Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Wow From NECC

I'm writing from NECC and BOY is there A lot going on and it's very overwhelming. But a good thing.

I just finished an interview with a sales rep from School Library Journal Magazine.

For some reason, there are far more exhibits and people than I ever expected. Pictures, I will post when I return home.

I cannot find any of the bloggers and two of the "ASK ME" personnel said "is that a corporation?" Go figure.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Behind Every Woman...

sometimes, there is a great man. And right now as I prepare to depart for the NECC conference with my, accountant, mentor, personal assistant, friend, advisor, tech guru, family documenatarian, and photographer (he also happens to be my husband of 10 years) I was struck while researching a bio-bit about a librarian who I just linked to on a subject over at the SLJ Virtual Summit Blog, entitled, Who Knows More?)

Anyway, Meredith, the young librarian at Information Wants To Be Free, credits her husband by saying, "I'm married to a wonderful and patient man who has taught me almost everything I know about being a tech-geek (and I mean that as a good thing)." This really hit home for me because my husband really deserves the same credit; although I don't always give it (shame on me). He (I can't give his name, because he's much too humble) introduced me to the Web and blogging over the years and is a very passionate supporter of mine in all technological endeavors. It's also not a mystery that women are not always considered to be "techies" (whatever that means) by nature. So even though we sometimes, (okay, most times) don't see eye-to-eye on the day-to-day issues, at the end of the day I have to be grateful to him because he took the day off to join me at what is predicted to be an awesome NECC conference. I also know he doesn't read my blog; so I'm safe from scrutiny.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Youth Is Never Wasted

...when you can learn from your elders.

So today I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing a woman who is 85 years young and truly the matriarch of our school. If I had only thought to do this with my own grandparents who are now deceased, there'd be some record of my family history. But what 10 year old walks around with a video camera? So I'm not going beat myself up.

Anyway, last week, our matriarch approached me for computer training and in turn I asked if she'd be interested in an on-camera, videotaped interview to record the history of our school for an upcoming video presentation I'm working on.

Of course, she was hesitant, but once she got on a roll she was great. We spent nearly an hour chatting, laughing and calming her fear of the camera. You probably have noticed I'm not using her name. That's because I didn't ask her, didn't want to confuse her and I didn't want to try to explain blogs; although ironically, I'm sure she'd have the best blog going.

So our matriarch had many words of wisdom to share but one that sticks out to me is, "you cannot be an egotist and a teacher. Egotists need to be on stage and teachers need to leave their own ego at home and nurture a multi-flowered garden of students. Each flower in the garden needs attention. Wow...how right is she?" We have such an important role in educating the "entire child" and to -NOT- damage the goods (so to speak) with our words and frustrations.

The summer is a great time for me to self-reflect on the role I play in education and to keep the mantra going...."it's not about me."...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."
...."it's not about me."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Reading, Reading and More Reading

You'll always find these really neat activities for younger students to get them into reading. But for our older students, the puppet shows don't work anymore. This came to me after I saw one of my students yesterday coming out of the bookstore with that look of "IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG SUMMER READING." I've required my broadcast journalism seniors to read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell for the summer and it's a great book (not boring).

So if you have cool tips for parents on how to encourage older students to tackle their summer enrichment reading lists, please leave comments for me at the SLJ Virtual Summit Blog.


What's Good For The Exec, Is Good For The Student

In his article, Blogs are Essential For Leadership, Dan Farber writes, "In the increasingly networked world, transparency and authenticity–building trust–will be a most valued commodity, and blogging helps enable that capability."

Here's how schools can use the same concept and capitalize on creating leadership models for students using blogs. When students feel empowered to publish, create and take ownership of their work, there's no limit. Some students are frustrated with the traditional modality. Blogs give them an active voice and a road to learning how to lead, read and write. Remember Field of Dreams, "Build it and they will come."


Better Than The Top 10 List

I know I can be sadistic at times. But if you want a good laugh, please read these "things to do when you're bored." (via Joel Cere)


The Real Scoopers

(via Study: Majority Of Journalists Use Blogs by Steve Rubel) "Clearly, journalists are hanging out in the blogosphere looking for sources, scoops and more. There's no excuse - no excuse - for not monitoring blogs."

My only hope is that these "voyeurs journalists" are giving credit where credit is due. I have yet to hear or see an on air reporter credit a blogger for his/her news source.

If you've ever worked in a newsroom, you'd know that most of the time you are pounding the phones and newspapers for story ideas. Now with the emergence of blogs, news folks have unlimited stories to choose from. I just wish we saw it reflected more on Broadcast Television news. I can't believe there aren't any "blog news updates." It would certainly make the news more interesting and "less fluff".

Monday, June 20, 2005


A Let Call

This is off my normal topics but timely...(from the Huffington Post) Wimbeldon Ref Unhappy With Female Grunting

"Grunting noises made by female tennis players as they strike the ball are getting out of hand, and rules should be changed to crack down on the practice, Wimbledon referee Alan Mills has said, according to a report."

Honestly, I get very irritated listening to both men and women tennis players making those annoying, throttled sounds during their matches. But, after I played tennis yesterday for the first time in about a year, I have been making worse sounds ever since. The pain is immense and certainly NOT in my control. So grunt all you want ladies! You have an achey sympathizer.


"Schools Are A Changin"

(via School Library Journal's Technology Survey) By Sally Brewer and Peggy Milam --
"With this study, we attempted to gauge the changing role of library media specialists, as technology resources continue to gain prominence in both the K–12 curriculum and the library media center. According to our findings, school librarians are imparting information skills to students, to be sure. But they are also involved in planning and implementing technology policies, purchasing and maintaining equipment, and training teachers, proving that library media specialists are taking the lead in education technology."

(sorry this link is for registered members)

Saturday, June 18, 2005


What A Coincidence(?)

A question for readers. Can two people generate similar concepts for a book? I'm not really sure of copyright issues on this one.

But back in 2000, I wrote a collection of ebook stories entitled, The Land of Crayons and Twas The Strike Before Christmas. These crayons deal with social issues that children young and old can identify with.

Anyway, last night night, upon my return from Rochester, I did a google search on my books (as I often do) because I'm in the process of shopping it to publishers. Here's what my search turned up, The Crayons in Rainbow Land.

The author's writes...
"The Crayons have another lesson to teach you as well: that to live in a world of peace and harmony, all of us must respect and help each other, no matter how we differ on the outside."

I bought the book; which is truly delightful and well illustrated. But I guess I'm just AMAZED at the coincidence.


Back From Rochester

Traveling and blogging has certainly taken on new meaning for me. Not only do I have to check the flood of emails (ok...slight exaggeration) but my BLOGS & THINGS TO DO LIST has just grown.

Here's the list and I welcome ANY and ALL helpful TIPS on how to accomplish the following.

1) I need to add to my blogroll, Friday femmes fatales No 10 by Natalie Bennett. She linked to a post I wrote on Books Getting A Bad Rap. I wasn't familiar with her site...but seems veerryyy interesting (if you can imagine an Eartha Kitt purrrrr).

2) I need to purchase the book, Business Blogs: A Practical Guide by Bill Ives and Amanda Watlington. I happen to be one of the 70 bloggers interviewed and have yet to buy the darn book...shame on me.

3) Get back on track with my SLJ Virtual Summit Blog. I REALLY don't like waiting a week to post. But being away, takes me away from the blog mindset and it was also impossible accessing the blog software (remotely). NO EXCUSES.

4) NECC conference is coming up at the end of June and my main question is "will I bring my kids with me?" There will be much blogging on location, I'm sure.

5) David Wise, one of the teachers I'm training on "How To Blog" from Mbale (a small town in Uganda, Africa) left on Monday and will need some remote help on teacher blogging from overseas.

6) I was shocked to learn that The St. Brigid Church on the Lower East Side will probably be demolished (see link). This is truly a historic landmark in Manhattan that sits right across the street from the beautiful Thomkins Square Park.

