Friday, May 3, 2013

Links & Resources from Always On w/ Rob Williams

Media Smarts – Canadian Media Literacy Resources

21st Century Media Culture – 8 Shifts (downloadable pdf)

EdCamp Maine – a Place to teach and learn about web 2.0 and the classroom

EduBlogs – blogging for teachers

The Touch Screen Generation – Hanna Rosin in the Atlantic

Awareness Test – how many passes does the team wearing white make/ ?

What is Emergent Media?  Rob Williams & Class

The Machine is Us Video by Michael Wesch (“the explainer”)

(Also see Wesch’s Ted Talks :  From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able & Learning in New Media Environments)

Rob Williams Rocked The House!

We had over 75 people attend Always On : Raising Families in the Digital Age and Rob Williams did a great job sharing new information and allowing a rich interchange to emerge.

Friends School of Portland stresses "Inquiry, Reflection, Action" as our educational mission.  In that spirit, here's some of the feedback from the event --  resources following.

Please use comments to add more of your thinking!!!

Inquiry :  I wonder

·      What will the social media (peers) expect from my children when they reach adolescence?
·      If there are other parents interested in resisting certain technologies for our own kids and just not buying what they’re selling?  We could us a supportive culture of resistance.
·      If there could be a strong enough movement to lobby against advertising?
·      Can I choose not to participate in social media?
·      About the actual changes in brain structrure from always being on (not to mention health risks)
·      If the next step beyond google glass is the google post-natal cortical implant?
·      What is the right trade-off between “privacy” and  “sharing”

Reflection :  The 1 thing I’ll tell others

·      Google Eyewear – Beware!
·      We must all learn to disconnect – and allow others to do so as well!
·      Production vs. Consumption of media – different kinds of screen time
·      Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood
·      We have NO privacy in the digital age
·      My 14yr old has a reptilian brain
• Internet /  Privacy -- no overlap

Action :  Action Idea

·      Media Diet – Share ideas with families of students
·      Read The Machine Stops & Blackberry’s Hamlet
·      Use the library!
·      Quit Facebook!
·      Don’t make your kids compete with your phone.
·      I will get a book out on the brain and interpreting reality.
·      Remind people that while we worry about our expensive toys/tools, many people in Maine and in the world don’t have enough to eat, and send my check to org’s that serve these folks.
·      Bring the “mindfulness project” into schools to teach students the importance of not (always) being “on”
·      Retire to the bathroom every once in a while.
·      Figure out ways to have these conversations in schools / among parents / ongoing

Monday, February 11, 2013

Parenting for Peace, NY style

The renown 92nd St Y is putting on a parenting conference, and 2 of the 5 experts have spoken in Maine via our Parenting for Peace events!

"Parents: if you constantly worry your kid isn’t safe, you will make the world a fearful place. -- Michael Thompson,

Watch the Live Stream here or learn more at the official site.

Or follow along on twitter

"Summer camp is Hogwarts." - Dr. Michael Thompson
"Some children come into the world with just a touch of Eyore. Trying to get them to be happy all the time WILL exhaust you."  -- MT
"iPads, iPhones light up pleasure centers of the brain like cocaine" -Joanne Deak
 , good enough parenting better than perfect parenting, prepares children reality of external world

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Awards

Today is a big day for Children's Literature... The American Library Association announces it's Youth Media Awards... including the Caldecott and Newbery Awards but also many more.

On facebook & Web 

Recognition for Maine Author/illustrators includes Phil Hoose's Moonbirds, Toni Buzzeo's One Cool Friend and Daniel Minter's illustrations in Ellen's Broom !

Newbery 2013: “The One and Only Ivan,” written by Katherine Applegate

Caldecott 2013: “This Is Not My Hat,” illustrated and written by Jon Klassen, published by Candlewick Press

Coretta Scott King : CSK Illustrator 2013: Bryan Collier, “I, Too, Am America,
CSK Author 2013: Andrea Davis Pinkney, “Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America,” illustrated by Brian Pinkney,

Stonewall 2013: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz 

I think we should find a way to get as many of these books as we can for the FSP library... use comments for ideas!

Also, check out this great resource for learning how to pronounce authors' names and then to dig in about them and their books... and check out #alayma    #kidlit on twitter for conversations about reading and teaching these books.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Climate Activism

FSP 7th and 8th graders are learning about Climate Science at the same time that climate activists are moving forward with protests against drilling for Tar Sands Oil and the building of a pipeline that would move that oil from Canada through the U.S. to be sold internationally.  And, the 350.Org project on divestment from fossil fuels is growing...

For me, mothering provides the impetus and courage to not look away.  Still, this video is a bit heart-wrenching.

There are so many opportunities for action right now.

Learn more about 350.Org Maine and actions planned for Wednesday January 23

Tar Sands Free Northeast Day of ACTION - Portland, MaineSee Chasing Ice at SPACE on Friday January 25th

Attend the super-big rally and march on January 26th

Learn more about Idle No More and their January 28th World Day of Action

Ask some 7th & 8th graders about what they've learned

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Share your ideas in comments!

Ideas (that don’t require cleaning your house) for Winter Fun as a Group
Book a pool party or just meet for “open swim” at a community pool (we’ve had good luck @ Cape Elizabeth’s pool - there’s a hot tub and it costs $5.00 for non residents (or book a music or bowling or gymnastics party and share the cost.) 

Bring some board games to the top of the Portland Public Market
Meet for Friday Night Open Gymnastics, or at the Children’s Museum (1st Fri $1.00) 

Take a winter hike / snowshoe @ Pineland and have cocoa in the visitor’s center. 

Gather at a WinterKids Winter Festival or the Portland Flower Show (preshow essay contest here – maybe a writing party at school one afternoon? 

Families with younger children – hire some eighth graders to entertain your kids; they need to raise $ for their trip to D.C. – and try Parent’s Night Out ideas from Maine.Today
Share more ideas at

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MLK Day Events

Curious City is planning MLK day events for kids, (as part of the larger Portland NAACP breakfast) which is so lucky for kids! 

I'm also reminded, at this time, of the wisdom imparted by Annie Sibley O'Brien and Krista Aronson during last year's "Books As Bridges" program... as much as this is a time to engage around questions of race and racism, poverty and economic inequality, and our capacity for justice, it is an opportunity to create new connections and relationships that honor ways we are similar to those different from us and ways we differ from those who seem just like us.

Scroll through some old posts for lots of links to book sites...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


This comes from David LeGraffe, who helped bring Portland Playback to FSP for the arts intensive last fall... Playbacks happen during First Friday each month - it could be a great parent outing!

Commentary: Best-kept secret to creating social change is… improv
Marc Evan Jackson, Good blog, 9/22/12

I hold the secret to the fastest, widest ranging, longest lasting, and certainly most fun path to positive, global social change: Everyone in the world should take an improv class. I have never been more serious about anything in my life. If more people improvised, there would be no war.
Improvisation is the art of making it up. Winging it. Often used in theatre, it is the creation of a scene or tiny play that arises from a suggestion from the audience, a tiny play for which the script is made up on the spot. If all you can think about right now is "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," then please allow me to elaborate. In order to be good at improv, you must adhere to a few pretty stringent rules. You must listen to others. You must agree with what's going on, and respect those you're working with. You must: Get along. Work together. Be fearless. Show up with energy. Be willing to look silly and even fail. Your job, while improvising, is to put yourself in the other person's shoes, and make them look good, and more than anything you must learn to obey the precept: Don't be a dork. As a result, a completely delightful by-product of improv is a set of unbelievably great skills for citizenship. Those who improvise become nicer, more informed, more interesting, more interested people. Full disclosure: There is a down side. Improv will make you realize how awful we humans are to one another. It will point that out to you every time someone begins speaking while someone else is already speaking, and make vivid who in your life is or is not listening. You will see the fear-driven, selfish, self-aggrandizing motivations behind what everyone is saying and doing as they interrupt one another. Once you are exposed to improv, Thanksgiving dinner with your family will become more unbearable than it has ever been.  I am an actor. I make my living improvising. But improvisation's beneficial impacts can and will help anyone, in any profession, of any age, in any circumstance. Seriously. We've taught this to prisoners - prisoners in prison - and they have raved about the good it's done in their lives. Surely it can help you too.
David La Graffe


Monday, November 12, 2012

Twitter for Teachers /parents ~ Wonderopolis

I am constantly swinging from my awe at all the internet brings us and my horror at our collective obsession with screens.  As the first generation of parents to really contend with mobile devices, we are left to use some knee-jerk judgement that often expresses itself, in my house, as total capriciousness.  I am really looking forward to the spring P4P event on "digital kids, digital families" as a space to ponder more deliberately and with you all!

I have a thing for twitter, despite the way it fragments my brain, because it provides such a deluge of interesting links and information.  Somehow I wandered onto the #1stchat which allows first grade teachers everywhere to gather once a week and share ideas.  One of the most popular apps/websites mentioned was Wonderopolis and it really is super-cool, even for adults.  Featuring a new "wonder" everyday, it provides a nudge for non-fiction reading and provides excellent content - noncommercial, as far as I can tell (screen shot of some wonders, below) -- would love to know others' favorite apps/sites for kids -- use comments!

Also on twitter, #kidlit where great books and literacy ideas are shared, #edchat where general education policy is discussed, #plpnetwork for conversations about digital learning,  and #meschools for issues relating to Maine education policy / opportunity  (you do not need a twitter account to read these threads, just to post). 

For general thinking about media and education, KQED's Mindshift Blog is excellent and provocative and Commonsense Media is good for some grounding.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Article Round-Up

People have sent me some lovely reading / links for the blog over the past week or 2... here's a collection:

and finally, Maine's own Zoe Weil on "Educating for Freedom