Sunday, August 26, 2012


To follow up on the TeachMeetNJ presentation just posted:  Below is the presentation I did on Mindmapping - a great tool for any organizing you need to do...

Thursday I had the opportunity to present and attend the first ever TeachMeetNJ at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, NJ.  This was a great way to meet "connected" New Jersey Educators who passionately shared their favorite Web 2.0 tools and techniques.

Kudo's to Kyle who did an awesome job, even though I did not win the IPad - my door prize came in the form of increased knowledge and a larger tool kit!

I had the pleasure of presenting Mindomo - Mindmapping Made Easy - an awesome tool to help you organize your life, philosophy, projects, presentations or just about anything.  I love it!

Gearing Up for the school year

Well, it looks like summer is waning, with the school year beckoning.  Time to get focused on the integration of technology into my curriculum:  Skills for Life. I am trying to  focus on integrating how technology has changed life for all of us; from how we make our purchasing decisions, daily habits we follow, the food we eat (or don't eat), the tools we use to get things done, the fabrics we wear for different activities, all have been dramatically changed in our lifetime.  So planning to implement this into a classroom that has not really changed in the past 100 years will be a challenge. 

Sewing Machines:  Then and Now - technology has affected all aspects of life! 
Can you imagine sewing anything by hand turning the wheel?

To meet this challenge I attended and presented this past Thursday at TeachMeetNJ, an unconference held at Richard Stockton College, Pomona, New Jersey.  There I joined with 200 or so New Jersey educators to learn ways that we can use technology in our classroom to energize and transform the education of our next generation.  I enjoyed presenting "Mindmapping made Easy: Mindomo" a quick overview of a great weeb resource for organizing, planning and collaboration - including a presentation model.  The presentation seemed well received, so hopefully some classrooms will be collaborating in an organized manner.  Check out the presentation of a simple mindmap of Mindomo in the classroom.mindmapping made easy

If you like the concept - try your hand at a map of your own;  it is fun to organize any subject.  For you teachers out there, it is a great way to create your lectures and classes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Unintended Consequences of Travel

So I decided to stray from the integration of technology into Family & Consumer Science Education to talk about my recent trip to Arizona.  I will not give you a travel log or even the slide show - my daughter says I take WAY too many photos!  I will tell you about the consumer experience I had as a not too frequent flyer ... I haven't been on a plane for a few years... I know, no life!

Anyway, how has technology led to unintended consequences in the travel field?  Please remember I only experienced one airline so this may not hold true to others.  So here is my list:

1.  Less actual persons to help with any issues - the customer service reps at the counters have been replaced with computer screens printing out boarding passes.

2.  If you choose to check a bag for the extra $25 you can stand in line for 35 minutes for the one counter that is open even though it is the early morning in the middle of vacation time.

3.  When printing out your own boarding pass you have the option of taking your bags as carry-on or checked, for the extra fee of course.  The screen reminds you that the overhead compartments will hold a bag that is 22" x 14" x 9"; or fits in the bin near the baggage check.  Now how many of you actually have measured your bag?

4.  Once you get through TSA, after taking off shoes, belts, hairbands and clips, watches; been patted down because the agents can't see your legs; put all your carry-ons in separate bins, laying flat of course, with your toiletries in a requisite qt. size plastic bag; you make it to your boarding gate.  Now at the gate you see one or two human beings, who in garbled speak ask you to double check your carry on luggage and to check it since the plane will not hold it all. 

5.  Of course, nobody offers to check their bags because of many different reasons - most likely being they want to make sure it gets to the same city they are going to.

6.  So now you board - of course First Class goes first - so that all the peasants can drag through their "special" area while the flight crew is busy trying to serve them drinks.

7.  After First Class we board all the "Special" customers - the young, old, handicapped, frequent fliers, etc.  They of course are dispersed thoughout the plane, so now when the masses get boarded, everyone can climb over everybody else.

8.  Finally the peons are boarded by zone.  Of course all the oversized carry on luggage is wiggled into the overhead compartments, many not fitting, while others are small enough to be under the seat.

9.  All this jockeying of luggage, climbing over others makes for frazzled nerves, in a tube of 160 people.

10.  Finally after the flight attendants get all the hatches closed, with the oversized luggage carefully thrown under the plane because it really was a 36" suitcase, and not 22"; the plane taxis to take-off.

In my experience last week the boarding of a plane to Detroit took 45 minutes at one time, and on the return trip 60 minutes.  The flight lasted 1 hour and 1 minute.  So the unintended consequence - Wasted Time!

If there was a human being at the beginning of the process checking all luggage (and enforcing policy), carry-on and checked, the boarding of the plane would have been smoother, faster and much more pleasant. 

 So as we integrate technology into the mundane tasks of life, we need to ask ourselves, What are the possible outcomes of the introduction of this technology?

Overall the trip was great, even though I got to spend 6 hours in Detroit around midnight trying to get home ... but that story is for a different day!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Creative Technology Ahas!

I'm sharing this video because so many times I get the feeling that we need to completely embrace technology, giving up all the handmade, creative tendencies that those of us involved in the creative outlets of fashion, crafts, designing and cooking have.  We do it to ourselves when we introduce ourselves as.. "I'm "just" a housewife, or "it's just something I whipped up". 

So as I have been designing and creating all sorts of great pieces for my daughters apartment, using the fabrics and trimmings from a variety of sources.. integrating my fabulous, computerized sewing machine with good old common sense and basic mathematics I came to the realization that the integration of all the technology at hand is what has helped make me a more creative being.  My creative abilities have led me to this blog ... an idea that 20 some years ago would have been science fiction ... but alas it offers an outlet to me that can touch more people than my family.

So now that leads me to McDonald's - a company that has been criticized over and over for poor nutrition, marketing to children, and the most vile... the purveyor of childhood "obesity".  They have successfully integrated technology into all aspects of the restuarant business; even to the point of marketing the Quarter Pounder.  Enjoy the video - look at it with an open mind.  Remember, "all things in MODERATION", nobody should eat this burger everyday.

So my point to all this... technology is useful for creating the real world we are in.  We can not eat, dress or feel in the virtual world.  It is time to unplug once in awhile, feel the textures of life, enjoy what is there, realize that manipulation happens, but that there are reasons for it.

So until next time, I will be using technology to CREATE - don't know if it will be digitally or texturally, but I will be creating!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Week One of Summer Vacation

It is now Tuesday of the first week of summer vacation.  I vowed to myself that I would be productive these first two weeks of summer - before Summer School starts.  So what have I done with myself...

I have crafted - sewing, crocheting and knitting.  The weather has been gorgeous - great with the windows open into my sewing room, it keeps me energized.  I truly have not focused much on the newest technology, although sewing has been made so much simpler with my Brother Innov-is-900

What a great machine - everyday I find out some new thing about it.  It is programed to do knots, and cut the threads at the end of seams.  It also is so great that it has a self-threading feature.  A long way from the beginning sewing machines invented in the 1800's.

My sewing this summer has so far focused on clothing -
a skirt for Lesley with some great trim she found in our visit to Jomar ( if you are in Philadelphia a great experience - although I am not responsible for any budget busting purchases) and an easy knit top for our upcoming trip to Phoenix.
Need light colored, cotton clothing for in the desert!

I've also finished the potholder project for Lesley's new kitchen in Phoenix.  The colors were chosen by her - they should look really nice with the black granite counter tops and cherry cabinets.  Hopefully she will remember to keep them dry so she doesn't burn her fingers.  The dishcloth was knitted - a pattern called "feather and fan".   Once I figured out the pattern it was a breeze - was even able to do it sitting in the car.
Lesley thinks I should make these and create my own "Etsy" Shop - who knows, maybe I will.

So I think at the rate I am going I will be able to say my summer was productive.  Thank goodness for the technology of the sewing machine, iron, and all the fiber/fabric producers. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer is here!

I have not blogged in awhile; been so busy with finishing up school and classes.  I must say I was quite pleased with the outcome of my website for Web Design.  I learned quite a bit in the process of creating.  Remembering to keep my audience in mind, keeping it clean and simple, and consistent throughout the site.  As usual, I tended to bit off more than I expected; but it is leaving me in good shape for capstone.

