changelog @ tengrrl.com: For Windows: HDClone Free Edition
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
For Windows: HDClone Free Edition
HDClone Free Edition download and review - copy data to a larger hard drive from SnapFiles
—another good thing to have around for future use. I haven't tried it out, but it looks as though it could be a good tool.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Inbox: Celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day!
Inbox: Celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day!
Better known to most readers as Dr. Seuss, Dr. Theodor Geisel was born 102 years ago this week. The Ideas Section for this week's Inbox is titled Celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day!
. The column includes lesson plans and ideas that focus on reading Dr. Seuss books in the classroom, including a lesson that uses The Cat in the Hat
to discuss id, ego, and superego.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Musings: How To Make a Secret Hollow Book:
Musings: How To Make a Secret Hollow Book:
How To Make a Secret Hollow Book: - How To Do Stuff
—I'm horribly entertained by the idea of creating one of these. The problem is that I'd want it to be a book that was in some way meaningful. A random book from a garage sale just won't do. But I'm never going to be willing to cut up a book that I actually care about. Such difficulties. Beyond all that, I have no idea what I'd put in a hollow book. I just feel like I need one for some unknown reason.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Travel: One Bag
One Bag (all about packing, luggage, and travelling light)
—given that I'm about the worst at packing in one bag or packing the right things for the trip at hand, this seemed like a useful link to save. I should restate that really. I normally have every blessed thing I own with me, and 3/4 of it is stuff I never touch. And normally the 2 or 3 things that I need most, are still at home. Maybe I can gather some travel wisdom from this site.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Study Finds Test Scores Not Lowered by Television - New York Times
Monday, February 27, 2006
In the News: Study Finds Test Scores Not Lowered by Television - New York Times
Study Finds Test Scores Not Lowered by Television
—an interesting study that compared testing results for pre-television communities to current communities. I'm not completely sure that I buy that these communities, decades apart, are a perfect match. So many other areas of difference that have to exist between the two different batches. Still, it's an interesting study, if only as a beginning point for class discussion and exploration.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Better Love than Roses
In the News: Better Love than Roses
Words of Love More Sought Than Roses - New York Times
—there's something interesting about this article, which tells us that "In the week before Valentine's Day, people were more likely to search online for the keywords 'love poems' than for 'flowers,' 'lingerie' or 'e-cards.'" The story doesn't say where their data came from. I'm guessing the Hitwise company
that is mentioned. Not sure how worthwhile or complete their research is, but it's makes a nice anecdote I suppose.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work of Varying Types
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Daily Work of Varying Types
I did some rearranging in the kitchen, putting up small chrome shelves on the counter. I still don't know where everything goes, but it's better than it was.
Otherwise, I was a laze-about. Spent a lot of time on GIC work, if you can call personal research that. I'm still trying to figure out the proposals. I rearranged the forums into threads based on the different details of the proposal. Beyond that, I continued to fight with and be angry about the blog that I cannot publish :(
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: On a Saturday
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Daily Work: On a Saturday
I finally finished Donorboy
so that I can read Flush
. It ended PERFECTLY. Absolutely perfectly. One of the best, most realistic books I've read—and definitely the most authentic voices using technology. I knew I wasn't crazy when I said those other books were all fake. This one if real, and it's right.
I've been working on a category system that uses a search engine. I tried and gave up on using categories via del.icio.us. They just weren't giving me what I wanted. I'm not sure if the search engine option will either, but it seems a bit closer.
We have GIC resources now, and I've also been going through the proposals to try to figure out the details. I still can't get that GIC Blog to ftp. If I blog and never publish it, is it still a blog?
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Figuring Out Swift and Seuss
Friday, February 24, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Figuring Out Swift and Seuss
Forgive me as I freewrite a splat. You see I'm a little stuck on a lesson plan, and I can't figure out where I want it to go (other than to end up as a perfect piece that I can be happy with).
Okay, the lesson idea: using Dr. Seuss to introduce satirical techniques used by Jonathan Swift. It's a Dr. Seuss book that I used when I was teaching, The Butter Battle Book
, and I found an article that does something similar to what I did. The events in the Dr. Seuss book are compared to the political satire of the Swift's Big-Endians and Little-Endians. Simple and clear parallels that students can usually see.
My problem is that I can't tell where the lesson is going. You read both texts and discuss—then what? Do they just discuss? That can't be enough. And I need to work in an interactive. I could do the simple Venn Diagram or Chart, but I'd really like to come up with something more sophisticated or at least less like a hoop to jump through. I want something that is actually important to the lesson. Not that comparing things in a chart of Venn diagram isn't important. I just think that I can do better than that.
I think that I need some kind of divine inspiration. I feel like there's some really cool idea out there that I am just not thinking of for some reason. I could ask students to write their own satirical piece on a current issue, but the lesson is supposed to be an introduction to Gulliver's Travels
. I have nothing against writing satire, but it seems off-topic. Perhaps what would make the most sense would be to work through the historical allusions in the Swift passage that I'm using and then send students off to use similar techniques on another chunk from the text. Hmm. Maybe students are to become experts on certain terms, searching for their historical significance and then explaining those terms to the class as they come up in the reading. Hmm. The class could put together a kind of glossary on the references that Swift is making in his text. So the focus is mostly on research and how Swift uses exaggeration, understatement, and parody to make commentary on society.
