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April 2007
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June 2007

May 2007

Palm Foleo

I've gone out to the Palm website and I am disappointed in the Foleo. However, I have been disappointed in my Treo since I for my Cingular 8125.

I am actually writing this blog post and not typing it. I am using my new Gateway convertible PC and it is much easier to use then I imagine the Folio is.Besot's using the tablet isn't that hard pairing it with the 8125 isn't had either.

Yes the tablet is more expensive but I think I get more bang for my buck.


3 indicted in DISD contract investigation | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News

This whole thing makes me sad.  Of all the departments in the district, the technology department affects me the most.  That is who equips my lab.

I actually met Reuben, he'd called my classroom right after he came in and asked me a bunch of interesting questions.  Periodically he'd call and run ideas by me.  I don't know how many other classroom teachers he talked to, but it was flattering to realize that someone in his position cared what a classroom teacher thought.  He was certainly the first administrator I knew of, rather than just buying what was out there. 

Two former Dallas public school administrators and the former president of one of its once-largest computer vendors have been indicted on charges of bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Source: 3 indicted in DISD contract investigation | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News


DISD teachers get classroom coaching | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | News: Education

Our school had a Math coach last year, and I really miss it.  She would give us lesson plans and assignments for the students to do.  You didn't have to use her lesson plans, but man, did it make life easier when you did.  Also, if your students had trouble with an assignment, SHE'D do the work to research another way to teach it.  Of course, again, if you wanted to, you could do it too, but it was great.  It let me focus on teaching and I really do believe it helped my students.   

"instructional coach" – an expert teacher in the Dallas Independent School District who mentors and works with educators to improve their lessons and classroom skills.

Source: DISD teachers get classroom coaching | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | News: Education


Shopping

I've been doing some shopping -- there are some things I know I want to spend money on.

First, a new cellphone with Windows Mobile 6.0 -- the good news, is that there is no such animal on the market yet.

Second, a device that will let me do Lanschool while I am walking around the room.  A laptop is out, though I do have a nice rolling laptop desk at the house.  I want a table (or as Gateway calls it a convertible), or a UMPC device.  My CS AB student says to wait until the Samsung Q2 is out, they announced it on Friday.

For the classroom itself, I want a nice projector -- I like the one Glen Martin over at TAG has, and I have used it a few times. 

I also want a network mass storage device of some kind.  I'd love something we could use as a Webserver too, or in addtion.

I'm also trying to decide what I want to do about staff development.  I can afford to go anywhere now, even the AP Workshop in Hawaii..... though I've vowed that any one I go to, I want to drive to AND have a dog with me.

I'm doing a lot of research into Carngie Melon's.


Last day of school

Yesterday was my last full day of school.  It really hasn't sunk in yet.  For one, unlike last year, I don't want this one to end.  I really love the kids I've had this year, even my 5th period class.  Okay, I could do without my 7th period.  They weren't bad, I just couldn't ever get them to be serious about their work.  They always had something else to do.

I got a very good evaluation -- the best I've gotten for years, though we all lost points when our school was on the NCLB Unacceptable Yearly Progress list.

I am really looking forward to summer.  I'm going to be writing our district finals for our Visual Basic class and going to staff development and that's all.  And because I won the STEM Award, I don't have to work unless I want to.  I am thinking about doing a short term web design contract.

All in all, it's been one of my best years of teaching.


I DID IT!

I've been careful posting because I've been up for an award from my school district.

I applied for and won the TI STEM Award.  I go to the Board Meeting on Thursday for recognization, and another opportunity in August.

But here's the good news!  It's $5,000 for myself, and $5,000 for my classroom.

One of the things I'm trying to do, is to go to the Carnegie Melon AP Workshop on July 7, then the CS4HS Workshop, and then Alice Workshop.  The means being away from my "family" for 21 days.

I've already decided if I go, I'm taking my truck and one of my dogs.  Twice I've gone to Carnegie Melon on the cheap, where I flew in hours before the workshop, had not transportation and worst yet, no dogs.

I will only take one.  So far, I'm looking at an Extended Stay of America hotel.  They did tell me that the traffic is bad because you have to go throuh a tunnel.

Another option would be stay on campus and find a pet sitter near the campus where I could visit with her in the evenings. 

I'm also going to get a Microsoft software subscription for my classroom.

I'm still shopping for everything else.


How do you handle this

I had two people observing my 4th period class today.  Channel One comes on at the beginning of the class period -- now, I could have unplugged the TV before they came, but I chose not to.

When the bell rang, I told them -- we start the class period with Channel One that period, so we're pretty informal.

Like most days, some of the students watched Channel One.  Some checked on their assignments that I had graded and returned yesteday.  Some were doing email.  There was an interesting segment with the Govenator talking about how technology and environmentalism can work together to make being green economical which I pointed out to the kids.

When Channel One was over, I answered a few questions about yesterday's work.  Once that was wrapped up, I started the lesson -- we started a new unit, so I showed a Power Point presenation -- did questions and answers, etc.

So then I cut the students lose to work on their assignments.  I see one young man instant messaging -- he says it's his mom.  I read the screen and they were talking about ripping up carpet.  Not normal kid stuff -- so I said:  Well tell mom I said hi -- and that I also said you needed to get back to work.  He typed that in AND did get back to work.

Wonder how the observaters felt about that....


Man, I'm glad I'm not an administrator

Here's the deal.  You have 3 teachers in teaching area 1 and one is retiring.  You have 4 teachers in teaching area 2 and none are leaving.  Both areas are electives.  You have to reduce head count because your school is downsizing.

So here are your choices:

Keep everyone who wants to stay at your school and move the students you can not accommodate in teaching area 1 into teaching area 2.

RIF a teacher from area 2 and hire a new teacher for area 2.  And here are your choices in the RIF:  You have two 20+ year teachers, one of which will probably retire next year.  Of course, she said that last year.  One has been in the school for three years, for two of those years his nickname was coach and he hasn't changed his teaching style.  The fourth is a very hard worker, and pitches in when she is needed.

In my opinion you're better off keeping what you have and know, rather than bringing someone new, especially since turn over is high in both areas.

Sadly, the people in teaching area 1 can't see the forest for the trees.

Like I said, I'm glad it isn't my job.


Cross Your Fingers -- Mine are

I'm up for a district award and tomorrow they are coming to my classroom to help choose who is going to be a finalist.  They are going to observe for 30 minutes.

It's a district, teaching with technology award.  %5.000 for me, $5,000 for the classroom.  I'm one of 12 semifinalist, and they are picking 7 finalists.

I have done a little shopping -- first, since some of the money is for staff development, I'm hoping to go to Carnegie-Melon this summer to three workshops in a row.  An AP workshop, the CS4HS workshop and an Alice workshop.

Other good things have happened lately, I got picked for my favorite summer project which is to write our district final -- this year for Visual Basic.  I've done Webmastering and PreAP in the past, and I've been wanting to do the Visual Basic for a while.

I'm also getting a chance to do some Kagan training.  We've got two days scheduled (and paid) for the two days after Memorial Weekend.

I'm also kicking around the idea of doing some web development for pay this summer, I looked at Monster and there seems to be quite a few short term contract jobs available.