Sunday, 28 August 2011

Pushing the Envelope...again

Being cutting edge is attached to a lot of anxiety-making behaviour.  Tomorrow I stand in front of my peers presenting my views on strategies for getting your staff to engage students thru technology.  People are constantly surprised that this is what a teacher-librarian does. This is what I'm presenting:

Adventures in leadership thru technology

Also this week I wrote a Guest Blog on the Canadian Education Association website.

My good friend D was over and I was wowing him with my new toy the Livescribe Pen.  It's a pen, that makes a video recording of what you write, and an audio recording of what you say.  For people like me, who work really really hard to stay on top of the datasphere and emerging technologies, the Livescribe is a lovely way to enjoy the act of writing, and still digitize what I say.  I come up with new ways to use it in the classroom all the time.  This short 1 minute video is a Pencast (Livescribe recording) of what first popped into D's head when he saw it working.

Pencast Pluses with D

So what does it make you think of?

Monday, 8 August 2011

I wish this for my child

My son has been in formalized day care and school since he was 2 1/2. He was already reading then.  He came home the last week of school this year at the end of grade 1 and said "I hate reading".  I wish that he could direct his own learning, and choose to produce really great work.  The trick is that he'd be required to develop a relationship with a really great teacher who could adjust to his needs and to the needs of his classmates on a daily basis.  I wonder if we truly implemented the vision statement "that it takes a village to raise a child" if we couldn't pull this off.

Working in the library, I feel like I'm individually guiding the needs of every student and every teacher on a daily, minute-to-minute basis.  Why couldn't all the teachers of one grade collaborate on 8 projects that would hit all the curriculum outcomes for each student?  I absolutely loved the idea for the project where students are designing, building and then donating toys.  Phenomenal....hits the creative arts, math, science, social science and has real-world implications.  And its safe.  And I bet when those students see the impact they have that they'll be motivated to do it all over again for a new project.  It takes a huge amount of risk-taking to try this, but I think, if we don't that we, as teachers, could be obsolete sooner than later. 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Melancthon Mega-Quarry

As someone who has grown up in Dufferin County, and works there now, I have seen a great many changes happen to agriculture and the environment in the area.

I understand the dilemma of attracting new industry to the area, to build Dufferin County economically, and to provide feasible income strategies to the population already living there.  However, I have also seen the Dufferin’s agricultural land get swallowed up by mega-farms who are producing food for consumption on a global scale, sacrificing nutrition and health to increase production.  Increasing truck traffic to move food on this level to the Greater Toronto Area has diminished the integrity of our food, and this is obvious in every aspect of statistics in the health of Canadians.  Yet, to take away the very land that provides the GTA with food sources, doesn’t make sense either.

 It is common knowledge that a quarry decimates the land it uses, but the Melancthon area also houses numerous watersheds for water that feeds the areas beyond the township.  The watersheds are our greatest indicator to our environmental health  and already we have seen them suffer with the industrialization around them.  A quarry doesn’t simply tap resources and then move quietly away.  It decimates the area.  The transportation alone needed to export the stone out of the quarry will have a major impact on the roads, and the environment.  Even land that is near the quarry will suffer as a result.  After the quarry is depleted nothing but an ugly hole will remain.  Can the quarrying company be held accountable for a solution that has that much foresight?

I urge you to move cautiously forward on any plan to use valuable agricultural land for something as environmentally damaging as a quarry.  The 3 biggest impact areas are food, water and the environment.  Can the mega-quarry’s economic impact be worth so much?

To write your own comment and make it count, you can visit the Environmental Registry here.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Worm Food

I think I've got it all together, work, home, my impending first master's course and the play and then I fell off the stage.
A portent?
If you don't know me well, then you don't know that I'm not a sporty girl.  One of the main reasons that I'm not sporty is that I don't like pain.   And I'm one of those people who seems to attract projectile objects with my head.  I'm not joking.  So I avoid sports because I have great anxiety (not unfounded) about suffering some sort of pain as a result.

Taking you back to last rehearsal,  I've just launched myself off the stage.  I barely missed bashing my head, and instead save myself with my elbows.  I'm sitting there in my own misery trying not to cry, trying not to blame anyone, and completely shocked that I allowed this to happen.  Suddenly all the other lies I've been telling myself come tumbling down.   I realize that I'm not sleeping.  That I'm oscillating wildly between binging and starving.   There are only 2 weeks til the first show and this is how it begins....the anxiety moves from my elbows to my bowels and seizes my throat.  The panic begins in my brain and I can't think straight.  I can barely hold it together enough to remember how to get home. {Aside: I'm not exaggerating.  I was once in such a state after parent-teacher interviews that I couldn't remember how to back up the car, dinged it on two corners and then finally left it running in the middle of the parking garage and went to get Tim.}  I remember that it is this anxiety that has prevented me from acting for the last 20 years and I am suddenly regretting ever beginning it in the first place.

I went home and iced it, took 2 Advil and lay down.  The next day I showed to a few people, and their reaction was awe.  It seems that my new bruise means that I'm cooler, that I'm taking a risk that few people would dare to try.  So now it's my badge of honour:  I got that bruise being on stage, not being behind the stage for the first time in 20 years.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Opting for Fake Flowers

My dear friend P came by for a visit today with her scrappin' toys and taught me all about fake flowers.  I love her so much for making the trip that I even cleaned for her, and made her a cake. Honestly, I thought of cancelling a few times this week.  Painting to be done, a self-pity sniffle, laundry, shopping, it was all almost the priority.

And in other corners of the house, I have planted my first seeds in hopes that someday the snow will end and I will be able to plant again.  My retired neighbour has already swept her lawn, edged her beds and pruned hedges.  I just had a nap.

I have painted the house top to bottom, gotten a part in Mamma Mia, earned a spot in the Canada-wide education summit Unplug'd in August, been granted admission to the Masters in Ed program I wanted, and still it's just not enough.  I even have a new pair of red shoes.  I've often thought of February as the long, dark, teatime of the soul....but April?  This is just ridiculous.

So I owed myself today.  A day to play with our cool stuff making fake flowers, while none will grow outside.

three fake flowers