Category Archives: Blogging

TCEA 2011

Yes it is that time of year again so if the next few posts are confusing because they are about technology in education – well…that’s just what I will be thinking about.  Hopefully I can squeeze a little creativity in too.  Mostly I am looking forward to attending a bunch of sessions that will tell me how to use Web 2.o free stuff (yes you DO detect a little sarcasm…doesn’t anyone know how to google??) and maybe even actually learn a little bit somewhere in there.

Hoping for not to terrible weather, seeing some friends, learning some new stuff, and eating a lot…and bringing home something…anything…that I can present when I return home…full, flat-footed, sore shouldered (from toting the ubiquitous backpack around the conference hall all day) and shaken out of my present doldrums…

(queue Sheryl Crow singing “A change will do you good”)


I think I NEED my coffee in the morning.

28 July 2010 – Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared today, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

“In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.”

“according to a report dating back to 1999 and sponsored by the UN Development Program, fighting over limited resources as the scarcity of water, over the next 25 years, will possibly be the leading reason for major conflicts in Africa, not oil.”

Sunday Scribbling Springing Forward

Beautiful Sunday even with the silly clock changing mess.  Early service with a wonderful speaker, Gayle Erwin. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him it will be a joy.  After lunch a walk around the track, sun shining, families playing soccer, and trees budding out.  There was just enough of a cool breeze to keep from breaking a sweat.

The prompt at Sunday Scribbling is a life changing book or collection of words.  There have been too many books over the years to choose just one.  The first book I can remember reading is The Witch on Blackbird Pond which makes the list because it made me fallin love with books. The Bible, The Stand, Alas Babylon, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values mentioned by Solitary Panda is on the list, and so many more.  Those are just a few that gave me joy, epiphany, a good cry, and just became good close friends. The Twilight Series.  Yes I know, you now have absolutely no respect for me, right?  It was my introduction to YA literature.  When I was a YA, either it was limited or I just skipped it somehow.  I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in high school.  A friend loaned it to me saying she knew I would never give it back.  I didn’t really understand what she meant but over the next three years I bought four copies, loaned each one out and never saw it again.  It was that kind of thing.  So YA lit was a revelation to me and it came at a time when I had been entirely too serious for entirely too long.  I woke up and now I’m trying to learn to write it. It has been a gift that keeps on giving because of the wonderful “online” friends I have made and the thump on the head that said if your feet will no longer dance, you can still dream and that is what being young in your heart is all about. You can check out some of these talented people by taking a stroll through my blogroll.  You will not be disappointed!

I have begun to feed my Kindle ebooks by authors that I have “met” online.  I’m planning to post about each as I read it. I just finished Paschal‘s Scarred Angels.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading it on my kindle. I absolutely LOVED it – hear that Professor?  You need to publish that thang.  I grew to love the characters  and realized – REALLY realized how incredibly important character is. I knew it, I did.  I now KNOW it.  I just have to learn how to do it. I really enjoyed the book and it was only near the end that I had my ah ha moment. By then I had already gone over the edge.  This merits much more than a paragraph – it has it all going on, relationship, betrayal, redemption, sex, and a little bit of murder thrown in.  I would buy this and pay extra to have a signed copy! Most of all, the author has a deep love for humans – especially the broken and it comes through the words on every page. If you would like a romp through words that are bent and tangled and dancing to their own kind of music you can click the Paschal link above or look for Murat11 on my blogroll.

Now if I have embarrassed Professor P enough I have a couple of shout-outs to some local bloggers.  One is a lovely young woman, mother, and student who shows off her photography at LifeStylesPhoto.  Stop by and give her a little encouragement.

The next is the North Texas Food Bank blog.  The blogger is smart and tough and compassionate (and went to high school with my son).  She is presently at SXSW learning about building online communities. The following is from their about page:

The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. The NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. Close the Gap is the NTFB’s 3-year initiative to unite the community to narrow the food gap by providing access to 50 million meals annually.

Founded in 1982, the NTFB is a certified member of Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network). Last year 26 million meals were distributed. Each month agency pantries distribute food to more than 50,000 families and on-site meal programs serve 435,000 meals/snacks.

