#140WC Welcome Challenge #clmooc #etmooc

A Challenge

On November 10th, 2014 I made a commitment to myself and invited others to join — teachers, students, bloggers. The commitment? Write 140 words each day — 140 words more or less — but write — blog — everyday.  I wrote that challenge here: #140WC and continued each day since: #140WC posts.  Urbie Delgado has joined the challenge and posts regularly at Puzzling Mix.





Everyday I consider things I see, hear, read…. but they’re passing thoughts. So, why not take time each day and write. 140 words on some of these:

Do you gather ideas throughout the day?

Do you have ideas that meander through your mind?

Do you want to blog more but your topic hides?

Do you ever think, “I wish I’d written that down….?”

Then this challenge is for you!

Write 140 words each day! [or a little more or less — a thought each day!]

  • Share your ideas.
  • Share a link.
  • Share your lesson.
  • Share your reflection.
  • Share your questions.
  • Share your answers.
  • Share a tweet with your input
  • Share a blog with your insights
  • Share to carry on the conversation….

The benefit?

In a 140 words each day, your journey is formed, your ideas saved, your reflection framed.

In 140 words each day, your writing flows and grows more clearly.

In 140 words in day, your past and path is forged forward.


Will you join?  How about once a week? a month? 140 Word Count — you can do it!

Link to #140WC Badge

Join the #140WC Challenge

#ce14 #clmooc #etmooc Student Agency


How do we help students develop the insight and initiative to be life-long, productive learners contributing to a better world? How do we develop student agency?

We know that motivation comes from a desire to learn, a purpose, an authentic interest, and a belief that success is possible. We know that learning is a social activity, that involvement with others enhances our reflection and goals. We’ve come to understand that reflection and feedback in authentic tasks in which we can improve and develop before publication or presentation builds motivation and agency.

So we also know that project-based learning can form a structure that develops the critical thinking and reflection habits that help learners make choices that guide improved learning.

But sometimes  these more open venues based on passion or student interest can flop. We need to understand that each student is at a different stage in their learning journey.  Here’s a review of this idea in an old video I made for #etmooc:

ETMOOC Slice from Sheri Edwards on Vimeo.

How do we provide the structure, the connection to the learning and the people, so students develop their voice to create their agency?

In this year’s #clmooc,  the organizers developed a support team to monitor and collaborate with members as an encouragement to participation. Because a sense of belonging and a connection with other members provides the support needed to make choices, and the freedom to choose what and when to participate allowed members to grow in their learning at their pace and for their purpose. People skipped some projects, and then became deeply involved in others. Learning is personal; learning is social. But the key to all of this really is based on what Daniel Pink suggests: People need autonomy, purpose, and mastery for motivation. If we review the literature on motivation and behavior, William Glasser’s work provides a background for autonomy, purpose, and mastery. Glasser suggests that we “behave” to meet the basic needs of freedom [autonomy], belonging [purpose], power [autonomy, mastery], and fun [purpose].

One of the best explanations of student agency connected to Glasser’s work is by Jackie Gerstein: Learner Agency, Technology, and Emotional Intelligence.

To build agency and voice in the connected learners of today, freedom to choose the learning is high on the list — autonomy and purpose.  But to make the choice, learners need to feel they belong and that they have the power to master the undertaking.  And our task is to be the support team, the guides to understand where and how the learners will take  that next step.

Both #clmooc and #etmooc provided the connections, collaboration, and support for their learners.  How do we translate that into a transformed classroom for today?

#DigiLit Sunday Assessing Blogs

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question.


DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 14, 2014.

This week’s DigiLit Sunday is a follow-up to Margaret’s question last week: How do I turn this activity into data? 

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question, and that determines the data.

For some, the purpose may be writing fluency. Then assessment would be to provide feedback on the increased number and length of posts.  [ CCSS: 10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. ]

As students develop fluency, suggest organization of paragraphs — not the five-sentence paragraph, but the idea of topic and support. [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]

Next, add in conventions — sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

If fluency and foundational skills are not the focus, then consider:

  • design — the theme, layout, widgets, links, focus, invitation to participate, categories, tags [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.] 
  • content — topic, support details, vocabulary, questions, style [ CCSS: 1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. ]
  • conventions

Perhaps the focus is writing:

  • organization
  • ideas
    •  [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]
  • voice
  • word choice
  • sentence fluency
  • conventions
    • [CCSS: 5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. ]

Perhaps the focus is collaboration:

  • research
  • connect
  • share
  • collaborate
    • [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others  7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. ]
    • [CCSS Speaking and Listening 

Comprehension and Collaboration 1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.]

