Make Cycles

Our course is organized by “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. You can find the tasks for each cycle in the drop down menu above.

Google+ Community

We will share most of our work in a Google+ Community. We will upload images, respond to each other’s ideas, and share links and “makes” here.

Featured Bloggers: Alice, Bailey, Rafael, Jessica, and Caleb

Featured Bloggers: Alice, Bailey, Rafael, Jessica, and Caleb

As I mentioned in this week’s video update, we are starting to introduce our “featured curators.” At the end of each two week Make Cycle, a handful of students will highlight and feature the amazing work of their peers. These bloggers will also summarize for us the ideas we have been working with in the course and our “take aways” for that particular Make Cycle. Generous thanks to Alice, Bailey, Rafael, Jessica, and Caleb who agreed to go first! So grateful for the work they did in reviewing all our makes! Enjoy their write ups below and thank you to everyone for providing such great makes and insights for the curators to work with.

I felt that this first Make Cycle went very well. We started off the week by introducing ourselves to our class in order to start to familiarize ourselves with one another. Along with this, we wrote about writing and what exactly we feel counts as writing. This gave us a more broad perspective on the many different things writing can count as.

By Friday of the first week, we read and responded to three different texts. The first text was a children’s book by Kobi Yamada called What Do You Do With An Idea? This was a story about a young boy who at first pushes his ideas away, but later begins to accept them and positively impacts others with his idea. The second text was an article by Andrea Lunsford called “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast.” Lunsford explains in her article how this generation is able to use technology with social media in a positive way. The youth have developed a series of tools and are able to adapt and talk to their audience in the appropriate way. The third text was a TED talk by John McWhorter called “Txtng is Killing Language. JK!!” In this TED talk, McWhorter pushes the idea that texting has made youth able to talk to people with ease, or be formal when the time is right. He mentions the fact that the older generations were very formal, lacking the ease of talking that youth have mastered. These texts were all very similar because they made the reader acknowledge a different perspective that most had not taken into consideration. All my classmates had very detailed and well thought out responses. When reading over them, I found Sophie Tisdale’s points very interesting. She talked about how texting does not damage our ability to write formally because texting and writing are two different things. Then when talking about McWhorter’s TED talk she mentions how these “little screens” aren’t ruining us. She mentions the point McWhorter made, which was that each generation has used a different form of communication, and for us it is through our phones. I found both these points very insightful.

Week two, our first assignment was to look at three different forms of writing and find which lines we liked and why. Along with this, we noticed what style of writing and structure is used and the impact it makes in the text. The first text we looked at was the children’s book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. This short story was about a little mouse who went to school and was continually teased for her long name, Chrysanthemum. She didn’t like her name because kids teased her, but in the end her teacher reveals that her name is long too and all the kids want a long name. In the end, Chrysanthemum is proud of and loves her name more than anything. The second text we read was the poem “A girl named Jack” by Jacqueline Woodson. This poem was about two parents who disagree on what to name their child. In the end they come to a sort of compromise but mainly the wife had control of the child being named Jaqueline. The third text was “second daughter’s second day” also by Jacqueline Woodson, a poem about the injustices African Americans are faced with. The girl narrating explains all the powerful people who have stood up to these injustices and explains how she does not know exactly what the future holds for her and only time will tell. All three texts used italicized words in order to make certain parts stand out to the reader. This was a very subtle and powerful technique that made a big difference in their writing. Along with this, Jacqueline Woodson placed spaces in between lines as a way to change the subject or make certain lines stand out which was very powerful. I enjoyed reading Rafael Sevilla’s post when he read “second daughter’s second day.” He explains how the author was “capable of painting a picture using history to describe their personal history.” This made a big impact on the poem because people are able to relate given the background story.

Our last assignment of Make One was creating a poem or telling our story through Little Bird Tales. We were given the choice to write about our birth, our name, or our story in general. When reading through these posts, it was very exciting to see everyone write so passionately about who they are. Each took this assignment on a little differently and I loved all the outcomes. I enjoyed reading Grace Taylor’s poem. Here is an excerpt:

Mother said with pride.
Augusta if she’s a girl.
A name that enlists strength,
and power when it is called.

