Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It's almost time for Thanksgiving! I especially enjoy this time of year because my birthday is at the end of this month! :) I can't believe it, but it has almost been a year since I fell and broke my ankle and partially dislocated my knee. Flushing the toilet with your foot, don't try that anywhere!

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Book

I've started another James Patterson book. The only time I have to read is before bed. I can't even stay awake enough to read one chapter. I honestly can't tell you what the book is about so far. Maybe some disease??

I'm so glad my master's class is over. I hoping tonight I can check my grades. I should have an "A" in the class. My next class starts in August for two weeks.

I'm ready for a break and can't wait for our Caribbean cruise in July. I've planned our shore excursions and now it's time to renew our passports.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Educator Preparation and Development

I believe preparing future and veteran teachers to teach children in the 21st century is very important. In this “Information Age” or “Net Generation” students should be equipped with the tools necessary to succeed. Ready for it or not, technology impacts the way students acquire and retain information. Technology affects the whole classroom, from management and teaching styles to integration and collaboration within the curriculum.

Included in the Texas Long Range Plan for Technology document is a section focused specifically on this area. It contains useful information for all teachers. Parts of the document were new to me and some I have actually used in other classes. For example, every new school year, teachers are required to attend staff development sessions. I’ve have several different experiences with staff development, some being helpful and informative and others have been a waste of time. As a career and technology teacher, my classes are “hands-on.” Many staff development sessions don’t provide time for teachers to experiment with the technology available on their campuses. Working with teachers to show them how to use technology to enhance their instruction is needed.

My school district has two wonderful technology facilitators who frequent the campus and are ready to help teachers use technology in their classrooms. Just a few weeks ago, several teachers presented to the rest of the staff members ways that they use technology in their classroom. This was a demonstration session for teachers to see first hand what other teachers are doing. Now to follow up with the presentations, there needs to be a staff development session designed for teachers to actively use the technology presented.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eleni as "The Cat in the Hat"

We sent her to school today dressed as a character from a Dr. Suess book for a party. She was so excited!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brainstorming/Concept Mapping Tools

I am a very visual person. I love scrapbooking and so I’ll play with the page layout several times before finally piecing it all together. Digital scrapbooking is very popular now among scrapbookers, and so I’ve drawn a connection between brainstorming/concept mapping tools and scrapbooking. Isn’t this what we want our students to do; create connections and use prior knowledge??

For another ETEC class, I used Inspiration (which is an example of this type of academic software) to create a visual representation of what my understanding of diffusion of innovations looked liked. Inspiration was fun and easy to use. I teach at the secondary level so we don’t have this software available to us for student use. Inspiration reminded me of old concept map handouts copied from books or made by teachers. In this age of technology, we can put the computer to use in how we make connections, relationships, and organize our thinking through graphics and text.

I hadn’t thought of using Inspiration for cooperative learning like the book mentions. I really like this idea. Brainstorming is an important tool when generating ideas together in a group. Even Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have visual diagrams and clip art that can be inserted similar to commands/options in Inspiration.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Desktop Publishing Software

This type of academic software is becoming more popular in the classroom today. Desktop publishing is combining text, graphics, and artwork on a page to create an effective publication. Microsoft Publisher is commonly used in the classroom by teachers and students alike.

This academic software is very relevant to me because as a BCIS teacher, I spend an entire six weeks teaching my students about Publisher. As a teacher, I have created several publications using DTP software. For example, my BCIS syllabus was created using a design set from a newsletter template. I have also used Publisher for creating extra credit coupons, restroom passes, and certificates with the same design set for a consistent look.

Every year, my students look forward to our unit on Publisher. This allows some the chance to “shine” and show off their creativity skills for designing publications. Some projects my students complete in Publisher include: flyers, advertisements, calendars, brochures, and newsletters. A very special project is when my students use a greeting card template to create a “Note of Encouragement” during TAKS time to give to other students who are taking the test.

When using DTP software, I think it is important to know who your audience will be before creating a publication. I share with my students examples of things that have been created using DTP software. We look closely at what type of graphics were used, the type of font, and the page layout. I have them ask questions as to “why” they think the creator of a publication used a certain font or graphic. We also compare different publications and rate them on their effectiveness.

Publisher is a software that you can really explore over and over and still find something new. I encourage you to “explore” Microsoft Publisher if you haven’t already to see what it can do for you! I know it will become one of your favorite type of academic software!