Multiverse Dragon Masters Evaluation of the Pilot Course

Multiverse Dragon Masters for Elementary Reading Literacy:

Evaluation of the Pilot Course

Salie Davis

Designing Online Learning Environments

(2017SP1-EDU-681103-01)

Professor Mark Lewis

Empire State College

April 28, 2017

Multiverse Dragon Masters, Evaluation:

Multiverse Dragon Masters is a 3d simulation and game based curriculum based in a virtually immersive learning environment. The pilot was designed for age groups with flexibility based on student level and ability, between 6-11 years olds (primary grades) for goal based learning. In addition the primary evaluation form was goal based evaluation (McNamara, 2008). This could be expanded to 12-15 (secondary grades) with evolving curriculum and for advance application with design tools for in world storybook and literary project creation. The pilot was tested by my two daughters, one age 9, and the other an adult home educator of preschool children, as well as two college associates.

My educational goals were to design projects and experiences that are personal and relevant to the learner. My 9 year old daughter whom is home instructed, is below her reading level for her age. The design of this pilot was with her special needs in mind, as well as to produce quality presentations through the use of technology that can be shared with the online community.

On both the website and in the virtual world graphics and text combine to increase the impact on learning. Using this principle the fact that the animation in virtual worlds is more engaging to children in an e-learning environment that a static text based or even interactive chat based website is supported(Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 71) This is also based on the arousal that emotional attachment promotes learning. The virtual world environment allows for both synchronous and asynchronous learning, where the student can interact with the lesson plan independently or with the instructor, parent and/or other participants. One college associate commented that the title of “Multiverse Dragon Masters” created psychological engagement even before beginning the pilot project.

The supporting website also give additional asynchronous learning opportunities and lesson plan preparation. It allows for the application of the embodiment principle because the avatar programming mimics human gestures in line with live voice interactions, increasing stimulation contributing to learning (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 192). Virtual worlds can be individually designed to better adhere to the concurrency principle by avoiding streaming audio, music and ambient noises and using sounds only when beneficial for motivational engagement with the learning content. The individual avatar controls also allow for the content user to adjust sounds, movements and other features to align with personal preferences. In this the user can choose to eliminate ambient noise, sound effects, streaming music, etc. In a virtual world the importance of immersion is highlighted. It is a very specific platform with many possibilities but may not be appropriate for all learners. Deciding on an appropriate audience and content rating will also be essential in its development.

The redundancy principle is supported with this reduction in unnecessary audio when using visual text as the audio may reduce the knowledge absorbed from the lesson (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 139). Choosing only beneficial graphics and limiting the over use of graphic, as well as keeping word choice simple and concise are all conducive to learning according to the coherence principle (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 165) I can apply the contiguity principle in the virtual world environment by creating corresponding printed words with graphics or slide show with images and words, similar to an online storyboard. Points, tokes, prizes and awards through exploration, games and quizzes will instructors and parent gauge the success of the leaning platform.

Through my research one concern was that the personalizeation features in virtual worlds my become more of a distraction to learners and ultimately outweigh the educational benefits. (p.12, Dickey 2010) Allowing the 9 year old participant to make choices based upon limited selection, rather than teaching the technology tools of actual avatar design, I found that the pilot student was not distracted in the same way described by teachers in prior studies. In addition Personalization Principle, points out the benefits of these features in motivating students (Clark and Mayer, 2016). My adult daughter did report spending time working on her avatar and struggling with the technology aspect, in other words, she wanted to completely personalize her avatar but did not have the time to learn the technology. I ended up spending a few hours with her just to help her get her avatars appearance “just right”. With the two other college associates, I provided a ready made avatar and offered the options to adjust. I found with an avatar that was not “their own” they did not use the personalization features and simply continues with the lesson plan as laid out in the virtual world.

In this lesson plan the goal was to create a virtual world that encouraged reading in a game based environment. While working one on one with the 9 year old student she was motivated to read the story boards and read the quizzes for the opportunity to earn items she could then create her own story book scenes with. She enjoyed the idea of taking pictures of her creations with her own avatar as the main character. The one on one interaction in an online virtual world enhanced her motivation and interests in participating in reading chat and other required readings within the virtual platform in order to participate as she explored different areas and progressed through the game, learning to correctly identify words, and read simple to more advanced sentences throughout the virtual experience. The student was very interested in earning her own space to design in the virtual world, and kept asking me when I would be putting in more rewards, challenges and traps.

For this pilot program I planned a 30 minute walk through with 30 minutes of individual exploration. I had intended this to simulate the one on one goal of instruction. The college associate participants and myself were unable to coordinate schedules to meet online for this walk through. This impacted and lessened the affect of the pilot. Though I offered resources to aid in understanding the technology platform, time was a barrier and these resources were not utilized due to the learners time constraints. Instead I relied on the website resource and written support as an overall presentation of the game features and curriculum.

