Good Reads

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a articles that I’ve found interesting.  Enjoy.


Things to Read

I became aware of the articles below through Twitter, my RSS feed, or an email.  Regardless of how these articles made it to me, I found each to be interesting and thought provoking so I’m sharing.  Enjoy.

  • I came across this great site for resources on digital citizenship and social media.


1 Second Everyday

When you work with great people, their brilliance is bound to rub off a little.  Earlier this month, a few of my colleagues told me about an app called 1 Second Everyday.  The app allows you to create a video made up of a photo or one second video clip from each day of the month.  When the app came out, I downloaded it and have been trying out the app this month, taking photos and video clips when I remember.  For the month of January, I put together the video below.  It turned out okay, but I need to figure out the audio portion.  The pics and clips are very random, but I think for next month, I might try to put together something with more of a theme.

If you’re interested in sharing what goes on in your life, one second at a time, give the app a try.

What I Don’t Miss

Last week marked my first full year with Discovery Education.  In a blog post I wrote last week, I noted a few of the things that I miss from my old job.  The things listed are just a few of the good things I miss.  An article in the local paper about teaching brought to mind one huge thing that I don’t miss – the bashing teachers and their jobs.   Over the last year or so, Wisconsin hasn’t been the greatest place for teachers and I’ve read my fair share of teacher bashing articles. Why I even decide to read the comments is beyond me.  Perhaps I like getting upset.  Below are a few screenshots from the comment section of the above article.  After reading these, you’ll certainly understand why I don’t miss these types of discussions about the teaching profession.  What other professionals take this kind of abuse?  It’s just sad and truly shows a problem with education that no one mentions – respect for the people doing the job.


It’s Been A Year

Today, November 7, 2012 is one complete year from a rather big change for me.  A year ago today, I started my first day on the job with Discovery Education.  It’s been a very good year, but if I said I didn’t miss a few things from my old job as an elementary library media specialist, I’d be lying.  For me, it’s been a good change.  I needed something different and I’m in a very good place with Discovery.  I’m looking forward to a great second year, but because it’s been exactly one year since I left my old job, I’ve been thinking lately about what I miss.  While I am certainly looking forward, and not back, I do want to share a few things I miss.

–Interacting with hundreds of people everyday.  I currently work from home, which I love, but I do miss seeing people in person.

–Ordering new books for the library and sharing those with kids.  Every time I see my library friends sharing the new books they’re reading with their students, I miss it.

–Feeling a little out of the loop.  Here’s what I mean by this – I work with incredibly smart people who are up to date with some of the latest tech resources and sites.  It’s awesome.  I still hear about new sites through Twitter and other sites, but I don’t get to try these out with students.  That’s what I mean by out of the loop.

–Summer.  For the first time in a long time, I worked full time this summer.  I actually didn’t have a problem with this, but my own children did.  I heard several times per week, usually from my son, how much he hated my new job.  This was a big change for my kids, and I’m sure it’ll be easier next year, but this past summer wasn’t the easiest.  The regular work schedule only allowed me to put a couple hundred miles on my Harley this summer, that can’t happen next year!

Sure, I’ve missed a few things and probably will for a while.  Heck, I’d been working in elementary schools for fifteen years, it’s only normal to miss things.  However, I’m happy with what I’m doing now.  The people on my team I work with are fun and enjoyable, I truly like all of them.  This first year has gone rather quickly, but as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun.

Voting in Schools

Is your school a polling place?  What are your thoughts about that?  For years, the schools I’ve worked in have been places where the community came to vote.  For years, our schools have clamped down on safety, especially when it comes to letting people into the building.  Special passes were created, we were told to make sure everyone reported to the office, even if we knew it was a parent, and everyone had to have a pass.  It’s in the best interest of the kids – we need to make sure nothing happens to them.

Yet, every time there’s an election, hundreds of people, thousands perhaps during certain elections, stroll in to schools across the country to vote.  Doesn’t this seem to contradict the idea of school safety?  Do you think this is a good idea?

