June 12th, 2009
“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” ~ Stewart Brand
Just returned last night from the annual NCE (Nebraska Career Education) Conference. It was a busy three days in Kearney filled with lots of workshops and sessions and opportunities to connect with other teachers from around the state. This year, among other great sessions, I attended a session on new Internet sites led by Corinne Hoisington of Central Virginia Community College. I came home so excited about some of the cool sites that I learned about, I just had to share them. Maybe you already use some of these sites, but they were new to me. Here are a few of the most amazing:
- *polleverywhere.com – create your own multiple choice or short answer survey and post on the net.
- *googlelatitude – gives you a free download for newer cell phones that will install on your phone. It will track the phone to within 3 feet anywhere in the world. Some people are buying a cheap phone and putting it in luggage when traveling!
- *cuil.com – taking it’s name from the Gaelic word for knowledge, it’s a new search engine with lots of different features.
- *toondoo.com – allows you to create your very own cartoon strip and will save it on the net.
- *googletranslate – will translate an entire website into 45 different languages.
- *newseum.com – you can click on 756 different front pages from newspapers in 72 countries. Paired with googletranslate, you have the news of the world (from their point of view) at your fingertips.
- *wordle.net – type in a group of words and it will randomly arrange them into very cool pictorial layouts.
- *ustream.tv – Allows you to share live video online with the world.
- *yelp.com – type in any city in the U.S. and see what people recommend as the best places to eat, etc.
- *mediaconverter.org – will convert a YouTube video to a vmw format that can be stored on a USB drive.
- *catchvideo.com – free access to music and videos.
- *And, if you send a question as a text message to chacha (242242) a college student on the other end will check out the answer and send you a text message with the answer at no charge. This would be handy when you are away from the Internet and need information quickly.
I spent the first entire day of the conference attending a session by Jay Sutliffe from Chadron State College on Sports Nutrition. He shared some great information about nutrition and recommended Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook as an excellent resource.
Hope you will try some of these resources. Let me know if you like them!
November 2nd, 2008
“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
My life has seemed like a blur since school started two months ago. The time has been consumed by lesson plans, papers to grade, activities to drive the bus to, concession stands to run, and (occasionally) a day at home to catch up on laundry and cleaning. Weekends are reserved for visiting the kids, running errands, church, and getting together with family and friends. Fall harvest on the farm is in full swing and we have been fortunate to have beautiful weather here lately. The photo shows you what Francis has been seeing today as he combines the soybeans.
June 22nd, 2008
“At once impressive and unremarkable, pie can be complicated and challenging or simple and homey. Whether ordinary or elegant, though, a pie is not something to eat by yourself. It should be made to share, preferably while fresh and warm.” —Lisa Chernasky, author of “The Artful Pie”
We had pie coming out of our ears yesterday as we hosted a pie stop for the Tour de Nebraska bike riders. A community plea for volunteer pie bakers and pies contributed by our group members netted the thirty pies we needed to satisfy the cravings of the 200 bike riders that passed through our town. The bicyclists, who had already pedaled 45 miles from their overnight campgrounds, starting arriving by 9:30 am. The last of the group left our pie stop by 3:00 pm, so the group was really spread out. In addition to the free will donation basket, the appreciative bikers heaped on the praise as they surveyed the tables covered with many different kinds of delicious-looking pies. Topped with a scoop of ice cream, they seemed to taste as good as they looked. I wouldn’t know for sure, since I didn’t even get a slice myself! After serving pie for nearly six hours, we ran out and had to offer the remaining stragglers ice cream sundaes instead. It was a fun day and a great opportunity to meet lots of very nice people. If you want to read more about the Tour de Nebraska, check out their web site at http://www.tourdenebraska.com/about.html.