If I go with that, I'll need to make a list of possible terms for students to research and collect Web sites and references that they can consult as they do that research. I could probably use the Travelogue to move them through the sites that include details on the book's background. Some of the terms would be easier to figure out than others, but it's likely that a lot are basically defined in their textbooks. They could then go to the library and research the historical references in more detail.
Presentations would be spread through the reading of the book (not all done at the end). Whenever a term is encountered, the student who did the research on that item would provide the background and details. At the end, all students would be expected to piece together all of the ways that Swift satirizes society to draw conclusions about the overall message that the book makes to its readers.
There. That seems like a workable plan. See? Writing and thinking do work together :)
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Gender Issues and Comics
Thursday, February 23, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Gender Issues and Comics
The Calvin and Hobbes from 02/23/95
would be a great discussion starter for talk of media and gender. I may revise Comic Makeovers: Examining Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Media
, or perhaps I could write up a 6&8211;8 lesson plan that uses it for a similar exploration.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: New Media and Podcasting
In the News: New Media and Podcasting
Education's Next Wave? Duke Augments Its Embrace of iPods With Beta Trial of Apple’s iTunes U
outlines ways that the university is using podcasts in the classroom to share media files. There's so much potential here: giving students copies of things rather than relying solely on one-time projection, for instance. And the possibilities for professional development are also great—imagine conference sessions where you could copy the presentation media to your own MP3 player. As these things happen, teachers will need to rethink the presentations that they give. Not only do they need to think about what students can see and hear, but how to get those files on their MP3 players, and how to deal with split attention (What are they looking at? The presenter or the MP3 player?)
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: It Doesn't Have to End That Way
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
ReadWriteThink: It Doesn't Have to End That Way
Finished revising and published a fancy new version of It Doesn’t Have to End That Way: Using Prediction Strategies with Literature
, a K-2 lesson plan that now uses one of my computers in children's literature and technology books, Arthur's Computer Disaster
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Inbox: Reading Across America (and Across the Grades)
Inbox: Reading Across America (and Across the Grades)
March 2 is Read Across America Day, so it's time to begin making plans for celebrations in the classroom. This week there was also an article in The Grand Rapid Times
about a cross-level reading collaboration: Reading unites Calvin, Lee
. As a result, the Ideas section of this week's Inbox focuses on Reading Across America (and Across the Grades)
, which includes resources to celebrate reading with students in different grade levels.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: E-mail and Teaching
In the News: E-mail and Teaching
"To: Professor@University.edu Subject: Why It's All About Me
" from the New York Times
has caused a stir on all the teaching listservs that I'm on. It just seems like another one of those articles that really ought to focus on audience and purpose in writing—along with a dose of understanding writing environments and situations (for students AND teachers). Overall, the folks in the article seem to lack any real understanding of the media they choose for their messages. Until they understand that important piece, e-mail is never going to work for them.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Accomplishments!
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Daily Work: Accomplishments!
Today we found that one of my lesson plans is mentioned in IRA's Reading Today
—and I'm offically named. Fun to look down and find my name in a publication :)
I spent most of the day reworking a lesson plan which is going to be used in a forthcoming MarcoGram
(a free e-mail newsletter that highlights lesson plans and resources on specific topics). The lesson was okay, but there were broken links and it needed an interactive.
Tonight was the Math Summit for BlogShares
, and my appointment to the GIC
was announced. I was a little surprised. I thought it was going to be announced after the summit, not during it. I began work on a personal GIC blog, but I'm having a horrible time getting it to FTP to the server. There's not much content anyway, so I've given up for tonight.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Tagging and Teaching
In the News: Tagging and Teaching
eSchool News online - For some educators, tagging is 'it'
explores how del.icio.us and other tagging systems can be used to manage resources for classes, workshops, and other educational settings.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Being Lazy II
Monday, February 20, 2006
Daily Work: Being Lazy II
The best thing about the Presidents of the United States is that they have a day and I get it off. Yes, I lazed about in bed today too.
Did some preliminary work on Inbox, searching for articles, and created another IRC tutorial: Forgotten Passwords
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Moleskine for Writers
In the News: Moleskine for Writers
Putting Pen to Paper Anew
sings the praises of my cute little notebook :) I got a Moleskine
Pocket Diary for Christmas, and I love it. It's helped me keep track of the various projects, which really helps when I'm doing content reports and trying to catch up on entries that I haven't written. Beyond all of that, I love the feel of my words on a page. There's something about handwritten words that never compares to typed or printed words.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Mapping Locations from a Novel
ReadWriteThink: Mapping Locations from a Novel
Can't Remember Who Whacked Whom? Just Check the Map on the Web Site - New York Times
Potential lesson plan idea here. Obviously not about The Sopranos
. Would be useful though to create a map of a community or whatever in a reading that students had done and have them plot out the places on the map where significant things happen in the story. Many books are around with maps for the events, from Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Woods to the fly leaf maps in The Lord of the Rings
. After looking at those examples, students could create their own maps as a book report alternative or perhaps a literature circle project students could complete and then share with the class.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Being Lazy
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Not an overly exciting day, but I did make a lovely Monte Cristo in the toaster oven and installed the new pink toilet seat (not at the same time). Surely that is enough for one day. Okay, I did more than that. I watched Poirot
on TV and worked on IRC tutorials for logging in and partipating in the Math Summit
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Blogged Out of a Job
In the News: Blogged Out of a Job
Blogged Out of a Job
another exploration of the horrors that people get into when they communicate online. "The poll [conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management] also found that 59 percent of employees believe employers should be allowed to discipline or terminate workers who post confidential or proprietary information concerning the employer, while 23 percent of employees would support a fellow worker who criticizes or jokes about employers, co-workers, supervisors, customers or clients."