My adult daughter was able to meet with me one on one and this made her transition to a new technology format easier, thus enabling individual exploration. I will be creating an individualized pdf with visual screen shots as an improvement to the course as well as more training resources for new avatars within the virtual world. This will include a virtual orientation center that will teach movement controls and other aspects of the technology needed for success.

A parent teacher guide is also useful and I was able to implement many of these concepts into the starting point in the virtual world. Having these resources in world is essential and I will be developing PDFs of the same resources when applicable that specifically address subject matter concerning virtual worlds and the educational use of them for children on the companion website. Other parent guides resources include the user agreement both in world and on the website explaining the open access of virtual worlds and the responsibility of the parent and educator to supervise the sue of the virtual world. Help documentation such as how to create a child avatar and other useful tips and directions will also be available.

The subject content used in this virtual pilot began with reading and comprehension. In addition to reading literacy, digital literacy is also expanded though not a direct part of the lesson plan. Through observation I have seen improvement in the 9 year old student with technology use and in vocabulary recognition. The lack of technology skills with this new platform did surface as a barrier more so with the adult learners that the child learner in this pilot course. This supports the research that compared to the often problematic adaptation to new technologies experience by adults, children “…easily adapt to graphic and conceptual abstraction…often have extensive experience in navigating 3D spaces and discovering and exercising interface affordances” (p. 1 Roussou).

I was able to design the world then export it to a private server which is ideal for individual families who need added security and have privacy and safety concerns with online access. I then started from scratch, rebuilding the aspects I found most useful and continue with my experimentation in the online version. I have been exploring Sim on a Stick or “Simonastic” and other ready made servers such as Dreamworld and virtual world venues that do not require internet connections. Eventually I may want to move to a stand-alone platform such as can be found at www.Simonastick.com . In the future I can design and distribute an Oar file for download as an open source educational resource.

As an educator, creating a help sheet to assist learners in finding and setting controls for security and privacy would also be appropriate. This can be done real-time through virtual sessions using video, audio, or text. It can be done through the creation of PDFs that also have accessibility features built in, or it can be done by instructional video. Though the videos I have on my companion website were not specific to the pilot in terms of orientation, the college associate participants commented that the found the videos which addressed the ethics of using online virtual worlds with youth, aided them in their comfort level in taking the pilot course.

Through the first phase of this lesson plan students were able to explore the island, collect items for points, and take quizzes that rewarded for correct answers. The collection of “butterflies” awarded tokens and were accompanied by a notecard that provided instructions. The college associate participants expressed confusion at how to collect these tokens even with the written instructions. My adult daughter and 9 year old daughter benefited from a one on one demonstration. This reinforces the benefit of video tutorials in future designs. Story boards introduced the students to an underlying story plot. Students were also be able to create their own story line using screen shots, adding text and future participants could creating their own story boards that could be placed in world. Though these instructions were in world the college associate participants responded better to the pdf outline on the accompanying website than the in world resources. This identified that though students may find the virtual world a sufficient platform for information, the website and more traditional forms of content delivery may be essential for parent and teacher support. Students and parents can access the lesson plan online, again with parent supervision, will find resources and information will be presented on my current website Wopoli.com and eventually the option of my Facebook page. Future exploration of programs will also allow for quizzes to be saved or even emailed to the instructor. According to quality standards creating additional resources such as a netiquette guide (Quality Matters, 2014).

Resources

Briggs, D. C., Diaz-Bilello, E., Peck, F., Alzen, J., Chattergoon, R., Johnson, R., & …

University of Colorado at Boulder, C. (. (2015). Using a Learning Progression Framework to Assess and Evaluate Student Growth. National Center For The Improvement Of Educational Assessment

Carver, L. B. (2016). Teacher Perception of Barriers and Benefits in K-12 Technology Usage. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology – TOJET, 15(1), 110-116. Retrieved on April 15, 2017, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1086185

Clark, R., and Mayer, R. (2016) e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. John Wiley, and Sons Inc., Hoboken, N.J.

Davis, S. (2017). Multiverse dragon masters. Retrieved on April 16, 2017, from https://OSgrid/region/Multiverse%20Dragon%20Masters/164/137/23

Definitions in lesson plan (2015) Retrieved from https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/

ESRB, Entertainment Software Rating Board, retrieved from, https://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.aspx

Dickey, M. (2011). The pragmatics of virtual worlds for K-12 educators: investigating the affordances and constraints of Active Worlds and Second Life with K-12 in-service teachers. Educational Technology Research & Development, 59(1), 1-20. doi:10.1007/s11423-010-9163-4. Retrieved on April 5, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=36&sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&hid=108

Hickey, D. d., Ingram-Goble, A. A., & Jameson, E. M. (2009). Designing Assessments and Assessing Designs in Virtual Educational Environments. Journal Of Science Education & Technology, 18(2), 187-208. doi:10.1007/s10956-008-9143-1

Kitely.com. (2013, August 27). Privacy policy. Retrieved on April 7, 2017, at

https://www.kitely.com/privacy (secure server).