Every dollar donated to the NTFB provides four meals for the hungry. Out of every dollar donated, 97 cents goes directly to hunger relief programs.

You want life changing?  Those words could change a life if you follow up with action.  If you are in the area, donate, participate, or at least pass on the info.

Now I’m off to write another chapter for Night Wings. To end this post, I will leave you with a favorite poem.

Blessed Lord, what it is to be young;
To be of, to be for, be among
Be enchanted, enthralled
Be the caller, the called
The singer, the song, and the sung

David McCord


TCEA 2010 Session 3 Blogging Basics and Beyond

cross posted at PHS Technology

Session 3

blogging basics and beyond
Tammy Worcester
walk through on creating a blog on blogger
name, address
check address availability
enter the captcha letters
choose theme or template
can always change it later
blog has been created – you can start blogging
add a post and then you can view the blog

different ways you can post to the blog
you see the tools, pencil and the new post button – only the blog owner sees those
you can remove parts like some of what is on the sidebar.

igoogle – search for blogger
add gadget that allows you to post to blogger right from igoogle

go to customize
you can set up a scheduled post like all your spelling words or a tech tip per week
go to link for email and mobile
ignor send address  (you can have it email people every time you post here)
scroll down to posting options
create “a mail to” email address
you can send a blog post from any email account

can set it up to require word verification and if it should email you when you get a comment and you have to approve it – moderated

some new blogger settings
you can now create pages of static information (up to ten static)

jump break
lets you just show partial posts
lets you record your voice, listen and if you are happy with it click post on the internet
you will get some embed code to paste into your blog.

more embeddables:

youtube video
delicious tags
flickr slide shows
issuu upload a pdf and makes an ebook
chat room meebo

teacher ideas
weekly newsletter
sharing student work
spelling lists
teaching tips
a blog of widgets
resources for parents
feedback from parents
lesson plans
absent student info

teacher and student blog ideas
reading response journal
gathering data
photo essays
younger students – post pic of something green for example


The best “new” information here was that you can now set up the email address in blogger that you want posts emailed to.  If you are using blogger with your class your students will not have to log in to the actual blog.  They just email their posts in.  You then set it to notify you whenever a post comes in and you can moderate what appears in the blog.  Much easier and better control.

Blog Re-decorating

Please excuse the oddities – this did not go as planned and so it is temporary.  I will be making some changes but for now this is what it is.

I think I will live with this for awhile.  Hope it hasn’t been too disuptive 🙂

Post Five Hundred

Carry On Tuesday #8 on a Thursday and Sunday Scribbling #171 Indulgence

I re-worked this a bit.  One paragraph had the word listen in it six times – that’s what happens when I write late at night 🙂

This is my FIVE HUNDREDTH post.  I have lived here in the blogosphere since March 2006.  That’s  40 months, or 160 weeks, or 1120 days, or approximately a post every other day.  Who knew I had that much to say.

This little place has changed since the beginning.  I’ve had several themes (getting bored with this one so a change is imminent) , and the focus has changed depending on where my eyes happened to be pointing at the moment.  I’ve written about my opinions on whatever.  Thought out loud, which can be a bit dangerous!  There were the dark times when Dale was so sick and I poured it all out here and held on by my fingernails.

I’ve posted little computer notes on things I’ve learned, I’ve talked about my faith, chronicled “The Great Kidney Transplant”, recipes, pictures,  thoughts about books I have read, whatever sparkled and caught my eye – it landed here.  Thanks Tony, for setting up the blog, for encouraging me to write, and for always patiently answering my unending questions.  This one is for you.

Tomorrow Light #2

It’s been a month since I crept up to the barn and saw the computer under the floor.   If it gets weird here, I’m gone. These days things are crazy.  You just never know.    Glenna and Tom had been kind and I help with  chores.  Glenna has been teaching me how to knit and a little cooking.  This week she  started teaching me how to play the piano.

