Saturday, August 2, 2008

Task 23 Final Post, Just the Beginning

Though this is the final task I think it is just the beginning for me. Yesterday as I was doing 22 I set up a blog on Teacher lingo and was pleasantly surprised to find someone not only read my blog but took time to respond. It was easy to read the comment because it was sent to my email. It felt so good that someone out there was hearing me. That some stranger had words that I needed to hear. That the stranger took a minute to respond. Awesome! I'm not sure I'll blog there often but when I have a funny or weighty experience I have a place to go.

About this program. I want to thank my sister for incouraging me to start. I have learned so much and it was great to have her help me, talk to me, respond to me and fix my blog a few times. The program overall pushed into places I didn't know existed. Luckily it was in the summer which gave me extra time to really dig in. I never felt it was a burden, just pleasurable, sometimes challenging work.

Things I will use:
Rollyo! I will use my owned defined search to quickly find videos and activitis that I will use in science. I will not waste time wading through search responses from places I won't use. I am so excited to share this with friends at work.

News feedsL I set up a couple of news feeds to alert me by email when earthshaking stuff is happening such as quakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, mudslides...What I have discovered is that I get alerts almost everyday. Statewide, Earth science is the lowest score area on the 5th grade TAKS and we are always looking for ways to bring that up. I'm think just talking about what is really happening out there on a daily basis might help.

Nings will stay part of my routine. We have set up a faimly ning and I joined Teacherlingo as I mentioned earlier.

Image creators. I can hardly do a post without creating some little cartoon to go with it. It will drive my students crazy but I envision these showing up on agendas, notices, tests, studyguides..Perhaps it will replace my singing. No, I don't think so.

Flickr Creative Commons. As a science teacher I am always looking for images. This will supplement videos, textbook images, and posters and will be helpful for ELL kids who just need a concrete image to go with a term.

Yahoo Avatars...Fun, fun, fun.

Mashup sites. I think these will be great places for student projects. I hope I don't forget to use them.

These are the things that just pop in my mind without even peeking back. I think that means that these things I will actually use, not that learning about the ohter things wasn't valueable.

I couldn't get my survey to submit and I'll come back to that. Is that how you know we have completed the tasks? I suppose.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Task 22 1/2 More Ningnuts, Ningnuts 2.0

Well the family ning site is a hit. In just a matter of minutes my daughter was enrolled and had downloaded pictures from the weekend wedding that might have otherwise taken yers to get. Next was my older sister who signed right up and downloaded a picture of the wedding portrait. She proceeded to post the schedule of her upcoming trip to Virginia and Maine. I can't wait to see who all gets involved. I think it might be a good way for Dad to keep up with our goins on and share his photo work. Invitations were sent to others so we'll just have to wait and see.

Ningnut task 22

I didn't find Nings or TeacherLingo scary at all. What fun. I opened a blog in each. In Teacherlingo I opened a blog and shared my thoughts on creating my identity for the new year. I also enjoyed reading all the different attitudes voiced by others who are thinking about the return to school. I think it might be a fun way to share ideas with other teachers in similar groups. I didn't feel quite comfortable sharing all the info they asked for in the profile data so I didn't include full dob or district that I teach in. Then I went to Nings and create a site call Family Ties or DDDcircleotrust. I plan to invite all the family members when I get there email addresses. What a great way to share photos, announcements, happenings, videos, favorite music, and memories. It will be interesting to see if we really use it. I can see it might be handy.

Unrelated But Important All The Same

Perhpas it is the summer heat wave that has brought out the absolute worst in people, or perhaps I am emitting some aura that says," Be rude to me." I doubt the latter because I often describe myself as the nicest person I know. I realize that some people hate perky so I try to tone it down to merely nice...pleasant. In the past couple of weeks I have experienced some of the rudest people. Where? Target. Home Depot, and Habby Lobby. Generally I feel a bond to shoppers and workers in these places- a sort of brotherhood. In Home Depot after giving the sales lady 20 minutes to complete an important call by shopping the rest of the store and then coming back she told me "no" that she could not show me the carpet in the Home Depot Ad I had from my magazine because she had thousands and didn't know which it was. I know I'm gritting too. Did she offer to show me anything? Ni Get out of her chair? No. I just said thank you pleasantly and left the store, I hate to admit it, with hurt feelings. Not rude so much as just unhelpful.

Next episode, Target. Don't we all just love each other there? When I nicely said excuse me to a lady shopping there her respnse was NO and she just wheeled off. Maybe I have been too perky and just don't realize it. Some people HATE perky.

Where is there a funner place than Hobby Lobby where in an atttempt to sell you anything the staff in very helpful...the crafty world, you know. I quickly ran in to Hobby Lobby for some interior fabric 54", in warm tones for my kitchen chairs. I ask the employee what she thought of a fabric and she said"Talkin to me?" As I have her cut my four fabrics she doesn't make eye contact, inquire about my project, complement me on my choice of fabrics, ask who cuts my hair,..nothing. Even when I ask if she would like me to return the rolls of fabric(heavy!!!)she simply said no.
Does she hate life, her job, me? To her defense, as I was leaving she did mumble as if a cigareete was hanging out the corner of her mouth, "Have fun."

Have fun! Yes. Life is a lot more fun if you try to engage others in fun. I ccan imagine a therapist responding to this post by saying, "why do you care?", "Do you always take other's feelings personally?", "Why do you care if everyone likes and is nice to you?" I guess the answer is answered in that I have no answer.(Therpist scribbles on her pad wildly at this point) I think I just want people to join in my joys.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

More on Task 22

ok, let's try again...

I was on the edit not compose page. I guess I lost my composure. Mom used to give me a headache remedy call composure. I wonder if it is still manufactured. I am going to try to do this again on my own...tomorrow. Now that I'm almost done and summer is almost over I have moved on to updating my kitcehn just a smidge. The painting is done, the chair seats recovered, the scratches in the finish polished out. The only task remaining is the window treatment and deciding which of my old nick nacks make the cut and will be put back. The spirit of school is peeking over my shoulder lately and you know I haven't shooed it away.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Unrelated 21 and 1/2

To explain the cartoon. Well my daughter and her boyfriend went to a vegan cooking class and the chef was elf-like. I was moved to create a graphic to go with her ditty for the day. I just saw the movie Elf recently and did love his passion for candy. In fact after seeing Step Brothers on Monday I found I preferred Mr. Ferrell in leotards to bare on a snare, if you get my drift!

Task 21 Podcasts

One of my favorite things about the summer learn to play program has been the common craft video series. I love that they give background application and exaqmples in simple to understand language.

Now on to task 21, podcasting. First impression: easier that I might have thought. Second thought: endless opportuntities especially for the technoloically creative person.

I have downloaded Audacity, recorded some of my summer ditties, set up my switchpod account and am now ready to try to move my podcast to my blog. For me this is where the challenge begins so I'll temporarily signed off and continue this in a minute, an hour, hours, or perhaps tomorrow all depending on the smoothness of this operation. Time:6:41 am July 30.

Now it is 7:26 and I can't get my link to switchpod to show on the blog. It is showing on my draft, which I have saved so I will stop at 7:27 and return later to see it through new fresh eyes because I have a day of tennis and kitchen painting ahead!

Well crud! As you can see my link is unclickable. I tried without the help of my sister and am getting nowhere fast, well sort of fast, medium fast...

I will resort to hlep first thing in the morning, well maybe second. 8:51pm

Monday, July 28, 2008

task 20

I did it! I was just making video embedding harder than it has to be. I am excited about the wide range of video types and quality you can access on Teacher Tube. There is something very important about authenticity when teaching science. These videos from Teacher Tube gathered often by "regualr" people really impact students when they realize that they could be there, doing the same thing. I also like to use clips with good music. Music seems to open some extra channel for some learners as well as add a tone of excitement.

It is amazing just how easy it is to get to these videos. I use video clips everyday usually from United Streaming but can't wait to incorporate all the new clips I will get from Teacher Tube and You Tube. It makes you feel really dorky when something so easy was at your fingertips and you did even know it was there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Totally Off task

You would think with only a week or so left to finish, that I would be responding to Teacher Tube, but no something else has taken precedence- life questions. As a girl of 35 whose mom was suddenly killed in a wreck 17 years ago, I sometime find myself trying to figure out or remember who mom really was. I bet this is common but it can be all encompassing and haunting. Well here is the latest question, "Did my sister get her excellent entertaining sense from our mom?" At first I quickly responded with a laugh, and "NO!" Then I added something stupid about how could she feel confident in entertaining with old faded carpet. (I now realize that is my own insecurity- 15 year old golf course green) But now I am stuck pondering, remembering, wondering. We have one kooky wonderful twist to every family memory session, namely Laura. Born 10 years after I was and spending much of her life more like with a smaller part of the family she remembers a different side to mom. She said that mom often had parties and showers that she felt obligated to host. Now that stirred the pot. I never remember a shower at all although she did hold small dinner parties for those in her department at the hospital. Well, let's to cut to the chase. My mind is churning so I'd like to share some snippets about entertaining that I have taken from her.

Number 1: Drug abusers ruined it for the rest of us! I used to be able to call the doctor and get some medicine if I were hosting a party. I could get the house clean and lose 5 pounds in 3 days! Paraphrased from Norma and a sentiment my aunt has echoed.

My interpretation: Company came to assess your weight and check if your house was clean.

Number 2: Before guests arrived an emotional wrath was cast on all. Again this revolved around a whirlwind of cleaning activities such as using a strong bleach solution for cleaning and using a toothbrush to clean the edge where the carpet met the tile.

My interpretation: Is having company really any fun?

Number 3: Be sure to be the cutest one.

My interpretation: Be sure to be the cutest one there.

Now that the basic foundation is set let's take a look at who is coming:
A coworker, friend of dad from out of town.
Maybe a boss of dads.
Maybe an Indiana family member.
Kids for a birthday or Halloween party.

Shortly after finishing her school we moved to Houston, mom went to work for the first time, and the count of 5 kids in the house quickly dropped to 3. Mom worked at MC Hospital starting at night in CCU. It didn't take long for her to prove herself as very competent and extremely hard working As she wiggled through the shopital ranks she collected some good friends. She had never been very out going before but making friends in the work place seemed to work for her. These friends and department members were now the recipients of her invitations. Now what did prep look like?

Still the hectic cleaning thing but not quite to the extent of her early years. Perhaps we were just better helpers or she was just too tired to care as much.

If she was fretting about the weight I don't' think it was mentioned.

As for being cute? She had discovered the Lands End Catalogue! Need I say more?

In addition to the list of guests from work we can add:
The family from Canada
The Douthits from Livingston
Gary Gains, Bob Ellis, and other Mansville related work friends
Friends and family in town for 2 weddings
An occasional birthday party

I think that mom really liked having company when they arrived. She like the conversation, laughter, food. Oh about the food. I remember the following:

Thick pork chops with spicy tomato soup sauce and bell pepper, Au gratin potatoes,
green beans with pearl onions, always toss salad with Wishbone Italian, and hot bread or rolls.

Chicken truffles(still my favorite), spinach salad, rolls, I can't remember anything else here.

For family gatherings it was often rump roast, salad, rolls, baked potatoes and dark gravy.

Dessert you ask? Strawberry pie, hello dollies, coconut layer cake, lemon filled angel food, or of courses anyting on Blue Bell.

