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:
Philosophical.

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
limits
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.

T M I

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. (http://ascampbell99.tumblr.com/)

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
Pursued
Down the darkening street