A Goomba’s Perspective

I came across this Super Mario Brothers video on Youtube today. It’s a wonderfully produced, short animation written from the Goomba perspective. As I watched it, the former social studies teacher in me thought that this would be a great video to introduce topics like historical perspective, bias, and propaganda within the social studies, history, or even English curricula.

Sharing this tidbit is nothing huge, and I could have probably just let it go as this tweet. However, as I’ve become increasingly concerned about the ownership, longevity shareability, and development of my own thinking, I’m trying to be more conscious about where I’m sharing ideas. In other words, I’m hoping to get back into the habit of sharing more in this space – my space. We’ll see.

For now, enjoy First Person Goomba.

Edit: I thought afterwards that this video also relates to the concept of empathy. If you are interested in a fantastic video on the importance of empathy, check out “The Power of Outrospection” (especially this video) from Roman Krznaric.

Writing Prompts (Collaborative Document)

In the style of previous collaborations (here and here), we’ve collaboratively written a great list of writing prompts related to technology & media in teaching & learning. These were intended for the teacher candidates I teach, but I see tremendous value for anyone who is writing or thinking about the use of technology in education.

Thanks again everyone for showing me that this form of collaboration really does work and for contributing great ideas to the document. I now have a great, growing resource for my students when they tell me ‘I have nothing to write about’.

See the collaborative document here.

Six-Word Memoirs

I just noticed a couple of links referring to the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. “Everyone has a story. Can you tell yours in six words?”

Here’s the book preview from Vimeo:

Six-Word Memoir book preview from SMITHmag on Vimeo.

NPR also has set up a related gallery of images.

Great idea. I am not sure how original it is, but I would love to see what students could produce related to their own young lives or referring to other individuals (famous others, or family & friends). This could be a wonderful exercise.

Impact of Authentic Audience

One of my colleagues in the Faculty of Education has partnered a group of undergraduate student teachers with Kathy Cassidy’s Grade 1 classroom in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Today, I noticed a post from Mrs. Cassidy reflecting on the immediate impact of this mentor relationship on her students.

Having these “big” blogging buddies has already impacted the writing of the children. As we headed off to the computer lab the other day, instead of reminding the children about what good writers do, I asked them what kinds of things their blogging buddies would be looking for in their writing. Because I provided the U of R students with grade one end of year expectations and they have been using these to make comments on my students’ blogs (which I have been reading aloud so that all of the children benefit), the children easily told me. “A period at the end.” “Starting with a capital letter.” “Spaces between words.” “Sounding out the words.”

The remarkable thing was that as they wrote on their blogs that day, they obviously thought about their blogging buddy audience. Not only did some of them address their writing directly to their buddy, (for example, “I like your name and i oslu like you.”) but there were more periods, capital letters and spaces in evidence than I had ever seen in their writing before. An authentic audience is a powerful thing.

Sounds like a great experience for these students, both younger and older, and one that we all can learn from.

Kathy Cassidy's Classroom