Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lessons for Foodies

Like most teachers in New England I start the school year off sprinting and then lose energy at the same time the students do, right after high school playoffs and Halloween.  Our first report cards are sent home at this time and I only mention this because it is also timed well with our third annual haunted high. Kids scare the pants off each other and scream a little too loudly. It seems that they are not so much as frightened as they are releasing steam. Are they screaming at teachers? Screaming at low grades? Or is is teen angst, Nirvana style? What is important is that this tradition continues because it is engaging.

Jumping off such enthusiasm is hard and "where to go from here" is constantly on my mind.  In my 20 year career I have seldom had an easy year. Every new administration has pushed for reforms that add hours to my work day. I am one of those educators who follows the rules and works as much as can be expected.  This push to prepare for the Common Core would have seemed overwhelming if not for the sage advice of a veteran mentor. This literacy specialist showed me the values of routine in an ever changing world and for that I am grateful. I took my favorite unit on commodities , adhered to my established classroom routines and then revamped it to fit the Common Core. I'm quite pleased after one evening of multitasking and catching up on episodes of Scandal (ABC.com app).

Every November I teach students about long distance trades and the changes that resulted when commodities were exchanged. Students are invested in this and are naturally interested in discovering the cultural histories of common items like the potato or exotics like vanilla. This time of year with families coming together, sharing traditional dishes or trying new recipes, I credit students who admit to sharing their research with family during their holiday break.  Prior to their break I use class time for diet analysis. Students list food items and food ingredients they have consumed.  I present a list of foods and their origins in a New World (America's column) and an Old World (Africa, Asia, Europe column).  Students chat and shout out ingredients and annotate their lists with N or O or ?. They calculate the # of Ns from their list total and determine the percentage of their diet based on the total items consumed.  This lessons serves the purpose of taking the difficulty out of a breaking down data into meaningful conclusions, meeting the emphasis on analysis in the Common Core. It also serves the purpose of demonstrating the ease of analysis is when the outcomes are of personal interest.

My research projects are supported by the genius in our high school library.  Librarians created a pathfinder from their wix.com page to the Pearson database and to the shelved books. This organization gives all students guidance through the research process while giving them that safe pathway for independent research.  I also like that the Pearson primary and secondary sources already have sources cited.  Students choose their articles and send me the citations which I try to check. This fulfills the criteria for using credited sources.

This year I want to emphasis geo literacy skills as they have been updated by National Geographic.  I clipped the following ideas for the front page of my unit:
Geo-literacy is the understanding of Earth systems and interconnections that we all need to make good decisions. Whether we are making decisions about where to live, what precautions to take for natural hazards, or how to set up a manufacturing supply chain, we are all called upon to make decisions that require geo-literacy throughout our lives. The three components of geo-literacy are:· Interactions: How our world works.
Interconnections: How the world is connected. Interconnections: A geo-literate individual is able to reason about the ways that people and places are connected to each other across time and space.Implications: How interactions and interconnections determine outcomes of actions.

I thought it would make sense to have the students begin to informally debate how the value of a product or commodity leads to unforeseen consequences.  And behold! a fantastic interactive online survey from madeinafreeworld.com.  I placed a QR code near the entrance to the classroom. Students entered, scanned it with their iPads and were immediately engaged in meaningful conversations instead of the usual.  The arguments following the survey helped me convince students that analysis is best when we not only critique our sources but wonder what other research should be done to counter ideas presented.  Students are hooked.  I supply classroom lectures on 17th century long distance trade, they supply the rest.

I have fallen in love with many authors who have presented a history of change over time through the exploration of silk or perfume or salt.  I love Mark Kishlansky 's picture book on Cod and I make time to read this with my high school students. They love knowing that a picture book is the perfect vehicle for deep contextual knowledge. More so than a textbook.  Several students will present their research in a similar form which is much more fun and yields better results than a traditional five page paper. Years ago I read Alfred W. Crosby's essay (which is now online) on the Columbian exchange it forever changed how I perceive history, leading me to Daniel Boorstin, Michael Pollan, and the McCormick website.   Several museums have curated exhibits around chocolate, tea and coffee which still have active links.  Students are often inspired to curate their own virtual museum.  I love the transformative experience that the digital classroom offers when we take a second glance at the common products that surround us, asking the question, how did this get here and do I really need it?
No textbook had come close to presenting the implications of commodities exchanged and there is so much unchartered territory. 



