Where I’m From: Using Haiku Deck to Visualize Place

Where-Im-fromHere’s a lesson I designed for use in my University of Alaska Southeast summer course – ALST 600. I’ll be working with nearly 40 preservice teachers in the secondary MAT program teaching Alaska Studies using a place-based approach that integrates good instructional practice and free ed tech tools across the curriculum. For more on this lesson click here

This lesson features a poem as a prompt for a creative reflection. It also integrates two tools for presentation of the reflection.

  1. After reading Where I’m From, students will use Haiku Deck to design a brief presentation that uses text and images to depict “where they are from.” The presentation should include a a title slide plus 6 slides which explore the place you’re from. Follow this link for ideas on Where to Go with “Where I’m From”
  2. After completing the Haiku Deck presentation, students will create a blog post that includes an embedded version of the presentation and a written response to the question:

What have I learned from this activity and how might I use the learning strategies and / or technology in my teaching placement?

Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree.



How to Create Interactive eBooks with iBooks Author

iBA interactiveI’m offering an iBooks Author training session for faculty at the University of Portland. In our first session, Ben Kahn of UP’s ATS shot some video which he edited into these two presentations.

For additional support on using iBooks Author see my free iBook Quick Start: iBooks Author free at iTunes. Check out my training website Get Started with iBA

Hat tip to Ben Kahn and Maria Erb of University of Portland’s Academic Technology Services for making workshop arrangements and creating these videos

Part I: A quick tour of iBooks Author widgets and how they can be used in your iBook

Part II: A demo of how easy it is to input content into iBooks Author and how to use 2nd party widgets.

The Bots are Coming! Better Re-think My Lesson Plans

S.H_Horikawa_–_Star_Strider_Robot_Close_Up

Here’s a suggestion for your back-to-school faculty meeting – take 15 minutes to watch Humans Need Not Apply by CGP Grey. Then have a discussion on it’s implications for your students and (your curriculum). Talking about robot invasions is way more fun than updates on new state tests.

The video’s thesis is simple – robots are coming for our jobs. Actually, they have already taken many of them. And it’s not just low-skilled labor they’re taking over.

… white-collar work is no safe haven either. If your job is sitting in front of a screen and typing and clicking — like maybe you’re supposed to be doing right now — the bots are coming for you too, buddy.

I’ll bet that accurately filling out a worksheet won’t be a valued bot-competitive skill.

Are the professions safe from bots? Not exactly. The video makes the case for bots replacing significant aspects of legal, medical and even creative work. (And I’d add teachers to that list.)

It begs the question – what skills should we be teaching to students who will have to compete against the bots for employment? I don’t think there are any easy answers to that question. But I’ll bet that accurately filling out a worksheet won’t be a valued bot-competitive skill.

As the video concludes:

We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different.

Horses aren’t unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they’re unemployable. There’s little work a horse can do that do that pays for its housing and hay.

And many bright, perfectly capable humans will find themselves the new horse: unemployable through no fault of their own. …

This video isn’t about how automation is bad — rather that automation is inevitable. It’s a tool to produce abundance for little effort. We need to start thinking now about what to do when large sections of the population are unemployable — through no fault of their own. What to do in a future where, for most jobs, humans need not apply.

For full text of the video click here.

Image credit: S.H Horikawa – Star Strider Robot
By D J Shin (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

PBL: I Come to Understanding by Making

Matthew ShlianWatch this short video as Matthew Shlian talks about himself, how he learns and the role that curiosity plays in his work. Then think about the kind of classroom that would foster Matt and learners like him. Matt states: 

I failed at math. I failed at Algebra. But I can understand things if I can see them. And I can actually understand them better if I can hold them in my hand. … A lot of my work is about curiosity. I come to understanding by making. If I can see what something’s going to look like when it’s finished, then I don’t want to make it. That would be like filling out a form.

Ghostly International presents Matthew Shlian from Ghostly International on Vimeo.

If I can see what something’s going to look like when it’s finished, then I don’t want to make it. That would be like filling out a form.

As the video description notes:
Matthew Shlian works within the increasingly nebulous space between art and engineering. As a paper engineer, Shlian’s work is rooted in print media, book arts, and commercial design, though he frequently finds himself collaborating with a cadre of scientists and researchers who are just now recognizing the practical connections between paper folding and folding at microscopic and nanoscopic scales.

An MFA graduate of Cranbrook Academy, Shlian divides his time between teaching at the University of Michigan, mocking up new-fangled packaging options for billion dollar blue-chips, and creating some of the most inspiring paper art around.

