Democratizing Composition

Broadening our definition of what's possible in school

The methods behind our #educon madness

by Chad Sansing

Hack jam buffet

Hack jam buffet

In planning and facilitating the EduCon 2.5 hack jam and flying schools sessions, I got to work with amazing teachers and learners from the National Writing Project (NWP) and Mozilla networks. Science Leadership Academy (SLA) English teacher Meenoo Rami and I hosted our third NWP- and SLA-sponsored hack jam together. Then I teamed up with Christina Cantrill, Paul Oh, Laura Hilliger, and Chris Lawrence for a digitally combined Webmaker/future of schools session. While the participants in each conversation deserve the most credit for jumping into play as a pathway for transforming professional practice, the aforementioned facilitators helped scaffold dynamic settings for learning during our time together which felt both entirely awesome and all too short.

In response to both on-site and online feedback, I wanted to share some notes on practice before too much time goes by.

Hack jam materials

We mixed and matched materials generously provided by the NWP and materials from my own “hacktivity kit” (a term borrowed from Laura and the Webmaker learning community). These materials included:

  • Colored tape.
  • Correction tape.
  • Craft sticks.
  • Dice.
  • Figures/playing pieces (such as Lego people, game people, table-top miniatures).
  • Foam craft stickers.
  • Food (important to bring for events that do not provide snacks/meals).
  • Game boards (1 for every 6 anticipated participants).
  • Game pieces (buildings, cards, counters, money, tokens).
  • Markers (forgot these for EduCon 2.5).
  • Pipe-cleaners.
  • Play dough.
  • Pom-poms.
  • Sticky notes.
Beware the ice shark

Beware the ice shark

Hack jam principles

These are some general principles for running a hack jam.

  • Be flexible with the plan.
  • Break bread together.
  • Bring fun stuff.
  • Strive to represent diversity in the figures you bring.
  • Start with the material, not the philosophical or digital.
  • Build metaphors from the material work (re-programming a board-game –> website –> school –> society).
  • Hack something rules-based, but not sacred, that your particular participants share in their common cultural memory.
  • Hack something low stakes – like a board game – so participants can name and own the high stakes environments (like school) that they want to go forth and hack.
  • Ask if you can help, but don’t jump in or offer unsolicited ideas.
  • Watch for, record, and learn from participants’ emergent and unexpected behaviors.
  • Put the conversation in participants’ hands.
  • Intervene in the conversation only to ensure that folks waiting a long time to speak can be heard.
  • Keep questions general – like, “What did that feel like?”, or, “How did that challenge, change, or reinforce your idea of X?”
  • Give your audience the time and trust to answer all the questions you want to ask, but don’t ask them – participants will get there.
  • Learn from each instance you run – streamline your participation until you almost disappear from the experience.
  • Mix intuition and analysis into your planning. Do what you bet will work, but reflect afterwards about what could be changed, added, or struck for next time.
  • End with making something that participants can name and understand as an extension of the material task (hacking or remixing a website as a metaphor for hacking a board-game as a metaphor for hacking their own practices of teaching composition).
  • Invite folks to take something with them that they made from the hack jam as a reminder of their agency, time together, and the possibility of making a gift culture from a commercial product like the board-game.
  • Remind participants that they have full agency in running their own hack jams, as well.




Notes from the future

Many of the hack jam principles applied to planning the flying schools session, as well. That session was primarily a design sprint towards imagining and enacting needs-fulfilling schools of the near- or far-future.

I expected people in this workshop to create fictions, but instead all four projects (two individual and two group) took our future-focused prewriting and used it to begin projects to revitalize schools right now.

That was probably the whole point of the session, even though I didn’t see it during planning.

You can find an example of one group’s work with the Popcorn video remix tool here.

The design sprint we did in our room (borrowed from Lime Design) went like this:

  1. 5 minutes – Using sticky notes, write down the serious or playful hopes you have for the future of schools.
  2. 5 minutes – Using sticky notes, write down the serious or playful fears you have for the future of schools.
  3. 5 minutes – Pick any five of your own notes and turn them inside out so that any hopes become fears and any fears become hopes. For example, if you feared diseased rats in a dark cafeteria, maybe the rats could be infected with genetic markers that gave them iridescent fur under UV lights and they could be trained to run around in beautiful patters for folks to watch during lunch.
  4. 5 minutes – Swap meet! Walk around the room and pick any five (or more) sticky notes that speak to you.
  5. 5 minutes – Remix those notes into a pitch for your project.
  6. 5-10 minutes – Share your pitch with the group and listen to others. Take on your own project or join an affinity group around another project that speaks to you. Then go to work!
Generating ideas

Generating ideas

Picking favorites

Picking favorites

Looking ahead

I think of workshops like these as opportunities to learn about teaching from the participants. I hope you will try to run a few events like these yourself. Certainly, the Mozilla Webmaker community is ready to help – it hosts an event planner and support match-maker for work like this, and I look forward to this summer’s code parties.

