Tag Archives: hacking

Beach Time

Everyone loves the beach in the summer.  There’s the sun and the sand, the salty water and the cool ocean breezes.  Just the smell of sunscreen brings images of summertime at the beach to mind.  But there is more to the beach than a vacation destination.  For some of us regular beach goers, the beach is a year-round place made up of many different kinds of regulars.

The obvious, of course, are the surfers.  The most dedicated of them never miss a day.  Rain or shine, fog or sun, whether the waves are “crumbly” or “blown out,” they are always there. They come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and all skill levels.  They carry their boards on their heads, under their arms, or in specially designed carriers on their bikes.  It’s a hobby, a passion, a profession, or a combination of all of those.


There are the walkers, the exercisers, the ones who see the beach as a wide open outdoor gym.  Barefoot or in tennis shoes, they range the lengths of the shore, clocking their mileage, checking their pace, using stones as hand weights or racing up and down the steep beach staircases to test their cardio capacities.

surfing madonna

And there are the artists, who see the beach as their canvas.  With rake or rocks or bubble wands, they find their inspiration in the gifts the sea has to offer.  They know her moods, her rhythms, her offerings.  And they acknowledge her power and presence.  They breathe in the brine and spill out their visions, making art for others to interact with, not just seeing it but feeling it in its raw beauty and playfulness.

chasing bubbles

This art, designed to be fleeting, washed away by its inspiration, also inspires my art.  With my camera strapped around my neck, I work to capture those fleeting moments of surfers and exercisers and artists in pixels and prints. I make my mark as I write my world with the light and shadow I see through my lens.

The beach is my place and I am happy to share it with everyone.


An Invitation to Hack

On Hack Your Notebook Day I found myself thinking about all the possibilities for hacking curriculum.  Especially as we think about our students and who we are and are not reaching with our teaching,, we often think about the materials we are compelled or choose to use.  I feel strongly about the need for teachers to hack their curriculum on the behalf of their students…and to encourage students to hack the curriculum for themselves too.

hacking hands

By curriculum, I don’t just mean those self-contained programs in binders and workbooks, but also the novel unit, the teacher-developed projects and materials, the cute unit inspired by a pin on pinterest… Even the lessons we have poured heart and soul into–they all deserve careful scrutiny with our students’ needs in mind.

We all have students who need scaffolds and we all know (or are) teachers who need scaffolds…there’s nothing wrong with leaning on some support structures.  The problem, for me, is when the structures get in the way of student learning and teacher development.  My least favorite words out of the mouth of a teacher are, “Just tell me what you want me to do!”  And I’m not really fond of those words from students either.  They imply a lack of investment, a lack of agency, a lack of understanding of purpose and audience.  And all of those might be true.

So what do we (I) do about it?  I propose that we hack.  Let’s carefully examine the materials we are required to use and/or decide to use.  Who do they work for in our classroom?  Who benefits?  Who doesn’t?  Who do we give permission to “break the rules?”  Who is handcuffed by the materials?


Experiencing the Underbelly

I often write about the benefits of being a connected educator.  Today I experienced a bit of the underbelly.

As I do everyday, I spent my morning teaching students.  We sang, discussed, explored some new math strategies, wrote and shared.  From the time school started until lunch, I didn’t have time to email or post or tweet.  But apparently my twitter account did…

When I looked at my phone at lunchtime I noticed a number of twitter alerts and text messages visible on the lock screen.  Texts from my son and my nephew warning me that I’d been hacked alongside DM (direct message) notices from people I don’t know (even virtually) recommending web links to me–and one from a friend asking if I had been hacked.  I had a few twitter mentions from some virtual friends suggesting I change my password because they were getting DMs from me.  A peek at my email showed some more messages from people I know recommending that I change my password–they too were getting DMs from me.

I also got an email from Twitter telling me my password had been reset.  Apparently my account had been quite busy while I was otherwise occupied with my teaching!

So I spent some time resetting my password, and then responding to my friends and family to let them know that I appreciated their advice and warning.  I also noticed that I wasn’t the only one victimized by Twitter spamming today.  Here are a couple of other tweets pointing out the problem.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 7.28.41 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 7.29.24 PM

I don’t like that my account was hacked or that it looked like I was sending out annoying messages to my Twitter community.  But I also know that this goes with the territory.  Being a connected educator means that I have to deal with the hassles of technology and social media as well as reap the benefits of it.

I appreciate that my Twitter community remains cool and matter of fact even when faced with annoying and sometimes confusing security breaches…and they help me know how to act when I experience these same issues.

And in spite of the problems, I remain a connected educator.