#clmooc iTune Family Fun

itunefamilyfunWant creative and critical thinkers?

Use the power of the internet to learn vocabulary, metaphor, analogy, bias, etc.

“iTune” Family Fun

This can be adapted to classrooms, don’t you think?


Get to know each other better, and learn to use keywords to find the desired topics.

Explain your choices and have fun.

Equipment: One or more devices hooked to the internet.

Purpose: Choose an appropriate song that fits the topic and person for your search.


A topic is chosen.

Each person decides which other person s/he will choose a song for that fits that topic.

Use the search tool at iTunes Music Store to type in key words for the topic and the person. When you find a song that fits, call out “iTune.”

That person shares/plays the sample file first after everyone has chosen a song.

The person for whom the song was chosen decides if the song fits. (If using only one device, decide who searches first and take turns.)

The winner– usually everyone is a winner because everyone justifies each choice made.


1. Gather your people.

2. Connect to the iTunes Music Store.

3. Decide on a topic. Ideas: Peace, Beach, Lonely, Grand Coulee Dam, Serenity, monsters, candy, etc.

4. Each person uses that key word or any related words to find a song to fit the topic and chooses the person in the game they will find a song for.

Example: For Serenity, I knew immediately that Scott and I enjoy the serenity of our small home, so the song, “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash would fit well. I typed in “Our House” and found the CSN version, calling out “iTune.” It would work for Scott or myself.

My granddaughter (age 11 at the time) searched for herself, choosing the song, “Serenity,” by Godsmack.

5. When the song you chose is found, call out, “iTune.” If using more than one device, wait until all players have found their songs. Then take turns sharing in the order in which “iTune” was claimed. If using only one device, sharing may occur at the time you find your song. Share by playing the sample  30 second clip.

6. Usually, the justification is obvious, but the person for whom the song was chosen may request justification for that choice. The person who chooses it, explains the choice. It may be a phrase from the song, the beat, the meaning implied, or a pun that resulted in the choice.

For instance, to find a song for Scott, a newspaper publisher, my granddaughter might choose “All Nighter” by Salt Peanuts–because it sometimes takes late into the night to put the paper out, and salty peanuts make a great snack for the night. Or I might enter “Free Press” and choose “Herbert Harper’s Free Press News (Electric Mud)” by Muddy Waters because the truth can’t run or hide if we have a free press.

Since justification is relative to the person, we discuss the choices related to each person–the chooser and the recipient–and so learn more about each other.

7. Winner: 1) Everyone wins who tries; 2) The person who makes the most appropriate choices.

So have fun, learn about each other, and enjoy the music.

#clmooc #toyhack Being Yourself

Week 2 of #clmooc is #toyhack provided us with a chance to hack something tangible and familiar. Its purpose was to help us stretch out to experience “the make.”

In the Twitter Chat, Joe Dillon reminded us that we are “developing a habit of mind, or an ethos, with students or colleagues, that rules, norms,traditions can be remixed and tinkered with… to develop an ethos to do things for ourselves to share, to make the community better.”

Terry Elliot explained that “Hacking is a stance, literally a place where you stand. And that can be very idiosyncratic.” He also reminded us that “Improvisation is hacking, right. The hacking attitude is already inside us.”

cattaghackMy family are innovators — we constantly hack that which isn’t working the way we need, or hodge podge repairs as needed with the tools at hand. For instance, we live a very old house, and I needed the hall light to stay on for the grandkids. But the string touched the light bulb, so I grabbed what would work — a paper clip and an old cat tag to hold the string away. My husband wasn’t very happy with the looks of it, but it worked.

So this #toyhack seemed like an easy task, but then the task must fit who you are and your needs, or your community’s needs.

I picked up so many toys, but literally hacking of body parts was not something I could do to change what my grandkids already imagined new characters and stories with. So I enjoyed the stories by Joe Dillon and Karen Young, but I wanted to hack some real thing. I was inspired by conversations about different types of hacks, like Alison Coombs’ masks. Face painting is a favorite past time in this house for grandkids. Then several people mentioned games, and Michael Buist started a community hack for his 10 sticks: Splinters. Since I couldn’t edit the original document, my version is here, a game that could be a cooperative learning discussion during debriefing about the game. I began thinking of a hack for a favorite card game, but then a Teddy Bear caught my eye.



