson invited me to join in the Google hang out on Tuesday evening. I love collaborating and learning from others. The archive of the hang out is here.

I had every intention of visiting a state park but the heat and the fact that my daughter was home kept me from participating further in this project.

Cheers to my daughter Martha.

Cheers to my daughter Martha.

3. Martha is home! My youngest flew in from Chicago for my last week of summer break. I’ve enjoyed spending time with her and just knowing she’s home.


4. My classrooms (I teach at two schools) are clean, organized, and decorated, ready for students to arrive all too soon.

photo by Jan Risher

photo by Jan Risher

5. Jan Risher, a writer for The Advertiser, the Lafayette regional newspaper, put out a call on Facebook for people to make paper cranes to honor the two victims of last week’s Grand 16 shooting. She gathered enough cranes to make two senbazuru. I made a few cranes and just doing this small gesture comforted me and helped me to feel a part of this community. I am very proud of the way the Acadiana community has responded with an outpouring of support and love. To me, it’s the only way to respond to violence…complete and utter kindness.

Jillian Johnson quote

6. Speaking of responding with kindness and love, I celebrate James Taylor. In 1979 after our home had been totally flooded, the first album we purchased was James Taylor’s Flag. I listened to Up on the Roof so many times I memorized all the words. His music is still lifting up spirits and sharing love. Here is a recent performance in which the Charleston Low Country Voices joined him on stage. JT makes everything all right.

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Poetry Friday round up is at The Logonauts.

Poetry Friday round up is at The Logonauts.


Have you ever played Apples to Apples?  It’s a game my gifted students enjoy, especially the highly verbal ones.  There are two sets of cards, green and red.  The green cards are adjectives.  The red ones, nouns.  The players each hold 5 red cards.  The judge for the round (rotates from player to player) places a green card in the middle.  Everyone plays a red card.  The judge chooses the best noun that fits with the adjective.  Simple, right?

I like simple.  I have been reading posts by the intelligent group of teachers participating in the CLMOOC, a collaborative learning community sponsored by the National Writing Project.  I have associated with NWP for 20 years now, and I am constantly challenged to think beyond the borders.  But with this make cycle, game design, much of the process and thinking has traveled well above my head.  I’m hanging in, though.  I decided to take what I know and just remake it to something I love.

I know Apples to Apples and I love poetry.  There you go…a new game.  I chose 3 sets of cards to play around with myself and then took pictures of 3 more sets for others to play with.  I have added a few sets and invite you to play a little bit today.  Follow the link to Google slides.  Have fun!




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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

The creative process is nothing if not elusive. As soon as I’ve figured out what direction I want to go in, my other self takes over, and we go somewhere else entirely.

The Clmooc community welcomes this kind of wayward creative thinking. In fact, it depends on it. If you are not participating, you should at least lurk. Twitter is #clmooc. Facebook page here. Google plus here.

This week’s make assignment comes from the University of Illinois Writing Project. They posted a video, and they all look so young. No worries. That was me, once.

The make instructions can be a bit confusing. They ask us to remediate. But the word isn’t what we typically think about in education as remediation. The word comes from re- and media, meaning taking something and changing the media, creativity at its best.

I thought about this while I perused Facebook, a typical avoidance behavior for me. But this time, I was looking for what I thought would make a found poem. On Sunday, I posted a picture of a baby baptized in our church. This post got an amazing number of likes and comments. I decided to remediate the picture using the app WordFoto. The words came from the comments on the picture.

remediated baby

I wasn’t satisfied. So I kept looking. I saw a post that read, “Same sky. Same moon.” That did it. I wrote a poem using these lines as the kick off. I went to Animoto to build a video. Last week was a monumental week in the life of our country. We all know this. I was riveted by our president’s singing of Amazing Grace during his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
Amazing Grace has taken on new meaning for me. Always a favorite, I now see it as a song that gathers people together, all of us together under the same sky, the same moon, the same grace.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Six Words

The National Writing Projects’ summer collaborative learning began this week.  So much is going on, it’s hard to believe we are just one week into the CLMOOC.  Read the reflections here. 

If you are here for the first time, I want to invite you to join the DigiLit Sunday community.  Each week we post about digital literacy.  The link up will be at the end of this post.  Leave your link so we can learn together and support each other in this wild digital world.

