Free Web Tools #EdublogsClub Prompt 5

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I can’t think of any super-duper creative free web tools that I currently use (and certainly not one that someone else hasn’t so eloquently written about!), so here is one I’m really sad  is no longer available.

A site that I used when I was working towards my masters about 15 years ago was Yahoo’s GeoCities.  It was a free webhosting service that was super easy to use. Part of my senior project was putting together a website to help our district teachers better understand the Professional Development Committee and how to earn their PDC points. My website wasn’t huge, but it probably had about 15-20 pages. I worked on it a lot to make sure all of the links worked. I hate broken links!! Yahoo shut the entire GeoCities site down in 2009. Yahoo gave us plenty of time to move our websites. Wikipedia has some information about GeoCities if you want to know anything else:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_GeoCities


Leadership #EdublogsClub Prompt 3

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There has been a lot of leadership change in my life this year on many levels. Federal leadership down to the most local level of my life such as my job. As part of my political advocacy, I fought hard for several leadership changes, and only some of them turned out the way that I wanted. I’m not sure I have any powerful insights on what makes a great leader, but I know when someone does something I think isn’t so great. It kind of feels like a gut-punch.

I don’t expect more out of a leader than I expect out of myself. I expect a leader to show up on time, work hard and tell the truth. I don’t think that is an unreasonable expectation in any setting. However, on the national level we are hearing about “alternative facts”.  When people with that kind of authority are coming up with that kind of garbage, what’s to keep the “little people” from saying whatever they want to say? No matter what is going on around me though, I will stick to the truth, and expect those around me to take keep taking the high ground. I’m very bad about giving second chances when someone lies to me. I just don’t see the reason for lying in the first place. (That’s why I don’t ask the question, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” or any other question I don’t really want to know the answer to!!)


A Picture: A Life’s Before & After Moment #EdublogsClub Prompt 4

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A picture is worth a thousand words. I might be thinking about this totally incorrectly, but this is the first picture that popped into my head when I read the prompt. It’s a picture that has totally defined my life into a before and after moment in time. That’s my daughter’s car under the semi. Before I go any further, she is beautifully alive and doing very well, all things considered. It was the Tuesday after she graduated with her MBA and she was leaving a job interview. She was telling me all about it when the semi pulled out in front of her and she had no time to stop. Thankfully she doesn’t remember it, but I know she saw it pull out in front of her because of what she said, and then I heard it. She was about an hour away from home, and for about 45 minutes I didn’t know if I’d lost her or not. The connection was still alive, but I had to break it to call her girlfriend to go find her and then call 911. Her girlfriend got there as they were cutting the driver side door off. Apparently as the door came off, my daughter became conscious, woke up in shock, and started running away from the accident. As she was fleeing the scene, she was fighting like she was running from a prison break and swearing like it too (which I understand is common for shock victims.) They had to sedate her to transport her so she was intubated when I first saw her. She was transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital, then life-flighted to a bigger city hospital.

Seatbelts are sexy and my daughter ALWAYS buckles up. It most definitely saved her life. She was able to leave the hospital the next day with a concussion, a fractured nose and several scrapes and bruises. She’s still finding glass working its way out of her finger.

It was a couple of months before she even wanted to try to drive again. She only recently bought a car because she got a job a couple of hours from home. She bought one with a super safety rating and sits up higher than her Infinity did. Loud noises in a car upset her. Semis driving close by make any of us jumpy. I’m not sure what normal is anymore. My daughter swears my dad had his arms around her during the wreck. I believe her.

So what does this picture have to do with an educational blog? Well, I came to this school year with a new mind set. I try to have more fun at school now. I have an advisory and I used to work through the entire 30 minutes. Now I sit and visit with my students. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my students. Additionally, I have classes where I have students for multiple years. I’m working on developing better relationships with those students. I try to find more to laugh at in class. However, as I work to develop the positive relationships, I find that I have less patience or tolerance for the slackers. Is that attributed to my advanced experience (age!) or my new attitude? I don’t know. But I can really feel that fuse getting shorter. I don’t think it has anything to do with my new attitude either. Students and parents are different from when I started 25 years ago. But that’s for another time….


My Classroom #EdublogsClub Prompt 2

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This is my computer classroom as seen from behind my desk. At the time this picture was taken, my desk is actually looking pretty good!! (I need one of those signs that says, “A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind”!!)

