Sunday, November 30, 2008

371.33 Blog Anniversary: Two Years and Counting...

This blog is two years old this holiday weekend. I am fast running out of time to meet the anny deadline, but I am getting it started and will write on it a bit all day as I shoe-horn it in between life in general and the list I set for myself over this long weekend!

I am proud that it exists and that it is two years and counting. In the past I was not comfortable with my writing and very little exits, but this does...mostly because I could write down thoughts to be "used" by others. In my mind that makes it possible to accomplish because it is (hopefully) for the benefit of others.

There is very little original thought here. I simply report what I find or that others share with me (and thousands of others.) One of the BEST things about the online world...the possibility of sharing!

This second year has been a busy one. My team and I came across the 23 Things phenomena that has been making the rounds so we created our own version and have conducted it far! The first go-round of Library2Play included about half of our campus librarians, a few district teachers, an administrator, and a few brave souls from around the state who heard about it thru the Internet grapevine. THEN we repeated it in the summer...where we were joined by 300 district librarians, teachers, and several administrators along with educators from a wider state circle and 3 other states! What a terrific experience these encounters were and continue to be...several participants have kept their blogs active and share their online adventures with all of us.

I got to attend NECC this year, basically because it was right down I-10 in San Antonio and I went to the EduBloggers' thing the Saturday before the official conference began. I got to be in the same room with SO many of the bloggers who I have admired from was a BLAST!! It was THE highpoint of this two-year experience. And the rest of the conference was an adventure itself!

And yes, I do consider myself a part (a tiny part, but a part nevertheless) of the revolution in learning!

And of course, there was that little event in December which gave me an opportunity to visit a bit in Second Life...all of it... from the "surprise" beginning to the virtual world visit was so surreal.

I have gotten to meet so many wonderful people thru the blog...first establishing a relationship online and then thru events like TLA Conference, NECC and staff development trainings, I have had opportunities for face-to-face encounters. Several have become long-distance friends now. The blog will also be the vehicle to keep up with one special friend who been transplanted east...WAY east. I will get to see her sing and dance and watch her grow! O, yeah and keep up with her mom, too! :-)

Animoto remains my favorite tool...not necessarily the most effective or efficient tool in my toolbox, but it is so fun...and gets better and better! I couldn't live without my Reader, my various wikis that I have created to park various bits of info and Google Docs. Most of it all relates back to my blogging experiences in some form or fashion.

Now we are trying to experience FAceBook from an educator's point of view and how we can help students use it properly and safely. I'm a bit behind the circle with this particular social networking tool because it's just a tad too much for me...tends to be too "up close and personal," but I have put it on my list...and yes, that includes going thru the long list of friends-in-waiting!

And games... we are trying to show how games of all kinds belong in the library and the educational plans of our kids today. I love the Wii...bowling is my favorite right now, but gosh, every time I turn around TV shows us something new! I spent a fun afternoon recently watching kids fool around with Guitar fun it was! Card games, board games, online games...they all belong. Watch...I'll be writing about some as time goes by.

Both personal and professional things took time away from my blogging fun. I hope to get things back on track and keep up a little better and a little more regularly. Looking forward to what awaits. Hope you will continue to check in and keep the conversation going.

Here's to Three!

005.2 Animoto: In a Word or Two, the Fun Continues

My favorite fun just gets better and better!

The folks at Animoto recently added the capability of adding text to your creations.
It does cost you a picture here and there if you are using the free 30-second version, but you can solve that by either paying the 30 bucks a year for longer ones or going after the educational "scholarship."

A few days before that, they added a preview feature so that you can look at the details of your pictures while in the design stage. A nice feature...especially if you are trying to decide which one or two has to go to make room for the text.

And now they are teasing that December 2nd holds another new feature...

Here is my not-so-great first attempt to use the text feature. The pictures are just pictures, but I will find another reason to use the catchy litte tune again!

759.4 Can You Picasso? ANOTHER Fun Generator

I just love the adventure of the Internet! Especially when one of the guides leads you to something as fun as creating your own Picasso-like drawing! Go have some fun with Mr. PicassoHead. You are viewing my results.

