Thursday, September 29, 2005


Kim Reichert Sets Up 3rd Grade Hands-On Clay Project


Learning The Great Lakes With Clay


I just witnessed a fabulous hands-on activity using clay. Students in grade 3 were learning about the Great Lakes by outlining their map with blue clay. Now it's one think to teach the H.O.M.E.S way for memorization. But this class was clearly engaged and knee deep in fun. Posted by Picasa


I Got Some Nerve

I found this via Joyce Valenza's comment section. Rich Levin (Host & Executive Producer PC TALK RADIO) wrote in to provide information re: podcasting and recommends, "Audacity, the free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems"

Now, I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN a handle or the time to delve into podcasting. But it's something I'm certainly trying to get a jumpstart on by reading everything I can find about integrating it into curriculum. I guess it would help if I purchased an iPod first.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Schools Can Also Benefit

I'm sure I posted James Snell's IBM's Blogging policies and guidelines in the past.
But it's probably worth another mention since it includes some great points for not just the "suits". Some good stuff is there (via Bill Ives Portals and KM)

Here's a brief piece from Snell's post:
-Respect your audience and your coworkers. Remember that IBM is a global organization whose employees and clients reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don't be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory -- such as politics and religion.
-Add value. Blogs that are hosted on IBM-owned domains should be used in a way that adds value to IBM's business.
-Apply the skills and values learned from participation in IBM jams, IBM forums and other kinds of online collaboration.
-Know your fellow bloggers.
-Don’t pick fights.

My strong belief is that SOME THINGS that work for big business, could also work for educational outfits. For example, teaching students about money, finance, and strategic planning isn't something we implore our students to undertake. However, if we did, we'd probably have more jobs staying in the states.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The HEART of a Blogger

I finally got a chance to read through SOME of my bloglines and ran across, Jenny Levine's @ The Shifted Librarian post-Life vs. Blogging and Steve Dembo's @Teach42 post- Pardon The Interruption. Both posts really struck my heart chords because they relate to real "life of a blogger." And no matter what, there's a real commitment to readers; even when times are hard.

My best wishes to two very influential and educational bloggers.


The Soundless Tape

Just wait until I tell one of my budding journalists that the exclusive footage he shot from our recent Student Council "Lock In"* has NO SOUND. ARRRGGGGHHH
He's got such great shots, interviewed the right people, but he must have forgotten to turn on the mic.

Looking on the bright side, I'd rather have him make this mistake now instead of when he's working for Dateline.

*A Lock-In is when students stay overnight at school (with advisors) to build team spirit and purpose.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Making News

Every once in a while bloggers are mentioned in the news. In November I will be conducting a 4 hour hands-on workshop in Mohonk, NY at the Managers of Technology conference for NAIS.

And Dr. Judy Kuriansky also wrote a column for the New York Daily News today and quoted a portion from my "past. She writes about the importance and impacts of reunions..."To find out that you’ve had an impact on people’s lives. As darling Amy Bodden Bowllan, now a mom and teaching kids about the digital world at Queens’ Kew-Forest School Libra/Tech program, told me, “I never told you this when I knew you years ago, but I was one of the thousands of kids who listened to your radio show LovePhones..."

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Who Like's Saran Wrap?

It's been quite busy with this "getting back to school" time. But in an effort to stay fully SANE, I decided to share my "contact paper" story. It's not a long and boring one...I promise.

My children were asked to cover their workbooks with contact paper and their textbooks with a "sock cover." Maybe it's me. But we used brown paper bags to cover books and it was far easier. Aren't "the times" supposed to bring in, the ease? Anyway, the contact paper has taken us ALL WEEK to try to master. Not to mention, I've already messed up my kids' workbooks and textbooks and will probably have to purchase new ones. My son says to me last night, "all the other kids have sock covers." I said, "pardon me?" "What the heck is a sock cover?" This is all happening during the same time I'm TRYING TO WRAP THE LEFTOVERS WITH SARAN WRAP. Needless to say, I messed that up too.