There was  no lesson today though.  The house was clean from top to bottom and I was helping Glenna in the kitchen.  There were people coming and they would be hungry she said.  I thought it was crazy for others to know where we lived but Glenna smiled and said sometimes we have to trust folks or we might be safe but there won’t be much point to being alive.  I’m not sure what I think about that. I saw some pretty bad stuff happen before I came here and I’m not jumping in and trusting anyone.

Tom has been out in the barn all day putting benches out. Some, he built this morning out of logs.  He set up some sawhorses and boards to make a table to set food on.  Glenna says some folks will bring food.  I’ve been chopping and peeling all day.  We are using fresh vegetable out of the garden that won’t keep anyway.  That at least makes sense to me.

Most everything is done and Glenna said I should take a nap.  People won’t get here till after dark.  I’m not a baby for Pete’s sake.  I climb up to the loft just to make her happy.  I like it up here.  There’s a little window to let in some sunlight and a quilt that has reds and yellows in it.  Tom let me have some blocks and boards up here for a shelf, and Glenna gave me some books.  Ain’t. (I mean ‘I haven’t’, Glenna says I need to stop saying ain’t) had books for awhile and when I did they were mostly hunting and fishing books belonging to Pa.  My favorite right now is Jane Eyre.  She is a poor kid staying with rich family and they are mean to her but she has this whole other life going on in her head.  The rich kids are hateful and think they are so much better than her because she doesn’t have money.  I like her a lot more than her stupid cousins.  I laid down with my book and the sun is warm coming  through the little window.  Next thing I know, I’m waking up and the lanterns are lit downstairs.

I climb down the ladder and see Glenna setting out the bowls of food to take to the barn.

“Well hello, sleepyhead!” She says.  I’m glad you got some rest.  Do you want to help me take these out to the barn?”  Before we start loading up the bowls there is a sound at the door.

Is there anybody there?” said the traveler, knocking on the moonlit door.

My heart’s pounding and I am ready to run out the back but Glenna smiles and says “I’d recognize that voice anywhere!”  She opens the door and hugs the stranger as he steps inside.  “Come in Tony. It’s been too long!”

He has dark shoulder length hair, pulled back in a pony tail and he’s carrying a guitar case.  Glenna had told me he came when they gathered and he would play his guitar and sing. Tthe music was important.  “Hi there.” He said to me, smiling.  He had a kind smile.

“Was your trip hard?” Glenna asked?  He looked a little tired.

“I had to stay off the roads during the day.  North of here there was a group of people on foot that looked like they hadn’t eaten in awhile.  I hid out in the woods until they passed.  They didn’t look friendly.”

Glenna looked concerned. “Which way were they heading?” She asked.

They were on the east road that heads out of town. Soldiers passed in a truck and I didn’t see them any more after that.” He said.

A look passed between them and then they looked at me and got that look grownups get when they remember I’m in the room.

“If you want to clean up a bit, you know where everything is.  We are going to take these to the barn and we’ll be back for more.” Glenna told him.

“Sounds good! I’m hungry and those look like vegetables from your garden.” He said.

“There is plenty. We’ll see you in a minute.” Glenna said as we went out the door towards the barn with bowls and serving spoons.

The barn was transformed! There were lanterns hung around the walls and people were all smiling and hugging and talking at one time.  There were already plates and bowls on the makeshift table.  People took the bowls from us and put them on the table and there were kids giggling up in the hayloft. They were all hugging and greeting each other.  Finally we headed back to the house for the rest of the food.

“Do you remember everything I told you about tonight?” she asked me.

I nodded.  She had told me that we didn’t ever mention the computer but that tonight was important because we would get a new password.  I had heard about the internet and how before everything changed, anyone could talk to anyone else and pass information back and forth.  Now the N.U.S.A. had control and when people can’t talk to each other, they have no way of knowing if what the government tells them is true. No one says it out loud but everyone knows they lie.  You don’t need a computer to figure that out.

