#clmooc unflattening

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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 #light Like Dandelions

Kim Douillard’s Sunshine on a Stem

Yes, I love these words, so powerful in their simplicity and wish. Interestingly, Kim doubted her metaphor, and shared it out to us for comment. When I read her post, I smiled, knowing that on my wall in my classroom is a tall poster that reads: Dandelions are my favorite flower because they refuse to stop growing. It’s there every year, for almost thirty years. So Kim, we educators love that metaphor!

This is Write with Light  [Storytelling with Light] Week 5 of #clmooc. And the first story I thought of was this metaphor, so I neoned it the best I could:


But it just didn’t seem quite the light it needed. I live in a rural area, and there’s not much in supplies for glowing things, but I do have Keynote on my Mac.  And I know I can make words and images sparkle and shimmer with light with that app. So I created the video above [first in Keynote, then in iMovie, and on to YouTube. It’s not perfect, but it fits with light, sparkling dandelion constellations, and growing writers and tinkerers and explorers. Because I did those things to make it.

But the best Make on Like Dandelions is from Anna Smith with her Zeega.

Like Dandelions

► Play Zeega ►

by anna


Thanks #clmooc team this week [ the Maker Jawn Initiative from the Free Library of Philadelphia ], Kim Douillard, and Kevin Hodgson for inspiring this Write with Light.

How are you writing with light this week?


#clmooc The Inspiration Has Begun – Join In


The Summer of Make, Play, Learn has begun at #clmooc !

We’re introducing ourselves with avatars and inspiring each other to try something. In my writing classroom, making avatars and pseudonyms are one of our first goals: creating an avatar that fits our goals and personalities since we don’t use photos or our real names. And in #clmooc, we’re creating spontaneous avatars.

At left you see me, Ms Edwards, in a picasohead [ Make one here ]. I’m modern and fun, with a keen eye for critical and creative thinking, using my artist’s palette for choosing just the write words to color my ideas. See how much fun it is?

What would your avatar be? Edublogs make some suggestions here.

In the #clmooc community, we are inspiring each other with Marvel Comic Creator. This is an example of how we share our ideas and use them to remix the idea for our own needs. It’s just the beginning of a summer of fun and learning, connecting and collaborating.

Here’s my Connect 2 Learn Marvel Avatar:


As you can see, I’m an environmental water person, collaborating with others to save the world as my colleagues and I connect and create together, ready to add color and creativity to any situation, as my sunflower colors indicate.

So, join us — we need your inspiration too!

#clmooc #geniushour #makerfaire Inspired by 82nd and Fifth Museum Art


Have you been participating in MakerFaire, Connected Learning [#clmooc ], or Digital Storytelling DS106? Has your school embraced #geniushour ? All of these deal with our passions, interests, and sense of community. We love to create things from our interests for fun or for fixing the something in the world.

We have been steeped in information overload, and are beginning to take command of it: we are now sorting and celebrating connections and communities — moving into what we need or love, connecting in ways never before possible with others of like [ or different ] minds, and creating according to the need, sharing and showing what we know so that others may also grow with us. From this, we add to that wonderful web of information in ways that add sense, sentiment, and celebration so the “overload” becomes a stream of stings, knotted in our places, our communities, and organized for our interests. We pull the strings as needed in and out of the net: finding balance in our worlds–face-to-face and online with so much more access and knowledge to help us [and we help others] in both worlds.

This summer you may want to spend some time in and out of the Connected Learning [#clmooc ] — joining when and where you can. It filled my last summer with inspiration from the many new friends I met and from the “makes” I created myself or in collaboration with others.


Today, while browsing on the Tumblr [and I apologize — I’ve lost the post] I was directed to the 52nd and Fifth NetMuseum online where 100 of it’s exhibits are narrated in two-minute explanations of marvelous art work. So here is a quick and easy way to bring art in bits into the classroom for wonder and discussion.  The first exhibit I clicked on, French Dressing, inspired a “make.” I had to see if I could “make” this amazing artifact of historical MakerFaire! The object, a gown by Paul Poiret [1919], is made of one piece of fifteen-yard fabric with only one seam. You have to see it to believe it, and to sigh at its beauty.

So I grabbed a tissue and folded it as in the selected clip watching carefully to discover exactly where to “sew” the seam.


Below in Figure 1 you can see the tape at the top for my seam. I taped all the way across to the right of the middle fold, not to the left of the middle fold. See the video link. Then just like in the video I opened it up with the seam vertical to the workspace and inserted a dolls arms into the opening. The far right fold becomes a cape draping around the shoulders.


Figure 1








You see in Figure 2 that the frayed edge becomes the front to wrap and secure with a belt/buttons.


Figure 2


Figure 3











In Figure 3, you can see the cape top, a draping of the original far left fold in Figure 1. The fold in the middle is created to add the extra material to do the draping. Beneath the “cape top” is nothing. You can see the model wears an evening gown beneath this gown-wrap. Mystery of  “How does that work– one seam in a folded strip of fabric?” Perhaps someone who really is a seamstress will actually sew one of these!  Let me know! I have looked at reversible fabric… but…

And now, what will inspire you?  What will make today? What will you create, and what inspired you?

Take a look at Connected Learning [#clmooc ], and please join us — Sign up today!



#TFotoFri Teacher Flickr Friday Photo Group: You’re Invited!




Are you an Educator with an eye for the perfect snapshot? Or not?  But you do notice! All educators notice the little things, and the big things, that make a difference in our daily lives.

Would you like to join a group of educators who have learned the joy of sharing those small things [or big things] through photos?

Don’t panic! It’s not 365 photos!  It’s a Friday Foto Group called TFotoFri, Teacher Photo Fridays!


Ways to Share

You can write about your photo in a blog post, upload your picture on Flickr, or do both. Other ways to share? Let us know!

Hashtag #TFotoFri (Short for Teacher’s Foto Friday Challenge)
Use the tag on your Flickr photos.
Tell others about your post by using the tag on Twitter.

Relax and enjoy the photo challenge. When it gets too challenging, when your week is too busy and you don’t get it done, don’t feel pressure or guilt. We are educators, for heaven’s sake, so we all understand how that will inevitably be part of the challenge!

This year, we’ve added an idea — and that’s all it is; we love all your photo ideas.  Here it is:

Texture, Mixture, and Me

#TFotoFri Crew: Time for an upgrade and renewal! Our photos are fantastic; we’ve shared important engagement, creativity, happiness, structure, metaphor, groups, and collaboration within our lives. How about a new twist? Basically, it’s the same with a new name: Texture, Mixture, and Me.

What are the textures of your lives: appearance, character, consistency, quality of elements. What are the mixtures that make things interesting: mixes of differences? What is the “Me” of you this year: your art, visuals, hobbies, interests, etc? As always, this is flexible; include your photos from other groups if it fits better.  And, Thank You for sharing!


History of #TFotoFri:

Inspired by a wonderful summer of photo sharing with #JJAProject, Denise and Sheri started this group for educators who are interested in sharing a photo each Friday. The photo you share can be personal or professional, taken anytime during the week and posted as close to Friday as you can. Here are the posts that inspired us to create this group: Denise and Sheri.

Please join us!   Join here:  TFotoFri, Teacher Photo Fridays!