CLMOOC Week #4: Hack Your Writing


Last week the CLMOOC Week #4 was about hacking our writing. I had a hard time grasping what that meant. On Wednesday we all shared in Hack Your Notebook Day (HYNB2014). It was super fun creating electrical circuits in a little notebook and creating little drawings that lit up. This didn’t have much to do with writing, but it was fun, and I think I might be able to think of ways to use it in my classroom. Imagine, you read a story with the class, and you want them to react in some way to it. Maybe they draw their “Aha!” moment, and then make it light up. Now that is a lot of work for one Aha Moment, but maybe I could come up with a way to make it worth spending that much time on it. Engagement, for one thing. I search for engagement with my students, always.

Beyond the notebook hack, however, I was kind of lost by the writing hack assignment.  Is it creating something digital like a ThingLink to tell a story? A digital story of sorts as a way to make what you have to say more vivid and engaging? Maybe.

I thought about a poem I’d rewritten a few months ago. I took the poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” by Wallace Stevens and rewrote it as “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Classroom.” My friend and colleague, Tanya Baker calls this hacking a piece of writing. Lord knows I’ve done plenty of that. I love to find an interesting piece of writing and change it up. So this is hacking my writing? But what is new about that? Maybe I should take my hacked poem and further hack it by making it digital?

Creating this Haiku Deck of the poem was interesting as I discovered that the photo I chose for each card was a way of hacking the poem. The photo had the power to change something poignant to something a little funny. So then is this a multi-layer hack? From the original poem to my rewritten poem to a HaikuDeck presentation with photos?

But then someone mentioned that a hack by its nature needs to include an aspect of subversion, and I was gone. It has to be subversive? As in what? Examples, please.  I didn’t find such an example, so I remained in a state of flummox.  All week. Until today when I decided to try to sort it out by writing about it. And maybe I’m now a little closer to getting what I mean.


6 thoughts on “CLMOOC Week #4: Hack Your Writing

  1. Sheri Edwards says:

    I love your notebook. I too don’t quite see how to use my time that way. I’ll need to do it to understand it. Hacking. Subversive. I think of the word love and all its meanings because we use the word, hacking it for different reasons somewhat connected. I love my husband. I love vanilla bean ice cream. I think hack follows the same path of use.

  2. lynnjake says:

    Hm,interesting way of looking at hacking, via the different uses of a word like love. I’ll be thinking about this for a while, I think. It’s almost like “hack” is just four letters now, rather than a concept. Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting, Sheri!

  3. Sheri Edwards says:

    I was just thinking that we have adapted words to different situations so, of course, the meaning changes. That’s what we are doing with the word hack, don’t you think?

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