Father threw out, hoping for the best.
Beautiful, mother exclaimed!
Simply beautiful.

She wrote about her name and the process her parents went through in naming their child. She included rhyming in some of her lines and then switched to short phrases that were very impactful. She ended with: “Or perhaps she would be where she is today. Perhaps our names don’t shape us at all. Or perhaps they are our destiny. Perhaps, they mean nothing at all.” This was a very thought provoking ending that left the reader thinking about the meaning of names. Grace did a nice job of incorporating the mentor text, Chrysanthemum, into her make.

Overall, Make Cycle 1 went very well and I am excited to see what is to come in the following weeks!

Author Bio: Alice Mylod Vargas is from the Bay Area but came to Chico to attend Chico State University last year in 2016. She loves and is passionate about working with children so she is planning on getting her bachelor’s degree Liberal Studies to become an elementary school teacher.

The articles and videos from these past two weeks have been both interesting and different from each other. Week one was focused on language and the different ways language can be used and changed. In the Ted talk we watched from John McWhorter, he states that a whole new language has developed out of texting. The articles from week one was about the differences in writing. The way people text and talk are similar, while the way people write is different, more professional and polished. How people write emails, essays, in their journals, on social media, and texts are all different.

Week two was focused on names and who people are so our class could get to know each other. In the book Chrysanthemum, one of our “mentor texts,” Chrysanthemum’s name is repeated over and over throughout the story. She loves her name, thinks it’s perfect, until the kids at her school make fun of her, making her hate it. In the end of the book her music teacher praises Chrysanthemum’s name and then she thinks it’s perfect again. In the poem, “A girl named Jack,” the mom and dad are at the hospital trying to think of a name for their baby girl. The father suggests Jack; with the name Jack, she will have to grow up strong and people will “look at her twice.” He says that the name was good enough for him, so why not for her? The poem, “second daughter’s second day” is all about how one individual can make a difference. Woodson writes about the many people who made a difference in the African American community. The author doesn’t know what person she will be like or how she’ll make a difference, but she knows that she will.

Week two also focused on literary devices. The book used repetition, and both poems used different sentence structures and formats to enhance what they were trying to say. Imagery and italics were also used to get the point across. I liked that for both weeks it was clear what the basic themes was, the videos and reading materials flowed together very well.

All the makes from my peers were so unique and interesting to read, I picked a few favorites below and provided some excerpts:

She was born into the world with curiosity

Grew up with a big
heart in a small city.

Little by little
she learned about the world’s trouble

Yet she remained
humbled and focused

So nothing could
burst her bubble.

By: Mayte Rendon

I chose this poem because of the use of rhyming, stanzas and personality. I loved everything about the first stanza, the line “born into the world with curiosity” really stood out to me. 

This poem by Heidi Vargas was also lovely:

I am from the sways of tall needles,

and the glistening
flows of clarity.

I am from hundred-year-old creaking boards,

and a room filled
with embers and flushed cheeks.

I am from dark iron releasing sizzles of sunrise,

and stuffed oak
peeking through old cracks.

I am from worn out knees and dusty shoes,

from winding trails
and tucked away lava.

I am from brown leather with funny faces

holding white
squares of cotton.

I am from happiness of a faraway place

now left untouched.

I chose this poem for the repetition and amazing imagery. Every line omits an image in your head, which really helps to imagine the place that is being described. 

And another:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”


“A doctor!

A vet!

Maybe I’ll even fly a jet!!”

“I’ll cook, I’ll clean, I’ll do everything!

I can BE anything!!”


“An artist! A movie star! A singer!

Something famous.

I think THAT job would be quite outrageous.”

“Cheering fans, wonderful crowds.

That job would really make me wow!”


“What am I good at?

What are my qualities and traits?

There must be something,

my Mom and Dad tell me I’m great.”

“I’m not quite sure what I like

Or what i’ll be

But someday I will see.”


“An elementary school teacher, of course!

That’s all I want to do in the work force.”

