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November 2013
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January 2014

December 2013

Is ADHD Awareness keeping us from teaching children from focusing?

Just glancing at the New York Times article on ADHD and I have been wondering this for a long time. The single biggest problem my children have is focus. Which is a bit crazy as we have short class periods.

The worse group is been my robot kids. I continually have to remind them to pick one task, think about it only, and finish it. They wonder off to other robot tasks, other tasks, and then to completely inappropriate conversations for the classroom. Makes me nuts.

Wish the lower grades had taught them skill before sending them to me.

Why I am not doing the Hour of Code

Well, I might have my own students do something, but our class periods don't last a few hour.

I really dislike it when people take up my class time for their own agenda. Ask my husband.

It doesn't matter if it is "Take Your Daughter to Work Day", someone else's field trip, etc. I want my students in my classroom each day doing my work.

In return, I am very careful not to take students out of other people classrooms. I have signed students out of their class once, and may have to do it again this year, but at least I'll plan it in advance this time.

I also think it is too little too late for the upper grades. I wouldn't mind a program for elementary kids, as long as it is incorporated with other learning. Just don't hijack other learning.

Oh, and after seeing the look on my principal's face after mentioning his learning programming recently, I know better than to ask. It looked like my face when you mention the dentist.

How to Survive an Ice Storm, especially in Dallas

We lost power at approximately 4:00 am and again at 9:20 am. When we lost power at 4:00 am we only had part of the pole come back. We were missing completely power for about 3 hours after the 9:20 outage.

My Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB has been wonderful. Great battery life and very little drain to charge.

My Microsoft - Surface 2 with 32GB - Magnesium has been even better.

I have Prime and I have been catching up on some TV, alternating between the beagle version of Star Trek: Enterprise and Rehab Addict.

Hey, I'm a nerd, but you knew that.

I think you need to put yourself first

Paraphrasing one of my heros – Randy Pausch – Remember how the airline stewardesses always tell you to put on the oxygen mask first, then put it on those around you?

Well, that's my philosophy in teaching. I always put my own physical and mental health before my students. If I don't I won't be there when I need them. I seriously going to give up my weekly adult time for tutoring and even tried a compromise this week, and it won't work.

Now, I DO tutor every morning, and I do let kid come in and work and lunch and most of the time will answer questions – I did just say "No" to a child when I had a robot in my lap and was in the middle of showing the robot class how to program. And then explain later, I am normally good at multi-tasking but not when I have a Robot in my lap.

I very rarely say no to after school tutoring on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays, when I do, I have a meeting or I am so tired I can't see straight.

What I am turning down is the one night a week that late night busses are provided, and the kids that stay for tutoring are doing it because they are required to, and the ones in my room this Wednesday were all knuckle-heads.

It's funny how every hears "I won't tutor" when I say "I won't tutor on Wednesday evening". Added because of Facebook comment.

I also pace my class so that if you are doing your work you actually DO get free time. Not much.

I take the occasionally mental health day or physical health day – well planned, with the right sub. I take the occasional recharge conference week – TCEA in February – well planned, again with the right sub. I do an assessment when I don't feel well – if I go in, will I do more damage than good.

I take care of my house, my husband and my dogs – though one of them does a better job of taking care of me.

I do what I can to take care of my physical health though I picked the wrong parents – I go to the gym, etc.

I am irritated when people are praised for thinking of their students first but then they aren't doing those things and then fall apart at the end. Are you truly taking care of your students if you aren't taking care of yourself?

By the way, what brought this on, was a comment about a recently killed teacher: "He always thought of his student's first".

Movie Making

Last year, we had to keep a group of students in our classrooms for an extra 12 days.  Don’t ask.

I developed a short course on Movie Making.  One of our staff members even took the course himself and enjoyed it.

It’s already done and ready, with videos, instructions, etc.  For $5.00 – pay via Paypal, anyone can take the course and learn how to make movies.  It’s set up in Moodle, so if you would like the whole course as is for your own purposes, $10.00.  You can drop it in your own Moodle site, I’ll provide directions or do it for you.

Services I can provide

I was reading a post about part time jobs for teachers and realized that I have quite a few resources that I can utilize to make some extra money and help the teaching community at the same time.

First, I have access to a really good server and can either host other educators sites or teach them how to host themselves. I set up my own Moodle site at which I currently use for Staff Development. I can also set up Wordpress on the same site and teach people how to do it themselves.

I have two courses set up on Moodle and already aligned to Texas TEKs with syllabus, lesson plans, and everything needed to teach, one for Computer Science Fundamentals and one for Game Design at the entry level. I am very close to having Robotics and PreAP CS setup.

The CS courses need Stacy Armstrong's APlus Curriculum but otherwise good to go and can go on Moodle setup.

Contact me and we will get something going.