#clmooc Writing Hacking Defining Week 4 Reflection #k6diglit

Writing Hacking Defining

14192_voice_elliot_friToday, I celebrate conversation, and the continuing celebrations each day at #clmooc. In the Hangouts and chats, in our posts, we continue the conversation about writing and making and hacking.

I keep thinking about the conversations about defining ‘hack.”

I think about what I do at home when I need a hack to fix something. It fixes something. It’s a positive. Maybe that’s not a hack. It’s fixes something, making it better.

So what do I do? I have read the excellent history of hacking from  Terry Elliot’s post on hacking, and it is the celebration of what is true in life: there’s good and bad.

Even so, I’m not convinced what I do in writing is destructive, nor does it need to be in order to be a hack, because there are two sides.

And I need to think of my presentation to middle school students; what do I want them to understand and consider?

So, I’m hacking a definition for hack. Well, I’m sharing how the word has evolved with my voice, and how my students will find their voice through their hacks.


Here’s my thoughts, with thanks to Deanna Mascle, Kevin Hodgson, and Terry Elliot:

I saw throughout the week this reshaping,

re-imaging of ideas–

IDENTITY Re-imagining

My favorite Hack is from Larry Hewett, an About Me project to begin the year. I’ve done something similar, but I love this. Here’s what he did, hacked slightly by me:
1. Choose three words that describe yourself.
2. Pick one song for each of your three words that represents that word.
3. Find the lyrics of the songs.
4. Lift words, phrases and entire lines from the three lyrics in order to create an original song about yourself.
5. Find an image to represent both the word and the lyrics you choose.
6. Decide how you will present “Your Song” (lyrics / images / words).

Connecting, Modifying,  and Re-imagining Meaning

Love what Amy Cody Clancy did with HyperText and more. Check out all her posts and blog.

Students connect in their writing in Google Docs through hyperlinks that link to content that explains their meaning.

Or students highlight only the key words for a poem or insights into their topic, adding hyperlinks to more information or images.

Not only could you create a “choose your own adventure”, but I think this is a great way to start or end a collaborative research project. Students find links / resources to add to the document. Then students take their focus of their first search to create what +Charlene Doland mentioned — their part of the conversation. They could create something that explains the research but adding their insights. Below the initial text then could be placed a thinglink or list of the collaborative research — with a final collaborative paragraph as a hypertext team syntheses as a summary.

Devising New Meaning

Next, Kathleen Galarza gave a great idea which I thought could inspire kids to write in their homework journals.  While listening to one of her favorite TV shows, she jotted down lines she linked. She used those to write a “one-sided phone conversation” which looks like a poem, and we infer the message from those lines.
Kids could do the same — maybe at school, they could make a poem for two voices by combining with a friend.  Could prove interesting. They will have devised new meaning from the same words. Responding to the conversation concept, Mary Morgan Ryan did continue the conversation from the same TV serious but different show to counter Kathleen’s conversation. You can see the fun, and the discussions about writing that could begin.

Devising New Meaning for New Audiences

Mary Morgan Ryan hacked her school annual report to be a poster for students in her library. Same words reapplied for different purpose and audience.

Audience and Purpose

So, in very positive ways, writing was hacked to modify or devise writing through insightful choosing of words — cutting the clutter, rearranging, or linking to make meaning more clear for different audiences and purposes.

As #clmooc organizers reflected this week:

The highly participatory nature of the cultural moment we live in demands a new kind of critical literacy. As educators we want to empower our students to become engaged complex thinkers. Meenoo Rami stated “I want my students to code, decode, make, break things. I want them to shape an argument, to engage civically, to be critical thinkers.” Perhaps hacking (as a methodology applied to writing) might help us get there.

Another excellent reflection on this comes from Kevin Hodgson [who introduces us to the Hack for Change movement] and also asks, what ran through my mind:

What concepts bubble up when you “hack writing”?

  • Agency of the writer/composer

  • Lens of the reader

  • Word choice/Image choice/Video choice

  • Ownership of content

This is what I think of while teaching and learning with my middle school students. So, again, celebrate our conversation — and choose your path.

 Connected Learning / DigLit Sunday

How was all this hacking accomplished?  Many ways– and we should celebrate what we’ve done and what we’ve learned:

First, the folks at Connected Learning Alliance created a Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration through a Google Plus Community whereby participants could network, connect on topics of interest, and openly share their creations and hacks. Participants’ interests determined collaborative projects and conversation [see above], and when issues arose, questions were asked, and peers supported each other with tips, solutions, and further collaboration. Throughout the production-oriented “hacking” week, posts included possible applications to the classroom [ academically oriented]. We were connected learners.