I always try to remember that beginning with the familiar and material helps democratize hacking and remix. I want to let participants help one another toward broader philosophical (we can hack school!) and technical (I can make a webpage!) understandings.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to make your practice and workshops part of a gift culture of teaching and learning. Positive externalities – changes for good in your work and participants’ work – will arise naturally out of time spent together without incentive or coercion.

Mostly, I want to be of service to you in planning your own events like these – if they speak to you – and in helping you sustain the projects that come out of them.

We can share resources, conference, compose, or otherwise play around with these ideas together.

Just let me know how to help!


What we found today: Thursday, January 10th, 2013

by Chad Sansing

Micro recreativa by faseextra

Micro recreativa by faseextra

What we found lately: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

by Chad Sansing

“Meow Face” by Schmarty

Building readiness

by Chad Sansing

Dissident students

Kids have to own learning. To hold on to it, to connect it, to love it and launch from it – they do. Learning without love isn’t learning; it’s production. It’s not freedom; it’s indenture. It’s not an awakening; it’s a sedation.

I have this kid. He’s wicked smart. Kind to his friends. Can be a little sharp otherwise. Inventive. Gifted in all sorts of ways. When I start proposing project ideas, he interrupts to improve them. He knows more about making and applied materials science than I ever will. He categorically denies being a reader. He isn’t confident in his writing, but he is attempting more and more of it and accepting more and more help with it this year than in years past.

I am confident he will make it with our without college. As often as we find common ground – and as much as we value our work together in different ways – I have the distinct feeling that he has prioritized things in his life and school, in general, doesn’t top the list. Maybe in assessing his own reading and writing habits against whatever he’s internalized about school – including college – he’s determined that there isn’t a place for him or that all the reading and writing involved – while (painfully, perhaps) doable – isn’t worth his time in the same way his other stuff is worth his time.

I experience ambivalence here. He does work outside of school that I can’t do. His ideas and inquiries don’t fit into what we teach or how we teach it as a county, commonwealth, and country. I’m not sure what to think, especially given how problematic higher education seems to me at present – how culpable it is in producing the K-12 status quo it derides in its “these-kids-can’t” codespeak.

However, I know this: he is more ready to succeed in a life of his choosing than I ever was with all my academic fiddle-faddle (and how I did love it!). I’m just not sure that we, college, or old-economy careers can see it, and that’s a shame. If we could see it – or if we could act nimbly on seeing it – then as a system we could develop more public schools that matter to kids like my student – and, in fact, to all kids.

Anyway, here is the latest piece of evidence that has me convinced we are misappropriating our time and our kids’ time whenever we focus on solely print-based assessment (and related curricula and instruction) in our atomized content classrooms.

MC Cabinet Desktop 1

MC Cabinet Desktop 2

MC Cabinet Guts 2

MC Cabinet Guts 1

This kid is building a fully-functional Minecraft arcade cabinet/controller using a school laptop, cardboard, an orphaned Wacom tablet, a MaKey MaKey board, tape, and tin foil. He’s practicing industrial design for a peripheral for one of the world’s most popular games. He has agreed to write out his process and publish it when he’s finished. It would not be difficult to move from this to wiring an Arduino or other processing board between his computer and controller with batteries, wires, resistors, and all the math and spatial reasoning necessary to let the project stand alone and apart from the MaKey MaKey board.

This kid is building life readiness in a new economy by remixing a wildly popular commercial game with handcrafted recycled cardboard and material computing. He’s demonstrating a set of skills – as a precursor and compliment to authentic writing – that we don’t recognize as part of our curricula.

How are we building our career’s readiness to recognize what he’s doing and to make a space for it in our schools and practice? How can we build our own capacities to see and help students articulate the opportunities for learning that suffuse games, inquiry play, and projects? Setting the system aside, can we protect time for work like this in our classrooms for 20 minutes a week? A day? What can we do this year to help our kids understand that there is a place for all of them in the work that we do together?

