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August 2009
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October 2009

September 2009

My job is NUTS

The campus technology part.

Absolutely insane.

I've finally stopped working from my email and am working from a real live ToDo list that I can get to anywhere.  That helps.

Here's the deal.  I officially get 45 minutes to do tech stuff each day.  I have a huge list of things to do, even working full time on campus tech stuff I'd never get it done.  It just expands.

As it is, I usually do about 30 minutes of desk work each morning (emails, trouble tickets, etc.)  Since I can't eat lunch (see other blog), I end up working both 4th and 5th period doing tech stuff and it often bleeds into my planning period.

Okay, it almost ALWAYS bleeds into my planning period.

So here's how it works, I spend most of the day working campus tech, sometime during 7th period I declare that we are "out of weaver" and I go home and spend another hour or two on the computer working on it.  Tonight was no exception.

At least I stopped and took time to get a flu shot.


One sign of a bad day?

I don't check my personal email until 9th period. (Yeah, we have that many now).

Started out with a parent conference called by the parents.  I jokely said "Oh, this is torture, Jane today!"  Yeah, it was (oh, and her name isn't Jane, and her parents aren't the Does).

When I finally tracked down her counselor, I told her, if I had been alone in the room with just parents and girl, I would have taken girl to my house and called CPS.

Couselor assured me it was being dealt with.  And one of the other teachers followed me upstairs and was equally upset.

Then technology period was supposed to be set up the new website but

I got grabbed in the hall and drug into a portable -- seems a kid had uploaded a Trojan horse and the teacher couldn't take attendance as a result.  I thought I fixed it but nope.

So I downloaded my old standby, Spybot Scan and Destroy and I think it's gone now.

Fun day.


Alice with Remedial Math Students

It's been an interesting 5 weeks.

I started out with less than 10 students in each of the three classes.  We have severe behavior issues, and they sure didn't want another study hall.  Neither did I.

Then I woke up and there were over 20 kids in each class.  ARGH.  I got smart and asked that the class be closed and I haven't had any more.

Oh, and I ended up in the principal's office over one child's behavior.

There is no way on earth I can have these kids work in groups and work independently.  They can't sit still in a chair for 5 minutes.  Some of them can't do it without hitting the person next to them. 

My first bright idea was to have them make a movie.  I think 10 of have been turned in (yeah, do the math).

I finally decided to have them do Alice and started it today.

The good news, once I kicked one kid out for 10 minutes, 2nd period was absolutely quiet.  7th period had moments of pure silence, and 8th period wasn't bad, but at one point I yelled at one group and said I was sick to death of them acting up.

Yes, some kids drifted off to the internet occasionally, I drifted them back, but we did something without driving me nuts.

First assignment -- have two characters talk about a math assignment.  I picked the husky and the wolf for my example, and made a version with some talking and some bubbles.  You can talk in Alice by recording sounds in Alice though some times it crashes.  You can also have your characters 'say' something and they come in bubbles.

The best part, if you don't do the tutorial right, it won't go forward.


Making a movie with the "Free Stuff" from Windows

Here's how to use Windows Movie Maker, Paint, and Sound Recorder -- Windows XP Version but should translate to Vista easily.

So how am I using it.

I'm teaching 3 sections of Math/Science Study Skills - all these kids have a regular math class. 

The assignment is to create a movie using the free tools describing independent and dependent variables.

Today I showed them the free tools.  Went my speed and recorded it as above.   It was funny because one little gal raised her hand and said she didn't understand a word I said and I said, "Fine, I made a movie".

Feel free to play with.

It will be interesting to see what comes of it.


SharePoint Server

I am experimenting with a Share Point server and so far I really like it.

My problem is that I have a certain number of files, many of the OneNote notes that I want to be able to get to from anywhere.

I've tried keeping on a thumb drive and on a USB drive and none of that truly works well.

So I've gone to the SharePoint and so far, so good.   I'll know for sure by the end of the week, but so far, it's working like a champ.

I'm using the same people I do my exchange email with -- though in this case they do business as myhosting.com  -- the exchange email is with mail2web.com -- and the same people.


Camtasia saves the day ... twice

Twice this morning I had questions that only Camtasia could really answer for me.  One on the phone, one an email.

The phone one?  The main office was convinced we could take attendance as a Pep Rally day.  Well, we couldn't.  Pulled on the headset, did a screen recording and narrated what I was doing, produced it,  uploaded it to my ScreenCast account, emailed the link and was all good.  Not only that, but the email could be forwarded to anyone who needed to see it.

The email?  Was a question about Alice -- and where a photo might be worth a 1000 words, a movie is certainly worth more.  Again, pulled on the headset, and in less than 5 minutes, solved the problem.


The BEST Tech Support Kid EVER!

We may be sick of each other by the end of the year, and I wouldn't mind haven't another kid (and have one in mind).

The kid I have is really awesome.  I've sent him to two classes to hook up printers this week and he came back and he was done.  I also didn't get a note about his attitude. 

I also think the two of us might be able to get the inventory until control but with 5x some new computers.....

The best part, he's playing with the Scribbler Robot I bought this summer.  Yes, another project I have too little time to do.  I've got lots of other little programming/EE projects.  And yes, he wants to major as an EE, which I'm beginning to think is a good fit for him.  He's really not the CS kind of kid.

The fun part is that he was in my room as a 9th grader and as a 10th grader.  I really want him to take AP CS, I really think he can handle it this year, and I think it will look good on his transcript.  He was pretty immature as a 10th grader, but it's too week later.  I love how he has been handling the Robot project, very EE type.

I also can't wait until I see his parents again -- some of my absolute favorite people.