Friday, October 16, 2009

Hello from October!

Lots happening these days, and not anywhere near enough time.

There are plenty of silver linings amongst the storm clouds of life lately. Recently I received my first ever invitation to a Quinceanera! I'm super excited about it, and I've asked a few of my male students who have been to one to help me out with what I need to know and do so I don't make a complete fool of myself. I have always enjoyed taking part in others' cultural experiences; I can't wait to see what a Quinceanera is like. I'm sincerely honored to be asked.

Not too long ago, I attended a talk and book signing by Anyen Rinpoche who was there promoting his new book, Momentary Buddhahood. I really enjoyed hearing him speak, and I was given quite a bit to think about. I took a few moments to browse the store afterwards (of course), and happily came across Brom's new book, The Child Thief. It now sits on my bookshelf, waiting to be read once I finish Kristin Cashore's Graceling.

Slowly but surely, my students are grasping the use of, and acclimating to, the various technology tools I use in my classes. They've realized that Edmodo is one of my favorite tools for getting them information, including notes. When a student is out and comes back, my stock response is "Check your Edmodo account" when I'm asked for notes. I've gotten into the habit of turning my class notes, Power Points, and so forth into pdf files and then firing the pdf file out on Edmodo. I've generally preferred the conversion to pdf since not every student has Microsoft Word, Power Point, etc at home, yet Acrobat Reader is free; thanks to pdf995, I didn't have to spring the mega-bucks for Adobe Acrobat, thank goodness. Blogging, using Google docs, even taking notes electronically is rapidly becoming routine in my classes. I actually just a few minutes ago read a post on Twitter by a teacher in British Columbia who is sick at home yet ran his classes online. Now THAT is just amazingly cool.

Earlier, I came across the SmithTeens Six-Word Memoirs site and used it with my freshmen classes, who are in the process of writing their own memoirs. I used the site to help them develop their thesis for their memoirs, which proved to be pretty effective. For those who were looking for a greater challenge, I had them use Squeaker, which reduced their thesis statements to 14 characters. They weren't required to actually post anything to either site, but they did compose their posts on the sites so they could "play by the rules." Both were great (and fun) mini lessons in the importance of word choice and even punctuation.

Hmmm.... oh yes!! Happy Halloween!!!