Never Say Never

It could be that summer vacation is starting to feel too long (I know, sounds crazy, right?)…

It’s probably because on July 8th, I was part of a Connected Learning discussion at Arcadia University…

It’s probably because at that discussion I learned about CLMOOC and joined in on the fun…

What Art teacher could say no?  Not me, I jumped right in…
Make Cycle 1: Collaborative Coloring Book
coloring page  
#SilentSunday photo post

and I’ll be joining Thursday night Twitter chats @RadnorHSArt.

It’s probably because I keep making things
Anything creative to connect with my students, inspiring them to be makers, can been seen at RadnorHSArt

Personal things (my students don’t need to know everything I do) can be seen at Traderjeanie

Lastly, my small businessArt Recycles has a new home and I am in the process of creating again.

So here I am, BLOGGING when I said that I’d never blog again.  (#ED677’s lasting impact)

However, I’m compromising with myself; less words, more photos and links.


On Star Wars day (May the 4th/force be with you), I posted this…

On Star Wars day (May the 4th/force be with you), I posted this meme to my Facebook. This image shows Princess Leia using a droid named R2D2 to record a help/warning signal in an effort to save the universe from the forces of evil. This is work that many of us are engaged in right now with our Android operating system phones. This is important work. Never forget that one changed mind can change the world…

One year ago this month the cartoonist for Farm News for the…

One year ago this month the cartoonist for Farm News for the last two decades, Rick Friday was fired for drawing this cartoon. This reminded me of a classmate’s struggle to keep her job as an art teacher and keep art relevant in an age where people worship science, technology, and math. Never forget that art has the power to change things…

Here’s a link to the article about Rick’s firing:

One of my classmates, Samantha, during our final online hangout,…

One of my classmates, Samantha, during our final online hangout, talked about an experience she had where one of her students drew a swastika and before she got angry took a step back and realized that they didn’t know what they were drawing. This reminds me of an experience I had traveling through an area nearby the Chinese/Indian border. I started noticing swastikas on buildings and it didn’t make sense to me until I too, took a step back and remembered the history of the symbol.  For 5,000 years this symbol meant peace. It is connected to Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. It is the equivalent of ex-ing/crossing out one’s ego, opening the way for compassion and love of all. During this same Google hangout session, I posted the self portrait above of me posing in meditation, as part of my final project for the class. It was illustrating Kevin Kumashio’s assertion that teachers should be viewed as healers.  Later that night I came across an article explaining that white supremacists have begun using the hand symbol above to represent “white power.”  Once again a gesture that for thousands of years symbolized peace is becoming known as a symbol of hate…..

The hand gesture or “mudra” above symbolizes peace and softness and also knowledge/wisdom among Buddhists and HIndus.  In yoga, the circle formed by the forefinger joined with the thumb allows the energy to re-circulate from the heart center out to the fingers and back. Here’s a blog illustrating this and other “connections.”

A review of Kevin Kumashrio’s his ideas can be found here:

One of my classmates this semester, talked about her final…

One of my classmates this semester, talked about her final project having to do with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan The global crisis of taking care of the planet’s land and water can be addressed by connectedness.  Above is a drawing I did of Nobel Peace Prize winner the late Dr. Wangari Maathai from Kenya. Her Green Belt Movement of planting millions of trees in Africa has inspired similar efforts worldwide.  The following words of wisdom from her speak about the need to connect with others in order to change things: “We all need to work hard to make a difference in our neighborhoods, regions, and countries, and in the world as a whole. That means making sure we work hard, collaborate with each other, and make ourselves better agents to change.”

Self assessment

Here are my self-assessment questions:

  • How well do you feel you met these expectations this semester?

I believe that I met these expectations weekly especially regarding the reading assignments, weekly making, reflecting and sharing. It was not easy as I was juggling this course, my work, my family and my culminating masters project at the same time so this is why I always posted so late, usually on Sundays. I also attended all but one online meeting and participated to the class discussions while we were connecting. I engaged with some of my colleagues at work and I wished I had been able to connect with more students from ED677. I connected with the students from my other class especially those who were working with ESL students. We exchanged many ideas for students’ projects. Even though I did not post my reflection on my blog the first time around I did take notes and reflected on the principle of CL and how I could integrate them in and outside the classroom. The shared purpose principle is the one that made me click and started my designing of my final make.

  • Where do you think you could have improved?

I think I could have improved in my commenting on my peers’ blogs. I started the semester commenting but I never got a single comment except from Christina herself and it was discouraging for me so I stopped commenting on other blogs.

  • How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your connected learning moving forward?

I should remember to try new things and not be afraid of the wobbling aspect that comes with trying things that I have never done before. As my school district will be launching a new technology phase by providing each student with a laptop, I need to continue focusing on adapting or creating projects that could connect students locally or internationally. I also want to add a social justice aspect to my projects that has been missing up until I started working on my final make.

  • What else do you want me to consider when assessing your performance and participation over the past semester?

Even though my posts were rather late in the week, I completed all the weekly reading, video, annotating assignments. Blogging was a learning curve for me but I got used to doing it and I am fairly proud of myself for sticking with posting each week.

My final make and our shared gathering

My final make is an event that will take place at CB South, the high school where I teach, on June 2nd at 6pm. I am the advisor to the club “Girls International” which aims at raising awareness and educating students about the plight of girls in certain countries around the world. My inquiry for the class was looking into how to improve exchanges between students of different backgrounds or educate people about cultural diversity. In that spirit my final make is presentation to the community of a documentary entitled Girl Rising

It presents 9 girls from Haiti, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Egypt, Peru, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan on their journey to get an education. It is a powerful movie that gives a heart wrenching image of girls living conditions while also bringing hope in the way these girls fight to get the education they deserve. Taking ED 677 this semester was my impetus to turn this project into a community event. Like I said during my presentation I am tired of the generic and in vogue terms like “raising awareness” or “advocacy” and I wanted to do a little more than just have members of the club participate in the event. I asked these very members to organize other events around the documentary such as sharing ethnic food, showing art with an emphasis on education, bring in vendors or local organizations such as a Woman’s place, having raffles for a fundraiser. They organized into committees, each one in charge of an aspect of the event.

My objective with this project is for students, parents, faculty and community members to pay more attention to such grave issues as girls education around the world. My hope is that by seeing and discussing what can be done to help them they will gain an interest in people outside of their community or even within their community. This is a comment that one of my classmates made during my presentation last week which had a lasting effect on me. Before looking at what we can do abroad it is also enlightening to look in one’s own “backyard” because there are also a lot of people who could use our help. It was a humbling comment. I also appreciated another comment about my moves being small moves and not being useless despite what I believe regarding raising awareness.

My project is inspired by the CL principles of shared purposed as my members and I are all working to building our first and greatest event so far. Collaboration is another principle that was part of our meeting this past week as we continued working on our art projects. Below are some pictures of our painting workshop in my room.


Peer support and interest-driven are 2 other elements that are present in this project. My members are there for each other and very much involved in the project . They give each other constructive feedback especially when it comes to making decisions that will impact the event. They feel strongly that they are part of the answer when it comes to making this world a better place for everyone and I think that is the key to this club, they don’t feel that they do not have the power to change things. They strive for equity for all, everywhere, no matter where you were born, no matter if you are a male, female, transgender or whatever else.

I am very much looking forward to the day of the event and seeing how it turns out. This idea of small move is definitely growing on me. Yes, small move but hopefully big impact!


Thanks for reading!



Designing for equity

After this semester I have a much better idea of what the concept of Connected Learning (CL) means in the classroom. Breaking down the various components was helpful for me to see how I could address these aspects in my class.

What stuck the most with me regarding CL are the collaborative , playful/making and social aspects of it. To give students the opportunity to create something with someone is a powerful tool because it pulls from people’s emotional side and has a lasting effect. It is also an invitation to share one’s points of view, engage in discussions and hopefully maybe understand other’s perspectives

In that way I find that connected learning has a lot to offer, by bringing people together and facilitating exchanges between people who would not necessarily interact.

