Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Musings 23: Phone Poem


Last weekend, fellow slicer, Laurie Pandorf, created a phone poem that she saw at Rose Cappelli's slice, who got the idea for the format from Jo Knowles in 59 Reasons to Write.

The Assignment:
Create a poem using your phone number.

The How-to: 
Pick a theme, then write your phone number down the length of the page. Each number represents how many words you should have on that line. A zero is a wild card so you can choose as many words as you like for that line.

My Theme: The ocean, nature's gift
My Poem: Winter Wonder

5     Ocean splashing against the jetty -
1      Dazzling,
6     Like sparkling diamonds across the sea
7     I stare into its sweeping, unfathomable depth
6     Unable to predict its volume or extent.
3     It's cresting movement
1      Surges,
1      Swells,
6     As winter winds chill the shore.
0    Ocean power takes my breath away.

My Reflection:
I added an original photo to this format to remind me of the sensations I felt when I recently traveled to the beach. Since I had not been there in months, I asked my husband to walk down to the ocean with me, instead of just staying on the boardwalk. There, at seaside, I witnessed the turbulence and beauty of nature's gift  to Long Island. 

While taking photos, the wind was kicking up and my hands were cold but the sun was shining brightly providing a sense of warmth that really did not exist. It was an exhilarating feeling being at the shore next to great, expansive body of water on a cold, windy day

I was not the only one who felt this exuberance. A young man was running shirtless on the boardwalk. While he looked comfortable, I was zipping up my hood to stay warm. At seaside, I came upon a little girl who was merrily walking in the sand with her bare feet. I stopped to talk to her but all she wanted to do was dig her toes further into the sand. A few feet behind her was her mother whom I engaged in conversation. She told me that this was her four year old's first trip to the ocean so she was very excited and probably overwhelmed. I wished her well and then caught up with my husband. Before returning to the boardwalk, we chatted about the shoeless mother and daughter who were delighted with the ocean setting and not at all daunted by the cold winds. Long Beach in the winter provides a different perspective on the beach's appeal.


This post is the twenty-third in a series titled March Musings 
for Two Writing Teachers' March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Musings 22: World Poetry Day


Stories unfold each day as we observe the world around us but do we pause to notice the sounds of life? Yesterday, on March 21st, World Poetry Day, UNESCO celebrated "the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind." 

At dawn I was awakened by the noises around me. I listened, fell back into a dreamlike state, and when awake, created a poem in tribute of poetry being an everyday celebration of the wonder of life. May this poem become a "catalyst for dialogue and peace" in your lives. 

Noise
In the dim light of morning,
sounds break the silence.
Humming roars awaken life.
The wind in the trees howl
the coming of springtime.
Cars passing, rush on by.
Chirping birds rouse us
from sleeping states to
announce a new dawn.
The sounds of daybreak
move in ordinary patterns. 
YET, 
do we, as purveyors of life,
pause in silence, recognizing
the calmness of early morn? 
Do we listen to the calling
of each whispering murmur?
Do our living breaths merge
with our souls, breathing in 
the positivity of daily life? 
Listen to the sounds of stillness
that frame each spring morning. 
Be open to what lays before you.
Become one with nature as an
agent of harmony and peace. 
Let the noise become your 
catalyst to reflect in quiet. 
©Carol Varsalona, 2017

This post is the twenty-second in a series titled March Musings 
for Two Writing Teachers' March Slice of Life Story Challenge

 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March Musings 21: Amplifying #StuVoice

What happens when you hand the reins 
of an educational chat over to a group of student moderators? 

Student voice surges
and 
the hashtag, #KidsCANteachus, becomes, a reality.