What we’ve been making: a digital composition workshop

by Chad Sansing

Run, Sandwich, Run! cabinet, rear view

It’s been a while since I posted with any frequency here, but I’d like to get back into the swing of things in the New Year. Travel in November put a big dent in my blogging schedule, but I am super happy in the classroom this year and I want to share what we’re doing these days in project-based learning class (PBL).

Okay, so a while back we started web portfolios to house our new media work. There are many ways to begin coding in HTML, the language of the web, but I chose to sit with kids and work through raw coding our first pages and projects as a way to build community, leverage students’ abilities to help one another, and make sure that we understood each element we included in our pages.

To wit, our first task was a counterintuitive one – make a blank webpage. I told kids that they would know if it was working if nothing showed up in the browser. We sat together and used Text Edit to write index.htm files. We learned how to size and tab between two windows at once – between Text Edit and Chrome, in our case. We learned lots of shortcuts that kids did not know before hand – command + S to save; command + R to reload a webpage in a browser; command + tab to move between open applications.

Here’s an example of our first coding exercise:

Blank webpage.

Writing this page together was an apprehensive process for some students, but with others learning quickly and ready to help, every student finished the page. I actually treasure a lot of the anxiety we voiced – “this is too hard,” “I can’t do this,” – because know it’s so clear to me and to the kids who began this way that they can do this and that they are successful novice coders. As we move into new projects – like programming with Scratch – it’s very useful to refer back to how we’ve grown as web-authors and to remind ourselves that we are doing now even more than we thought we could not do then.

Next, we worked on the ds106 album cover project. We worked on this one together in tandem with the development of visual.htm pages we could use to house visual design work, reflections on that work, and a link back to our index page. We also started unordered lists on our index pages to link to our project pages.

I worked on this assignment alongside my students. As the National Writing Project (NWP) holds that we should write with our students in writing workshop classrooms, I think that we should build digital composition and maker workshop classrooms in which we design, iterate, compose, and publish with our students.

It’s time, in my mind, to shift the teaching profession in a new direction. We should no longer act as composer-conductors demanding a performance from our captive symphony of students (with all their delightful discordance). We should instead consider ourselves musicians improvising learning alongside other musicians – our students. What we might consider mistakes in our symphonies become opportunities in jam sessions wherein all of us feel free to switch roles and instruments and levels of participation to keep the music of learning moving ahead into new, creative territory, and out of the limited registers of the canon. (I’m sure this is a well worn metaphor – I thank past masters for letting me riff on it here.)

Back to class. (D’oh!)

We worked the album cover project together as we worked our first web page. I wanted to see how the work unfolded. I asked kids to make 3-5 covers. Some made more. We wound up learning how to cut and paste, how to download files and organize them in folders for websites, how to take and use screenshots, and how to edit images in, of all things, PowerPoint. We also learned how to embed images in webpages, as well as how to tag paragraphs and link to sites referenced in our reflections.

The unit plan was, essentially, the ds106 page. I posted widely requested code on the board, projected my own code as I worked, helped students, watched students help other students, and passed out a ton of sticky notes with snippets of code that different kids needed at different times.

At the end of the unit, I handed out our first set of reflection questions, which has served as a model for closure on subsequent units.

Album cover reflection.

At this point maybe I should say that we spent some time on design vocabulary (and making machines that threw things at our neighboring class) at the start of the year. The purpose of the course is to help kids see how they can bring design thinking and new media into their other classes as negotiating tactics for co-panning learning with all teachers. We’re not quite there yet, but while this semester is all about acquiring knowledge and skills, next semester is all about self-directed work in support of content area classes.

Onward. (Better.)

We stuck with visual design for another assignment – one also borrowed from ds106 -, the minimalist poster project. I asked kids to make 3-5 minimalist pop culture posters using only the essential shapes and colors of a thing to communicate about it. Several students make more posters. Some struggled – there was an interesting split between detail-oriented kids who felt like minimalism was an exciting new way to think and detail-oriented kids who hated killing their darling details. I don’t think we teachers get to discover, unpack, or incorporate those discoveries into our teaching when we rush through a traditional pacing guide or stick with a monoculture of printed text. For example, kids who struggle to elaborate in one medium (like writing) sometimes love to elaborate in another medium (like visual design or multi-layered sound editing). The judgments we make of kids’ preferences based only on printed text work is actually pretty hobbling to our profession and to kids’ ideas of themselves as learners.

