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June 2009

May 2009

End of the Year - Summer Plans

Yesterday was our last full day and I finished grading this morning.  Whew!

It's been a rough year.  Kids rarely met my expectations -- with some notable exceptions. Being Campus Technologist was HUGE hurdle, but I think I finally have it under control.  We'll see as we close out.

Nothing not quite like sitting in a meeting, watching a training video from the district, and it says, "If you have any questions ask your Teacher Tech" -- which by the way isn't our title, but tell everyone watching the video that. -- and you haven't heard one word about the program and have no training.  Oh, and that afternoon had to leave school training to get training on the program.  Talk about a cluster.  Oh, and the issue would cost people's job is they didn't do it.

I have to give the French finals -- that's interesting since the district finals count towards Classroom Effective Indexes and that is giving the district to right to fire, we can't give our own any more.  Oh, and don't forget I write my subjects ... not that I ever remember what I put on the test six months later.  Concepts yes, exact questions, will no.

Student last day is Wednesday, my last day on campus is Thursday.

I've finished and turned in 8th grade curriculum, though I might look at it again this weekend.

I'm in the middle of working on the MIddle School Girl's camp. The one I am supposed to teach might not happen, and if so, that's okay. Yes, I'll be disappointed and I'm sure Ill still get some hours out of it, but I'm not really a middle school person.

Still writing district finals.

Have two workshops in July.

And yes, as I explained to someone in the hall -- there is no such thing as "Weaver Free Time", but you are welcome to come carve out a slice of time for yourself any time you want.

Recruiting more students

I was in the library today working on activating Rosetta Stone <snarl> and the kids next to me were playing a game on the computer.  I was shocked as it was not blocked... 

Anyway, I started a conversation with the two guys and said, hey, you need to take my class next year. 


" I already took a computer class and I don't need to take another."

I snorted at him and said, well, I teach cool stuff and you didn't learn anything cool in that class."

He said he learned Word, Powerpoint and Excel and that was enough.

I walked off shaking my head.

So who is teaching these children this garbage and how do I counteract it?

I know I need to be more visible around the students, this year, I have been so teacher focused, I haven't gotten a chance to know any kids, even the ones in my classroom, so that's my first vow.

First Computer Course vs PreAP Computer Science Course

Several weeks ago, Alfred Thompson was asking what should be included in a PreAP course, and I answered that the programming language used should be the same that is on the test (currently Java).

I feel very strongly that the purpose of a PreAP Computer Science course is to be the first half of AP Computer Science.  Because of our scheduling, PreAP is for students who have already been identified as talented and gifted. They are also students who are concurrently enrolled in Algebra I.  This does not make me happy as it means I get a lot of immature 9th graders in the class.  My class is the only TAG identified elective so there are a lot of kids who take the class who don't want to. Immature 9th graders, even TAG ones, are a pain when they are not happy.  For one, they won't try things.

On the other hand, I've written the curriculum for a Middle School Girls camp, which I am getting ready to teach as the lead technical person.  I've also written the curriculum for a six weeks of programming for Middle School and have written a proposal for a 9th grade Introduction to Instructional Technology class.  

I feel completely different about these courses as opposed to PreAP.  I'm hoping to take load off the AP Course by teaching PreAP the way I do.

I've suggested Alice for all three of these courses. 

In the Middle School Girl's camp, I'm hoping to get to loops.  I'm hoping to get to Events in the Middle School course, and I am hoping to get all through Alice with High School. 

I'm also introducing Web Page design in all three courses and introducing multimedia in all three courses.  All courses we do offer at the high school level.

I'll let you know in a month how the middle school girl's camp goes.

Dallas Good Kid: George 'Ross' Shwarts of Hillcrest | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | North Dallas/Addison News

One of my favorite kids -- I'm still really proud of myself for sending him home last year when he was sick. Come to find out he is was in the middle of an appenditis attack.

Quoted from

Dallas Good Kid: George 'Ross' Shwarts of Hillcrest | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | North Dallas/Addison News

Dallas Good Kid: George 'Ross' Shwarts of Hillcrest

Love my Chumby even more!

The final piece of the puzzle -- being able to edit the Chumby alarms is finally happening -- see this thread --

It works like a champ and very customizable.  I have mine set up now so not only does it display the alarms, but also tells me which Chumby I am playing with.

Sad though, old broken chumby is definately broken.  Screen is at very brightest and not near as bright as the new Chumbys and believe me, I'll be sending new Chumbys back the moment they have a problem and are still under warranty.

I'm noticing more and more of the old Chumby's are sick and dying, which is sad, but they are over two years old and have been on  24/7.

Indy and Technolgoy

I grew up in Indiana and spent most of the month of May, at least the weekends, in Indianapolis.  Actually AT Indy.

I know that we camped in the campground, and we always had tickets in the infield.  Now we didn't always have tickets for race day, but we always were in the infield for the practice and carb day.

