Fits & Fugues

Education can be so much more.


For the past two years, I’ve watched as educators far and wide visited SLA for both a conference and conversations at EduCon. This year I’m attending EduCon 2.2, the third iteration. I know, I know, it took me a few minutes to figure out they started with 2.0, but after that it all clicked. I’m better now.

Anyway, I did what many dutiful conference goers do, I started planning out the sessions conversations I wanted to participate in and I came down with a bad case of decision paralysis. See, even though I know the sessions will be archived and I can access them when I want/need to, the reality is I may not get to the ones I don’t attend and many of them can fit with the pieces of my own professional/personal/educational Erector set. (That’s probably not a very good 21st century-related metaphor especially since no one actually makes “Erector” sets any more, but hey, it works for me and this is my blog ;-)

Almost every scheduled conversation at EduCon has something that intersects with my slice of the education biz. So…I have to choose while I’m here and I’ve come to the conclusion that while I (we) love having choices, I (we) hate having to choose. It would just be much easier if someone would just give me the formula and I could just plug it in and be off and running. Deep down, I know that cannot and will not work, never has -really, never. That, however, hasn’t stopped educrats from trying their own formulas and continuing to propose new ones for us all. (No, there won’t be any hyperlinks there, all you have to do is pick up or logon to any current educational publication and see the edu-mandates du jour.)

(Like Bud said), EduCon is not about formulas or copying something, but (like Chris said), it’s about the exchange of ideas and the integration of them into my sphere of service.

So, I have some things that are heating up and are in need of some serious exchange of ideas. Those will be where my conversations start, and, definitely not, where they’ll end.


January 28, 2010 Posted by | Education, Technology | , , , , , | 1 Comment

National Poetry Month 2009 4.6 The Far Mountains

Written in response to Bud’s prompt 6: Juxtaposition

 The Far Mountains

A mantle white has freshly fallen on the far mountains,
     But through the dirty window
     Crowd grimy cars on the pavement
A crisp curtain of blue crests the peaks,
     And the highway’s rumbling trucks
     Fling their blackened mist
High and low the horizon hops in a pulse line,
     Yet the angular rooftops
     Creep relentlessly across the plain
Situated in marvelous splendor the scene unfolds,
     For the straight concrete barriers
     Feign creation in mocking assembly
Toward the skies the summits soar,
     So progress itself is even outreached
     Revealing feeble hubris

April 7, 2009 Posted by | poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

National Poetry Month 2009 4.4 Bottles

This poem, while inspired through the  photo prompt, stands well alone and is better with it. In response to Bud’s prompt for today, I thought I would experiment with structure, form, and meaning even more.

As an English teacher I sometimes find it annoying when writers seemingly leave us in the dark, grasping to find the light they may have only seen. This feels particulary true with poetry and often shows up in the popular attitudes that poetry is inaccessible only to a few learned so as to not be understood,  or that it is pedantic and trite  warranting no further intellectual investment. As a a result, poetry has lost its place among everyday people and I find that very disturbing on so many levels.

Anyway, I digress. In the poem below, I have deliberately played with the structure intending each though to be encapsulated in the three lines in the 1-2-3 form. That form has multiple meanings for me (and I hope for the reader): person-other-whole; you-me-us; creator-created-creation; and, well, you get the point. Additionally, the poem stands as a whole when read traditionally left to right, but each column is intended to be a complete poem in itself representing another perspective or dimension of the idea. The last phrase ends two of the four poems and can end the first and second column poem as well.

I didn’t intend to write it like this from the begining, but after the 6th line, I really didn’t have a choice. I hope you enjoy it.


Photo Credit: gierszewski via Bud Hunt

Photo Credit: gierszewski via Bud Hunt

     With intention
            Filled with purpose
     Life flavors 
            Our experience splashes
     In moments
             Of human hues
     For us
            Revealed by others
     Fleeting feelings
            And subtle shades
     Unique contrasts
            Illuminated in prisms
     To be
            Filled with light
     Wholly made
            As is intended

April 4, 2009 Posted by | poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

National Poetry Month 2009 4.3 No Time

Bud’s Prompt 3 led me to compose this one. If I had more time, I’d make it better ;-D If you want to make it better, feel free and count that as your National Poetry Month exercise for the day.