For the record, I voted in a fire station across the street from my son’s school.

Take this quick poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Things I Think You Should Read

It’s time for another edition of Things I Think You Should Read.  These are articles and blog posts I’ve seen over the last week or so that I’ve found interesting.  If you’re active on Twitter, you may have seen these already, but for those who haven’t, take some time and read these.  I think you should.

Cross post on the DENBlogs

Why Even Ask?

Google Analytics is a slick tool for monitoring your website.  You can find out all sorts of information, including visitor count, which I’m always curious about.  I sometimes wonder if anyone visits my site.  I haven’t visited Google Analytics in a long time, mostly because I haven’t really blogged much so I knew viewership was very low.  I logged in today and a pop up window showed up.  It told me of some changes Google has made to Analytics and that I needed to update my Email Preferences.  I unchecked all of the boxes so I didn’t received emails, but then noticed the sentences below:

Regardless of your selections, we may still have to send you important product updates that impact your account. But that’s all you’ll receive from us. We respect your privacy and will not share your personal information with third parties or partners.

Wait?  What?  If you’re going to say that, why even give me the option of opting out?  Really?  Regardless of my selections, I might still get updates?  That doesn’t seem right.  I wonder if other sites will follow Google and do the same.

A Brush With Fame…Almost

You’ve heard of Six Degrees of Separation, right?  It turns out I had an experience a few weeks ago that now seems to be an even better story.  I’m sort of 2 degrees away from a new record holder.  I was in Alaska for work in late February, attending the ASTE conference.  I figured I’d try to do something for fun one of the days so I decided to go dogsledding.  I searched the internet for dog sled tours and came across this one, run by a guy named Dallas Seavey, who was the youngest Top 10 finisher in Iditarod.  The tour company was his, but he wasn’t the one who guided me on my dog sled tour that day.  He was busy preparing for the big race (my tour was about a week before the Iditarod started).  All that time prepping for the race must have paid off because HE WON THE RACE!  He can now toss the title of Youngest Top 10 finisher to the side and replace it with Youngest Champion ever.  Pretty cool.  While it would have been cool to have Dallas as my tour guide, the girl who was leading the way was great – teaching me about dog sledding and sharing her mushing knowledge.  I don’t think either of would have anticipated what was going to happen a few weeks later.

Below is a short video of my experience.

Is Success Predetermined?

This post will hopefully generate a little discussion.  I have a lot of questions about this and I’m hoping you might be able to help clear my thinking with some of your thoughts.

Success.  We all want it for ourselves and for our children and students, but I often wonder – what kind/level of success?  I think we can all agree there is a very wide variety of success and what is considered successful to some, may not be successful to others.  For example, for some families, graduating high school is a success.  For others, high school graduation is just a small step towards something bigger.

Questions I have about Success:

1.  Do you think students know, as they’re going through school, the success level that’s expected of them?  Is this expectation something they put on themselves or something others, like parents or teachers, try and establish for them?  I often think the expectation of teachers for students is not always on par with the expectations parents have.

2.  Is success predetermined?  Once a person hits middle or high school, can we pretty much tell the ceiling for that individual?  Perhaps?  We often tell kids – you can do anything you want, if you put your mind to it.  Are we really being honest with them?  Do you really believe that?  I’m not sure.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should tell a 5th grader – “Hey kid, good luck working at McDonald’s because you won’t amount to much more.”  What I’m saying is this – based on their appearance, speaking and communication skills, and family expectations, can’t we tell that a particular student has the chance to do something special and that another student probably won’t?  There are exceptions to this and various levels of special, but I wonder if a student’s success level is largely predetermined?

3.  How do you think kids evaluate success?  Do they consider a job with a high salary successful?  Are they successful is they have a solid job and can live comfortably?  Do they want awards for their job?  Perhaps a promotion?  Do they even think about it while in school or does this develop once they get in the workforce?

4.  Once students get in the work force, do you think they regret the effort they put in school because they realize how important it was.  Would they have done things differently knowing how it would impact their success on the job?