I remember the era of the cheese pastry appetizer. Tha homemade thin pastry dough, filled with a buttery 3 cheese mixture, folded, baked and then cut in little diamonds. I also loved the short lived cucumber dip. She always love a nut, or wheat thin.

Mom knew she had a lot to learn about Houston style of entertaining. After I had been to a party, formal, dance, senior brunch, would always want to hear every details from the food, the decorations, to the guest list. A couple of things she did that seemed smart was to marinade her shrimp at my house so her own wouldn't stink at party time. Use any available children to help serve and clean up (we loved being there anyway.)

So has all this recollection helped to satisfy the question whether sister learned about entertaining from mom? Nope. I do think that she picked up a lot of the basics from mom but I think she had to get a lot on her own. I remember Gay as a painfully shy kid and to see her now is amazing. She can plan and execute a perfect gathering and be a beautiful hostess at the same time. Remember she must be the cutest one there!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Task 19: Time Well Spent

So many choices. How does one go about deciding which Library 2.0 Award Winners to visit? I decided to view those that I have heard others talk about using. I would kill 2 birds with one stone; I fulfill my requirements and become a more informed listener. I obviously have no idea how to punctuate this sentence. Where is my copy of The Art Of Styling Sentences?

First, I visited Youtube. You would think a mother of 3 twenty-somethings and a science teacher would have used this before but honestly if my kids are using it I thought it was something that would get me in trouble! The first video I viewed was an educational volcano video by Ignitelearning. I had to quickly add this to my Rollyo science video search. It has a great song, use of great vocabulary and good footage of eruptions. Other clips were great as well as you can see in the Video Bar on this blog. I didn't know how to embed just one so you get the whole Video Bar until tomorrow. Again there are just a lot of unforgettable real live footage for science topics and that is what I need. Unforgettable.(5th grade science TAKS)

Next I visited YahooAnswers because my daughter uses it all the time. I was relieved to find I couldn't get into too much trouble at this site. I did quickly find a video telling me about tomato pruning which was the topic at breakfast this morning with my husband. Have I mentioned him? 28 years + with an optional annual renewable contract that keeps him on his toes! My tomato plot has been more than bountiful but this morning he ask whether one should prune to keep yield high. I thought he was out of line for asking since they are my tomatoes but it turns out he was correct about the pruning. Job #1 prune tomatoes. I checked a few other things and found the site easy to use and helpful but some responders are not experts.

Under health and fitness I went to Peertraining but found out the focus was weight loss and general fitness. The weight loss aspect was not what I was wanting. Now you are wondering is that because Nancy is fat without an intention of slimming down or already slim? I will leave that unanswered and to your imagination. I visited another health tool and saw some pictures of skin cancers. It made me keenly aware (again) of how important it is to care for your skin. I found myself comparing my moles to those in the pictures and decided that this is another job for experts. Job #2 call dermatologist. Job #3 buy 6 coolers.

I have also familiarized myself this summer with Myspace and Facebook. I am totally convinced that I should stay away from these alllll together. They are just one big potential for trouble. I am astounded by the amount of time and frequency that people visit and update their information. When my niece got engaged at 7 pm it was posted by 10! My other niece new by 10:15 and even Grandpa knew by morning! It is a creepy day when your dad calls with the big news!

It has been a really productive blogging day. Now I have to go and find what happened to my Video Bar. It was there a minute ago.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Task 18 Google Documents Ditties

This is the address to my Google Doc. It is filled with My Summer Ditties 2008. It is a collection of 4 line ditties written and emailed to my daughter at work each day. I hope it starts her day off on the lighter side. I had been keeping them in a Google Notebook but hit the document button on the bottom of the page and it went directly to my Google document page. I am always shocked when something goes right the first time. I think this will be a good tool to use when we are trying to coordinate our district science fair with all 5 ele. campuses. Or get ideas for retirement parties, or get ideas from several different people on a subject... I think it will take a little explaining to recipients who have never used it but I think it can be very productive.

