Make Cycles

infographic of make cyclesYou can find our current Make Cycles in the drop down menu and on the Make Cycles page. New Make Cycle released every two weeks.


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Category: featured blogs

Featured Curators Make Cycle 1: Krystina, Krystle, Marc, Megan, and Rebecca

Featured Curators Make Cycle 1: Krystina, Krystle, Marc, Megan, and Rebecca

Krystina Hockman

Make Cycle 1 has been all about introductions. We first met one another and found a lot of similarities amongst ourselves. Next, we discovered that a lot of us shared many similar opinions about literacy and discovered that we all write every single day, whether through text, emails, or for school. This provided us with a great introduction to the importance of writing and is necessary as we transition from college student to future educators as we must be able to emphasize this importance to our students as well. Krystal Bandith’s introduction post summed up the importance of writing beautifully with the following excerpt:

When you practice writing, you practice the ability to organize and articulate the endless stream of thoughts and emotions you experience every day. When you do that, you open the door to learning incredibly useful things like self-awareness, communication, emotional intelligence/empathy, critical thinking.

In Weeks 1 and 2, we had the opportunity to read some powerful works meant to provoke critical thinking about how we write and not just what we write. Up until this point in most of our academic and professional lives, we wrote with purpose and with an audience in mind; however, we now must pay attention to exactly how we accomplish these writing goals so that we can teach our students to do the same.

The children’s book What Do You Do With an Idea? introduced readers to a child who had an idea that was unique and their own but sometimes burdensome, as most ideas can sometimes be. Children have these “ideas” and sometimes lack the ability to express them fully so that others, especially adults, may understand. Bailey Hunn took a great analytical stance on the purpose of this story and discussed whether books like this are too complex for children and posed the question, “At what age do they start to have those deeper conceptual thoughts and before that age what do they think of this book?” I think her insight is an important one to consider as we, as educators, must make thoughtful decisions in the books we introduce to our students as we want to make sure that they are age-appropriate and thematically relevant to their lives.

Youth literacy is a topic that many of us who aspire to teach will put many efforts into understanding. In Andrea Lunsford’s “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast,” the author quickly introduces us to the term “life writing.” A lot of older people would say that our “life writings” (i.e. texting, emailing, Tweeting) are harming our literacies but Lunsford’s study proves otherwise. Daniela Quintana Munoz expresses the importance of our social media use to our literacy mastery by stating, “The internet is not frying our brains, but it’s helping us develop a range of different writing styles, tones, and formats.” As we move into teaching, we must remember that “life writing” will be a great way to break down the barriers of writing that many of our students will face. The linguist John McWhorter offers his insights into texting and its effects on literacy in “Txtng is Killing Language. JK!!!” by suggesting that texting is closer to speaking than it is to writing but that the utilization of text has transformed into a new “language” thus making youth “bi-lingual.” By offering as many avenues as possible for students to explore their own literary preferences, we are only encouraging their growth as readers and writers.

Chrysanthemum, a children’s book about a girl who found herself bullied for her long and unique name, used repetition throughout to capture the attention of the reader as they embraced a word that was hard to pronounce and followed the child through her evolution from being embarrassed by her name to loving the uniqueness of her name. The repetition forced the reader to pay attention and memorize the rhythm of the book; in fact, most of us mentioned that they remembered reading this book when they were children, which further enforces the importance of repetition as a literary device. Again, Krystal offered an eloquent analysis of the book’s repetition and the way it “highlight[s] the change which is usually the positive outcome or resolution. This way, children are able to follow the emotional transformation of the plot intuitively, and thereby understand the message/moral of the story.

Both “A Girl Named Jack” and “Second Daughter’s Second Day” by Jacqueline Woodson used repetition as their literary device; however, the repetition was in the formatting rather than the words themselves. Each stanza was carefully formatted and then repeated again to help drive home the poem’s theme. The conversational format of “A Girl Named Jack” allowed the reader to follow the parents as they discussed the newborn’s name but the repetition allowed the reader to feel caught in the middle, just as the baby might have felt. In “Second Daughter’s Second Day,” repetition was used to go back and forth from what was happening within the hospital and out in the world, forcing the reader to feel the constant pull between the safety of a newborn in a hospital and the uncertainty faced by African-Americans who must live outside of those safe walls. Laurence Gammell was inspired by these pieces too and offered a great lesson plan idea of asking his students to write a story behind their names to give him a “better understanding [of] each one of my students” and to create lesson plans based upon “student cultures in the classroom.

We wrapped up Make Cycle 1 with our very first makes! The class created many wonderful poems and stories that offered the rest of us insight into each other’s personal lives. The excitement was evident as most (if not all!) of the shared pieces were well-crafted and took an immense amount of time and effort to complete. From books about our pets to stories about our families, this Make Cycle proved that many of us have a flair for creative writing and should we choose to teach, will have no problem imparting this passion on our future students. The ‘ABCs’ style of writing would be a great project for our future students. My favorite example of this style of storytelling was the piece by Sophia Bambino and like some of our readings, it was incredibly personal and made us feel like we could relate to her without ever having met her in person.

After discussing names and the importance behind them, the majority of us took to writing a piece that shared a bit of reflection on our own names and what they meant to us. A great piece with the theme of “name” was crafted by Olivia Najera. She incorporated repetition into her poem and could be a great inspiration to future students as we teach them how to write a poem:

Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
That is my name
Although I have more and go by
Oli, Olive and Liv
Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
A name I wanted to change
Until I learn to love it
And love it to this day
Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
the name that defines who I am
the one that makes me me
and forever I will be
Olivia, Olivia, Olivia
The girl who didn’t like her name
Now loves it after all
And spreads joy everyday.
It was very clear that Olivia was inspired by Chrysanthemum as well as the two poems we read. Like Chrysanthemum, she repeated her name in a way that ensured the reader did not forget it!

I am absolutely blown away by the commitment our class made to this first Make Cycle! From start to finish, the contributions were plentiful and well thought out. I am very excited to see how we grow as writers and future educators throughout the rest of the semester.

Author Bio: Krystina is a recent transfer from Solano Community College and a former Dean’s Assistant at the same college. She is moving to Seattle, WA to live with her fiance, who is a member of the Coast Guard. She is working toward a Multi-Subject credential and then hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology. Outside of school, her hobbies include gaming, reading, writing, and cooking.

Krystle Duggins

When it came down to our first day of classes, most of us were nervous about how our online class with Professor Jaxon would go. Fortunately, these past three weeks have shown how much we are capable of. Our hard work shows we are no longer nervous anymore, but ready and looking forward to the next assignment. I will reflect what we have accomplished so far in Make Cycle 1 during these past 2 weeks, as well as choose some examples from my peers that I thought were very interesting and eye opening.

On the first day, we were asked to sign up with Google +, a discussion board where we can communicate with one another and post our responses from our readings and then introduce ourselves to the rest of the class. This helped us get to know each other and establish a community among the discussion board. This made responding to others’ work much easier: rather than responding to name and a face that we have information about as a person. Many of us included some information about our past, present, and finally what we hope to accomplish as teachers. Along with this information we expressed our thoughts on writing and what counted as writing in today’s world.

Within week one of school, we were required to respond to three separate texts. The first text, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada, told a story about a little boy who got neglected because others thought his idea was not practical. However, little by little the idea began to grow and the little boy began accepting his idea once more. His idea, at the end of the story, should how much his idea could positively change his environment and the people around him. The second text, “Our Semi- Literate Youth?” Not So Fast?” by Andrea Lunsford, is an article that showed the positive side of today’s technology and how it does not affect the writing that students do. While the third and final text, “Txing is Killing Language. JK!!!” by John McWhorter, shows that our modern society uses texting to communicate. It has developed its own form of language that does not limit the skills that students possess when writing essays or emails. McWhorter explains that we were never able to write the way we talked with the limited technology we had before smartphones. After reading everyone’s responses to these three texts, I found Kaylin Renfo’s work interesting. She talked about how much she loved the authors, Lunsford and McWhorter, defending the younger generation and their way of communication. She describes that even though texting is seen as a nuisance, it can lead to many advancements, like a new language that allows us to write the way we talk. Overall, I think she did amazing work on this discussion.

Week two of classes, we looked at another three forms of writing. The first, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, is a childbook story about a little mouse going to her first day of school. As the teacher does roll call of everyone names, the children began to make fun and laugh at Chrysanthemum’s name. They said it was too long and not having a special meaning other than a flower. They told her to change it into a more normal name. However, after a teacher and her parents told her that her name fit perfectly and nice as a flower can be. She then began to love her name and everyone soon accepted who she was. The second text, “A Girl Named Jack” by Jacqueline Woodson, is a poem that tells a story about a father wanting to name his daughter “Jack.” This name was supposedly to toughen her up without even knowing what her personality will be later in life. The mother, on the other hand, did not believe a boy’s name would make a difference. Eventually they ended with a compromise with the name Jacqueline. The third text, “second daughter’s second day” also by Jacqueline Woodson, is a poem about the African America community facing injustices. The character describes the leaders who spoke up about the injustices and now does not know what to feel about her future. Will she be as great as them or will time tell? In all texts, the authors were able to make words stand out with italics. This promoted the importance of the word in each story/ poem. I found Marc Blair’s discussion quite interesting when he read “A Girl Name Jack.” He describes not using, “…the name as a reason for her to toughen up.” This helps a person to indicate what was the real moral of the story and the importance that a name does not define the person. It is the personality that the child has developed.

For our last assignment of Make Cycle 1, we were asked to write a story or poem about how we got our name, the story of our birth, or a personal story in general. We were also given two options on how we were going to submit this assignment. One option was to type our story/ poem with a program called StoryJumper. This program allows you to create a power point like story that includes adding our own voice to the assignment. The second option was writing a standard poem in Google +. When reading everyone’s posts on this assignment, I was amazed how well everyone did. Most of them were so beautifully articulated. I especially enjoyed reading Krystal Bandith’s poem. Here is an excerpt of her poem:

“Krystal, with a K”

If my name started with a C

Would I be more like me?

C-R-Y my parents standing by

Why does she cry, cry, cry?


If my name started with a C

Would I be more brilliant?

Shiny, pretty, perfect

Tough, diamond-like resilience?


My name doesn’t start with C

But I have a T-A-L

To be talented at walking tall

To talk the tales I tell


My name is Krystal with a K

As in kind, keen, and kooky

Krystal with a K

Like in case you thought you knew me


K because I kuestion everything

K because I kan


K as in Krys, like




She wrote about how she got her name. My name is one of the same, but quite different. I understood her story from a personal level. She included a line repeatedly as part of the first line of almost each stanza. I felt like this was a perfect example that a name doesn’t define who we are, but we can still resonant some good aspects from it. Krystal describes her poem being about, “…a journey to becoming me, as defined only by me.” This poem puts a lot of thought on different aspects and parts of her name that leaves the reader questioning about his or her name. Am I defined by my name or do I defy who I am? It also produces a nice connection between the poem “A Girl Name Jack.” This is another reason why I choose Krystal’s poem it related to another assignment showing we can use what we learned.

Overall, I am very happy to look over each of my classmate’s discussion for Make Cycle 1. I have found this experience quite enjoyable and educational. I have learned from many own viewpoints. Each assignment was done so beautifully. I am looking forward to learn more from this class. I hope you guys enjoyed this response/ reflection on Make Cycle 1. We did so great! Let’s keep it up! I am ready for the next assignment. Are you?

Author Bio: I am from Yuba City, CA and I have recently moved up to Chico to further my studies in Liberal Arts. I ended up going to Chico State because my great elementary school teachers I once had graduated from Chico State. I learned so much and they inspired me to become a teacher to inspire others. I graduated from River Valley High School and Yuba College. I have associates in Social and Behavioral Sciences. My interests include video games, anime, drawing, and music. I love playing RPG video games because they tell a story: a story we can learn from and take away into reality. 

Marc Blair

The first cycle allowed the classmates to not only complete our assignments and be creative by creating a storybook or poem, but it also allowed the class to introduce ourselves. We introduced ourselves  through different ways and in some cases gave a bit of information about our family. When writing, influences and inspiration can come from anywhere and those influences show in writing. As one student, Madison La Ray, explained in her writing, her name is connected to her parents showing her own personal man, woman, and child triangle of life. A connected family not just by blood but by name.

“La” for La Ray

The start and the end of my name is very easy to explain.

Madison from my mother, Lozada from the other.

Now, the other of course being my father, has an extra name of his own to give.

It’s a part of his first name, the one to identify who he is.

Cristopher Raymond.

To sum the story up, and to make it go by faster.

To make this poem easy to understand. To keep it from being a disaster.

The part of his name, that I call mine, is the second part Ray.

It’s the middle part of my own, he named me Madison La Ray.

I’m a girl and he is not, so he had to make a small change.

So, to honor our Mexican heritage, and to make this make more sense.

He made it very simple, by adding “La” to begin.

Other students told simpler stories but yet just as personal. Bailey Hunn created her own storybook to tell her story of finding her first best friend. Her best friend in this case was her cat.

Even with the few pages and words used for younger audiences, Bailey in those few pages told what type of person she is. Her big heart is shown as she tells of her adopting a cat from a shelter. Less is certainly more and you can understand the cat found love in Bailey just as Bailey found love in her cat Roku.

Behind keyboards, today’s world tends to be a bit more open than usual. We share a lot, some say too much, some get some relief in finding others relatable to their own lives. Students like Rebecca Carney shared her story of her journey to Cal State Chico as a mother with a family. I myself shared similar information thinking maybe one day our stories can provide some assistance, confidence or just something cool so that others can maybe relate and stay focused on their goals. Any goal is possible, I think sometimes we tend to feel alone, defeated, or organized. But I think the coolest thing is the internet and communities like this class that allows everyone to find or stumble onto that one thing that may make a difference to keep them going.

Author Bio: My name is Marc Blair and I am a senior (online) here at Cal State Chico. I live in Riverside, CA (southern California). It’s been a long road since I am a non traditional student having came back to college at 32 after being a “corporate guy” for 10 years. I got tired of having a “job” and wanted my own “career” in teaching. I transferred from Coastline Community College into Chico which has been great (all online). I love sports, video games and graphic novels. My wife of 13 years and I juggle our time between work and spending as much time as we can with our kids Jack (1 year old), Zoey (13) and Chase (11). Their sports take up a great portion of that but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Megan Gatzka

I enjoyed listening to the mentor videos and gained insight by truly listening to the details as the reader spoke. The story about Chrysanthemum had several features that resonated with me. Throughout the book, the author compares Chrysanthemum herself as a person with an actual flower and describes aspects that correlate both. Words such as ‘wilted’ and ‘let’s pick her’ use descriptive words that work for both subjects. My favorite line in the story is “and she was…absolutely perfect.” This reminds me of the stories my parents told of my adoption. At three days old, my parents adopted me and brought me home. My dad’s song for me has always been “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder and I love this line from the book. If I were to write my own book, I would use the model of making an example as with Chrysanthemum’s teacher. The admiration the students felt for her made them rethink the way they made fun of Chrysanthemum. Borrowed elements I would consider using would be the constant repetition and compare and contrast to an object.

Within the story “A Girl Named Jack” the father is precluded to believe that his name, “Jack,” is a strong name and will make his daughter strong as well. My favorite line was when he states, “Raise her right, my father said, and she’ll make that name her own.” He doesn’t believe that a name makes the person and I believe that. In my own writing I would model this by breaking down the name as the story did from Jacqueline to Jack and show both sides of the story.

The features that resonate with me in the “Second Daughter” was that the author went back and forth between current events and how they relate to the girl in the story. My favorite lines in the story were “…ready to change the world” and “You can become anything.” These were wonderful lines to use to describe what world leaders were showing these children what they could become. Modeling this poem in my own writing would be fairly easy as it doesn’t rhythm. Comparing the second daughter to great leaders and historical people of color was able to show what she is capable of.

I recently read the book What Do You Do With An Idea? because I had just received a new copy in our school library. There is such a deep meaning in the text about not giving up on your dreams. It helps students to see how ideas form and why they have ideas at all. If it is a really good idea and something the student believes in, it will begin to nag them just like it did in the story. The emotions the little boy goes through are vast. First he is afraid to talk about his idea and bottles up his emotions which is never good. However, as the story goes on, students learn that pursuing your dreams makes you feel better. It gives you confidence to face the negative people tell you you’re different. I believe the moral of the story is that if we word hard to accomplish our goals and think outside of the box, anyone can change the world.

John McWhorter made me think about texting in this day and age. As a non-phone person, texting for me is a miracle drug. I like the messages short and sweet and absolutely despise group texts. Mr. McWhorter called this era a balancing act of emergent complexity. What this means is that writing a text is equal to our speech. Nobody talks the way they write an essay or a report About halfway into the video I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to what Mr. McWhorter was saying because he literally wasn’t coming up for air. I’m not sure if anyone else felt anxious over the way he rambled. There were no periods in his speech and no pauses to digest the information he was giving. Tell me I wasn’t the only one?

I believe all of the discussions were interesting, but the one the stuck with me the most is “What Do You Do With an Idea?” The lesson really broke down how to view the story from different perspectives and through students eyes. In the classroom, this would be an excellent exercise to break down the story and pull from it the underlying meaning.

In addition to the readings this week, we created our own artifacts using the mentor texts as models. Here are some standouts I chose among our Makes this week:

Krystine Hockman: The format in which Krystine used to create her poem was pleasing to the eye. The contrasting colors of the red, white and blue made it stand out. It was easy to follow and read. She incorporates the ‘name theme’ into the poem by combing a few valuable letters to short poems. The repetition helps it to flow. Krystine’s goal was to help the reader to spell her name correctly.

Krystle Duggins: Krystle chose to create an “All About Me” book. In the reflection summary, she states that the book told about how she got her name. It was in biography format and had an easy flow. I enjoyed the different backgrounds and text templates used to keep the story interesting.

Bailey Hunn: I believe this is one of my favorite peer makes because Bailey wrote about her cat. I myself love cats and always adopt from a shelter. I have had several blacks cats like Roku (Bailey’s cat) because I know they are harder to adopt. The book had an easy storyline to follow and gives information about what a shelter might be like.

Amanda Sanders: Amanda wrote “A Book About Me” as a biography. She used the repetition phrases which helped the book to flow and connect. The front cover was eye catching, making you want to read the book.

Author Bio: Megan Gatzka is currently an elementary school Librarian in Fresno, California where she resides with her husband of 17 years and two sons.  She is currently working on a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies at CSU Chico and a Librarian certification at Fresno City College.  Her main focus is  to obtain a teaching credential as a Teacher Librarian.  

Rebecca Carney

The last two weeks have been filled with readings and a TED talk by John McWhorter. Speaking as one who has never used any of the programs/applications such as our Google + community and Storyjumper, I can honestly say I think we all deserve a pat on the back! There have been so many great posts that it makes me truly look forward to reading them all. We started our first week off by introducing ourselves and I know I cannot be the only one who saw a familiar face; it was great to read about everyone and their lives–so many relate to one another in various ways.

As for the assignments for week one, we were to discuss our own literacies and writings as well as read an article “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast” that in a nutshell compared how we speak to how we write in a professional manner, a book “What Do You Do With An Idea?” which was about a little boy who was fighting the thought of having an idea and tried to keep it contained but when it came out he realized just how great it truly was, and finally, we watched a TED Talk from John McWhorter making his statement that texting is not killing language, rather it is making language grow and less complicated to get what we want to say out to whomever it may be.

My fellow peers had great responses for each article, book, and video: the first one to stick out to me was by Olivia Najera when she responded to the book reading, “I think once we get older the less willing we are to share our ideas. We may be afraid and think we will be made fun of, while children at times could care less what others think and share it all”- how true is this statement?! Most children, like mine, have no filters and just say whatever idea first pops in their head versus an adult who weighs many factors before blurting out your idea.

Week two, was hands down my favorite readings thus far. We read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes that was about a female mouse and her uncommon and very long name going to school and quickly realizing the struggles that came with her name. Growing up, all she knew and heard was how great and beautiful her name was until some other female mice started teasing her at a constant rate. And, even though after each day of school she would go home and be reassured by her parents of just how beautiful her name was, it didn’t stick with her while being at school until a teacher complimented her name in front of her peers and disclosed her unusual name as well as saying how she was thinking of naming her unborn daughter “Chrysanthemum.” The second text we read was the poem “A girl named Jack” by Jacqueline Woodson. In this poem it discusses the process of just how she got her name at birth. My favorite line from this poem is “”Name a girl Jack, my father said, and she can’t help but grow up strong”- her father was already trying to make his daughter become a strong individual knowing the potential of bullying it may bring, she would only come out stronger in the end. Her mother disagreed so they compromised and went with Jacqueline. The third text was, “Second daughter’s second day” again, by Jacqueline Woodson: quite a powerful and moving poem. Jacqueline describes all of the injustice going on throughout the country against people of color and throwing in names and movements of power, as well as slipping in the unsurety of just how she might fit into the culture and whether or not she will be as strong as those she named. As I stated previously, these reading from week two have been my favorite! A peer of mine named Estefani Galarza wrote her response to “A girl named Jack” and the part in her response that caught my attention the most was when she stated, “He mentioned that she will grow strong because of her name. I feel like he makes it seem like she’ll be strong only because Jack is a male name, and they believe that men are stronger than women”- I guess I never looked at it that way, so interesting to see it in a different perspective!

Finally, our last assignment- OUR FIRST MAKE! Not going to lie, I was super overwhelmed with the thought of using Storyjumper for the first time; I felt as though it was going to be the most impossible thing ever! In all honesty, I had a great time using it and will definitely use it again. We were given an open option to create a poem or story on almost anything related to us. I chose to do a little story of a glimpse of a typical day for me with my family and their craziness.

There were so many great and creative stories and poems!

Sophia Bambino used Storyjumper to write out ABC’s of her life, how cool is this?! She had a great example for every letter. I loved reading through her book and seeing how much thought and effort she put into each one.

Another great Make that I truly enjoyed reading was from Kaylin Renfro– the way she wrote her poem from the words she chose to the format, it was all great and so intriguing.

There once was a little girl… 

There once was a little girl.
She was the apple of her father’s eye,
with tight blonde curls and bright blue eyes.
She came as a miracle,
the light at the end of a long dark road.

There once was a little girl.
She was the apple of her father’s eye,
with tight blonde curls and bright blue eyes.
She came as a bit of surprise,
full of spunk and fully in disguise.

You see this little girl,
she was not like her family.
Her tight blonde curls,
stood out among the red sea.

You see this little girl,
she was quite on her own time.
The youngest cousin by far
would be the only one in pink
asking for a ballerina bar.

She was the sunshine,
a bright blonde light.
The one who kept her mother up
late at night.

She was the sunshine,
a bright blonde light.
The one who became the little sister
who often started a fight.

She loved her family,
she loved them so.
She would give anything,
to watch them grow.

She loved her family,
she loved them so.
Her faith in God,
she would always know.

The poem that Marc Blair wrote on how he got his name was another great make. I loved how it was personal and that he wrote what his father thought and that his mother did not disagree. 

There once was a running back at USC,

He scored touchdowns, ran like the wind, and wore number 33.

The LA Coliseum would be in awe when he had the football

My dad would guarantee that year he would be the best player overall.

It was summer, of the year 1981

My parents would welcome the birth of their second son.

Thinking of names, my mothers early plan of having two boys named chad and brad had already faltered.

Their first boy was named Michael, her plan was quickly disordered.

My father demanded, “his name will be Marc and that is it”

“Why?” my mother asked, “I know its football season, and your feeling the USC Trojan Spirt…”

So there it was, I am named after running back Marcus Allen.

1981 was the year, the year he won the Heisman.

Really well written, Marc. Nice job everyone!

Author Bio: I am currently a stay at home mom, resigned from the Glenn County Office of Education after five years to pursue my schooling. I transferred from Butte College into my junior year at Chico State. I am currently working on my teaching credential and looking to pursue my special education credential in moderate/severe. I have two children, a boy and girl, as well as two dogs and a husband. In my spare time I love watching Dr. Phil, crafting, and doing DIY home projects inspired from Pinterest.

Featured Curators Make Cycle 1: Ruben, Christina, Kellie, Chad and Rebecca

Featured Curators Make Cycle 1: Ruben, Christina, Kellie, Chad and Rebecca

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 Ruben, Christina, Kellie, and Chad 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.

Ruben Mendoza

image of Ruben

Vernacular is spectacular and so is our Google Plus community space! With that in mind, our community has provided a digital space that illustrates the values and contributions of my colleagues, capturing their intelligence and insightful thinking while critiquing assigned articles and videos that discuss generational literacy practices. Our group has read and watched key mentor text that challenged our methods of thinking, speaking, and writing by breaking recurring assumptions of students’ literacy practices. For instance, here is section of my response to one of the mentor texts we watched in the first week:

As I watched John McWhorter’s TED Talk, Txtng is Killing Language. JK!!, I could not simply help but realize how our society continues to claim that our current generation is losing the ability to write. What I wondered is what constitutes as good writing and is there a fu***ng manual that I need to read somewhere where I can be told by some “experts” how I should be writing? What technical techniques in writing do I need to learn to be a functional citizen within our society?

This section that I wrote for our class discussion board can be characterized as a tangent from a dumb millennial (That is me!). However, this section that I wrote truly aims to challenge students and educators ideas on this recurring and negative rhetorical trope that continues to plague my generation: students are losing the ability to write! After watching the TED talk, I began to feel that the current generation has begun to fight against this implicit metaphoric military warfare: War on writing. I begun to wonder… Can students please have the freedom to generate their own ideas by producing work in any written form that they prefer? Or will students continue to be stifled and forced to generate text that is meaningless to their lives? After reading and watching researched studies that investigate this periodic trope, I began to wonder how our class will utilize these mentor text in their future classrooms. As I noted in the first discussion post for our online community, reinforcing this false idea about what constitutes as great writing confuses and places false notions to students to aim to produce formulaic writing. Those assumptions about writing can become ideologies that prevent students from producing in different genres. This can possibly allow students to have no creative control over their writing practices, which will allow students to not have agency over their education (Horrible thought… I know).

As our second week began, my colleagues and I were introduced to a variety of texts that illustrate narratives that were both meaningful and powerful. A mentor text that stood out to me was Second Daughter’s Second Day by Jacqueline Woodson, which illustrated a story that captures an important idea. The idea and notion from the text is that there is so much going on before and after an individual is born into this world. There is an overwhelming idea that the mentor text conveyed, which is that when a child is born there are individuals who are not personally or physically related to them that are fighting for that child, including equal rights and so forth. The author also references within the text that during the birth of her life, there were several key elements that were happening in that time period, including Martin Luther King preparing to March in Washington. The narrative that Woodson illustrated provided intricate details and the notion that reinforces this idea that there are people fighting for individuals lives, even before they exist within this world.

Our Makes: Some Highlights

Cece Somera

Cece artAfter being inspired and mesmerized by these mentor text, we were assigned to create and produce our own narratives. For example, my colleagues and I were offered the opportunity to write a poem about our own birth. For my assignment, I created a nonfiction story about the relationship between my mother and I, including defying societal norms (Click here if you are interested in reading the story). However, what is more important is celebrating the creativity and innovation that my colleagues created with this first make cycle of the semester. For instance, when I looked over our digital space on Google Plus, I saw that one of my colleagues created a Multimodal poem that truly captivated my attention. Cece Somera uploaded an image of a creation she made at home. In her reflection, Cece states, “ I wanted to represent myself as best I could and I didn’t think creating something digital would achieve that for me. I decided to make a mini poster that I crafted myself which adds another personal element to it.” What I don’t think Cece realizes is that this poem is rhetorically powerful by reinforcing this repetitive element within her text by beginning each new sentence with I am. The repetition highlights an intricate part to her life and characterizes her perfectly, especially by concluding the final clause with “I AM CECE.” Not only is this artifact simply stunning with the visual appeal, but I continued to imagine how this artifact could be reproduced in a educational classroom. This simplistic design is a brilliant idea and really shows that homemade artifacts are as amazing as digital artifacts.

Graciela Pablos

Another example that instantly captivated my attention is this idea of using one’s name as an acronym. For instance, Graciela created an artifact at home that is aesthetically appealing on so many levels. However, the most intriguing part of her assignment is how she used words that were meaningful to her life. In her reflection, Graciela states, “At first I had trouble thinking of what to write, although there was a plethora of things I could do, I wasn’t sure, but for this activity I decided to incorporate “My name Is…” into it.  I used words that family and friends use to describe the type of person I am.” This idea to incorporate words from family and friends that describe who she is as an individual is brilliant because it emphasizes the true characteristics of herself. Furthermore, as with Cece’s design, I believe that this could also be duplicated in a classroom and allow young students to try to generate words that their loved ones would best characterize them, which will allow them to critically think how there are various words that can describe an individual. Both Cece and Graciela illustrated that these types of artifacts can be aesthetically powerful by using multimodality to create awesome projects.

Lizette Dolmos

As I continued through our Google Plus community page, I arrived at an image that seemed to reflect a close bond between a mother and daughter. What I found most interesting about the post is that Lizette incorporated a simplistic poem that detailed her close relation to her mother, which emphasized on so much detail. One, I was truly fascinated at the idea that a daughter and mother could have such a powerful dynamic relationship with one another. Two, I was slightly jealous that I did not possess the same relation with my own mother. Three, this text really employed vulnerability that is not often expressed by many students. However, what really captivated me with this poem is the honest and powerful words that were conveyed through the text. I truly enjoyed that over time and change that there relationship stayed the same. Furthemore, this raw and detailed poem is extensive and truly shows the effort that was placed to create such a meaningful project. Once again, truly captivating.Lizette picture

Final Thoughts

These past two weeks in our course have felt like we have been in school for over 10 weeks… I am kidding! Although, what is so prevalent within this English 333 course is that we continue to challenge these preconceived notions and thoughts that we all have about writing practices in academia. Academically, this course is providing various examples on how writing can be produced in various genres and how there are many ways to make writing extremely meaningful to an individuals life. As I looked over my colleagues’ work, I realized how a simple poem like Lizette’s can provide so much context and meaning about an important aspect to a person’s life. Or how a poster can become an aesthetic piece of art that provides rhetorical power and characterization of an individuals life as well. As we learn more and more from this course, I cannot wait to see what we will further learn about advanced composition and how to create more meaningful writing practices within our future courses.

Author Bio: Ruben Mendoza is an undergraduate student at California State University, Chico, majoring in English Studies. As Ruben completes his final semester, his objective is to complete his Senior Honor Thesis: The Rhetorical Effects of Military Metaphors and Tropes During the Early AIDS Epidemic, which aims to highlight the binary opposition during the early AIDS epidemic by using a social semiotic approach. Ruben has served as a mentor in several English 130 courses (Freshman Composition) and a Teaching Assistant in English 332 (Introduction to Literacy Studies), focusing on providing access and equity to underserved students. Furthermore, his mentor position has contributed to students writing by supporting students with their academic writing practices. More importantly, Ruben will continue his graduate studies at San Diego State University by pursuing a degree in Rhetoric and Writing. And he loves pizza and beer…

picture ChristinaChristina Barbaccia

During the first week of class, we joined our G+ community and introduced ourselves to the class.  Many students did an excellent job of introducing themselves in an interesting way and provided us with snapshots of their lives.  This exercise also was a good reminder that people view the world from different perspectives and allowed us to learn new things about each other.  Although this is an online class, I already felt a connection to my classmates.  I can tell that everyone has the drive and focus to become an educator.

Make Cycle 1 began with three texts, which focused on how and why people share their ideas. In our first reading, What Do You Do with an Idea?, by Kobi Yamada,  the main character had an idea; however, he didn’t share his idea with anyone out of fear that the other kids would make fun of him. Brianna Carlucci experienced this hesitation and shared: “Your brain runs through so much before you actually decide”…because the fear is real!  I think the quote, “”It is good to have the ability to see things differently” (Sean Gamer) really resonated with a lot of students because it’s those who have the confidence to share their way of thinking with the world who help keep society moving forward.  Technology has changed the way we communicate with one another and many people today use social media and texting to keep in touch. In our second reading “Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast” by Andrea Lunsford, the author explains that there are many benefits to people communicating using social media. Many students are more “adaptable” (Walker)  to changes in literacy because technology is always innovating and changing language. Rayn Buford shared that she adjusts his message depending on the recipient: “Although I do in fact have a Facebook and Instagram account, I would never email one of my professors using hashtags or submit an application without revising it.” Lunsford’s ideas helped shed some light as to how technology has played a positive role in improving communicating with others in today’s world and I feel that the the response of students clearly showed agreement.

Finally, in the Ted Talk, “Txting is Killing Language, JK!” by John McWhorter, he further explained how technology has helped society encourage young people  to communicate more often than ever before.  He explained in the article that texting often gets a bad rap because texting is loose in structure and there is often no regard to grammar, punctuation and spelling rules. However, many of us learned that this loose structure can be a good thing. Texting allows us to be able to “Write the way we talk” (McWhorter, 5:33) and texting is encouraging more people to reach out and communicate with others.  Many classmates pointed out that when we are speaking we don’t “think about punctuation and capital letters” (Brianna Carlucci).  McWhorter pointed out that throughout history, college professors and adults have always had issues with communication styles of the youth.  Lizette Dolmos stated, “I had always heard the perspective of how texting is ruining how the younger generation writes today.” The article showed a lot of us that writing is “flexible” (Alice Thurber) and has evolved into something new. Texting is a new language that helps people focus more on the message being sent rather than a focus on the correct form of written words.

The second week shifted our focus to the way repetition, structure and italics can influence the meaning and impact of a piece of literature. I was excited that our class jumped into actual children’s literature so quickly, and I felt that the responses from my classmates echoed that enthusiasm. Rather than only reading what a professor had to say about these pieces, it was interesting and enlightening to read different reactions and responses from my classmates. Repetition can help create structure in the story. Erin Russo explains: “The repetition on certain lines made the story easy to follow.” One important aspect of the book that resonated with many students was the bullying aspect in Chrysanthemum.  

Throughout the book, a mean girl named Victoria made fun of Chrysanthemum’s name; these insults made Chrysanthemum feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about her name. Lisa Valdez explains that this repetition represents “how vulnerable and stripped Chrysanthemum felt when her name, the thing that makes her unique herself, was attacked.” Chrysanthemum also taught us to learn how to embrace our uniqueness and that one good teacher can make a difference in the world of a child.  Brittany Walker explains “when Victoria and the other girls made fun of Chrysanthemum’s name in Mrs. Twinkle’s class, Mrs. Twinkle had turned something negative into a positive.  Instead of allowing a student to make fun of another student, Mrs. Twinkle intervened and made Chrysanthemum realize she had a great name.” This part resonated with a lot of students because it’s important for teachers to intervene when bullying is going on and try to stop bullying in the classroom.

Another text that we focused on this week was a poem called A Girl named Jack, which focused on the use of italics. This poem captured the tension between the new parents and the in-laws, debating on a good name for the newborn. This tension was emphasized because the story is dialogue, and the author wants the reader to pay attention to the tension. One of the things that stood out to many students was the reasoning the father used to explain why he wanted to name their newborn daughter Jack; he believed that Jack would help his daughter “grow up strong… And she’ll make that name her own’ (Woodson, Lines 16-18).

This line stood out to Hannah Hughes who says, “I think the passion the Dad showed about naming his daughter shows the investment he has in her and that is beautiful.” The parents want their daughter to be confident in herself and want her to grow up and be tough; however, the mother already knew that as their daughter grew, she would be teased for having a boy’s name.  Another line that resonated with a lot of students was ““Jacqueline, just in case I grew up and wanted something a little bit longer and further away from Jack” (Woodson, Lines 42-46).  Yorleidi Langarica explains that the reason this line stood out was because “her mother was already thinking ahead of time. She wanted her daughter to have a choice since, well, you can’t choose your name when you’re born.” Using italics in the dialogue helps the reader understand how parents can put so much energy into picking the right name.

 Our last text for this cycle was another poem titled Second Daughter’s Second Day, which describes the author, an African American baby who was born in 1963 when the Civil Rights Movement was taking place. The poem explains that there were African American activists who fought for equality and the author italicized her inner thoughts concerning her potential to change the world. A lot of students found this poem to be inspirational because it shows that no matter one’s age, anyone can change the world.  Shelby Baccala offers, “This poem is powerful because it discusses the potential we all have from birth to change the world without even knowing.”  This poem inspires a feeling of hopefulness.  Jennifer Barajas-Goodwin points out the poem is a “reflection of how a baby would feel coming into this world, and what the possibilities are to change the future.” These readings teach us that using a certain structure and italics for certain parts helps the author’s’ main message stand out. My classmates and I enjoyed these readings because these topics are relatable to us and we have learned a lot about using simple techniques such as italicizing certain words to help the reader see the message of the author clearly.

Our last assignment was to create our first make, an artifact, which could be either a poem about ourselves or a personal story using a computer program called Storyjumper. Storyjumper is an online service that allows anyone to create their own children’s book. These poems or story books could be about how we got our name, the story of our birth, or anything else about the individual.  For example, one make that stood out to me was from Malena Hawks:

I am from a place where fruit is always growing,

   Almond trees blossoming and agriculture booming.

I’m from downtown filled with places to eat,

    The most amazing taco trucks and refreshing drinks.

I am from Thursday and Saturday markets with people constantly walking,

     People jamming, and locals selling.

I am from a place filled with history,

     Engaging museums, and a million adventures.

I am from beautiful parks with people jogging,

     Dogs swimming, and kids screaming.

I am from raging college students when school is in session,

     And quiet summers that are as hot as death,

     But winters filled with rain and cold.

I am from a place where Alergees get angry,

     Blossoms bloom, and colorful falls.

I am from your “home away from home”,

     A “small” town north of Sacramento..,

     A place you love,

     A very happy community…

I am from…

I am from… Chico, California.

Hawks wrote about where she was from and I noticed that she used some descriptive words in her writing to help the reader visualize this place. She also did a great job incorporating the text structure of Chrysanthemum by using repetition in her writing.  She wanted to make sure that she is standing out in the poem. Also, Hawks used repetition in her poem to provide consistency in her structure and in her writing.  

Another book that stood out to me was a Storyjumper book written by Riley Rogo titled “A Teacher in the Making.” The story was about how her life experiences have influenced Riley to pursue teaching as a career:

“Riley and her sister Sydney couldn’t wait to get home from school to play teacher.

What’s two Plus Three? She would ask her sister.

Hold on Mrs. Rogo. I will get it Mrs. Rogo” she replied.

Riley never knew she was a teacher in the making.”

Riley uses italics and repetition in her story to provide structure just like in this week’s mentor text Chrysanthum and in “A Girl named Jack.” Repetition provides structure in the story, making it easier for the young reader to follow along. In this example, she also italizces the dialogue to make the reader visualize the voices of the characters and focus on the conversation.  Also after every paragraph she would tell a little bit about her life and the last sentence would be “Riley Never knew she was a teacher in the making.”

The last Make that stood out to me was a Storyjumper book titled “Who Am I,” by Brittany Walker. She tells us the story of how she got her name and how she has learned to embrace who she is.  One line that stood out to me is:

“With billions of people in the world, you may have the same name as someone else, but you are what makes your name yours” (Walker, 7).

One important theme from this week’s cycle is everyone is unique in their own way.  Every individual has different backgrounds and different talents but if we learn to use our unique talents and abilities, we each have the potential to help change the world.  This week’s cycle one went well, and I can tell that everyone put their best effort into these assignments.  I feel that we learned a lot this week and I can’t wait to see what else is in store in this semester.  

Author Bio: Christina Marie Barbaccia was born in Yuba City, CA in 1996. She graduated this past year from Yuba Community College where she received her Associate’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She transferred to Chico State as a junior this past spring where she is working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies. Christina is also aiming to get a Master’s Degree in Education. She currently volunteers at Adventure Church of Yuba City as a Kindergarten Sunday School teacher assistant. She also enjoys creating art and she hopes that when she’s a teacher, she will be able to share her creative spirit with her students.

image KellieKellie Cabico

Phew!  Make Cycle One is done.  We had really great learning opportunities in this make cycle and everyone worked really hard. Well done everyone!  

The first week we learned about different views on what counts as writing and about embracing and nurturing our ideas. In Andrea Lunsford’s Our Semi-Literate Youth? Not So Fast” and John McWhorter’s Ted Talk, Txtng is Killing Language. JK!!,” we experienced two takes on how technology has impacted writing. Lunsford’s focus is on how today’s rapidly developing technology and the increasing number platforms for writing have given everyone more opportunities to develop their literacies through emails, texts, blogs and social media. And although many complain that these platforms are the downfall of writing as we know it, according to Lunsford’s research, the mistakes we are making in our writing may be different, but they are by no means more numerous. McWhorter focuses on texting in terms of linguistic evolution and calls it “fingered speech,” rather than “writing.”  Speech has changed throughout history and has evolved into how we speak today and since speech itself evolves, it only makes sense that communication does too. And finally, Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do With an Idea? explores the nurturing and protection of our ideas until we are brave enough to share them without regard for what the world thinks.  

In Week Two, we learned about some tools that make different kinds of writing effective and beautiful through three touching and powerful mentor texts.  In the poem, A Girl Named Jack, we experienced the back and forth rhythms of whispered dialogue in a family’s efforts to name their newborn baby girl. Second Daughter’s Second Day is also a poem about a newborn that uses its own back and forth rhythm with the alternating voices of the newborn and history to explore the mystery of the newborn’s future. Perhaps my favorite of the three, Chrysanthemum, is the story of a little mouse named Chrysanthemum whose love for her name is impacted by the opinions of the mean girls at school. It uses repetition, clever word choices and really lovely imagery to demonstrate Chrysanthemum’s feelings of being wilted or blooming about her unique name. The adults in Chrysanthemum did such a great job of handling a tough and all too common problem without humiliating anyone and yet Karma still managed to catch up with the mean girl. There was beauty and justice. All three of these stories painted really lovely word pictures using tools that we all hoped to attempt in our own writing.

The most amazing thing about this make cycle is that we didn’t just learn about writing. We learned about each other. We learned about each other through our first week introductions.  We learned about each other through our reactions to the the learning materials we watched and read. And we learned about each other through the rich and wonderful “makes” created by each of us.

Between Ruben Mendoza’s honest and powerful memoir, Pretty Hurts, Alice Thurber’s trip through Wonderland, the clever Storyjumper books, and the really wide variety of poems posted by my peers in week three, it was a really difficult task to pick just a few.  However, I was struck in particular by Lexi Mitchell’s poem, Small Town to Salty Sea.  The story of her journey to independence is beautifully told using dialogue, rhyme and the repetition of the line

Not with he or with them but with no one but me” and its variant “Not with he or with them but with no one but you.”  

I was also struck by Riley Duff’s poem, Roots, where she compares her own personal growth to the growth of a tree. Her comparison is beautifully done with branches reaching for independence and roots representing family and where she came from. The poem is wonderfully structured with rich imagery and repetition. Likewise, Julie Lafreniere’s Screech Owl paints a heartwarming picture of a six week old’s homecoming to her adoptive brothers with repetitive numbering of their faces, hands and toes, and also in her wide owl eyes. Perhaps my favorite is Catherine Strang’s untitled poem in which she gives the recipe for herself.  It’s an incredibly clever poem that combines, melts, and mixes dollops of places and people that make her who she is.  

With that said, every single make that was posted in this cycle spoke to me on some level.  And, while we each need this class to learn about writing in order to continue in our learning and career paths, I feel fortunate that we have such a wonderful opportunity to learn about ourselves and each other through this process.  Thanks, everyone.  I’m looking forward to Make Cycle Two!   

Author Bio: Kellie Cabico is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies in hopes of eventually becoming an elementary school teacher.  She lives in Tracy with her husband and two children, without whose love and support this next step in her life wouldn’t be possible.  

picture of ChadChad Lafenhagen

While reflecting back on the last two weeks of our first Make Cycle the things that stood out most for me were Kobi Yamada’s What Do you Do With An Idea?, John McWhorter’s speech “Txting is killing language. JK!!” and the poem A girl named Jack by Jacqueline Woodson. During the first week we were able to watch a video reading of What Do You Do With An Idea? which is a whimsical tale that takes you on a journey with a child and their idea that they eventually decide should be shared with everyone. As you progress through this story the idea brings more and more life to each page illustrating its almost magical effect on the surrounding world. The great illustrations coupled with an enlightening storyline are what made it stand out to me during make illustration

I think the main point of the book is to follow your own path regardless of the opinions of others. Many ideas do not come to fruition because of overly critical viewpoints. The only one holding us back from achieving our dreams is typically our self. I feel that those who can healthfully manage both positive and negative criticism have the best chance at achieving goals others may deem “too weird,” “a waste of time” or that will “never become of anything”. Writing is one way we can express our ideas and allow your inner self to become visible. I think this revealing of one’s inner self is what scares me and perhaps others from writing more than we do. It sort of leaves you feeling vulnerable allowing others that close to your inner self. Without writing, stories, ideas, and human history would be lost to future generations. Writing allows for the passing of vital knowledge that can benefit future generations.

Next, John McWhorter captured my attention in his witty, yet comical, Ted talk. He educates you on his atypical conclusion that texting is a new form of writing. Basically, speech put into words. One supporting fact given by him is that we don’t tend to check our spelling or grammar on spoken words during an informal conversation. I think that the idea here is that sometimes adjusting the way we look at something helps us to see it from a different, sometimes atypical, perspective in which you might find value in an object, idea, or even person that you might not have perceived before. I like to try and look at things from multiple perspectives so this speech stood out to me for Make One.

I think McWhorter is right about micro-literacies being a new form of language. Through my online gaming social interactions, I’ve actually had to be taught how to understand some of the texting language by the younger gaming members. Perhaps similar to how the British view the way Americans speak English, people get the misrepresentation that it’s a butchered form of the language instead of viewing it a an entirely new language or derivative. I also believe texting was formed out of the advance of technology. If you look at coding language or formulas for Excel, many abbreviations are used. So, perhaps the explosion of technology into society spilled some of this mindset over into written informal communication. People also communicate more frequently with each other and with more people than they did in the past. Writing a letter took time and effort, and then you had to mail it while waiting for days, if not weeks or months, for a response. In today’s society people get mad of they haven’t gotten a response after ten minutes. So maybe the increased frequency of writing developed the need for a less formal texting language. In the Japanese and Spanish languages there are both formal and informal styles of speaking. Both languages also have their own style of texting language, similar but different than what we use for English. For example, Spanish use “jajaja” how “lol” is used in English. Another thought is that we can read much faster than we speak or hear words. If language was used to represent speech, it would have to be less lengthy than written speech to retain the speech pattern. So I completely agree with McWhorter. The point is to use the correct form of speech in the right setting; just as you wouldn’t speak informally in Japanese or Spanish when the occasion calls for a more formal speech. Written speech should follow this pattern as well I feel.

During the second week, we had the privilege of reading the poem by Jacqueline Woodson. Not only was this an interesting poem, but hat stood out to me most were the comments made about it by the rest of the class. I found it interesting that everyone sort of pulled their own conflict out of the lines of freeform. There was certainly a healthy dose of female equality comments about the negative viewpoints of a girl receiving a name typically identified as being for a boy. I’ve witnessed similar archaic social beliefs as, right up until her death, my own grandmother complained about my daughters’ ear piercings by saying, “They don’t need any more holes in their head than the ones they were born with” and “They’re beautiful enough the way they came, why would you do that do them?” Similar to ideas presented in the book What Do You Do With An Idea?, I believe one needs to have enough confidence with their idea, despite nay-sayers, even if that idea is wanting to name your daughter Jack, Bob, or maybe even Bruce. However, you should also take into consideration the taunting your child might get with your idea. After all, they are the ones who have to live with the name.

Woodson’s poem touches upon a family’s viewpoint of naming a new baby girl the name Jack. The father wanted to name her a strong and bold name that was typically a male’s, but one she could make her own. I felt this idea sounded similar to the comment I made for Chrysanthemum about a person growing to fit a name, or the name growing to fit the person. I thought it was unfortunate the father didn’t get his choice to name her Jack, and that the mother went as far as even changing Jackie to Jacqueline so as to prevent the “ie” from being dropped and her ending up being called Jack later on. That’s some serious foresight or fear of her being given a name typically given to a male.

Everyone did such a great job on this project that I found it really difficult to single out just a few people’s first Makes, but to keep this from being too long of a post I had to settle on a few. That being said, I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and creativity on this project; everyone should be extremely proud of what they worked on. The first Make that I would like to highlight is Rayn Buford’s poem “Rain Rain Go Away”

No sunshine outside, it is such a gloomy day.
Everyone is feeling bummed, a storm is headed this way.
Rain is so annoying, and although I found this to be true,
What people forget, is that rain doesn’t always have to be blue.
Rain provides the puddles that make children feel happy.
And rain is even where couple’s kiss, which is a positive type of sappy.
Rain can even be a name, which always catches people off guard.
My parent’s thought it was the perfect fit, which made Kindergarten hard.
School was new and exciting and definitely the place I wanted to be,
But I grew tired of my classmates chanting and laughing at me.
Today I stand tall, as I know I am beautiful and unique.
But when you first meet someone, never let yourself critique.
My name is “Rayn” and I am filled with sunshine, happiness, and laughter…
On those sad rainy days, there might just be a rainbow soon after.

Inspired by the book Chrysanthemum, Rayn decided to share her memories of being teased by other children for her beautifully unique name. Her post first caught my eye because of the wonderful picture she included with her poem. I loved her use of the somber feelings people commonly gravitate to on rainy days, and how her personality reflects the opposite of those emotions. Her own story was nearly a mirror image of the bullying Chrysanthemum endured for owning such a unique name. She expressed her own feelings of frustration and sadness at the torment along with her change in perception of her name and pride of it.

The next Make I wanted to mention was by Catherine Strang. It stood out for her creative use of a recipe to describe her family as a whole.

Begin with 2 parents and then add 2 more
Add 3 sisters and 1 brother
Combine to make 4.
Mix in 2 goofy uncles and 2 beautiful aunts
Melt 1 heart by a Rose
Then stir in 1 Gran and 1 Gramps
Substitute 1 table and half a dozen chairs
For a kitchen full of people
And dollops of ocean air
Bake these memories for 21 years
And now you have got a Caty or Cate

I loved the recipe idea. Every ingredient is vital when baking. So I loved how her poem made everyone in her family of almost equal importance in the overall creation and development of the individual that Caty has become today. This poem sort of evokes memories of your own family as she describes the ingredients that make up her family. There is a real sense of warmth that exudes from lines of her poem. I felt you get a great image of the closeness of her family and clearly determine how much her family means to her.

Cori Hale’s “The Path of Love” was also really creative. I liked the use of repetition in her poem and felt you could use it as a piece to inspire kids to write their own repeating poem about their families.

Born the name
Robin Reynee Roberts
Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr
Clumsy and awkward
Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr
Strong and stronger
Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr

In love and engaged
Married the name
Robin Reynee Hale
Rrrr Rrrr Hhhh…
Not so funny

Full hearts and baby belly
A name needed
Original and new
Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm
Family and girly
Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm

Born the name
Cori Christine Hale
Cccc Cccc Hhhh
Loved and different
Cccc Cccc Hhhh
Clumsy and awkward
Cccc Cccc Hhhh

In love and engaged
Married the name
Cori Christine Koranda
Cccc Cccc Kkkk…
Oh so funny

Cori’s poem also used methods from the book Chrysanthemum. I thought it was ironic that after growing up being teased about the initials of her name and eventually marring out of it only to have her own child married into another initial conundrum. Again, I really liked the repetition used with the initial of the family members and felt that if this poem was read to a group of children, that it could be a good tool to read to kids and let them model their own poems off of it.

Since all the Makes that I have mentioned thus far have been poem I thought I should also include someone who used Storyjumper to make a book. “How to Get a Name” by Raenni Pilgrim caught my eye because I have two daughters and they love horses, especially with wings.

I liked how in the story the name traveled around before finding the person it belonged to. The book seems to instill pride into the reader about their own name. I thought this book was great because many kids can be insecure about their names at an early age, especially if it’s different or rhymes with something children can tease them about. The story follows the name as it travels similar to how you travel with the boy and his idea in What Do You Do With An Idea? I also felt it borrowed from the techniques of Chrysanthemum, where the child is meant to feel proud about their name. The artwork and storyline I felt were really captivating for those of all ages.

Author Bio: Chad Lafenhagen was born in Illinois but moved with my family to San Diego, California when he was 6 months old. He considers himself more of a west coaster than a mid-westerner. He is most curious about different cultures and enjoys getting to know their customs and languages. He is conversational in Spanish and is working on teaching himself how to read Japanese. He is pursuing his multiple subject credential at Chico State and appreciates the broad range of subjects the major affords. 

Rebecca Barragan

I honestly loved seeing the students and the work they produced and how their makes turned out. Our makes could be made from different things or follow an exact format from the mentor texts or could be something completely different that worked for us. I really love how people post on a community and see their creativity and all the works that they have done and I love seeing the assignments that look so amazing once they post it. What I find the most interesting is when everyone shares their ideas in the comments and I love that that happens and when people share what think and if the post can be better. When I read through my colleagues makes I remembered that I loved what they had posted and I loved the postures that came along with it.

I honestly was really impressed and that was only make cycle one!

I will share below with you guys on the work that was posted and show you the work that people posted that stuck with me and showed me that they really took their time to post something great!

Born the name

Robin Reynee Roberts

Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr


Clumsy and awkward

Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr

Strong and stronger

Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr

In love and engaged

Married the name

Robin Reynee Hale

Rrrr Rrrr Hhhh…

Not so funny

Full hearts and baby belly

A name needed

Original and new

Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm

Family and girly

Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm

Born the name

Cori Christine Hale

Cccc Cccc Hhhh


Loved and different

Cccc Cccc Hhhh

Clumsy and awkward

Cccc Cccc Hhhh

In love and engaged

Married the name

Cori Christine Koranda

Cccc Cccc Kkkk…

Oh so funny

Cori Hales: I loved Coria Hales the path of love because it was super creative and honestly she did a great job with the repetition. This would be an awesome poem to show kids so maybe one day they can make a poem that repeats some stuff and flows nicely.

I love that Cori’s poem used the same methods from the book Chrysanthemum. I found this poem to be written very nicely and she was made fun of because of her name but then she got married and her name changed and then her child had to deal with another name thing. This is a great poem to be a model for other kids.

I would also like to point out how great of a job Rayn Buford’s poem was and that poem was called “Rain Rain Go Away”

No sunshine outside, it is such a gloomy day.

Everyone is feeling bummed, a storm is headed this way.

Rain is so annoying, and although I found this to be true,

What people forget, is that rain doesn’t always have to be blue.

Rain provides the puddles that make children feel happy.

And rain is even where couple’s kiss, which is a positive type of sappy.

Rain can even be a name, which always catches people off guard.

My parent’s thought it was the perfect fit, which made Kindergarten hard.

School was new and exciting and definitely the place I wanted to be,

But I grew tired of my classmates chanting and laughing at me.

Today I stand tall, as I know I am beautiful and unique.

But when you first meet someone, never let yourself critique.

My name is “Rayn” and I am filled with sunshine, happiness, and laughter…

On those sad rainy days, there might just be a rainbow soon after.

She used the book Chrysanthemum and wanted to share her memories of when she was teased with by some other kids for her name. Her story was just like Chrysanthemum’s story and she had her feelings hurt a lot because of her name.

Graciela Pablos made an acronym. Out of her name and she really did an awesome job! I agree with Graciela because I had trouble thinking of what to write as well for this one but she did a wonderful job!

She used words that her family and friends used to describe her and I found that a great idea!

Final thoughts: These past weeks have been great!!

Author Bio: Rebecca Barragan is getting her undergraduates degree at California State University Chico, majoring in Liberal Studies. She has two more semesters left until she graduates. She has a husband and a one year old boy who she loves dearly. She wanted to be a teacher but now she is thinking she might want to be an officer in the Air force after she gets her degree!