What intrigues me about this piece is that you'd think it's the blogging that is the new problem that causes these downfalls into poor business behavior. How are any of the circumstances in the article different from missent e-mails that divulge too much information, leaking information to someone who ought not have it, or any of the dozens of other communication faux pas that are out there in the business world. It's hardly the blog that's to blame. It's the failure to understand audience, purpose, and business behavior.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Communicating with Images
In the News: Communicating with Images
Here I Am Taking My Own Picture - New York Times
: "The era of cheap, lightweight digital cameras — in cellphones, in computers, in hip pockets, even on key chains — has meant that people who did not consider themselves photography buffs as recently as five years ago are filling ever-larger hard drives with thousands of images from their lives."
I'd like to see a more sophisticated analysis of this trend. To what extent is it the technology and how much of it is immediacy and availability? More bothersome to me is this commentary:
"In a funny way I don't see this as photography anymore," said Fred Ritchin, an associate professor in the photography and imaging department at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. "It's communication. It's all an extension of cellphones, texting and e-mailing."
The implicit statement there is that images weren't/aren't communication. Especially in a School of the Arts, that is such a perposterous statement. There are no messages in visual images?!! Please.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Rhetoric and Technology, and Housework
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Daily Work: Rhetoric and Technology, and Housework
That's right. It's the weekend, and as usual, I didn't bother to get dressed. But I did do lots of things, even if I wasn't dressed. That has to count for something.
I attended a Computers and Writing Online
|"Computers & Writing—A Discipline?"|
Cynthia Selfe, Fred Kemp, James Inman, and Cheryl Ball.
What defines Computers & Writing as a discipline? Is it a discipline? What distinguishes it from the discipline of Composition and Rhetoric, for example, or Technical Communication? What research and what theory inform its pedagogy and practice? How are we defined on the job market and then what roles do we play within our academic departments?
The session touches on some of the issues that my paper is supposed to cover. I'm still not sure how I'm going to present, given that I don't think that I'll actually be there. I'm thinking that it may have to be some kind of Flash-driven PowerPoint sort of thing. I'm trying not to think about it. My proposal, which was written more by Dickie and Karla than me, is below:
"Don't Think of the Technologies: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate"|
George Lakoff in Don't Think of an Elephant, suggests that we need to know our own values and reframe debates based on those values, not on others’ conception of what we do. This presentation describes the values embedded within NCTE’s successful and popular ReadWriteThink website and the practices that grow out of such values. ReadWriteThink is based on the premise that sustainable digital environments must focus not on the technologies themselves, but on the literacies and pedagogies they support. Accordingly, when people ask how to use software to teach, they are in turn asked how they already teach—or aspire to teach. The advice they receive then emphasizes how technologies can support their current or future practice.
We'll see how it all plays out. I'm somewhat worried that I'll be able to pull it off.
I managed to finally get the toaster oven into the kitchen. Two months on the couch is long enough for a Christmas present. I still can't figure out where to put everything so that it fits and makes sense. I end up going to the kitchen, putting one thing where it seems to belong, and then going back to sit down. When I go back to the kitchen again, it's like I'm trying everything out to determine whether it really fits where I put it. Mostly this process is telling me that I really want a bigger kitchen, but since I'm not interested in remodeling, I need to figure this all out.
Between the kitchen and thinking about various things that I'm supposed to be writing, that's about all that I accomplished. Still, it has to be good enough. It's certainly better than most weekends when I take long naps and get nothing at all done.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Rhetoric: Conversational Terrorism: How NOT to Talk!
Rhetoric: Conversational Terrorism: How NOT to Talk!
Conversational Terrorism: How NOT to Talk!
—A nice collection of argumentative fallacies, set up as they are used in meetings and whatnot. Should be approachable and applies to more than just oral conversations. I just wish the folks on BlogShares actually left such things out of their disagreements.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Leaving a Character and Errands
Friday, February 17, 2006
Daily Work: Leaving a Character and Errands
My first day off of a four-day weekend. We need more Monday holidays. Even though I took vacation today, I ended up doing a bit of work. It's impossible not to really. Makes more sense to answer some e-mails then to let them wait. Reviewed a lesson plan that needs to be polished up a bit for a forthcoming MarcoGram
(the free, themed, monthly newsletter that MarcoPolo sends out). I'll need to get that work done by the 22nd, which is their deadline for the issue. It's not too difficult, but an extra thing that I didn't plan to do. I'm going to work in one of my children and technology books, so at least it should be interesting to do.
