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Greg McVerry

My Decemeber #ukulele songs #clmooc

2 min read

The underground curriculum has three course, but on top of the classes you work on two songs a week. Then drop those songs. Howver you mix in 1-2 older songs from previous weeks.

In December I worked on:

  • Waiting in Vane
  • Stand By Me
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Jambalya

Waiting in Vane

A good song simplified to a different key practice a 4/4 count. Being a Reggae tune I am starting the first verse on the 2nd count.


Stand By Me

This song is fun. Good practice singing and strumming to different rhythms because it is slow. Being C, Am, F, G, C it provides a good basis for other songs


Friend of the Devil

A Grateful Dead classic of only four chords. I struggle with the strumming pattern. A bit fast and an upstrum after the four beat. I so wanna finish on a 4 beat down strum. I often end up just with an ududud and trying to keep time with the 4/4 count.


Fire on the Mountain

Another easy Dead tune. Just two chords. I made myself a scale tent to practice B Major Mixolydian. Sounds so fresh, drips in srpring rain as a scale. I am also trying Barr chords here. Realized you need to be gentle not apply too much pressure.

This is another stum pattern I am trying to find. Struggiling a bit. Need to just keep practicing slow and move up the tempo.

Again finishes on an upstrum, but I think I need to drop the first two down strums with a bit more mojo.

There is a reason John MAyer fell in love with the Grateful Dead. Every song usually just a couple chords, no real progression, and just a scale. Yet you can go anywhere to places no one has traveled in spaces trampled on on for centuries.



A Hank Williams traditional. A eight note udud to practice. First song I really learned.


January Goals:

Arpeggios, Rolls, and Chunking. Time to hang with the right hand.

Week one songs: Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison and Guava Jelly by Bob Marley

Greg McVerry

My Ukulele Curriculum

2 min read

I had my first lesson with Aldrine Guerrero today. As a goal we wanted to develop a curriculum for my playing.

I decided to take lessons as I learned a couple chords, like to make noise pretending I knew scales, and had annoyed everyone in my family pretending to know a few songs.

Basically hit a wall in learning teachers can only break. You can practice chess for years but until you study growth will not occur. Music no different.

Teachers make studying easier. Good ones make it fun.


Ukulele 100, and 101

I said I completed these, but I more skimmed 100 and have gotten through first parts of 101. Just thought I know AA minor and C, so skip. Knowledge though not the point. Anyone can say hold the third fret down on the bottom string.

Repeating how to play a C ain't the same as knowing how a C should feel when it licks your ears with a nice natural drop (lesson from one of the two).

As suspected I picked up a few bad habit over last coupld months by trying to just skip over basics.

Routines and practice matter more than knowing.


I loved Aldrine's approach to learning songs as a tool to learning to play. Every week I pick 2-3 songs but drop them at the end of the week. Step away. Makes sense. A strategy writers use all the time. Then in month two I drop back in 1-2 songs from the cycle.

Finding your Swing

I really enjoyed the strumming lesson classes and need to practice the "not playing" motion. Relax my wrist a bit more to get a natural drop . Yet I loved some of the comments that you can't be wrong a strum pattern. Each person will develop their own quirks and each song open to interpretation. I had fears of pages and pages of strum patterns and a metronome all up in my space.

Overall I am excited I settled on Ukulele Underground as my community. I picked this place more for it is a place and not a series of video lectures alone. Will need to pick some non work times to meet. Found it hard to switch off work brain and flip right into chill out and jam brain. Excited to start my UU journey in the New Year

Greg McVerry

EDU106 Portfolio Module

4 min read


Goal of the Module

You will create a portfolio website that tracks your efforts to make yourself or the world a better place. There are a number of ideas you can choose from:

  • Learn and teach a classic family recipe.
  • Join an online movement
  • Do a two week long quantified self project (diet,exercise, reading, digital detox)
  • Making a mental health guide
  • tracking a compost project
  • time management
  • Reflection Portfolio
  • and many more


Portfolio Requirements

  • An introduction: covering your so what, why, and how.
  • An About Me page (may include the intro)
  • A digital essay on the topic including an Ignite Talk and Timeline
  • Survey Data: Must include some descriptive statistics and a few charts. People like shiny charts
  • Your chosen pathway (see below)
  • Two backstage posts. As you work on your project publish two blog post explaining what you did, how you did it, what went wrong, or what went well. Basically you are providing us a sneak peak behind the scenes