Besides the CLMOOC blog, Make Bank,Google Hangout, and Google Plus Community, Kim Douillard started a CLMOOC Flickr group for participants to openly share their work. Hopefully, people there will license their work as Creative Commons so others may reuse, remix, and hack their originals for further sharing and hacking. And of course, Twitter sharing and conversation [clmooc chat].

Other Tech Tools that provided opportunities to collaborate, share, present, and remix are:

Blogs [see Blog Hub ]

Visual Poetry

Google Docs

Google Forms to submit Kevin Hodson Comics and join Voxer Chat



Prezi [ above]






Various Photo Apps depending on devices, for the various Kim Douillard Photo Challenges



Technology is a tool that allows literate learners to connect and collaborate. Let’s celebrate our conversation and collaboration. If you are new, choose a tool, and join #clmooc today — just to lurk around and learn one thing new! Then celebrate one thing you learned today!  Let us know!

The Sunshine Elevens

Happy New Year !

Eloquence. Contemplation. Whenever I read the work of Terry Elliot, those words describe how I feel, and I know I’m in for a time well spent on contemplating his ideas. And now he’s tagged me in the Sunshine Elevens Meme, so I feel like so many who follow, “His is a hard act to follow.”  I appreciate the tag and accept the challenge.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
  6. Please share with me a link to your response.

Eleven Random Facts

  1. In my backyard is one of the tallest trees on our side of the river. It’s an American Plane tree, otherwise known as a sycamore. I know it is ancient, an ent from folklore, a giant guarding our community. Terry will appreciate that.
  2. And, to build imagination and wonder through folklore, our family creates our own myths from which to draw strength and imagine a better world, “What if…” We see dragons still swimming in their underworld, seen only in the rivers of our world.
  3. So my three Nanowrimo Novels are all based in both science and fantasy… imagine.
  4. I did not unschool my own kids, but I did ever-school them: I did give them the tools to be independent and critical thinkers. From the time they were small, I established wide boundaries filled with options and the freedom to create and imagine, while at the same time expecting them to learn from whoever or whatever is around them — in school or out.
  5. Two cats call our place home, and one even thinks our dog is her mom. Cats: because we are awed by tigers.
  6. Once, while attending a conference with my husband, I found myself eating breakfast next to Red Skelton [tribute, site] . Growing up with Gertrude and Heathcliff, I was honored when he offered to sit with me. He was charming, a gentle voice and kind eyes. Some of what I remember is that he wrote a love letter to his wife every day and practiced his show for four hours. Every day he wrote down something interesting, something humorous, something new, and four other things I’ve forgotten. Those were the fuel for his show. It was a blessing to have met him.
  7. I’m not an outdoors expert. I once got lost on an island in the middle of a lake. You know that rule, three points make a straight line — and follow three trees in a row? That’s what I did to find the shore again, and saw the cabins with huge bear claw marks on the outside just as the boat I had arrived in sputtered around the bend to find me.
  8. I collect rocks; there are stories in them. Grandfather Rock is the oldest storyteller. When we go on trips or visit grandkids, even the grandkids add to the collection.
  9. I can’t draw, but I like to draw.
  10. I can’t sing, but I like to sing.
  11. So even if you think you can’t, try.

Eleven Questions to Answer (your choice from the eighteen provided)

If you could remove one thing or idea from our world, what would it be and why?

I’ll stick to an education concept: standardization. While standards give us a goal, thinking that we could all be the same, or learn the same, within the same time frame is not something that is possible. We must accept the learner, the learner’s needs, and the learner’s interests for true learning to occur.

Where do you hope to be professionally in ten, twenty years and are you currently progressing toward that stage?

Professionally in ten years, I hope to be planting and tending a garden as well as creating an online forum for encouraging writers. Along with the garden, I hope to plant and tend a few books, of others and my own. I’ve already penned three drafts in the works for my own novels and a few blogs and fellow bloggers for the continuation of writing in my life.

What is one of the more significant trends in pedagogy right now and how do you foresee it progressing in the future?

Globally connected, interest driven education.

I envision a world of open communication, with pockets of community areas, resource centers, for face-to-face collaboration for local issues and learning with families and students choosing their learning paths.

Right now, platforms like Nings, blogging, Google Plus connect students for sharing and soon for collaboration. It’s a hope for a better world of understanding and acceptance, and a better education system whereby all students can be connected to learning areas that inspire them.

And in this learning resource center, Terry would be a learning concierge.

I envisioned it here.

What is a favorite quote of yours and can you please share your interpretation of it and why it is a favorite?