New World
Old World
avocado                  turkey
peppers                  red squirrel
squash                   guinea pig
maize                       pinto beans
potatoes                 chocolate
tomatoes                 quinoa
pineapple               peanut
sweet potato         vanilla
bannana        beef
citrus            chicken
olives           pork
sugar beets  sheep/goats
sugar
rice              soybean
wheat          millet
coffee          tea
mango        pepper, cinnamon
nutmeg         apples
pear             grapes
dairy           yams
raspberries

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The end of Zombie Apocalypse.... or is it?

I'm tying up loose ends, teaching this zombi apocalypse unit and I have to say... it was fun. The game of keeping up points along with intentional studies petered out.  Next year, I should hold a culminating event, a zombie prom or a zombie run but sometimes life get's in the way.  Right now students are invested in their performances in Shrek, The Musical, deer hunting season and the upcoming November holiday.
My quick assessment of success in teaching this unit: Students have developed a habit of paying attention to news events.  The impact of disaster became very real for some of our students following news events and the typhoon in the Philippines.  The idea of disaster preparedness was no longer focused on killing zombies but saving lives.  Two of my students fulfilled the unit requirement to bring attention to a global issue by putting up flyers about the typhoon.  These students also overheard both teachers and students in a meteorology course referring to the flyer, excited that different courses had shared studies.  Preparing for a zombie apocalypse is quite similar to surviving a typhoon. Access to 2 gallons of drinking water a day, food, shelter from exposure to elements become crucial to survival.   While I hoped rural Vermont students would learn more about the world, the study of population growth and a lesson in trend extrapolation really encouraged many students to want to flee to Vermont or other remote havens in the US. Students mapped their routes out of cities on a hall map.  My favorite escape plan was that of the community that relocated to Area 51.

Students enjoyed juxtaposing imagery and studies of facts with their fictitious survival plans.  Here is an excerpt from a student who is usually quiet and removed from collaborative studies.

China was built about 5,000 years ago for rich philosophers and Artists, now days its has a population of 1 billion people, held the 2008 Olympics, people's life expectancy is 72, and has aG DP per capita of $4,700. Which the Reason  why I would not stay there is the more people, the more zombies.
Day 1 - The First EncountersEvery one has died, but I don't care, because they were all worthless and weak, they only complain because scared, I think, and they didn't speak friggin' English. So I killed them, and some reason they transformed into a creature, which the cop who was arresting who's got attack by, and he yell "Jiangshi!!! Jiangshi!!!!!  我被攻击的一个灵俑" (I'm being attack by a zombie) people started running, as I said "Hey stinky" right to the zombie, then a guard to a near by palace through be a Ninja sword, and I sliced his cranium in half, and did the same to the 12 other zombies/Jiangshi. The people above clapped and cheer quietly, and I said "we need to find a cure, bring me to all your hospital, I need all you vaccines. I will find the cure" I then stated "not many of you will live, I'm afraid, but I will find a cure" people cheer quietly!!
Day II - We're All Screwed, well you are....After I visited every hospital, I got a crap load of illnesses, I learned from books and movies like World War Z, if you're mentally Ill, you're gonna live, so Injected by self with mental illnesses. Now a sick freak. Which is cool because Zombies  can't detect me. You all suckers!!!  Then I started building a zombie proof tour bus type thing, it had 45 beds, made of steel, solar Powered so it did not need gas, bullet proof one way windows, so the we could see outside but not in, I has a top bunker with weapons, it has a lower bunker of hiding, if a zombie somehow got in, the tires had 10ft razor sharp blades coming out each side, the tires were steel as well. It has a TV, Oven, Microwave, Fridge, two bathrooms, wifi, wall outlets and solar powered so I Always have electricity. It's called the Zombonie

Students chose many forms for their 3 day double entry diaries. Here is a sample of what one student accomplished after 2 days in our computer lab. It is missing the citations because it was not meant to be published. It was only meant to build contextual knowledge. The elements of how she identifies site/situation and push/pull factors with her fantasy of survival impressed me. I can't wait until this student receives her 1:1 iPad from our schoolwide initiative.  Think how much more depth and detail could be added if she had access to her document at all times instead of the limited time I accessed for her.   I like to think that the image of a survival outfit would be replaced with a sketch of her own
design.
Students and teachers were quick to notice on a community forum post the following survival courses coincided with our studies here in Hyde Park, Vermont. Wish I had the funds to somehow involve students. Maybe the instructors will become involved next year? 

