These Days

Learn something new every day: it’s called BOKEH ART—when you cut out shapes in cardboard and then put them over your camera lens and get cool crazy light effects, like so:

Lovely.

Anyway, some times when I’m driving these days, I feel like I just want to keep going. I’m so ready for our road trip out west, I’m ready to leave Austin, and I’m ready to start the next phase in my life—whatever that may hold.

It’s been an amazing year, an unexpectedly hard year (personally, which affected the professionally), and a year of great growth…but I am ready to be done with school, e.g. the late nights, the weekend classes, the long-distance relationship.

One more week left to go. Our final presentations are Saturday, April 30, 7 pm.

May is going to be bittersweet and emotional. My years in Austin have been blessed by the people I have had the honor to call friend here. Heart full.

Oh my…I was going to start posting more photos of the people I love, but I have much too much work to do to delve into that rabbit hole today. Maybe in May! Here’s newish photos on Flickr in the meantime.

And Mike arrives in Austin Tuesday! Yay!

Teacher Research / Design Research

This intro to a special issue of the Teachers College Record on teacher research reminded me of design research & synthesis and how we often have to remind people that qualitative research is just as important as quantitative.

Of course they, and we, know that it’s impossible and perhaps reckless to draw sweeping conclusions from small samples (in some cases, one child). The easiest way for me to say it is this: When I read, for example, Mesler’s (2009) draft and learned about Christopher, the retained student to whom she gave the job of peer counseling, I was profoundly moved. If I were Christopher’s parent, I would thank God that he ended up in Mesler’s classroom rather than in another where he might have been viewed as “a lazy student with a bad attitude.” If I were a teacher having a bad day, I might read her account and be reminded of the impact I can have on young lives and perhaps make a little extra effort  with that kid who really annoys me. And I guess I’d like to think that if I were a policy maker reading this piece, I would be reminded in a powerful way that education has to do with more than test scores and seat time. As Erica Litke’s (2009) paper reminds us, just because the bodies are in the after-school program doesn’t mean it’s a successful program.

To learn from research, we must be willing to open ourselves up to thinking differently about problems and dilemmas. Clearly, these accounts will look different from the research that many of us, as academics, are used to reading and writing. I hope this will not deter readers from seeing the value and the wisdom in what our teacher-authors have to tell us. Research may surely tell us what to do, based on scientifically designed methodologies and empirical evidence, but it may also give us inspiration, or ways to think differently, or even hope. Our teacher authors do not purport to have the answers, but they are willing to share their thinking, anticipating that we will be moved to reexamine ours.

[p.s. Why is their logo so reminiscent of Gap’s recent redesign faux pas?]

The blogs I read for sanity

I used to be a GoogleReader junkie. I loved it because I was able to easily email funny/interesting/poignant things to specific individuals. Some of that sharing has now transferred to Twitter, but I miss the emails and pinging my friends on a more personal level. I haven’t found myself on GoogleReader much this past year because I’ve been too busy with school.

A point of relief: (with both GoogleReader and Twitter) I have now reached a volume of people/things that I no longer feel the need to reach “inbox 0.” I don’t have the compulsion to read every single thing in order not to miss anything.

Then it becomes interesting to see which blogs I actively seek out on my own.

Here are the few I still check manually these days, usually when I want a mental health break.

  • 3191 Miles Apart: weekly dose of inspiration and slowness
  • Sweet Fine Day: Designer Jenna Park is so honest about her life, parenting, family, trials and tribulations of being a business owner…it’s a comforting read for me whether they’re going through an up or a down.
  • Dear Mom: Maura Grace is my classmate’s wife. She works at Johnson Backyard Garden. Her photo-filled, light-filled blog always makes me smile.
I also used to check  The Uniform Project every day, but they’ve stopped doing daily pilots. And for some reason, I’ve stopped feeling the urge to read food writing, but my go-to for those cravings is definitely Molly Wizenberg at Orangette. I also love friend Leslie’s blog over at Lilly & Louise for a regular dose of design inspiration: continually delighted by her work.
Spring is crazy. Don’t forget to breathe!

Sarah Kay TED talk


Holy smoke, this is good. Watch Sarah Kay’s TED talk. She is a spoken-word artist, she is a contagious bundles of compelling energy, and she is 22 years old.

I know a TED talk is resonating with me when I feel compelled to take notes during it:

jean luc godard: “every story has a beginning, middle, and end. even if you’re not sure which comes when”

trick teenagers into writing poetry — list poem:
“10 things I know to be true”

you find that:

  1. some things are the same on 2 lists.
  2. some are different
  3. some you’re never heard about before
  4. and some you thought you knew everything about but they’ve introduced it in a new angle of looking at it

where great stories come from: those 4 intersections of your passions and other’s passions

things you know to be true turned into poems = stories only you can tell.

Step 1: I can

Step 2: I will

Step 3: Infusing your work with the specific things that make you, you…even though they never stop changing. step 3 never ends. [I am all of me.]

[via rubyku and kristinalugo]

The Bicycle City trailer

Currently dubious about international development efforts because I’m in the middle of reading Jacqueline Novogratz’s The Blue Sweater (she founded Acumen Fund), but I would watch this documentary.

Seems like they’re creating an infrastructure around bikes/biking/bike repair alongside infusion of goods, so that’s positive.

[via @thewolftrap]