To everyone's surprise, I showered, dressed, and left the house on a day off. I went to Target for some things that I needed now that I've switched out the old microwave. I still don't know how I'm going to get the old microwave out of the kitchen. It's so heavy :( There was also grocery shopping, and I needed to pick up prescriptions.
In my wandering around in Target, I found the new Carl Hiaasen book Flush
in hardcover for 30% off$13! I snapped it up, but haven't started reading it yet. I haven't been able to finish the book that I have been reading for weeks now, Donorboy
by Brendan Halpin. Not for the normal reasons that someone doesn't want to finish a book. It's that I don't want it to end, so I've been throwing a sort of temper tantrum for weeks by not reading the last few pages. I don't want the characters to go away. It's the first young adult book with technology integrated that actually felt authentic. The text actually sounds like a journal written by a depressed, angst-ridden girlfull of run-ons and misstarted sentences and abbreviations that flow through the text rather than stand out like someone trying to be cool. I have really enjoyed it, and I just don't want the characters to go away. I guess I have to finish it eventually, but I can put it off for a few more days.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: It's Murder! Plus Calendar Work and DIY Repairs
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Daily Work: It's Murder! Plus Calendar Work and DIY Repairs
This morning there was no evidence of the crime scene from yesterday. In truth, the yard looked very plain and empty with the tarps and tents and cars and flashing lights all gone. Looked like any other house.
I don't ever watch the news on TV, unless you count The Daily Show
or The Colbert Report
; so I didn't know anything more. I found out that the situation was the lead story on local news:
|First Murder of the Year in Champaign|
Champaign police say 66-year-old Emmanuel Boyd was murdered. Police were called to his home on the 1200 block of Clock St. yesterday morning to check on him. Boyd`s neighbors said they hadn`t seen him in several days. A preliminary autopsy showed Boyd died from traumatic injuries. If you have any information on the crime call Champaign police.
And I was there for all that yesterday.
In much less exciting news, I worked on the ReadWriteThink calendar. We have 9 new Phase 3 entries to work on, and it's time to begin work on the revisions for May. We reviewed two lessons that have been submitted. Both looked great. Also installed the security patches on the server.
And after all that fun, I went to Home Depot and got a new pink toilet seat because the hinge on mine completely broke this morning. Picked up some little shelves for by the new microwave and a couple of other things. Still errands to run tomorrow; but I have taken the day off just to deal with such things. Now I just have to manage to get up and get dressed. There is a great chance that I will be in my nightclothes till Tuesday morning when I have to go back to work.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: ReadWriteThink Lesson Plan and Calendar, NCTE Podcasting, and Police
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Daily Work: ReadWriteThink Lesson Plan and Calendar, NCTE Podcasting, and Police
Today is my younger brother Noel's birthday. I am celebrating by eating cookies without him, given that he's 11 hours away.
I was in on a brainstorming meeting this morning for ways to use podcasting on the NCTE Web site. They are getting a tool that lets them do phone-in recordings. Stuff that I've already played around with quite a bit to be honest. Not sure when this will unveil or how it will show up on the site, but they are working on it.
I broke the acid reflux rules and had quesadillas for lunch. They turned out to be not spicy at all, and I have so far survived even the tomato that was involved in the garnish. Perhaps one day I will even be able to eat lasagna again.
This afternoon, I finished editing the Decoding the Dystopian Characteristics of Macintosh’s “1984” Commercial lesson plan
, and I zipped through the editing feedback on some calendar entries. We have 5 new entries spread through the calendar:
A few more coming by the end of the month. I even got a few broken links taken care of before I had to turn in the content report. We're at 37 lessons for FY2006. We have to get to 60.
I am sponsoring a Blogshares raffle for the Albert Einstein action figure
. It simply had to be done. The excitement of that action figure needs to be spread through the cosmos!
The strangest event of the day was apparently my near miss on what is apparently a murder scene. I was late to work, and after I cleared the best intersection for such things, I saw the train crossing the tracks down the road. I decided to drive down to the next traffic light and turn there to take an indirect path back to the interstate. Two blocks down the road, I looked down the cross street and saw that the train was already finished. It must have been the world's shortest train. So I turned and went through a neighborhood that is considered shady, but hey, I was on a direct trip and I knew what I was doing. There was this one car that came barreling down one road toward me, but I was stopped at the stop sign, and didn't worry about anything. (There's no evidence that it WAS anything). I went to work and didn't think anything of any of this, but told Sharon and Lisa about my short trip through the bad neighborhood. They laughed at me and told me I shouldn't have been there. On to other things. A few hours later, we went out to get lunch and drive by the same neighborhood. The police have a half a block yellow-taped. Lights and a crime scene unit, and a lot of scurrying about going on. When we drove back by after picking up the lunch, the police were tarping off the front porch and areas of the house. Something very, very bad happened. When my boss left work around 5, all the cars and such were still there. When I left work at 6:45, they were still there. We still don't know what happened. I didn't hear anything on the local news. But the thing is I was RIGHT THERE about two hours before all this started. And that odd, speeding car? It looked like two young girls. They waved to two guys crossing the train tracks when we went across. I think they were just driving too fast. They didn't do anything crazy to get out on to the main road. But still... I'm rethinking everything now. I hope it was just a drug bust. It's going to be far too spooky if it's a murder.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Macintosh Commercial Interactive
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Macintosh Commercial Interactive
I managed to hide in the office from the influx of flowers and candy and such today. It's depressing really. Even without going out there, I ended up sitting at the desk crying a little. I am so stupid and lame.