This Saturday, November 9 from 10-3 at Hope Grows Farm in Hyde Park: Denise Krause, founder of Heartwood Wilderness Skills, presents Wilderness Survival Basics for Adults. Learn how to construct a warm emergency shelter, find and purify safe drinking water, make fire with ease, create rope from plant fibers, and keep yourself nourished! You will leave with confidence and an effective awareness of survival priorities. We will share primitive and modern skills in this workshop. Bring your own lunch. Cost is $50. Contact Denise Krause at 716-655-7622 or email deaheartwood@aol.com to register.
In conclusion, students seemingly seem to understand that cities of the world are a draw for greater concentration of our total global population.  They seem to understand that overpopulation is a global concern if food, water and other resources continue to face limitations.  Future projections concur that 5 billion of our total population will live in cities in the 15 years.  Are we prepared for this?
How do governments balance difficult decisions about limiting family size or providing enough food?
How do we use resources? What can people live without?

Their interest in preparing for a better future is the understanding behind the design of our next unit: commodities that transformed regional and cultural heritage. Cocoa, sugar, petroleum, salt, cod, rice, technology, banking... the list goes on and on..


Friday, November 8, 2013

Another Great Year at


vita-learn.org  Technology Professional Development
It was snowing at Killington, Vermont as we gathered at the hotel near the foot of the mountain. I love professional developments like this.  Most of us attend workshops all day and then swim in the heated pool with snow coming down.  We leisurely discuss ideas learned or tech tools that we have never considered.  And we gather in common spaces helping each other relearn with our devices while sipping lovely beverages.  We move from intensity to creativity to playtime and back in a workflow not offered during the daily grind of teaching in a school.
So first, let me shout out to colleague who presented with me at Vermont Fest:
Here's our presentation-
After Hours Social Studies - Using Haiku LMS to Promote 24/7 Learning - HS 
 Whitney Kaulbach and Peter Lavigne 

For this session two high school social studies teachers will demonstrate how they use Haiku LMS to 
conduct dynamic online discussions and promote student learning outside the school day. The presenters will show real examples of online discussions, assessment, and collaboration for learning. Although Haiku LMS is the platform being used, the principles may be applied to other LMS’s as well. 

We rocked this! We were able to reach a diverse audience of educators and schools that have not adopted learning platforms or experiments with asynchronous discussions formats for students.  And we were able to redirect our audience to think about the future of dialogue and the myriad of ways that students enjoy collaborating.

Every year I walk away with a new mindset for offering educational opportunities in the classroom. The Keynote speaker, Eric Sheninger, was mindful of the struggle with the balance of control, structure and possibility but urged us to embrace an ever-changing educational landscape.  As a principal in New Jersey he has moved to open Facebook campus and open twitter.  He believes that the web is publishing ideas and opinions every minute that impact individuals, groups and organizations.  Isolation does not allow us to own our identities. Own your identity. Shape your brand. Use more Twitter. Be uncomfortable with students leading our daily classroom.....ok.......
 

A Day in the Life of an iPad: How iPads are Really Being used in a 1:1 Environment -  
 Marc Gilbertson, Sara Reed took educators through the trials and tribulations of setting up the 1:1. Students needed digital citizenship training. Teachers needed to learn how to turn on their iPads and then how to create a workflow.  Storage, take home, leave at school.... exhausting.  And so worth it.
 
Minecraft: This Will Blow You Away – Sally Bisaccio, Jane Wilde, Mike Beardsley. 
This blew me away.  Especially the child who demonstrated how minecraft was played and commented on his rationale for his movement.  This would be a great class or club activity.  Oh Please Lamoille, let's start this!
 
Because of Minecraft I gained some courage and went to the next presentation, thinking I was savvy enough to learn how to design my own gaming apps. 

On the Road to iPad App Development - Lucie deLaBruere 
Well, I was wrong. I can't just walk in, design an app and walk away.  All I learned was how much there is to learn about app design.  On the plus side, everyone starts out as a beginner and the learning curve is steep.  She encouraged us to consider taking college courses that are offered in this at a few Vermont locations.  That seems possible.  Getting credit in creating a app. I like that. 