Glenna told me that now they had small groups of people that could only talk to each other and then only if they had the password.  There were a bunch of these ‘darknets’, she called them and each group could only talk to the people in their network.  When I asked her how they could connect to each other she smiled and called me ‘one smart cookie’.  She said before the world lost it’s mind, cables were laid all over the place.  If you had to dig a hole and put one cable in, it wasn’t much extra trouble to put in several cables.  There were thousands of fiber cables that were never used and mostly forgotten. They were being used now.

We went back to the house and got the rest of the food and Tony walked back to the barn with us.  When we set the food on the table, Glenna smiled at Tom and he put his fingers to his mouth and whistled.  Everyone stopped chattering and Tom said a blessing, thanking God for letting everyone get there safe, for providing food, and good friends, and asking Him to keep blessing us.  Everyone said Amen and started filling plates and passing them around.  I got me a plate and found a seat on a box back in a corner so I could watch.

The flickering lantern light threw shadows around the barn and reflected in smiling eyes. Men talked about weather and traveling. Women talked about their kids and food and health as they ate.  Kids finished eating first and ran around the barn or hid behind mothers who fussed at them to settle down It wasn’t mad kind of fussing because they would smile indulgently. I didn’t run with them but it was nice to see them having fun  Kind of made me sad about my own mama.  Silly, how can I miss someone I don’t even remember.

Empty bowls and plates were stacked in a metal washtub for later and Tony pulled out his guitar and started to tune it.  Everyone settled down and got quiet as he strummed a few chords.  He played a few songs that some of the older folks must have known, because they sang along.  They asked him to play one of his own songs. I watched Glenna sit quietly as  he began to play.

He picked out the first chords and I heard the word ‘dark’ and my ears perked up.  Glenna sat quietly with her head leaned toward the music and  as he sang the chorus  the second time through she sang it with him.  She had  explained how  the password would be in the music.  I was just beginning to learn but I knew there were eight notes in an octave.  At some point the lyrics would mention the word  ‘dark” and those who knew what to listen for would memorize the chorus and later transcribe the notes in the chorus as numbers.

Just a group of folks getting together, eating and enjoying some music. No law against that.  Tony played a few  more songs after that as families loaded up and started  home.  I helped Glenna start cleaning up and Tony packed up his guitar.  I was walking next to him going back to the house.  I looked up at him and said “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure” He said.

“How did you figure all this stuff out?” I asked.

He smiled. “Music is just math out loud.” He said.

Glenna asked him if he could stay but he said he had to move on.  There were others to sing for and miles to go. He looked at me and grinned. “I think I’ll be seeing you again.”

I hoped so.  I wanted to learn more.
To go back to the beginning : Part One

Bloggy Business

If you subscribe to this blog via igoogle or google reader you would have seen weird spammy looking posts in your reader.  The actual post was okay on the actual blog but google had issues.  Evidently I was hacked 🙁

Luckily for me I have a friend who has super powers and things are fixed, spam is all gone, and hopefully you will see the real deal in your reader now.  Sorry if this caused any confusion.  No animals were harmed in the making of this post and spammers will be shot with water balloons on sight and then sent to bed with NO chocolate pudding.

To my super power friend, Tony – you’re my hero!  You may end up in a story 🙂

Six Degrees of Separation

Wikipedia defines Six degrees of Separation

(also referred to as the “Human Web”) refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is on average six steps away from each person on Earth. It was popularised by a play written by John Guare.

A few days ago I joined a group on FaceBook started by people who went to my high school in Michigan.  Today I got a friend request from Lori who is the sister of someone I went to school with.  She lives in Jacksonville Florida (which happens to be where one of my brothers lives) and has a bar there.

I found a name (Patrick) on her friends list that turned out to be the son of someone I hung out with when we were barely past being toddlers.  Both our parents and grandparents lived on the same dead end street and we made our little trek over the course of the day stopping at each house for cookies.  By the time we got back to the first place quite a bit of time had passed so we would get cookies again.  It worked well for us so we kept it up until the silly grownups talked and figured our little plan out!

Patrick’s older brother is Lori’s nephew. I haven’t talked to my brother yet (I have to actually call him since he isn’t on the internet as much as I am) but it wouldn’t surprise me to find he has been to Lori’s bar or at least knows of it.

