Thursday, October 29, 2015

Genius Hour Underway

Genius Hour continues. Students now have the following topics approved. They are excited to learn, asking daily if they can have more time for their Genius Hour project.

All About Tigers
The Closest Quasar To Earth
How to use iMovie
Top 10 Tsunamis In The World
Animals Ex
Le Francais
All About Bractiosaurus
Liquid Energy
Asteroid Academy
What Are Black Holes?
Solar System
The Shining Stars
Panthers in the Wild
Space Crystals
World War 2
DIY House Project
How to make a website
Astronaut Arshiyan

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Memorial Moments before the Memorial Service

The memorial service will come. At that point there will be lots of remembering, fantastic stories, and many tears. For me, the tears will be sadness for myself. I know he will be literally in heaven. For now he is still alive. How do we show him his impact on the world around him? How to ensure he knows how much he has meant to so many people?

Yes, it means being sure you don't left anything unsaid.
Yes, it means living today to the fullest for tomorrow isn't certain. (That is true for all of us!)
Yes, it means making time to spend time.

Recently it has also meant this wonderful post. It was while reading this post that I realized we are having what I am now calling 'memorial moments'. Another memorial moment that is planned (NOTE: This is a secret, so if you know him, please don't mention it!) is by two decades of Boy Scouts. Last I heard there are 80 guys on the list. I think this idea of honoring him when he is alive is terrific. I wish I could be there to hear all the stories. The way things are going the event itself might be too late, as it is planned for months from now and this week we aren't sure there are weeks, let along months.

Have you ever done anything to encourage "Memorial Moments" before the "Memorial Service"? I would love to hear anything you might be willing to share.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The 'Y' Of It

Some rights reserved by Eddie Codel

If you travel much you are probably able to come up with the airport codes for at least a few airports. If you ever fly to or within Canada you might be familiar with the idea that Canadian airport codes begin with the letter 'Y'. 

When I was in elementary school my mom became a travel agent and then she taught classes at the local community college. One of her classes focused on learning city codes. I thought learning airport codes was fun. Eventually I grew up, worked in the travel industry, traveled a fair amount myself, and now live overseas - still traveling.

My husband attended a conference in Abu Dhabi this past week. When he was on his journey home I went to Google and typed in the airport codes to use their flight tracker feature. As I was typing in our airport code here I realized that we start with a 'Y', but are no where near Canada. This started me thinking, "Are there any other cities in the world whose airport codes start with 'Y', but they are not in Canada?" and "If so, how could this be?"

Are you now wondering too? After some research here are the best of the answers I found...

Why? This is a lengthy explanation, but I found it fascinating. It even gives the answer to why my small college town's airport code has NOTHING to do with the name of the city.

All airport codes starting with 'Y'

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tech Ed Grief

"Get going, you don't want to miss the bus!" I call out to my fifth graders. To be honest, they are not by biggest concern at this moment. It is 3:02 and I am slotted to be on a podcast panel that started two minutes ago. Why would educators set the end of the school day bell as their starting time? Well, the panelist reside in time zones from UTC-7 to UTC+7.

This month's COETAILcast was the first in a long time that wasn't while I was teaching. (Plus I have moved countries and our internet is exponentially faster.) I won't summarize the entire call, as you can watch it yourself (or read the notes) if you are interested. I won't even go into the conversation about the 'ecosystem' of learning or the discussion of leadership and technology at this point, though those ideas I will be pondering for days to come. The moment of my day that I want to share is about grief.

What? You are recording a podcast about technology and education and your reflection is on grief?! Yup.

So often in technology change is about more tools, more access. Sometimes it is about stagnation and how to re-energize things. For me, I am having to grieve. After having taught in a 1:1 environment the past several years I now have 24 students and four iPad minis with a PC lab town the hall that my kids get to visit once a week for 45 minutes. As I try to figure out how to utilize technology I am having to take all the things I know about integration and funnel them through a much smaller conduit and to be honest, I am struggling. Jeff named it, I am grieving.

The good news is that I am nearly at acceptance and on the precipice of beginning this new journey of determining exciting tech integration with huge limitations.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Searching for Slices

Focusing on a small moment is challenging for me right now. When I sit down to write my mind is a whirl of changes at school (changing grade levels and rooms), parenting (she is at one of 'those' stages), and family health issues (it is a bit ridiculous how much they keep adding up, so I won't go into it). As my days speed by I try to notice the little things. I try to live differently, paying attention to possible seeds. Chunks of time pass and I realize I haven't noticed anything. 

Then, I flip to another student's introduction letter. As I begin to read, picking up the letter and leaning back in my chair, I realize the letter goes on and on. It is by far the longest letter, nearly three full pages. The writer's voice is strong and I realize who it is immediately, even though they neglected to sign their name. What strikes me most about this letter is how much this student is willing to write to tell me about themselves - their family and their interests. The irony that shines through is that this letter was written at home and the student goes on and on about how much they hate homework and how unwilling they are to do homework. Must be a semantics thing, because I asked them to write me a letter. It needed to be done before the class started the next morning. Good thing I didn't call it 'homework' or I would have missed out on this opportunity to find out all the student wanted me to know about them.