Friday, May 27, 2011

Are We There Yet?

I just found this link to Real Simple, with games that are fun to play with kids .... so as you begin the summer travel, one or two of these may come in handy.  Most are not technologically advanced, but creativity is a sought after commodity.  Let's help kids THINK!
27 Low-Cost, High-Imagination Games Real Simple

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tesselations

I was thinking of tesselations the other day because I need to design a quilt.  I know what a tesselation is, but in my never ending quest to gain meanings of words and labels, I thought I would search for a definition.  According to mathforum.org  a tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps.  I'm sure Mr. Brady taught me that in 8th grade, but that is ancient history - glad to know I've been using it all these years.  So how does this relate to our Instructional Technology class?  I'm not really sure, but I am trying to cover all bases, learning and gleaning information that will enable me to reach my goals for this program.

Monday offered another array of tools and the instructional applications; the Fly Lab was intriguing, definately glad I won't be seeing any additional Fruit Flies in our room.  Zunal is a great tool - I really like the fact that all the links are right in front of the student, including the assessment.  This will make my webquest so much easier to manage with the class.  Storybird is perfect for a child development class.  I try to teach my students the importance in early literacy and reading within child development; this will give me a tool to create an age appropriate story, without worrying about student artistic talent.  Befuddlr - cool tool for photo's and notes - I'm going to try to put together a unit on kitchen tools (you know, those tools that actually tell you what they are) 

Well back to my quilt design... enjoy a completed design of a memory quilt.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More from the piles of scraps called life...

Life is so fun... and the learning never ends.  I've been working on this project of a family tree, tracing our family with a cousin who really does not know many of his extended family.  Well through a little questioning and a mother who had some "stuff" we found out we were related to a soldier from the US Revolutionary War... then she pulls out a paper showing membership of a Great-Great Grandmother in the "Sons & daughters of the Mayflower"... so... off we go on that search.  Now we have linked the family together through several generations using Family Mingle, a fun way to communicate and keep track of all those important dates.  It stays private, so we can collaborate across the many miles that keep us apart.  So while I should be working on my contract items, I search for the "scraps of fabric" that made me into the "complete quilt" that I am. So far I have done this using free sites - Rootsweb.com has a clearing house on all sorts of information, and others who are doing the same. Oh yeah - one of my ancestors was hung on Sept 22, 1692 in Salem, MA as a "witch" - Doesn't that explain ALOT!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Threads that keep us together

Throughout our life there are threads that hold us together.  The threads that stayed strong this past week were my team members.  Through marathon skyping on weekends, combined with working lunches and independent work, we managed to pull together a project we were equally proud of.  Kudo's to Scott and Julie.  The amazing thing was how they kept me sane - Thanks.

Speaking of threads, I did take an evening off to visit with my cousin and her family that came in from Durban, South Africa for a short visit.  Had the opportunity to work with her son, Jed, to organize our extended family tree.  We sat side by side with our laptops, entering the information we knew into the coolest site, Family Mingle.  From zero to 144 family members in two days.  Check out the site, it allows for secure photo albums, contact information, calendars, event planning, message board...  I know it is not "education related" but it is allowing us to organize our family using the family papers we have floating around.  I can't wait to be able to send out birthday cards on time - the calendar is GREAT! Hopefully none of the family will pass out when they get their card on time!

Well onward we go... here's a quilt to keep you warm after the FREEZE!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

$2M school cafeteria camera study creates controversy

This one is for the books -
$2M school cafeteria camera study creates controversy

There have been many ways we have tried to combat the obesity epidemic, but is
"Big Brother" the answer? This seems that it has no sound educational background
behind it. Seems to me that the San Antonio School District has been SOLD a bill
of goods. For $2 million we could pay some Family and Consumer Science teachers
to teach nutritional decision making, involving the community. Students will eat
what their parents eat; so making them feel guilty at school will have little affect at
all on the kids. 
So on several levels this just seems wrong:
  • $2 million federal tax dollars being spent in five schools
  • The lack of privacy as to what is eaten
  • The kids realize that they could just easily rearrange what is on their plates when they throw them out.
  • We aren't teaching children good eating habits - If we don't offer the poor choices, the students will not eat them.
Let's get real - teach nutrition in a real way, let them experience real food, healthy food and they will eat it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mayhem!

