Friday, February 25, 2011

Late Night Revelations

Sometimes your greatest ideas, thoughts, revelations come to you during the night after you've settled down from your day and can just free your mind and think. Tonight, this is what happened to me, and I wanted to share it with you.

This blog is a PERFECT example of tonight's revelation: as awesome of a tool as the Internet is, whenever we use it, post something, comment on Facebook, send a tweet, we are leaving a digital footprint for others to find and potentially follow. I've had some conversations this week with people about this and I think it's a really important point to bring to light: you say something online, you're leaving your stamp there. In such a digital age who would suspect anything less though? We use the Internet to stay connected and reach out to people--but do we really know all of the people we are connecting ourselves too?

So here's my main thought: remember we leave a digital footprint when we use the Internet to communicate and share our lives. Really think about what you post and who your audience--both intended and unintended--is. Would you care if your buddies saw a pic you posted or a video? Maybe a blog? Would your boss? How about someone you don't particularly get along with? Your family? Some random person who you've never met? Coworkers? Young kids tooling around online? All good things to consider.

I know I post A LOT of things online; however, when I do I do so knowing--and being okay with--whatever audience chooses to look at my post. I will not say anything digitally if I wouldn't say it verbally, and that's kind of my mindset for the digital footprint I leave. Sometimes my posts are geared towards certain genres or personas, but they're again not anything I would want to hide from others. I put out there what I want to share--whether that's with my target audience or whoever stumbles upon it.

Anyways, this was just a late night thought for you to ponder...what footprint are you leaving for the world to see?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Okay, okay, I'll admit it...

I cannot, repeat CANNOT live without my iPhone.  I was reading one of my buddy's blogs about how her connection with her iPhone and her revelation that it'd be okay if she wasn't so tied to it...well, I'm not the same way.  I know, I know, I should be...I should be saying, "Oh, I do love my iPhone but there's so many other things in the world I need to look at and spend my time observing than playing on my iPhone."  Well, I'm not...and I can't.  Seriously, if I would have to severe the ties between me and my beloved iPhone, I'd probably lose it.  My parents joke that I can't go 30 minutes without looking at it--uh, FALSE.  I'm pretty sure when I'm sleeping I'm not on my iPhone.  But beyond that, they're's very hard for me to go any extended length of time without my beloved gadget.

But let's be honest here, we're in a digital world where technology dominates.  Heck, I spent an entire work day last week learning about all the cool technology that is out there and even how to integrate using my iPhone in my own classroom!

Technology is the future people!  EMBRACE IT!  

This is exactly what I've decided to do...embrace technology.  Instead of defend myself to you about why I can't be disconnected from my iPhone, I'm going to instead tell and show you all of the awesome, amazing, incredible things it can do and how it's helped not only my life by my teaching too.  So sit back and enjoy learning about all of the awesomeness that comes with an iPhone.

I can post videos--either personal or ones I do for my kiddos--directly from my iPhone to my YouTube account or MobileMe gallery.

I can update multiple social networking accounts all at once from the same platform: HootSuite.

Anybody who knows me knows I'm a weather junkie...and with my iPhone I get live radar shots that allow me to zoom as far out as country-level and as far in as street-level so I can get my radar-tracking on.

This is the Air Mouse Pro app--I can control my laptop AND SmartBoard from my iPhone (type on it too!).

I have all of the important documents in US history available in one place...I can copy and paste from these as well as add notes and annotations.

My nook library is synced on my iPhone...I can read any of my nookbooks I've purchased either on my nook or my iPhone.

I have all of my photo galleries at my fingertips--so if anyone wants to see a pic from one of my many worldly adventures I've been on, I can pull it up in an instant.

I can access AND edit my GoogleDocs...which is super handy if I need to edit a document I've shared with a student or see a GoogleDoc they shared with me.

It takes me literally 30 seconds to refill one of my many prescriptions.  Besides being a walking health mess, this makes it SOOOO easy to get my meds when I need them.

There literally is an app for everything: finding your pet's age, a leveler, a massager, WHATEVER!  If you need your iPhone to do something, there is an app for it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

iPad. I want one.