I'll take ANY and ALL suggestions on how to apply this saran wrap (which I absolutely HATE to use) fly-trap of an invention.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Channel 2 Reunion

It's been 10 years since I entered the educational arena. And if someone had asked me in the winter of 1995 what I'd be doing in 2005, I probably would have said, "anchoring a news desk some where...hopefully in NY." That was my life back then, NEWS, NEWS, and more NEWS.

Now that I'm teaching broadcast journalism to grades 9-12, I've been able to keep "in the business" so to speak, by sharing my experiences with my students. Just yesterday, my sophomore class had to read scripts in front of the camera and they were pretty good. One of my juniors picked up very quickly how to feed his video into Adobe premier. Our program is kind of grassroots but works like a million dollars. It works even better when you link them to real life journalist who provide words of reality. Like a recent blog post from Channel 2 anchor Shon Gables on "being careful for what you ask for."

So the other night, I'm at our Channel 2 News reunion and what a ONCE IN A LIFE TIME EXPERIENCE. I've tried many times to explain to my students why working in a newsroom is like having an additional family. You never lose track of the people who you worked so closely with. That night will live on in the hearts and minds of all who were in attendance. I forgot that Bill O'Reilly worked for Channel 2 (I also didn't know he was so tall). David Diaz is now teaching journalism at The City College of New York. He and I were nominated for an Emmy back in 1993 on an undercover story, "ClassRoomChaos." Lisa Rudolph, Carol Martin and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, were certainly my all time favorites.
Pat Battle, who is now at NBC, is still her ebullient self. This is the short list mind you...I actually just found a WCBS-TV alumni list of on-air talent.
Anyway, if it not for Eddie Pinder...this night wouldn't have happened. He had the vision. And like all news people do, he stepped out and took a chance. Oh what a night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Trying To Keep From Under

I'm testing the Google Blog search feature. Boy is this going to make life much easier.
On another note, LibraTech Updates are coming and some embarassing moments during my first full week of school. Tomorrow marks its completion and it feels like we've never left from June. I've also been inundated with work; but I'm singing to the choir I know.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Try To Explain Death to a 5 Year OLD

My 5 year old daughter has been COMPLETELY STRESSED about the issue of death lately and frankly, I have NO clue on how to handle it. I hope it's a phase. Anyway, today she said something to me that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As she's crying about the idea of death (while bathing I might add) she states in horror the following:


Maybe in my next life I'll be able to give a better answer instead of my own analogy of..."well dear, the leaves on the trees go through stages; like people." Schools need to take this issue of death up so us parents can save our heart strings a bit. Although I think this death issue was probably my fault since I've been obsessed with the Katrina aftermath (Kids hear everything). Where's Dr. Phil when you need him?

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Remembering 9-11-01 and Mama Mia

Four years ago I decided to look for a new teaching position. I had been commuting to and from Queens to Manhattan everyday for 3 years and at the time, my children were 8 months and 3 years old. It was truly difficult but I learned a lot about being a working mother while sitting in traffic and listening to ABBA on a daily basis both to and from school. (They love ABBA, as do I) In retrospect, it could have been worse...I guess. I was fortunate enough to be driving to work. Many parents I passed on those cold mornings were standing on bus lines with carriages and babies in tow.

Anyway, September 2001 marked many changes for me. I started a new teaching position and spent the first three days of school having my new history and geography students writing time capsule entries in an effort to predict their year ahead. My 7th and 8th graders sealed their capsules on September 10th, 2001. Not knowing that this would be the very last day of how they viewed the world. Most of the entries were very innocent. We opened the time capsules in June of 2002 and BOY were we off the mark. No one even came close to predicting 9-11. Now, my former 8th graders will be graduating from high school in June. I can't believe how time "waits for no one." What happened on September 11th, 2001 was etched in my mind as the change of life time with those tragic moments which continue to live and breathe in our souls.

Now we fast forward to the present, and enter the new school year with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina raining down on what was also to be "a fresh start." So while the nation remembers 9-11-01, my heart and prayers are with all the families who have suffered during 9-11 and Katrina. NO words will ever match your sorrows; but hopefully our thoughts can help ease some of the burden.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


When you're feelin down about the Present Moment

remember the PAST. Our prayers will continue being sent to Kartrina victims, our fellow citizens.

