#clmooc Reflection Open and Not

CLmooc is awesome!

I am so thankful for another opportunity to learn and grow and share with others who look forward to the possible, however adjacent it may be.


Some things were different and disappointing, but mostly CLmooc helped me gain new perspectives again.


So many people to thank for their encouragement and insights:

Karen Fasimpaur

Michael Weller

Julie Johnson

Terry Elliot

Kevin Hodgson

Susan Watson

Deanna Mascle

Melvina Kurashige

Janis Selby Jones

Wendy Taleo

Mallory McNeal

Charlene Doland

Scott Glass

Anna Smith

Christina Cantrill

Monica Multer

Simon Ensor

Christina DiMicelli

Jeffrey Keefer

Fred Mindlin

Tania Sheko

Daniel Basill

Annelise Wunderlich

Ida Brandão

Anu Liljeström

Helen DeWaard

and all of the #clmooc participants and facillitators…. all hundreds of you active and lurking connected learners!

Thank you!



#clmooc #digilit Sunday A Walk in Public Places

Created in Google Stories on Ipad;  I could not add the picture I took today down on another street
Couldn’t add:
Our side of town was once owned and maintained by the government during the building of Grand Coulee Dam, and our town benefits from that infrastructure and foresight. Parts are still maintained by the city. It’s a lovely neighborhood.
How different is this walk than yours? than my students? than your students? What is the same?
What are some benefits to the public areas in your neighborhood?
What issues are there?
What values are shown by the public areas?
How do people and governments care for these areas?
What norms would make these areas accessible and welcoming to everyone?
Would you be willing to accept norms and accept responsibility for helping care for public spaces?
Question to ponder…. what’s your walk? what’s your take?
What tool would you use to create a walk of your public spaces, and help begin a discussion that promotes and enhances those areas?

Margaret Simon is a dynamic and respected educator who invites other bloggers to reflect on Digital Tools and Strategies each Sunday for #Digilit Sunday  Please read her blog and join.

#clmooc #f5f Stories and Spaces

#f5f #Find Five Friday
Cycle 5: Unseen Stories and Invisible Spaces


Powerful questions and discourse occurred with this make,
thanks, to KQED and Nick Sousanis, [video]
who both helped us step back and step aside
to discover perspectives, problems, and possibilities
in our virtual and physical spaces,
inspiring the need
for open and inviting spaces
for all our stories,
and to protect the opportunities
to develop and maintain
OUR public spaces.


What five ideas, issues, possibilities 
did you uncover 
when you stepped aside 
from your perspective?


Here are mine to remember:
  • Kevin: But if the Internet is a public domain, or if it should be, then we all need to do more to protect that space from the encroachment and control of private companies. How could we be ever diligent to protect our rights as “We, the People?”

  • Wendy: The crumples in the paper are the sub-text, they can be ignored or they can dictate the marks on the page. What crumples in public spaces do we ignore when we might add or help?

  • Janelle: Denied. How can we include? How do we overcome disenfranchisement?

  • Xiaogao Neil Zhou: The community, the intersection of a physical place and the digital place…the relations between these two public spaces is something will bring the development of digital technology to the next level. Will this new level also help us protect our stories and spaces as “the People,” wherever we live?

  • KQED Make Cycle Newsletter: How can the design of a public space influence and shape interactions and identity? How do people connect and learn across different public spaces? How are norms established in public spaces?  How do we build community norms that are accepted?

Links to posts:


Sheri Edwards


#clmooc unflattening

Clmooc_nick.001 copy

Mom had an old book of puzzles. I loved it. These were my favorite; simple sketches that suggested something. What do you think the above image is?

Unflattening the world has been part of my life – my mom could see beyond the obvious, and helped me look at the bigger picture. As a young mother rushed in front of us in the grocery line, mom would say, “She needs to get her back home for baby’s nap.” That might not have been true, but mom always took a step back to see a bigger idea and a step into the shoes of others.

Is it a bear climbing a tree? A giraffe walking by your window? A snake slithering across your beach towel?

We need to step around to see. Turn things around, and get a different view. Try to think from another’s perspective. Believe in your own!

These are things we discussed today in a learning / school context with Nick Sousanis, author of Unflattening, who wrote the first ever PHD dissertation as a comic.

We’ve got to focus on students, not the test, not the same-for-all; students are not widgets to be boxed up the same. [Pete Seeger — Little Boxes].   We need to be guiding student to discover who they are and what are their passions, which will inspire learning. Instead we have this:

We have a mission, those in the #clmooc, to spread the word of connected learning, which does not necessarily mean always through technology. We are poets and historians, authors and artists, scientists and coaches, engineers and ecologists. And we must as learners discover this by seeing the world in our own and in others’ ways. Learners, both we and our students are co-learners together.