I really REALLY want an iPad.  Do I need one?  No.  Heck no.  Do I want one?  YES!  Seriously, they are ah-mazing.  This past Tuesday I went to a technology conference and it seemed that every other person had one, and seemed like every other conference session used one in their presentation!  Therefore, this caused me to conclude: I must get one.  But who's got $500+ to shell out for a new gadget that they clearly don't need but just want?  I sure don't.  But wait!  The conference I was at is offering a virtual essay contest, and the winner gets an iPad!  So I seized this opportunity and whipped up the best virtual essay I could come up with to fit the criteria: pick your favorite online tool (i.e. Glogster, Animoto, Prezi, VoiceThread) and make a connection between your experience at METC and the conference theme "Motivate, Engage, Transform, Connect!" here's what I created...think I have a shot at winning?!! Check out the link below:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Lamp.

Today I got to play in my educational playground: the Midwest Education Technology Conference (METC).  As most anyone knows who I come into contact with, technology is my LIFE.  I LOVE anything and everything that is some sort of electronic gadget, especially if I can integrate it into my classroom.  Do you know how many uses there are in education for an iPhone?  An iPad?  An iPod touch?  A digital camera?  There are limitless...and this is where our society is headed--towards classrooms that are infused with digital media and technologies.  Okay, okay, I'm getting off on my "tech in schools" rant...and I'll save that for a future post.  I'll just leave this thought on the note that the METC was a fantastic opportunity to learn and gather more techie tools that I can implement into my classroom.

So, my main point of this post...the lamp.  I saw this video today at the METC and about DIED laughing.  It is absolutely hysterical.  Check it out:

See?!  Hilarious.  It does make me want an IKEA in St. Louis...but that's a side note.  What I love about it is that it transforms a simple object into something you feel sorry for and empathize with.  Makes you think--even for a split second--"Awww, poor lamp.  That's awful it got thrown out and has to be alone in the pour raining..." but then the guy comes on and sets you straight.  LOVE that.  What I love even more is that through technology and film editing the peeps at IKEA made this happen; they made you feel sorry for the lamp.  I think they could have put anything in that lamp's place and people would have felt bad for it.  And that's what I love about technology--it can do ANYTHING!  Even make you feel sorry for a lamp!--a flippin' lamp!

As I'm on my technology kick (and if that video didn't prove to you that technology can accomplish almost anything--like making you empathize with a lamp--I give up) I wanted to share with you some recent projects my kiddos did in my American Cultures class.  We are learning about terrorism, and have recently spent a significant amount of time looking at September 11th.  The kids made 9/11 tribute videos.  I was BLOWN AWAY by what they created.  Below are links to 2 videos (both are available on the student's YouTube channel...but I can't figure out where I put the link...) that you can download.  Definitely check them out...they are incredibly moving, fantastic tributes, and excellent student work for 12 year olds.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dog Club

First off, I've just discovered I can blog from my iPhone. This is incredible and dangerous--my iPhone holds my world, and now that I've discovered I can blog from it just made it even better.

Okay, so yesterday was Club Day at school. This means that the kiddos choose a club they're interested in and spend a good part of the day with that club. The club I co-organize is Dog Club where we teach the kids all about dog care, maintenance, obedience, training, and so on. Yesterday we had a special treat for the kids...we took them to the APA (Animal Protection Agency) to get a personalized behind the scenes tour of what goes on at an animal shelter. Here's some pics from our trip. The kiddos absolutely loved it--and the APA was so awesome for doing this for us!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 7, 2011

One of my favorite things...

I thought I'd every so often unveil one of my favorite things.  Sort of like what Oprah does just without freebies to give to all of you (sorry. When I'm a gigazillionaire I promise I'll make good like Oprah does).  Anyways, one of my absolute most favorite things to do is read.  To many people, Mike included, this probably seems like a torturous and awful thing to have to do, let alone want to do.  And I agree to some extent, because reading can be torturous and awful, especially when the stuff you are reading is just plain boring and doesn't interest you.  However, when you find that genre that peaks at something you just can't get enough of, reading can be something you actually look forward to doing.  I tell my students this all the time: read what you're interested in.  Chances are you'll find a book that will make you never want to stop reading (that's my favorite part: wishing a book would never end because I'm so into it!).