This picture was taken by my husband this summer in the Adirondack Mountains.
This is OUR SON-SET (before the nightly storm with his sister of course :)

But amazingly, I'm at a point in my life where I can't complain about much. School is in full blast and I've never been more grateful. Even though I could complain about the tiny things in life. I'm actually one of these people who can find EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to B----a bout. Even after accepting my mom's move to give her life to a monastical life (yes she will be a cloistered nun), covering the Katrina tragedy and receiving a VERY inspiring letter from Marguerite. You remember her? Anyway, here's a repeat of the post, because blogger isn't letting me hyperlink it.

We capped off our Adirondack Mountain vacation with a great treat, which was meeting Marguerite McDonough Jersey (woman in the middle, my mom is to the right of her and yours truly to her left).

Marguerite was introduced to us by Charlotte Defilippo, who my mother and my sister met while attending church last Friday morning. Why her story is interesting is because she was one of the last people to be present with Amelia Earhart before her lost flight, the Maiden Voyage in early July 1937. By the way, there are some very fascinating people who reside in the Adriondack Mountains...hidden treasures.

Marguerite did not disclose her age to me, but Charlotte guesses she's at least 95 years old. She hasn't told her story to any news agency; but was very eager and gracious to speak to my mom, my sister and myself about her encounter with Amelia Earhart and show the original news clippings. Sometimes it pays to be a known newshound or news-pain, depending on who you ask.

Here's Marguerite's story and please keep in mind that Marguerite was around the age of 20, while Amelia was about 40 years old at the time.

"I was on my way to teach first grade at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation located in Bismarck, North Dakota." Before boarding her flight for the Reservation, a ticket agent said to her, "You're going to have an interesting flight. You're the only one on the flight with another lady and it's Amelia Earhart. It's going to be Capt. Bates and Northwest Airways. Amelia and you will be on the flight." This was of course a thrill for Marguerite. "I began to get on the flight and Amelia came from the waiting room in a full length sable coat, with no makeup on, and she, of course got on the plane first."

Captain Bates, [cannot find any info. on him] was the transitional pilot taking Amelia to her destination to meet the experienced flight navigator, Fred Noonan for her trip to circumnavigate the globe.

While in flight, (to drop these two ladies at their respective destinations) Bates received messages of a terrible storm hitting Fargo and decided to land at the Fargot Airport. Bates said, "Would you ladies like to come to my home? We can stay until the weather subsides." Marguerite agreed and said, "Mrs. Bates was very nice with coffee, cookies and two little children, Amelia spoke to no one, except the children and she played with them on the floor with coins. I stayed at the Bates' home for about 3 hours with Amelia."

After the storm subsided, for Marguerite, "it was off to Bismarck and for Amelia it was off to Seattle and San Diego for this new plane she never flew before." Marguerite wished her good luck never thinking the plane would run out of gas. She also noted to me that, "Someone found a piece of her shoe. But, never found her."

This story intrigued me so much because it's one of those "by chance" encounters that doesn't have a proper ending. Here you have two women, going in two very different directions in their lives with pretty much the same goals...Adventure and a New Life ahead. Maybe. That's my interpretation.
Here are more interesting quotes from my interview with Marguerite.
"I noticed most that she [Amelia] was very quiet and private. Airplanes and motors were her love. She kept talking with the captain about planes. She was a quiet person; but her mind was great with the children. You have to keep in mind, a woman wouldn't do this in those days 1935-1937."

"I couldn't believe when I heard what happened to her. I thought, maybe she missed that island and they will find her. Maybe they would have found her. Many years later they found a piece from her shoe. She ran out of gas I guess."

"I told everyone in the world about it. And told everyone in Standing Rock Reservation. I was going to follow her until she got to her destination."

"Amelia and Captain Bates were courteous and polite to me. But they only included me in conversations about the weather. Amelia had very reserved and quiet moments."

Additional link
Looking For Amelia

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Letters Of Hope

My first writing project for my journalism students will be to write "Letters Of Hope" for the Hurricane Katrina victims. And in my quest to find the proper channels to send the letters to, I stumbled on another reminder of how devastating this has been for even the postal service drops. These are things we just don't think of...or we just take for granted.

