Saturday, March 12, 2011

Windows to a Grandparent's Heart


Tonight we had supper with my sister and her family, Rita and her husband Andrew, her daughter Kelsey and her boyfriend Travis and her son’s daughter Ava.  Ava is 5 years old, two years younger than my granddaughter Hailey. 

I remember the first time I saw Ava.  She was a baby being carried in her Grandfather’s arms at Dan and my wedding.  She was so little.  And Andrew so smitten with that small bundle.

I have seen this tender look before in the eyes of another man.  I saw that soft sweet expression every time Dan was with Hailey.   Both of these men held these small beings in their large hands.  Smiling, as they hardly breathed.  You could see their hearts open and overflowing in the presence of their granddaughters.

One of my favorite pictures was taken the day Hailey was born.  Dan is holding her in his arms looking down on her tiny face.  The light shimmers and reflects in his eyes as he holds this wondrous gift.

Andrew once told me that he loved to just watch Ava sleep, marveling at her tiny fingers and toes.  I sat between my husband and Andrew tonight, I watched him gaze at his wife and granddaughter with affection and tenderness. 

As I contemplate these scenes, my eyes grow misty.  We are so lucky to know this kind of love.  I know these little girls are blessed with the love of family.  There is something quite wonderful about a grandchild.

Here’s to the love of grandparents. I often joke that when I married Dan I gained a daughter and a son, but best of all I got a granddaughter without having to raise her parents.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chronicling America - Using Digitized Historic Newspapers



Using the Chronicling America site has been great fun. I discovered that the Weather Service has already celebrated 150 years. I learned how maps were made in previous years. I also learned that in 1888 dogs had to be licensed in Miles City, MT, my hometown. While talking to a friend about this site I learned that she has an original copy of the Daily Yellowstone Journal that once belonged to her mother-in-law. I hope your research uncovers equally interesting finds.
You can read historic Montana newspapers by going to the Montana Memory Project and linking to the Chronicling America Project. The Chronicling America Newspaper Project is a joint partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper Program. The Library of Congress site has digitized newspapers from every state.
One way to access Montana newspapers is to go to the Montana Memory Project. Once there, scroll to the bottom of the page. You can then choose which papers and dates you want to search.
There is also a link to the Chronicling America site. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
This is a great place to jump in and explore. If you are like me this is also where you will start to get very frustrated. I would enter a search term and up would pop a number of newspapers. That was good. When I finished looking at the first one I tried to find the other potential newspapers. I couldn’t just click on the next one. That was bad.
I requested help from Martha at the MT Historical Society. She told me to open two windows in my browser and work back and forth. Great advise! Shortly after that she forwarded an email from the Library of Congress - they had just put their beta version online. Much easier to work with!
You can get your search results either as newspaper thumbnails or in list format. I used the list format and printed out the list. It made it easier for me to take notes and make comments about the newspapers as I searched. It gave me a thorough record of my searches.

List format


Thumbnail format


I also played with the browsing tool. Click on the browsing button. It brings up a calendar and a way to look at specific newspapers by date. You can search by state or individual paper. Under the column – browse issues is a calendar icon. You can click on the icon to fine tune your search by individual copies.







I would be interested in all comments after you peruse this site. Please let me know about problems you encounter. I would also like ideas for making this tutorial more meaningful. I enjoy reading all comments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Have you never been to Seussville?



”Oh, the Things You Can Find, If You Don’t Stay Behind!” From On Beyond Zebra

So are You Going to Seussville? That imaginary village populated with colorful characters. That romp and play. Wouldn’t you go if you could?

Listen closely as I tell you all about my visit to the official site of Seussville. I experienced a wonderful adventure as I walked down the streets of Seussville.

Now please don’t ask why. But there are games, lesson plans, teacher and parent places. Did I mention it is fun. There is info on the esteemed author as well as his beloved characters.  My favorite animation is the Seuss clock that moves while the page is downloading.

Click here if you would like a ticket to the magical Seussville.

Here are some other Dr Seuss Links
http://www.catinthehat.org/   Dr Seuss Memorial Sculpture



http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm NEA Read Across America






Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Paper Monster is Lurking Behind that Stack of Books

You can always tell how stressed I am by looking at my desk.  Does it looks like an avalanche in the making, ready to bury the unsuspecting passerby?  Then you know I am a little stressed.  Though to be fair I may just be going through a creative streak. 

I know it is bad when my students offer to clean my desk off.  When I am working on a new unit, I can tune out all distractions. The papers multiply, the book stacks grow taller, until either I come up for breath or my principal threatens to take my laptop away.

You see this is the first laptop I have had for school.  It arrived the last of October and she told me she wouldn’t give it to me until I had my desk cleared off.  It took me a week to dig out from under the piles of paper.  I feel good that I managed to control the chaos until now.  Three months people could see that there was a desk. 

Right now the stacks are making me uncomfortable.  They are growing taller.  I can play hide and seek and no one would find me.  I keep telling myself I need to take baby steps combined with action, instead of just reading FlyLady’s blog http://www.flylady.com/.  She teaches people how to move from chaos to order. I read her posts hoping to  bring order to my life and not just because she is funny.

I know the paper monster is lurking, hidden within the stacks.  Waiting for that unsuspecting soul to walk by triggering an avalanche.  Where to start? Hmm – I really don’t want to deal with the paper monster right now.  I think I’ll go and play with some new ideas for class next week. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Internet Use and Cyberspace: Opening Pandora’s Box

I was reading back posts from ilearntechnology her blog always has great information. I wanted to share some of the sites I found about internet safety to use with students. Some are completely free. Several of the sites are partially free. Many of these sites are from the United Kingdom.

1. Disney’s Surfswell Island http:home.disney.com.au/activities/surfswellisland

a. This site is from Australia. The format is designed for kids to learn by playing games. There are parent and teacher components. Another feature is the glossary.

2. Internet Safety
http://www.internetsafety.com/

Is a commercial site that features some good resources and printables for parents to use with their children.


3. Safe Surfing With Dongle
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/help/web/besmart.shtml

This site covers cyber issues like email and internet safety. It is in a game format. There are recommended links as well as a “grown-up” section.

4. The Carnegie Cyber Academy
http://www.carnegiecyberacademy.com/

This site has a downloadable game called “Carnegie Cadets: The MySecureCyberspace Game

In this game students make learn how to stay safe on the web. There is also a teacher’s packet.

5. Think U Know Cyber Café http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/8_10/cybercafe/Cyber-Cafe-Base/

Game format – students help “Griff and his friends” stay safe while using email, chat areas and mobile devices. There is a teacher section.

6. Internet Safety with Professor Garfield http://www.infinitelearninglab.org/

“The Virginia Department of Education teamed up with the Professor Garfield Foundation and the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia to provide guidance for students, teachers, and parents to help students protect themselves online.”

7. Illinois State Board of Education http://www.isbe.state.il.us/curriculum/html/internet_safety.htm

Informative links about Cyberbullying


8. Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/cyberethics.htm

This site talks about cyberethics and cybercitizenship. It is a Department of Justice site.

9. Childnet International www.childnet.com/
This site is more adult centered. Features news, how to report abuse, teacher and parent components, and connected links.

Elementary teachers might want to check out www.childnet.com/kia/primary for more resources.

10. Welcome to the Web
http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/welcome/start.htm

This site makes me think of a webquest – students read and answer questions. Very good teaching module. It even comes with a Challenge. Students must go through the other sections and save their secret codes to participate in the challenge.

Cybersafety is very important. As parents and teachers we often feel overwhelmed by the scope of the problems that have jumped out of this pandora’s box. In the story Pandora found hope in the bottom of the box.

Many people have designed wonderful sites to help us keep our students safe. We teach children how to cross streets safely. Now we need to teach them how to be safe in cyberspace.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Skitch In Time

 Skitch is a way to gather information from the screen.  It is very versatile tool.  After collecting the page image you can write notes on the page.

This page came from Projects by Jen
http://projectsbyjen.com  Then I found her section on Guess the Wordle.  In her post she gave some wonderful reasons to use wordle in the classroom.


The idea that resonated with me was showing key words.  The connection I made was in using it to take notes and to do research.  Using Skitch I was able to write on the page about my connections.  For students as they read articles they could take notes make connections.  The tool is easy to use.

Never Growing Old: Chicken Puffs Recipe!!

Never Growing Old: Chicken Puffs Recipe!!