Self Assessment-Tosch.0

Previously expressed in my final make, Connected Learning was a relatively new concept to me with the exception of the brief research I conducted before selecting it as one of my focuses for the Masters of Education program here at Arcadia.  It seemed like a progressive approach to education that fit my endeavors in Higher Education, so I chose it along with Urban Education as part of a custom built modular program.  I explored the principles of Connected Learning with an open mind, but I was somewhat apprehensive in the beginning because it was an unaccustomed approach to learning for me.  Furthermore, we learned about the concepts by engaging in them which was also a unique experience. 

Although I may have started off a little “wobbly” I feel as though I met the expectations well this semester by slowly but consistently improving my understanding of “seeking equity in Connected Learning” and the assignments.  With greater understanding I was able to produce better quality comprehensive assignments. Although I was challenged with modifying the assignments to fit my current professional experience and goals in higher education, I believe it made me more adaptive and proficient in the final weeks.

There is always opportunity for growth in learning and I think my experience yields room for improvement.   I am full time father, administrator and student so sometimes I was pressed for time and had to rush some assignments to stay on task.  Reflecting back over the semester I feel as though I could have read more blog posts and given more qualitative feedback to my classmates.  I felt the online class sessions/discussions were very helpful in terms of digesting the material and collectively receiving feedback from my classmates. Unfortunately, I missed a few discussions do to scheduling conflicts that could have enriched my learning experience for that week.

Reflecting on this past semester’s accomplishments has revealed that I’ve already improved my connected learning, which continues to resonate throughout my professional development.  I think the “Big Bang Stem” event hosted at Community College of Philadelphia that was presented in my “final make” was a perfect example of applying the principles of “seeking equity in Connected Learning” in a real life tangible situation.  Using the ideologies of interest driven, productions centered, peer supported, shared interest and open networked learning while seeking equity throughout the planning stages greatly improved the event for our learners.  The “proof was in the pudding”, and I will continue to use the influences of ED 676 throughout my endeavors in education.

I ask that you consider the challenges of being in a class justly customized for mostly traditional active classroom teachers opposed to myself working in an administrative position in higher education.  Although my assignments connected to my professional development, I feel at times I had to be more adaptive in making connections to my specific career goals. Ultimately I think my unfamiliarity with connected learning and non-traditional education position may have actually enriched my learning experience and capitalized my progress in ED 676.

My final “make” for ED677

We have reached the end of the semester here at Arcadia University, and what an eventful one it has been!  I feel like I have learned so much from this class, from my instructor, and from my awesome classmates.  I have seen so much beautiful, heartfelt work, and I feel honored to have had this learning opportunity.

For my final “make” of the semester, I created a website called Create Theatre.  I realized that the best connected learning experiences I have had have taken place in the theatre.  It is a truly connected medium, requiring the input and cooperation of many different people with different interests and different skill sets working together towards the same shared goal.  This is the world I default back to because it is what I know, and it is what I adore.

My idea for this website grew out of playing around with app ideas, which we did several weeks ago in ED677.  I wanted to figure out a way to bring the equity component into the collaborative and connected world of theatre.  As most educators know, the arts are the first things to go when schools face cutbacks.  Theatre, studio art, and music programs suffer long before sports.  It’s just the way it’s always been in America.  Unfortunately, a lot of students depend on theatre, art, and music programs just as much as others depend on football or basketball.  For many students, the arts are the only reason they attend school, or the only thing that makes school bearable.  This is where my website comes in.  High school students can use this website to collaborate on theatre in their own time.  If kids from the same community want to collaborate in person, that’s fantastic.  If kids from across the country or across the world want to collaborate, they can do this through the wonders of personal camera phones or school webcams.  I will give the students a scene to “produce,” and they will decide who is acting, directing, designing, and editing video.  In this way I hope to make something that is such a big part of who I am accessible to any high schooler who would be interested, but is unable to explore their curiosity in school.

My website is not perfect yet, but I am happy with the idea, and I hope I can make some other people happy with it as well.

Until next time,


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