"Effective immediately, the Postal Service is not accepting any Standard Mail (Letters and Flats) or Periodicals Mail — from any source — addressed for delivery within the following three-digit ZIP Code ranges: 369, 393, 394, 395, 396, 700, 701 and 704.

This emergency action has been taken as a result of severe facility damage, evacuations and other issues resulting from Hurricane Katrina.

We are now formulating plans to address the handling of Standard and Periodicals Mail already in the mailstream and addressed for delivery to these eight ZIP Code areas.

We will update this information as circumstances warrant."
(National Mail Serivce Updates)


Wishful Thinking

Don't you hate it when you find a really neat article to share with faculty...after you already have had your meeting? UUGGGHH This one on, Teachers' Tech Use On The Rise was perfect for my TechTalk today.

"Roughly 86 percent of U.S. teachers say computer technology has changed the way they teach at least some, and more than half (55 percent) say it has impacted their instruction "a great deal," according to a new survey commissioned by CDW-G." (eSchoolNews Online)

Monday, September 05, 2005


PreSchool Thoughts

Katrina will be in the hearts and on the minds of the American people for a long time to come. But in the face of this disaster there are some ways, we as educators can make a difference with our students to understand all the events that led up to hurricane, the coverage, the post reactions, and the reconstruction. We are living the history now...why not capitalize on it.

This is an opportunity (like the Tsunami) for students to champion a cause, put on their boots and get to work. They can design ways to help in ways adults cannot. But my fear is that school will start with students entering the doors with their new bookbags, pristine pencil cases, spanking new shoes, and Hurricane Katrina will become a thing of the past...almost like the tsunami has become. Our young people need to know this is an ongoing relief effort and it's going to take everyone to help get these AMERICAN CITIZENS (not refugees) the help they need. I hate hearing the term refugees.

One of my goals will be to probe and ask my students on the first day of school, do you know someone affected? Have they received help? For my journalism students, my first question will be, "what if we didn't have the media?" I mean we put down the role the media plays with these news events. But frankly, if Shepard Smith, Geraldo and others (courtesy of Wonkette) didn't scream to the government to GET DOWN HERE AND HELP! I doubt there would be help coming now.

I also thought that having my own two kids starting a new school was going to be a tough transition for me. How self absorbed I can be at times. Now, after reading about all of the displaced children trying to get into school, I'm just happy my kids have a school to go to. It could easily be anyone of us in the Post Katrina storm; which is why we should GIVE, GIVE, GIVE with that in mind.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Judge For Yourself...The Photos Are Irrelevant

This blurb is via The Raw Story Questions of racism in hurricane photo captions; Yahoo responds...
"The photograph by Agence France Presse shows two white hurricane survivors carrying food as they wade through flood waters. The caption reads, "Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana."

The second, by the Associated Press, shows a black man, who also carries food. The caption reads, "A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage..."


What Else is NEW?

As weird as it sounds, most of my evenings (after cooking dinner) is spent watching all of the cable news channels. So of course I'm fully apprised of everything that's happening in the world (from our perspective). I have seen so many M.S.M. correspondents really voicing their outrage at the, "how could this be happening question?"

So while I stay glued to the continuing coverage of Hurricane Katrina(thinking of a former student of mine also named Katrina) I can't help but wonder about the other news NOT making headlines. I must remember to share with my journalism students that other news is still happening even when ONE story (and rightfully so) is dominating the airwaves.

One particular story that hasn't gotten the coverage I think it deserves is the stampede on that bridge in Baghdad. The numbers dead is unreal.

I also, kind of knew they would release Joran VanDersloot in the Natalie Holloway case. It appears as though Aruba may be (in a way) relieved that Katrina is taking some media attention away from their island for a while.

And then, there are pictures from citizens showing clearly Katrina's devastating aftermath.

I almost feel a sense of guilt, going about my day as though every thing is peechy, squeeky, clean. NOT.

I also have a one question for Google. Why the black ribbon? I'm grateful they are stepping up efforts to help with the relief. But being that the media coverage is showing the majority of African Americans being the victims (and looters), I would have chosen another color. Those subliminal messages speak volumes.

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