Ghostly teamed up with the Ann Arbor-based photographer and videographer Jakob Skogheim, to produce this feature short, which combines interview and time-lapse footage of Shlian creating several stunning new pieces. 

DBQ Lesson Plan: Shopping with Historic Documents

Upchurch Family 1896While exploring my Twitter feed I came across a very inventive 8th grade history lesson created by John Fladd ~ twitter@woodenmask

At the core of this lesson are some rich historic source material – the 1900 federal census, 1897 Sears Catalogue historic portraits and biographies.  John agreed to this cross post from his his blog Teacher Toys: Christmas Shopping Without a Flux Capacitor. I urge to visit his blog – he’s a great writer with many ideas to share. Readers should access his site to see additional resources for this lesson and correlation with standards. Note: John gathers student feedback via his GoogleVoice account, though students could submit their choices using other means.

1897 Christmas Shopping Project

  1. Each student chooses a photograph of an American taken in (or around) 1897 and reads a small secondary source statement about him or her.
  2. The student transcribes information from that person’s 1900 Federal Census form.
  3. The student chooses three Christmas presents from the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog – one for $1.00, one for $3.00 and one for $5.00.
  4. The student takes a picture of each of his or her choices, then calls my voicemail and records a message, describing one of his or her items.

 

Tom Tate,

Step 1 – The Photos

After trying several different approaches, I discovered that the easiest way to find photographs of Americans in 1897, was to type “1897” in Google Images and Flicker. As it turns out, there are a lot of people out there who like to share their antique photographs.

Almost every antique photo I found included some background information – “This is my Great Uncle Cyrus, who lived in Possum Flats, Arizona, who later went on to invent the electric pogo-stick…”

It is this secondary source information that allowed me to find census data for some of these people. I included a copy of this information to students in their document packets.

1900 United States Federal Census

Step 2 – Census Information

As it turns out, finding photos of people in 1897 isn’t as hard as finding information about them. I was able to find a 1900 Census form for about one picture in three using Ancestry.com. I downloaded the highest quality image of each that I could.

I had students transcribe the original forms onto a blank census form, provided by Ancestry. The idea behind this was to get students used to dealing with primary source information – reading the handwriting, thinking historically, etc… Having them copy the information also made it more likely that they would actually read it.

I discovered that the best way for them to read the original census forms was on a computer screen, so they could magnify sections as necessary. (As students chose their people, I downloaded all relevant documents onto their individual USB drives, for use at school or home.) We did the transcriptions in the Computer Lab.

One interesting lesson for the students was that bigger magnification doesn’t necessarily mean more legibility. Students invariably magnified difficult-to-read sections as much as possible, which tended to pixilate the writing and actually make it harder to read. I had to remind them several times to back off on their magnification to read entries better. They were deeply suspicious at first – this seems counter-intuitive – but eventually MOST of them decided I might know what I was talking about.

sears bikes 1897

Step 3 – Shopping

This step was probably the most fun for my students. By the time they had read primary and secondary source material about their particular person, they knew enough about them to do some thoughtful shopping.

In most cases. (Fourteen year-old boys, though, given a choice, will buy anybody a gun, under any pretext whatsoever.) I had them fill out this worksheet, which kept them organized and gave them a script for when they needed to make their recording.

 

Step 4 – Photographing and Recording

On the advice of a much-smarter and experienced colleague, I bought several goose-neck lamps to provide enough light for students to take pictures of their entries. (The students complained about a burning-insulation smell. I later discovered that there was a plastic warning-label inside each lamp that needed to be removed.)

I tried to come up with a graceful and elegant way for students to submit their photographs electronically, but in the end, the easiest solution was to have students bring the camera to me as they finished taking their pictures and I downloaded the images directly from the memory card in the camera. I borrowed digital cameras from two other classrooms and set up three stations. This worked pretty well.

At this point, my students had turned in two other projects via messages on my GoogleVoice account, so they had the mechanics of that down pretty well.

The End Product:

Christmas Shopping for 1897 from John Fladd on Vimeo.

Image Credits:
Upchurch Family 1896 flickr/Pioneer Library System

1900 Federal Census showing Harry Truman as 16 year old Ancestry.com

Tom Tate, son of Captain Tate’s half-brother Daniel Tate, posing with a drum fish in front of 1900 Wright glider Library of Congress  LC-W851-86

Sears Bike 1897 flicker/Slowe

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