Sunday, December 19, 2010

Have You Upped Your Awesome?

My students certainly upped their awesome potential this week! 
Project for Awesome is coming to a soft close, the raffle goes through 12/20/10, but the commenting army is at rest. 
What a show last night on YouTube! Did you see it? If you'd like to see clips check out the P4A channel. My favorite clip? John Green talking from his heart about Esther Earl and the Make a Wish Foundation. 
Did you follow #p4a on twitter? Nerdfighters did it again trending tops several times over the past two days. 
Highlights for me? Commenting from school. Commenting with my 9 year-old son--he learned to reply--but I'll write more about that on Pink Stone Days later this week. 

Andrew's P4A Avatar for Twitter & YouTube
Nearly 75% of my students receive free  or reduced lunch benefits. Many do not have access to technology at home. But, they created YouTube accounts, some also create twitter identities for P4A. They learned how to use image editing software to create avatars , how to tweet, how to comment, how to capture their screens. Lots of purposeful learning around 21st century tools this week. 
The district unblocked YouTube Friday and though we had a slow start, it worked. Folks at the district don't arrive until 8ish. High school students get going around 7:15 a.m., so our first hour was a frustrating one as the filter hadn't fallen yet, but once we got going students swarmed each others pages commeting, rating and favoriting. How thankful am I that the district lowered the filters for us? I teach in the 11th largest district in the country. It was a big deal to get YouTube unblocked for the day. I am tremendously grateful. Thank you, thank you! 
What did I enjoy the most about P4A at school? Teaching students the process, a definite list topper. Seeing kids smile as I narrated my silly stop-motion animation P4A video. Sharing laughs--when I couldn't decide how to begin my video and nearly included the Manualist performing the 20th Century Fox Fanfare--we all had a good laugh over that one. But even better was the discussion it led to about audience, purpose and your digital identity. Actually seeing my students videos and their surprise at how many other P4A videos were posted to YouTube. 
The most fun? There were many most fun moments. One was when John Green wished Marquez happy birthday in comments. Lucky Marquez! We took a screen shot but it's at school. Marquez is a quiet, quiet student in my 6th period class. He totally surprised me by keeping count of comments and setting the pace during 6th period. Though I enjoyed the morning commenting on students' videos before P4A actually began, the afternoon was made of pure awesome. If I hadn't been finger-flying over the keyboard commenting with the Nerdfighter commenting army, I would have tweeted some of students' reactions. They said things like: 
"Miss! Miss Lee Ann! We are NOT the only ones in here!" Julian said this once we got into the swarm and kids realized that thousands of people were commenting on the same video at the same time.

"Oh my gosh--there are like 100 comments a minute. It's going so fast!" Said in response to seeing the comment stream fly automatically.

Those were just 2 of the ah-has, but there were many on Friday. Most of these student productions are a first for the kids who made them. First time creating a video; first time uploading to YouTube; first time commenting; first time replying to a comment. Lots of firsts, so be gentle with their learning. If you'd like to add your comments to my kids' videos follow the links below. 

And don't forget, there's still time to buy that $25 raffle ticket to win 49 signed books from NCTE and ALAN10! Sweet deal on hardcovers if I do say so myself. The money benefits Beat Bullying.

CCHS Poetry Club video

Ashley & Brandon's
Brick & Victor's
Foi's Trevor Project

Carl, John & Andrew

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Check out the raffle! in total $70K raised so far!!
Project for Awesome Raffle Page

When we’re spamwowing Project for Awesome videos it can sometimes be difficult to think about what to comment. I decided to comment using the first lines from the books I had signed to Nerdfighters at this year’s ALAN conference. I’ve not finished typing up all of the first lines, but I thought this chunk would get me started. 

I’m posting them here because apparently YouTube doesn’t mind when I copy and paste a comment from a web source, but it rejects copy and pasted comments from my word documents. Harrumph!
If you are interested in buying a $25 raffle ticket to win these 49 author signed books, be sure to drop by the Project for Awesome raffle! or go directly to the book raffle ticket spot .

After P4A I'll come back and clean these first lines up (take out the hashtag and raffle links) but for now, I've kept them just so I can copy and paste straight to YouTube or twitter for faster commenting. 