Created an interactive for the 1984 Macintosh Commercial lesson plan
. It steps students through some key phrases and the related images in the commercial. I wish it could be more polished, but we're limited by the way the tool works. I'm close to finishing the lesson plan, but I'm not going to make it live till tomorrow. I've rearranged things 3 times this evening, so I want to read it again just to make sure I didn't mix things up.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Inbox: Improving Instruction for ELL/ESL Students
Inbox: Improving Instruction for ELL/ESL Students
Inspired by an Arizona Republic article
, which outlines the state's struggle to find programs that will improve instruction for the English language learners in the public school system, the Ideas section of this week's Inbox focuses on Improving Instruction for ELL/ESL Students
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Elmore Leonard: 10 ways to “remain invisible” in your writing
In the News: Elmore Leonard: 10 ways to “remain invisible” in your writing
Elmore Leonard: 10 ways to “remain invisible” in your writing | 43 Folders
How depressing. We spend so much time working on voice with students, and here is a list of ways to squelch it. Valuable in ways, I'm sure. Actually, the target article
explains, "These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story."
Leonard's goal is fine: to focus on showing rather than telling. What I find troubling is the language Leonard uses to describe this move"remain invisible." I don't want writers to think that they disappear. I want them to own that voice of theirs. To be proud of it. To know what makes it strong and their own. Regardless of the tips, the name of the tactic is disappointing.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: NPR : Commission Mulls Standardized Testing in Colleges
In the News: NPR : Commission Mulls Standardized Testing in Colleges
NPR : Commission Mulls Standardized Testing in Colleges
this was a nice story, but I was bothered by the arguments that the various people who were interviewed gave. The problem with standardized testing is that standardized testing doesn't work. It's not the range of kinds of programs and schools or the fact that there are not national standards. It's that testing is NOT the most effective way to improve student learning. I wish that instead of the folks they talked to they had found someone in an education school who could speak to the real problems with this idea.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: The Fun Part and Gender Issues in Computing
Monday, February 13, 2006
Daily Work: The Fun Part and Gender Issues in Computing
Story on Focus 580 this morning about Gender Issues in Computing
, which also was generally about women and math/science. One day I really need to write down my math stories. It's probably important to write them down, but I never seem to get to it.
Finished writing my draft for Inbox and actually used some articles that I had found to write a second issue to hold for an emergency. Continued work on the 1984 Macintosh commercial lesson plan.
The fun experiment of the evening was getting the latest version of Skype
and having an online conversation with video with Subwolf
. I need to get my family set up to do these things. It would be so much nicer than just telephoning.
Hmm, or was the fun part baking cookies as a Valentine's present for the office? The cookies are definitely tastier.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Personal Safety for Bloggers
In the News: Personal Safety for Bloggers
Blog Stalkers - Personal Safety for Bloggers: ProBlogger Blog Tips
: Mostly obvious to me, but the list may come in handy later. We have a blog lesson plan coming along that may benefit from the link. If not, I'll have it for later.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Giving a Hoot
Sunday, February 12, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Giving a Hoot
Book Report Alternative: A Character’s Letter to the Editor
is now live! The fun part about this lesson for me was working up the examples. Carl Hiaasen's novel Hoot
is coming out as a movie
; so I used the situations in the novel for my examples. It's a natural for the lesson, since Roy (the protagonist) is on a crusade to save the burrowing owls on a plot of land destined to become Mother Paula's All-American House of Pancakes.
I also (finally) gave in and brought the new microwave into the kitchen. I bought this thing two summers ago, but I was going to keep using the existing microwave till it died. It's still going, but it's very slow. Takes longer to get things done than it should. When I moved it, I also found that it's much bigger than the new one and it's heavy as lead. I'm not at all sure how I'm going to get it out of the kitchen without hurting my back. I need a boyfriend long enough to tote things. Sigh. The positive side: wow is a well-working microwave useful. For instance, I'm used to microwave popcorn popping maybe, on a lucky day, 1/2 of the kernels. Enter the new microwave! There wasn't one unpopped kernel! Now I just need to finish cleaning and rearranging stuff. I want to get the toaster oven out there.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Burning Out (DVDs)
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Daily Work: Burning Out (DVDs)
Continued work on the character letter to the editor lesson today. But more importantly, I copied an episode of South Park from the TiVo to my laptop. Got angry because I needed new software. Bought and downloaded software. And then the cool partedited the show to remove the commercials and whatnot and burned it to a DVD that plays in the regular old DVD player. Very, very cool. It took a number of tries before I got the editing done properly, but the burn out to DVD was very simple. Now I have Lisa's favorite episode ready to give her on Monday :)
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Letters to the Editor (and a Bonus Floral Surprise)
Friday, February 10, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Letters to the Editor (and a Bonus Floral Surprise)
Finished writing and published Persuading an Audience: Writing Effective Letters to the Editor
, a basic 9-12 lesson plan. It links to the 18th List of Ten: Ten Persuasive Prompts: Persuasive-Descriptive
I'm creating an alternate version that has students adopt a persona from a book they've read and write a letter to the editor from that character's point of view.