Stitch by Stitch: a Sewing Tutorial is the result.  Hopefully it will help Southern Regional Sewing Students find the information they need to create awesome fashion!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Information Overload...

This weekend was edcamp Philly at University of PA.  I had signed up and was really looking forward to the opportunity to learn from other educators.  Unfortunately I woke up Saturday with one of those awful sinus headaches that preventing me from attending.
  I'm sure I missed a lot, but I had the opportunity to attend an online professional development workshop through 2012 4T Virtual Conference.
    I was able to attend a few workshops that I found quite interesting; especially Making Curriculum POP.
Teaching our curriculum using Pop Culture, integrating film clips, offering cooperative learning experiences that focus students on real world "jobs", such as fashion consultant, sociologist, economist to evaluate the message.  Check out the Ning and see what is offered.  The workshops are running Saturday through Tuesday and this evening I was able to attend a workshop on using Twitter in the classroom.  I'm not sure that Twitter is the right medium for my class, but the ideas could easily be integrated into Edmodo.
So in a few minutes I will begin the next session - Everthing Speaks - using QR codes in education, getting students to interact.  Hope this doesn't put me into Information Meltdown!
   Best part of the weekend, getting to interact with teachers around the country and world!  Already have found some new online collaborators to tweet with...
   Oh don't forget to join Classroom 2.0 - collaborate with other like minded educators who are integrating web 2.0 tools into the classroom.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Web Site - CHECK!

Well I think I did it ... I know for a fact the the site I have created through Word Press is better than what I had.  That wouldn't be hard though...
Mrs. Stinson: Family and Consumer Sciences, Southern Regional takes you to my redesigned class/school website.  I focused on the student needs.  After talking to some of my students, both in class and those in FCCLA, they told me they want links to the assignments, recipes, pictures of the completed work and calendars.  That is what I gave them.  Hopefully they will be "Happy Campers".

Now I will work on creating some more content for the site, some videos and slide shows of student work.
As always, a work in progress as I continue to learn more and more using the tools that are available.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Tonight I feel so accomplished!  Our new class started the other week, of course the week before spring break, so who felt like working... This class is very hands on, learning about Web design and the creation of a website, through the evaluation of others.  It is certainly making me look closely at what I do, and to think about who my viewers are.  No sense overwhelming them more than needed!

So as I am designing my site, it is important that I follow the "Less is More" philosophy of the minimalist architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  I want the site to be easy to use, and really stick to the points the students need.  So the idea is to include a CALENDAR - something I desperately need for my students both in class and for the after school activities I run.  WordPress has been fighting me for a week ... but I HAVE WON!

  I embedded a FACS Calendar into my WordPress site.  I am giving my self a pat on the back - but it is truly due to the great video tutorial I found on YouTube - How to embed google calendar into WordPress.  So thank you Keith!  Stay tune for the completed site within the next week!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Break... comes to an end

So today marks the end of spring break.  Unlike many, I did not have the opportunity to travel to remote destinations to taste the culture of previously unexplored locales.  But alas the Philadelphia are offers several great locations to unwind.

Longwood Gardens, Bell Tower

We had the opportunity to visit Longwood Gardens, the DuPont estate where the DuPont fortunes were able to experiment with thousands of horticultural specimens.  I love this place since I truly have a black thumb, I can enjoy the beauty without worrying about killing it!

Tulip Display (or tinsy part of it)
The reason we went - to "Tiptoe through the Tulips"
Longwood Gardens, Italian Water Garden

I have always wanted a water feature in my yard, but this might be a little "over the top"

So no Spring Break would be complete without a visit to the beach - since we are not near the Florida beaches, Ocean City was our beach of choice.

Love the beaches before the crowds!

So now it is back to work... finish up the semester, learning how to make effective, productive websites.  I am looking forward to this as I want to find a way to sell the quilts I make in my spare time. 