 “Doug came to, lying on his back in what felt and smelled like a field.” -Adam Rex, Fat Vampire #p4a raffle

“They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your yes, but that’s not how it happened for me.” -Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall #p4a raffle

“I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.” –Andrea Cremer, Nightshade #p4a raffle

“Lia Khan is dead. I am Lia Khan.” – Robin Wasserman, Skinned #p4a raffle

 “On a sweltering June Sunday ,stunned residents of Black Creek, North Carolina pray for seventeen-year-old Patrick Truman, who was beaten and left for dead outside the convenience store where he works.” 
– Lauren Myracle, Shine #p4a raffle

“Marley was dead, to begin with.” Marley was dead, to begin with? What kind of studpid opening line is that? A Christmas Carol is supposed to be some sort of classic novel…” –Lisa Yee, Warp Speed #p4a raffle

“They took me in my nightgown.” – Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray #p4a raffle
“The executioner swung his axe—thwack!—and another head went rolling into the dust.” – Darren Shan, The Thin Executioner #p4a raffle

“It’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.” – Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story #p4a raffle

“Everyone thought she had made it up, and she had tolerated more taunting and teasing from other children, more lectures and punishments from gown-ups, than any eleven-year-old should have to bear.” -Frank Beddor, The Looking Glass Wars #p4a raffle

“Imagine this: You’re in your favorite bookstore, scanning the shelves. You get to the section where a favorite author’s books reside, and there, nestled in comfortabley between the incredibly familiar spines, sits a red notebook. What do you do?” – Rachel Cohn & Devid Levithan, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares #p4a raffle

“Having just died, I shouldn’t be starting my afterlife with a chicken sandwich,no matter what, especially one served up by nuns.” -Carlos Eire, Learning to Die in Miami #p4a raffle

“The world is drowning. Sinking. It’s being swallowed up. Glaciers are melting. Oceans are rising.” 
-Dana Reinhardt, How to Build a House #p4a raffle

“I knew today would be ugly.” -Robin Brande, Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature #p4a raffle

“It was a pleasure to burn.” – Tim Hamilton, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 the Authorized Adaptation #p4a raffle

“I’m in Hokepe Woods this morning, like I am every Sunday, delivering papers and keeping an eye out for Jonah Lukes.” –Katie Williams, The Space Between Trees #p4a raffle

“It’s always the same, not matter where in the world we happen to be.” -Laura Resau, The Indigo Notebook #p4a raffle

“In which a corset is loosened… There are so many exciting things in this book—a Stolen Diamond, snooping stable boys, a famous detective, the disappearance of a Valuable Wig, love, pickle éclairs, unbridled Evil, and the Black Deeds of the Shipless Pirates—that is really does seem a shame to being with ladies underwear.” -Tom Angleberger, Horton Halfpott #p4a raffle

“You can’t know what it is like for us now—you will always be one step behind. Be thankful for that.” - David Levithan “A Word from the Nearly Distant Past” from-Michael Cart, editor, How Beautiful the Ordinary #p4a raffle

“The second act curtain was one chorus away when I spotted him.” – Judy Blundell, Strings Attached #p4a raffle

“Zero Period. You got that right. Fail one math test you’re up before the first chirp of day.” -Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped #p4a raffle

“Han Alister squatted next to the staming mud spring, praying that the thermal crust would hold his weight.” -Cinda Williams Chima, The Demon King #p4a raffle

“Mirka liked her stepmother, Fruma, well enough. Fruma had the longest nose of anyone in Hereville, but her odd looks hadn’t take nMirka long to get used to.” -Barry Deutsch, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword #p4a raffle

"The eunuchs said the windows were ceiling height to allow the concubines their privacy, but JinLian knew it was also a way to keep them trapped. - Cindy Pon, Silver Phoenix #p4a raffle

Project For Awesome: Cypress Creek Poetry Club

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Project for Awesome Update

Bryan, performed at Middle School Mosaic and NCTE this year.
He's editing the Poetry Club's P4A video.
Just when you think you've cleared the way...

My students are well on their way to finishing their Project for Awesome videos. Helbin has already uploaded to YouTube (early bird!). He's finished, but not finished. Today will be the day we talk revision and re-exporting.

What does Helbin need to revise? He needs to add the thumbnail. When P4A takes over the front page of YouTube all you will see are Project for Awesome thumbnails: Project for Awesome Spoken Word Press, Project for Awesome, Project for Awesome Greenpeace. Will YouTube be broken? My students asked me that yesterday. No, YouTube will still work but what you see when you first land on the page will be different, will be awesome.

So, we need the thumbnail. Picture this: we're in the media center, using the computers, twenty-five 14 year olds leaning in toward screens or stomping around with Flip cameras. I remind students about the thumbnail. Guess what? No downloading. Student log-ins are not permitted to download--anything. So, what's the work around?