I started my educational career at The New St. Brigid School. At that time (back in 1996) I was making the career change from broadcast television to teaching (although that's another story). But I really want to research Patrick Keely, an Irish immigrant came from Thurles, County Tipperary in the mid 1800s and was the designer/architect of over 600 churches. St. Brigid was one of them.

7)I have to re-configure my blogroll links. Before I left, it had some quirky data coding I need to fix and try to figure out. I also have to update it.


9) I have to Prepare for my Summer Webbin 4 Teacher Training courses. This summer the focus is, Blogs in Education.

10) Send my father-in-law a father's day greeting and warm thanks for taking me to several Rochester libraries. At 85 years old, he gave me some great blog ideas and parenting tips.

I guess this is what a "vacation" can do for a gal. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Thoreau Revisited in Rochester

Being in Rochester for this brief break from intense school and blogging, I've been able to take some time for "quiet reflections." Mainly because the dial up is not going well and I can't log on to a blog softwares at SLJ. So I have to make this quick. My father-in-law left on the table today, a section of a book for me to read, "The Importance of Living" by Lin Yu Tang and I'm totally engrossed. Yu Tang writes...

"Only those who are their absolute selves in the world can fulfil their own nature; only those who fulfil their own nature can fulfil the nature of others; only those who fulfil the nature of others can fulfil the nature of things; those who fulfil the nature of things are worthy to help Mother Nature in growing and sustaining life; and those who are worthy to help Mother Nature in growing and sustaining life are the equals of heaven and earth."

Not to be too dramatic, but sometimes it's important to reflect on..."who we are" and "why we are here." Gosh, see what some good, fresh air does to a person.

Monday, June 13, 2005


A Rochesterian For Now

Hi All,

blogging from Rochester, NY and on dial up...uuggh. Tomorrow, I am visiting local libraries to see if small libraries are the WAY TO GO (GROW). Feedback as to whether Big or Small libraries matter for patrons.


Sunday, June 12, 2005


When A Book Gets a Bad Rap

I remember in high school, my teacher had us read, To Kill A Mockingbird. Each day our teacher went up and down the rows, paragraph by paragraph, day by day, with each student reading, OUT LOUD TO THE CLASS (remember those days?). I hated it! I absolutely hated reading aloud. Even remembering it today gives me the creeps. That's probably why I struggled doing live shots when I was a reporter.

But you could really have some serious anxiety wondering if it was going to be YOUR paragraph with the N word in it. I am sure the question in everyone's mind was, "How do you say the N word properly?" I mean really, what the heck was Harper Lee thinking about? Nevertheless, that was the year I accumulated the most absences too.

Fast forward now to today, A Town's Struggle in the Culture War. New York Times reporter Bruce Weber reported on how Adam Rapp's "The Buffalo Tree" is getting a bad rap (I know...cheesy but I couldn't resist).

Weber writes,"Then she began to recite from "The Buffalo Tree," a novel set in a juvenile detention center and narrated by a tough, 12-year-old boy incarcerated there. What she read was a scene set in a communal shower, where another adolescent boy is sexually aroused."

Come on! Maybe I am little too conservative, but reading even this paragraph alone made me uncomfortable; imagine a high school student? I know...they see more of this in the movies and on television. But I am going to say, "BRAVO" to those parents who stepped up to the plate and said NO to the Buffalo Tree in the school. Although in all honesty, while censorship scares the heck out of me, I still think we have to draw some limits on what students read "as a group" in school. We don't know what they're experiencing at home, which may make them uncomfortable with a class reading like this in school.

Also, since this is just my opinion, and I haven't read the book, I am probably no one to comment or judge. But, the blurb from Amazon was enough for me.

From Publishers Weekly
"A 12-year-old boy recounts his day-to-day battles in a juvenile detention center. "Graphic images and a narrative heavily seasoned with slang and expletives make Sura's hellish story all the more real and immediate."

Friday, June 10, 2005


Out of Sight!

My son and I are having great fun today creating printable word searches online (courtesy of Discovery Online). We're going on vacation soon and will be creating different subject word searches for the journey. My daughter, on the other hand is researching "What's Wrong With This Picture?" activities (she's five).