I haven’t been back to Michigan in nearly thirty years and don’t know when and if I will ever get back so these were connections that would never have happened if I hadn’t been on FaceBook.

It used to be that if you wanted to get together with friends you had to physically get in your car and all drive somewhere.  Now I see my kids texting on their phone while chatting online and checking email all at the same time.  The connections are different than face to face.  I still miss the nuances of tone of voice and facial expression which are the things that give us emotional cues and smiley faces while helpful do not really replace those things.  The upside is that there is time to think about what you are going to say and you can always back up and delete and edit before you hit the send button.  In real life I tend to say too many words and not say enough about what I’m really thinking.

Will relationships in the future change because of this way that we communicate now?  In the last few months many of my friends have appeared on FaceBook.  This used to be the almost exclusive venue of the younger crowd but there are a lot of us  more “mature” folks showing up.  There are groups for everything you can think of and places like FaceBook give us a place to “play” without clogging up our inboxes.  It also becomes a tool for communicating with groups and I can already see several of my groups overlapping with others.

The world becomes smaller in some ways but if we can connect so easily on the net, will face to face connections happen less?  When I was growing up my mother communicated with her family through letters on a regular basis and the rare phone call. We alternated years visiting. Gas prices and phone bills dictated how often and in what way you connected.  With the present economy concerns, will sites like FaceBook and Twitter become the new letter?  Instead of traveling to visit, will we meet as a group online?  We already have the capability to video chat and most computers now come with webcams.  We can easily create online presentations with pics of the kids and create an audio file to go along with it so grandparents can see and hear the grandkids.

Interesting things to think about.  Do you think we are more or less connected to people because of the internet?  Do you have a special way you connect using the internet? Has FaceBook ever surprised you?

“A Daily Diary of Depression-Era Life, Told On Twitter”

I Twitter.  I admit it.  But I follow more than I actually tweet.  For those of you who have not been exposed to Twitter it is called a microblogging service.  You can post up to 140 characters.  You can follow other people who twitter so whenever they update their status you will see the post on your twitter homepage.  You can also set up your account so that you can update your status from your cell phone and you can also get updates from others you follow on your cell phone.  Useful and kind of fun but it just seems like one more thing to check and update online.  I don’t know about you, but my email/facebook/twitter/rss reader gets out of hand rapidly.

I recently found something to follow that gave me a glimpse of a different way to use Twitter.  Here is a link to the original site and if you twitter you can choose to follow.

The Social Path

Late last year, my family found a line-a-day diary maintained by my great-aunt from 1937 to 1941. She was in her early teens, living on a small farm in rural Illinois with her two brothers, one of which was my grandfather.

It’s a fascinating account of life in a bygone era, a time when my family’s only connections to the world were schoolhouse chatter and a neighbor’s radio.

Looking at the terse journal, my sister quipped, “This is the Twitter of the 1930s.” We glanced at each other and almost immediately began planning the Twitter account that would become

If you have run across any other diaries of this sort I would love to hear about it.  I can see this being a great creative venue as well.  Could a “diary” be created as a sort of stream of thoughts of a made of character?

If you are not into writing longer blog posts this might be a blogging outlet for you.  Have you run across creative uses for Twitter? Can you come up with some new  Twitter ideas?

A Milestone!

Sometime during TCEA I passed the 400 post mark.  It is hard for me to believe that I have found that much to write about but according to WordPress this will be post 406.  It’s kind of appropriate that I would reach this milestone here at a technology conference.  Here is a list of somethings I have learned at this conference (not technology)

1. Photoshop sessions are very popular.  I nearly didn’t get in one that I wanted to see today.

2. Don’t bother going to a session in a room that you want to stay in for the next session.  Volunteers have the dubious pleasure of making you exit and get in line with the rest of the folks ( a pet peeve of mine – immature, I know )

3. Whatever session you want to attend next will be at the opposite end of the conference center than the previous one.

4.  The little freebie backpacks do NOT have padded straps and will move from annoying to painful before the day is over.