Mom sent me flowers for Valentine's Day, with a little stuffed dog and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. :) It was a nice surprise when I arrived at work. Especially today.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Rethinking Problems
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Daily Work: Rethinking Problems
Lots of ongoing work on lesson plans and such today. I handed off the March calendar and our phase 2 entries for an editor to run through. Decided how to handle the 1984 Macintosh lesson plan, and continued work on my letter to the editor lesson plan. I have a book report alternative for the letter to the editor too.
A lot of the day seems to have been about rethinking problems that we have with some lessons that have kept us from finishing them or getting feedback to the author. Several lessons had minor issues that we just needed to figure out how to manage. The most complicated is the 1984 Macintosh lesson plan, which requires the 1984 Macintosh commercial as part of the lesson. Without it, there's no lesson. We can't find anyone at Apple who will respond to us. Well, I have one person who will respond to me from Apple, but he's not really helpful in this situation. I've finally decided to be at peace with links to the commercial online at other folks' sites. If Apple gets angry and makes them take their sites down, we'll have to take the lesson plan down. We're going to gamble for now. It's a good enough idea that I hate to lose it.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: (or Not Work Acutally) Sick Day
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Daily Work: (or Not Work Acutally) Sick Day
I missed the Staff Appreciation Luncheon today because I was in bed feeling pretty iffy about my life. Some days, I just can't get out of bed. Most days, even if I do get out of bed, my entire day is spent hating myself and wanting to go back to sleep where I don't have to think about it. Today, at least, I had a raging headache to blame, so I didn't have to go out into the world where everyone would see me. Some days, sick days are the best choice.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Inbox: Reading and Writing in All Subject Areas
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Inbox: Reading and Writing in All Subject Areas
The Ideas section for today's Inbox focuses on Reading and Writing in All Subject Areas
. As the piece explains, "President Bush's proposal
to focus solely on the quality of math, science, and technological education ignores the important critical thinking and literacy skills that take place in the English language arts and composition classrooms. By focusing on reading and writing in all subject areas, we can ensure that students are better prepared to improve the analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills that the President's plan targets. These resources offer suggestions for working toward these goals."
Naturally, students need to do better. They deserve better. But as it's presented the American Competitiveness Initiative comes up short. To suggest that reading and writing aren't just as important to a student's success is shortsighted and foolish. Not only do we want students to be able to read those math, science, and engineering texts in thoughtful and analytical ways, but we want them to be able to compose their own work in relationship to the ideas that they develop in these content areas. The President's plan comes up short. With a wife who is a librarian, you would think that his educational initiatives would more fully represent the full range of learning that students need for lifelong learning and achievement.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: What Makes a Memoir?
In the News: What Makes a Memoir?
As I was driving to work this morning, the local NPR station was talking with Philip Graham
, Professor of English at the University of Illinois, and
Antonia Leotsakos of the staff of Pages For All Ages Bookstore
about book recommendations (archived interview
). As seems to always be the case these days, the conversation turned to A Million Little Pieces
AKA the "Million Little Lies
" of James Frey.
In the course of the conversation, Leotsakos mentioned that the basic issue in the Frey controversy, the question that needed to be asked, was "What makes a memoir?" Most folks know the problems with Frey's "memoir" at this point, but the question lingered for me as a key one that could be useful in the classroom.
When we ask students to write autobiographical pieces, to what extent do we discuss the importance of truth in that project? When we push them to add specific and concrete details, do we ever ultimately push them to embellishing the truth in the way that Frey has? Memory is such a tricky thing. It's often embellished in the retellings in ways that become socially constructed and "true" to the teller, even though they may not be truthful to the facts that an independent observer might record.
As teachers, we need to talk about the differences between truth and embellishment and how that interplay works in storytelling. I'm sure there's an easy lesson for the site that focuses on the Frey articles; but it's probably more important to create something that gets at the underlying issues without the sensationalism.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Book Publishing
In the News: Book Publishing
: Washington Post
review of a demo of the product explains that you go from "Blogs to Books, using a 'Blog Slurper.'" The service is still in beta testing.
It looks like an interesting product, but it's not publishing books in the Library of Congress sense of things. No ISBN, etc. You're publishing your own book in the same way that you could if you just printed it out using your home printer. Don't really want to knock it, but it's sort of like saying your photo album is a coffee table book.
Now I realize that in the classroom definition of things where we talk about publishing students work, it's clearly publishing. And it's a book if you think it's a book. But it felt as if they left things out. It's just a new tool for vanity publishing.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: In the News
ReadWriteThink: In the News
The sidebar on the Edutopia
article "Tech Teaches
" points to ReadWriteThink as a "cool link for online learning."
