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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Documentary Document

I didn't write about the last break-out session yesterday so I will get to it now. I was impressed that a teacher was willing to present an assignment only one year after her first try. I have been doing my poetry CD for 6 years and still don't want to present. I don't know if that is because I don't feel prepared or if I am just lazy.

Anyway, I was impressed. Almost every question I had was answered in the course of the presentation and it definitely got me excited about possibly doing it in my classroom. That was until the presenter played some testimonials from the students. It was at this point that I realized that it just wasn't going to happen.

During the presentation she had mentioned that she had a class of 20 that showed up regularly. I thought to myself maybe these students are like mine. She made a joke about their attendance, and mine hardly ever show up. But when she played the videos and the students actually talked about how excited they were and all of the things that they learned I realized that they were nothing like my students.

I am currently working on the school's web page and newsletter and none of the students can meet deadlines and none of them remember how to write a story. They seem irritated when I give them the independence to write and are unwilling to brainstorm any story ideas.

I would love to make documentary films, but I don't want to set myself up for disappointment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Certifiably Google - PLN (Personal Learning Network)

Okay, the Google certified teachers redeemed themselves this afternoon with the break-out about Personal Learning Networks. Obviously, I have been blogging for a long time and I follow and comment on certain blogs. However, I have never felt like I was a part of an education community.

I do however feel like I am part of a Royals baseball community. I don't blog about baseball, but I follow a lot more blogs. There is one particular blog at which I actually feel as if I know the person, though I am pretty sure he does not really know me.

I have tried unsuccessfully to create these communities within my district, but no one seems to be interested in having the conversation. I even invited someone to go as my date to METC, and much like prom my junior and senior year I ended up going alone. (This is not true, but I thought it would be funny. I had all kinds of dates for prom.)

Of the three networking tools mentioned at this session Ning was the only one I hadn't heard of and will probably try later this week. Last year I tried Skype, but I didn't have anyone to call and did buy a webcam so I was disappointed. I just started looking at Twitter again, but as you can tell I am a little verbose and haven't quite figured out how to say something important in 140 characters. Maybe I should read more Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker.

So if anyone is out there please respond so I can feel like I am part of a PLN.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can I Bash a Google Presentation on Blogger?

So this presentation was informative but dry. Google has plenty of tools. Obviously I am using one now, but the presenter managed to make me hate them.

By worshipping at the altar of Google the presentation managed to instill a Big Brother fear of the search engine that rules the world. Now they seem to be the Microsoft of the new millineum. They are not the giant killer. They are the giant.

With that said they are giving away free stuff for now.

Teleconference w/ MLBHOF

It is official. I turned into that guy. The guy that asks questions just to show off.

I was at a teleconference with the HOF and I was wearing my KC Monarchs hat. This was not by design. It is snowing here so I took my kid sledding before the conference. I couldn't find my winter hat so I donned my baseball one instead.

So I walk in to the conference looking like a poseur to begin with and then I proceed to ask and answer questions like I was a baseball savant. I am guessing that a lot of people walked out the room saying, "Who was that jerk that thought he knew everything?"

I guess it wasn't as bad as the teacher that needlessly asks questions extending a 30 minute staff meeting into a 2 hour marathon of inanity, but it was still annoying I'm sure.

The presentation was good. It definitely sparked my interest in teleconferencing again. I'm not sure if I could use anything from the HOF, but it did make me think about contacting the Negro League Baseball Museum in K.C., which by the way is where I bought the hat that I am wearing today.

Notes from METC

To all the people that care, which as far as I can tell no one, I am at the Midwest Ed. Tech. Con. I came late because of the weather. School was cancelled for the whole family. So I took my kid sledding before I headed out here.

I got here in time for a break out before lunch, but I had to pick quicks so I went to see Howard Pitler. We are reading his book right now for our Tech Teachers group so I went with that for some suck-up points.

It wasn't bad. He endorsed auto-summarize in Word. I knew about it, but have never used it so I will probably put it on my list of things to try.

He also demonstrated "combo-notes" which look suspicously like double column notes, but on the right hand side students put non-linguistic representations instead of written notes.

I am getting ready for a teleconference with with the Baseball HOF.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Damning Evidence #8

After seeing this picture of my son one of my students asked, "Why your son have three ears?"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Damning Evidence #7 (2 for 1)

Get Your Peanuts Here

While discussing figurative language, specifically synechdoche, I used as an example the word "Ben jamins." All of the students knew that it meant money and that Franklin's portrait appeared on the $100.

However, when I asked why Ben was so honored one of my students responded, "Because he invented the peanut."

We're Only Human

A student was trying to make an excuse for an absent by claiming that his dog had died the day before. I told him that it wasn't a good enough excuse to which he vehemently replied, "You sayin' a dog ain't a human?"