5.  Roll around carts are easy to trip over.  I now HATE them.  I can see why they are banned from some conferences.

6.  The slowness of the people in front of you will be in direct proportion to how late you are for the next session you want to attend.

7. Take snacks just in case – nothing at the conference center will be cheap

That is all I have for now.  Tomorrow we will be heading home and after what I hope is a restful weekend it will be back to work.

Surfing and Reading Shares

There are blogs that I read on a regular basis and then there are articles I read just because the title catches my attention and I just have to click to see what it’s about.  Here are some that caught my interest tonight:

“Screw Flowers–You Need Cheesecake!”

What a great idea.  When friends are going through something rough, why not send cheesecake intead of flowers.  I love it!
Silver-lined Excrement
I wasn’t sure I wanted to look.  Turns out she has an elderly dog who is losing control of his er…bodily functions.  Her dad reflects on the silver lining (it wasn’t HIS poop).  Guess you’ll just have to read it.

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Be a Complete Failure At Everything
Ya, like I need directions for THAT???  What a surprise – I have 7 through 10 down pat!
Please Speak Clearly, Lord, I Have Children.
We Live in Public (and the end of empathy)

This one is thought provoking.  I have been thinking about it since I read it and while I think that we do tend to depersonalize on the internet, I have to wonder how much of that is caused by being online and how much is just an online reflection of our society.  I see some mean-ness but I tend to associate (online and off) with people that I have things in common with and for the most part they are NOT mean.  So which way does the mirror point?  I think personally I am more careful about what I say online than I am in face-to-face conversations instead of the other way around.

While I was wandering I ran across these two sites that I thought were cool – for kids a new search engine that utilizes Google’s safe search to “eliminate inappropriate material” :

The next one is one I will use a lot –

When you go to a restaurant, do you know the nutritional content of what you’re ordering? We didn’t either. Fatburgr gives you nutritional information from your favorite restaurants.

I’ll have to walk a lot to undo the damage my supper did – 740 calories and 72 carbs and it was small!! Yikes!

What’s a Whuffie?

I checked out my Twitter feed this morning and David Warlick was live blogging from TechForum in Austin.

“Social and intellectual capital are the new economic values of the world economy.”

discussed by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

The quote reminded me of this:
In Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) by Cory Doctorow

The usual economic incentives have disappeared from the book’s world. Whuffie has replaced money, providing a motivation for people to do useful and creative things. A person’s Whuffie is a general measurement of his or her overall reputation, and Whuffie is lost and gained according to a person’s favorable or unfavorable actions. The question is, who determines which actions are favorable or unfavorable? In Down and Out, the answer is public opinion. Rudely pushing past someone on the sidewalk will definitely lose you points from them (and possibly bystanders who saw you), while composing a much-loved symphony will earn you Whuffie from everyone who enjoyed it.

As often happens in science fiction, there will be bits and pieces that make the story believable because they will mirror parts of life that are close to present reality. Mr. Doctorow didn’t have the economic incentives part right, but social and intellectual capital sure sounds like Whuffie to me.Another thing mentioned in Mr. Warlick‘s post was that people don’t subscribe to magazines, they subscribe to people.

We all have “our people”; those we listen to, go to, read, learn from, trust, and respect. Where are yours? Are they at your workplace? In your feed reader?

Ten For Tuesday

1.  This day has flown by because I never stopped moving!
2.  I am going to make it my business to learn what is where on the servers from now on!
3.  Some of what we thought was gone is not (which is the reason for number 3!) and there is more than one way to keep grades and do an export.  You can physically move folders and export files.  Not elegant but it works.
4.  The weather is getting chilly – time for soup and bread!!

5.  I cannot stress enough, the importance of backing things up.

6.  If we didn’t have bible study tonight, I would probably be in bed by 7 o’clock.

7.  It never seems to amaze me, the people who are the most willing to help in a crisis.

8.  I am again reminded that I get dumber when I am tired.

9. I am also reminded that sometimes the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown in the water (and the best way to learn is when you absolutely HAVE to)
10.  I am planning on writing more on this blog, even if it is from prompts. I want to write more with the goal of learning to be a better writer. If you read here you may find some strange posts appearing in the future.  I am saying this now so that I will be able to hold myself to it!