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Audience/Purpose and a Graphic Organizer
Monday, February 06, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Audience/Purpose and a Graphic Organizer
Spent most of today working on the Inbox draft for tomorrow's issue. Otherwise, just little things. There's a new LinkScan report, so I have a new list of broken links to deal with (though I only looked through the report and didn't fix anything yet).
While looking for the resources for Inbox I found a couple of useful articles. "Putting Writing to Work" from December 1998 Teaching English in the Two-Year College
talks about the benefits of authentic audience and purpose for students' writing. The author asserts that when reading and writing are “performed solely as an academic exercise, the composing process becomes an endurance test of any writer’s self-discipline, time-management, and motivation” (168).
"The Value of Idea Grids" from August 2002 Classroom Notes Plus
outlines ideas for using a three-column graphic organizer. It's fairly basic, but it may be something I could develop into a simple interactive. I'm going to ask about it tomorrow in our team meeting.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Windows Resources: Free themed fonts - Lifehacker
Windows Resources: Free themed fonts - Lifehacker
Free themed fonts - Lifehacker
such a shame that I didn't have The Matrix
font when I was working on the dystopia lesson plan. Maybe one of these will come in handy in the future though.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Bush: Boost math and science
In the News: Bush: Boost math and science
eSchool News online - Bush: Boost math and science
this initiative is why we're internally focusing on what has been titled the "STEM learning pathway." STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In any other world, we'd be talking about reading and writing in the content areas or reading and writing across the disciplines (or curriculum); but in the world where the government gets to decide how things are labeled, we have STEM.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: E-mail Tone
Email tone isn't understood as much as we think - Lifehacker
of course the issue that isn't being addressed here is how e-mail and telephone rhetorical skills compare to letter writing, memos, and so forth. There's a move to damn what's electronic about the communication without considering whether the issue may be the immediacy of audience and purpose that telephone communication may bring to a speaker/writer.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Web Resources: 30 Boxes Calendar Beta
Web Resources: 30 Boxes Calendar Beta
30 Boxes calendar beta live - Lifehacker
: This tool has possibilities for a shared calendar for IRA and NCTE as we both work on ReadWriteThink. We currently have a shareware app that lets us upload dates. This looks slicker. I need to investigate it in more detail though.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Cleaning, Cooking, Book Writing
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Daily Work: Cleaning, Cooking, Book Writing
Steelers Win! :)
We can all be so proud of my accomplishments too. I managed not to take a nap. I scrubbed the stove, loaded the dishwasher, took the trash to the street, and have the laundry almost done. I even made Onion Dip
for work tomorrow. The sad thing is that I'm not sure I can eat it. The worcestershire doesn't seem to be agreeing with me. :( Oh, I left out that I made a pot of lentil soup too. I have six containers of soup in the frig for this week (3 broccoli and 3 lentil). Easy lunches or dinners.
I opened up the book files, but couldn't figure out what I was doing. Partially I blame the SuperBowl for distracting me, and partially it's that I just couldn't figure out where the section was going. Aimless writing isn't my thing, though if I don't figure it out soon I'm going to have to just ramble in place till I figure it out. I can give up on it for tonight though. I've accomplished enough for today.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Blogging: Del.icio.us and Teaching (and Categories?)
Blogging: Del.icio.us and Teaching (and Categories?)
cbd offers an explanation of how Del.icio.us and teaching
go together. I wish I could get my head around del.icio.us completely. It just evades me. There's something I just don't get. The way the cbd explains it here made me wonder if it wouldn't be a way for me to have categories on my blog, which doesn't really support categories. If I chose keywords that were my categories and then tagged things, could I create category links to those entries on del.icio.us? It feels like that would work, but there's something that makes the whole del.icio.us thing feel too complex. I think I need to sit down with someone and have him/her walk me through a site till I get it. I'm not exactly sure who that person would be or where she/he is hiding. And while that miracle person is at it, I'll take details on how all this compares to technorati.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Depression: Late or Not?
Finally, I'm caught up. Feels like a million entries I've edited or written in the last 24 hours.
The most interesting observation through all this was a note on one day that I was horribly late for work, and a note on the very next day that I got in at a reasonable time. Both days I arrived at the same time. My brain is so mixed up it seems. I know that I am the poster child for black and white thinking, but normally, it's that everything I do is wrong or stupid or horrible. Here I had evidence that I thought the same action was horrible one day and great the nextand I didn't even notice until I read back through things. Maybe one day my brain will make sense.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Sleeping, Napping, Cooking
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Daily Work: Sleeping, Napping, Cooking
Got up at 12:30. Went back to bed at 2:00. Got back up at 4:30. Am I lame or what? I had it in my mind that I would run errands to Home Depot and Office Depot (an emerging depot theme). I didn't really accomplish anything though.
Did lots of work catching up this silly blog, and I made broccoli soup
. Didn't work on cleaning things as I should have either.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Depression: "Just Getting Started" (Are they serious?)
Depression: "Just Getting Started" (Are they serious?)