We worked this project together, again, with code and mentor texts posted, handed out, and projected as needed. We reflected using questions similar to those we used for the album-cover project.

Many students did learn to download and install image editing software like the Acorn trial or PaintBrush for Mac OSX. Not only did students figure out how to download applications, but they found them, installed them, dragged short cuts to their docks, and then learned the tools themselves. For us, resourcing is another form of improvisation. Some kids also messed around with our Wacom Bamboo tablet.

Here are our minimalist poster reflection questions:

Minimalist Poster Reflection.

Here is an example of a student’s completed visual page and code (we’re developing our portfolios offline until they’ve shaped up more fully with content by spring time):

An example of a student’s visual page.

An example of a student’s visual page code.

Excelsior! (Word.)

After our minimalist posters, we moved from visual design to sound design. Using the ds106 “Sound Effects Story” assignment. (A developing themes: middle schoolers can pull of critical and creative work through and inspired by new media that involves all the basics of reading and writing.)

Going into this project, I felt that we had worked together enough to develop the kind of common vocabulary and design process (journal our designs, build our drafts, revise based on teacher and peer feedback) that would allow me to provide written instructions and models for kids to follow individually as they desired. In introducing the written guidelines for this project, I reminded kids that they could work at our central table with me or at their work stations as they desired and felt ready to do so. Nothing in how we worked together had to change; the written instructions were just a kind of pre-packaged work flow for kids confident with code and new media who wanted to try working off the guidelines at a different pace than the one at the table, which was governed in part by me and in part by the needs of students who liked working there.

Through this sound design unit we learned to find and download free and open sound effects, as well as how to edit them together in GarageBand. We built our audio.htm pages, linked back and forth to our index pages, and figured out how to export .mp3 files from GarageBand and embed them in webpages displayed in Chrome.

(An aside: our workstations are make of recycled cardboard storage and furniture built off of the surfaces of other furniture in the room. My favorite looks like a graffiti robot tower thing.)

Here is the packet we used to package the unit:

Sound story guidelines.

Half way through the project – near Halloween showcased our scary stories through an in-school open house for other classes. Each content class meeting during our class time stopped by and listened to each PBL student’s scary story; it was a cool, organic, community-building morning.

Here is an example of a student’s page and code:

An example of a student’s audio page.

An example of a student’s audio page code.

Part the nexteth! (Huzzah!)

Now we’re working on an arcade project that I threw together while inspired by Cain’s Arcade and the cardboard arcade at #MozFest.

The plan is to write gonzo Written By a Kid*-inspired narratives in our journals and then to design games from those narratives. We’re going to build the games in Scratch, use key commands that are compatible with MaKey MaKey boards, and then engineer cardboard arcade cabinets – complete with controls – wired with copper tape and tinfoil that will house our computers and our MaKey Makeys. Somewhere along the way to an arcade open-house for the whole school, we’ll develop art for our cabinets, as well. The alternative assignment is to make an arcade cabinet including a MaKey MaKey to run Minecraft.

Here are the project guidelines (games.htm coding and reflection questions forthcoming):

Arcade project guidelines

Here’s a picture of what I have in mind:

Run, Sandwich, Run! arcade cabinet

Here’s a student Minecraft cabinet in the works (with an old Wacom tablet integrated as a track pad):

Minecraft cabinet in-progress

Eventually, we’ll also upload our games to the Scratch site.

Kids get it. They can do this. They become accustomed to success in web-authoring and new media artistry.

This work feels authentic. It works for a high percentage of kids – stuff is getting done. It works. It combines creative and critical habits of mind, learning, and practice. It’s the closest I think we – all of my students ever and I – have ever gotten as an entire class to “an ethic of excellence.” It’s not perfect, but it’s a compelling prototype of how class and school can be. And it mostly seems playful, whimsical, wondrous, and delightful.

It can be done in a public school – maybe not just like this, but over time, it can be done in any number of ways. We are capable of the digital composition workshop – even one including cardboard.

If we can help you try out some of the ideas and activities described in this post – or develop a digital composition workshop or class -, let me know.

Likewise, if you’d like to support this work or study it in a public school setting, let me know. The more attention, collaboration, and material support we get for this work, the more of it we can do here at school and the more time we can dedicate to sharing it with you.

*Just for you, our favorite episode of Written By a Kid.