I like how the #clmooc and this #toyhack includes this: to develop an “ethos to do things for ourselves to share, to make the community better.”

So I thought of a way to make this toy, which could travel home with families from school, into one in which parent and child learn together through talking about seasons. I made the toy a storytelling game. It could be hacked more, but I wanted to preserve the purpose: understand the seasons.

Here’s my process and plan:

I hacked the books to use as sides in the die, adding two options: 1) a chance to choose one’s favorite season and 2) a time to practice reciting the seasons in order.



The rules are simple, designed to engage young children in conversation and story about seasons:









As you can see, I stayed true to spreading compassion and to make the world better in both games. And when we teach students, we need to remember their frame of reference and honor the culture and personality that helps the child grow. Diversity makes us stronger.

So, what did I learn?

What does it mean to be a maker? Why make? Why now?

A maker creates from need and neighborhood — what is needed? We need making now to grow our world from individuals consuming to groups considering and creating solutions to group needs.
What happens when makers converge around shared interests and purposes? What opportunities might we seize? What barriers do we face?

I enjoyed all the toy hackers, movie makers, game developers, mask makers. Who knows how each of those processes may help the world. People were commenting on what worked and hacked together. I saw us in the #clmooc community finding the path that fit the person, joining in projects that felt comfortable and challenging. What is important is the coming together, seeing the possible, and trying what we could. For learners, can you see how an example shows them the task is possible, and in all our different “makes,” we demonstrated both the individual and the collective? For learners, we show opportunities and scaffold the challenge to success. The barriers are our own limitations and fears, but by coming together to support each other, we overcome these. That is the power of convergence.
How do we find and build  diverse and inspiring networks of people, resources, and places that support our making and learning?

In Twitter and Google Plus I find information, resources, support, and collaboration. I revisited my #f5f from last week (will blog about that next) and found new connections. The people of my connections are diverse in their talents, careers, and purposes, but by exposure to their ideas, I grow more of my own to bring back to my local PLC and community. I think Twitter and Google Plus offer us the true network of connections that cross and build, connect and refresh, backtrack and regroup. We form communities in Google Plus, collaborate in Google Docs and Wikis, and share in all areas. Isn’t the network amazing?

If you ask, the answers arrive. If you answer, your help is thanked. If you share, your share is rebuilt. We are building the networks ourselves, “to make the community better.”

You’re Awesome !

What an awesome assembly!

Gene Tagaban, an inspirational Native American storyteller and performer, presented our students and staff wtih an “awesome” assembly.  The students and staff loved it. He brought meaning to the word “awesome!”

Mr. Tagaban told stories to teach us many lessons. I learned that I am a storyteller, and that my story is my life, which began before my birth. It includes my ancestors and all of my life.


He also explained that I need to learn how to introduce myself. I need to not just say my name, but to thank and welcome the people to whom I am speaking. I need to show who I am by my clothes, my attitude, my tone as well as my words. This is important because it is part of my story. What kind of story do I want mine to be?

He also said that if I am respectful and kind, that I will get respect and kindness in return. “That is how the world works,” he said.

I learned these things through his stories. First, he told the story of his own introduction in his own language and then explained what it meant. From this I learned, “Respect myself; I am more than my words — I am my attitude, my clothes, my heart, my mind, my walk, my ancestors.”

Second, he explained that he was a storyteller, and that we all are storytellers of our own stories. He told his story of becoming a raven dancer, a dream that came true through the years from when he was five years old. He learned all about nature and people by traveling around in nature and in the world, and came back with his knowledge to become Raven Dancer.

Third, he told the story of Rabbit, who sang his song from his heart, and no one could take it away: not mountain lion, not bear, not coyote, and not eagle. They could not bully it out of him. We all have a story, a song from our heart. I learned I have a story, in my heart, that no one can take away.

I learned that I am awesome, and so are the people around me; I need to respect them, and respect will come back. We learned this through poetry: I am awesome; I have personal power; I have mind power; I have spirit power. I am looking’ good; I am awesome.

