Monday, September 10, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I began this post on July 5th, well before I finished teaching Lego robotics this summer. I went from summer school to a quilting retreat without stopping at home. The UFO (unfinished object I was working on was a Mariner's Compass by Quiltsmart. I got the entire circle done, but the center seam wouldn't line up, so I folded it up and sadly put it away unfinished. Fast forward to Denver, the Dabrowski conference and July 21st. I had come with no apparent goal in mind except to learn more about the nature of gifted people and possibly make some friends in the gifted community. On one of the tables are handouts for NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children), which will also be in Denver. I had seen it earlier this week and immediately said, "I can't afford to come to Denver twice in one year." Today, as I picked up a pin from CAGT (Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented), in the center was a compass. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) What does it mean? What does it all mean? My brain is so stimulated by the presentations and conversations that I can hardly sleep. It means I will need some time to recover from all this thinking, time to sort through what it means, and time to integrate it into my life. And now ... on to some very stimulating conversations.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Today was my first day as a tutor. I have tutored before for school districts, but not for myself. The assignment for my student was to read for 20 minutes a day and write for 20 minutes a day. I promised her I would try to do it as well. Her topic for today was what she can do well or what she likes to do, so I shall do the same topic. The things I do well are reading, math, teaching exceptional learners, gardening, all kinds of needlework, music and swimming. This summer I am teaching summer school in the morning at Summer Wonders in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, where my primary students make amazing Lego creations with the Lego WeDo. We have 8 computers, counting my laptop, and I let the students videotape themselves and their creations. I honestly saw students dancing and singing while they worked today. It is such a joy to see students happy.
When I am not teaching, I am sewing or taking care of my 96-year-old mother. My church has a small group of quilters that I joined when I retired in May. I also spent Friday and Saturday learning how to fuse and embroider a quilt. The teacher, Laura Wasilowski, also loved to dye. She has a great many jokes about dying and sings during her presentations. I am now a graduate of the Chicago School of Fusing. Finally, I have a quilting bee with one other lady. We alternate meeting at each others' house and call ourselves the Scrappy Ladies.
Spending time with my mother has had a positive effect on me. At first, I struggled with the dilemma of finally getting to do what I want (thanks to retirement) and not getting to do what I want (because of my mom). Many of my friends are going through this as well, and they have all told me it is worth it to give up every weekend. I have grown to love our time together. It's not usually fun. She has lost a lot of her vision and hearing and teeth and confidence. But it is endearing. I am amazed at how few people understand the need for a good, home-cooked meal each night. Is this just a woman thing? Guys? I haven't done a lot of cooking the last few years because my kids grew up and moved away. When they do come home, I have forgotten how to cook several things and have them all ready at the same time. When they all come home at once, my meals are not coordinated well. Have to take time to play with the grandkids, you know. Mom is making me slow down, cook good food, and do some hand sewing and writing. Thanks, Mom.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Corn stalks fly at half mast
in the field beside the church
against a dirty backdrop of brown trees.
A tractor and a combine salute the teen
who lies inside the church.
Volunteers wave cars into the lot
behind a Future Farmer banner:
Family, Farming and Faith.
Inside, the line shuffles from the back,
an hour’s wait to the bereaved,
but no one minds.
This unthinkable sorrow is
the twine that binds our souls.
We still love him where he lies,
his farmer’s cap upon his bruised head.
A few words, reminders of the
humor, joy, honor, and love
of his too-short life.
Then outside, sunlight hurts
our swollen eyes. We mill about
and wander to our cars,
form a queue for miles.
Family accepts the graveside seats,
now on holy ground, where they will say
When words of comfort are scattered,
we leave them in their grief.
Tables heaped with home-made food
greet the mourners in the church.
At the family table sits the woman
who remembers their kindness
when her teenage daughter died.
Now her gift to them is silence
that comes from knowing
the ineptitude of words.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Poets & Patrons is one of Chicago's treasures. I joined the group many years ago when a poem I submitted to the annual contest won an honorable mention. John Dickson was still a member at that time. This group meets four times a year in the Chicago Public Library at the main branch on State Street for workshops. After a relaxed luncheon, we adjourn to a small room on the third floor. Two "judges" critique our poems for about an hour. In recent years, the format has changed a bit to include an actual writing workshop after the poetry reading and critique. Last weekend, we enjoyed hearing poems from Cynthia Gallaher and Carlos Cumpian, our judges. Then Cynthia led a short exercise using the most outrageous post cards I have ever seen. Carlos played some sounds from his everyday environment and asked us to identify them. Both exercises illustrated the way our perceptions can help us become better poets.
That's my fun weekend. How was yours?
Coming soon! My notes from the 2012 ICE Conference are coming this Friday. If you can't come to the conference, don't forget there are lots of materials online.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
To balance my introspection, I must also look at how the students influence me. It is so ironic that I have been given such beautiful, loving students my last year of teaching. It is going to be very hard to say good-bye, knowing they won't be there every day, showing me love in their unique little ways. I forgot today how important Valentine's Day is to students. I tried to have a normal day, just following our schedule. The students reminded me, however, that today is very special - a chance to show love to each other. I got my Perfectionism hat on and plow through my planned activities, while the students demanded their sweets all day long. Being a special education teacher in a high school setting can really have its challenges, like how to treat students like their neurologically-intact peers when they really need a party! Well, we did at least have treats in class and sent home gifts and goodies from everyone. Tomorrow is a new beginning and I relax a bit so that we all have fun. My students have taught me that.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Information is malleable. Those who do not learn from the future will be forced to wait for it.