Random Posts

I am getting adventurous and trying to clean up my Blog. Is there a word for that?
I am moving my created images into the post boxes. I wish I had done that from the start but I will be wiser from now on. Live and learn. I can't wait to share some of my new wisdom with friends when school starts. They tell me I am better at doing things for them than actually teaching them so I'll try to do better this year. But who wants to teach a bunch of crazy teachers after you have taught crazy 5th graders all day? By the way which of these groups are the better students?

Task 17 On a Roll with Rollbar

Rollbar is bloggalicious! When I created my own search sites for science videos it gave me a very streamlined and tailor made list of search results. No more, where did I see that! I put in 5 of my favorite sites for science videos and I know I can trust their resources. I do plan to do more video searches in new places this year but for the old standbys this is terrific. I had trouble getting it to drag to my toolbar so I just added in my favorites for now. Did anyone else have this problem?
I can see really using this feature from both home and at work. Practical, usable, easy..

Just My Own List of Mads and Glads

Lack of turn signal use.
Ill equipped public restrooms.
Rudeness in general; specifically,
rude cyclists who think they own the road/path.
Litter, especially cigarette butts.
Poorly stocked grocery stores.
Unfinsihed can drinks.
Vera Wang Mattresses! Really!
Geico Caveman

New safer 15 passenger vans.
Effective headache remedies.

Smell of coffee beans
Being remember by the check out boy.
Clean sheets
People who trade books
The quiet of morning.
Observing my children.

Progressive Flo
Geico Gecko

Thanks for your ideas. They have been considered and added for the ejoyment of others!

This will updated and edited on as needed.
Suggestions and comments are always welcome.
Something got a burr in you britches?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Task 16 wiki, wiki,wiki

I was so excited about wikis that I went to wetpaint and set up a wiki for an upcoming bridal shower at my house. I added several threads such as food, entertainment, supplies, guestlist..Most of those involved are church rather than work friends so I have to gather their email addresses for it to become fully functional.
I want to use it in class by putting a brainstorming topic on and having each class that comes in add to the existing list, not repeating anything listed. I think they could even add ideas at home. I think the next day the review of the previous day will be really interesting.
I sure love the Common Craft Videos. They make learning so basic and attainable.

My goal today is less time blogging and more time sewing. I've got to finish 2 ring bearer pillows. Hey has anyone been visited by the Ransom Daily Responder?

Task #15 Library 2.0

I have an acquaintance that I often see in the library just sitting at a table reading. I don't bother her there but later tell her I saw here there, again. If I knoew her better I would ask, "Whay are you always at the library and what are you reading about or studying?" Perhaps I should ask anyway. She is older than I, she and her husband retired, a bell ringer and volunteer at my church but what does she read about? Could it be something philosphical, gardening, romance (I doubt it) some personal cause or passion? Maybe she just needs alone time. I really found the meditation or spa aspect of the library hard to imagine but now thinking of Linda it becomes more a possibility. I also wonder why she isn't on computer. Does she search at home? Does she know how to use a computer? She seems smart and current but she might just surprise me and be computer illiterate. Has the library staff approached her about this? Is it there job? Surely they have noticed her as a regular. Do they keep their eyes (physical and technological eyes)out for things she would like? What is their obligation of service to her others that access my small community library.

I think more about my school library and the race to keep up the technology. I am often surprised at how much and how little my science students know about technology when we go into the labs to do a project. Oh they can word process and add pictures and wiggly letters but lack many basic skills. So whose job is this? All of ours I suppose. I hate the idea that kids get this fractured education in technology taught in an "as needed" approach.

