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.