I’ve many favorite, but this one popped into my head now:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  ~ Henry Ford

I don’t give up. I don’t say I can’t. I keep hacking my way through until I’ve exhausted all possibilities. Because, if I think I can’t, then I won’t. But if I think I can, then I will. You’ld be right either way. I share this with my students — that what they put in their minds is exactly what their brain will do. And a sign says, “If I think I can’t, I’ll say, ‘I’ll try.'” I’m worth it. They are worth it, and they should never short-change the belief they have of themselves. And, we need to help each other succeed in our endeavors. We’re together in this world.

You are presented the opportunity to spend a full day doing whatever you want with any three people in the world. Who are the three people and what is the itinerary?

My first choice would be to spend the day in the early spring sunshine on a deck near the lake with Scott and my sons, Greg and Jake sharing stories, asking questions, and discussing the answers to life, the universe, and everything [42].

Educationally, I’d love a conversation on education reform in that same early spring sunshine on a deck near the lake with John Dewey, Haim Ginott, and Leo Buscaglia.

Is there evil in the human condition, in this world? Please explain.

I don’t think about it. I can’t put evil in my mind. I know that people can only act with the information they have, and if all they’ve been given is sadness and evil, what would we expect?

You can have any super power you want. What power and why?

I have a super power: I can learn.

Do you choose an iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, or old-school Nokia cellular phone and why?


It is not a phone; it is a communicator, and with that comes the very notion of a positive future, a positive humanity. It’s purpose was to create a user-friendly operating system, so the user chooses. And because we are all so different, its system is uniquely designed to fit differences. It allows me to choose from so many quality apps and layouts, that the tool is a communicator; it is my choice, just like I want for my students. Creativity and productivity within a connected and collaborative space based on personal passions.

What is the next item on your bucket list you aim to achieve?

There’s a hole in the bucket, Liza. I can just keep adding…

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How?

The egg, and what cracked open surprised everyone.

Children are… (complete the sentence or paragraph).

Children are resilient, and they still need care, even past their teens.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Green salad with tangerines, nuts, and balsamic dressing

Dilled Pot Roast

What is your favorite game/sport to play? When did you discover it?

Fluxx: a card game the family plays, because, like life, your plans don’t always work, but it’s still enjoyable.

I discovered it years ago in Uncles, the toy store within Aunties Bookstore. I read the directions and bought decks for each family for Christmas. We’ve been playing ever since.


Desert island playlist or music (limit 10 pieces). Books (limit 10)?


Sounds from Tuesday Evening by Scott

Cosmos by Jordan

Imagine John Lennon

Mind Games John Lennon

In My Life John Lennon

Where My Heart Will Take Me Russell Watson

Blowin In the Wind Peter, Paul, and Mary

Oh He Oh Jim Boyd

Simple Gifts Raffi

To Live is to Fly Townes Van Zandt


Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Survivor’s Guide to Your Island

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy

The Hobbit

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

5 Blank Books (I’m sure I could invent pen and ink)


What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done? The result?

What: Stood up for myself.

Result: Grief and Relief.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your life? How did it work out?

I’m a worry wart, so I don’t take risks. But my husband and I have been married for twenty-seven years. That risk seems to have worked out.

What teacher had the biggest impact on your life? How did they impact you? Does this teacher know the impact they had on you?

Teacher: Dr. Francis Kazemek, an English professor at Eastern Washington University in the 1980’s.

His seminar, student project approach is much the direction of reformers today and was his model. As an over-achiever, I dove into projects and surrounded myself with the topics, creating learning that fit what I needed to learn so I could become a better teacher. I believe he knew the affect he had on his students; we kept in touch off and on for years.

What is your proudest moment as an educator?

Whenever my students engage, and my job is truly one of facilitation, then I smile. Pride comes in daily doses for students and teachers, because teaching and learning is daily.

These amazing educators I have tagged:

Brendan Murphy

Tracy Watanabe and response

JoAnn Jacobs and response

Theresa Allen and response

 Jackie Gerstein

Laura Gilchrist

Paula Neidlinger

Scott Hazeu and response

Bart Miller

 Susan Angel

Tara Smith

To answer these questions:

  1. When did you know what you wanted to do for a career? How did you discover that?
  2. What are your top three favorite books of all time?
  3. If you could only read one blogger next year, who would it be?
  4. What advice do you have for educators today?
  5. What is on your bucket list?
  6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  7. What is your favorite quote?
  8. What song lyrics move you?
  9. If you could sit with any 5 people dead or alive around your dinner table who would you choose and why?
  10. What are your five favorite verbs?
  11. What six words sum up your philosophy [of life or of education]?

Thanks for joining the Meme Homework and whatever you can do — I’ll be delighted to learn from you!

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
  6. Please share with me a link to your response [They are sharing here].



Happy New Year !