Friday, July 24, 2009

Thing #12

This thing is about commenting and interacting with others in the blogosphere.  I have to confess that I don't really comment much on others' blogs, unless it's my aunt's or my mom's.  I don't know, I guess I feel really shy about it.  In "analog" conversations as well, I'm more of a listener.  By the time someone asks me for input, all I can think of is to correct something someone else said.  And that, my friends, makes me feel like a snooty jerkface.  
However, I really enjoyed this article on Meredith Farkas' blog.  Her main point is that the information/knowledge you have is meant to be shared!  Why do I feel so shy about sharing my own knowledge, but I encourage it in others?  Maybe I am worried about my delivery.  I would hate to be like the father of a guy I once dated, who would often interject, "Trivia question!  Trivia question!" And proceed to ask a question only he knew the answer to.  I hope that when I do share what I know, I do so because I'm excited about what I've learned, and that others are excited about it too!

In this foray into blogging, I was glad to learn that I was already using many of the 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog.  I found it intriguing that only one out of every ten readers comment...the rest are called "lurkers"!

There are a handful of non-L2P blogs which I read regularly.  List of the Day is a good example of a blog whose posts often make me want to comment.  The author will periodically post "Questions of the Day" and invite readers to leave answers in the comments.  Also, there are a few photoblogs, e.g. Failblog, that have weekly captioning contests for their weird/funny photos.  Readers can leave their ideas in the comments.  It's interesting how encouraging your readers to interact can ease their transition from lurker to commenter! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One reason why I admire my mom...

...Among many, of course.  We were just talking on the phone while she was out and about running errands.  

Keep in mind that I have been told, "You're a totally different person behind the wheel!"  I will yell, swear, and honk at the drop of a hat.  Other drivers need my guidance.  Badly.  One of my favorites: "Pick a lane, Captain No-Lane!"*  

So my mom was talking to me and driving just now, and she blurted out, "Sir, why didn't you put on your blinker sooner?  Sorry, I don't mean to be impatient with you, it's just a consideration to others on the road."  When I asked her about her kind, calm, and thoroughly explained statement, she said, "Well, I try not to be impatient, 'cause I really don't like it."  Touche!

*Although, I've improved quite a bit by reminding myself the simple phrase: You never know who has a bad mood, and a gun under their seat.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Last weekend I had the pleasure of accompanying a wonderful guy to a party celebrating the opening of an exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum.  Butchers, Dragons, Gods & Skeletons is a gorgeous feast for the eyes.  Filmmaker Philip Haas created five film installations inspired by works in the Kimbell's permanent collection.  Each is beautiful and intriguing.  I highly recommend going to check it out if you are anywhere near the vicinity of the Kimbell!

A day or two beforehand, however, I received (from aforementioned wonderful guy) two treasures relating to the exhibit.  If you know me, you know that I love art, and I love books.  These were the best of both worlds: 2 books, inscribed to yours truly, about art!  Swoon!  Here is a photo I took of the catalogue's title page, signed by Philip Haas (the artist), A.S. Byatt (author of the catalogue), and Malcolm Warner (Deputy Director of the Kimbell)!   

The other book (also signed by the author) is A.S. Byatt's The Matisse Stories.  I was flabbergasted.  So sweet!  So thoughtful!  So awesome!  Comment with an amazing, unexpected gift you've received!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing #11

Thing #11 was to create a profile on LibraryThing, add at least 5 books, and play around with it.

I would say that it'd be a great tool for a book club to use, but, again, wouldn't it be more fun to sit around and sip coffee and eat pastries and talk about a book?  I guess I am more in favor of the "analog" in this area.

However, LibraryThing does have a lot of other great capabilities!  For example, I can look up other members who have my book, and see what else is in their library.  If I see an interesting title, I can click on it, see its average rating, and read some reviews of it!  A handy tool, no doubt, for those pesky volumes you're just not quite sure would be good buys.  Sure, you might not know the reviewers, but with Library Thing, you can quickly discover people with very similar tastes and interests.