You can send your creations to others (or yourself.) You can post in the site's gallery. There are only 790,000+ images...created since 2003!
To capture it, you will have to use that magic "print screen" key and an old friend like a PPT screen. (at least that's how I manage it.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

'Tis the Season to be Thankful

I'm going to take a few minutes and write a very personal post. You won't learn anything new...except that I have many reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

I am healthy...crippled, yes, but basically healthy. Stairs are a nightmare, but mostly it's my own fault. Didn't do some things I probably should have and did some things I shouldn't have done at all...hauling huge loads of books AND TVs!!

I have a pretty new-to-me little treehouse that is all mine. I can paint it whatever color I want and put as many nail holes into it I want. If I could just find the last few cubby holes for a few more treasures, then it would be perfect. I really did get rid of lots of stuff...I really did, I promise. That is my goal for the break...the top of the dining room table will be clear and the door to the study will open all the way.

My family basically had two birthday seasons a year and the Thanksgiving turkey often shared the table with a birthday cake or terrible rendition of the birthday song. always added an interesting twist to the holiday. (In case you were wondering, the other season involved a bunny and lots of eggs.)

November has also become a season of remembering. My mom has been gone almost a year. It's hard to believe it's been a year and just how much I missed her. Crazy as it sounds, I think baseball season was actually the hardest time...and the series just came and went. It just wasn't the mom loved baseball. My niece and nephew lost their mom a few years ago this month as well...they are great kids and my brother is a super parent, but I know this time in November holds many thoughts of the way things were for them all as well.

Today my baby brother would have been 53 under normal circumstances. But he left us when he was only 29. I miss him as much today as I did the first day that terrible day in July so long ago. His son missed a lot. He was one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever know but I think I miss laughing at his stories the most. He could make me laugh SO hard it hurt.

I am thankful these people were in my life...for a little while or a lifetime.

I am lucky to have two great kids...they drive me crazy at all the appropriate times that kids do...even now that they are grown women, but I love them to pieces and to the very bottom of my heart.

My family, crazy as they are, are mine and I love them all...and all their craziness! I definitely belong to the right family!

I have a fun and interesting job that just brings all kinds of adventures to my little world. I have done lots of fun and interesting "stuff" (ok--yes, there have a been a few boring moments, but just a few.) I have learned a lot and found some new friends in new and different ways!

So my family, my friends, my work, my peaceful life.
I THANK my lucky stars I'm me!

741.5 Comic Book Generator: Check Out the Possibilities

I was introduced to a comic book generator and some online comics from a site called MashOn. Click on Spore on the menu bar to get to the generator. Click on comic strips to get one of 3 sets of strips: Chaotic, Holiday, or Urbaniacs. I have not checked yet (ok--I have forgotten!) to check and see if it is available in district, but it looks worthy of some time even if it is only available away from school. [Hurray! it is open in district!]

No I haven't actually made a comic...yet.

If you have noticed, I haven't had much blogging time either, but I did want to get this site out there so all you adventurous souls can try it out after the turkey dinner is eaten, your favorite football team has fallen in defeat, and the mall holds no interest on Black Friday.

I have be advised that it is kid-friendly. How young-friendly it is, I'm not sure. I am not even sure if registration is a requirement to creating something or added benefit to what you can and can not do on the site.

So, please go try it and see what you think...share what you think!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

371.22 Videostreaming For the Younger Set

Last week, I was told this site existed so I went to see what it is all about. TOTLOL is for younger children and their parents to share the "funny" video experience. It is powered by YouTube and includes videos rated by parents as safe and appropriate for the younger children in the family. Here is the background behind the site which just launched about two weeks ago.

A check search thru the videos shows that animals and pets are a big part of the collection. I'm sure there are many other things that I will find when I return again. I selected this video because I too have a dog with a crazy habit. Enjoy!
There are some "learning" videos included on the preview page as well...look like pre-reading and vocabulary building activities.

The site does not include file info (that I can find yet), so I can't put the video up here, but I'll be watching to see if things change.
I will be checking to see if it is available in district initial thoughts are that it is not, at least for now, because of its association to YouTube.
Update: It is NOT available in district (for now anyway)
I will be adding it to our recently created wiki page of early childhood materials so others can check it out as well.