A friend said that he's taking Cymbalta, so I went off to find out what it does. I found the tips on their When You're Just Getting Started
page fun. I'm very good at "Defer Big Decisions"that can account for not bothering to get out of bed long enough to go shopping. As far as "Try to avoid stress" and "Be good to your body" are concerning, I'm certain that napping is an excellent way to take care of both of those. Not so good at "Be aware of your diet" I guess, but I did make a healthy pot of soup today. "Interrupt negative thinking," hmm, okay I'm failing on this one; but I scored on "Talk to your friends and family" cuz my sister called me twice and during the calls I chatted with my brother-in-law and mom too. If only things actually worked like this.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Charging for E-mail
In the News: Charging for E-mail
Postage Is Due for Companies Sending E-Mail - New York Times
just what we need. What I find intriguing about the argument behind these charges is that spammers and other annoyances wouldn't pay for the privilege of sending e-mail through AOL and Yahoo too.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: ReadWriteThink Science Fiction Lesson, Blogging, Napping
Friday, February 03, 2006
Daily Work: ReadWriteThink Science Fiction Lesson, Blogging, Napping
Got to work just 3 minutes after. A major accomplishment. Continued work on the science fiction lesson plan. Had it live by mid-afternoon. Finding the Science Behind Science Fiction through Paired Readings
is live and ready for the teachers of the world :)
As I was working on it today, I kept looking at one thing and finding that the cursor or arrow was some place else altogether. Turns out that in the world of computers, visual focus != cursor focus.
Did the traditional Friday night grocery shopping and started catching up on the long missing entries. I don't know how I feel so far behind. Well, part of it may be something problematic that happened to a friend, and then once I fell behind, I couldn't get going again. I saved drafts and snippets, but I couldn't managed to get them published. I have it in my head that I can't do new, current entries until I have all the gaps filled in. Stupid really I guess, but that's my head. At least the process is underway. There'd be more done if I hadn't foolishly taken a nap from 9 to 11:30. I have no explanation for that nonsense.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Daily Work: Update, Upkeep (fortunately not upchuck)
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Daily Work: Update, Upkeep (fortunately not upchuck)
It's Groundhog Day, which means I am to regale my brother-in-law with "I got you babe." We have no excuse for this tradition really.
I had my update with Sharon, and went over my list of things I need to do and whatever I had questions about. It's my first update since January 6 because of various things that kept both of us from being in the office at the same time during my scheduled update this last month.
Spent the rest of the day doing various odds 'n' ends, mostly upkeep and maintenance. Updated the virus checker on the server. I'm considering buying something else for it. This version just isn't updating automatically for me in the way that I'd like. Did editing work on a 6-8 lesson on science and science fiction. We got a first draft of an interactive that we're designing in house. It will let students make book covers and dust jackets. I hope to have it live by the end of the month, but we're doing testing for now.
I am going to be nudged about the book manuscript again soon. At least that's the word I was given today. It's so hard to carve out time for it or concentrate when there are so many other things that I have to get done at work. Everything else seems to have unyielding deadlines, and as a result, I never get work on it. Sigh. I really have to get more done more quickly.
MarcoPolo has brought the LinkScan work in house. Took them a while to get things set up and configured. Yesterday we got the first report on broken links in over a month. Made my first pass through the document tonight. Because it's on a different server, we lost our configuration set-up so things that were set at exceptions are showing up as errors again. Sent out a list of the changes that I need MacroPolo to make this evening, after I had to type it twice because of Exchange server nonsense.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Who Writes Politician's Blogs?
In the News: Who Writes Politician's Blogs?
I was intrigued by Dear Folks: No Time to Write
, which talks about politicians who supposedly start blogs and then don't post anything. I thought it amazingly naive to think that all these politicians are writing their own blogs. Sure, just like they all write all the letters that go out under their signature and all the speeches that they give. Uh-huh. Now don't get me wrong, as someone who is unendingly behind on her own blog, I am in complete agreement that when people say they are going to write these things, they need to follow-through. But it seems to me that the problem is more likely a staffing issue. I wonder how many of the politicians even know that they are supposed to be posting?
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Windows Resources: Surviving IT Lockdown
Windows Resources: Surviving IT Lockdown
Geek to Live: Survive IT lockdown - Lifehacker
information that you hope you don't have to use, but that you know you better save.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: In the News: Framing Internet Use in Elementary School
In the News: Framing Internet Use in Elementary School
I wish that I'd saved the RSS feed description on BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Net abuse 'starts in primaries'
. The article is about kids plagiarizing and what not. Misusing online resources. Bullying. Problems with "e-safety" (please. e-safety?)
The feed description on Bloglines suggested that the Net was the actor and the students were the object of the sentence. Something like "Net abuses elementary and secondary students." Probably someone's error that has been corrected, but I found it interesting to blame the Internet as if it were a responsible participant.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: ReadWriteThink: Dystopia and The Matrix lesson plan
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
ReadWriteThink: Dystopia and The Matrix lesson plan
Late to work again. I seem to be stuck in my own dystopia while I work on the dystopia lesson plan. Fortunately, I finally finished the lesson so maybe the dystoppia will end. Decoding The Matrix: Exploring Dystopian Characteristics through Film
is now live. That makes 33 lessons and a nice content report turned in today.