What we built today: student workspace update

by Chad Sansing

The calico desk

The calico desk

A few weeks back, we had parent-teacher conference night. We spent several days refining our workspaces beforehand to get the room in order. While I imagine, hope, and plan to make time for the continued development of these spaces, I thought I would share out several of them as they are now.

From the first week of the year, we’ve been working to build our ideal workspaces with whatever storage and decoration we need to feel safe, at home, and energized in the classroom. We started with design sketches in our journals; then we began building with cardboard, class supplies, and anything else we wanted to bring from home. We start each day together around our main table, but there’s time nearly every day to work at our stations if we so choose.

Typically, 2-3 students split a larger workstation, 1 student from each “traditional” class period I have in my day.

Here are some of our more thoroughly executed and further-along designs.

The anarchist arch and postcards on a wire

The anarchist arch and postcards on a wire

The skate corner

The skate corner

Storage units of the world unite

Storage units of the world unite

Airbrush tower

Airbrush tower

The skydiver upon a McGuffin

The skydiver upon a McGuffin

A million things change from year to year, so I can only say this anecdotally, but I think that our time together at the main table is less fraught and that kids worry less about seats and working “alone” or “with a partner” than they did in years past because they know not only that they each have a home in the room, but also that they built their homes themselves. They have helped themselves meet their need to belong in what I hope is our needs-fulfilling classroom.

What we compose: a National Day of Writing #whatiwrite post

by Chad Sansing

Composing at CPCS

Composing at CPCS

For #whatiwrite, I asked students in my language arts classes to tell me about what they like to write, make, build, design, or otherwise compose.

Here’s what we had to say:

  • “I like to write about pig-men from Minecraft riding skateboards. You should ice up my book. It’s pretty nice. It’s about twenty bucks.”
  • “I like to write about action.”
  • “I like to build things with moving parts from Legos.”
  • “I like to make art, like sculpture and other stuff.”
  • “I like to write fictional stories.”
  • “I like to write any kind of story. I’m writing a book. It’s about a girl who gets stranded on an island. She’s going to England. Her boat crashes. Everyone else makes it away but her. She has to survive with the stuff in her backpack. It’s about her learning everything, really – to appreciate what she has.”
  • “I like to write poems, like haiku.”
  • “I’m currently working the second edition of my ‘zine based on my reading of Communist Horizons.”
  • “I’m writing a book. It’s a mystery story. It’s about these kids. Strange things are happening. They see them in the newspaper. Their dad is a police officer. They try to help without the dad knowing. They help with their dog who is a K9 dog.”
  • “I like to tell stories in class.”
  • “I like to write cartoons about a fictional bug character who goes on a journey to feed a potato to avenge his parents’ death.”
  • “I like making stuff in Minecraft – like a clock.”
  • “I like to write poems like haikus and limericks. They’re fun.”
  • “I like to make stencil art.”
  • “I like to draw monsters and human anatomy.”
  • “I like composing music. I play a lot of instruments like the flute, ukelele, guitar, piano, drums, saxophone, piccolo, trumpet, recorder, clarinet, oboe, bells, and violin cello.”
  • “I like to build workspaces. I like to include my favorite books and pictures of art, family, and friends.”
  • “I like to draw random stuff, like characters. I am designing a clone named 7 for a web comic.”

I’m really happy to be surrounded by these writers and makers and I appreciate how their answers speak to both the comfort and challenge of creating.

What we found today: Friday, September 21st, 2012

by Chad Sansing

Light Painting with the Kids by Ms. Phoenix

Light Painting with the Kids by Ms. Phoenix

  • “The Art of Web Design” from PBS’s Off Book (found via BoingBoing. This video covers the history of the web, the basics of design, the role of user research in design, and responsive design for different computing devices. I’ll share at least part of this with my kids – a great real-world example of a web resource talking about the stuff (HTML5, CSS, javascript, grids) we talk about in class. It’s funny to see 90s-era code with all those tables (rather than CSS) organizing content for presentation. I think I have a few kids who are almost 90s-era web designers after 4 weeks or so of web-authoring. Do we go after Flash next or embrace the canvas element of HTML5?

  • Reading “Mentoring Girls to Make: Lessons from Techbridge” on Makerspace. The post prompts a great question: are we thinking of including girls when we use hands-on activities as differentiation, projects, or student choices? (Or, for that matter, in games-based learning?) Also: let’s get tinkering experience in schools, not just outside them.