The most important thing I learned is to tell my story from my heart, to know that I am awesome, and that if I am respectful and kind, that I will get respect and kindness in return. “That is how the world works,” he said.  And even when bad things happen, we are like the eagle feather and can put ourselves back together. “Everything will be OK.”

I recommend this assembly to other schools, especially because of the stories and music. Sometimes you listen, but most of the time he invites you to participate in the story or song to help the audience learn “We are awesome” and that we have our own stories to share.

Our students will be adding their ideas to the class blog at: http://eagleswrite.edublogs.org We hope you enjoy our ideas and learn the lessons we gathered from our participation with Mr. Tagaban.

Enjoy our video:



Image Credit:  Awesome by Run
Thanks to Gene Tagaban for inspiring our students.
Music in Video based on Rabbit’s Song from the assembly.

Internet Safety: Four Tips if Cyberbullied

What happens if you are cyberbullied? What should you do?

Cyberbullying is when someone contacts you online or includes online content about you that is mean, threatening, or hurtful.  Always tell a trusted adult.
1. Ignore it. Don’t respond.

2. Save the evidence (text message, IM, Facebook page, etc.). Take a screenshot, if possible.
3. Tell a trusted adult: your parent, a teacher, etc.
4. If necessary, contact the administrators of the site or contact the authorities.

Our students have been learning from Netsmartz on how to be safe online. We’ve watched and discussed many videos and scenarios. Last Friday, we reviewed the main points. Then we left the classroom with partners, pads, and pens for a “Walk ‘n Talk.”  Partners walked, talked, and wrote about the issues of cyberbullying, creating scripts to share tips with other kids.

Back in the classroom, each partner pairs prepared and videoed their skits, sometimes calling their teacher (Code name Shee) in an improptu part in their skits. In one class period we reviewed tips, wrote scripts, and videoed the skits.

Enjoy our work and learn what to do if you are cyberbullied:

Link to full screen here.

Listen to the engagement. Think about the verbs, “the DOing” by students to learn and understand what to do if one is cyberbullied:

Understand the content.
List the content.
Explain the content.
Organize the content.
Share and edit the content.
Collaborate to share and edit content.
Plan, design, and produce the content.

These are essential skills of the 21st Century. The tool engaged students and allowed application and practice of the skills.

What did you learn?  What was the most important tip?
 How did we do?

Be sure to check out  Netsmartz for more information on Internet Safety.

cross posted at  Ms Edwards and Eagles Write

This is a school related site so please respect others and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or need to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. Reflect Curiosity and Wonder… Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness…

Family Friendly

Photo of Family Guitar Hero by Sheri Edwards

Photo of Family Guitar Hero by Sheri Edwards

This blog and our class blog are family friendly.

We welcome families to read and respond just as our students do. As part of our blogging challenge, teacher bloggers were asked to create a parent handout to guide families in the purposes of and the participation in our class blog.

What do families need to know?

The Class

Ms Edwards
Consider  Create  Connect  Collaborate

The Home Page and Blog

http://write.nsdeagles.org Home Page

http://whatelse.edublogs.org The Teacher Blog
http://eagleswrite.edublogs.org The Class Blog

The Purpose

Eagles Blog
Have you noticed the world has changed?
Or the changes in reading and writing?

  • We are Wandering Wordsmiths; Emerging Experts.
  • What else could we write? How else could we say it better?
  • Our Blog: a place to enhance written discourse and media citizenship among students.

Teaching and learning are social activities; today’s kids are connected in ways that no adult over twenty-five could have imagined just five years ago. Students today enjoy the connectedness of social networking; it is part of their very being. Our goal is to bring instruction into that cloud to teach the content required in ways that inspire online responsibility and ethics in this new, very public world.

What is a blog?

A log is like a journal, a place to express your ideas. A web-log is a journal on the world wide web (www), the Internet.  A blog is short for “web-log.” It’s purpose is to share ideas with others to add to an ongoing conversation about topics of interest to the “blogger.” Others then comment on that blog so they can add more to the conversation.
Why blog?
In this changed world, our students will be expected to participate online in responsible ways. Education now includes guiding students in this new read-write web. That’s right, the “internet” is now not only readable, it’s writable.

