Monday, July 29, 2013

Face Yoga ED 714

I want to learn something online, even though I am not in the class yet.  I will blog about it, and maybe use it when I'm actually in the class next year.

Yoga Master Fumiko Takatsu
28-Day series

I heard about face yoga by flipping through a women's magazine, and I checked it out online this spring.  I looked at some YouTube sites and read a bit about it.  I decided I need a "course," so I'm going with the Face Yoga Method 28 Day Series.  In my online world, I need to post photos of myself and I'm not quite so photogenic as I used to be.  If I can change that for free, why not?

Googled:    Day 1 face yoga
- Drink hot water first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
- Wow (to loosen up)
- Open up the chest, rotate shoulder exercizes

- Neck exercise.  Shoulders down. 45 degree angle.  Oooh lips.
   Do at least 3 X a day, both sides, twice a day

Here's my photo... my "before" picture.

Day 2: Clasp hands straight out in front.  Same exercise.
Day 3. Turn head to side.  Stick out tongue. Breathe out.
Day 4: Tilt head to side. Stick out tongue.  (missed a couple of days of "new" poses.
Day 5. Shoulders down. Hee Hee Hee ten times.

One full week:

Couldn't re-create the angle but it looks like there MAY be a little improvement...?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Listening online

I was talking to Tom after counting today, and I talked about the IT&DML program.  I mentioned that we're working on coming up with our own brand of ourselves online, and that kids need to do the same thing.  He commented on how necessary it is for kids to have blogging skills and "social listening" skills.  Tom works in marketing.  There are folks who spend their time going online to find out what is being "said" about a product, going back to their department, and tweaking their advertising to reflect what the public wants.  Sneaky!  He said some of the best folks are those with Library Science degrees.  Hmm...

I found an article about how some of it is done.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What challenges exist as students work collaboratively as opposed to working individually?

Students working collaboratively and co-constructing knowledge is a powerful learning experience. What scaffolds can the teacher put in place to support all students as they collaborate?

When I think of students working collaboratively, I cringe.  I get nightmares of middle school projects where one or two students do all the work and everybody gets the same grade.  With all the digital tools at our fingertips, you'd think things might change.  They have not.  I still hear complaints from individuals that the rest of the group bailed.  My goal is to catalyze change at my school with digital group projects.

The articles discussed the benefits of working collaboratively.  It can be exciting to create with others.  Some students don't take it seriously.  Students have different time frames.  Some get things done early, others wait until the last minute.  Not all students have access to a computer or the internet.  Some students make a point to not do any work outside of school, so they have limited digital access during class or study halls.  Some teachers, even in our BYOD school, are reluctant to let students use their devices during study hall.  If a student is in a group with students of similar motivation, things will go smoothly.  With a strong, respected group leader, things also have a chance of working out.

Scaffolding is important.  Initially taking small, guided steps in the classroom is important.  Helping students become familiar with the programs and tools they will use is also critical. Understanding legal use of material and proper documentation is important.  Also, recognizing that this work will become part of their digital footprint may give the project more weight.  The collaborative project must have some relevance to students' lives, not just be a fact-finding regurgitation mission.

It was interesting collaborating on the paper in CO 712.  I don't think any of us had worked that way before, and we just "winged it."  One of our four took charge and the rest seemed to participate fully.  Granted, we're all teachers who are invested in the process, but it was still a good learning experience.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A bit about me

I am the sole librarian at Henry Abbott Technical High School, one of the 16 schools in the CT Technical HS system.  I came to education via public librarianship.  Twelve years ago, it was a big change.  I like to say, I went from being adored by preschoolers to being ignored by teenagers!

When I started at Abbott, there were four student computers in the library, and the computer that housed the  library catalog was dead.  There was a physical card catalog.  The space was the size of 1 1/2 classrooms, and the wall-to-wall books were dusty and old.  Nothing circulated. The big round tables and chairs took up all of the floor space. Our decennial NEASC visit was eight months away, so things changed rapidly.

By the time the visiting committee arrived, we had ten computers in the library, I had cleared out the outdated books, the card catalog was gone, and the OPAC was up and running. Whew!  Since then, we have a renovated building, I have a brand new library 6 times the size, we have implemented the Accelerated Reading program, there 18 are computers in the library and we share two classrooms of computers. The State has provided an iPod cart (30 iPods and a Mac) and a netbook cart for student use.  We are wireless, and we have a BYOD policy. (Bring Your Own Device.)  BIG changes.