 Oh, did I forget to mention I made a quilt this week with some of the scrap fabric in my sewing room.  It's available if you are interested!

Sunday, April 1, 2012 - a Web 2.0 tool for education & fun

This photo has links imbedded through the site Check out the site as it seems to have some applications that could be great in education. I just was playing to see what I could do with little direction!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Frustration ... Creativity

So after class this evening, it was commented that I would probably have my traditional
"meltdown" of frustration beginning next Monday.  Well, I found this animation that explains
how creativity truly does need to have "frustration" to happen.  If we buy into that philosophy,
I should be considered quite Creative!  Now if I could just get creative and figure out how
to add the RSS feed to my GoogleSite!

Great class ending at Cooper's Place - Thank you for hosting Scott.
To all that carried in the awesome food, it was delicious!  Love the Southern Cohort!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Who wants to be "Normal" anyway?

This was a busy week, but the Personal Learning Theory paper is submitted.  My portfolio site is on its way.  I am not sure if I like it yet, but Google Sites certainly allows for editing and changing.

The biggest event this week was taking the Southern Regional FCCLA to New Jersey State Leadership Conference in Cherry Hill.  We spent two full days competing and learning.  When not competing our students enjoyed a variety of leadership and career oriented workshops - all with the theme "Raising the Bar".


I am extremely poud of our team.  All earned medals, 1 - Bronze, 3- Silver, 4 - Gold.  Two of our Gold place medalists placed first in the state;  Dana Warren earned a scholarship and a chance to compete at FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Orlando this summer.  Her entrepreneurship project "Coffee House" was the state winner.  One of the other highlights of the two day event was the fashion show of all the fashion related creations.  Awesome work by students from all over the state as thousands of scholarship dollars were awarded.


Great speakers were highlighted during each of the meetings, but one really struck a chord with me.

Mr. Kent Julian spoke on "not settling for normal", since normal means being stuck in a career that you don't like, not making real goals and getting there, being stuck in debt, etc.  He urged the students "Be better than Normal".  He highlighted the speech with a mathematical equation:




E + R = O

So all you math wizards - do you know the missing value if E=Event and O = Outcome ?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sewing in the 21st Century

So this past week saw me focusing on putting the finishing touches on my personal learning theory paper.  I have decided to work on researching how sewing/textiles are an integral part of a 21st Century education.  Begin by thinking about all the critical thinking and problem solving skills that are encompassed in the act of creating a product.  Now combine that with STEM education, supposedly an area where we (USA) are falling behind the rest of the world.  Science - chemical and biological agents make up ALL fabrics and textiles that are used in the world today.  Technology - well, most design is done through technology, all your knitted garments (tee shirts, tights, sportswear) are all created via huge computer driven machines. Engineering - well engineering is basically identifying a problem that exists in society and creating a solution to solve the problem, and then Mathematics - all of this exists through math.  But generally, don't we all need to know the sizes we wear, pattern making - all about the measurements.  But I seem to be on a soap box.

So for a break, I went to visit A Garden of Quilts show at Wheaton Arts on Sunday.  170 hand and machine made quilts were on display.  Some were done completely by hand, while others were stitched via machine. Fabulous computer guided machines were available for sale... a girl can dream... The work was amazing.  What really caught my eye were two quilts, both inspired by the civil war.
Since a picture is worth a 1000 words... The first:

This quilt:  Now it Can be Told (U.G. RR.)    by Barbara Jorden This quilt was inspired by the book Hidden in Plain View - basically a story how quilts guided run away slaves through the Underground Railroad.

HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW - Book cover printed on fabric and the quilter's write up of quilt.

The second quilt that was inspiring to me was this gorgeous piece.  Unfortunately the photo does not give me the quilters name - but it did win a first place award.  This was based on Civil War postcards that were found from veterans of both the Union and Confederate Armies.

I apologize for not getting the quilters name - but it is extremely intricate and designed beautifully.

So how do these quilts relate to the 21st Century - well, look at the skills that were needed to create these works of art.
Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Imagination, Creativity, Measuring just to name a few.

Thank you for putting up with my soapbox, but you did come to visit.