Kitely.com. (2015, June 1). Terms of service. Retrieved on April 7, 2017, at https://www.kitely.com/terms (secure server)

McNamara, C. (n.d.) Basic Guide to Program Evaluation (Including Outcomes Evaluation). Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Retrieved from: http://managementhelp.org/evaluation/program-evaluation-guide.htm

O’Connor, Eileen. (2012). Next Generation Online: Advancing Learning Through Dynamic Design, Virtual and Web 2.0 Technologies, and Instructor Attitude. Journal Of Educational Technology Systems Vol. 41(1) 3-24, 2012-2013 Retreived on 11/24/2016 from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8d09219c-4a71-44ac-87cb-072527f5880b%40sessionmgr102&vid=1&hid=104

Poskurich, George M. (2015). Rapid Intructional Design. Wiley publications

Quality Matters (2014) Non-annotated Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Fifth

Edition. Retrieved from: https://www.qualitymatters.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/StandardsfromtheQMHigherEducationRubric.pdf

Roussou, M. (2002). Immersive interactive virtual reality and informal education. Foundation of the Hellenic World. Retrieved on April 3, 2017, from http://ui4all.ics.forth.gr/i3SD2000/Roussou.PDF

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (Expanded ). Alexandria, US: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.library.esc.edu

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Creation of a picture book lesson plan with; PDF format, power point, spreadsheet, and word document resources, as well as three video resources.

The above video gives an overview for teachers and parents

This is the story book read by the author for younger children

This is just the pages to be paused and read individually

Gods little story book about art creation teachers edition in PowerPoint 

You may adapt the PowerPoint for your own use but may not distribute any adapted information without written  consent from the author and you must give proper credit to the author

final project creation picture book lesson plan word document Salie Davis

You may adapt the document for your own use but may not distribute any adapted information without written  consent from the author and you must give proper credit to the author

gods little story book about art creation student edition in PDF

You may adapt the PDF for your own use but may not distribute any adapted information without written  consent from the author and you must give proper credit to the author

Gods little story book about art creation student edition in PowerPoint

You may adapt the PowerPoint for your own use but may not distribute any adapted information without written  consent from the author and you must give proper credit to the author

Gods little story book about art creation teachers edition in PDFfinal-project-creation-picture-book-lesson-plan-salie-davis

You may adapt the PDF for your own use but may not distribute any adapted information without written  consent from the author and you must give proper credit to the author

grading sheet for the picture book in spreadsheet format

You may adapt the grading sheet for your own use but may not distribute any adapted information without written  consent from the author and you must give proper credit to the author

Country Life: a lyrical non-fiction essay

WoPoLi

As a child in a furrowed field of yellow grass, in an out of breath hurry, I ran past, what was in yesteryear gone by a home, now three walls of crumbling stone, and one wall a bank of burnt wood and grass, red bricks tumbled and broken glass.

I ran four miles to see my friend, to play and dream in the summer’s end. In the muddy fields that the farmer plowed, I lost my shoe, and my sock somehow. I found my shoe but my sock stayed stuck somewhere deep in the earthy muck. I cried to think of my mother’s glance when I came home with a one sock stance, but I ran on to tell my friend of the stray dog I had encountered then, and how I had followed it to the knoll where the shrubs and bushes hid the hole that I knew was…

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“The Tigress and the Kite” the inspiration and meaning behind the story. A dream research essay

I dream I am a Tigress, alone in the wilderness I stride with confidence and the strength of youth in my bones. I am fully content in the comfort of my wilds. As the morning rises, ripples of light intermix with lines of shadow to mark my ginger hide. To my right is a forest of greenery in every shade, and hue. It is a wonderful place for play. So I play as the sun rises. The umbrella canopy of dark foliage, glossy like jade, is suitable shelter from the rays of the high sun. To my left is the light drenched solace of the grasslands that bow in the winds. Sprawled out, I sleep in the fields of long grass, hidden from view, but I sense danger.

I remove myself from the intense heat as the sun sits high in the sky, and skirt the edges of the dappled forest. As the afternoon wanes, I casually wander towards the cool of the deciduous forest. I pause, and smell the air, for the first time unsure of my senses… the smoke of a bush fire? I see a Black Kite hovering mid sky with little effort, and striking skill. It peers intently down, then glides this way, then that way, to hover minutes more elsewhere…but I find no reassurance in this familiar sight. Something is not right.

With a sudden wailing cry, the Black Kite circles in the wind, startling me as it frightfully flutters past in shallow flight. With a bizarre shifting of its character it transforms into a black “V”, free flying, blown by the wind, string tail flailing, until it becomes entangled in the arms of a tree.  I look upon this sight with disturbed concern, and continue my journey around the curve of the forest.

There the wood abruptly ends. The scent of fresh cut grasses, and overturned earth prick at my nose, as a flood of other unfamiliar scents confuse my mind; the hot smell of wet tar. I slow my pace, hairs bristle, muscles twitch, and suddenly there is an eruption from the ground before me. The dirt is flung up, turned over, revealing black, running thick, and slow like a molten river; black that burns, and sticks to my pads, smelling of death. A wall of concrete breaks the ground and pushes upward. Another erupts from out of the earth to join the first, then a third, and a fourth like a volcanic explosion of solidified magma; grey, hard, unnatural rock. All is dark around me darker than the forest at night. The noise assaults my ears, deafening my senses. Thunder shakes the terrain as I run to seek solace in the grasslands, but find none.

I am pursued by monstrous beasts, machines that rip away the field as jaws devour, and long necks swing wildly about, under bright construction lights. These lights blind me, all the while casting darker shadows, as the machines continue their motions. They consume and discard all things loved by me. With quickening bites they leave behind only the rancid stench of black tar. Out of this black erupts, still more square walls of brick and concrete. Higher and higher they climb, blocking out the sky. I dart in and around the commotion. Running through the scene, my paws becoming burnt by the fire; the blistering hot black. I would bolt in the opposite direction yet in all four directions, similar scenes. I narrowly escape the jaws of the metallic beasts who roar at me from unseen faces.

In the panic and fray a shrill sound fills the air. I jump backwards, twisting and turning as if convulsing. It is the sound of laughing children. I feel anger as if these are intrusive prey to my world. A thunderous roar spills out from deep within me. The sound shocks even me, and seems to resonate, permeating the city-scape. The children are momentarily paralyzed. Their laughter turns to high pitched screams. They jump from their places, and flee into the buildings. I pounce on the only thing moving on the landscape, instantly tearing to shreds a small red ball, which was the attention of play moments before. I turn my attention again to this bizarre unknown.

The city seems to continually rise before me. I enter through an open door. I see woman standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. She screams, and the dishes shatter as they strike against the floor. I bolt out through the open door, back into the darkness of night.

In desperation, I set my eyes on the forest, now a few trees where once uncountable stood, with hopes to soothe the searing hurt. I only find remnants, all greenery quickly withering from view, leaving only the maze of walls. The buzz and chatter of voices surround me like a thick host of insects on a muggy day. They pick at, and pester me, my senses weakened, and my courage lost; I am the hunted. Quivering from shock, darting in, and out between the walls; the grey and black, the walls themselves seem to be in pursuit of me, trying with all cruelty to trap, to crush, closing in.

Faster and faster I flee, sounds making me deaf, smells sickening me, senses dizzying my mind, sights making me blind. I run the opposite way, and the opposite way again, confronted by more; I am trapped. Then everything goes black.

In my dream I awaken inside a room, empty except for a steel mirror… I hear a woman’s voice. I stand on uneasy feet. My paws have become hands. The woman is watching me. I turn, and see a reflection in the mirror. It is of a girl. I look around at the grey; no greenery, no earth, no natural light, no wind, no wilds. An eerie awareness fills me. My sense of smell is fouled by the astringent stench of the sterile, the lifeless. My image in the reflection wavers as if a pebble was tossed into the water; full awareness overcomes. My body trembles as I remember metallic monsters devouring forests and fields. The smell of hot black, wet grey, cold unnatural stone causes fear to swell. I am trapped. My mind spins, staring at the sickly form that is me, yet is not me. I cry out, throwing my body against the mirrored image, again and again as my screams become a roar. I lunge from wall to wall, seeking any weakness, my claws scratching, but I find no escape from this confinement. I collapse in exhaustion, my fur wet with perspiration, as the echoes in my mind slowly fade. A man’s voice disturbs the momentary silence of my thoughts.

“You don’t belong here!”

I see the barrel of the gun raise. I hear the thunder. I smell the pungent smoke and hot metal; I feel the flash of fiery pain in my skull. Then all is darkness…

Awakened from my nightmare I sit upright and I write my dream down. I keep it for years and years. Eventually it becomes a fictional story but originally it was not fiction. It was a dream, a real dream. I still feel its emotion; I see the images like it was yesterday. It was a dream I had over 25 years ago, I wrote it down at the time because it was real, because I wanted to know, what did it mean?

Throughout history many philosophies, based on religious beliefs, popular beliefs and scientific beliefs exists concerning the purpose of, or meaning of dreams. “In Greek poetry of the classical period from Homer onward, as in popular belief, dreams are real if immaterial things” (Redfield p. 6). Throughout history people have believed that dreams where messages from the spiritual realm, or communications from a higher power. In ACTS 2:17 king James version “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” Studies support that even in Western cultures dreams as a form of divine guidance is a strongly held belief. (Nell p. 128).

Many westernized beliefs also hold that dreams are a result of external rather than internal factors. The character of Ebenezer Scrooge believed himself to be dreaming as a result of undigested food for example. This belief seems one designed more to negate the importance of the dream and limit the understanding of self and society that can be discovered in the interpretations of dreams. The analysis of dreams even found its way into the therapeutic fields, though according to a research paper by Miguel Montenegro that popularity has declined in current day. Scientists of current day studies believe dreams are merely the processing of the days or weeks events and memories to assist the brain in classification and learned responses. I can see the logic in this on many levels however in understanding our lives and how we cope with daily events, it would seem that dream interpretation would hold its value in this.

Yet popularity of interpreting dreams continues to wax and wane throughout history. The nineteen sixties through the eighties for example saw a number of dream interpretation publications. The Dreamer’s Dictionary by Stearn Robinson and Tom Corbett was first published in 1974. It was republished through 1986 and we have the oldest copy that we keep as a novelty behind the books on our bookshelf. This reflects my personal beliefs in using popular symbolism for the interpretation of dreams. It belonged to my husband’s father who read it devoutly for guidance and for deciding future prospects. Its cover is torn half way up the spine, the pages are aged to a dark yellow. It smells the musty smell you would expect in a box or 25 cent yard sale books that were just discovered on the top back shelf of someone’s basement or garage. Even turning its pages leave my fingers feeling dry and icky. However for the sake of exploration I will use this resource to interpret the above dream.

I am immediately faced with a challenge. Looking up “tiger” refers me to “animals” which describes dreaming about animals, not dreaming you are an animal… Strike one. O.K. so how about a kite, first let’s look at the bird. Well it says that flying birds are good omens, but this was not a “brightly colored bird” and though it was not injured per-say it did transform into an actual kite, so this rather negates what the book says since it doesn’t really apply. Now for the kite, the book states this is symbolic of an obstacle dream if it is damaged or it’s string breaks, it will turn out not to be in my favor. Well the bird becomes the kite and it is does become entangled in a tree so maybe that counts as an obstacle dream that will lead to “disappointment due to the careless management of your affairs” (Robinson p. 227). In my dream the forest was also significant. It was very green so that symbolizes a “release from worry”. However the forest is destroyed by the violent transformation of a city scape which I would also consider to be a negating factor. Strike two.

The eruption of the city out of the ground is also hard to interpret using this reference. The book covers eruptions of natural phenomena but doesn’t talk about eruptions of buildings and concrete and tar… Strike three. However for the sake of completion, let’s continue and just call that one a foul. The children in the dream are supposed to symbolize coming happiness in domestic affairs…the ball is also supposed to be a good omen of happy news… but the children are seen by me as foreign, they don’t belong and the ball I attack and destroy in anger. I would count that as another foul. The washing of the dishes, the book says if the washing is done by hand “you should refrain from getting involved in the personal affairs of others” (Robinson p. 372). However I wasn’t the one washing the dishes, but we will let that one slide. The chase aspect is another interpretive option. According to the book, if I participated in the chase it means I will be comfortable in my old age; then again I was the one being chased. Being trapped is a ‘warning to steer clear of gossip and/or intrigue” (Robinson p. 360). Well that sounds simple enough. A gun in the dream forecasts injustice. O.K… Finally, since most of the other symbols in the dream were not found in the book, death. Being dead in a dream is supposed to indicate being worry free or recovering from illness. Wow. Now I am more confused than ever. I am definitely declaring this an out.

I do not negate the predictive ability of some dreams, given as they have been throughout history, gifts from God through a means of communication. I have always felt the stronger impression a dream leaves the more likely the significance of that dream, however I do not believe that all are warnings or messages from God. Scientifically speaking, dreams are a natural process of the brains ability to process. The mind has to interpret what has happened in the waking day in order to determine learned responses and categorize said emotions. Some scientists call this predictive coding, meaning that the dream state helps the brain process waking events to better deal with and make real time, often unconscious predictions in problem solving everyday conflicts. I agree in part, however when scientific theory goes as far to say that, “The bizarre occurrences in dreams never characterize everyday life” (Llewellyn p. 1), I draw a line of caution.  According to Wei Zhang, it is merely a biological process of self-organization and memory consolidation. ( Wei ) I have to disagree. I believe the interpretation of dreams are symbolic, but on a highly personal level. I believe it is also on a highly emotional level as well. Prior to this dream I had suffered trauma in my life. I was taken from a rural environment in which I loved the nature of, the forests and the fields and rarely the sound of civilization. I was, at this youthful and impressionable age, taken through cities that I had never seen the likes of before, towering buildings that intimidated me. I was placed in a locked institution. As a new arrival, I was not even given a room to sleep in. I was given a plastic mat on the floor of the common living area so that I could be viewed at all times by the overnight staff at the facility and stripped of all personal objects, freedom and dignity. This was my experience preceding this dream. To this day I feel the emotional impact of the dream. It can easily be concluded that it reflected the actual events of my life at that time. It was so vivid and its impact on me so strong I felt I had to write it down, so I did.

Scientific studies have found that “brain connectivity during REM to be consistent with the extraction of patterns from past events. REM sleep selectively processes personally-significant material (Llewellyn p. 3). In saying this I am aware that the bio-physiological interpretations of dreams could result in an “inhibitive effect on the role of the dreamer, as it effectively undermines any attempts on the part of the dreamer to pay attention to or interpret their dreams” (Nell p. 8). This would be sad indeed. Dreams to me resemble our personal ability to create, to understand, to process, to feel, and to grow. This is similar to the beliefs of Synesius, a Greek philosopher and bishop, who believed that dreams were an …““enquiry into the whole imaginative soul” which has not yet been treated by any Greek philosopher… dreams were the product of the imagination, a faculty of the soul that was divinely implanted in the gulf or vacuum at the point where the body and the soul merged in the spirit” (Neil p. 23-24). In this, dream interpretation is not a waste of time. It is a culmination of body, spirit and soul. It is also not based simply on popular symbolism to interpret future events. I would be just as likely to rely on the fortunes printed and placed inside sugary confections than to rely on dictionaries of dream symbolism. Dreams are personal, based on personality, perception and potential and this was my dream.

 

Works Cited

Llewellyn, Sue. “Dream To Predict? REM Dreaming As Prospective Coding.” Frontiers In Psychology (2016): 1-16. Web. Mar. 2016.

Nell, Werner. “Contemporary Dream Beliefs And Practices: A Qualitative, Sociological Study.” South African Review Of Sociology 45.1 (2014): 122-139. Web. Mar. 2016.

Montenegro, Miguel. “A Comparison Of Freudian And Bossian Approaches To Dreams.” Existential Analysis 2 (2015): 313. Web.  Mar. 2016.

Wei, Zhang. “A Supplement To Self-Organization Theory Of Dreaming.” Frontiers In Psychology (2016): 1-4. Web. Mar. 2016.

Neil, Bronwen. “Synesius Of Cyrene On Dreams As A Pathway To The Divine.” Phronema 30.2 (2015): 19-36. Web. Mar. 2016.

Redfield, James. “Dreams From Homer To Plato.” Archiv Für Religionsgeschichte 15.1 (2014): 5-16. Web. Mar. 2016.

Country Life: a lyrical non-fiction essay

As a child in a furrowed field of yellow grass, in an out of breath hurry, I ran past, what was in yesteryear gone by a home, now three walls of crumbling stone, and one wall a bank of burnt wood and grass, red bricks tumbled and broken glass.

I ran four miles to see my friend, to play and dream in the summer’s end. In the muddy fields that the farmer plowed, I lost my shoe, and my sock somehow. I found my shoe but my sock stayed stuck somewhere deep in the earthy muck. I cried to think of my mother’s glance when I came home with a one sock stance, but I ran on to tell my friend of the stray dog I had encountered then, and how I had followed it to the knoll where the shrubs and bushes hid the hole that I knew was meant for us to be the foundation of friendship, a secret country. The hidden walls were to be our fortress, she and I, both Queen and Princess. We were sovereign, to care for shrubs and flowers, the subjects there.

Then the butterfly came like a fairy’s wing to bless our kingdom… then the insect sting, or was it the panic run up the castle wall that caused my friend to slip and fall, or the loose earth, burnt wood and yellowed grass, the crumbling stone, tumbled brick or broken glass, that hurt her leg and made her hurry home, leaving me there to dream alone, and her mother said not to go back again. Good bye Careforsythia and then; the summers end.

****************************************************************************************

There are no apple trees on our little acre but Mumma needs apples red and gold. She’s gonna make, jams, and jellies, and crumble like Quaker’s, apple butter, and apple pie when winter is cold. She’ll need apples to fill the freezer for when we’re craving that sort of thing. I like apples and I want to please her.

“Go find a wild apple tree” Mumma says to me, “One that’s got no claim, or no one to care. I saw one two miles up – apples falling on the ground. It’s a sin when you’re hungry to let them pile there higher than even the wild can eat down.”

So I’ll go and get the basket as big as I am tall, and strap it to my back.

Mumma says “fill it high as much as you can carry, till over the top they fall.” I find what I’m seeking, every apple not half eaten. Bruises cook away, no matter how hard they land. To reach the good fruit I climb as best I can while beaten’ and shaken the limbs with a branch in hand. The fruit is wild and sour, even the ripest prize, good for baking, freezing, and rhubarb apple pies. I’ll pick until I can hardly lift the basket to my back, and hurry home to hear my Mumma’s praise.

“Aren’t there any better? Too many of these are bruised and black. With sorting and cutting this won’t last the winter days. Find another tree to pick apples that are sweet.” So off I went a mile or more, and I found what I was looking for just as it started to pour. Now me with wet feet, but I’m a good child. I can’t disappoint, so I started picking, sweeter than the others wild.

Then I heard from a house across the field a shout “What are you doing there?” An elder lady was questioning my yield. If the tree was hers, or if she didn’t care, I didn’t think to ask. My face turned ripe and apologies fell out as she chided me in my task.

After lengthy talk of thievery, manners, and disrespect of youth, “Take what you have and be on your way!” she said without a smile.

Off I went saying “Thank you, thank you” her back turned all the while. However, my basket being not as much as I could carry, not yet piled high, I found a few lesser trees and hurried home, my back aching. Hoping my mother would be proud although I wanted to run home and cry. Mumma was busy cutting, sorting, peeling, freezing, and baking. I didn’t mean, the elder ladie’s apples to be taking, but there is too much to be done, no time for tears or praise.

Mumma says “Better known for next time, now to sorting and peeling.” All that’s left are the memories of apple picking days.

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I searched all summer long for not house, but home. I knew what I wanted. I wrote a list. All the things from childhood that I dreamed of having or that I had and I missed.

  1. A place for animals.
  2. A horse someday.
  3. Chickens
  4. Ducks
  5. Maybe geese.
  6. A goat for milk.
  7. Maybe a donkey.
  8. Fruit trees.
  9. Berries
  10. Gardens of flowers and herbs, and vegetables, to can and freeze.
  11. A home in land to walk out of doors for hours.
  12. With a yard to sleep under the stars.
  13. A home in house of comfort and character.
  14. With at least three bedrooms so no one must share.
  15. A den to be office and library, to write and play music, to sculpt and paint.
  16. A room to gather
  17. One to spare.
  18. Oil to heat the cold.
  19. A wood stove to warm the cool.
  20. If I could afford to dream, a fire place for fancy.
  21. A home in community
  22. A small or private school.
  23. One fitting for the feeling of country with neighbors not to close and not too far away, to walk the mile house to house in day, and at night a drive into the city to shop and play.

This I thought I found, the old farm, and a price I could afford. Praise the Lord! One hundred years and maybe twenty five more, but good for the wear. With little over one hundred thousand to spend, I had twenty five thousand to spare.

Now I won’t have to go the store ‘Cause it has fruit trees, three apple, and berries, razz and blue, and if I could haul in some loam I’ll have a veggie garden too. It has lilies and rhubarb, St. Johns, and lilacs, milkweed and more.

With three bedrooms upstairs and a full bathroom as well, and another downstairs with two more rooms to spare, a den and one for gathering, why would they sell? Oil to heat and wood to burn when the weather is chill, and not one but three fire places, and an Elle; whose structure is solid. It could be of some use, if I spent some money, and I have extra to spend. It has a barn and a building out back and one in between and one on the side and one built-on, on the end, with running springs, and acres of land to walk.

It has a country store with the city near and a school still small, and neighbors that are far enough away to have to call, and near enough to talk. Out of breath, the best house yet, someone made an offer, I’ll buy! Three showings just today, on the market just one week, a present for me, I’ll close on my birthday; the end of July.

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So much is a man to challenge fate, to set a fire just to watch it burn, to feed the flame, an enemy, create, to fight a battle, a war for him alone.

No one will notice or think to say, or show gratitude for the labor done to provide fire to cook and comfort each day, and heat the night when day is done.

A reward for himself for all the trees felled, split and piled to age, providing for winters warmth, the yield, and now the field out back, a stage, to gather the brush and pile it higher, even more than one should, to light a fire, fight the fire, feel the burn, control the wild, to see the flame hot and glowing, dancing yellow, orange, black, feeding, breathing, breeding, growing. Hades cannot turn him back.

It is his reward to know neighbors across the way contemplate his level of negligence that fills the sky with sparks. As night becomes day, neighbors envy his arrogance, to see his children dancing about, unwilling to come to supper.

His lady carries the water bucket out to bring her own fear comfort. As if preparedness could put out this fire that sparks would not stray to take the barn, the house in ire; if the field is not far enough away. He does not care to notice, with shovel in hand. Only he can win this self-inflicted war. The fire’s passions to destroy only he can understand as his children laugh and remember his reward.

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I worked all summer long to make a house a home. I knew what I needed, I wrote a list, a place for people, safe and warm, and all the repairs that I shouldn’t have missed; one hundred years and maybe twenty five more. I shouldn’t have missed.

Most every door is ajar with a buckle or swell. No wonder they kept every one wide open as a yawn. I’ve found a crack in nearly every window that I could tell. No wonder why the blinds and curtains were drawn. The old care taker had the antique man come in and stole all the old furnishings. Even the brass cover plates are taken. Not worth the complaint I’ll replace and buy used. The electrician wants to rewire more than one outlet per room, and raise them up off the floors.  Being safe as they are I’ll make due, and shave a little off the bottoms of the doors, and I’ll cut some old glass to make the windows like new… Next the water can’t run pressure upstairs. The well was said to be recently dug, and its pump as having no wear, but the plumbers say all the pipes need repairs. I should’ve known there would be things worth hiding.

They boasted of the new roof, wiring, and new siding. However, the furnace can be dated fifty years or more.  What is that smell of smoke and soil, the care taker that lived here did not know to keep house. A summer month of heat took two hundred in oil. So many holes and crevices I’m sure I saw a mouse.

The day I moved in the drunken caretaker slurred while moving out “Close down the upstairs when winter falls, the downs only fit to stay warm.” So bold! We looked, no doubt, not a stitch of warmth inside the second floor walls, and not a blanket to keep the attic from cold. The roof is sagging, the part that’s not new, and who would put plastic siding on a barn ‘cause now that it’s mine off it blew. I spent what I had on what I had to fix, and with some help from the Lord. If I had the money I had before I could fix all that I wasn’t told. Since now I have no more I’ll make due what I can’t afford.

The first summer there, the warm summer air hit 101; and that was in the shade not in the sun. So we put the tarp in the bed of the truck and filled it up for some cool summer fun. Then the fleas came into the farm house, and hid in the cracks of the pumpkin pine floors. We dusted and sprayed. We itched and we prayed, and considered moving outdoors. We didn’t though ‘cause outside we had ants, swarms all over the sand, and black flies and mosquitoes that darkened the air and evaded every hand. Then the hired hand of the blueberry man took the bee hives away midday. To beat the swarm, and save from harm we could not stay that day. At night time the skunks came about, and the bobcat too. So no sleeping out under the stars; our discontentment grew.

When the cold came it was colder than hot. I kept water boiling on the range. We sealed the side doors with foam on the spot. and it formed yellow mounds round the frame. The school that was small taught nothing at all, and tried to say my son was slow. Well I had him tested, and then they were bested ‘cause he came back above average; in the know! My daughter ran track but they tried to hold her back because her grades were too high, and she was too fast, the principal’s daughter was the favored; as the long standing neighbor, so I knew my young girl couldn’t last. Finally another summer came with too little rain, and the neighbor burned my fields by mistake. The apples were sour and small and even the raspberries by nature were ate. We were starting to be the subjects of pity. The country store shut down for lack of business in the town and we couldn’t afford to play in the city.

Our time on the farm lasted two summers; that’s all, and we decided to sell the farm before the next fall. We had bought chickens and ducks, and kept them alive with some luck, and were even given a goose. We bought two hares at the county fair, and caught the pet rabbit someone had set loose. The stray cat my son claimed became mother to three, and each became a mother till we were able to spay them. The chickens gave eggs, and we ate more than our fill but the ducks wouldn’t lay them. The goose chased my son, and the rosters chased us all, and we hadn’t the heart to kill any come fall, so away we gave them.

The farm; chickens and ducks, a goose and some hares; and we almost bought a horse. I would have called it nightmare. Now we were fixing to leave. Since we were not here long enough for the neighbors to care no one in the community would grieve. With all the work done we came so close to a dream, but that’s what dreaming is all about. Maybe somewhere else the grass will be green, but for now we just want out.

 

A perfect number poem

The Man Who Counted, by Malba Tahan. Introduced to many math concepts, I
became entranced by the pattern found in perfect numbers. The perfect number sequence is, 1+2+3=6, 1+2+4+7+14=28, if you want more of a challenge you can continue the sequence, with 1+2+4+8+16+31+62+124+248=496.

An alteration I later created to the formula yields a less intimidating form. It uses the number of letters in each word instead of the number of words in each sentence to represent the numbers in the perfect numbers sequence. Like the reality in the first
version of being limited to the first three sequences, in this formula you can not go above the first two sequences. 1, 2, 3, = 6 and 1, 2, 4, 7, 14, =28
I couldn’t resist using the 28 letter word so I included the perfect numbers in this version. the equals sign is not necessary, I just added it in these two poems. Here are my mathematical poems.

I am you = Riddle.

I vs. them; religion, macroevolution = antidisestablishmentarianism.

I am ion = metal.

I am EDTA reduced malcontentedly = ethylenediaminetetraacetates.
(Salie Davis, April, 2009)

This new form could be the next universally recognized mathematical formula for constrained mathematical poetry! Feel free to come up with your own constraints to literary art, your constraints may too.  It is the inspiration that mathematics has to offer, even the poet, that will determine the future of the mathematical literature and poetic culture.

Easter constraint

A poet CAN write like a mathematician! Even Lewis Carroll, Author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was a poet and mathematician.
His poem concerning the mouse’s tail and shaped like a tail, is called a concrete poem and is within a category of poetry called visual poetry. Visual poetry is concerned with shapes such as triangles or squares, and is constrained by line length and pace of the poem. An example of this is the poem, an Easter Gift I wrote when I was 15 for my Mother.

The Easter gift:

This time
of year has come
again in early spring
when life is new to look
upon all you have given me
and to tell how much that
I love you. I do not have
a basket of colorful eggs.
I am not a soft white Easter bunny.
I can never give you what you have given me.
All the billionaires in the world don’t have
enough money. The most precious gift that I
Can give is something of myself
to show I care. So I give you
these memories in expression
of my love, something
we shall always share.