I am trying to add my LT widget to my blog, but I can't get it just right.  Regardless of the number of columns I make it, the edge keeps getting cut off.  Any pointers?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing #10

At long last!  I finally got around to doing Thing #10, which involves discovering online image generators.  Soooo fun!!!

The first tool I used was one with which I was already familiar.  Last summer, when my mom was doing L2P, she would send me-almost daily- comics she had made with the Comic Strip Generator.  I was eager to try my hand at this myself!  I can't think of a classroom use for this one that is anything but pure silliness.  Here's my creation:

After that, I wanted to return to the Trading Card Maker.  I had an idea for how this could be used in class: students could each research an endangered species, create a card, and do a presentation about it (including distribution of cards to classmates).  Then they'd all have a deck of endangered animals!  I could then assess their learning with a quiz over all the animals, and also throw in a few self-assessment questions (e.g. "After seeing your classmates' cards, what would you do differently next time?  What are you most proud of?" etc.)  Here's my example:

Hmmm, in thinking more about said quiz, I decided that I should aim a bit higher on the ol' Bloom's Taxonomy scale with regard to the questions I ask.  Maybe things like, "Which animals would be most affected by [x environmental factor]?" Or, "List 3 ways you can help endangered species in your everyday life."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thing #9

So, this task had me exploring useful library blogs and news feeds.  

I must say, the article we were first instructed to read, which appears on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, was very inspiring!  It encourages us to form a "Circle of the Wise" in the online world, from which to glean encouragement, wisdom, etc.  (Whoa, "from which to glean"?  I must be feeling poetic or something.)
Anywho, I gave a couple of search tools a whirl.  

As recommended, I checked out the list of EduBlog's Award winners.  I love how tangential the internet lets me be!  Within seconds, I was watching a girl perform some kind of cultural dance at an intermediate school in New Zealand! 

Syndic8 confused me.  I was overwhelmed looking at all the stuff right on the front page (5 new this, 5 random that, 5 most popular this, etc.)

I then tried Technorati, running a search for "lithography."  I was intrigued that the results included not only blog posts, but related video clips as well!  Swoon!  I found this great demo of the beautifully laborious process that is lithography.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It Never Fails...

Every year, as the Fourth of July approaches, I have the following thought: "Well, I'm [insert number] years old, now...the fireworks probably won't dazzle me like they used to."  I don't know why that is.  I guess I equate the basic lights-and-sounds nature of pyrotechnics to wide-eyed, gaping-mouthed childhood wonder.  

And, every year, I am pleased to discover that I am still susceptible to said sense of wonder.  Finding this out fills me with a sentiment not unlike holiday cheer (could such a thing exist in 100-something degree weather)!

Of course, the time with family and friends, homemade peppermint ice cream, and twirling around with a sparkler in my hand weren't too shabby either.  
What was the best part of your holiday??

Thing #8: RSS Feeds and Readers

Yeah...I'm pretty sure this RSS thing is frickin' GENIUS!  I slightly knew what it was before the likes of L2P, but I shied away from it, thinking it would just stuff my email with unwanted news stories or something.  But no!  You view all your favorite websites in a reader!  It's convenient, consolidated, current, and...not your email inbox!

I discovered an interesting blog, The Art of Teaching Science.  I love that Google Reader has a search tool, so that you can discover anything that piques your interest!  That's definitely a handy feature.  If you could find the right feed, you could probably stay current on a certain topic, too,  (e.g. if your class was studying plate tectonics, you could keep them up on all the earthquakes that've been happening around Cleburne)!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some Morning Inspiration

This morning, I was sitting on the couch, eating my granola and watching The Early Show.  I had my green Nalgene water bottle on the coffee table.  On the side of it is printed "FILTERFORGOOD.COM I pledge to reduce bottled water waste."  The sun shining through it cast the word "GOOD" onto the table in front of me.  Let's just say I was encouraged by it.  I thought I'd share it so you might be, too!