Speaking of visiting, make a trip to Wheaton Arts Village; you'll learn tons about South Jersey and the history behind it.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Breath of Fresh Air

This week certainly was interesting.  Began in WIMBA cafe, learned a little about the ideas for the MAIT program going forward.  Seems like there is a challenge getting teachers motivated to begin the program; concerns for finances I'm sure top the list of reasons that many don't want to make the commitment.  I must say it has been one of the best decisions I've made.  I actually love the learning even though at times I get frustrated.

The warm weather was certainly a blessing... hopefully it is not going to continue this much above normal during the summer.  It definately seems like spring when the cardinals are chirping outside my open windows, and the plum trees begin to bloom.  Before long my home will be hidden from view due to all the plum trees.

My classes had a great time this week exploring the global origins of American food - Pizza made from scratch,on Pi Day. Then onto the far east with Vegetable Fried Rice.  All food was enjoyed by all, with absolutely no waste.  It is reassuring when the student who walks into class saying "I HATE VEGGIES" is saying the Fried Rice "this tastes good"

My week ended today with the completion of the rough draft of my Personal Learning Theory Paper focusing on sewing and its relationship to 21st Century Skills and STEM education. 

So that leads me to the Engineering part of STEM - you know the PROBLEM SOLVING.  So here's the problem - my "squirrel proof" bird feeder is not "racoon proof".  Saturday saw my husband researching racoons - did you know that a racoon can rip the siding off of your house? How to stop these 'coons that are eating all of the birdseed became the family problem of the weekend. (We know they are there because they stare at Mike at midnight)
Solution 1 - shotgun - no go!
Solution 2 - Barbed wire - too sharp!
Solution 3 - Close the feeder - well we'll try it - weighting the feeder closed at night.

So the week ended, I'm breathing easy now since the flags are completed and flew in competition this weekend.  (First place for both teams)  Paper is written and submitted, blog is updated, portfolio is a work in progress,so Sunday will be a day for me!  Off to Wheaton Village for "A Garden of Quilts" show.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You can't make this up...

I know that this has nothing to do with learning theories or instructional technology, but in my efforts to "connect" to what is going on in education today I came across this article in the Huffington Post.Pink Slime for Lunch; The USDA has approved this modified meat product to be added to ground meat in school lunches.  So much for caring about our nation's health - how can this be good?
Just something to think about.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Connecting the dots...

So last night we had the opportunity to explore the theories  of connectivism and cognitive load.  Both were presented in creative manners - the webquest was an effective way to present connectivism - connecting technology to how we cook.  Cognitive Load, with the Wright's trying to teach us music was fun; I certainly have forgotten a lot, or maybe I had reached my cognitive load level.  So the two theories got me thinking about my global project... now try to connect...
          My global partner on HomeEcConnect just blogged about the comparison of HomeEcConnect and Xbox - what if the 15,843,451 facebook fans of Xbox were interested in the focus of Home Ec - the FAMILY.
          So that led me to think about "how technology has changed cooking (and our families)", our connectivism project.  So many of us noted all the easy ways we gain our recipes, tips and diets; but I still wonder, How many of you reach for your grandmother's favorite pie or cookie recipe when the occasion calls for it?  I know my favorite resource is still "Mom-mom's" Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1929 publishing date.  Her notes and comments keep her memory alive - and she still had the best recipe ever for macaroni & cheese (well really Cheese with a little Macaroni!)  No - that one I only share with my daughters!
         So thinking of Mom-mom it led me to the "question of the day" for my students.  "What kitchen appliance do you think has affected your life the most and why?"  Of course 14 year old students choose the microwave overwhelmingly, you know - popcorn, hot pockets, easy mac (Ugh!), etc.  But. I think it must be the Refrigerator.
  Now I might be biased, but my grandparents sold electric refrigerators in 1929, before their store or home even had electricity.  Mom-mom convinced the ice man to deliver ice to her home after dark.  Why chose the refrigerator? - Our society now could store food, no longer would we need to shop on a daily basis.  Look at the free time housewives would have...
         Now that led me to storing food - This week as I was grocery shopping I picked up fresh produce - not an amazing fact, but then I looked at the labels:  Bananas - Columbia, Asparagus - Mexico, Peppers - California, Strawberries - Florida, Blueberries - Chile, Oranges - California.  Does this count as a global connection?  I do believe my groceries are better traveled than I!  So the refrigerator lets me keep them fresh, and it got them to me when the "Garden State" is not producing.  Oh, I can not wait until those farm markets open up again!