I feel I am rambling and am veering off task and I risk getting to the courts late so I am just stopping. As for Library 2.0, 3.0 and crazy 4.0, well, if yu figure it all out let me know.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Number 14 Technorati

I found the blog searches using tags on Technorati quick, organized, and focused. It just eliminates a lot of searching around. I especially liked the video options shown with every search. In science I think some amateur videos are more real to students that professionally done videos. They think,"This is just a real person doing something, somewhere that I have actually heard of." Technorati just seems another way of using your time researching more effectively. I think this could benefit both teachers and students doing any type research. I found a great science teacher blog and a great mudslide video clip. Did anyone else out there find anything great?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lucky Number 13 Delicious

Hmmm! I am one who often asks, "Where did I see that?", "Did I save that anywhere?",and then I start madly searching through my computer. Even when I get into my folders and favorites I still have to keep searching because often I haven't labelled or organized my stuff well. I can see the value in tagging. I also like the idea of being able to share with collegues and see what they are using. On training days with our other campuses we always say we want more time to share without having to leave the classroom. This seems to be a logical way to spread more ideas around. Now, will I use it when September rolls around? I hope so, but sometime that busy bug takes hold and I fall back into my old, easy, and unproductive habits. Perhaps this year I might say NO to some obligations on campus and really focus on using more new technology. All I have to do is find some ways to say NO. I think I'll start searching and tagging that right now.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Task 12 Creating Community Correctly

Be relevant and on task! That is probably something I need to work on in my blog responding. I have been doing a random daily response in hopes that I might gain some mystoerios reputation like the tooth fairy. Now I find out that I should be more purposeful and and respond directly to the subject at hand. Honestly, I try but occasioanlly I can only come up with, "Your dog is cute," or "you sure do post straight to the point." (meaning their entries are really short) Now I did respond to a 5th grade science teacher's blog because that is what I teach. It was easy to feel focus and constructive. The next blog response was one I found when I searched for older tennis players. And BINGO. She had written an article about her early tennis instructions as a girl when girls sports were almost unheard of. I laughed and could relate. It was easy for me to respond to her comments and share some of my own. I'm anxious to see if she responds back. I guess this is the kind of connection your are looking for when blogging. It sure makes it easier to be sure you are using bolg etiquette. I plan to keep up my random daily blog just in case I start building my reputation for it. Does anyone object?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Library Thing # 10? No,11

Library Thing is great. I had a good time looking through it and using some of the tools. I found the search to be very effective even when I had very little information on a title. My students are always asking me what they should read. How easy to keep a random list available for them. There are often times I hate to give my titles to them because I like reading these to them.

If students are given a choice of literature for an assignment this would be a great tool to use. It is so helpful to actually see a cover when getting the basic information for a book.

I love young adult literature and know this would be a great way to share and get good titles for my own personal reading. Surely there are others who share this passion.

Time well spent on Library Thing without bleeding over into workout time!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Task 10 More Like It

I always knew that these image makers existed but assumed that it took some special program that I didn't have. Surprise! They are all fairly easy to use and fun at that. I did have trouble finding one that accommodated my holiday ditty, that I hope you enjoyed. Let's just call this, not only the summer of the wedding, the summer of tennis, the summer of cake but also the summer of the daily ditty. I am emailing a fresh ditty to my daughter each day. Now in addition to the ditty, she will also get the benefit of the image makers. I can think of a million ways to use these in class. How about a character on the screen each day asking the kids to explain a concept from the previous day? It could be the president, Stewy Griffin, Sponge BOB, the choices are endless. How about a biography assignment using the trading card maker? Better yet a favorite scientist! Well, you get the drift. I am determined to finish this task in the course of 1 day so I am stopping. By the way how do you spell Stewy?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thing 9: Too full!

