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June 2008

CS&IT Symposium by CSTA

The only thing wrong with this, was that it was too short!  The keynotes were all great, the message is that enrollment is close to an all time low, especially girl enrollment. 

In my opinion, it is our job to get them into our classroom doors.  The good news is that all the sessions I went to focused on that. I went to a session on using Games (of course), one on using Dot Net Nuke which might be good for the new class, a sesson on Alice, and a session on using Open Source

Dan Reed was the opening speaker and Maria Klawe was the closing speaker.

Finally food was great, we were fed breakfast, lunch and two snacks.

Definately worth the $40 registration fee and the cost of getting there.  By the way, I did it as a day trip and it worked really well, I had booked the first flight of the day and it got me there 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.  I hopped in a cab, and got there in no time.  At the end of the day, I hopped in to another cab and made it back.  There were flight delays due to weather, but I was able to get my reservation booked to an earlier flight, so got home about 20 minutes before my flight actually arrived in Dallas.


Made it to CSTA Symposium! Keynote: Claims liberal arts as it solves problems. Challenge: adds more concepts without eliminating old concepts. Numbers of majors and female in field is dismal. Why? Make money and fun things to do. CS is about problem solving. money is not the primary issue. Liberal arts of 21st century.


Made it to CSTA Symposium! Keynote: Claims liberal arts as it solves problems. Challenge: adds more concepts without eliminating old concepts. Numbers of majors and female in field is dismal. Why? Make money and fun things to do. CS is about problem solving. money is not the primary issue. Liberal arts of 21st century.

Third week of summer break

I ended up in the hospital Saturday through Monday, then sent home and not able to drive for two days.  My first day out was Thursday was which a full day of staff development.  I had a meeting scheduled at my school but only two other people showed up.  Then I went to work on my final, writing questions all day, and I turned in the Spring Semester exam.  I also went over the output of the Fall semester exam on Thursday and discovered they lost half of the questions.

Oh, and the most exciting part, is that I was assigned the Spring semester of our curriculum.  That means more money, but I spent Monday through Wednesday working on it.

Staff Development

Almost forgot to blog about this -- I just went through a district required staff development in my subject area -- and taught a lot of it.  We spent the morning on curriculum and my specialist went through the background.  Then he showed off my curriculum and let everyone have a chance to edit it.

I did the afternoon, showing Raptor and giving everyone a chance to use it.  Then had a discussion on some of the harder parts of the TEKS  to teach and test.  Then I showed off some of the programs I've written lately using Visual Basic.

Alfred Thompson and Microsoft was the biggest hit, he gave everyone there access to the MSDN High School program.

On the way to CSTA

CSTA = Computer Science Teachers Association

I'm at Love Field waiting for the plane to board.  They have some really nice chairs that provide both regular outlets and USB outlets.

Also,since I have ATT Uverse, I get the Wifi for free.  Nice deal.

TSA was great, they actually brought my bins off the line and put them with me when they wanded me.

So far, my plan is working -- that is fly in for the CSTA Symposium, for the day. 

Love Camtasia

I don't use it enough.  My usual use is to record a classroom demonstration so students can look at it later.  Its nice, as they pause, etc.

I've also used it to do some power point presentations for the other teachers in my building, I have no idea if they ever look at them, but oh, well.

So here's the deal, I'm in the hospital, flunked a nuclear stress test, have to have a catherization done, and while I'm waiting, I'm working on my Computer Science curriculum.

So I already have it installed on my notebook.

I started out by created a couple of Power Points and then used Camtasia to record the presentation, like I've done for our staff.  Piece of cake, but then I got real adventurous and created a whole movie with Title slides, transitions, etc.

Hopefully you can see it here.  The nice part, I'm using the built-in microphone and it seems to only be picking up my voice, not hospital noise.


State pushes for stricter rules on alternative certification teacher programs

I will start out by saying that I am a traditionally trained teacher. 

I got tired of being sexually harassed, mostly mentally but on a couple of occasions physically.  I also got tired of working 24/7.  I was suffering from sleep deprivation which in my case, looks a lot like rapid cycling manic depression.

I took almost a year off and did the dog thing, teaching obedience classes and bathing dogs for a dog groomer "friend".  Evaluated and decided the things I liked the most and the way, I could get there the quickest was teaching Computer Science and Math.

I did try the alternative certification plan for Dallas ISD, but my undergraduate GPA wasn't high enough.  I also tried getting an emergency certificate, but like this year, that year DISD had too many teachers.  So I went back to school as a certification candidate and as a grad student.  I didn't have the undergraduate grades to get in but I aced the GRE.  I was on probation for several semesters.

I will proudly say that I earned a 4.0 in every class except student teaching, and got a "B" because I mixed my  experiences (thankfully), I did half in Mathematics, Middle School, hated it but got an "A", and half in CS, high school.  Since the supervising teacher was not certified in CS, she got even and gave me a "C".  I think she was a bit afraid I'd take her job since I would end up certified.

The State Board for Educator Certification, or SBEC, which licenses teachers, is considering a new rule requiring alternative certification programs to accept only students who maintained a 2.5 grade-point average or better in college.

State pushes for stricter rules on alternative certification teacher programs | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News

I can't complete knock the AC program, but the percentage of quality teachers from that program seems low.  I'm often surprised about who succeeds -- one that comes in mind is one who has the most negative attitude I've ever seen, has an extremely high failure rate, and obviously would rather be home with her baby.  I avoid this woman as she sucks the positive right out of me.

I've mentored and assisted in preparing quite a few.  For several weeks while teaching summer school a few years ago,  I had two follow me around and suck my brain out.  Not sure what happened to them.  The ones I've mentored in my subject area never seem to stay very many years.

I'm also a bit scared of online courses, though I will admit my Master's Degree is a combo face-to-face and online course.  It's CECS, Computer Education and Cognitive Studies and a great deal of the focus was on teaching online, so it does make sense that at least part of our course was online.  And hey, I have taught an online course for the district, and believe you me, that kiddo was prepared for the next course.

So I'm for the stricter rules.  We tortured quite a few Algebra I students this year with a couple of AC's that are moving on.


Alfred is going for the whole trip:

I’ll start on Saturday the 28th with the annual CS & IT Symposium.

Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson


However, I'm only going to be there for the above event.  Hopefully, because I've got a flight via Southwest Airlines that should get me there for registration, and am taking the last flight of the day.  I'm REAL busy, will be blogging on that soon.

Look me up there! 

Money Frustrations

One of the biggest frustrations for me lately, is getting paid by the district.  I get my regular salary just fine, and anything I do that is tracked by our biometric clock is fine.  However, reimbursements and pay for non-clock work is a whole other story.  Right now, the district owe me about $1500.  Almost $500 is for a workshop that they paid for, but sent to the wrong address. They even got reimbursed by the state. My office manager put a stop payment on the check  and it was never cashed.  We sent in the receipts, and the department responsible gave us the wrong line item for the expense. Finally the school decided to reimbursement with building funds and I still haven't seen the money.


The next problem is an extra class I taught last year, online. I had kids, one finished the class even and it took months to get a grade recorded on the transcript.  However, we put the paperwork in last year, and I still haven't seen the money.  Frustrating because I have projects that are waiting on the money.


If you count the IRS rebate, and the workshop last week, someone in the world claims they are sending me somewhere $3500.00  Man is it frustrating!