3D printing! argh- I missed out on this. 

Veterans of 40 Years in the classroom

Link to published article  At TER
While it can't be said for all professions everyone I know remembers a teacher who changed their world in a positive way. It was a teacher who helped me love learning and who made me think I was going to fantastic when I grew up. For most people that teacher was someone they encountered in their youth but for me it happened to be my daughter's kindergarten teacher. She is organized, enthusiastic, creative and kind. She had a reputation of being a stable force in education because of her forty one years of experience yet was one of the first to embrace 21st century digital technologies.  I was questioning my own educational practices when I first met her and was struck by this thought:  while every child in kindergarten was excited to learn the same can't be said for every student in my high school classroom. Curiosity got the best of me so I studied my daughter's experiences. I took notes on how this teacher hooked students on math and drilled them on phonemes. I volunteered in the classroom and mimicked her collaborative discussion tactics of "think, pair, share" in my own classroom. By continuing best elementary school practices at the secondary level, I found this sudden rapport with students, eager to engage because routines and language of instruction was familiar.   I piloted other practices of formative polling, deliberate phoneme review, instruction for independent and collaborative assignments. Eventually I confessed my covert  operation and began to enjoy face to face conversations. If only there was more opportunity for co teaching!

Diane Marcoux-LaClair will retire this year from education but will continue to be engaged in worldly experiences. Her son, serving in the Peace Corp, in French Senegal returns next year. Until then she will tend her garden and experimenting with different strategies for keeping deer out.  XC skiing and snowshoeing will probably bring her to the woods behind my own home if I'm lucky. 

Here is her story.
My name is Diane Marcoux-LaClair and I was born second of six children to French-Canadian parents. I grew up in Hyde Park, Vermont and attended Hyde Park Elementary School. Actually, you can say that I started first grade at HPES in 1960 and have gone to school every year since! Whew! I am retiring in June.

How long have you been teaching or coaching?

I began working with the children of Hyde Park Elementary School in my senior year at LUHS as part of the “Co-op” program. Watching Mrs. Nancy DeForge work her magic in a classroom filled with children with special needs is what made me decide what I “wanted to be when I grew up.”  Following my graduation in June of 1972, I went to work as a fulltime teacher’s aide at HPES, and learned how to be a teacher from three teachers I really admired: Nancy Stokes, Peg Mudgett, and Grace Miner.  While I worked there, I took courses, and completed the ADP at Goddard College, earning my BA in Early Childhood Education and getting my teaching license in 1980. I have been a kindergarten teacher at HPES ever sinceI’ve been teaching in one aspect or another for 41 years.

What is it that you do that inspires students to want to engage?
In other words, what do you believe is your gift that you bring to teaching?

was blessed with really good spirit! Good spirit inevitably becomes joy. I think that if teachers take and bring joy to their teaching, children will take and bring joy to their learning.

What change in education/ coaching really helped make a difference for the greatest number of students?

For the greatest number of students, I don’t think it has happened yet. In my opinion, until we can say, in all honesty, that every child, including children with special needs, gifted children, AND all of the kids in the middle, are treated with the same amount of respect, time, resources, and teacher attention, education hasn’t changed enough yet. The education pendulum seems to be stuck on one side: somehow we have to get it back in the middle.

4. What method of teaching has consistently helped more students succeed?

Having been a teacher of 5 year olds for so many years, this is an easy question! With kindergartners, it’s all about hands-on learning! Over the past 33 years, my students and I have tapped the maple trees on the playground and made maple syrup in the classroom. We’ve dug up soil and planted a beautiful sunflower garden in front of the kindergarten classroom windows. We have spent hours watching life cycles in the spring with the tadpoles and in the fall with metamorphic Monarchs.  We’ve walked all over town andgotten to know the people in it as well as invited countless people to come in to share their expertise and teach us stuff we wouldn’t necessarily learn in our kindergarten curriculum. Grandparents have always had open invitations as they tell the best stories and children listen carefully. Whether through performing dozens of scientific experiments or dances on stages, engaging in these types of activities makes it impossible for children to fail. I’ve taught children about squares and rectangles by teaching them the box dance and about triangles by teaching them the waltz: 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3… I am passionate about mathematics. Last week, the children were learning number combinations to 4. I used  bunk-beds fashioned out of personal check boxes and small plastic teddy bear counters. The question of the day was “How many ways can you put those 4 bears to bed?” Very quickly, the children figured it out and took turns coming up with the different combinations. “2 on the top bunk. 2 on the bottom bunk.” “3 on the top bunk. 1 on the bottom bunk.” “4 on the top bunk. They’re all sleeping together! None on the bottom bunk.” When it was time for lunch, no one wanted to go. They wanted to keep playing the game with “bigger” numbers. Hands-on learning has always been the true “hokey pokey” and that’s what it’s really all about!


