When I think, I think big and in many directions at once.
Just like the quote, I succumb to periods of insanity when I create lessons, presentations, and all the artifacts of my professional life. The other times, I feel horribly and boringly SANE. In my life, these "sane" times would be the hours I spend planning out the steps of each project I do. The "sanity" bookends the whirlwind and passionate creation flows.
Think that sounds like a mental health issue? (bi-polar much?) I would partially agree. Although I do come from a long line of psychosis, this issue in my life seems extremely manageable. So, like people with autism or other brain functioning spectrums, I just consider this part of my process. It's all about the self-love, right?
One low tech solution that has worked this year has been card stock.
I got it at the beginning of the year with my supply money and I have to say, it has really paid off. The stiffer paper makes it easier to carry and more durable than regular paper. I can also cut it out and put it my journal. Gotta say, it as a bit game changing as I can keep the same five pieces of paper on my desk for about a month before they are completely used up.
It's crowded, but efficient!!
One of my teachers had a problem. Her students hated working to memorize the proper temperatures for foods. Yet, as you can imagine, this is vital information for future chefs to have.
After furnishing me with a list of 40 test questions that students were expected to know, I started working to build Pixel Art Mysteries in Google Slides as a way to provide them with a fun and unique way to have a daily review of the temperatures they needed to memorize.
We designed a five day do-now/bellringer cycle that covered all the items for the test and then allowed students to keep the electronic copies and redo them for practice if they chose.
According to the teacher students would get excited and race to see who could "solve" the image first.
Those who know me understand my religious ambiguity. I'm a Universalist Unitarian, so having unorthodox religious views is nothing new to me. But I have to say, Hallelujah. Praise be to any and all listening. The numbers are going down and there has been a HUGE uptick in people wearing masks around the stores.
Nebraska has done it. They have reversed the flow. Now, to keep the numbers this way until the vaccine is able to roll.
Doug and Aaron and Momma got their vaccines last week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). Doug was super fatigued, but Mom and Aaron just wanted naps and then were fine.
Anyway, when I'm wrong I say so. I was wrong in the last post and I am incredibly excited and elated about that.
374,000 souls have passed so far in this pandemic. Of those, I only knew three personally, but it still feels like a lot and a heavy weight. I wish I could have done more to prevent their deaths, but with the way we as a country reacted (with all the lies and misinformation spouted by leadership), I feel luck to have survived as unscathed as I did--especially with my compromised self.
Vaccination expected in the next two weeks. Will update!!
I'm very uncertain writing this. Right now the United States is being ravaged by the Coronavirus.
Unfortunately, the virus has become politicized.
I don't want this to be about politics. I want it to be about facts. Take a look at these numbers:
This is a snapshot from the Sarpy and Cass County Health Departments. Notice how the spikes are getting bigger. This data represents over 200k souls where I live and work.
In the next few days, our community will start seeing the cases resulting from the Thanksgiving holiday. I expect these numbers to spike even higher as there have only been 12k confirmed cases (14 percent of the population). There's 188k of us who "have not had it" (we may have been asymptomatic and not even known).
Let's split the difference and say that in Nebraska, our death rate is about 1 percent of infected (1 percent per 100k according to here). That means if the rest of us 188 get infected we can expect to see about 3760 more deaths in the state. Most of these deaths would be concentrated in this part of the state.
Now, let's say only 4 percent of those need hospitalization. If they all get sick at once that's 7520 hospital beds needed.
As you can see, we only have a bit over 4k beds. We're pushing close to the limits with the ventilators already. The next three or four days will see the spikes from Thanksgiving. then, we'll see what kind of trouble we will be in for Christmas.
It's math. It's simple math.
Please understand. As a compromised person with several underlying health issues (from my liver to my head to my feet), I want to be safe. They say they can't trace the cases to the schools, All the articles I've seen stipulate that schools are safe as long as this requirement is met:
Community Transmission rate is NOT LOW anymore. Yet we go 100 percent face to face--all schools, all students, everyone.
I resent being put in the position to chose my livelihood over my health.
Doug and I were lucky enough to meet Randall Monroe when he came to speak at Christopher Newport University (his alma mater). He seemed genuinely shocked to have fans. His creative commons comic XKCD is a staple in our family.
This cartoon means a lot to me and I think speaks volumes about who I am as a person (although I do not consider myself a scientist...I consider myself plagued by curiosity).
When I was a young girl, my mother bought an encyclopedia set for our house. She had to buy it section by section (it came through the mail). But when it was complete, it wasn't unusual for things to be settled at the dinner table by pulling out either the blue world books or the massive dictionary that had it's own pedestal in the study.
I have a clear image of questions about pimentos popping up at dinner and my mother's shock and amusement to learn they were peppers. If you never think about where those little jarred things come from, you never have to pull out the world book at the dinner table.
I like being a curious person. However, it has taken me many years to understand that not everyone is curious and not everyone finds curiosity enduring. People who are motivated purely by the joy and novelty of discovery
Being curious in the Covid-19 age is a double edged sword. On the one hand, I find it fascinating from a mathematical and sociological perspective.