************************
Last Night:
An amazing event occurred last night on Twitter. It was a first of its kind for #NYEDChat, the voice of New York State educators and beyond. Six student moderators, @CurranCentral, @thelivebits, and #BowTieBoys: Joe O'Such, Spencer Hill, Doug Unger, and Ryan Hur led a group of educators, parents, and students in a spirited conversation about #StuVoice. (Our seventh moderator, Sam Fremin, was detained due to an unexpected soccer practice but he was actively involved as the leader from the #BowTieBoys.) While I oversaw the process, I clearly noticed early on that the students needed no prompting during the chat. Their voices were strong, clear, and they efficiently maneuvered the ins and outs of a very fast-paced convo that trended early on Twitter (#40 on Trend USA Now).

Preparations:
Prior to the night's outstanding, epic event, Curran from #DigCitKids, Liv from #thelivbits, and Sam from the #BowTieBoys spent time preparing for the Twitter conversation via the Google Docs I set up for them. Each wrote 2 questions for participants' responses. Back-up support was offered by the moms, Marialice BFX Curran and Cynthia Merrill. Buncee provided the digital online tool to create the flyer and Participate, an active #NYEDChat partner, let us know that its online service would archive the chat and resources at the end of the convo. 

Questions:
Q1 Why is it so important to honor student voice? #StuVoice #NYEDChat
Q2 What role does establishing #StuVoice play in building positive rapport with students? #NYEDChat
Q3 How do you foster a classroom environment that encourages #StuVoice? #NYEDChat
Q4 How do #StuVoice opportunities connect and empower students to develop empathy for causes & movements outside of their comfort zone?  #NYEDChat
Q5 What role do parents play in monitoring and empowering their child’s #StuVoice? #NYEDChat
Reflaction (Reflection with Action) What can you do this week to promote more effective #StuVoice in classrooms, schools, or on social media? #NYEDChat

Highlights:
Mother & son #digcit story at 
Spencer Hill A1- Honoring student voice is one of the most crucial things 
in the classroom bc, in the end, Ss choose what they want to learn #NYEDChat 





Kids need to be empowered, not engaged. @danieldmccabe


We need active classrooms guided by teachers who empower students.-Carol Varsalona
 

Reflactions:


My goal is to promote student voice and digital
citizenship for kids, by kids. -Marialice BFX Curran

Thank Yous:


At the start of the chat, Doug Unger said "Make sure to join in tonight's #NYEDChat. You won't be disappointed." He was right so I thank everyone who joined in the conversation last night. We amplified #StuVoice and trended early signifying that #KidsCANteachus




This post is the 21st in the series titled March Musings for Two Writing Teacher's March Slice of Life Story Challenge.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

March Musings 20: Ode to the Moon


Have you ever had a day when your inner voice wakes you with a long list of tasks? Quick response: drift into a dreamlike state; take a deep breath; write.

**************

This morning, I am dipping my pen into Michelle H. Barnes' Ditty Challenge that evolved from her interview with poet, Helen Frost. 

Choose an object (a seashell, a hairbrush, a bird nest, a rolling pin). It should not be anything symbolic (such as a doll, a wedding ring, or a flag). Write five lines about the object, using a different sense in each line (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). Then ask the object a question, listen for its answer, and write the question, the answer, or both.
You can see additional poems and my first ode poem at Michelle Barnes' padlet.
**************

Ode to the Moon







This post is the 20th in the series titled March Musings for Two Writing Teacher's March Slice of Life Story Challenge.  



Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Musings 19: Innovation

In a world driven by technology, information is prized but this is not the end game. 

Late 1990s:
At that time, when school reform models were being examined, my elementary school's magnet microsociety program was built on the Accelerated Schools model to "accelerate all students to high levels of achievement". All students were offered authentic, "real-world" learning experiences based on the content area of study. They were expected to notice, wonder, question, examine, analyze, make decisions, and work with teammates in a creative setting so that new knowledge would be constructed and exhibited. Constructivist theory was evident.

Examples:
Since the school was trying to provide authentic learning experiences, teachers and magnet coordinators met regularly to develop the program. At the 2nd grade level, one classroom of young scientists watched bird feeding patterns as part of their environmental studies and community living literacy program. Teams of students logged in daily observations in their journals, created charts with their findings, and presented short reports. 4th grade young historians delved into daily life in NYS and constructed authentic vignettes throughout the school with information and artifacts gathered. They also took on different roles as developers of a living museum. This was part of their combined literacy/social studies program. 

21st Century Creative Models:
Fast forward to today. The growth mindset encourages educators to honor all learners and their different learning styles in student-centered classrooms where the collection of information is only part of the journey. The wonder of learning and the application of knowledge are valued during Genius hour, 20% time, and passion projects, contemporary versions of my early PBL learning experiences. Discussions, collaboration, explorations, and time to create are part of these authentic learning opportunities where choices are provided and agency developed. Classrooms like these are evident across the world.  

Professional Development:
To support teachers interested in enriching, challenging programs for students, educational chats on Twitter and edcamps have sprouted up to discuss the whys and hows of student-centered authentic learning and innovation. 

George Couros, an "innovative teaching, learning, and leadership consultant" and author of The Innovator's Mindset, has introduced the innovator's mindset for educators to ponder. The sketchnote below explains Couros' thinking.



Couros provides discussion questions that we can ask ourselves when developing new, relevant learning activities. One that I feel is important is: What is an example of a practice that you would consider to be innovative? How is it new or better than what you had before?

Reflection:
During the late 1990s, when the microsociety was created, the program was considered to be innovative for elementary students. We studied other schools that had similar models at the secondary level and visited one at the elementary level. We linked with the regional BOCES center and presented at workshops. This was before the innovator's mindset was developed. Success was based on the level of involvement of each classroom, as it always is. 

Actionable Step To Take:
As dedicated educators, we need to constantly create better programs and student-centered learning experiences; provide teachers with support to become the guides on journeys toward wondrous learning; equip students with the tools to become life ready, lifelong learners. Is this doable? Absolutely, it just takes commitment, energy, and passion. 





This post is the 19th in the series titled March Musings for Two Writing Teacher's March Slice of Life Story Challenge It is also offered to the DigiLitSunday community under the topic, innovation, offered by Margaret Simon.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

March Musings 18: Celebrate Your Life



Reason to Celebrate Life

Negativity weighs us down.  -so-  Think Positively!  
Small moments are precious.  -so-  Notice & Wonder More!
Nature is full of surprises.  -so-  Just look around!
It's St. Patrick's Day Weekend.  -so-  Spend it with friends!

When life reaches a crossroad, take the positivity path.
Believe in possibilities. 
Be open on the journey.
Listen to your inner voice.
Be filled with joy every inch of the way.

Capturing This Week's Stellar Moments with FotoJet Online Tool


http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-musings-17-summer-sand.html

http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-musings-15-party-on.html
http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-musings-14-hunkering-down.html

http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-musings-13-waiting.html

This post is the 18th in the series titled March Musings for Two Writing Teacher's March Slice of Life Story Challenge I am also writing to Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March Musings 17: Summer Sand

Writing challenges are everywhere this month. Writers are enjoying the freedom of playing with words, trying out new formats, and having fun with the craft. The following quote by Tom Romano sustains me as I write. 

"As others take pleasure shaping clay on a potter's wheel or applying paint to canvas, I take pleasure in writing."

Today's Ode Poem Ditty Challenge comes from Michelle H. Barnes and Helen Frost who created a sample poem, Ode to a River, for us.
Choose an object (a seashell, a hairbrush, a bird nest, a rolling pin). It should not be anything symbolic (such as a doll, a wedding ring, or a flag). Write five lines about the object, using a different sense in each line (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). Then ask the object a question, listen for its answer, and write the question, the answer, or both.
Click HERE to read Helen Frost's sample poem, "Ode to a River."



This post is the 17th in the series titled March Musings for Two Writing Teacher's March Slice of Life Story Challenge.

The Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted by Robyn Hood Black at her blog, Life on the Deckle Edge