I remember a time, not so long ago, when we had to go to sleep because the TV stopped broadcasting.
I remember a time, no zerox machines, we carried books and paper and pencils; copied and figured.

I remember when the TV showed us Sit-coms (Situation Comedies) when families were disfunctional in a very functional way.  No such thing as reality TV,we wanted our reality to be the Partridge's or Brady's.
I remember when the computer game first came out at Christmas - it was the gift that the rich kids got (I did not, but Bobbi did) - I was in college that year - remember Atari and the first Pong; followed quickly by Space Invaders.
We did not have computer games in school - in fact the most games we played were pick up football and basketball.
Computers were the size of my house, and you had to carry those silly punch cards around and hope they did not drop, when they fell it certainly messed up the program - not really - it just would not run.
The Apple IIe came to Drexel the year I graduated - it was going to save time, money and paper.
31 years later and I may be saving some paper - but I certainly am not saving time - who could know how much time it would take to learn all of these new tools and review the theories and pioneers.
Luckily I am enjoying the time I spend.  So many tools, so little time for use.
It's a brave new world, and the brave will be the "outlayers".

The year is winding down; last night I watched the middle school awards ceremony.  The kids looked so nice dressed up, and it was wonderful to see so many proud parents.  It is hard work to keep the grades up to all A's.  My congratulations go out to all those students.
This week will be topped off with the PFFE test - it has been a long time since I took a computerized test, but since I'm getting so good at keyboarding...

Today was breakfast all day in my class.  Great pancakes and french toast, but that 4th period class out did themselves with an awesome breakfast buffet.  I love it when they eat nutritious meals - even the die hard carnivores ate the fruit salad!  I'm sure that they felt well fueled for the rest of the day!  The responses on the lab evaluations are gratifying.  Setting the evaluation up on the laptop was  stroke of genius if I say so myself - No paper and I can grade them easily!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Crazy Quilt of Life

Crazy quilts are awesome - they take the chaos of my fabric scrap box and turn into gorgeous heirlooms.  This week the only quilts I can possible think about making are "Crazy".  So much is going on it reminds me of a crazy quilt.  Crazy quilts have been around for a long time, generally becoming popular in the late 1870's after the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition  where the public experienced the Assymetrical art of Japan.  Throughout history, the practical arts offer creative outlets for those who needed a voice.  How awesome it is to have the opportunity to blend such traditional arts with technology - I live in a great time!

This IT History project is large; working with Julie and Scott will keep me sane.  The research has been eye opening, and I'm beginning to see how everything works and connects.  Coming up with creative tools and ideas for my contract items has been challenging, but I am finding some items that will create a cohesive cluster of work that will be beneficial to my instructional goals.

Just found out that I need to take a 3 hour Personal Financial Literacy test - this is to develop the cut offs for the national certification.  I guess I need to study up to make sure I remember all the technical jargon and figure out percentages!!

Tomorrow is Chef for a Day - looking forward to seeing Sara's healthy dessert prepared.  The kids seem excited, and I am very proud that Sara is in FCCLA with me.

And on top of all this we have the ASK testing.  Long drawn out testing, leaving the kids bouncing off  the wall.

The good news is that when all of this combines together it will help develop us into the people we were meant to be.  Like the crazy quilt that keeps us warm and comforted - well tonight we might need that quilt!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another stitch in time

Well it is May!  I can't believe how fast this year is flying by.  Today I was outside, enjoying a beautiful spring day that wa sunny and warm.  The dogwood is blooming and look so clean.  The rain that came in the past few weeks certainly helped to make the day great - if it had not rained, the plants would not be as green as they are.  Discovered a cardinal nest in a bush nearest the woods - 3rd year in a row.  Guess they like the food we provide.

Worked more on my Instructional Technology class.  It's hard, and I still have problems remembering those passwords.  Had a chance to create an assignment for my students - create a PSA for food safety - using glogster - it's posted on this blog - check it out.  I had fun creating it!

Came across this cartoon - life is all about perception!