Nick shared his ability to extend the view of the world –“stepping back to no longer seeing things head-on, but to also see from the sides” and more. Here’s an example. Think of the Buddha. Now in comic form, from our Google Hangout Out On Air with Nick, we can look just at the Buddha, but also step back to see the whole world around because comics are in “sequence with simultaneous recognition” of what might be missed:

nick's buddha

With our every breath, there is always more to think about. So it is with learning, as Terry Elliot always reminds us: [should be adjacent possible]


Learning is messy, and our students need the freedom to learn in their way and time — their passions and interests. We must allow the “adjacent possible” which occurs every day to lead us to the learning that is important to the student. And during that journey, all the other content and culture, skills and strategies, will fall into place — not the same for each student, but they will be what the student needs. This is the personalized and connected learning of today.

It’s the process of struggle and questioning, sharing and conversation, feedback and feed forward, that promotes deeper learning that sticks. Yesterday, I wrote about inquiry, and changing my classroom to allow authenticity and creativity to play the largest role in my classroom, and Nick’s invitation to see the world with new eyes and in new ways supports that. It takes longer, but the learning is deeper. Nick’s process blog posts show how learning and thinking take time; he shares the many iterations of his comics before the final version develops. That’s how learning is: time to try, think, reflect, discuss, revise, refine, start over, etc. And he’s creating for his purpose and his audience; it’s authentic. And so school should be.

How would it feel to see in new ways? Nick asked us to take a plan sheet of paper, any size. Fill it with shapes of your day — the way your day is and feels. Here’s mine:

ShapesMakeMyDay copy

You can “read” it for yourself, and I have my own story for each line and box and curve and angle. I told about calm, happy, whimsical, social, sad, anxious, all in the day of shapes. Try it. See what your day is. For me, I was able to be thankful for the goodness, and reflective and at peace on the sadness. What a great idea for the classroom to open the mind to another way of seeing and expressing one’s narrative. So many teacher writers have shared the need for diverse pathways to writing [Ralph Fletcher, Georgia Heard, Donald Murray, to name just three], and for whatever we teach, we need those pathways so our students can be thinkers, not just copiers.

We learn by doing, and that is one of the main points Nick shared: let’s not talk about it — let’s start drawing and doing!  Thank’s Nick Sousanis for your time and for inspiring us.

Want to be inspired? You can be inspired too by watching here and adding your “Spaces of My Day” #dayincomics to this Padlet that Kevin Hodgson started.

The Make with Me with Nick Sousanis is part of the CLmooc , Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration, whose principles brought this group together:  we are networked peers supporting each other in our interests and shared purpose, which powered Anna Smith to invite Nick to share his ideas [academic / production-centered ] so we could create and make and transform.



Connected Learning

Now, go see the world in new ways. Come back and share what you see.




Photo Credits:

Puzzle Doodles 1 and 2: by Sheri

Screenshot of Buddha from Nick’s presentation in Google Hangout On Air

My Day Sketch: by Sheri

Connected Learning Principles: Connected Learning

John Dewey: by Sheri

#clmooc Puzzling

Puzzles are systems, as Steve Wheeler explains in his blog about the above picture sent to him by Simon Ensor for Steve’s #blimage challenge [send him an image and he’ll blog about it related to learning]. I like what he said, and it’s helping me with my own inquiry.


you don’t really know exactly how you’re going to get to the end (if there ever is an ‘end’), or how long it will take, but you do have a an image on the front of the box that contains the pieces, as a reference point to what it should look like when completed.

True, with learning – we don’t always know where we’re going until we get started. Then as teachers we need to figure out a strategy, a system, to help each student.  As the puzzle pieces in the image show, there’s quite a bit of blue ocean to dive into and catch the wave or current that will get you and the student where they need to be. I see texts and images [media] to read and understand. I see buildings which might be resources needed to learn. I see roads to build or follow to guide us. I see wooden planks, because we might have to build our own support. I see a cup filled with nourishment to sustain the whole child, perhaps feedback or an organizer — or just a snack to beef up a hungry stomach. I see a basket to hold our strategies, or save them to share with others who might need it. I see lots of unknowns that might or might not fit the needs of the learner, but at bottom in center is a child: and that’s who all our efforts are for.


Who is to say which method is a) more effective and b) more enjoyable?

 I would say the teacher and learner will decide this [certainly not a test]. Learning is a puzzle and we try one piece and then another. We watch how others work through it and try our own way. Ah, is such a good feeling after a journey of trials. How do we sort out the puzzle and the journey together?

That is what some of us in #clmooc [Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration] have set about understanding through an inquiry, a puzzle, a question of our own.  Margaret Simon is wondering, “How can I create an environment for student writing that encourages individual expression while covering necessary benchmarks?” She included this graphic by Christy Ball as a possible way to to include the student  and the student’s passion in a process that will allow creativity while meeting the standards. We’ve got to find the way that is effective for each child.