  • From the Wired Design blog, “7 Scholastic DIY Projects to Customize Your Study Space” (not that Scholastic, I don’t think). I hope some of these inspire my kids to add to their nascent workspaces in class. I’m thinking rustic/custom chalkboard might make for a great design challenge.

  • I’m pretty sure I would use the Replicator 2 to make rings set with tiny Replicator 2 models that we could call our presciouses. In working through the image on our computers this year, I’ve found some funky 3D design programs that seem aimed for elementary school; anyone using 3D printers in middle school with more real-world applications like 123D Catch for student visualizations and 3D composition/design work?

  • Finally, (thanks to Wired’s GeekDad blog) check out KIDS Vision, a “a colorful compilation of the ideas […] collected from children over time about the future of technology” as compiled by folks at Latitude who believe “young people shouldn’t be merely passive recipients of media and technology […] they should be active participants in imagining and creating the future of the Web.” There are are several resources in the sidebar, including webinar archives and infographics regarding learning from kids’ visions of the future. I’ll definitely be spending some time here, as well as on Latitutde’s other research projects.

What we found today: Monday, September 17th, 2012

by Chad Sansing

HAL 8bits by  armincifuentes

HAL 8bits by armincifuentes

  • The Wired Design blog covers Make It So, a book about the influence of science fiction on contemporary design. While I’m struck – kind of sadly – by how many examples criss-cross militaristic contexts, I’m interested in the tension between the familiar and the strange in both sci-fi and design. Regardless, it’s worth asking kids to visualize what they’re reading sand writing in science-fiction and dystopian lit, not only to check for understanding, but to see how tone, mood, and perspective get translated from words into artifacts.

  • Enjoying Andrew Carle’s thinking on middle-school maker spaces here. Pinball, stickers, games, food, and MaKey Makey boards FTW. I think Andrew is spot on in his characterization of a visible maker space as a driver for culture change in a school. Maybe I can get some windows put into my walls.

  • Digging around Stanford’s Epicenter, a hub for “unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of undergraduate engineering students across the United States.” I want one for middle schoolers. I’m forever unsure of why we’re not pursuing inquiry-models of education founded in making awesome stuff with all learners.

  • I saw news of GameDesk’s PlayMaker school not too long ago, but just found my way back to the rest of GameDesk’s site. I dig its Mathmaker program, which has me thinking of how to start a coding/design/programming initiative for student achievement in the humanities.

  • Bootstrap is another student-programming initiative meant to help kids between the ages of 12 and 16 become coders and designers through algebra and geometry. Bootstrap and the Northern Virginia Computer Science Teachers Association are hosting a workshop at George Mason University on October 20th, 2012. Sign up here.

What we found today: September 12th, 2012

by Chad Sansing

Havana Music Kids by ChrisGoldNY

Havana Music Kids by ChrisGoldNY

  • The Liederboard kickstarter project promises to build an online “musical scratchpad” that could one day be a cloud-based community of peer music review, like a GitHub for composers. I would love to have an accessible, free, web-based music writing program that shows kids the raw “code” of notes, time signatures, and keys under the samples, loops, and production-centric GUI of GarageBand. It would be fun to teach music theory like one of our barebones HTML “camps” and then invite kids to compose for texts, papers, and projects in other media.

  • Wiki-published RAFT-like “Immigrant Experience letters” from Meredith Stewart’s class. I like the RAFT. It’s an approach to composition, empathy, and characterization that doesn’t have to be done only through writing. I can imagine a young filmmaker RAFT-ing her way through several character beats and then mixing and matching them into dialogue in a script, or a young artist considering a subject across media and perspectives.

  • Paul Blogush (who worked at Old Sturbridge Village!) shares Staff Meeting Bingo. I think this would be a fantastic way for students to compose feedback about class, school, and texts. Think of it as a more playful Worlde through which students can poke honest fun at teacher habits, predilections, and biases (like jesters), or sum up their impressions of characters or authors’ styles. The description of class in a fun, low-risk way could then encourage teachers and students to revise class together. Chad Bingo would no doubt include gems like, “B: ‘stuff, stuff, and other things.'”

  • The Makeshop Show (via Melissa Techman). When I see sites like this, I think about a)students writing about their making (Which project did you pick? Why? What’s your plan? How will you start? How will you know when you have achieved your goals?) b)students making sites like this.

  • Making finds a way: Andrew Carle on “New Schedules, New Space” for his kids’ maker endeavors. There’s no perfect makerspace, just a perfect time to start making: now.