I think I could have written twenty for Tuesday but I’m going to save it up.  I’m going to take a deep breath and let it all go til tomorrow, and to quote Sidney the psychiatrist on M.A.S.H. – “pull down your pants and slide on the ice!”

Sometimes  we just need to be silly… 🙂

Sifting Your RSS Feeds

I am subscribed to so many more rss feeds that I have time to read and often I will subscribe to a blog written by someone with multiple interests because they occasionally write about something I am interested in.  This means that I will see a lot of article titles that are not what I want to read.  I discovered a new tool today that will help me shrink some of that reader “bloat”

It is called Feedsifter and can be found here

You just put in the URL of the site and then type in the keywords you are interested in and Feedsifter creates a second feed that you can subscribe to.  Now you have a feed tailored to your interest!

If you have a google account the easiest thing in the world is to sign in.  Go to igoogle and click add stuff .  Looking down on the left sidebar you will find a choice for entering a url – paste the feed URL that feedsifter created there and you will now have this feed show up directly on your igoogle homepage.

I have often used to create a feed of bookmarks on a specific subject.  Today I created one for googledocs and using Feedsifter I had it make a new feed that would show me only googledoc bookmarks that contain spreadsheet and/or form.  Now I have an area that helps me keep up with new blog posts on Google spreadsheets. This won’t be a perfect solution but it helps me narrow down some of what shows up in my reader now.

This tip came from The Simple Dollar – thanks for a great hint!

TeachersFirst Question of the Week had this for the question of the week recently. Below it is my response.

Some teachers create their own MySpace and FaceBook accounts. Some have personal blogs. A recent article in the Washington Post details indescretions by teachers in such public spaces. If a teacher wants to have a personal web presence, what guidelines or advice would you give to him or her about what should/should not be shared online for the world to see, and why?

Having a presence on the web is like having a picture window into your life. Anyone driving by will form an opinion of you by what they glimpse through that window. If you are dancing around with your lampshade on your head – they are going to make a snap judgment. Every picture, every post, every song playing on your website creates a picture of you for someone who visits. If you are a teacher and have not learned what is and is not appropriate in public then you have bigger problems than the internet.

It doesn’t matter if it is correct, the opportunity to make an impression has passed and if it is a bad one it will be very difficult to change even if you get the chance which in most cases you won’t.

If you are the type of person that sweeps the floor, dusts and straightens up for company then do that on your website as well because company will be coming and going most times without you even knowing it.

In education this is even more crucial. Whatever is on your website may as well be on the principals’ desk, the school board meeting, the local newspaper, or a students iPod. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it. We should just use it for what it is – a tool to communicate. It is not and never has been your private diary with pictures and sound.

Our students are now creating content on the internet. We have a wonderful teaching opportunity if we choose to utilize that capability. That means we have to get on the bus with them – not stand on the sides wringing our hands. We just need to have a destination in mind and plan accordingly.


Girls Just Want To Have fun!

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting here with my latte (which just happens to have a tiny but of Bailey’s added) and I am unwinding from a busy and stressful week. I am watching Bones as I write this and I have been surfing my favorite “just for fun” site and decided to share it here.
Girls this post is about a website just for you! Whether you like to shop, connect, organize, or travel there is something for you here.  If you are into food, fitness, home, or maybe have a future mini-girl geek you want to check this out!

There is all this and more at what is actually a group of websites that are divided into specific interests.  I always start out at GeekSugar

You can look at the side bar on the left and as you hover over each category you will see popsugar, yumsugar, lilsugar and more.  These are sites for after work or Saturday morning with a latte and just relaxing.  There are love it or leave it polls, recipes for cocktails, latest buzz on celebrities and plenty of goodies to get your girl on.

So don’t get in trouble with your boss – just take a little “me time” tonight when the re-runs have you bored to tears and you need a little “geek is chic”  pick-me-up!  Have a great weekend