We take a screen shot of the logo. We paste the logo into Photoshop CS3. We crop the screen. We save the logo as a jpg file. Error. Nope. We can't save the logo as a jpg file because the computer thinks ".jpg" already exists and asks us if we would like to replace it. Sure, replace ".jpg." Go to Movie Maker, import jpg, but no, "p4a-logo.jpt" does not exist in the student document folder. Try again. save as png. Error. ".Png" already exists. What? What is this? Regroup. Open Paint. Copy logo from Photoshop to Paint. Save image as p4a-logo dot bitmap.


The official kick off for P4A is somewhere around noon. See Hank's introduction for details. We're working or working around it. Friday I will blog and tweet links to the videos my students post. For most of my ninth grade students, this is their first experience with YouTube and social networking for good. We'd love for you to rate, favorite and comment on our videos.

See you Friday!


PS: Those books I got signed for Nerdfighters to auction off? Hank and John Green are adding to their raffle! Yes! Risk? Worth it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Do You Take Notes?

                I want to start with stories. Three stories about my journal and meeting people at NCTE that I’d previously only met online.  The first is about the journal itself.
                Last year at NCTE I noticed a tribe member taking notes is a creamy-paged, sketchbook-style journal. Curious, I asked about it. Kim McCollum, Millersville professor, Nerdfighter and ECNing-er, told me she’d gotten the journal at “her favorite stationary store in Paris.”
                I think I really did sigh. How romantic is that? Flash forward six months to the summer. A mysterious soft-sided package arrives in the mail. The package is addressed to me. Kim’s address—her real address—is in the return spot on the mailer. What in the world? You’ll see. She sent me a journal. Pure magic, the surprise.
This year when I went to the session on mentoring new teachers (a session I wrote about here), Tony  Romano , Illinois state Author of the year and teacher phenom, smiled at me and said, “You’re the journal person.”
                “I am,” I smiled. You could call me that—a journal person, a person who journals. I do journal and color and draw and take notes and write and reflect and catalogue. Yes, that’s me.
                “I have been talking about your journal for a year!”
                Really?  Tony wasn’t the only one who’d been talking about my journals. Friends I’d made on the English Companion Ning remembered my journals too.
                At the ECN meet up Saturday night Karen LaBonte asked us to note the questions we’d begun to cultivate related to topic threads from the conference: grammar, writing, technology, etc. I opened my journal to scan my notes and gather my questions. I wasn’t 2 pages in when Jen Ansbach said, “can I see? You are going to post pages from your journal this year aren’t you? I’ve been talking about your journal all year.”


                Jen called her husband, Noah, over to take a picture. We got to talking. We talked through a session’s worth of notes. Soon there were six or so of us sitting in our section of the circle, talking about my journal .  
                So what? What matters? I think what matters is not my journal per se but the process, a process.
                How do you make your learning “visible and discussable” as Bud Hunt said (citing Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss)? What processes do we use as education evangelists—as committed teacher leaders—to  hold onto and extend our learning? Mine is but one. Surely there are an infinite number of ways we could systematize our note-taking. An infinite number of ways we could record, revisit, share and discuss. What matters, what’s important is that we do.
*             *             *
                So I’m sharing. I scanned the notes I took during Kittle, Gallagher and Anderson’s session as well as notes from our ECN meet up. I’ve also created a key to my codes. If you’d like to read my earlier post about why and how I journal , go here.  Because I don’t have permission to post photos of a few folks I have in my journal, you’ll see that I’ve blurred them out. Many thanks to Terry Heick for helping me figure out the inverse select tool in order to do that!

Notes also posted to Scridb.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Novel Gift

Participate in Readergirlz Novel Gift- click the picture!
Amazing things are happening and we're still more than a fortnight away from Project for Awesome!

Partnering with First Book, the Readergirlz are giving away more than 125,000 novels. Wow! Brand-new books going to teens that need them. What's the catch? Registration. The book fairy cannot read your mind or the map of your school's needs. Go to Readergirlz for all the details or go directly to the 5 minute registration site at First Book.

My students are anxiously waiting to dive into the new books I brought back from NCTE. Not the Project for Awesome auction books, but additional books I collected in the exhibit hall. Many are advance reading copies, or bargain books I purchased on the last day of the conference, unsigned, but definitely beautiful. I came home with 80 or so. We've made grand stacks on the back table. You should have seen my students hovering around the stacks yesterday as they finished their reading benchmark exams.

"Ooo... can I see this one?"
"Can I just look at this one?"
"Miss can I read...?"

Really? Better than chocolate cake their "can I" questions.