It's going to be a LOOOONNNNGGGG Summer.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Hunter's Conclusion

"Hunter you're growing and growing up fast, it's your first day of school and it won't be your last."
"But Mom." Hunter sighed, as she looked at the bus, as it drove down the street for the next crayon bunch. "I don't want to grow up. I thought I did, I thought you'd be with me through thick and thin."
"As your mom, I'll be with through everthing, but it will be your own experience, so you can grow your own wings. It's just like birds cannot fly, until one day they'll soar all over the sky."
"Yes birds have wings," Hunter said as she thought, "but they fly together, why can't that be us?"
Hunter shed a few tears and then started to cry.
Mrs. Green said, "Hunter now look in my eyes. We do fly together, in our own special way. As Crayons, we color together everyday. And when you come out of school you can one day be, anything your little heart dreams."
"Like a crayastronaut or crayonologist?"
"Or a crayondoc...now you're getting it."
"But while I'm' in school, who will you draw with? And what about tea?
What about the park? Will you about forget me?
"Forget about you?" Mom said with surprise. "That could never happen
for as long as I am alive."
"I'm ready now mom, I can't be late. Don't you know school starts
at the stroke of eight?"

The End (a story from The Land of Crayons)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Meet Hunter Green

Thanks to M.B. for illustration.

Finally...after spending about an hour trying to kill this massive fly, I've been able to SIT and write. Who breeds those things?

Anyway, five years ago my son broke all of the crayons in our 64-crayola pack. He was two then. So needless to say, THE LAND OF CRAYONS was born. These short stories reflect various aspects of human nature and experiences through the voices of crayons.

And with another successful school year coming to a close, I wanted to share a short portion of one of my stories, Hunter Green Goes to School. Hunter is getting, the first-day of school jitters. Remember those? Enjoy and cheers to a great school year...

It's the first day of school, for Hunter Green, she's been awake before the clock could even ring. Her clothes are pressed, her shoes are neat. She's excited about the new crayons she'll meet.
Hunter's dreamed of this day for a very long time. She's a big girl now and looks rather fine.
Mrs. Green is working, she's as busy as a bee, making sure the first day goes very smoothly.
"Hunter...the school bus, quick, grab your things."
"Oh no! I'm not ready....I wish I had wings."
"It's your first day of school Hunter, you can't be late."
"I'm a big girl mom, can't school wait?"
"No, no, my dear, school cannot wait, learning begins at the stroke of eight."
"Mother, will you walk me to the bus? Please let me stay home with you?
I must, must, must."
"Don't worry Hunter. I'll be just fine, but I will miss you so much. You will
be on my mind."
"I think I'm scared mom. Am I supposed to be?"
"It's a big step Hunter, most definitely." Mrs. Green knew Hunter was
really afraid so she sat her down and sent the bus on its way.

Monday, June 06, 2005


It's Out

"We interviewed 70 bloggers. These generous individuals provided us excellent advice that other bloggers and would be bloggers can use." Business Blogs: A Practical Guide by Bill Ives and Amanda G. Watlington is now available for purchase.
I happen to be one of the 70 bloggers interviewed for the book. So unlike you, I have to buy a copy (or maybe ten). My mother loves passing these things around. Okay...I do too, I admit.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Look Out World! Here They Come

It's no surprise that digital information is the "way of their world" for our young people. But lately it seems as though digital users, are getting younger and younger.

AP Education Writer, BEN FELLER writes, More nursery school children going online.
"Before they can even read, almost one in four children in nursery school is learning a skill that even some adults have yet to master: using the Internet."

Coming up next...Babies reaching beyond the crib and into virtual reality.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Parent's Mate


The World According To Blogs

I love the fact that IBM has released to their employees: IBM Blogging Policy and Guidelines
(courtesy of recent article Blogs Away: Why Blogs Are Important To Market Strategy by Jason L. Miller) because this could really provide a great educational framework of how schools can take blog initiatives in the same direction. Not only do they provide "fair use" initiatives to implement, they also provide their employees with civic issues that students and teachers should be made aware of when they enter the blogosphere.

#8 reads (from IBM Blogging Policy and Guidelines) "Respect your audience. Don't use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, etc., and show proper consideration for others' privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory - such as politics and religion."


Summer Reading

While I prepare my summer reading list for my next year's journalism students, I can't help but lament over the fact that my own son is not motivated to read books. I'm probably over dramatizing a bit, but a book is not the first thing he picks up if he has an option.

I read all of the parent articles on: gentle encouragement, keeping books around the house, visiting the library (I have to say, he loves having his library card because for some reason he thinks it has the same value as my ATM card...I tell him, "the library card has more value on it so don't lose it."), reading to your child (although I could do more in this area) and I'm sure there are many more strategies to increase his love for reading. I am open to any and all.

I actually stumbled on a very informative essay, entitled "Good Readers are Made not Born" by W.H. Manke. who writes, (and this, I didn't know-my next blog title)
"Research has shown clearly that reading ability is not dependent on intelligence. A low IQ does not equate to poor reading!"

So my summer project will be to continue encouraging my son and I will update you on his...and MY progress.


Final Thoughts

Official classes have ended today and Monday starts finals for our students. The history 10 class (I've been team teaching) was given a final writing assignment which, basically, asked them to "define what it means to be an information literate student." We asked this question because, for the last trimester, my colleague and I integrated digital information into the curriculum. Students used the tech center twice a week in an effort to enhance their text learning. So we felt it was important to get some feedback as to the role technology has played in their education.

While most students answered in the way I expected; I did have one student who wrote that books were far more informative, innovative and creative than internet resources. He also called himself a "conservative" in the area of technology. Although, he does realize the importance of the internet.

So I reflected on today as, me, having my own final because my class came to the conclusion, (on their own) that "what good is the information if you don't know how to use and assess it?" Right on!

Thursday, June 02, 2005


The P Word

Once I buy my first iPod, I'm sure I'll be able to get in the podcast phenomenon. However, I'm sure I've posted about this in the past (just too lazy to flip through past posts...come on google! Get a search engine on the blogs please).

Steve Dembo, (among other bloggers) has been educating his readers about the power of "podcasting in education" for some time now, and he has some great podcast initiatives for using podcasts.

Satish Talim, has also posted today for those of us who are podcast newbies. So my goal for the upcoming school year is..."podcasts in the classroom." He writes...

"Podcasting has become the latest hyped Internet technology. It's a way of using your computer to automatically download audio shows to your iPod (or other player), so that you've always got something new to listen to. Getting started with podcasting is easy."

My prediction is that the word Podcast, will be the #1 word for 2005. Although, knowing me, it probably has been already; I'm so out of the loop sometimes.


What's Behind Your Name?

Who would have ever thought that your name could reveal so much about you? Today's NYT article, Loosing Google's Lock on the Past provides strategies, insights and examples of how to handle the inevitable Google phenomenon. Stephanie Rosenbloom reports on the popular task of the googling of a name.

"The most effective way to define and control your digital persona is to start a blog or put up a home page."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


It's Not What You Know

You know, when you think you know something, but you really don't? Well, I keep having these constant debates with people who say, "you didn't know that?" Yeck...it makes me sick, because when you're an educator you try not to make people feel inadequate if they don't know something. I mean, I have been online and learning the web since 1995. But, I guess I've been totally out of the online loop.

Let's take the acronym WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-Zee-wig). Well, for some reason I was supposed to know what it meant. And when I, innocently, (never do that again) asked my husband what is wysiwg?...you should have seen the UTTER SHOCK. The shock lasted for a good few minutes; I might add, as I shrunk and shrunk and shrunk.

So in order to feel better, what did I do? I called my mom and I asked her "Do you know what wysiwyg means?" knowing that she knows less about these things than I do. But I had to make myself feel better.

But, honestly speaking...I HAD NO CLUE. It means, What You See Is What You Get. Oh well, who said, "It's not what you know it's who you know."

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