Before I go any further, I would like to promote my favorite reading device: my nook.  It is HANDS DOWN one of the BEST purchases I've ever made.  I know there's nothing like "holding and reading a good book," and that's true, but there's also nothing like having thousands of books available to you all in one tiny little device.  The brand really doesn't matter (although I'm a committed Barnes and Noble shopper so I had to go with their nook) because they all get the job done: all your books together in the palm of your hands!  Trust me, these are SOOOOO handy when you're traveling or sitting in some awkward position where you can only use one hand to hold your book.  Plus, dogs (such as Scooter) make for excellent nook holders :)

Okay, so I know there are many "Top 100" lists out there for books, authors, and so on.  However, instead of regurgitating the same thing that's all over the Internet with the same books and same authors you see everywhere, I thought I'd share with you my own "Top" book list.  I don't really have an order for these books (hence why I used bullets), but I wanted to share them with you because they are some of my absolute all-time favorites and would definitely recommend!

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (probably very close to my all-time favorite book.  A great historical fiction story about two women living in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over.  FANTASTIC read.)
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (I read this because all of my students were reading it...and I fell in love with the series.  The first two books I literally could not put down--a great story of fighting for what's most sacred and dear to you. Great series.)
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (recommended to me by my mom, this was another great find: it is a true story of one woman's upbringing in a true dysfunctional family and her amazing will-power and drive to not let that bring her down and still live "the American Dream.")
  • Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (for all you war fans, this was an excellent first-hand account of the 2005 Navy Seals tragedy in the Middle East.  Does a fantastic job of outlining what it takes to be a Seal and then tells the horrifying account of a mission-gone-wrong and watching your friends perish while you fight to survive.  Absolutely riveting.)
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (a hilarious yet heart-wrenching historical fiction of life in the deep south in the early 1960s.  Great narratives spoken from three different points of view.  A great read.)
  • Deception Point by Dan Brown (personally I think this is his best book--has lots of action and suspense and is interlaced in the world of Washington and politics.  Definitely had me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the book.)
  • Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (one of my favorite non-fiction accounts of a young person setting out to "find themself" and the consequences--both good and bad--that go along with that.)
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire (some people have a hard time getting through this, on the other hand, LOVED it.  It's bizarre and witty and unconventional--which is why I think I liked it so much.  It's such a different take on the original Wizard of Oz it was a must-read for me!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's a big one...

The world, that is.  And hands-down, one of my favorite things to do is get out and see the world.  Heck, I'm a history teacher!  There's nothing better than visiting a place that is alive with a past...whether it is the pyramids in Egypt (although right now I'm okay with staying a safe distance away from that region...), battlefields from the Civil War, or 1000-year-old prisons in London.  I just absolutely love to get out there and travel, and will take any and every opportunity to do just that.  Here's some of my favorite travel pictures EVER (and you-betcha! I took all of these pics!):

 Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Palace at Versailles, France 

Paris' Underground 

New York City 

London, England 

The Berlin Wall, Germany 

Seattle, Washington 

North Shore, Oahu

Very soon Mike and I will be jetting off to London to visit some old friends I use to teach with (at WVS, pic below) as well as see the sights.

I'm pumped that I get to play tour guide for Mike in my favorite city--a place he's only been for about 24 hours on a flight layover.  I cannot wait for him to see the place where I use to live and spend any free day exploring all of the sights and rich history.  Gosh, this probably sounds waaaaaaay cheesy.  But it's the truth!  I love traveling and love getting to show someone else around places they've never been.  And no worries, Scootie will get to spend a week doing what he loves too--visiting his human relatives!     

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Inaugural Blog.

I think this blog is waaaaay overdue.  I've had some free time on my hands with a few snow days, and decided to start up a blog that I have lovingly named after my beloved furry canine friend...because, let's face it, he IS a major part of my life (I think some of you would debate he runs and has seemingly overtaken my life...).  

I know I Facebook, tweet, and so does Scooter, but I thought this would be a nice way for those of you who don't Facebook or tweet or have hidden my news feed on your Facebook to keep tabs on what's going on in our lives.  And when I say "our," I mean Scootie, Mike, and myself, because, as much as Mike would hate to admit it, our three lives are very much intertwined and connected.  

So, I plan on keeping this blog up and running to keep all of you updated on everything that's happening in Scooter's World.  Here's a sneak-peak of stuff to come: 

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