Oh my! I feel like I am stuffed full of blog searches, RSS feeds..No more please. I see the value of the circle of the wise but I feel like I a need a big burp here!I decided that probably, my circle should be other 5th grade science teachers. I started there, was pleased that it was fairly easy to find what I was looking for, in both Google Blog Search and Edublog. Honestly, to set up a circle of wise with the other 5th grade science teachers in my district, who are also friends but on different campuses would be helpful, and most likely to be used. I think once the school year starts and I am busy I problably won't take much time to visit my circle of the wise. I know the value of seeking the wise as I have this quote in my kitchen, "Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day," says Thorton Wilder. I clipped this from a church bulletin a long time ago and do like it but I'm not sure it will be in the form of my circle of the wise blog. I am afraid that I sound like a tired, 51 year old teacher who doesn't want to learn anything new. This is really not the case I just want to do something more fun. In my kitchen I also have wise words from a fortune cookie that changed my life and it simply states, "Plan to have some fun." So that is just what I plan to do as I dash off to tennis and then a visit with sister to finish an incomplete game of Blokus. Now that is fun.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Thing 8: What on Earth is Happening?

Well, now I can tell you at a glance because I've create an RSS Feed just to keep me informed of changes occurring on and to Earth. Why? Earth Science continues to be the lowest area of science on 5th TAKS testing statewide. It is my favorite, and I think I do a great job of teaching it but that is just not enough. So ta da da, I have set up daily feeds of volcanic activity, earthquake shaker maps, violent weather notices, and news feeds from the New Mexico about caverns, sand dunes, mountains...
I figure if a student can check these every day or so and report to the class then perhaps these events will just become second nature to them, create a curiosity to find out more, or just build a foundation of personal experience for them. I think it will also be a great teaching tool because I will have gobs of current examples and data to use in class. I put a current feed from each of these on my shared page. It took me a couple of tries to get that going but managed in the end. I also found a blog I really liked from another 5th grade science teacher. I plan to view it often to see how it progresses through the school year as it looks like she uses it to communicate with her students, parents and other teachers. Is there a way to save your reader page as your home page? I'm sure there is but I feel technologically pushed beyond my limits right now. If I have to research anything else I might not have time to eat my breakfast of bacon and homegrown tomatoes! I bet if I did a bog search I could find many gardeners bragging about their bumper crops of tomatoes this year too!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Post #7 Google GAh-GAh

Wow! I am on Google overload. So many possibilities. I just started down the list and found I could continue for days. This could be a complete summer training in itself. Since I like to teach Earth Science in real context as it occurs I set up an alert for any earth shaking or Earth breaking news. It will be easy for me to open up these news stories of video footage at the opening of a class and share.

Next, was igoogle. I included tabs for both work and personal interest. Science related topics for work and things like art and cooking for home. I have already enjoyed looking at these. I specially like a quote from Woody Allen stating that her isn't afraid of death but that he'd rather not be there when it happens. Igoogle just seems like another way to customize information so less time is spent sifting.

With the google calendar option I set a calendar for my next 2 months and became shockingly aware that the summer will continue to zip by at a steady pace. My summer looks pretty busy but usually I can manage my engagements without such a program so I think I'll stick with the old fashion method. I can see where this could replace a syllabus and that students and parents alike could access a class calendar fro upcoming assignment, due dates,....

I enjoyed playing most with the notebook. I was able to open a notebook, insert data, charts, photos, links, and add details about each one. I love that is not stored on my computer. I know I will use this to keep different topics organized. I think it might be a good place to enter teacher notes so that students and parents could see the notes from home.

Google Earth is very popular on my elementary campus. It is a good resource for social studies and science.

Well, because I have spent 2 day at google tools and feel a little behind I will stop here. Next time out I think google tools could be assignments 7,8, and 9.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mashups! Who Thought of Those?

The question is now, "What is it that one cannot do or create?" I loved the Flickr color matcher. It is like the designer's dream come true. When you need art the exact color of the stripe in your bedspread then presto- chango. I can't believe I haven't seen it used on HGTV (Home and Garden Television). I could use it in science to teach about the spectrum of color and to have a lot of fun. Probably more fun than knowledge could be gained. The Mosaic Maker is the mashup that really caught my eye. I can imagine adding a collection of curriculum specific
content to a Mosaic and using it as a writing motivator, vocabulary reinforcer, or perhaps an imaginative sequencing activity. It could also be a great way to integrate the Technology TEKS with other content areas. Boy, learning is just getting a whole lot more fun. I just hope I can remember to use all these new tools when August rolls around. Just to be on the safe side I have down loaded my mudslide Mosaic to have on hand when the need arises. Fifth grade students are also required to learn the states and capitols. I can imagine a lot of ways Mappr could be used not only to teach states and capitols but help the students really learn about the United States. It could also be a pretty nifty open house project. Because I am starting to ramble on, I think I will close this post and go back and play (explore) some more on Mosaic Maker.

Flickr Fun!

So often I need a quick image for 5th grade science. For some reason I can never find what I'm looking for in a jiffy. I took this opportunity to gather some mudslide pictures for future use. I was shocked at the huge number of photos available on one topic. I can hardly wait to see what comes up for volcanic eruptions. I think this will be useful for getting images for ELL and special needs students who need a real live image. I think students could use a collection of gathered photos for power points, books, study aids...I found the site easy to use and navigate and will recommend it to others. At this point I am not into photography myself but can't wait to borrow images from others.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts on the Avatar

Creating the avatar was fun. I could have spent the whole day. After realizing I'd spent almost 2 hours creating mine I just had to stop and accept it. The hard part was creating the me I wanted to share. Did I want to be the teacher, mother, wife, friend or all? It became obvious early on that I couldn't cover all of the Me's so I tried to pick some of my favorite characteristics. First, the apron. My neighbors always ask, "Are you baking?" I reply,"No, just keeping clean!" That is the honest truth because nearly anything I do I seem to get dirty. I thought it was important to include my glasses because in the last year I find that I can't do anything without them. I hate to admit this because I always felt my peers were being over dramatic about being blind and I now have eaten my thoughts. Of course, I am wearing shorts because it is summer, my legs are tanned and are less flabby than they have ever been. I placed myself in the kitchen because it is the hub of activity. I am holding cake because each summer I have a passion and last summer it was the summer of cakes from scratch. I made a new one each week, tasted it, shared it with my husband, and then took it to the nursing home where my mother in law was staying. Sweets go a long way in insuring kind care of a loved one. In the kitchen with me, admiring the cake you will see 2 dogs. I chose the 2 out of our 5 dogs that aren't really ours, but are our grand dogs with semi-permanent status. One is a fun, swimming, chocolate lab, Tyson just shy of a year old and the other is Bo, the brindle boxer with anxiety and allergy problems, weighing in at about 100 pounds. This is about where my creation came to and end. I could have put in my family and friends but honestly this is just about me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Which Is My Most Effective Habit?

After much consideration, I think that my most effective habit from the list of 7 1/2, is having confidence in myself as a learner. Although it has been many years since I have challenged myself by learning anything academically challenging I think that I could. Instead I have mastered many other useful skills such as technology, which I hope I use to my advantage, cooking skills, games, athletic and fitness skills, and spritual knowledge. I know that through perserverance and practice that I can master these. In addition to having learner's confidence, I can add to that a willingness to learn and try new things, usually with a good and positive attitude. Seeing the end when I start a project is probably also a strength, as well as seeing a problem as a challenge, and having a good sense of play. When I look for my weaknesses from the list of the habits, I fall short in 2 areas: teaching and mentoring others, and creating a toolbox. Many times I would rather do something for you than teach you to do for yourself. Luckily this is only in my personal life since I am a science teacher. As for creating a tool box of things I need for learning, anyone who knows me knows I am very choosy about how I spend my money ( frugal or cheap?). Many times I will make do with an inferior tool or just do without if it means letting go of money. I am working on this, as I actually pay for tennis instruction weekly and invested in a costly racquet. I feel certain that this summer I will be both challenged and entertained by the tasks set ahead in this course, unless, of course I am ask to explain it to someone else or buy some expensive gadget.