         I know that this blog has rambled, but I feel that life has many dots to connect... hope it did not lead to Cognitive Overload!
         So on Super Tuesday, and the eve of my 31st Wedding Anniversary, I dedicate this post to the man who has put up with my rambling for a very long time... my hubby, Mike. He stays in the background and tries to keep me under control, but in reality I'm the normal one!

So anyway, keep connected to your family... they can keep you grounded and connected to life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

International Partner - Found!

So after lots of links and bread crumbs I found an international partner from Australia.  Through the blog and site Home Ec Connect I have stumbled upon a group of Family and Consumer Science Educators who are seeking to gain the respect our field deserves.  Of course those of you who know me well realize I cringe at the term "Home Ec", but elsewhere on this world they have voted to keep the term.  In the USA only do we go by Family and Consumer Science. 

Find more videos like this on HomeEcConnect

This video may shed some light on how Home Ec truly does connect all of us to the world.

So I am on my soapbox, and this is my blog, so I have the floor.  The goal of Home Ec or Family & Consumer Science is the sustainability of our culture through the use of resources to make our lives, families and society better.  We try in a quiet way to help students connect the "core" subjects into life for all students.

Speaking of connecting ... I really connected to the theories of constructivism and humanism/ARCS.  So much of my teaching philosophy fits into these two theories.  To be they seem like they go hand in hand.  By realizing how our behaviors, expectations and words effect those around us by "filling or draining" buckets it makes our classroom more manageable and successful.  This seems particularly important when doing so many activities where students are constructing their knowledge through hands-on activities.  You do realize in Family and Consumer Science we "construct" as a matter of habit.  To those of you who presented, Great Job!  Both lessons were great, fun and informative.  I still think we need to vote for the Norwal Whale, the Unicorn of the Sea!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breathing Time

Thanks to our Presidents, we have this Monday off from school, with a WIMBA cafe scheduled.  Its been refreshing to have a little relaxing time.
Spent this weekend evaluating GLOGS for the National FCCLA competition.  It was interesting to see how other Family & Consumer Science teachers have integrated this competition into their curriculum.  Gives me hope that there are administrations out there that recognize the importance of our discipline.  I was able to judge entries from Florida, Utah, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Kansas and California.  Good work to those who took the iniative to post and enter the competition.
Still sewing the flags for Indoor Guard, even though they continue to compete with older styles.  Both teams yesterday won their divisions at Gateway.  Go Southern!  For those of you that don't know what Indoor Guard is, picture marching band, without the band... or view these photos of our "Gold" team competing in Connecticut last weekend with their new flags... Little Red

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Theories into practice

            Oh the joy we felt when Monday evening endeed with our synectics presentation going amazingly well.  So glad the electricity stayed on and the internet and WIMBA was operational; not sure if I could have handled the stress!  The theory presentations were great... just wish I could have typed faster to get some of those sweet rewards from the Behaviorists!  We certainly enjoyed watching how Paul the cat was conditioned, just to see that conditioning applied to us, all fighting for the candy.  The cognitivism presentation was quite interesting.  It was very simple to see how we can build on the knowledge we developed previously to solve those geometric measurements.  I also found it interesting to see how much of our educational pedagogy has been based on this theory... Objectives, gain attention, assess previous knowledge, teach, review, reteach, access, etc.  I think my biggest reflection on the evening was how all three theories can be integrated to reach all learners. 
            Now I feel relief that I can focus on my Personal Learning Theory paper; developing a best practice to demonstrate 21st Century Skills within the sewing curriculum.   Speaking of 21st Century Skills; my collaborative side has taken on another aspect.  I will be judging National FCCLA "Glogster" posters for our Spring competitive events.  Can't wait to see how students around the country are interpreting the assignment - MyPlate. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Regrouping and Refocusing

     This week in class certainly offered us a chance to truly get focused on our learning theories lessons.  Synectics has been an interesting process to study; I believe I had the opportunity to go through the business training of the process many years ago in my previous career.  Goal to think outside the box for truly creative results.   I have found the collaboration difficult; not due to the work so much as to the many other areas of life that are desirous of my time. 