You will choose one of the following pathways:

  • Podcast
  • Photography
  • Video


  • 60 minutes of content: one 60 min show; two 30 min shoe; 6 ten minute shows, 30 two minute shows, etc.
  • Make a bumper for in between scenes or segments
  • Make an intro bumper
  • If you do not know how to do these things you may check YouTube, come to design studio, preferably both


  • Collection of 7-10 photos that tell a story or share an artistic theme
  • Use a filter
  • Use multiple layers
  • Combine images
  • You will upload each image here on your blog and we will use the url on your portfolio website.
  • You can use for these tasks or any photo editing software of your choice that allows layers
  • If you do not know how to do these things you may check YouTube, come to design studio, preferably both


  • Single video or series of videos. Research shows <7 minutes most effective
  • Must include a bumper or intro
  • Add an audio track, either music or voice over
  • Splice (use two timelines) two different videos
  • Image and text overlays
  • Include a captions file
  • You can apply for a free trial on WeVideo or use video software of your choice
  • If you do not know how to do these things you may check YouTube, come to design studio, preferably both



Week One 2020-11-30 to 2020-12-07



Patricia Carinin Art of Teaching

Teaching Better

Go to our shared Padlet. Add your comments as to what SCSU are doing well and need to do better during 100% remote learning


Define good teaching


Choose a topic and pathway and make a timeline on the choice


Week Two 2020-12-07 to 2020-12-14



David Cormier (2008). Rhizomatic Education : Community as CurriculumBlog Post

Colin Mathews (2016). Unwelcome InnovationInstitute of Higher Education Essay


Work on your portfolio


Plan your Ignite Talk


Week Three 2020-12-14 to 2020-12-19


  • Record your ignite talk
  • Finish your Portfolio
  • Come to Demo Day (Final)


Ignite How To Video


How to Make the Slideshow

Student Examples

Timeline Tutorial 

How to Copy Portfolio Page

Making Survey Questions

How to Analyze Google Forms

How to Add Your Why

How to Record your Ignite Talk

How to Add Video to Glitch

How to Add a Poster to Video

How to Add Images to Glitch

How to Build an Image Grid with Flexbox

How to Do the Survey Section

Greg McVerry

Ten Tips for Online Teaching Online from LRA Coffee Hours #lra2020

1 min read

Tip 1: Do intro videos and two check in videos twice a year

Tips 2: Schedule individual sessions ask students to come with a question

Tip 3: Rely on what you know about good teaching

Tip 4: Use synchronous meeting

Tip 5: Use breakout rooms

Tip 6: Simple navigation improves learning

Tip 7: Build in offline activities

Tip 8: Make podcasts for students so they can learn from screen

Tip 9: Use base groups in large online classes

Tip 10: Have students lead content discussions

Greg McVerry

Reflections on Rumi: Is there a Shared Voice in American Poetry

4 min read

I am reading Rumi's poetry right now. I say reading for I can not truly hear the meaning. Unless of course I find the emptiness to not listen.

Until then I do try to find audio versions of poems in Persian to miss meanings in Cadence of quatrains and tone of odes.

Prosody of the voice carried by a 1,000 past tongues.

Alas, I rely on Coleman Banks like everyone else to muck up the meaning for me. Banks notes in his work he does three things: chooses to use the free form popular in American poetry, groups the poems into categories to represent poetry as a medium of mystical imagination, and gives Rumi's poems whimsical titles.

Is There an American Tongue?

The note about Amerivan free form poetry got me thinking. I have been discussing form and poetry with a friend Peter Molnar who said he couldn't realte as well to American free form poetry.

At first I thought is it because there is no American tongue? No song to a history. Sure English is the Lingua Franca here, for a decade or two more, but sonnets, quatrains, and strict form.

Can strict forms of poetry collect meaning while having language broken from history? America is a land of genocide, slavery, opportunity, and a fierce individualsm.

The kinda folks who will say, "Fuck your rules." when it comes to poetry.

Banks says that Rumi writes, "Love is the reality and poetry is the drum"

Free Form Poetry

Take American music, and by default all modern Western music, the  guitar style descends from an instrument, the banjo, from Africa. The 2/4 beat and second lines also stolen imports.

