Monday, March 2, 2015

A Little Nonsense with Dr. Seuss

Today would have been Dr. Seuss's eleventy-first birthday.

Dr. Seuss held a very important place in my childhood--like so many kids! 

I even performed a dramatic reading of The Cat in the Hat for speech in one of my high school English classes.

And I can't tell you how many times my own kids asked me to read Hop on Pop, and Green Eggs and Ham, and--our favorite--One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Dr. Seuss's wild, whimsical imagination continues to inspire me to this very day. His artwork and lyric prose still bring me great joy.

The quote below came from a list from mental_floss that I saw this morning. I mashed it up with a free-hand drawing by one of my ridiculously talented students.

Here's to a little "nonsense" for your day. 

May you embrace a little fantasy and enjoy extra laughter today!

Drawing by Anna Krygsheld, photo by Dave Mulder, with text from the illustrious Dr. Seuss overlaid.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 20

An empty baggie?

I have this baggie in my desk. It is empty. I can't remember when I put it in there either. But it's a sign of my frugality, and my packrat nature. Because I'm sure I'll find some use for it!

I remember one of my education professors--nearly 20 years ago--telling us that "good teachers are 'scroungers'...they are always on the look out for things that could be used for teaching a lesson." I guess I embody that. I have so much stuff that has made it's way into my desk drawers "because I might use it someday," it's almost ridiculous.

I've been writing each day this month about something I have in my desk. Usually there is a story involved. Almost always there is something I can connect to some part of my teaching practice. Rarely are things just..."there."

I have a bunch more junk I could keep writing about, but all good things must come to an end. This series of posts has been an awful lot of fun for me, and it was a different twist on what I usually do on the blog; this is normally just a place for me to work out my thinking on whatever it is I've been reading about, or researching, or doing in my teaching practice lately. Thanks to those of you who have commented, or interacted with me on Twitter or Facebook, or even stopped me in the hallway to share your reactions to this series. That is the best part of all for me: when I get feedback from you folks on the things I'm putting into pixels here.

So as a thank you, here are eight more weird things I have in my desk, just to keep you wondering...

Do you clip your nails in class? Ewww! (I don't...)

A finger-flinger rocket...that has potential for lots of lessons!

Mmmmm...freeze dried coffee crystals... (I don't drink this stuff.)
Because everyone should have a rubber ear in their desk...

Sometimes pliers come in handy.

A bag of shredded cash...approximately $165 in this bag...

An inflatable microphone should be part of every teacher's bag of tricks. 

Looney Tunes are the best! That Coyote and Roadrunner...physics lessons!

So there you go, teachers. Consider becoming a "scrounger," if you aren't one already. Start stashing that weird junk someplace in your classroom. You never know when a rubber ear, or a bag of shredded cash, or a recycled sandwich bag will be just the thing you need for that lesson.

Keep it weird, my friends.


(This post is part of a series about the weird stuff teachers have in their desk drawers. You can read more about this project here, and I hope you'll share the stories of the weird stuff you have in your desk too!)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 19

Snack time!

I am told--by people who love me very much--that I can be an unpleasant person when I get hungry.

"Hangry" has become a word. Hungry + angry. That is, unfortunately, often the case for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 18

A stack of little papers...

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I'm a technophile. I love gadgets, and I'm always interested in learning something new. I regularly experiment with new technologies in my teaching practice too, so I've tried a lot of techie things to find out what my students know and understand. I've used Edmodo, and Socrative, and PollEverywhere, and Padlet, and others, I'm sure. And I've had success with each of these, actually. They do different things, and they have different strengths and weaknesses, so I use them in different ways. But all of them are good for what we call "formative assessment." (Just a little education jargon for your day...)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 17

How many CDs do you still have laying around?

It's interesting how educational technologies continue to shift and evolve. I wrote a bit about this a couple weeks ago when I was thinking about the filmstrip I have in my desk drawer.

Today I noticed that I have a spindle pack of blank CD's in there too.

My laptop has a CD drive. I'm trying to remember the last time I used it to actually play a CD or read information off of a CD-ROM...and I can't remember. Maybe last summer? Maybe it was the summer before that!

Remember these babies?
Image by Nafija55 [CC BY-SA 3.0]
I remember, back in 1998 when I first heard about Apple's then brand-new computer, the iMac, and thinking how crazy it was that they didn't have a disk drive. Remember floppy disks? I'm old enough to remember when floppy disks were still floppy. By the time I was in high school and college, they were instead rigid plastic. Today, the only example most kids have to picture a "floppy disk" is the symbol on the "Save" button in their word processor. (I once actually had a student ask my why that symbol was used for "save." I had to go scrounging through some boxes to find a "floppy" to show him. This was five years ago already...)

Okay, so Steve Jobs was a man ahead of his time, able to see the future day when we wouldn't need a floppy disk anymore. But how about the CD? I have this partial spindle pack of blank CD-ROMs in my drawer in case I need to back things up...but when was the last time I did that? I can't remember.

I also have several of these babies in my desk drawer:

When I was Tech Coordinator, I lived and died by the 32 GB flashdrive I kept on my keychain. It had all of my mission critical files, and they came with me all the time, just in case I needed them at a moment's notice. (And of COURSE I kept a back up copy, off campus, just in case...)

But I was looking at this flash drive, and I couldn't even remember what I had saved on it, because I wasn't sure the last time I had plugged it in to my computer. (Interesting collection of old files on this one...but I won't get into that.)

Today, most of my documents are saved and backed up in "the cloud"--saved on some other computer someplace else on the internet. Yes, I still keep files on my hard drive. But find I keep stashing more and more things out in the weird network of computers that collectively make up the internet.

I have this headset in my desk drawer too. I use it when I'm making instructional videos, so I have better audio quality. (If you'd really like to see an example, here's one I made to teach one of my classes some things about the history of middle level schools, which I created for my Middle School Curriculum and Instruction course.)

Why share this? I make enough audio and video files these days that my hard drive could be filled many times over if I were to save them all on my laptop. So I save them in the cloud--on YouTube, in the example above.

This has me wondering a bit about what's next? We went from "floppy" floppy disks, to "rigid" floppy disks, to CDs, to DVDs, to flashdrives, to the cloud in less than 30 years. What will the next 30 years hold?

And will we still use the image of a floppy disk to indicate "this is the button to click to save your work?"


(This post is part of a series about the weird stuff teachers have in their desk drawers. You can read more about this project here, and I hope you'll share the stories of the weird stuff you have in your desk too!)

Monday, February 23, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 16

Is that a banana chip?

This well-worn guitar pick is in my desk drawer amidst a tangle of paperclips and rubber bands. I know I've had this one for quite a while because the point is rounded and the printing is completely worn off. I must have used this one quite a lot.

I started playing the guitar at age 16. I can play all right...but I'm no rockstar. I can play almost anything that I have chords for, but I'm just strumming along, you know? I'm not the lead guitar in the band, if you will.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 15

"Oh...did you need to go back to your locker?"

Did you need a hall pass to leave class when you were in school?

In high school, we had these little slips of paper that teachers were supposed to fill out if you were going to be traveling the halls of school, indicating that you had permission to be out of class. I know a few of my teachers got sick of filling out those little forms, and took matters into their own hands. One had a 2-foot section of a piece of 2x4 lumber with his name written on it that served as a hall pass. Another took things a step further: since most kids were headed to the bathroom, his hall pass was...a toilet seat. (Classy, right? Unfortunately, I can see myself doing that too...)