      I remember the time that I spent in retail management - January was always a let down.  Customers dwindled, time dragged, all the decorations were put away and you were left with the doldrums.  Well that can't be said for this educational climate.  We finished January with the Middle School Stone Soup Supper that took lots of time, but was definately worth it.  Over $1500 raised to help the less fortunate in Ocean County.  We then began gearing up for FCCLA Spring Conference, as well as the Chocolate Cake Contest.   Put on top of all the extracurriculars and  finishing up a marking period, I still decided to take delivery of over 40 yards of silk for Indoor Guard Flags.  Love the fabric, but boy sometimes I feel all tangled up!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Google sites and Library Databases Too...

Interesting evening with MAITS cohort.  Thanks to Amy for the chinese cuisine - Loved it! Brought back memories of the greatest boss I ever had, Steve Gallant. RIP.   Now my fortune this evening was, "After the winter, spring will come".  I guess that will happen; a little earlier for Sue Ross our presenter this evening who was presenting from Aruba.  Certainly can see how times have changed in education. 
      Even though the presenters were remote - Aruba and Boston, the information will come in handy.  I really can see some great applications for Google Sites with the MAITS program, as well as for the extra curricular activities of FCCLA and LEO Club.  A great way to communicate remotely with the students involved - all the information can be easily posted and organized.   Thanks for the workshop.
      The Library databases continue to amaze me; guess that is due to all the old school research that was done in the stacks in whatever library I could get to.  So much easier than going through those Periodical Records and card catalogs.

       Now if we could just solve all those pesky, techno glitches that continually haunt WIMBA, Blackboard, etc.  Just why can't all of these systems do what we need them to do, when we need it?  Guess its a lot like teaching...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shameless Plug for Charity

I am going to be shameless and plug a community concern.  1 in 4 American Children will go to bed hungry this evening of the State of the Union Address.  It is not up to the government to help these children and families, but it is part of our job as American Citizens to help.
Here is your opportunity - donate to our virtual Bake Sale.  All proceeds will go to local food pantries and soup kitchens.  You will not need to buy any of those high calorie goodies, you can feel good in two ways!

Go Ahead - click on this link - Stone Soup Dinner - You will feel like you have participated in making a childs day better.

Check out this video for some staggering facts - you will feel better about your life!  Help make some child's life better ... please.  Share Our Strength and AFT - 2011

I told you this was shameless!

Monday, January 23, 2012

How do I learn... the question of the semester!

It has been awhile since I have blogged and I sort of miss it.  I was thinking in class tonight about how I actually do learn.  Thinking back to elementary school - a long time ago, I remember the ways that I reallly did not learn.  The books that I had to re-read over and over again as I got distracted, and really had no interest in at all.  (Not much has changed!)   But those classes where I was challenged to be thoughtful, and creative without the shame of not keeping up with the others.  I learned through the creative outlets - painting to the music of "Peter and the Wolf" in Mrs. Sudlers 2nd grade class,  creating the Indian Pow-Wow and the 1st Chanakuh in Miss Irwins 4th grade class, to finding ways to create headlights in Mr. Rudnicks 6th grade class - these were hands on activities to created meaning in my life.  I hope I am not just waxing nostalgia, but that these memories of early learning can be replicated in my teaching.
      Now to our current class, will I be able to create the high caliber of work I expect of myself while dealing with a remote partner through WIMBA (that truly is a 4 letter word to me)?  I will challenge myself to do my best and pray that the technological challenges take care of themselves before I resort to smoke signals, or my Stress Reduction Kit.  Note: Do not Bang your head on your Monitor - that will increase your stress.