If you could have more of anything what would that be?

Time! There never seems to be enough hours in a day for me. My mind is always working, working… I go to bed thinking about something my students do not understand, and, believe it or not, in the morning I always have the solution, or an idea about something I can design to help them better understand. You should see my storage totes: they are filled with games, gizmos and doohickeys I have made over the years. I still use them! This is the thing: education, and our world have changed dramatically, but kids really haven’t. Kindergartners are kindergartners through and through. The 18 delightful students I have in my classroom this year still love seeing “Eggbert” go down the ramp in his wooden car and hitting the wall (with and without his seatbelt) as much as my students did years and years ago. They still love to go outside and do the leaf dance as they watch the autumn leaves fall to the ground, and walk through town in the spring, in the rain, walking and splashing through every puddle they see. They still press their noses against the window panes as they watch for the very first snowflake to fall. This is why I have taught kindergarten for so long. It’s always been about how delightful five year olds are…

Can you describe an outstanding moment in the history of your career?

I have been both honored and humbled by receiving several teaching awards and accolades over the years, but really, the hundreds of students I have taught and the support of their parents, are what truly merit to be called “outstanding”.

What does it take to help every student succeed?

Instill in them the belief that they can!

Who inspired you?

Besides Gordan Gayer (my high school history teacher), Nancy DeForge, Grace Miner, and my Dad and Mom? Every single child I have every taught.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why I Love Zombie Apocalypse

Incentives are the reason people learn because incentives drive choices. I could never admit this to my fair trade coffee drinkers, but I love Starbucks.  Every time I buy a coffee I receive a free app or song download.  My app allows me to earn stars that eventually gain me a free coffee.  And when I am lost driving x-country the map app points me in the direction of the nearest Starbucks and the nearest wifi.  But this is not a blog about Starbucks, it is a blog about incentives.  None of these incentives are really amazing.  I could find those same apps for free on line, the free coffee never applies until I spend + $15.00.  And I live in rural Vermont with the nearest Starbucks 50 miles away. Incentives are fun, I take advantage of them which makes me a bit happier to take time to spend money on a cup of jo.   Education works the same way.  Most of my students attend school because they have to not because they want to.  If we can make the day a bit more interesting, with a chance to win arbitrary prizes we embed an incentive for showing us their best work.  The problem is finding the right incentive without spending $$$. And Zombies fit this nicely.

I am new to loving Zombies. I saw World War Z film, became a fan of Walking Dead and read a novel by Max Brooks. I was drawn to chapter connections between a place in the world and fantastical stories of apocalyptic survival.  Max Brooks even presents Vermonters as prominent as builders of utopian societies.  I began plotting a geography unit while hiking with my husband in western areas devastated by mega fires and flash floods. How does one survive in a world of destruction? Unbelievably an interview on NPR with David Hunter  (ted ed video) linking zombies to geography standards was broadcasting as we drove between Utah and New Mexico. This was a sign that the time was right for action.  

I started with a globalization unit introducing students to use of demographics and economic indicators for assessing the state of the world today.  We review the aftermath of World War II and the international organizations (UN, WHO, IMF) that play controversial roles in development.  The culminating project intends to have students predict and create considerable improvements for the world.  Students can either focus on real world developments and predictions or life after a zombie pandemic. Everyone begins with an exploratory of our world of 7 billion people. I recommend using Hans Rosling's gapminder.org video,  200 years of World Health and Wealth to pose the question, why are so many people drawn to living in cities?