Clmooc has taught me that there is too much out there.  I get stimulation overload.  I don’t know how the camp counselors can keep up.  They seem to be incredible multi-taskers.

To manage my own participation, I’ve selected only a few games to play.  The theme this week was introducing yourself by not introducing yourself.  Not exactly.  It was more a call to remix the typical introduction.  We also explored what un-introduction really means and says about a person.

Above I’ve posted a slide I created in a Google slide share by Sheri Edwards.

What six concepts shape you as you shape them? Challenge: Consider your beliefs. Using six words, arrange them as phrases read horizontally and vertically to express an essence of your identity.

This week I’ve been attracted to activities that revolved around words.  I posted an unintro poem for Poetry Friday.

I played with images, too.  Here’s a remix of a free graphic of Saturn.

Image made on LunaPic with free graphic of Saturn.

Image made on LunaPic with free graphic of Saturn.

Kim Douillard offers a photo challenge each week.  This week the challenge was #sky.  Where I live the sky is often covered by the magnificent spread of live oaks.  The oaks guard the sky and protect us.  The hot sun is shaded and tamed.  My image is not altered because this is what it is.  Mother oak.

sky with tree

There have been questions about invitations and how we welcome others into the community.  I have not struggled with feeling welcome.  This is a large group.  We are all individuals playing around with technology and creativity.  We express ourselves in unique and fun ways.  I am looking forward to the weeks to come.  I’ll play and stretch and find new friends, but I’ll also tuck away new ideas for my teaching.

How can unintroductions work with my students?  If anything they will add an element of fun and creativity.  But at best, my students, like me, will discover a little more about who they are and how they best interact in this cyber-world.

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Poetry Friday round up is hosted by Carol.

Poetry Friday round up is hosted by Carol.

I have joined the summer PD of CLMooc. Feeling my way through, I have found that poetry inspires many. Poetry is a way we can express our identity. The first make cycle prompted us to “unintroduce” ourselves. Some have taken the prompt to unidentify yourself and made poetry. One participant made a black out poem of the initial email. Another instigated a poem in response to Charleston.  This community is responsive, reflective, and real.

Michelle Stein posted this prompt:
“Please follow this link and add your verse if you feel so inclined. My unmake follows these steps. Please do the same when adding your verse.
1. Randomly choose a word for each letter in your name.
2. Add a verse to this narrative poem, using each word you have chosen as the focus of a sentence.
3. Revel in the awesomesauce that is CLMOOC.”

Being one who is attracted to poetic prompts, I gave this one a try. I made a private deal with myself that I would use the first word that came to mind. This created a random word list.


Appetite (I must be hungry, as usual.)

In the mystical distance,
an appetite for goodness makes
the reservoir of kindness grow.
Give your heart to life.

Astrology tells us that stars are wise.
Those rings of Saturn resonate light.
Even the universe proclaims pure joy.
No matter the trial, I show up. Ready.

Image made on LunaPic with pixabay free graphic of Saturn.

Image made on LunaPic with free graphic of Saturn.

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CLMOOC Week One: UnIntro

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

I’ve joined the learning community of the National Writing Project and Educator Innovator Connected Learning MOOC. Week one began with a plethora of emails from the Google+ Community. I couldn’t possibly keep up. Rather than quit, like my introverted self was telling me to do, I selected a few to read and found a new app for making word clouds, Tagul. My first attempt was not worth saving, but I tried again. For this word cloud I copied my bio for all things poetry. I was attracted to the arrow shapes, as though the words point to who I am somewhat indirectly. I think this is the point of the UnIntroduction assignment for this week.

UnIntro copy

Michael Weller, one of the camp counselors support team members, offered this activity: Make an Inquiry. He wrote, “I want to formalize my inquiry process. As a result, part of my goal for the summer is to formulate questions, read what others have to say about those questions, write about the questions, and – I hope – create a research plan for the fall semester.”

I asked myself, “Can I make this a jump start for my own inquiry?” And of course, in typical CLMOOC fashion, here is the answer, “You can do the same, or similar, or you can go in whatever direction your questions and context take you. My hope is that we can support each other in our efforts to use an inquiry approach to improve our practice.”

My inquiry question: How can I create an environment for student writing that encourages individual expression while covering necessary benchmarks?