For a thorough review of blogging with students, see Silvia Tolisano’s work at Langwitches:

I especially like this rubric she created [click to enlarge]:

Silvia Tolisano’s Rubric

My hope is my “assessment” is a conversation with students and students with each other, so that the learning is a growth goal of which reflection inspires improvement. Therefore, an ongoing component of blogging would be a reflection by the student of the growth their blog demonstrates. If I must give score from a rubric, the important part is still the conversation, goal-setting, and reflection!

What are your thoughts about assessing blogs and gathering data?

#clmooc #light #constellation collaboration


Chief Astronaut: Kevin Hodgson

In Week 5, our challenge was light. How do we make and write with light? Under the inspiration of Kevin Hodgson , we were invited to remake the night sky with our own constellations and stories. How? He created directions, and let our imaginations take us to find in our #clmooc sky, the stars and stories hidden inside our own worlds. Click on the Star Sky Chart above to enjoy the constellation stories created by us.

Listen to the sounds of our space, courtesy of Kevin: G+Post. Kevin’s Post. Sound Cloud Audio.

Remember who we are.

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden   …..   Joni Mitchell  on Rock.Genius

I think this is my favorite Make of all the #clmooc cycles. It brought people together with different tools. Problems arose and people hacked the solutions. For example, the story length was an issue, so members wrote blog posts of their stories. We were challenged, we were interested, we helped each other, and we created a sky worth viewing.  It brought us to places in memories and imaginings that we shared, like Jennifer Sharpe’s snowstorm and my Three Brown Dots. Thanks you Kevin.!

CLMOOC StarChart Complete


#clmooc #clpoettag Poetry Tag Part 2



Poetry Tag Part 2

Poetry Tag June 30 +

For #clmooc Week 3, we played and created and hacked games. As a Language Arts teacher, I wanted a game that could fit our curriculum and spice it up with technology [or not]. I wanted a game for students to see themselves as wordsmiths — to play with words and sense and see the wonder in the ordinary.

So I introduced Poetry Tag Part 1. Several people took up the tag, and the game began. In the image above, you see some of our Notegraphy poems, and the Google Plus, Storybuilder, and Notegraphy poems can all be found Storified: Poetry Tag.

 Poetry Tag Part 1 provides the background and rules, but basically the idea is to document the snippets of life in our everyday moments so they are recorded for future writing drafts. In the tag game, if you see the #clpoettag, add a new poem of your own sometime that day. If possible, spin off the ideas and words of that poem, even hack some lines — you’ll see this in the samples in the Storified: Poetry Tag and Notegraphy poems.

Michelle Stein’s poem shows how we are creating a movement, and this expressed our engagement. Kevin Hodgson created a story from our poems with Storybuilder and on Wednesday, so did I: Movement: Shift. As you can see, we have created, shared, remixed, and hacked through several apps our play with words that demonstrates a shift in writing paradigms, as Mallory McNeal’s poem expresses.

Weshifttheparadigm... (1)

Now what?

Poetry Tag Part 2: The Classroom

As stated, the rules are simple: the idea is to document the snippets of life in our everyday moments so they are recorded for future writing drafts. In the tag game, if you see the #clpoettag, add a new poem of your own sometime that day. If possible, spin off the ideas and words of that poem, even hack some lines to use in your poem or create a story. Just recognize  the author.

How do we do this?

Use any app [ Notegraphy, Google Apps, Keynote, Twitter, Visual Poetry, Tackks.com/education, Kidbog, Edublogs, etc. ] to create your poem. The poem may include images.

Share it out with #clpoettag which means Connected Learning Poet Tag. Share it in the community used by your classroom. That could be your Kidblogs, Edublogs, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, etc. with a link to your poem.

Here’s some options creating and posting and tagging:

  • Creating: We used Notegraphy quite a bit. That’s nice because the website will gather those tags together for sharing and discussing.
  • Posting: Post in Notegraphy, Instagram, Kidbogs, Edublogs, Google Apps, or create a tackks.com/education stream [works in Edmodo] whereby anyone can post.
  • Tagging Sue Waters suggested using classroom Twitter accounts to share out the poems.
  • Blog Tag: Write and post a poem on your blog, then tag someone with a comment on their blog to create a poem hacking yours and adding to it. That person wold comment back with a link to their poem.

Want to engage students in word play? in a game of wordplay? to become wordsmiths?  As Donald Murray says, “Writing is hard fun.” And this would be fun.

What do you suggest?  What hacks to the rules or process would you suggest?  Thank you !

#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.