“I’ll guide thoughts

Share an abundance of laughs

and lead youth into something that lasts.”

“I’ll start each day with a smile on my face

Happily greeting eager learners

Knowing this is my joyful place.”

By: Sophie Tisdale

This poem was so much fun to read. You can easily imagine children at those ages saying those exact things. I loved the rhyming, which added to the playful tone. I like the format of this poem as well. I think the mentor text that inspired this poem was “A girl named Jack”; the format is similar but everything else from the poem is uniquely hers.  


Jack of All Trades

I am a Jack of All

I am a little good
at everything

Like Running,
Jogging, Bike Riding

I am not too
bright, but I’m not a dunce

I can keep up and I
got an A+ once

I’ve been in shows,
and on the Track team

But never got more
than second place or the spot right next to the spotlight beam

I tried being in
ASB though I didn’t like it

I joined a club
once, just to try it.

I’ve ridden on
horses, and milked a cow

And I can sing
though I don’t know how.

I’ve gone up on
stage to give a warm up speech

And tried climbing
to places just a little far beyond my reach

I’ve gone boating,
swimming and diving

I might not be
great at anything but that doesn’t stop me from trying

I can tell some
jokes and I know one riddle

Why even my memoirs
would be called “Life in the Middle”

I’ve gone skiing
though it broke my arm

And people say I
have a moderate amount of charm

I played piano
once, though I wasn’t very good

And I made five
dollars selling lemonade in my neighborhood

I played baseball
and hit the ball as hard as I could

But it went foul
and it was no good

I’m not very good
at anything, but I’ve sure tried a lot

No matter how you
feel it’s always worth a shot

I’m perfectly
content the way I am you see

Because the best
person I can be, is me

By: Caleb Johnson

I loved that this poem had humor in it. I also loved that the rhymes were from start to finish. I enjoyed the imagery in this poem as well: I could imagine almost every line. 

Author Bio: Bailey Nicole Pickard is in her third year of college, and her first year at CSU, Chico as a transfer student. She looks forward to becoming a special education teacher or a kindergarten teacher, or perhaps both.

It is amazing to see so many students and the work(s) they produced and how they shape their makes. Whether it was made using Little Bird Tales or following a format taken from our mentor texts, or even just something different that came together for them, a lot of the works I read told stories, each with their own individual style. Personally, it is really cool seeing people post on a community and see their creativity and their interpretation of the assignment come to life. This is what I find most interesting: the sharing of ideas between all of us, without any regard or worry for what is written, then sharing in our community. When I wrote my Make, I aimed for the people who took time to read it to find something that stood out to them right away. The style was my own personal take on what I wanted the rest of our Google + community to know and embrace as they read my bars. As I read through the rest of my colleagues Makes, I started to embrace what they had posted, along with any pictures or audio that came along with it. The storytelling begins to take great shape, and this is only Make Cycle 1! I was really impressed by the works posted and a few of those I will highlight below.

Kristen? Kristina? Christine?
No one ever seemed to get it right

But I didn’t mind, I loved my name
Kristine Elizabeth

My dad was set on Kristine with a “K”
“So we’ll have the same initials!” he thought

And Elizabeth after my mom’s best friend
The perfect combination of names I had

Reminding me that I had a piece of my parents with me forever
Always grateful for the name they chose

The simplest form sometimes comes out the best. Kristine Cowan’s reflection on how she came to write her poem is great. She had never really written poetry before and started to write down lines that rhymed in an effort to tell us the story of her name and in her words “failed miserably.” Before long she realized keeping it simple and dropping the rhyming effort would be better for her. Her simple lines tell us how and why her name is important to her and how she will always have a piece of both her parents with her forever. Her “miserable failure” becomes her poem that makes you feel the love she has for her name and the greater love she has for her parents. 

But Won’t They Need Socialization?

Dance Classes, Baseball Practices, Tumbling Class, History Co-op, Enrichment Academy, Youth Group, Sunday School, Minecraft Hangouts, Season Passes to Disneyland, Stem Academy, Ecology Field Trips…I think they’ll be fine

But Won’t They Need a Credentialed Teacher?