I also know I've been in every place at Indy except gasoline alley.  Why?  Because I am female, and even little girls were not allowed in Gasoline Alley.  I know a few times I had to wait outside for day, but I wasn't allowed in.

This year has been different -- partly because of Charlie Kimball, he's been blogging and twittering about his first Indy Lights race there.  I've also been following Sarah Fisher on Twitter and IndyTalk and it really adds to the indy experience.

Who knows maybe next year we'll go to the Texas Indy (it's here in the Dallas area, next weekend).

I think it was great Helio won again, and kicked everyone's butt.  I also think Danica had her best Indy ever, as did all the women racing.  I was really glad to see all the ladies race just like ladies, not screwing up, or causing wrecks.

In fact, several of the wrecks were caused by offspring with what we call at our house "too much name, too much car, not enough driver".

How I Twitter when I am away from Twitter Most of Day

Have I said I love Twitter lately? I love Twitter.  A lot.

However, I don't get to twitter most of the day.  I teach high school, and that involves most of my energy throughout the day.  I also do dog agility -- which is one whole evening I'm off the grid.

So how do I keep up.

First, I have some people I want to see all of their tweets -- Alfred Thompson, Clint Rutkas, my sister, and a few others.  I've got unlimited text messages and I have those people on the mobile phone.  I'll check on them periodically if I get a breath during the day, plus I have one place with all their tweets.

I'm also got set up for people who really send quality tweets. That service will send you an email periodically with a list of that person's twits.  I think you can do it by subject too.  Haven't played with it that much.

And my favorite twitter client -- TwInbox at  It's an add-in for Outlook and lets you filter out twits and do everything else you can do with Outlook messages.

And yes, I love Outlook too!

TRS Active Care -- LOVE IT!

I love TRS Active care -- I am answering this because another teacher on Twitter asked.

I have always gotten max coverage, doesn't matter which employer I worked with.  I've been with Dallas ISD for 16 years, and we've had okay coverage until TRS Active Care.

I think the last plan we had was Aetna, and I'm really glad we left A.  (From their commercia -- Aetna, Glad to Meetcha, not so much).  I had a major battle getting my insulin pump covered.

I have TRS Active Care - Teir 3.  Since we've been with them, they have covered 2 insulin pumps with absolutely no problems.  In fact, this one they upgraded a month early.

Last summer I was in the emergency room and hospital for a 3 day stay and total cost was less than $500.00  I had already met my copay.

Here's a list of things I've had coverage for with no problems:

  • 2 insulin pumps and their assorted supplies
  • 1 AutoPap Machine (for sleep apnea) and all supplies, they cover new masks very frequently I am thinking 3 months.
  • Cardiac Catherization and complete workups ever couple of years.  There was one item they didn't cover, which I did do.  Cardiologist wanted it, primary care physcian thought it was experimental -- it was something they do to keep from doing the catherazation.
  • Lap Band surgery which I am currently dealing with and it is costing me total less than $750.  That includes the cost of jumping through the hoops -- 6 months medically supervised diet came out of pocket.
  • Symvist in knees and physical therapy.  I think that worked, but I have to really hurt before I go back for that.
  • Chiropractic care for shoulder

Medco -- the pharmacy plan -- drives me absolutely nuts.  I've blogged about Medco at  My favorite is that they spend more money shipping a $15.00 birth control injection than they do for $600.00 of insuln or Symlin.

While I am at it, i also recommend doing the Flexible Savings Plan.  I just recently maxed out that -- and it is super.

Here how it works in our district.  You tell them to take out money for Flexible Saving Plan.  Pretax dollars.  You get a credit card.  You use the credit card to pay for everything until it's maxed out. I maxed out this month.  Note that I still have medical expenses coming so I have to now pay for them with regular payments. Also note that I was able to spend the money before it was all put in.

LOVE TRS ACTIVE CARE!  Especially the Tier 3 BCBS Version.   Would NOT work for a school district without it.

My Review of Performance T-Shirt - Short & Long Sleeve



Available with short or long sleeves, this is the ultimate t-shirt for today's active lifestyle! The incredibly popular SeV Performance T-Shirt combines comfort and good looks with the...

Love it - Perfect for Insulin Pumpers

Kath Dallas, Texas 5/20/2009


5 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Lightweight, Stylish, Comfortable, Breathable, Perfect for insulin pump, I get lots of compliments

Best Uses: Warm Weather, Anytime

Describe Yourself: Frequent Exerciser

I love mine -- I wear an insulin pump and the bottom pocket is perfect for hiding it and the tubing. Just thread your tubing through the button hook.


Summer is coming together nicely

I'm going to teach Middle School Girls Technology Camp, two different weeks in June (two sets of girls).

I'm going to write district ACP's and district curriculum.

In July, I'm going to Virginia for a Tapestry Workshop which pays $1000, and a week later go to a Media Computation Workshop that pays $200.

And I have some time to relax and reflect for a change.   Maybe.