I feel like I struggle to keep up with all the new technology.  Ian and some of the authors of our assigned articles have taught at CTHSS workshops and worked with the CTHSS librarians, so I knew I would get valuable information, aligned with our system's philosophy, in my IT&DML courses.

Outside of my library job, I have a "rich and fulfilling life."  That's my way of saying "I keep busy."  Our school traditionally has a lame after-school culture. Sports. Period.  A colleague and I took over Yearbook three years ago and we meet after school.  I started the LEO club (think Lion's Club junior) with another colleague and we meet twice a month.  I also co-advise the Class of 2015 during school and act as the school liaison for the DSABC mentor program.  Previously, I co-advised two other classes and National Honor Society, and I have updated the school website.  I gave those up as I took on other responsibilities.

I am active in my church.  I chair the Stewardship Committee and participate in the handbell choir (Watch us in action: and the adult (singing) choir.  I also co-chair a booth at the Yankee Fair and Barn sale in October.  What's life without a second job?  I prepare other people's income taxes from February to April 15th.  I've done that for over 25 years.

I do make some time for my family, believe it or not.  I am married.  My now-20-year-old son, John, can be seen in the handbell youtube video right beyond me (he was still in HS at the time.)  He tried college for one year and decided he'd rather work.  He is a fantastic guitar player and song-writer, but lacks self-marketing skills.  He plays in a band called "Dan's Garage," made of of a bunch of guys from church. (If interested, here's Comfortably Numb:  My husband, Gordon, learned how to play bass in order to play in the band. He went through cancer treatment last year.  Since then, he is physically unable to return to his former job, so he's working hourly for a friend temporarily until he finds someone who will hire him. In my "spare" time, I sew and knit, have a small garden, and volunteer for things here and there. In spite of living in a standard 1960's ranch with a galley kitchen, Gordon and I love to entertain. We have one young cat, and one old dog and we live in Brookfield CT, 12 minutes from where I work.

A question: How many of you had at least one parent who worked in education?

Monday, July 15, 2013

My life philosophy: 
Life is a smorgasbord. The hardest part is choosing what to do in the time I have.
My education philosophy:
In the classroom, students need to feel safe and welcome. 
Instruction must be clear, one step at a time. Model teaching.
As an instructor, don't be afraid to show your students THAT you are learning and HOW you are learning. Model learning.
It's OK to let students teach you. Encourage students to teach others as well.
We all learn best by teaching others.

I love life.  There is so much to do!  There are so many wonderful experiences to be had.  When I go to a conference and see someone presenting I think, "I could do that!"  When I see a fun activity in the newspaper, I think, "I could do that!" I organize my extended family's vacations, I chair committees at church, I participate in a choir and a handbell choir, I'm involved in extracurricular clubs and activities at my school,  I try to get to know all the new teachers and I take care of my family.  I wish there was time to do MORE, because it ALL looks interesting.  There isn't enough time to do all of it well.  So... I need to pick and choose.

I'm the librarian at Abbott Tech.  It's a busy place, especially now that CTHSS is implementing the Accelerated Reader program.  I AM the library staff.  
My goal is to make the library a place where all feel welcome.  It is.  The library is also a safe place.  There is structure, and the rules are enforced, but with a smile and humor - MOST of the time!  

Even thought I come across as a know-it-all and tend to speak precisely and with more authority than I often intend to, I work hard to let the students and staff know that we're all in this "learning" thing together.  No one person knows everything.  We all need to collaborate to get the business of learning done.

My "Excel" and "Word" skills come from a course I took back in 1988 and trial and error.  I can flounder through a chart/graph if I need to, but there are often students in the library who can help their peers.  They are pleased to do it.  

Students often haven't been taught how to find a book.  I guide them through the OPAC, write down the call number, and talk/walk them through the process of finding their books.  They become independent that way.

And those "cheats" that allow kids to bypass the security system on the computer?  The best way to turn the screen upside down? The students happy to teach me something new when I ask.

I come from a public library background, and I see myself as a facilitator at this time.  I'm ready to be a leader at school, so I am stepping out of my comfort zone and taking this 6th year coursework.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


My life philosophy: 
Life is a smorgasbord. The hardest part is choosing what to do in the time I have.
My education philosophy:
In the classroom, students need to feel safe and welcome. 
Instruction must be clear, one step at a time. Model teaching.
As an instructor, don't be afraid to show your studentsTHAT you are learning and HOW you are learning. Model learning.
It's OK to let students teach you. Encourage students to teach others as well.
We all learn best by teaching others.