Thursday, June 26, 2008

Big Brother is least in OH and WV

Sure we all know that there are a few teachers who just aren't up to par as everyone else. This article describes how in Toledo, teachers peer review each other behind close doors and go over in detail how effective that teacher is. Wow!!! I would love to have everyone teach at a high level of excellence, but is this corrrect way to go about it? Teaching is a very stressful job, why make it even more stressful? dos this sound to everyone?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gas Money for HISD???

Has anyone else heard about the current news going on with HISD? I just read this story and I still can't believe it. It's sad that there are workers who are in those conditions, but I don't believe $250 is actually going to help anyone with gas. At least not for the whole school year. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Where I got my name from...

So now that I'm all done with my things, I think it's only fair that I shed some light on where I got my name from.'s not because I'm some great and ego minded teacher, (far from it)'s actually because I really love playing ultimate frisbee. Imagine football and soccer mashed together with a very high intensity level. I'm looking forward to teaching to 4-5th graders next year after school. For more info about the sport click here.
If you're still not sure what I'm talking about, check out my youtube clips on the side bar of my blog. You'll find some highlight clips there. Enjoy.

Thing 23...

1) What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? - I enjoyed the ability to pace myself as I discover new (and old) tools. I really liked all of the google tools, podcasting, flickr, wikis, sandbox, comments, and youtube. There were sooooo many fun things that I'm kinda sad that it's over with.
2) How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? - Now I'm no longer have the fear of attacking or discovering new tools as I might have had. I also have more confidence in my discovering abilities.
3) Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? - I think I'm going to take away just about everything from this program. All of these tools are able to help me, and I'm looking forward to applying them in the fall.
4) What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? - The only thing is just add more things!!!
5) If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? - You bet!!!
6) How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities? Illuminating

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thing 22...

I like teacher social sites, I just didn't care too much for teacher lingo. I found it to be a bit empty, and not exactly easy to navigate around. I prefer pro teacher because as you can see, has several pages listed by either grade level or subject, or even a place where you can vent and socialize. I do like to check out these boards to find out what's going on at other schools, and if I'm the only one who feels little worn out from time to time.

Thing 21...

I really like using podcasts. I had won a podcasting grant, but I had a lot of problems with the audio. I do enjoy listening to a lot of podcasts, from many different teachers and education programs. I often find myself listening to them while I'm stuck in Houston traffic (which happens all the time). I would like to smooth out the edges around my podcast, so that I can have it up and running for the comming year.

Here's a link to a podcast that I just published about my experience. I used my ipod and a recorder and just uploaded it to audacity so I could convert it to an mp3, and then uploaded it to switchpod.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thing 20...(again)

Since I am a male Elementary Teacher, I thought this was true. We do need more male teachers, but in the mean time, I'm happy with where I'm at.

Thing 20...

This video pretty much sums up what I think about teachers. Teachers do make a difference, no matter what.

As far as youtube goes, I think it's a great place for teachers, since our students are very visual now. I'm going to post a few more videos of things that I really liked.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thing 19,,,

There are sooooo many web tools that I had to take a few days and process them in. I really liked how all the research has already been done, which just allows me to take a few moments and explore. It's so easy for us to just get in a routine, that we don't get a chance to explore the other thousand webpages out there. Here are a few of that thousand that I really liked:

One sentence is a great tool for writers to tell a story with just one sentence. I love it.
Docstoc is a great place for teachers and others to share files. I saw lots of great ideas for the fall from this place.
ifoods is like watching the food channel only without the commercials. I love to cook, and this just makes it even easier.

There are a ton more that I'm still checking out, but these are my top three. If you get a chance to check them out, let me know what you think.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thing 18... that my computer is now working, I can get back to some blogging. I really liked google docs, and I think just the idea of being able to post a document where multiple people can see it is very cool. I was thinking that this would be a great way to post daily schedules, or any other routines that I would like to share with.

The whole world has just gotten smaller, and now with these tools, we can actually work with others around the world. Ok, so maybe we can already do that, but the convenience and the effectiveness has and, is constantly improving everyday. I can't wait to see what the tools of tomorrow will be like.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thing 17....

I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure out Rollyo....maybe from lack of sleep or it could be because I'm just a little slow, but what a really neat idea. Building your own customized search engine allows you to filter out what your students don't need to focus on, and let's them get results that you want them to get. It's such a great idea...why didn't I think of that?
I can see this a big plus for research teachers who are having problems getting their students to focus on the task at hand. This site, allows teachers to actually go in, and create their own sites of where the search should take place. Very cool.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thing 16...

Wiki's are very cool. It seems to be very easy to use and for teachers that's a big plus. I like the fact that it anyone can add new content, which only encourages students to be life long learners. However, I can't help but have a bit of an uneasy feeling as well....All you need is one goofball to ruin it for everyone. So if it can be tightly monitored, or secured in some way that will make it safe for everyone, then I'm all in favor of it.

I would like to have a wiki page for grade level teachers. Maybe one page per grade level, where as teachers we can share, and post new activities and experiences. It's so hard for me to keep up with all the new changes, that I'm sure that I'm not the only one. So maybe a Wiki page for teachers would be awesome place to ease teachers in.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thing 15...

It won't be long, till we start telling our kids how libraries actually used to have a huge amount of books for people to check out. The information age is slowly changing the way we live our lives and it's only a matter of time before the libraries will be affected as well. With that being said, I do believe that schools need to start to make the right choices about where to go to for the future. If you can have a book on-line and read it whenever you want, or drive 2 blocks away in your car during a certain time window during the week for a book that may or may not be there, is an argument that won't be too hard to answer. Having a virtual libary where you can chat with your libarian and get all the information you need when you need it, is exactly where we are heading to.
Especially now, given the price of gas is almost $4 a gallon, people are really watchful about where and how they spend their money and time. There won't be a huge demand for libraries to maintane new books, when they could easily be avaible on-line for a cheaper price. The same argument is also true for the consumer who might have to drive out and waste a bit of gas and time, when they might be able to find their books home and on-line. I don't have any problems with change, but for those of you do might, you should try adjusting now because the tide is coming.

