Category Archives: Random

Student Teacher

I have agreed to take a student teacher for the last 10 weeks of the school year.Teacher Appreciation Cupcakes

There.  I have admitted it to the world, so therefore, I now have to follow that particular yellow brick road on the path to Oz.

I hate to sound so dramatic.  I mean, lots of teachers mentor pre-service teachers.  Lots of teachers do it all the time.  Lots of teachers do it well, all the time.  But, then again, lots of teachers are crazy.

The issue for me is control, the surrendering of it.  And I like my kids this year.  A lot.  And we’re really grooving into the 20th century now, the time frame when the students finally begin to “get” it and care a little.

But, I’m giving it up.  Instead, I’ll be watching a college senior have the fun.

*sigh*

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The 3 A’s of Awesome

One of the blogs I try to read every day is Neil Pasricha’s 1000 Awesome Things, and I’ve also read the book that grew from the blog’s success.  If you aren’t familiar with the blog/book of Awesome, let me just say that if you ever need to be reminded not to take the little things for granted (and don’t we all need that, from time to time?) Neil’s the person to look to – but in a best-guy-friend-how-cool-is-this kind of way.

Because 1000 Awesome Things has been all kinds of successful in the last couple of years, Neil (btw – I don’t know the guy, but he doesn’t seem like the kind to want people to call him “Mr. Pasricha”) has won all sorts of awards and given motivational speeches all over the place, including a talk as part of the uber-cool TED community.

The theme of Neil’s TEDxToronto talk was “The Three A’s of Awesome,” and his point was simple: life is short, we’re lucky to be alive, and if we just take the time to look for it, we can find extraordinary beauty and joy in all sorts of ordinary places.  The three A’s – the three things Neil says we need to appreciate life’s awesomeness – are a sense of awareness of the world around us, the ability to be our authentic selves, and the right attitude.  (Hmm…sounds like some great teachers I know…)

 

Neil’s TED talk is below.  It inspires me.  Let me know what you think.

 

 

As an added bonus, here is a music video inspired by 1000 Awesome Things that makes me sing and smile, all at the same time.

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Is it Wrong to Love a Web App?

I love Google Reader.

I hate Google Reader.

*sigh*

Confession: I am not as organized as I should be.  I really want to be the uber-organized, everything-in-its-place, make-use-of-every-spare-moment teacher that knows exactly where the study guide for the Causes of World War I activity is hiding.  But.  I am not.

So, Google Reader is a god-send for a news hound like me.  I have tried other RSS aggregators, but I keep coming back to Reader, like it’s a comfy pair of old sweats.  My problem is that I overestimate the amount of time I will have to read all the blog posts that attract my attention.  I find new blogs and blithely click “Subscribe,” pleased to have acquired a new portal for information.  And I religiously open Reader every morning, at home or at school, and it stays up all day.

But who has time to read all this stuff???  Yet clicking “Unsubscribe” feels like breaking up.  And what if tomorrow that blog – the one I haven’t read for weeks and has 210 new feeds – what if tomorrow that blog has a post that will change my teaching/life/opinion?  And how can I possibly cull the “good ones?”  No way am I doing without regular monitoring of Richard Byrne’s “Free Technology for Teachers” (currently 10 unread) or “Teaching High School Psychology” (20 unreads), or even “Chart Porn” (11) or Angela Cunningham’s “changED” (0! w00t!).

And that’s job-related stuff.  What about the Pioneer Woman’s “Tasty Kitchen” (18 unread) blog from whence came the homemade salsa recipe that makes me look like a genius at every family gathering we attend?  And, seriously?  How could I give up the “Mental Floss” (32) blog or Julie Zickefoose (a nature writer from my region – 0 unread)?

I gotta go.  I have reading to do.

I love Google Reader.

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Taking Up the Challenge

I really want to blog, at least semi-regularly.  I want a place to let my thoughts coalesce, to post links that are valuable for my work in my classroom, and I want a place to sometimes defend my profession and home when I’m feeling beleaguered.  (Whew!  That’s asking a lot of a little ol’ blog.)

So, I am going to participate in Edublog’s “30 Days to Kick Start Your Blogging” Teacher Challenge.  Daily activities will allow me to focus on working on this blog regularly, and give me topics that will give me something to talk about.  I want to learn the ins and outs of blogging, the good, bad, and ugly, and hopefully find a voice that I haven’t really heard before.

Wish me luck!

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Leadership

Change is something that I find anathema, as anyone who knows me is well aware.  That said, there are times when I understand that change is necessary.  In those cases, I embrace change more wholeheartedly when I can see the path forward – often, this happens when leadership is good.

This blog post from @langwitches and the embedded YouTube video “Leadership Lessons from the Dancing Guy,” made me think about leadership and “followership.”  That all-important first follower, and the idea that the followers, more so than the leader, must be public.

Langwitches blog: “We Don’t Need More Leaders.”

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Titanic sails again at COSI, Columbus

Wow.  We spent the day at COSI, the interactive Center of Science and Industry, in Columbus (OH) yesterday.  It’s always a fun place, but our purpose yesterday was to visit the new Titanic artifact exhibit.  It was time very well spent.

When a visitor enters the exhibit, you are given a White Start Line boarding pass with the name, age, and cabin class information about a specific Titanic passenger.  I was Mrs. Henry William Frauenthal (nee Clara Heinsheimer), aged 42, from New York, NY.  The background information on my “pass” said I was traveling with my new husband and his brother, who had joined us at Cherbourg.  We had 1st class accommodations.

The exhibit had hundreds of artifacts, some absolutely fascinating and making their world debut.  Perfume samples that still emanated scent, toiletry bottles that still hold liquid, china from the dining rooms of all three classes.  Titanic’s Grand Staircase has been recreated in breathtaking detail, and (in one of my favorite parts of the exhibit) a first-class hallway has been rebuilt.  Its details include carpet, teak handrails, period light fixtures and authentically-labeled door/cabin numbers.

I could go on and on.  Check out the promo video  and the exhibit link above.  Oh, and my passenger, Clara?  Well, at the end of the exhibit the names of all the passengers and crew from each class who were saved or lost are posted on a wall for visitors to examine.  I found Clara, her husband and brother-in-law.  Let’s just say that it reiterated how fortunate the 1st class passengers were…

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