Our students learn to navigate safely and responsibly through the web by participating in blogs and wikis on topics of interest to them. They research and consider others’ ideas, create their own ideas on blogs, connect to others in comments, and collaborate to clarify and extend the conversation about their topics.

Through these connections, students apply their research and social skills to clearly write their ideas, converse with others in positive and supportive ways, and continue the conversation that adds knowledge and solutions to issues that concern them.
They create an online identity of which they can be proud citizens of this changed world.

How Can Families Participate?

Will You join us?

  • Read

The Teacher Blog
The Class Blog

  • Subscribesubscribeamail

In the left column, just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” area. You will receive an email when changes occur.

  • Read the blog’s pages for more information


  • Comment commentbox2

Comments continue the conversation. We love them!  Just click “Comments” under the title of the blog post. Please only use your first name.

Note to students:

Remember: A blog comment is your footprint… a path back to you… prepare your path wisely.

  • View Categoriescategories2

Look for your student’s name under categories to discover their posts. Just click the drop-down menu.

How will I introduce and welcome families?

First, my students will follow what they need to do to begin blogging. Expected homework is to share what they do, including the internet safety guidelines they follow.

Second, once students begin their own blogging, I will ask them to learn and explain the purpose and participation in their own words.

Third, I’ll share the handouts (see below) with families at parent conferences and as a homework task. I’ve always wanted to have an “Open House”  in our writing classroom, such that students prepare presentations to share with families any time they visit. We could schedule special “Open House Days” as well. Our regular lessons and projects would continue as the students of the attending families simply take them to their desk or computer and share the presentation of our work to them. This helps families and their schedules.

So, students:

What are you learning? What will you share? Prepare an agenda and artifacts. Let’s start our welcome to families to share our learning in writing class.

And families, What do you want to know and see? We look forward to learning your ideas as you read about ours.

The family handout:

parent blog info p1

parent info blog p2

Fire It Up!


So what does this “cloud” of social networking within which our students continuously engage demand for my lessons?

Lessons must Fire It Up!




Students live in a world of instant gratification, engaged by peer to peer technology with phones, online games and chats. Their world fills with the fun this “instancy” and engagement provides; they are constantly stimulated in ways that create more neural pathways more quickly than ever did ours.

These are the children who come to us; we must accept that we must change. “It’s up to us to adjust to those patterns and pathways,” explains Brad Fountain in Understanding Your Students’ iBrains . We cannot even envision our students’ abilities, yet we must provide for them. And from Brad’s presentation I heard how students expect relevance, instant gratification, engagement, and fun. Because their social networking and multi-tasking allows them to participate in many activities at once, making frequent choices of interest to them, their patterns of learning expect the same from us. Therefore, I devised an acronym for my new curriculum planning: Fire It Up!

I must create a Fun and Instant lesson: frequent acknowledgment (gratification). It’s Relevance stems from student interest or interactive choices. The choices, discussion, and technological aspects Engage the students. Various Integrated Tasks with choices and interaction create Ubiquitous Pathways to learn curricular content.

The “ten minute” rule is crucial — but for some students it’s ten seconds! What question can I ask or video/image to display will capture the imagination and engagement of students so they focus and forge into the learning tasks? It reminds me of the years-past recommendation in science to create a disconnect with the expected outcome as a precursor to the lesson. The “novel” engagement that nabs the mind.

Students brains are different than ours. I relearned this today. How?

First, since I engage myself in some of the networks to which my students subscribe, including Twitter , I learned about today’s DEN (Discovery Education Network) Virtual Conference. I linked from Twitter to a signup page, signed up, checked email for registration info, clicked the link, and started the conference. Amazing.

I participated in:

Raise Your Hand if You’re a Rock Star (partial)
Steve Dembo

No Mind Left Behind: Using Media to Reach Your Students
Jannita Demian and Matt Monjan

Understanding Your Students’ iBrains
Brad Fountain

From Understanding Your Students’ iBrains with Brad Fountain, I learned again that student’s brains learn differently than ours; they demand fun, instant gratification, relevance, and engagement. Therefore, I must Fire It Up! Thanks, Brad.

And students, what should WE do to Fire It Up? Let’s power up the neurons!


Photo Credits:

Neurons in the brain
Credit: Dr Jonathan Clarke. Wellcome Images

Creative Commons