Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ah, May

Ah May, when a Mindstorms maker's mind turns to Indianapolis ...

A maze(ing)

Mazes: an architecture of "compression and delay." Here is a neat work-around using a maze.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sketching the Times

An inside glimpse of how the the New York Times comes to press was encouraging to me. Tom Bodmer, the NYT's creative director, always makes hand-drawn pencil sketches of the front page to visualize the how that layout reflects the intended focus of the news.

“I kind of know what this stuff is going to look like,” he said. “I don’t need to see the page in any higher fidelity in order to visualize it. I just need to work out the relative position of elements and scale — and that’s much faster with a pencil.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

StreamStats: delineating watersheds

To continue from my last post, here is the output from StreamStats from the USGS. Once you click on a point in your stream it "delineates" the watershed that feeds that point! So here is the Bumps Creek watershed and a sampling of the accompanying characteristics: drain area = 7.6 sq. miles, elevation change = 64 feet per mile, length of elevation contour = 40.61 miles, etc.


Just used the Model My Watershed at the WikiWatershed. I used the "free draw" to ballpark the area of Bumps Creek and it posts tabs about land use, farm animal estimates and soil hydrology. Pretty cool.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Your stuff

Recapping our exhibits of student work thus far this year.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Reflecting back

Made a pitch back in October to our new teachers and their mentors for using the librarian and library. This was my framing slideshow.  Happy to say that, through the year, the organizing teacher of that presentation took me up on almost every aspect of my talk. Teams of one, again. And, as my high school art teacher used to say, "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

Well done

Received a very nice thank-you poster from the 6th grade class that visited our WWI exhibition in April. Beyond their gracious gesture, I applaud the teacher who saw in our exhibit an opportunity to fashion a prideful writing assignment around a real-world experience where their writing effort carries actual meaning, not just the prospect of a grade. Well done.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


I have been an advocate of "making comparisons" as a tool for higher-level thinking when students engage in research projects. This month's Dig magazine reinforces that notion with its theme of parallel lives; comparing "different times, similar struggles" through the lives of two protagonists: Patrick Henry / Sojourner Truth,  Fulvia / Benazir Bhutto, etc.

What I learned is that this form was made famous nearly 2000 years ago by Plutarch in his Parallel Lives or Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans; the inspiration for this issue ... and for its continued use.

So how about end-of-the-semester Global Studies or U.S. History students reaching back into their year to draw some comparisons about "different times, similar struggles." That practice might help them identify similarities in future events.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

One thing leading to another

A BOCES colleague introduced me to the HP Sprout today. I am neither here nor there about the tool, but where do I sign up to work at the school in their video?

Art @ Afton 2017 @ ACSLIB

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tie in

Student art show in the library next week. Just in time to break out our new Cooperative Collection art and maker books.


Lunch at home

Out with my plate of hot pasta
to sit amid our fountains of daffodils

until I am distracted by
a racket at the creekside.

I approach, plate in hand,

until the green banks burst
in a shower of sparks -  mobs of

goldfinches deliciously arcing
out of the understory

and landing, glowing again,
hot on each branch.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

April is National Poetry Month

Write something that is entirely yours to keep and share.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hometown cool!

So my principal, who has been down to see our WWI exhibit (see earlier posts), sent me this link to the NYS Museum' s own WWI exhibit that opened April 15th : A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War.

Imagine my delight when I clicked on their link to images of selected artifacts and found several that are on exhibit in our school library courtesy of our Afton Historical Society! Cool!
New York State Museum,

Our exhibit samples:


Monday, April 10, 2017

WWI Exhibit

Installed our WWI Exhibit from the Afton Historical Society today. Here are few sneak previews of the April 17-21 show.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The bald truth

“Netflix tells its shareholders that it is not in the movie business or in the television business, but in the attention business, and that its competition is not CBS or NBC Universal or YouTube, but everything: every video game, online lecture, book, football game, advertisement, poem, sermon, or daydream. We who produce knowledge are also in the attention business — competing against everything else for time and place on the screens that we carry around and shuttle to and from every few minutes. To direct attention to the real knowledge that we produce, publishing our material online for free use and reuse is the first step.”

