Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mindful travel article

As promised, here's the link to my article on mindful travel over at Elephant Journal. Read, enjoy, and leave your comments! :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just plain funny

Students in my block 2 epistemology class will appreciate this.

Almost time

Another Christmas holiday has come and gone; I leave to return to Colorado tomorrow, and in just a few days I'll be home.

Aside from the 14 hour delay in Chicago (!), the trip has been relatively uneventful. It's always good to see my family, but I do miss home.

I was actually better able to stick to my resolution of no factory farmed meat better than I thought I would be able to. Amtrak actually offers vegetarian options on its menu, so it was pretty easy, and the meals I ate during my Chicago layover were vegetarian also. The only issue I did have was with the free hot dog they gave us for lunch to make up for the delay; they didn't have any other options at that point, and I was intensely hungry.

At any rate, today is laundry day and the day to make sure the mp3 players, games, and whatnot are fully charged and ready to go for tomorrow. I've also been working on an article about mindful traveling for Elephant Journal. I'll be sure to post up the link to it here when I'm done.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The next step

I've figured out a way to take the class discussions to the next level. When we get back, I'm going to ask the students in my epistemology class to take out their phones at the beginning of the discussion and turn them on. At that point, I will ask them to text one person not in the building and ask them the question of the day; the responses will go on the live blog and be used as a discussion point. I can't wait!!

Better and better

Today's class discussion was amazing. The students and I are getting the hang of coveritlive, which helps for sure; in addition, we had two other teachers in the room with us, a third teacher joined us via coveritlive, and a student that was absent from school logged in and participated from home. (Prompting another student to ask: "Is he getting participation points for this?" Me: "Ummm.... yes, actually, why not? He's here, sort of." Student: "Sweet! I may never have to come to class again!" Me: "No, no... you still have to be here if you want full points!") :-)

I called the absent student and talked with him a bit about the experience of being "on the other end" as it were. He said he liked it, but also knew that he was missing out on what we were saying, knowing that we were only posting summaries of what was actually being discussed, which led us to an exploration of the idea of being able to add a live broadcast in which I would simultaneously record and broadcast class discussions in addition to the live blogging... the only thing missing would be the images (which I could actually take care of via my laptop's webcam, and post the video later). The possibilities and implications of this are just staggering. I would encourage reading today's discussion, posted here; the podcast is posted here. (Dec. 19)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coveritlive reflections

Today was another enjoyable day using coveritlive.This site has some interesting implications to it for the classroom, not the least of which being the ability to capture class discussions as well as being able to engage others outside the classroom to be a part of the conversation. I am considering setting up another blog specifically for the block 2 class and running a coveritlive session for every class discussion. It's a class of (mostly) highly engaged juniors and seniors, and being able to connect outside the walls would be a highly purposeful and useful activity for them.

(Update) I've now created the blog for the Epistemology class. The link to it is right here.

What is the goal of education? (part 2)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So freaking cool!

Today was easily one of the coolest days to be a teacher, ever. In my 2nd block epistemology class, we had a conversation around the goal of education. I really wanted others involved in it, so I sent out an invitation to the rest of the staff inviting anyone that had that period free to join in. One of my colleagues couldn't make it, so asked me to use, which I had totally forgotten about. I signed up and set up a conversation in less than two minutes, then we went live. I had one of the students transcribing things for us while I was recording for podcast, and two faculty members and one guest joined us online. It was so great and so much fun; yes, I totally and completely geeked out. The transcript of the coveritlive conversation is below; yeah, it looks like it's in Latin, but once you click on it, it goes to English. The only downside is that the right side of it doesn't show up, so you can't see the comments by the others who joined us... I'm going to see if I can fix that for tomorrow. If you want to hear the podcast, it's here (the December 17th podcast). Chances are I'm going to make this a decently regular part of the class now; it was a great way to involve others outside the room. In fact, we didn't finish the conversation, so we plan to continue it tomorrow. Join us here at 8:45 (Mountain Time) if you'd like to be a part.

What is the goal of education?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Busy weekend!!

This was definitely one of the busiest weeks/weekends I've had in a while. The Colorado State Thespian Conference was fun, and I had the unique opportunity to get to meet some students I hadn't met before, and to spend some time with some students that I've wanted to get to know better. Apparently sleep at these things is optional since I didn't get much of it at all. I made up for it today though, by sleeping for 12 straight hours, which is pretty remarkable for me. I did manage to get a few book reviews and even a top 20 gift book suggestion list up on Elephant Journal as well, which earned me some (well deserved) harassment from Ms. Phillis over the fact that I never quite seem to stop working. I do... just not for very long and not very often.

Two more weeks until December vacation... wowzers. My goal is to actually go a few days without any sort of contact with the world, not including the time spent on the train. I'd like to take some time just for me... I've noticed that when I do that, the world spins just fine, thank you very much, and so I plan to give the world a break from me again.

But for now, I've got to get ready for another week. Blog topics to post, presentations to finish grading... a teacher's work is never done!