Michael’s process begins with the question and then goes into a review of the literature. I have ordered The Unstoppable Writing Teacher. Do you know of any other resources I should use? I welcome conversation about this topic here or on Twitter. You can find me @MargaretGSimon. Use #clmooc.

A fun UnIntro activity I tried was a Mad Lib created by Stephanie West-Puckett, another counselor coach in CLMOOC. The result was mad and funny. (Author’s note: I have more than 3 poems.)

Yay! My name is Margaret. I’m the lovely yarn and I joyfully walk with soft shawl. I have 3 poems and am looking forward to speaking with all of you in #clmooc!

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

skyping with spark kids

Technology allows us, invites us even, to collaborate more and more. No longer am I a lonely teacher behind closed doors of a classroom. Through my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter and Facebook, I have met colleagues. Teachers are doing the every day thing in innovative ways. Months ago, Leigh Anne Eck tweeted me about helping with her high ability camp. She was teaching poetry. I Skyped with a group of 2nd and 3rd graders this week. What fun! I didn’t have to care at all about the boy who wiggled all around in his seat and started drumming with his pencil. That’s my kind of teaching. I was on screen far away in my own living room.

Leigh Anne shared the student work and her thoughts about the collaboration on her site A Day in the Life.

The haiku lesson itself was a collaboration because I used another colleague’s poetry project. Linda Baie blogs at Teacher Dance. We’ve never met face to face, but every week we are in contact through our blog posts. She’s one of my top commenters. Her poetry project in April was to write a haiku each day. She catalogued them on her site.

I am encouraged by this collaboration to look for ways to use Skype more in my class during the year. We’ve had author visits. These are great, but what about connecting with other teachers and students? We could Skype a whole hour lesson and share our writing together across the miles.

This next school year, I will have two 6th grade girls at two different schools. I am wondering how I can use collaboration to make their world bigger and more meaningful. Through Kidblogs, we could create a site just for them. If you know you will have high ability sixth graders next year, maybe we could collaborate on a book or writing prompt. Let me know in the comments.

In what ways are you collaborating using technology? What ways do you plan to collaborate? Link up your blog post and/or tweet out your response to #digilitchallenge and @MargaretGSimon.

For the next month, DigiLit Sunday will be on vacation. Please consider joining CLMOOC.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

As I thought about this week’s challenge, the word transformation kept popping into my head. I am constantly amazed at how transformative digital writing can be. Digital tools can make our ordinary words seem extraordinary.

When I was in high school many years ago, my parents bought me an SLR camera. I wanted to be a photographer for the yearbook. My high school had a dark room, and I learned how to develop film and create photographs. The process was long from taking the picture to rolling the film into the canister, to selecting the negative, then placing the paper in three different bins of chemicals and hanging it out to dry. I loved this process. I loved discovering what my hands had created. The art of photography has totally transformed. With our phones and a computer we can easily produce and share photographs.

Writing has transformed, too. Even the youngest students can produce and publish their writing. I use Kidblogs with my students. The format of typing onto a screen and watching your words become an image is exciting and motivating.

Our school year ended a few weeks ago. The mother of one of my students texted me that he had discovered graphic novels. He was so excited about the story of Percy Jackson that he asked if he could blog about the book. Jacob left me as a first grader writing 50-75 words at best in his blog posts. His post about Percy Jackson was 317 words! This is transformative!

One day my mom decided that we should go to a library so we did. Then we went to a new library. It had so many books and movies. And I got 7 books because I am 7 years old. I got 2 Percy Jackson books.They are graphic novels. That means they look like
comic books. Ok forget every thing I said. Let’s just focus on what the book is about. (Read the post here.)

I invite you to think about digital literacies and transformation. Tag me in your posts (@MargaretGibsonSimon on Facebook, @MargaretGSimon on Twitter). Use #digilitchallenge.

A site I enjoy playing with is Tagxedo. It creates word clouds in shapes. I used a poem I wrote about chickens in the yard. This process transforms the poem into an image. The words are read differently. The original poem is here.

chicken poem tagxedo

Don’t forget to sign up for CLMOOC beginning June 18th. “CLMOOC is a collaborative, knowledge-building and sharing experience open to anyone interested in making, playing, and learning together about the educational framework known as Connected Learning.” Click on the image to sign up.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

Sign up for CLMOOC running June 28- August 2, 2015.

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