In the Post-Truth Era, Colleges Must Share Their Knowledge
By Peter B. Kaufman April 02, 2017
The Chronicle Review

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6th email to ACS staff

   At 1:38 this afternoon, 100 years ago, the United States entered the World War I. It seems both a long time ago, and not very long ago at all, yes?

    As part of this centennial, the MS/HS Library will be hosting WWI artifacts from the collection of the Afton Historical Society from April 17-21. This loan from the historical society marks an important precedent for the Society and for our school.

    The holdings of the society at the Afton Museum are rich local teaching resources for technology, physical science, culture, media, communication, history, agriculture, and problem-solving. That the society is willing to loan many of these items, and that this library will gladly curate exhibits, opens a trove primary source documents and artifacts that not only “connect” our community to your instruction, but that also afford a “museum visit” on your own terms: extended-multiple visits, your selection of artifacts, and a level of interaction & participation that enhances engagement.

    I encourage you to consider a visit to the museum (perhaps an in-service day field trip together?) and to the MS/HS Library to open yourself to possibilities of their collection in supporting your units of instruction. Not only do your students stand to benefit, but the Society stands to benefit from this collaboration; with opportunities for students to enhance their mission through digitizing artifacts, creating multi-media displays, and providing context for items through student research projects.

    I hope we will acknowledge this helping hand that has so graciously been extended to our students by working together to bring a calendar of exhibits to our school in the next academic year.

Thank you,


Pre-exhibit images

My library-lobby display-screen features some of these images in anticipation of our WWI artifact exhibit April 17-21.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April is ...

Even if my April poems aren't iambic or rhymed, I think they sort of gambol along as posted.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Two or three ideas

I visited the Milton Glaser art exhibit this weekend at Binghamton University. It featured several of his pieces as huge wall-sized graphics adhered to the walls. This morning I overheard a student in our lobby trying to convince a friend that they should paint one of the lobby columns with one of their past designs.

So I made up some of these overlays to share and move their ideas along.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

First step

Beginning our Spring issue of our Arts at ACS publication. First step is printing out contact sheets of all the artwork, then curating which will go next to which on double-page spreads. I paste them into a little mock-up book, then use that as I build the pages using InDesign.

Pre-War preparations

Getting together our advertising for our World War I exhibit in the April: handbills, tabletops, postcards.

A vehicle for engaging students

In support of our library's after-school teen center activities, our principal brought in his cool 1/5 scale, gas-powered RC car for display. Turning heads already.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Historical Perspective from the State Department

Some concise pieces on the Milestones of U.S. Foreign Relations from the Office of the Historian at the U.S. State Department.

More about them from their web site:

"The Office of the Historian is staffed by professional historians who are experts in the history of U.S. foreign policy and the Department of State and possess unparalleled research experience in classified and unclassified government records. The Office’s historians work closely with other federal government history offices, the academic historical community, and specialists across the globe.
The Office of the Historian is responsible, under law, for the preparation and publication of the official documentary history of U.S. foreign policy in the Foreign Relations of the United States series.
In addition, the Office prepares policy-supportive historical studies for Department principals and other agencies. These studies provide essential background information, evaluate how and why policies evolved, identify precedents, and derive lessons learned. Department officers rely on institutional memory, collective wisdom, and personal experience to make decisions; rigorous historical analysis can sharpen, focus, and inform their choices. The Office of the Historian conducts an array of initiatives, ranging from briefing memos to multi-year research projects.
The Office of the Historian also promotes the declassification of documents to ensure a complete and accurate understanding of the past."

*Wanted to add some italics of my own, but I figure you had your red pencil out too.

Encore performance

Still one of the best and most chilling data-driven animations I have seen: