Monday, February 29, 2016

Soundscapes: Mundane Sounds and Daily Rhythms

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Natural Landscapes converted into Sound Waves by Anna Marinenko

WEEK SIX: Capture the sounds from your world that help you recognize the miracle in mundane sounds. Landscapes are the visual features of an area. Soundscapes are the audio features of an area. This week, #WalkMyWorld is teaming up with our friends in the #HearMyHome project to consider the "mundane" sounds that create your daily rhythms. Do you hear what I hear? Listen. Look around. Listen again. What soundscapes surround you? Click on the orange circle below to hear the soundscape from my morning.

If you want to engage students in exploring soundscapes, check out Radio Aporee. Radio Aporee is an amazing free digital tool that allows you to travel to distant lands to listen to the mundane sounds and daily rhythms. On the lower right hand corner you will see a plus and minus sign that allows you to zoom in and out around the globe. Click on a red dot to hear the sounds and read information on where and when the sound was uploaded. 
Invitation: Confine your field of focus to only what exists within a ten-foot circle around you. ASK yourself: How do persistent sounds in my work space such as: the ticking of a clock, the tapping of keys, or the slamming of locker doors, fill the spaces of my day? CHOOSE subtle sounds that create mundane rhythms and music. CAPTURE these soundscapes using Soundcloud as a means to record and share out this audio content. SHARE your creation on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkMyWorld, #LE6, and #HearMyHome. It’s time. What will you share? Explore.Play.Create.Learn.
Interested in learning more about #WalkMyWorld, visit:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Be Mindful of Voices during a Turning Point: #WalkMyWorld #LE5

Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. – Harper Lee

WEEK FIVE: Explore how the human voices in your world guided you during a turning point in YOUR Story. This week, #WalkMyWorld invites you to identify a turning point or roadblock in your story and how sounds of human voices helped you overcome that challenge?

The human voice is a powerful tool that can be used to entertain, empower, and encourage people of all ages. Yet, many educators neglect to teach students how to be mindful of their oral voice (i.e., the spoken word) and their inner voice (i.e., the thinking word). The meaning of a word can be conveyed differently by making adjustments to the human voice through four affordances:
  • Pitch - high/low
  • Tempo - fast/slow
  • Tone - sharp/soft
  • Inflection - animated/monotone   
TEDEd Lessons Worth Sharing: One of the best tools I have used to increase students' awareness of the power of their voice is through TEDEd Lessons Worth Sharing site. Each lesson provides four different components that empower students' voice through listening and speaking. First, students can WATCH Steven Claunch tell the story of how he overcomes obstacles. Then, students THINK (inner voice) about the message of the story through 5 multiple choice and 2 short answer questions. Next, students can EXPLORE resources to compare what other people are saying about the topic. Finally, students can SHARE their own voice through an online discussion forum. There is also an option for educators to customize the lesson.

Sound Cloud: I am starting to play around with, a free website and app that allows you to record, collaborate, and share sounds. LISTEN to my voice as I describe how Walker Clark, a brilliant life coach, guided me during a turning point in my life:
Invitation: THINK of a turning point when you had to overcome an obstacle. RECORD your voice using Sound Cloud and tell the storySHARE your creation on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkMyWorld #LE5. It’s time. What will you share? Explore.Play.Create.Learn.
Interested in learning more about #WalkMyWorld, visit:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Shape of MY Story: #WalkMyWorld #LE4

The future isn’t a place that we’re going to, it’s a place that you get to create. - Nancy Duarte

WEEK FOUR: Explore your voice and the sounds of your world by diagramming the events that make up YOUR story.  Last week #WalkMyWorld discussed the shape of a story. First, I diagrammed the Three Act Story Arch of a National History Day Documentary. Then, I found a wonderful TEDX talk by Nancy Duarte that discussed a different shape of a story.  Finally, I found an interesting article about a different shape of a video game narrative

This week, #WalkMyWorld invites you to answer these questions: What challenges exist when the story is about you? Use your voice and the sounds of your life to illustrate where you are in your life journey. How do you use language to define who you are and your place in your community/culture?

To begin, I LISTENED to the song from the Disney film, Mulan. Despite the tranquil sounds of nature, she wonders why her reflection doesn't show her authentic self. 

Next, I READ the lyrics to the song so I could get a deeper understanding of her challenges and shape of her story. This song evokes a strong connection to the sounds and shape of MY story which I diagrammed at the beginning of this blog. I realized the shape of my story looks just like the ripples Mulan sees in her reflection. These ripples distort and cloud the authentic reflection of me. Many times I stop and ask myself, "Who am I inside when my reflection shows a mother, a wife, a teacher, a student, a friend, a sister, and a daughter?" At the same time, the shape of my story looks like a speaker, pounding out an orchestra of sounds so loud that I can't think! I hear: cheers of the crowd at my daughters' events, clinking dishes and snoring, the tap, tap, tapping of students typing on keyboards, and the bling of emails and texts calling for my attention. Then, I walk into yoga, where it's warm and quite. I take a deep breath in. I take a deep breath out. Slowly, just as Mulan wipes away her make-up, the sounds that shape my story fade away, til I hear nothing but my heart beat, beat, beating and I am left with nothing but the shape of me. 

Invitation: THINK of sounds that surround you in the morning, noon, and night. CREATE a diagram showing how the sounds shape your story. ANNOTATE your diagram to identify key sounds in the narrative.  SHARE your creation on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkMyWorld #LE4. It’s time. What will you share? Explore.Play.Create.Learn.
Interested in learning more about #WalkMyWorld, visit:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Shape of a Story: #WalkMyWorld #LE3

When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending. - Brene Brown
WEEK THREE: Exploring the story of you by considering the shape of a story. Stories come in multiple modes: orally passed down from generation to generation, images capturing a specific time and place, documents representing written thoughts, and video clips revealing the sounds and motion of real people and events. The third learning event of #WalkMyWorld invites you to explore the multiple modes that shape the stories you tell the world.
One way I integrate technology while meeting the academic demands of English Language Arts and social studies is through student-created documentaries. These short, two-to-seven minute films, combine multiple media sources with a voice-over narration to demonstrate an understanding of a subject-matter topic or personal event. Since quality documentaries use the THREE ACT STORY ARC (see image above), I decided to diagram the shape of an award winning story from the National History Day Competition.

This is a diagram of a student-created documentary about Henry Ford: Driving America Into the Future.

Notice how the obstacles Henry Ford encountered built the narrative and the multiple modes shaped the story. Next, WATCH the documentary and notice how the narrative is shaped by the author’s ability to weave multiple modes ( e.g., audio, visual, text, and transition effects) into a compelling story. Finally, READ the transcript of the documentary. Research suggests the use of video-editing software scaffolds an intentional revision process as students determine which media source(s) enhance their voice and shape a stronger narrative (Chisholm & Trent, 2013; Parker, 2013; Vasudevan et al., 2010). Do you agree? If your students are turning in boring reports, consider using student-created documentaries as an instructional approach to creating compelling narratives and shaping three act stories.

Invitation: THINK of a story you know well. This could be a cultural folk tale, a song, a TV show or the STORY OF YOU. CREATE a diagram showing the shape of that story. ANNOTATE your diagram to identify plot points at key events in the narrative. You can create this diagram in Google Slides…or simply sketch it out on paper and take a digital photo. DESCRIBE how your diagram and the modes (text, image, audio, video) used in the story affect the shape of the story. SHARE your creation on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkMyWorld #LE3. It’s time. What will you share? Explore.Play.Create.Learn.

Interested in learning more about #WalkMyWorld, visit:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Where I’ve Been: #WalkMyWorld LE#2

I just want to ask one question
 Who would you be if the world never gave you a label? - Prince Ea
My past identity stems from a strong culture of traditions, specifically family vacations, that I hold close to my heart.
WEEK TWO: Exploring our cultural identity with words and images 
Last week #WalkMyWorld began with…where I begin? Now we take a step back to where I’ve been. Just as visual meaning making uses still or moving images, making meaning from words uses spoken or written text:
  1. Words that are spoken (live or recorded): can be adjusted by pitch, tempo, tone, or inflection to convey a different meaning.
  2. Words that are written (handwritten or typed): can be adjusted by font (i.e., size, shape, color), capital or lower case, or spacing between letters and words to convey meaning.
Invitation: Consider your own culture and where you’ve been. Ask yourself, “How are these people, values, practices, and places a part of you?” I always like to read mentor texts, or examples written by others, to help me begin the exploration process of my identity. READ the lyrics of the mentor text, I Am NOT Black, and You are NOT White, a rap written by Prince Ea. Next, LISTEN (don’t watch) the video. How did you make meaning from the written text differently than the spoken text? Finally, WATCH the video. How did the images and words work together to create a different meaning than you originally interpreted from the written and spoken text? Prince Ea was able to multiply meaning through a combination of visual images, spoken words, and written text. To me, this layered meaning making is what makes multimodal composition so powerful!

My process for #WalkMyWorld learning event two began by reading the mentor text, Where I’m From, a poem by George Ella Lyon. Next, I generated a list of words that describe where I’ve been. Then, I worked in a recursive editing process by grouping my ideas into similar categories and rereading the mentor text to help me organize these ideas into a poem:
I am from rural roads, from Pennsylvania Dutch country. I am from homemade ice cream, hog maw and chicken corn soup. I am from church hymns and faith that I can do all things! I am from close cousins with crab chants, laughter, and games.

I’m from lazy summer days, sticky suntan lotion and lightning bugs. I’m from the curious and the over scheduled. From NEVER GIVE UP! and DO YOUR BEST! I’m from libraries with sweet smelling books and powerful words.

Inside my mind, float merriment and memories, a sea of family traditions. I am from those adventures rushing fast and free.

TELL the story of your culture and where you’ve been. You can use any visuals (still or moving) and words (spoken and written) to explore your past identity. SHARE your creation on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkMyWorld. It’s time. What will you share? Explore.Play.Create.Learn.
Interested in learning more about #WalkMyWorld, visit: