NaPoWriMo – April 29 – “Meta-Haikus”

Writing haikus is
Sort of easy, unless you
Want them to be deep.

The challenge is more
Than syllabic in nature:

But what can I say
In seventeen syllables
That is meaningful?

No hyphenation
Across lines, as well, I guess,
Just to make it hard.

Okay, I can live with
That restriction. Haven’t said
Anything worthwhile yet.

I’d better try to
Crank out a good one here. Bad
At verse; how’s this one?:

Night cooly blankets
The countryside on a hot
Northern evening.

I guess you’d have to
Pronounce “evening” with three
Syllables for that.

Let me try again;
That one was terrible. I
Should know better, eh?

The kiss lands gently
Gracing his lover’s soft cheek
Soft rush of passion.

Hmm, pretty mushy.
Am I cut out for this? I
Don’t know. Maybe not.

NaPoWriMo – April 28 – “Individual Goal Setting”

you know how you aren’t
really sure
what you can do
until you give it a try?
how you perceive
for yourself but
unlike the side mirror
they’re actually further than they appear?
today I knew I could do better
than I ever had before.
the limits were
much further off
than I had thought.
and with each run
the goalpost moved
and that’s a good thing.
now I have new limits
and new goals
to go with them.


tMI – Students’ Personal Lives and Twitter in the Classroom

While presenting to a group of elementary teachers about possible ways to use Twitter in education, lots of concerns came up about student uses. I told the group that I’m not a big fan of the idea of students using Twitter in elementary school, although grade 7/8 might be okay (depending a lot on the particular students). When I finally had a chance to read @acampbell99’s new, blog-killer post on tumblr I saw that he has similar reservations. In fact, he used the same phrase in his post that I did in my session, referring to social media as the “wild west” right now.

One of the participants brought up a concern that I didn’t think too much about at the time, but have been mulling over since then. She said that she didn’t want to see all the personal stuff from students that they regularly post as Twitter users (weekend activities, language that wouldn’t be appropriate for school, etc.). For some of the classroom uses of Twitter, the teacher might have to “follow” or at least “list” the students in order for the techniques to work (often a hashtag is sufficient, and would be preferred, to get around this). Following students has two potential drawbacks that are kind of bothering me now.

First is the concern identified by Andrew Campbell: that adults and school are encroaching into teen havens. He says

Teens are using social media as a proxy space for this process of self-definition. The intrusion of adults and schools into teen social media prevents this from happening. To facilitate proper social development of students schools need to steer clear of teen dominated social media spaces. (

Second is the concern that as teachers we might become privy to information about students that we would be forced to act upon. For example, if I believed a student was suffering some form of abuse, I would be bound by the standards of my profession to pursue the claim through the appropriate channels (and morally bound, besides). The problem with the information I might find in social media is the question of reliability. I don’t know whether the information disclosed by a student in an online space is more or less reliable than my observations of or conversations with a student, and so I feel more hesitant about the idea of acting upon it. It’s something to think about, at least, and I’m just starting to.

Do you have your students tweet in class? Do you follow them? What would you do if you learned something that concerned you?

NaPoWriMo – April 26 – “Story Starter”

A shadow flitted by
At the edge of his sight
Distracting, visual temptation
He refused to look
To acknowledge his fate
Instead concentrating on the
Maybe-haven ahead
He wrestled down the
Surge of panic
That clawed at his mind
Shredding composure
But he hitched his leather bag
And kept shuffling along
Toward the refuge
Down the darkening street

How I Use Twitter Professionally – Updated!

About six months ago I wrote a blog post called “How I Use Twitter Professionally“. Since then I’ve refined or changed my use a bit, so I thought it was worth refreshing the post. So, the content below is the same as before, with old stuff stricken through and new stuff underlined.

My tweets are public.

I’m trying to encourage conversation and collaboration, so my tweets are globally accessible.

I don’t follow a lot of people.

I currently follow 70 144 people, of whom about 40 100 are actively tweeting (let’s say at least weekly). Some of these aren’t related to education; for example, I follow The LEGO Group (@LEGO_Group).

I can keep up with this: I read every tweet, unless it’s an especially busy day in my face-to-face life.

I can’t read it all anymore. This is easily the biggest change for me. I’m relying on my tweets to retweet the really good stuff so I have a better chance of seeing it.

I accept anyone as a follower, pretty much.

Except for a few obvious accounts, I let anyone follow me. Since my tweets are public, anyone can read them (even without a Twitter account), so letting people follow me doesn’t reveal anything extra. Plus, it’s easier when you don’t have to approve people.

I don’t accept Direct Messages (DMs) from people I don’t follow.

This cuts down on the spam. Now it’s just mentions, and there aren’t too many of those. This is a good idea for anyone, so I thought I’d list it here.

I follow hashtags for a while.

Recently I followed #SeLNO for the Thunder Bay Region’s event; you can still see stuff by searching for that tag. I don’t follow the very busy tags, although I sometimes apply them to my posts (#D2L, #onted, #blendedlearning).

More recently, we ran #OTRK12, and I watched #gafesummit from a distance. Awesome learning there.

I try to follow the people in Northern Ontario.

We face many of the same issues, and perhaps we have solutions to help each other. I like that idea.

I let Twitter post my tweets to Facebook.

I don’t really use Facebook professionally, but sometimes my tweets catch the eye of some of my Facebook friends who aren’t on Twitter. Some of them are reading this post (you know who you are). It’s one more way to expand the conversation. (I imagine some of my friends are tired of all the education-related stuff.)

I don’t cross post to Facebook anymore.

I tweet too much. No one on Facebook wants to read all of that stuff. The handful of FB friends who do are also Twitter users and teachers, so they just go to Twitter to find me.

I use Tweetdeck; it rocks.

Chrome has TweetDeck as an app; I like that I can have columns for a variety of things I want to look at. Currently I have my Twitter timeline, my Twitter Interactions, my Twitter Messages (DMs), columns for #gafesummit, SGDSB, #NaPoWriMo, #OntEd, and #niprockart, a Twitter #NeLChat search, my Facebook Timeline and my Facebook Notifications, and a bunch of lists. It’s great.

I use Lists

Some I create, some I follow. Lists are a way to categorize users you’re interested in semi-following. For example, I have a TweetDeck column for SGDSB Educators, maintained by @ColleenKR. Although I do follow some SGDSB teachers (like @WallwinS, @GeraldtonSteve, @fryed, and others), I don’t know if I want to follow every teacher in the board. This way I can dip into the SGDSB conversation flow and track more people without cluttering up my timeline.

I say things for myself, and I say things for others.

I tweet things that I want to remember or revisit (great for “note-taking” at a session/workshop/conference). I also tweet things to inform others or start conversations.

I talk a lot

I try to ask questions and help out when others ask questions. I’m proud to say I was recently included as an honourary member of the SGDSB educators list because I help out the teachers up there, so I think my contributions are valued.

More importantly, I’m developing relationships with these distant folks, and the growth of my PLN has helped me out in my work as well. Thanks, everyone.

If you want to follow me…

I’m @bgrasley. No pressure, of course. Use Twitter however it works best for you!

NaPoWriMo – April 24 – “Pre-Interview”

This is ridiculous.
I’ll happily address hundreds in a throng
Or speak with anyone about uncomfortable topics
Give me the chance to
control the structure and format
Of the conversation
I’ll settle into a rhythm
Making clever
Put me in an interview?
My stomach fills my shoes
Waves of anxious heat sweep my body.
Worse, it’s not usually better once it starts.
It won’t take long, I know.
I just hope whatever I say helps them
To make the right decision.

I wouldn’t want to be in their seats, either.