Students are given an absolute location of a megacity. Identifying their city on a map earns them a unit guide outlining research on cities with a survival plan for escaping harm. Students document their migration from the city to any safe place on earth utilizing a double entry diary template.  Research leads to meaningful decision making and personal opinion for adding creative design elements to their plan. Juxtaposing diary entries about fantasy and real world studies led to unsolicited, passionate sharing. Each day of this 5 day unit students perform random tasks: push ups, crawls, scavenger hunts, knot tying and interviewing the health office staff about blood born pathogens. I download games from the UN, Nobel Peace Prize, Games for Change as both an incentive and as research into globalization. Gaming excitement led to shared values, discussions and drove students to seriously consider: What would your game design look like if you wanted to educate people about global issues? How would you write a better game?

Bonus points earned become the discussion points for designing escape vehicles, weapons, costume and safe bunkers.  Students used points to travel certain distances. They build communities and they designed a better world. Points do not impact the actual grade but they are the incentives that drive choice and a learn to increase their knowledge of the world.  Students can not engage in extra activities until assignments are completed.  So, how should we prepare for a world of 7 billion Zombies?  This unit is transformational. Preparing for Zombie apocalypse means preventing such a world from existing.  We all finish as heroes. 




Discussion Boards

My Wall of Discussion at   Padlet
Outline of Presentation
  1. Introduction- What is Haiku?   (Peter)
    1. management structure for 24 hour access
    2. engaged from anywhere in the world (teacher & student)
  2. Why we use discussion boards in a learning platform
    1. Problems of Democracy
    2. Haiku- add responses to discussion posts
    3. assignment list
  3. Assessment- 
    1. AP US History Assessment retakes
    2. Usage Statistics Data
    3. Wiki Projects
  4. Common Core 
    1. RH.11-12.4 Craft & Structure 
    2. WHST.11-12.6 Production & Distribution of writing.
    3. selecting a topic- collaborating and writing- RH.11-12.7 Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
  5. Assessment
    1. Rubrics- Zombies & Asynchronous learning
    2. Video Discussion- NAFTA, Peer Editing (no picture!)
    3. student input- the Pen Pal Project
  6. -Possibilities
    1. video chats while gaming (Google Chats) 
    2. twitter
    3. publish   ie- theeducatorsroom.com
Overview-
I am a social constructivist. I believe that discussion in its many forms leads to better published ideas, better outcomes and meaningful writing.  I believe that people need incentives to engage in productive discussion.  Reading alone is not enough of an incentive.  Reading is complex and it requires many experiences with text for truly contextual connections.  This is why I offer a classroom in which games, simulations and activities are practiced or observed prior to discussion, prior to writing.

Teachers benefit from presenting the same content year after year in a variety of engaging experiences and knowing their content well.  I was raised in the era of Sage on Stage and began my career learning how to lecture to an audience.  My first teaching experience was in a school that embraced Gardiner's Multiple Intelligences; student research was based on their interest and discussion was not an interest of the majority. In the 1990s I attended workshops on the Socratic Dialogue prior to the use of the internet. I still have a 4 digit Yahoo! account. Yup.  Vintage. My teaching network spread out across the country where I studied with game designers for economic standards. I was taught how to introduce an economic principle, present a hypothesis and then offer set rules for a simulation. Interactions led to discussions which led to constructed proofs.  Over time I developed a myriad of ways of engaging students.

Discussion format is forever changing. The tools for discussion are never the same even though the outcomes always yield the same positive results.  Students who discuss knowledge own their knowledge.  Which is why I am surprised and disappointed that it is not a direct Common Core standard.  Asking clarifying questions, defending an idea, ranking, racing a clock, hearing rhythms, repeating an idea are all forms of discussion. Chats, Polls, Messaging, Tweeting have given us tools for clarifying an idea in the shortest of dialogues.  I edit my tweets at least three times before sending.
Students who have to defend their thesis orally, often make quick changes based on positive feedback and then write a perfect thesis. Students who collaborate in discussion about different Silk Roads are better able to write a compare contrast essay of discoveries and inventions based on long distance trade.

What is next?  I'm assuming that video playback especially in short form will follow tools similar in style to Twitter.  Students revel in quick messaging.  Why not follow that trend?  My students do not like posting to a flat site.  They like posting to spaces that offer immediate feedback. Asynchronous dialogue is also essential to dialoguing as newcomers enter or leave a conversation at any time.  I'm now considering teams students together with one student gaming and the other tweeting like a commentator on the progression.  The analysis of all contributing commentators would give students an experience for final analysis. Or require students to Tweet commentary while watching a film or video.  What if their initial reactions to characters in a film changed over the course of the film? That would be fun to analyze.