Thursday, September 24, 2009


Who do you spend your lunch time with? Lunch at my school is only about 20 minutes long not counting the 6 minutes of passing time that kicks it off. A group of portable teachers --we all have classrooms in the portables out behind the main campus eat together. We leave the outback and travel in to the main buildings.We meet in a room behind our media center. Part office, part multi-purpose training and teaching room. E102 has been our lunch hot-spot.

Do you eat lunch with others? Or do you hole-up in your room and work through lunch?

It's easy to isolate yourself. There are many days when I'd prefer to work through lunch or to stay in my own classroom and enjoy the lunch peace and quiet alone. But you know what? I don't. Well, I don't do it too often. Every once and a while I miss lunch. I miss it because a student stops by with a question and I can't get out of the door fast enough or a parent or a teacher calls--occaisionally I get hung up and can't make it to lunch with the group. When I first came to Cypress Creek and missed a lunch in the opening weeks of school, my friend Lee called me to make sure I was okay. Not overwhelmed by the new school, new schedule, new everything. I loved that she checked and I laughed when she said "Lunch is not optional."

I've thought about it since. What's important about lunch? Not the eating--the meeting. Getting together with other teachers during the school day is what's important. Lunch to us is like executives golfing, I imagine. We bargain. We collaborate. We share. Ultimately we lift each other up. During especially stressful times, we bake.

This week has been cookie week. With lay offs or teacher transfers due to less than expected enrollment we've all been a little stressed. So we bake and we bring in treats to share. We comfort and care for one another during our little lunch break. What's more important than that?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mark it Up!

"Some books are meant to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; That is, some booksare to be read only in parts; Others to be read, but not curiously;And some few to be read wholly, and with dilligence and attention."

-Francis Bacon, Of Studies

So, what are you reading? How are you reading it? I'm teaching an A.P. Language course and that question is following us this year..Today we're going to talk about annotation: what is it? how do you do it? what does it look like? Students annotated the books they read for summer reading. Most of their summer annotations were personal responses--students talking back to the author, to the book.
Certainly annotations, effective annotations, are that, but they are also much more. I'm thinking about the codes I use in the margins of the professional books I read: Q for quotes, ? for questions, <-> for connections, L.U. for look up and a lightbulb for ideas.

Today, we're going to read and annotate Mortimer Adler's "How to Mark a Book." Yesterday I annotated Adler's article using Diigo, but then when I went to review my annotations last night, they were gone! Yikes! Little did I realize that I had to access the page I'd bookmarked from Diigo using the Recent Bookmarks choice from the Diigo menu selection (see picture). Now if I could just figure out how to make the annotations public, or how to include them in a group meant for my A.P. class. That's my next technoventure.

I want students to see that annotations help you organize and remember information. They can be created with more than just pen and paper. They also live and can work on the web. Social bookmarking annotations, tags, all of these contribute to the folksonomy of information on the web. That will be the hook for this lesson. I'd better get going, so that I can get it all together! It's going to be a great day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday 5

Lucy Gray started a Friday 5 tradition on her blog, High Techpectations, posting 5 or more web links organized by theme. She's now cross posting with Lucie deLaBruere on the Infinite Thinking Machine. LaBruere says "in a world where we are overwhelmed by choice, "more" is not always better." Definitely. When it comes to the web, narrowing the field, counter-intuitive as it may sound, hones us in. One of my favorite list-o-links covers cell phones and includes the must-read 2009 Horizon Report.

If you'd rather have your Friday 5 delivered, join the Google Group (think list-serv) and get the email digest. I don't know that I could keep up with a weekly 5; though a 2 for Tuesday kind of thing might be fun to try.