Thing 14...

I just finished reading a blog about weblins from technorati. Think of it as another avatar only you can only see others when you have one. It's kinda cool, and I would never have know about this had I not been surfing around the teched blogs there. Earlier I was also reading about Google Earth Girl and how she is going to a conference, learning how to use more of the tools of google earth. Clearly there is sooooo much information there, that I can just spend the rest of the summer and still not get past the first page. I want to know if anyone else is interested in downloading a weblin. If you do, you can see my new avatar. I'm wondering how I'm going to use this for an education setting.....There'll be a meeting later on where others will be discusing this very topic. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing more weblins around these pages.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thing 13... is an awesome site. I love being able to find something specific and just tag it, without having to worry about which folder to place it in my favorites (which now has so many pages, that it's hard to keep up with it all). This site manages all the pages that I found interesting, and then I can go and categorize it however I feel. I often find myself stuck to my home computer, mainly because of all the sites that I have saved to my favorites....Well those days are soon going to be gone, thanks to this.

By searching around through other peoples tags, I found was a very cool feature. It's like being able to search through someone's personal computer and find exactly what they like. This really brings in those hard to find sites to a much wider audience.

As far as instruction wise goes, I think this can be a great researching aid. Google and Yahoo, can only do so much, but when you start seaching through tags, and specific tags, then you'll find exactly what you're looking for.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thing 12...

I always enjoy reading what everyone has to say. Even if we disagree, I still enjoy reading where that person is coming from. This time around, I discovered how important leaving comments are. I feel like a student who has just turned in a paper, and waiting to find out what my teacher has to say about it. Therefore, it does help to bring in others who don't normally leave comments (a.k.a YOU) by inviting them in.
I'm also going to start responding more to those who have left comments. I feel that's just like sending thank-you notes to those who have given you gifts at a party. It can be a bit of drag, but for those who gave the gifts, might find it very warming and welcoming. Those who leave comments like to also know that what they wrote has actually been read. So that's going to be keeping me busy now for the duration of the summer. Which reminds me, I need to send those thank you cards out from my wedding......5 years ago.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thing 11....

Everytime I enter a bookstore I feel like I could stay there all day. Just picking up a good book and learning something new, is such a great feeling. Sooooo...I had a great time creating my list of books from LibraryThing. I didn't care too much for the groups. I couldn't find a group that I would be interested in, and it was a little overwhelming to have so many groups listed on one page.

What I enjoyed was finding books that I had already read, by searching through tags. This might help students understand keywords when searching for books. I also like the idea of having them create their favorite books, and also books they would like to read. They can share their reviews on what they liked or didn't like about it.

Thing 10.....

Working with these pict tools was really cool. I liked how I was able to play around and get what I wanted. However, I would like to know how to find a way to save a comic strip that I really liked ( and play around with that. Regardless, I enjoyed finding new ways to play with the tons of picts that I have. It's like having a whole new set of picts all over again.

For the inspirational picts I used I thought this was a very easy and friendly site. I didn't need to sign up, which I really like, (too many steps and I'm outta here). I recommend this site, if you enjoy these kinds of things.

The other site I used I thought it was a bit of a hassel. One too many steps, and when I tried to upload a photo to use a comic bubble, I spent almost all afternoon trying to figure out how to place the bubble. I do like the calvin & hobbes comic, but there wasn't a big pool of stuff that I liked in their library.

I think I can use this to show the kids what makes sense in their writing. It's easy to just write about anything, but when you have to relate it to a topic or a picture, then you have to do some thinking.

Make your own free clipart like this @ with free web based tools (hundreds of image generators that run through a web broswer, no software to buy or install).

Made with free image tools @

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thing 9....

Now that I've taken a break from exploring all the cool blogs out there, I think I can share some of my thoughts. First, I think the only problem that I have is just having to sort and explore all the cool stuff out there. There is sooooo many cool blogs that I have to share a few that I really liked: - This talks about a lot of cool issues that revolve around education. I really enjoyed this blog because there are lot of new education technology ideas that I know I need to know.

As far as how I got these feeds. I just copied and pasted the address bar onto the google reader. I know that there's the RSS button, but I need to install that and I'm going to have to go back and find out how to do that again.

I used a lot of the links that was provided in the playground and also just searched around websites that I visit that have blogs.

Thing 8....

The way I surf the internet has now officially changed due to the RSS feeds. I kinda knew what they were about, but I didn't know exactly where and how to get the feeds. Now all the sites that I always check up on, will all be updated on my google reader. That's pretty cool. I think this will save me a lot of time of having to go back and forth through all the pages. Now I might have time to mow the lawn......hey wait a minute!!!
I'm thinking of using this for sorts of things. The first thing that comes to mind is tracking the weather. When we study weather, we can use the rss feeds and focus on the updates and focus on real time learning. Sounds like fun already.

Thing 7...

Google has always been a page that I knew had a lot of cool tools, but just never actually gone in and used any of them. I found the photos to be a little bit of a hassle. Mainly because my photos are on another computer and I was trying to transfer the ones I have on Flickr over, without it being a big hassle. I think there's still a way, I just haven't given up yet. I do however like the google documents, and I plan on using that with my grade level team next year. I think just posting our notes or agendas on there will be helpful. Not to mention, very easy to retrieve, which for me has not been my strongest suite.

Update - Since my link to my igoogle page didn't work out that well, I took a pict of it. Here it is....