April 22nd, 2008
“Believing we can improve schooling with more tests is like believing you can make yourself grow taller by measuring your height.” Robert Schaeffer
“Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” Albert Einstein
Keeping in mind that I want to keep this blog focused on the positive, I feel compelled to comment on a program of our current administration called No Child Left Behind. However well-intentioned, this one-size-fits-all program has been responsible for many, many, many hours of instructional time wasted in our schools. It has created mountains of paperwork devoted to writing and categorizing standards, testing each standard and reporting test data that could potentially label an entire school system as “failing”. It’s hard to put a positive spin on a program that has arguably taken some of the joy out of learning and replaced it with the fear of failure. I have yet to read any success stories of children, parents or teachers who credit this required system of testing as being the determining factor in their quest for academic excellence. With all of this emphasis on assessments and testing, many important areas of the educational experience such as career and technical education, music and art have sometimes been minimized or completely cut from the school curriculum. Although these areas are not considered core subjects, they are critical, core components to a child’s potential success in the real world. Unfortunately, there are some who have been elected to positions that make them the … um…”deciders” who don’t always seem to share the same “real world” as the rest of us. I could go on and on, but I’d rather that you take a minute to click on the link that follows. It will lead you to a video by Tom Chapin that sums up my take on NCLB quite nicely. http://notonthetest.com/
November 4th, 2007
The two distinguished gentlemen I am standing with in the photo below are two of my big brothers, Glenn and Bill. When I was growing up, my family consisted of three older brothers, an older sister, and a younger brother (who passed away as a three-day old infant due to a lung condition called hyland membrane). Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing two of my big brothers at a family wedding in Lincoln. So I decided I would include a post on this blog about them and some of the stuff I remember from my point of view. (One thing I have learned is that one person’s recollection of a time or event will nearly always vary drastically from another person’s memory just because of their personal perspective on the situation.) Since these two brothers are 12 and 10 years older than I am, my memories of them at home are from the viewpoint of a small child. I’m sure I probably bugged them a lot, like little sisters would, and most definitely was spoiled. Glenn was the one who would sometimes help get me ready to go someplace by brushing my hair, etc. And, I’m pretty sure, he once got a ticket when he got caught driving me the four country miles to grandma’s house when he was only 14. Glenn was always teasing and and fun to be around. Once he slipped a mouse into his lunch pail to surprise mom when she opened it after he got home. Bill was home for a couple of years longer than Glenn and I remember him helping me with my 4-H projects like photography and the calves. He also surprised me one time with a black bunny that was my pet (until our black cat found it!). I think I may have sat on Bill’s lap in the driver’s seat of the car a time or two to steer while we drove (slowly) the last 1/4 mile in the country to our house and I think I remember something about heading right toward the windmill until he moved the steering wheel in the right direction. After they both grew up, got married, and had homes of their own, it was always fun to visit – there were lots of fun times spent with my small nieces and nephews who are now all grown up too! I actually lived with Bill and Edith for a few months while I did my student teaching at Millard and then later for a couple of months before my wedding. One funny episode (now as I look back) was when Bill and I got into my car in his driveway and I backed directly into his little VW that was parked behind me and both of us were completely surprised that it was there. I’ve traveled to Europe with both of them: with Bill in 1971 along with the school group he was sponsoring as a young teacher to 6 European countries and with Glenn in 2003 along with friends and family to Ireland, Wales, England and France. They, along with my other brother and sister, were there as we struggled with the illnesses and loss of our parents and to form a different type of relationship as adult siblings. Now we see each other at family events like graduations and weddings and also make a point to spend time together. I’ve got new memories of recent events that make me smile – like driving his fishing boat in Alaska and later getting stuck in the sand on the beach in Glenn’s pick-up and taking in a Husker football game with Bill. One good thing about being a little sister is that you will ALWAYS have big brothers – no matter how old you get!
October 8th, 2007
Elton John came to Omaha over the weekend and we went to see his concert. This was the fifth time we have seen him in concert over a span of more than thirty years – and he was every bit as good this time as he was then! The first time we saw him was in 1975 while I was still in college. We drove out to Denver and went with my cousins, Patty and Arlene, to the McNichols Sports Arena where we were treated to a four hour music marathon. The concert began promptly at 8 pm and ended when it was nearly 1 am. Although Elton gave his band a rest, he never left the stage that night except for occasional episodes of piano bench throwing and breaking! The second time we saw Elton John was in Lincoln at the Devaney Sports Center in the early 80′s. We saw him again eight years ago at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha when we took all three kids along. The five of us happened upon an Elton John concert a fourth time in London in 2000 as we walked through Hyde Park. He was giving an outdoor concert in the park so we plopped down on the grass and enjoyed the music. So last Saturday night marked the fifth time we spent an evening with Elton John.
As I listened to all of his familiar songs, I felt almost as if I were spending the evening with an old friend. After all, Elton John had been there for many momentus occasions throughout my lifetime. Thoughts of college take me back to Der Loaf and Stein on “P” Street listening to Bennie and the Jets, Pinball Wizard, Saturday Night’s Alright, Rocket Man, and Crocodile Rock blaring on the jukebox. Our wedding song was Your Song and the recessional was Bitter Fingers, by John and Taupin – of course. Elton John was still there when our kids were small with the soundtrack of Lion King hooking a whole new generation on his powerful vocals and mastery of the piano. And who can forget Elton John at Diana’s funeral comforting the world with his tribute to the princess with Candle in the Wind. Elton John has been pounding out music for the past thirty-eight years!
Even though the music is still the same, a few things about his concerts have changed over the years. When the crowd swayed en masse to a ballad in the 70′s, people held lighters…on Saturday cell phones were waved in the air instead. In the 80′s we had to check our camera at the door as no photography was allowed…on Saturday people were snapping photos with their cell phones and digital cameras. In the 70′s, we watched him smash multiple piano benches dressed in outrageous outfits and flamboyant glasses…on Saturday he didn’t break anything, had no glasses and wore only a mildly outrageous outfit.
On the other hand, there were many similarities between the concerts. Drummer Nigel Olsson was still pounding out the beat as he has from the beginning, as well as long-time band member Davey Johnstone on the guitar and back-up vocals. Also, as with every Elton John concert we have been to, he was a masterful performer who definitely gave us our money’s worth and a night to remember!
To see the movie of Elton playing Burn Down the Mission, click here. The file is big, so be patient.
August 6th, 2007
When you were born, you were crying, and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die,you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.