Without time for a poem
Our minds will stop growin’
The rub, while not right,
Is that even to write
Doesn’t stop time a goin’

April 3, 2009 Posted by | poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

National Poetry Month 2009 4.2 A Book

In response to Bud’s prompt 1

A Book

A book
Full of words
Line by line
The story revealed

A book
Pages numbered
Turn by turn
The story told

A book
Letter by letter
The story crafted

The page
Contains its lines

The lines
Contain their words

The words
Without their links
Before and aft

Each word hangs on the next
As each breath mists into another
Each grows
As the days grow to weeks
And the weeks to months
And the months to years
And the years
A lifetime

The letter second
The word minute
The sentence day
The page month
The chapter year
The book lifetime

Authored artfully
Made meticulously
Crafted carefully
Composed consciously

As randomness contradicts purpose
So does meaninglessness life

The chapter complete
In its number
Fails the book
In its sole telling

The sentence powerful
In its wholeness
Fails the story
In its only completeness

The word essential
In its purpose
Fails the sentence
In its isolation

The letter necessary
In its formation
Fails the word
In its scrutiny

The letter makes the word
The word makes the sentence
The sentence the page
The page the chapter
The chapter the story

To disentangle a sentence from a book
May reveal a morsel
The sentence hangs in the air
But a brief moment
Revealing itself
Hinting at its purpose
In the grand design

But it falls
Lifeless as a petal plucked

Its purpose lost in the extrication and isolation
Pointless parsing
The whole lost
On one

April 2, 2009 Posted by | poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

NECC Days 2 and 3

The past two days at NECChave been full of great learning and excellent experiences. I received a tweet asking our favorite session. I was having trouble deciding on just one, so I responded with several sessions. Most of the sessions have had something to offer, but Chris Lehmann’s School 2.0: Combining Progressive Pedagogy and 21st-Century Tools stood out.

In this packed session (notes below), Chris gave us his take on education first and then took us, as a group, the process of developing an UBD lesson. Along the way he masterfully facilitated the development, asking refining and clarifying questions, redirecting as needed. I could almost put myself into his school and see how he works with his staff through this process. really, really good stuff. I think I want to work at the SLA.

Although they appear below, they bear repeating when considering our approach to education, leadership, and related technologies “Tools don’t teach, but they change the way we teach. AND It’s not about the tool; it’s about the teaching.”

That’s the truth.

One of the other benefits of the session and also the conference is that I got to meet several of the authors of the blogs I read including Wes FryerWill Richardson, Karl Fisch, Bud Hunt, Stephanie Sandifer, Chris Lehmann, and Ewan McIntosh. For all of our online interactions, it’s very nice to shake hands and talk with people face to face.

By the way, before Chris Lehmann’s session ended, Ewan McIntosh had already posted about the session. When Dean Shareski asked how he could post before the session was over, Ewan tweeted in response “McIntosh always posts before the session’s done. I’m tomorrow’s NECC today ;-)” Good humor.

Chris Lehmann’s Session Notes

In our hurry to learn “What’s new,” we can’t lose sight of “What’s best?” Examine using the new tools in a school-wide, constructivist manner.  Recommended by ISTE’s SIGTC



·         We work best and learn best when it matters to us

·         Create caring institutions

o    Who the direct and indirect objects of our sentences are

§  We teach kids first, subjects second

·         It’s not about us

·         It has to be inquiry driven

·         It has to matter

·         It needs to be metacognitive

·         Technology infused

o    Ubiquitous, necessary, and individual

·         It has to be driven by understanding

·         How do we get there?

·         Pedagogy matters a lot

o    (it matters for everything)

·         Progressive teaching

o    Using 21st Century Tools

·         How to prevent Technology Overload

o    What’s good is a better question than what’s new

§  The best one is the one we decide to use

·         5 things for kids

o    Research

o    Collaborate

o    Create

o    Network

o    Present

·         A Convenient and Reasonably False Taxonomy

o    Tools for each

·         Tools don’t teach, but they change the way we teach

·         What are your goals and what tools get you there?

o    It’s not about the tool; it’s about the teaching

·         Understanding by Design

o    How much more could kids learn if they didn’t have to spend all this time figuring out the adults

§  Transparent Learning

o    Step 1: Desired Results

§  What transfer goals and content goals will be met?

§  What should students come away understanding?

§  What essential questions will students explore and address?

§  What knowledge & skills [content] will students leave with?

o    Step 2: Assessment Evidence

§  How do we authentically assess?

§  What performances and products will reveal evidence of understanding?

§  What other evidence will be collected to reflect other Desired Results?

§  (the schools we need) Tests and quizzes are dipsticks to see if kid get the skills

§  (Authentic assessment is not just an end game)

o    Step 3: The Learning Plan

§  What activities, experiences, and lessons will lead to achievement of the desired results and success at the assessments?


July 2, 2008 Posted by | Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment