Guiding Questions

  • Who are you?
  • What implications do trends in the use of emerging technologies have for the what, why, and how of student learning?
  • How can you design aesthetically satisfying, cognitively challenging, and emotionally engaging learning environments and experiences for students?
  • What changes might you need to make in content, process, and practice in order to adapt today’s activities to suit the needs of your classroom?

Teaching Contexts & Problems Are Complex

  • Why is teaching so complex?
  • How does our society attempt to manage this complexity?
  • What are the consequences of this for students? Does complexity have to be a problem?


Funnyteacher. (2007, May 22). Teacher breaking down. YouTube. Retrieved December 1, 2007, from

Students Get Lost in the Layers


"A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing" (Eisner, 2002, p. 85).

  • What causes learning to break down?
  • Why does alignment make addressing the complexities of learning easier?
  • How does alignment focus learning?

Literacy Lives in the Layers

  • When you think of text, what words or images pop into your mind?
  • When you think of illiterate, what words or images pop into your mind?
  • When you think of literacy, what words or images pop into your mind?
  • How might expanded definitions of text and literacy enable us to plan for proficiency in more powerful ways?

The Power of Design



  • What counts as a learning space?
  • How might we immerse students in meaningful contexts that stimulate cognitive and emotional engagement with learning? How might emerging technologies help us to do that?
  • Why might learning spaces need to be redefined if the goal of the curriculum is to support students in using their language for personal self-expression, classroom community-building, systemic reform, community change, and social transformation?


  • Colombia Intercambio Cultural - Standards-based project between a school in Michigan and a school in Colombia that used emerging technologies to bring the world into their classrooms and their classrooms to the world

In other words,“. . . the selection of a material or activity is also the selection of an array of forces that will influence how students will be challenged to think . . . . "The curriculum is a mind-altering device” (Eisner, pp. 13, 72).


Montgomery, Cherice. (2004, November). Life is in the Layers. Photo taken behind Erickson Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Crafting Compelling Learning Experiences (from an Artist's Perspective)

Why live in one dimension? Lexus IS Campaign

Layering Text


Two Women - A dramatic reading for 2 voices (also available in Spanish from the magazine Americas)

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman

Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices by Paul Fleischman

Texts About Migrant Workers That Can Be Layered

Amigos del otro lado/Friends from the Other Side by Gloria Anzaldúa

El camino de Amelia by Linda Jacobs Altman

Don Radio by Arthur Dorros

The Upside Down Boy by Juan Felipe Herrera

Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories by S. Beth Atkin

Texts About Art That Can Be Layered

Color Your Own Modern Art Masterpieces by Muncie Hendler

Diego by Jeanette & Jonah Winter

La princesa y el pintor by Jane Johnson


  • What effect do images have on you?
  • Why is it so important to integrate visual elements into our instruction?
    • Cognitive load theory
    • Psychological power of images
    • Research on visual cognition

  • How does juxtaposing and layering images change what it is possible for us to understand?


Books that combine images with text effectively

  • How can principles of advertising and graphic design inform the way we design worksheets and other materials for our students?


TrackListOfLayers.jpg - A repurposing of Sony's Super Dooper Music Looper to visualize planning in layers

    • What elements do you consider when you plan a lesson?
    • How does music affect the aesthetic, emotional, and psychological sensitivities of learners? How might planning in "measures" and in "layers" (like a musical score) for a combination of different "musical instruments" (a.k.a. diverse learners) help you to "compose" lessons with more engaging "harmonic combinations," "melodies," "rhythms," "points and counterpoints," and "musical themes?"
    • Why is infusing music (and other kinds of rhyme, rhythm, and sound) into as many aspects of your classroom an educationally responsible thing to do?
      • Affective, psychological, and memory-related effects of music
      • Comprehensible input and pronunciation
      • Cultural authenticity
      • Connections to conceptual content from other disciplines
      • Cultural and linguistic comparisons
      • Communities of interest to students


Jenkins, Keith. (2005, December 4). My summer vacation bag. Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License. (Modifications made with written permission from the photographer.)


  • Hans
  • Phonetics - A great example of how combining text, images, sound, and movement can facilitate learning.
  • One Minutes Jr. - (Although created by students ages 12-20, some of the content on this site is not appropriate for students, so be sure to preview before using in class)
  • Lexus IS Campaign - The unique editing techniques, metaphorical illusions, and powerful slogan, Why live in one dimension? combine to produce a powerful message about teaching, learning, and life.


Graduates (a poem by E.B. Devito)
  • What effects does movement have on the brain?
  • How is movement related to meaning? How does movement add dimension to text? Images? Music? Architectural design? How might we add more movement (physical, emotional, mental, and social) to our assessment, our curriculum, our classrooms, and our instruction?
  • Why should movement become an important component of our planning?
  • Physical movement but also conceptual movement
    Movement through time and space (contexts) (and media) = growth
    How do we give students opportunities to move through one another's minds?
    Transformation happens one moment at a time (time - x axis), one step at a time (space - z axis), one layer at a time (y axis - individual soul)

Creativity Cuepons
Simulations -


Block, Peter. (2003). The answer to how is yes: Acting on what matters. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. ISBN 1-57675-271-2. Available:

Montgomery, Cherice. (2004, November). Creativity. Photo of the pen taken outside Erickson Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Montgomery, Cherice. (2004, November). Divine Paint. Photo taken outside the Administration Building at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Montgomery, Cherice. (2007, December 2). Expectation. Photo of the fountain taken in the Detroit Airport, Detroit, MI.

Montgomery, Cherice. (2006). Improvisation. Photo of the piano keys taken in Okemos, MI.

Montgomery, Cherice. (2007, July 4). Spiritual Progress. Photo taken at the 4th of July Fireworks Display in Meridian Township, Okemos, MI.

Shifting Perspectives By Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zones



(The text of the PowerPoint presentation appears below - I'll eventually post it as a slideshow)
  • I began with the question: How might teachers design physical, emotional, and virtual spaces that would support meaningful learning experiences for students?
  • But, I forgot that . . .
  • ". . . a way of seeing . . . is also a way of not seeing" (Eisner, 2002, p. 85).
  • If teachers were architects . . . [images]
  • . . . but if architects were teachers . . . [images]
  • If teachers were architects, they might ask: How do we design an experience that will fit in the space?
  • But if architects were teachers . . .: How do we design a space that will make room for the experience?
  • If teachers were architects . . . concern for the task would design the curriculum.
  • But if architects were teachers . . . concern for perspective would be paramount.
  • If teachers were architects, they would ask students to read in order to understand reality.
  • But if architects were teachers, "Everything we'd read would be translated as best we could into some reality" (Feynman, p. 3)
  • If teachers were architects . . . : How can we make it meaningful?
  • But if architects were teachers . . .: Why should it matter to students?
  • I ended with the question, How can I be more like an architect?


Anabelen. (2006, August 22). Guggenheim Bilbao (Photo #598643). Stock.xchg Retrieved December 7, 2007, from

Chris245. (2004, December 29). Stata Center 01 (Photo #233245). Stock.xchng. Retrieved December 7, 2007, from

Eisner, Elliot W. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09523-6.

Feynman, Richard Phillips. (1999). The pleasure of finding things out: The short works of Richard P. Feynman. Da Capo Press.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Wikipedia. Retrieved April 25, 2006, from

Jenkins, Keith. (2005, December 4). My summer vacation bag. Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License. (Modifications made with written permission from the photographer.)

Marxbro. (2006, July 15). Guggenheim under clouds b. (Photo #567216). Stock.xchng. Retrieved December 7, 2007, from

Mayer, John. (2006). Waiting on the world to change. Continuum. Columbia Records. Lyrics available here.

Montgomery, Cherice & Rodriguez, Julio. (2005, November 4). Supporting student learning. Alumni Connection: Supporting Our Students. Retrieved December 1, 2007, from

Montgomery, Cherice. (2006). Making it meaningful: The power of thematic teaching. Selected slide from PowerPoint presented in Ames, Iowa.

Montgomery, Cherice. (2006, April). Technology Classrooms. Photos taken in Erickson Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Ninci. (2007, October 8). La pedrera (Photo #885348). Stock.xchg Retrieved December 8, 2007, from

Strategies for Creativity

Gathering the raw material
Exploring the applications
Adaptation - Recontextualization, remixing, repurposing
Innovation - Combining across disciplines


Awilum: Educational Mashups - Short post on how students are cutting and pasting educational experiences together for themselves

Mishmash of Mashups - Very nice post re: conceptual nature of mashups and implications for future education

Teacher as DJ

Social Change

Net Squared Mashup Project Gallery - Site designed to help people interested in creating social change find information, like-minded individuals, etc. Some of the projects make INTERESTING uses of tech and could be co-opted for FL (such as the disaster preparedness)

StoryMapping: Projects - A variety of projects that seek to involve students in social activism via map mashups that tell digital stories


Connecting with actor as common anchor point across videos - Titanic Sequel mashup created from over 10 different videos.