Dad with a Bachelor’s in Science, Aunt Julie with a Master’s in Math, Grandpa Carl with all the mechanic’s knowledge, Granddad with a Master’s in Music AND Theology, Nana with a Master’s in Education, and a mom with a love of learning and an even fiercer love of the students…I think they’ll be fine

But Won’t They Miss Out?

Bullying, Foul Language, School Shootings, Drugs, Peer Pressure, Generic Learning, Overworked and Underpaid Teachers, Cafeteria Food, Rigid Schedules…I think they’ll be fine

But Won’t You Get Sick of Them?

Yes, Totally, Absolutely, Completely, Entirely, Unashamedly…I think I’ll be fine

Stacie Beadel’s technique of repetition is used so well in her poem about her family and the children being homeschooled. The facts she presents her work in a very pro vs. con style makes for an interesting read. I can tell that she is very passionate about her beliefs but is also open to a dialogue about the opposite of her beliefs and stands her ground on them. I can feel her children and their schooling are important to her and her family. The entire family is a blend of public education and her style–unapologetic, real, totally awesome–and I think I’ll be fine with that. I chose her work because it grabbed me right from the initial read and kept me long after I stopped reading it, thinking about the way she educates her children.

1994 a bright blue eyed baby girl was born
That baby girl was me, Sam

I was that little girl who grew up a tomboy
I was that little girl who grew up wanting to be just like my big brother

I grew up in a sports centered house
We played every sport you could think of, we were never inside

I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone, good and bad
I grew up living for those Friday night lights, Husky Pride

2012 I walked across that stage
I left my small town high school and went off to fullfill my dream of playing college ball

As I grew older I learned that there was more to life than just sports
I learned that I had a new dream

As I grow older I work everyday to achieve my new dream
My new dream is to one day make a positive change in the lives of children

I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone, good and bad.” This line is everything to me because I too grew up in a small town. I love the style Samantha Prosser uses in telling us about where she was born and where she is from and what it all means to her. I can relate growing up in a small town. It is almost like growing up in your own bubble and you either get out or you don’t. That’s where this piece captures me as a reader. She left to chase her dreams of playing softball and while she was away from that little bubble where “everyone knows everyone, good or bad” she decided her dream wasn’t what she wanted. That small town will judge you in whatever you do, so she had the pressure from there and decided her dream was to make a difference in a child’s life. Sometimes life is not what you pictured it would be and Samantha’s piece showed me that was her reality and all of our reality, and sometimes that is very much okay.

Not Knowing Is Hard

Not knowing is hard
Being born to young parents
A child knows no better

Moving around the city in the Bay Area
Seeing my mom alone
Not knowing is hard

What will happen?
Will I still be in the same school?
Will I have my same friends?
Not knowing is hard

Mom has a new beau
Falling in love with someone new
I’m only 5 years old
I have no clue
Sorrow has turned to joy
Joy has turned into a new Dad
What will the future bring?
Not knowing is hard

Moving from the Bay Area to
Northern California
How could they?
Why would they?
Not knowing is hard

Realizing a life here is good
New school, new friends
Maybe it’s not so bad after all

A little brother to play with
Our family seems complete
Will it stay like this forever?
Not knowing is hard

Mom and Dad divorcing
8 years have gone by
What did we do wrong?
Not knowing is hard

Living separately, but still seeing Dad
Feeling guilty, but still felt the love
Why is it so hard then?

Getting into trouble
Failures and struggles along the way
Everyone gave up on me
Why? I did not know any better
I grew up not expecting much
What was I to do?

Discovered I make my own future
New outlook on life
So, I always say
No matter what happens
Good or Bad
Be true to yourself
Go for your goals
Dream big dreams
Follow through

But still……I always think about
Will it work?
Will I succeed?
What if I make mistakes?
What if I fail?

And the beautiful thing
Is not knowing
And…..not knowing is hard

Sometimes you read something and all you can think about is walking a mile in that person’s shoes. Jessica Maldonado’s “Not Knowing Is Hard” piece is so vivid and descriptive but written in short stanzas. She takes us on a journey and keeps us captivated by the constant uncertainty in her life. It makes me really think about just how much harder some people have had it and how much they have done to get past those hard times. I could feel her emotion in her writing, something that is not easy to do, but I could feel it through the entire poem. Her hopes, her fears, her not knowing is evident and makes for an amazing piece of writing.

For being the first week, it was really nice to read a lot of different works from people from all walks of life. I feel like being in an open community on Google+ makes for a much better interaction between all of us as the semester goes on. Reading through everyone’s introduction posts, all the way to our first makes, let’s me know a little bit more about each and every one of the people in this class. You cannot beat human interaction: I believe it makes us better people and in turn will make us better educators. I look forward to continuing to see how everyone’s work turns out and progresses throughout the rest of the semester. I wish I could post something about everyone’s work, but I always get too wordy. Our class so far has put out great work, so keep up the great work!

Author Bio: Rafael Sevilla is a father of two amazing girls Aaliyah Renee and Sophia Raquel, and a future husband to his fiancé Sarah. He is currently finishing up his Bachelor in Social Science and begins his credentialing at Fresno State in Spring 2018. He will become a future educator in history and looks to change lives.

The first make I chose to highlight this week is from Jessica Gregor.  She made her make from the Little Bird Tales website, and did a fantastic job.  

Her tale was about how she came into this world.  With her mother being 8 months pregnant, she reads with enthusiasm about how her mother goes with her Aunt to Vegas for a final “hurrah” before the baby comes.  While in Vegas at the craps table, she goes into labor, the Aunt calls her Dad, and hours later Jessica is born.  The story seems simple enough, but the illustrations used really flow with the story.  Jessica did an amazing job using the Little Bird Tales website.  She read her story as if reading it to a group of small children and even made noises to bring it more to life, like when the phone rang she read “Ring, ring! Ring, ring.”  This was a perfect example of how a Little Bird Tale should be created in terms of introducing yourself to others.  Looking back on the last few weeks of the work we have done in class, I’d say that Jessica Gregor was able to use the mentor texts we had gone over and was able to utilize them into her own make.  For instance, the mentor text Chrysanthemum that we listened to had a soft, calming tone of voice where it was more inviting to listen to. Jessica had this same tone of voice used in her make, and the simplicity of it made it very understandable for any age.

Another exemplary make I would like to highlight is from Rafael Sevilla (one of our featured bloggers this week: see above). He chose to write a poem about his father who had passed two years ago.  It simply was amazing and brought tears to my eyes, as I just lost my own father a few months ago.  One of my favorite parts of Rafael’s poem is when he says: “It’s been almost two years since he passed. And I haven’t lost my mind without him. it’s a miracle. I get really sad thinking about my Dad. Thinking about all the memories and the best friend I ever had.” You can almost feel the deep connection that he felt with his father through his words.  It’s hard enough to lose somebody, but harder when it is someone that has such a deep connection like this when you don’t know how to move on or how to let go.  I commend Rafael on choosing to share such an intimate part of his life.  I feel that Rafael’s make comes from our mentor text “second daughter’s second day” because even though he writes about a sad tragedy that has happened in his life, it is also filled with hope and determination that he has “large shoes to fill.”  Just like in the mentor text, they were talking about the “what ifs?” and the “what will happen when….” this little girl who is only two days old will either grow up in an integrated world or a fight of segregation that will continue to be fought on. We never know what is going to happen; all we can do is do it and see the outcome.

The last make I would like to highlight is from Lisa Valdez.  She chose to do her make as a poem, and even though it is pretty long, it makes for a very interesting story of her growing up, her relationships, her children, and wanting to have the farm life.  Lisa did a lovely job with rhyming in such a long poem, that it must have taken a long time to work on.  I love that she basically goes through her whole life up until now, and she does it in such small, short sentences.  The one thing I loved about this poem is that you can actually picture everything while you are reading it.  One of my favorite stanzas that she writes :

She raised her kids and went to school
She thought nursing would be cool.
A working woman she would be
To help support her family.
For twenty years that’s what she did
Until her marriage hit the skids.
She and the kids moved far away.

She really takes a lot of her years and crams it down into a few words, which I think is amazing.  Her poem reminds me of our mentor text “A girl named Jack” because it is so detailed in such few words. In the mentor text, I could picture the mother and father arguing about what to name their baby girl, just as I could picture everything about Lisa’s poem.

Overall, I thought everyone put a lot of thought into their makes and I had a wonderful time going through them all. The ones I chose to write about really touched my heart, and in some way, I felt a connection to them.  I look forward to seeing what other projects and makes our classroom has to offer because there is a lot of talent here.

Author Bio: Jessica Maldonado currently works for Tehama County Department of Education as a preschool special needs assistant.  She transferred from Shasta College into her junior year at Chico State University.  She is working towards a multiple subject credential and would also like to obtain a special education credential as well.  She has been married for 15 years and has four daughters.  In her spare time she loves spending time with family, going to the movies, reading, and shopping with her girls.

It is always fascinating being a third party observer to someone’s thought process. Whether they think of things in a rigid technique and execution way, or they think in a more flowing and emotional manner. This week I observed people analyze our texts from both poles, neither one being correct in their means of analyzing, but simply thinking about it in a different way. That’s why I decided to celebrate the work done by Jake Muck and Tamara Ligon. In response to our mentor texts–Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes, “A girl named Jack” and “second daughter’s second day” from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming— Jake dove into the technique of the pieces while Tamara made the stories her own by responding to the text using her personal experiences.

Jake’s analyses looks at the “rich vocabulary,” the use of repetition in the pieces, and how reading them felt. I especially liked how he pointed out the continued use of metaphor in the book Chrysanthemum in which the kids at school jeer at Chrysanthemum because she is named after a flower; instead of saying Chrysanthemum shrank into herself, the author chose to say Chrysanthemum wilted. This continues the metaphor that she is named after a flower, yes, but additionally it affirms that if you let bullies get to you, you will become what they say you are. A very important point to make. It was an aspect that I did not catch earlier until Jake pointed it out.

On the other side of the coin, Tamara pointed out that all the texts have to do with childhood identity. Noting that she had hated her name and had struggled with her identity in her past. Tamara goes through each piece writing on what resonated with her, and I especially enjoyed reading her analysis of “A girl named Jack.” She looked at the text from both the mother and father’s view on naming their daughter Jack.

All three of these texts have to do with a child’s identity, be it in a name, where they are from, or what they look like. In Chrysanthemum we see the little girl struggle with connecting and owning her name and ultimately who she is. A struggle I can relate to. I hated my name. Tamara, then Tammy, no one else had that name. Why couldn’t I be like the other girls with the names Amy, Stephanie, or Robyn? Why Tammy? It always seemed like everyone said it wrong or thought I said Jamie. For a while I wouldn’t even correct them, because I was sick of doing so, so I let strangers think my name was whatever they thought they had heard come out of my mouth. Here in this book she gets picked on at school for having a unique name, “she’s named after a flower!…lets pick her…let’s smell her.” Everyday a he comes home from school upset, wishing she had a different name. But her parents remind her that her name was perfect, “it was everything she is…absolutely perfect.”

Tamara’s views are engaging read and it was an honor reading her analysis.

The last piece from our first make that I would like to celebrate is Stacie Beadel’s poem, which also included above in Rafael’s curated list. Stacie’s piece is heartwarming, deep, thought provoking and delightful all in a few stanzas. The way she withholds the subject throughout the poem until the self-analysis is pure genius. It makes the whole text so much more powerful, reading it feels mysterious as she unfolds each aspect of her topic one at a time is just a brilliant move. I know there are more brilliant works out there that I did not mention, but I highly recommend checking out the ones mentioned here if you have not already.

Author Bio: Caleb Johnson is a second year student at Chico State in the Liberal Studies major hoping to teach early elementary school. The reasons for this career choice is that he “simply adores kids” and  appreciates the way they think and decipher the world around them.

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