My room has computers set up against 3 walls in a  U configuration. I like this set-up because I can see all of the student’s monitors. If you look in the far upper-right corner, you can see a hanging TV. There is another one in the upper-left corner. I wrote and was awarded a grant last year from my district’s amazing education foundation!! I also have a projector in the front of my room. Now when I’m lecturing and/or going over code, my students have 3 places where they can view the code. Maybe you can also tell from the picture, that I’m totally against empty wall space. I’m in an interior room in my building so I have a large nature view poster on the back middle wall for a sad substitute window. The rest of my posters are motivational, funny, computer science, video game, college, and a couple of Harrison Ford movie posters.

What you see on the computers is the various programming textbooks. I have classroom sets for my textbooks and they just get left at the computers. For those of you that know programming, we are a bit behind the times. We are still using Visual Studio 2010.

As far as my teaching organization, I keep a stack of 4 baskets on my desk where I store the folders for the current chapters I’m covering in programming and where students turn in their work. Beside my desk I keep a cart of baskets where my students get their programming correction sheets when they come to class. I get to school everyday at 6:00 am to grade programs. I let (make) the students correct their programs until they are 100% correct. Yes, it’s a lot of grading, but they learn from their mistakes, and perfect practice makes perfect! All of the grading is worth it when my former students come back and tell me their first year in college engineering/computer science is easy because of my classes!

Tips and tricks? Always be nice to the custodians and secretaries.  Keep the Kleenex box AWAY from your desk. Take vitamins year round. Be ready to just put the work away for a while and have fun. For the longest time, I absolutely killed myself to have everything graded for the next day. (I used to teach math.) Some stuff can wait, and some stuff can get an “effort” grade, or no grade at all. Really!!! And some advice my principal-dad gave me was to not wish away the school year. When I started teaching, I was a new young mom and I couldn’t wait for summer so I could spend all of my time with my kids. My dad said, “You are wishing away 9 1/2 months every year. That’s a lot of time wasted.” I don’t know why those words hit me like they did, but I tried to start appreciating every single day. Lastly, and most importantly, have fun!!

A side note about the grant I wrote-“A Better View From the Cheap Seats”-I noticed that I was getting more and more students that had accommodations for front row seating. Sometimes my front row seats need to be used for those precious students that need a gentle reminder to stay on task or exercise their right to remain silent….After an evaluation, one of my principals asked me, “what would make your life easier?” After all the sarcastic comments quieted down, I had a crazy idea about using monitors in the back of the room to display my monitor. I used various sizes of paper to represent monitors and placement before I decided on the ones that I have. I actually have position-able arms for the TVs, but the maintenance people used brackets to put them up this summer. I’m hoping I can eventually get the arms up with the TVs to reduce the glare. But overall, I’m extremely pleased with how they are working out in my classroom!!

 


Hello World! My Blog Story #EdublogsClub Prompt 1

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I love the default title of the first post…”Hello World!” Hello World is usually a programmer’s first program, so it’s fitting that “Hello World” is the name of my first blog post on Cranmer Candor. Now to be totally candid (ha), it’s not technically my first blog post. I’ve started a blog a couple of times, but I have never stuck with it. I wouldn’t call myself a newbie blogger, but I’m certainly not an experienced veteran. I would consider myself in between, but definitely closer to a beginner than a veteran.

I used to have a favorite blog, but she stopped writing it. I was crushed. I can’t say that I regularly read any blogs at the current time. I don’t feel like I have the time. When school is in session, I don’t even have time to read the daily newspaper until the weekend.

My goal for the #EdublogsClub is to try to get in the habit of weekly blog posting. I think I would like to write a blog, although I’m not sure I want it to be just an educational blog. I mean, I’m so full of it, why should I limit myself? Although, as I do write “educational” posts, I hope to contribute something useful for my daughter and my nephew who are new teachers this year. I’m also trying to stay positive about education for my family. My inner-voices argue back and forth wildly:  “I’m so happy they are teachers!” to “Why did I let them go into teaching?*

If I didn’t blog on education, some of my other blogs might be about DIY, humor, fitness (or trying to be fit), dieting (or trying to diet), single motherhood, glampers, dating (or trying to date), Pokemon Go, and/or local politics.

*I decided I needed to elaborate on this when I was taking a shower…where I do a lot of my best thinking. I’m a public school teacher in Kansas. I wrote this after watching Governor Brownback’s State of the State address. If you don’t know anything about the state of affairs in Kansas, let me tell you quite simply: it sucks. Tonight the Gov continued to be in his fairy tale land where he thinks everything is wonderful and working with his tax policies. He talked about how he was going to draft new education legislation that uses “accountability!” (teacher merit pay-boo) He’s also going to figure out an easy and fair school finance formula. The one we had, which he scrapped 2 years ago for unconstitutional block grants, was fine…when it was properly funded. It was never properly funded!!

AND, since this is an educational blog, not currently a political one, I will leave off right here.