Our drum beats not just to cultural appropriation but to a backbeat of a shared belief in opportunity no matter the odds.

After Whitman and Dickinson American poetry took a turn from English and began a pattern of remix.

Yes much of this reflects appropriation of Indigenoues and Black voices but margainlized communities also found power and opportuntity in drumming love. B. B. King famously noted how to hime the blues aren't sad. He saw nothing but dreams.

Hughes and the Harlem Renaisance, Ezra Pound bringing in Chinenese form and ideals. T.S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein threw out the rules. William Carlos Williams explictly wanted to break from Victorian rules.

This was followed by the beat poets.Them folks crazy, plus the CIA did some weird experiments with psychedelics at the time.

Then America imported British Rock which had appropriated rock and roll into the mercerbeat. Rock, combined with the psychedelic and art movements of San Fransisco became a driver of American Poetry

Then Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo taught us to find imagery in the every day. Merwin brought this to environmentalism.

Today those original drums from Africa returned to the streets through Funk, Reggae, and then Rap and Hip Hop culture. The "dozens" supercharged with assonance and consonance brought in  internal rhymes and playing with sound and meaning.

Rap tells the story of urban decay but from a position of bravado, opportunity, and individualism. It began in the US after Jamaican immigrants copied the Deejay and emcee set up of the reggae sound systems and later concert halls.

Remix as Language

So I guess "remix" best  describes the tongue of American poetry.

You can't hear our voice in sonnets or quatrains for our song does not belong to us.

It belongs to you, was stolen from them, adopted by us, nutured and protected by others, marketed to all, and uniquely American.

Free verse for a freedom loving people in a Nation where many were not free.



Greg McVerry

On Being Woven

2 min read

The metaphor of weaving has meant a lot to me this past year. As the world unwinds around us we need to wrap oursevles in love.

Femedtech and the Quilt project, exploring why epochs get defined by war and not weaving. Looking for a new metaphor of knowledge brokering and settling on weaving. Considering how multi-species worlding links our spirit and nature better than humanistic views.

All focused on truth being woven.

I love this poem. Not complicated. Basically saying the way is difficult but together we can do it.


Of Being woven

“The way is full of genuine sacrifice.
The thickets blocking your path are anything
that keeps you from that, any fear that you may be broken
into bits like a glass bottle.

This road demands courage and stamina, yet it’s full of
Who are these companions?
They are rungs in your ladder. Use them!
With company you quicken your ascent.
You may be happy enough going along, but with others
you’ll get farther, and faster.

Someone who goes cheerfully by himself to the customs
house to pay his traveler’s tax will go even more
lightheartedly when friends are with him.

Every prophet sought out companions.
A wall standing alone is useless, but put three or four walls
together, and they’ll support a roof and keep grain dry
and safe.

When ink joins with a pen, then the blank paper can say
Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat. If
they weren’t interlaced; the wind would blow them away.

Like that, God paired up creatures, and gave them

This is how the fowler and the bird were arguing
about hermitic living and Islam.

It’s a prolonged debate.

Husam shorten their controversy.

Make the Mathnawi more nimble and less lumbering.

Agile sounds are more appealing to the heart’s ear.

Greg McVerry

Hey @scsu #edu106 here is your MidTerm

Reflection Drives Learning

2 min read

You need to create a spreadsheet or document to answer the following questions:

  • Did you post a reflection of your reading by tracing the shape of a TV show (2020-09-06)
  • Did you write a blog post on how shapes affect stories 2020-09-06
  • Did you complete a free choice blog post? 2020-09-06
  • Did you trace the shape of a popular communication tool like email? 2020-09-09
  • Did you take notes on "why we take a selfie?" 2020-09-21
  • Did you post an unselfie? 2020-09-21
  • Did you post your notes on School and Identity readings? 2020-09-28
  • Did your explore your identity as a learner 2020-09-30
  • Did you complete a free choice post? 2020-09-30
  • Did you complete 5 photo challenges? 2020-10-15
  • Did you build a website with a homepage and a second page with photos (part of your final)

You must include a working link to an artifact as Observable Evidence. If you need help linking to artifactsa in Microsoft Teams let me know or drop by Design Studio and we can hack on some solutions.

