Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Am back in town - brought sick computer to computer tech. Apologized for having undone some of his hard work by pushing the wrong button.

Looking around this morning and found Bloglinker.com - seems like a great way to link to other sites - esp. since I'm having trouble with the insert link feature on blogspot. Any advice appreciated. :}

Monday, December 30, 2002

"I want to focus on my salad." - Martha Stewart

Take a look at Dave Barry's look at the end of the year to put this into further context:


Mr. Barry mentions that many of us just wanted to "focus on our salad" but I think there's another twist - we might just be less stressed if that's what we did. ? (Thanks to Abby's husband Mark for letting me know his columns were worth reading - now that I could find them on the net!)

Last night I read a great blog: Teacher: (Year One) 2002


I'll have my teaching methods students read it. Even though they are preparing for higher grade levels, they will be quite surprised to see what goes on in more and more (not just urban) elementary schools. I still think it all stems back to parents who are more interested in being friends with their children and/or don't have enough time for them that they try to make up for it by by overcompensating in this category and never believing that their child did anything wrong. Children and teenagers need some direction and we're not living up to our mentoring responsibilities when we don't allow them to occasionally reach their potential. My Type-A personality aside, students would feel better about themselves if they knew there were lots of things they really could achieve through good, old-fashioned, practice, practice, practice. My college students think that spending 30 minutes or so on a 3 page paper will get the job done. It usually produces a decent introduction but no real thought - the thing they will actually take with them from a history course no matter what they end up doing in life. :}

Despite its challenges and too-often frustration, I hope I am making at least a portion of the difference that "Teacher: Year One" is making. It's harder to see the difference you make at the upper levels of education. The good students will do well in spite of you and the others are more entrenched in their "you cannot make me do it" mode. Finding that light bulb is a little harder. Seeing them after their student teaching semester is always the bright spot - they finally realize that what I expected of them in the methods class the semester before was only a small inkling of what would be expected of them as classroom teachers. They are used to a very ordered and often too-passive world and all of the sudden they become center stage. There's no better way to learn than to teach! Off my soap box for now.

Need to do some reading on women in Kansas for an encyclopedia entry that was due on the 15th. Gordon is being more than patient. Getting sick for almost two weeks at the end of the semester just really didn't fit my schedule. :} But a new year awaits!

Sunday, December 29, 2002

I made it out to the farm by noon - my own little piece of Kansas dirt - the sun is setting and it's beautiful just beyond the trees. Saw "my" turkeys as I drove past on the south - we figure there must be at least a hundred around here.

My satellite connection for the internet is giving me fits. I'm so spoiled with my cable modem connection in town that it is even more frustrating. I just had my computer tech out here (paying on site rates) to figure out what was wrong with the computer and the connection. The newer version of the Starband software was the biggest part of the problem and he got it to work when he reverted back to the older version (2 something). Well, it had the prompt to download the newer version and I pushed the damn button. Several minutes were spent as I could not get XP to boot - I finally did - don't ask me how - but know my Starband "mission control" (why an oxymoron) is out of commission. I will be good and not mess with it any more - since I can't believe I got XP to boot after several failed attempts - and call my computer tech tomorrow and see if he can walk me through it. Otherwise, I will haul it in to him and hopefully he can fix it there. Then to get the actual dish stabilized from the wind gusts (we followed "the directions" when installing it and asked if it should be better stabilized and were told no - I usually overdo things and the one time I didn't...............) anyway....I at least want the software operational so when the satellite is steady I'm good to go. Anyone who has any experience (good or otherwise :} ) with Starband -would be much appreciated if you'd offer any assistance. My brother just put in DirecWay and it seems even more problematic - especially when it has to "reset" itself every hour...........the wonders of technology. At least I have a good old modem to fall back on - but just frustratingly so.

I took a ride on the fourwheeler around the section since the gravel roads are sufficiently mushy from the snow melt - we had our "whitest" Christmas ever and it was great!

I'm interested to see if blogging will help me do more writing - there are so many things that seem to pop to the top of the list that it's hard to find concentrated time - especially with a 12/12 teaching load. As with other universities, ours is moving forward and expects more publishing - but no actual release time for it and of course no graduate assistants to help with grading or even research. But I love the students at our school of just under 7k. My university does "count" my forays into technology and new media and for that I am thankful. Those extra projects help me pay for my computer equipment. If I were totally relying on what the school provides, I would still be relying on a first generation Pentium with 16k of memory............and I'm the dept. webmaster............... :} We rise to meet the challenges..........my brother always said telling me something wasn't possible was like waving a red flag in front of a bull.............

I'm trying to remember Sandra Bullock's line from the movie yesterday ............ twisty b......? pretzel ???????????

I couldn't get the URL link to work yesterday so I'll try again. :}

The New York Times has an article this morning, "Who Owns the Internet? You and i do." It can be found at


One author is crusading to make sure that internet is not capitalized - despite the default setting in Microsoft Word :} - to demonstrate that no one owns it. Historical research shows that other inventions such as the photograph were originally capitalized and then not when they came into popular usage. Some food for thought.

So I did get my blog started before the new year. I found lots of interesting blogs on teaching and technology and game development last night. I'm trying to figure out how to integrate those. Found out recently that someone I went to high school with is on the team that has developed Medal of Honor. He tries to infuse some historical tidbits into the game. I have a lot to learn!

Am working on an online government class - so many activities I want them to do and how to narrow it down becomes the question. I'm looking forward to working with a high school class again. I really like the online framework - in some ways I get to know students a lot better. While there are some really excellent college students that are a joy to work with because you just have to point them in the right direction and off they go, many others have mastered the art of doing just enough to get by. While some high school students are guilty of that, some of them are still naive enough to really want to learn - if for nothing else so that they can succeed in college. My undergrad degree was in political science and I've missed working with the knowledge base. I chose to follow the history track as I pursued other degrees because I didn't care for the more quantitative basis of poli sci - but do love the theoretical stuff. So it's great to revisit and see how much they intertwine. Better get to work - I can get so much more done in the morning........ from a former night owl..............

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Just went to see "Two Weeks Notice" - a great comedy. I haven't seen a good movie in the theaters in awhile and was pleasantly surprised. Liked the bit about the character's being 1000% committed to her work - sounded familiar to me. The question...........how to "loosen up"....................and I would add "without feeling guilty." The Grant character seemed so oblivious to what was going around him and also so "wise" at times. The web site has some interesting interactive features:

Is Sandra Bullock the Kathryn Hepburn of our time?

Hi out there in blogworld. I'm learning lots of great things about this way to communicate but know it will take awhile to not sound like a newbie.

I'm interested in history, teaching, technology, quilting, farming, the great outdoors, traveling, the list goes on...............

I'm a college professor and just finishing up the fall semester - in other words, trying to catch up on everything. I work with our teacher ed program and the paperwork was just horrendous this fall. Luckily I was awarded some leave time to work on it more this spring. So I shouldn't feel perpetually behind. I'm a definite type-A whose current New Year's resolution is NOT to get overcommitted. Of course, I'm adding on a new endeavor with this blog........but I'm doing it before New Year's. :}

I'm interested in hearing from anyone else with similar interests - pointing me to their blogs or web sites.

I'm also trying to learn Flash and Dreamweaver to incorporate more interactivity into my classroom. I also do some work for a publisher and want to learn the coding behind the content I provide.

That's all for now.

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