On the other hand, I'm terrified and scared for my life, my country, and my ideals,
With that in mind, I try to function in my job and in my life in accordance to a religious principle I developed very early on. Being raised a Universalist Unitarian, one of my church school assignments was to come up with how I thought souls got into heaven. Even as a young human, I decided that once I die, all the barriers to remembering what I learned on earth will be removed. If I've learned enough, I pass on to the next realm. If I haven't learned enough, I'm reincarnated and have to learn the next round.
Funny, I never thought that it would be a specific quantity of knowledge. The golden ticket into heaven was "did you learn all that you could?"
I hope that I have.
There's a pretty pervasive ice breaker in the tech world where the presenter asks the attendants to come up with innovative uses for a paper clip.
I've been on both sides of this ice breaker. As a leader, I like to talk about the innovations folks come up with and point out that typically, children generate the highest number of innovations--usually because they make more choices like "Well, what if the paperclip were the size of a pea or what if it were as big as an airplane." Children do not let the physical representation of a paperclip in the lesson inhibit them.
A few weeks ago, I lead a professional development on Google Slides as a PDF maker and profiled some of the innovated uses the teachers in my building are employing while using Slides. We've had Google Slides for years now, but since the push for the online classroom, the notion of using PDF documents as class organizers has really taken off both in the online and real life worlds of education.
Make your own Google Apps
This would be awesome for the ACC room.
Everything you could ever want for templates.
I started playing @Ghostoftsushima because it looked really cool and felt like the same kind of graphic experience I had liked while playing my FIRST ever video game @Horizonszerodawn (love the story arc on this one as well with all the twists and turns),
This morning, I had prepared for a great gaming experience. "Past Santha" set up coffee for "Future Santha" as part of my #bekind movement to myself. At 4:50 my sister texted me an article and by the time I finished it, I was off to the coffee pot and ready to game.
I enjoy @Ghostoftsushima for the visuals and the story. As part of my explorations this morning I came upon a character that told me if I go to certain spots and write Haiku it will clear my mind and help me focus. I'd get a cool "headband of serenity"-->who doesn't want that? And the special feature of this headband? I get to read the haiku I compose every time I look at it.
Y'all. That's it. This video game got me to sit down and write a haiku for nothing more than the promise that it would be made "pretty" and given to me to review when I like.
In truth, creating the haiku in game was fun. The character sits down and a multiple choice option comes up on viewer to look at different items in nature. Those items when view show a line of haiku (first thing it lets folks look at only has five syllable choices). The next items it lets the player focus on has choices for the second line (all consisting of seven syllables).
The teacher in me was FREAKING OUT. I had so many questions:
I can do better.
I know that. What I am uncertain of it HOW do I do better? The famous quote right now is "When you know better, you do better." It would follow that "knowing better" is the key to "doing better."
So, that leaves me with the question, "how do I "know better."" Easy answer. Research. Reading. Practicing habits that will propel me to learn more about my field, my life, my soulmate, and my universe.
Every year, I put forward a simple set of goals in my bullet journal and then record my progress along the way. Here's an example from one of my teaching years.
As you can clearly see, I messed up a LOT. Especially on the twitter chats. But the idea isn't to get everything perfect. The idea is to try new things, record how I interact with them, and evaluate their use in my life.
I usually don't share my lists (with the noted exception of it things on my list have to do with my job, then I pilfer the pre-written list to copy and past the answers on the annual "what are your goals" document for work).
So, here's the big professional goals for this school year. Let's see how I do.
It is hard to explain exactly how much fun I have putting robots into the classroom. I have to say, I love my @dashrobotics. I've used them for several years now and every Dash I have ever encountered has been tough enough for the classroom and versatile enough for the programming to be adaptable to multiple levels of students..
One final reason I love them:
They are extraordinarily cute.
For the past three years I have used them almost exclusively (withs some time out for flying drones with programing).
The iPad app Blockly connects easily to these robots to allow students to use a "Scratch" like code to program the robot's movements and sounds.
I'm betting any TKAM fans can easily guess which section of the novel this represents.
I think one of the best parts of this lesson was hearing how the students fought over the text choices and dialogue. Mrs. Rhodes and I were pretty adamant in the plans that we wanted student to focus on creating theme based vignettes.
Mrs. Rhodes and I were both please with the results of the Hour of Code integration into the English curriculum. We both agreed that one more day would have made this unit much better for reflection and polish on the finished product.
I loved this unit and these classes.
.Students recorded the fastest kid in the school (Trevor) running down the hallway. They then filmed themselves running the same distance as fast as they could. Using the time on the films, they set up equations and solved to see at which point Trevor would have overtaken and bypassed them. Math, for the win!
To create the doubled effect in iMovie we simply stacked to videos.
Then, we move to the controllers on the top right tool bar and simply adjust the opacity of the layered videos.
I have to say, as far as student engagement goes, this lesson was through the roof. I also think that the tech was simple enough that it made the learning curve on building the video pretty manageable.
All in all, a great project!
I'm a technology curriculum facilitator, and I'm excited about integrating technology in the classroom.