Then consider the module objectives:

  • Examine the selfie as an artifact of identity
  • Explore learner identities and the impact this has on learning.
  • Explore the impact learning and education have on identities.
  • Annotate a research article for descriptive statistics
  • Students will be able to use and create structured electronic documents.
  • Students will be able to use graphical and multimedia technologies.

Now considering the artifacts you submitted evaluate those against the objectives and then choose your grade.

If we agree that is your midterm. If we do not we will meet until we come upon a grade we agree upon.

How to Submit

You must write a paragraph or two explaining yoru grade choice and how it reflects the mastery of your objectives.

Then include a paragraph or two on what you learned about yourself as a learner and how we learn to learn online. Set some learning goals for the second half of the semster.

h/t and all the imaginary extra credit points you want for using our key vocabulary from the module in your writing:

Bell Curve, Kurtosis, Skewness, D(d)iscourses, remix, creative commons, text structure, narrative, semiotics

Greg McVerry

We do dumb stuff with data around #teacheredchat in Connecticut #literacies #ctedu #edchat

2 min read

We get data and teacher training so wrong in Connecticut.

Let's ignore that the teacher training regulations are older than every single new teacher (circa 1996) but we break almost every rule when it comes to even passable sniff test measurement.

Let me give you the SCSU perspective

-Field work a rubric in CPAST (a growth model of different rubrics for different stages...awesome for longitudinal work with ordinal data...not)
-Student Teaching uses the  last CPAST rubric (three in total)

(stop calling it a growth model FYI...growth models require the same measure given or multiple times..test developers claim different stages require different definition a maturation model).

We then enter in all the  data for CAEP who demands a specific kind of scale.

Student teacherr then take and pay for the Pearson EdTPA student teaching test. Again different rubric and different scale

Get a job! Wow you landed a job congrats!! Now do the TEAMS induction model...Different rubric again.

(yes a rubric is always a different measure given different raters and administrations let's pretend we can ignore this)

Now get evaluated on your job (don't worry has no real teeth) and now use the CT SEED rubrics based on Danielson MET stuff ( so is EdTPA)

But wait all our teachers work in New Haven...Oh different rubric....the TEVAL rubric...a 5 point rubric with three scale descriptors...huh?? oh btw nobody will get a five bc it means extra work for me and you.


Let's use one framework the CT SEED model from training, induction, mentoring, and evaluation. One set of objectives, one rubric.

Just imagine:

  • Almost longitudinal data (it is still ordinal people).
  • A shared language across the state from pre-service to evaluation.
  • Being able to train school administrators on coaching in the seed model while they observe student teachers
  • Connecticut doing something logical and for learners rather than external stakeholders

Greg McVerry

Where do we store our memories? #literacies #cognition

Roots and Webs of Thought

1 min read

Been reading about this paper on spiders and extended cognition

and thinking back to all the work I read this summer on the networking and communication between fungus and tree roots.

Maybe our belief in human supremacy deserves a punishment of Promethean proportions..

...also further evidence on the sitauted nature of cogntion....though I need to read up on theoretical differences of extended cognition and situated .

Greg McVerry

We had a wonderful #tech4teens camp with our @scsu mentors #literacies

Stories Are the Source Code of Code

2 min read

Today in the camp we practiced nested semantic elements as we built our Movie Posters.

I love this project we designed originally with Mozilla and Girls Who Code. It lives on with Glitch but it is by far one of the best digital storytelling tools.

The task was to create a scary Halloween movie about technology.

Sure students build websites and learn HTML, but that's not the point. Something about the movie poster lends to backstories. I heard pitches today that would make Hollywood gaga.

In Bill's  example discarded Fax machines cpme back to life and attack everyone with a screeching sound.

In my example "The Node DNA computing has lead to advancements in gamin with people jacking into nueral netowrks. Except  a bionic compouter virus feeds off the code and turns people into zombies.

Not your run of the day mill horder but more fierce social creatures with strict territorial boundaries and clear hieracrchical relationships.

Humanity is on the brink and live in clustered city states who can clear nearby countryside. This tale follows two star crossed hackers, each from two different cities at war with each other.'

Can they work together to defeat the virus?

Code is copy pasted. The world needs storytellers.

This project is funded by the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elizabeth Davis after Mr Davis's retirement as chairperson of Shaw's Supermarket Inc and the Yale Community Foundation Fund.


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