Which brings us to another idea, an idea that is like the diverse group of students who flow into our rooms each morning, as random as puzzle pieces dumped out of a box — yet each in its own way beautiful and unique, worthy of and needing the opportunity to develop into a talented and whole person [or puzzle]. How do we make that happen?


These questions are reminiscent of a postmodern perspective on education – where learning is random and chaotic, has multiple layers and diverse possibilities, and where the rules might just as easily be thrown out of the window. Ultimately, we know that not everything that is taught is learnt, and not everything that is learnt is taught.

When the box cover is followed, we’ll finish an exact replica in our puzzle. Children and their learning are puzzle pieces as well — and our curriculum the box cover, as Steve suggests. However, what we teach is not always what students will learn — they notice what they need to know at that time. And that’s our puzzle – to accept that and go with it, perhaps adding in what we originally taught, or perhaps finding a new path also needed. A box cover is not what we need today. Technology brings us tools to personalize, to allow students to lead the way as we guide and offer feedback [along with peers] in a learning community that extends beyond the classroom walls. Curriculum is not just standards or content, it is also how to learn, reflect, connect, create, collaborate, and curate.

I think curriculum is a wardrobe, each different for each child, and filled with the choices in clothes and accessories needed to learn and succeed at goals. Imagine the choices an author, historian, mathematician, biologist, journalist would make or need. And many students would need to sew their own. Sometimes we could layer the items for a needed effect. One day we may need Rachel Carson’s boots as she explores the Atlantic shore or on another day grab our Flair pens to become architects like Frank Lloyd Wright. But there they are, waiting for us when we have chosen our interests and passions.

And it’s true that each student will take a different path, similar supports in curriculum can be implemented for small group learning, and teachers see where the students are headed and begin to lay out suggestions. Or, as in Narnia, we may find a wonderful surprise.

Screenshot 2015-07-19 at 6.32.16 PM

This is what I have been considering for my inquiry question, which is “How do I create authentic learning spaces of making and reflecting that empower self-directed learning?” I’ve been reading Creative Schools by Sir Ken Robinson and Digital Portfolios by Matt Renwick, participating in book clubs with like-minded educators for each of them. So when Margaret started her Padlet on Creativity, I bookmarked it as resources for my inquiry as well.

Like the learners in my classroom, I’m puzzling about something for which I am passionate: to enable my students to become thinking, caring, and productive persons who follow their own passions and learn and adapt the passions of their peers in our learning community. And I’m starting by doing something: sharing with my peers and reading and discussing to figure out a path to do so. I get feedback from my peers and I begin to take a direction. Now, I’m not studying or practicing any Common Core State Standards in particular, but I am deeply applying many while I do this. And that’s what John Dewey said:


In the puzzle of education, we’ve forgotten that is the doing that brings the learning.  So I created my own process to start with — based on many choices the students and I discuss together:

Notice that the standards aren’t even considered until after discussion and when we are sharing out plans for the first time. Just like in this blog, I”m writing for information with an introduction, body, and conclusion, building in evidence and flow — after much conversation, thinking, and doing. The flow around the above cycle is not sequential; I’ll need to change the arrow to dotted to show that there is not a linear flow, but a recursive sense with lots of reflection, feedback, and revision in our process and product.

So, back to the beginning, I’m puzzling through this authenticity and creativity in my language arts classroom, with Michael Weller and others. Some of my thoughts from my Evernote musings are:

YouthVoices would give a focus for both students and teachers — their interests and our curricular requirements.
There’s also Teen [ http://tweentribune.com/teen ] and Tween Tribune [ http://tweentribune.com/ ].
My fifth grade students loved the March Slice of Life challenge, and that is also a weekly Tuesday challenge [ https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/challenges/ ]; some connected teachers set up their own challenge among their blogs [ http://mserin202.blogspot.com/2014/08/slice-of-life-writing.html and http://kidblog.org/class/EaglesWrite15/posts/p464617:601 ].
There’s also KQED’s Do NOW, which I have not participated in, but is so engaging and thoughtful [ http://blogs.kqed.org/education/category/do-now/ ]
As I write this, I’m thinking of a menu of choices for writing, with student interest in mind, and an authentic purpose of sharing. 

I’ve also created a BlendSpace for my resources and ideas, a sort of wardrobe to organize and pull from as needed.  And I thank Steve Wheeler, Margaret Simon, Michael Weller for helping put my puzzle, and my students’ puzzle together in a way that’s a system that fits each learner and teacher.

MY #DigiLit Sunday:  MindMeister Maps / Image Writing Prompt

#DigiLit Sunday Sponsored by Margaret Simon: Visit her blog for other DigiLit Sunday bloggers.