1. Play: Lego design can be photographed and loaded, app will show others how to make it. Cubelets are magnetic colored building blocks with different purposes. The company has taken the ideas of Montessori. Sifteo cubes are another toy that is interactive and problem-based. He also mentioned Scratch (free from MIT)
2. Applications: creating-a-business simulation, real-world application is to purchase old iPods and sell them on eBay, see who gets the most for product. Kickstart sells actual products such as a ruler pencil. Another group marketed their video yearbook on Kickstart.
3. Marketing: Singer wants to make a CD, student wants equipment for a documentary. Students give different returns on different levels of giving. Klout offers coupons related to interests based on access to all social accounts, and Wahooly is an example influence rewarded, gives shares in start-up web sites. Scholar Match is like Donors Choose or Kickstart for kids who want to donate for college. In Kiva, you can loan to third-world businesses.
We are in the midst of a tremendous transparency shift.
4. Sharing: Instruments now measure actual movement and sleep and post it to social media. Jawbone Up. May find it at Target. Wii Scale will keep track of weight and tweet it.
5. Social Learning: Can receive applause for running a marathon, kids are tweeting what music helps them work when they do homework for support. Oprah Winfrey app on Discovery: second stream, has sync button. Listens to room and figures out where you are in show you are watching. Ambient devices show info pertinent to you. Printer, too.
6. Aurasma is like a QR code. Free app can link up to logos, etc.
Closing the Learning Gap with Powerful Technology Anthony Reibel (areibel at d125.org)
1. Paperless Classroom
Evernote or Newnote
Google Maps Direction Activity
Create House Floor Plan
QR Codes/ Simon Says
AudioBoo Speaking Activity
Viaje a Madrid Project
2. Checking Understanding Levels Using Google Doc Quizes, students can get immediate feedback. Kia, ProProfs are additional resources. Self-grading quizes, tiny url, google docs shows which problem number is missed. Create new form. Conditional format color incorrect answers, identify gaps. Formative feedback until they get it right. Reminder, then it returns to previous question. Differentiated quizes: change colors for difficult/easy questions.
3. Providing Immediate and Meaningful Feedback QR codes: students scan QR codes to find what to do next. QR code creators work with YouTube. You can create a screencast at screenr, TechSmith, Jing, Screencastomatic. Students create a document in google docs, you can comment and create a screencast, QR code creates a link and it gets sent to student, they can go to url freely. The Living Rubric is QR codes with video that tell what each item is and gives video instruction on that particular skill.
4. Increasing Student Engagement upload to Using an iPad, the following activities are used: Video Charades, Quiz, Quiz Trade, Audio Gallery Walk using Audio Boo, Test Reflection with Progress Points, Animation Pictionary with FlipIt, 10,000 Dollar Pyramid with FlipIt, Create your Ideal Style using Pages and Google Images, Vocabulary Popcorn, Haiku Writing, Oral Exam using Audio Boo, Directed Dialogue Reflection, Children Writing Book, ePub Editor Activity, and Directed Dialogues.
5. Time for Personal Reflection Time for Personal Reflection Progress Points helps them id their learning gaps and fill them It is a skill practice and organizational tool, home-bound student portal, special ed IEP communication tool. Give students envelope, put in test scores, shows learning gaps, give them assignment. Students who used this averaged a grade higher than previous trend.techgap.weebly.com powerfulformativeassessment.weebly.com
Google Earth - Do More Than Find Your House
I love it when people have all the info online! They began with some basics, and moved on to showing us about LitTrips. Alas, everyone fired up their Google Earth and no one could access the Web. A timeline appears in Google earth which allows you to go back in time for previous civilizations. This presenter's English class put a link to a deli in the book they were studying. The use of little man takes you to street view. The most powerful part is the street view. The Civil Rights marker has extensive information about each event in history. This is also true of international events. Due to lack of network connection, presenters were unable to demonstrate their favorite projects. They recommend kmz files. Moon gallery has information about Buzz Aldrin and the moon landing. Use primary databases to find kmz files. Make your own with a new placemark, give it a name and type in a question. Move trips to My Places on each computer. Student ID will work on any computer. Information about Twin Towers and Hurricane Katrina are available.QR Codes in the Classroom, Cynthia Karabush
Definition: a mobile bookmark. Can also link to phone number, text messages, etc. Stores same amount of info as a barcode in one-tenth the size. Keeps students from getting sidetracked.
Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. Mitchell KaporLink to: syllabus online, pre-assessment, flipped classroom, assignment calendar, video game, scavenger hunt, GPS treasure hunt, take surveys, polling and voting. Students who do not have computers may have smartphones. Can be used for business card, Facebook pages, blogs. Teachers can put them by their classroom doors to let parent know what is going on in your class (goes to web page). Links to authors, interviews, book trailers, link for differentiation and for enrichment, class blog or wiki to review books for each other, link to Google lit trip or author interview. Audio podcasts for pronunciation, links to class Voice Thread. Go to I-nigma and put in URL, it creates QR code for that web page. Research support for assignments. In social studies, she showed a map of Rome with QR codes with information about each building. Virtual field trips can also used QR codes. It is also used to review topics, link to online texts, teacher can comment on class presentation, also archive class information. Genealogy Quest activity by Cynthia directed students to good resources she called a pathfinder (Grayslake North High School). Always post url as well as QR code. For community outreach, she created a postcard to distribute to board of education. For fundraisers, link to online shop. Oxfam did celebrity fund raiser with 1-2 minutes video attached to clothing donated by that celeb. Simpler addresses produce sharper QRs: use bitly.com or tinyurl. Need 4 modules of clean white space border, include a url as well, and always link to yourself for questions. Students love qrvoice.net. Other resources are classtools.net/QR, neoreader.com/get -neoreader/wapdownload, mashable.com/2011/07/23/creative-qr-codes/, flickr.com groups/10949441@N25/, flickr.com/photos/jpinlac5496433214, and Khan Academy Videos. Students don't have to retype the link to access web page.