Photo Credits

Simon Ensor puzzle

Christy Ball infographic

Sheri Edwards: Screenshot of Creative Commons “Wardrobe” image search

Sheri Edwards Dewey and Mind Meister MindMap

Margaret Simon: #DigitLit Sunday Badge

#clmooc #digilit Random Me

clmooc imageAgain an exciting summer of self-chosen professional development to become a better writer and a better teacher. My summer PD with CLMooc often includes poetry. Last year we played #poettag and this year we play #clPoem, suggested by Jeffrey Keefer. That’s the thing about clmooc: It’s a connected learning massive open online collaboration where participants lead the way.

We started with “untros,” a reflection and analysis of our identities, a shattering of our different identities in various communities which allowed us to understand the essence of those identities. And although suggestions were made for how to “untro,” each person finds their own journey, which can be overwhelming to new participants wondering where to start. Sometimes participants just want to know the idea and take off on their own. In this seeming chaos, Jeffrey pondered about community with a poem and an invitation to others to write poetry tagged with #clPoem.

And so it begins: the cascade of ideas, remixes, invitations, all for a shared purpose: to learn together with the tools that fit, digital or analog.

As the #clmooc introduced the untro for Cycle One, I was captivated by the ingenuity of the responses by participants and intrigued with the traits behind the person and the making. [ Specific examples ]  In my meandering aechoinggreennd following Twitter links, I discovered Echoing Green, an organization that supports young graduates to “Work with a Purpose.” At the bottom of each page was a blue logo, which inspired me to try to rebuild my identity so I created this poem make on “Unshattering Identities,” asking participants to:

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

The slides are filled with reflective six word poems that can be read in different ways; each participants take is unique as we embrace the connected learning principles of interest-powered, peer-supported, production of learning creations.

As you can see, this journey meanders as participants pick the projects in which to participate, create remixes or original makes to fit the topic in their way, and share and reflect on the process, the creations, and the pedagogy. We use tools to create in the physical world and the digital world; we share on Twitter, Facebook, and the Google Plus community — and Soundcloud [#adhocvoices], the blog hub [where this post will find its way], Thinglink, etc. Our connections and our community is a neighborhood built by our choices. Technology provides the ship we sail on to connect and learn collaboratively.

Michelle Stein provides another example: she started a poetry make on identity. She asked us to:

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.

I chose to do this project because it’s writing, and I enjoy writing poetry, simple as it is. In my response, it’s more narrative poetry, but I wrote it not just for #clmooc and Michelle, it’s a gift to my family. And that is another part of #clmooc: authenticity — the participants make from the interests and who each is and what each needs at the time.

So, if you’re looking for projects both digital and analog, and you want to work with creative people and build your PLN: join CLMooc !


Here’s my response to Michelle’s “Make,” starting with random words:

This post is also part of #DigiLit Sunday, started by Margaret Simon to help blogging educators share their digital learning.


#clmooc Enjoy the Journey

#clmooc – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires  Be sure to click to the site to view the links in the show’s sidebar.

#clmooc is a journey — a summer of meandering through a welcoming maze of unique people open to sharing and learning together. Sign up, if you haven’t yet, here.

#clmooc is a collaboration — a busy swirl of sharing, remixing, revising, sharing, conversing, and curating.

#clmooc is a lens — zoom in and out as needed to catch your breath, refocus, and renew; renew your summer making focus and renew your own pedagogy as the connected learning principles are lived through the making and connecting.

#clmooc is a neighborhood — a community of diverse and dynamic people with their own purpose and one guiding one: connected learning; it’s a neighborhood that becomes yours — a place to find both like-minded individuals to boost your confidence and discerning individuals to build your backbone.

This is my third year with CLMOOC and I’m already overwhelmed with the continuous flow of sharing and support in the Google Plus community and on twitter #clmooc. Facebook CLMOOC is booming. If you are a newcomer, take a breath, and just enjoy the flow until you find something or someone to connect with. Next week we start the Make Cycles and the sharing and remix begins in full force — and the force will be with you and your choice in how and when to participate.

The most important thing is to ask a question; someone will jump in with more questions and possible ideas; it’s all about the power of your interest and peer support when you’ve found a shared purpose. From that networking, amazing “makes” happen. That’s the power of connected learning principles.

Where else to ask? Four members of many on the support team are ready to encourage you:

Terry Elliot

Mallory McNeil

Michael Weller

Sheri Edwards [that’s me]

Be sure to watch and listen to the first webinar and the National Writing Project Blog Talk Radio where former #clmooc participants share their amazing stories of how CLMOOC has transformed their teaching and their lives. Each are an hour long, but well worth the listen. Sign up your blog — or read and comment on others’ blogs in the Blog Hub.

Welcome!  I’m headed back to journey through the Google Plus neighborhood to see who’s sharing. Be sure to add your place in space on Kevin’s map.  So, will you walk with me?