Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Summer Grant Activities Begin

Although I'm not where I wanted to be the day before we started rolling with summer grant activities, I actually have taken some vacation time with the holiday weekend. In the long run, that will pay off. I'm just still doing some basic conditioning that that is the case. :-)

We have two days of teacher presentations and then we are off to the Big Apple for a week with the folks at Gilder Lehrman. Then a workshop later the week of our return and the next Monday then I'm off to meet a relative at a dude ranch in CO. Then, back for a conference panel and the start of 2 weeks in Parsons for grant activities and then a week in DC. Then the distance learning conference. Before I know it, I will be blogging from Madison. :-)

But, the best news, it's 99% sure we have another grant!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sanborn Maps

A long journey into discovering how to access the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for our area finally paid off yesterday. A librarian in one of our TAH grants did some checking around (my university librarian ran into a dead end) and by signing up for a Kansas City Public Library card, I can access the Sanborn maps for ALL of Kansas and Missouri (so both my research areas with teachers and my hometown!). Wahoo!!! Now to get some color copies made.

I have spent a few days feeling unproductive because I have not been up and at my computer by 6:30 am but it is a liberating feeling - esp. given that summers are busier than the regular semesters since the TAH program began (and no, I'm not complaining). I'm still learning how to answer teachers' questions over and over because, by human nature, it's easier them to email or call the project assistant or me than to review their emails or look in Blackboard. I hope to stay away from work email (good luck!) while I am the lake with family over the holiday weekend and then get ready to role for the summer during the second half of next week.

Later today I meet at Greenbush about numerous grant projects - including the science podcasting grant that will open up a whole new world for me - learning new content as well as dealing with old friends and new people who think differently than history teachers since they are science teachers. Without my previous work at Greenbush, I wouldn't have even known about this door, let alone gone through it. The area superintendents will also be in residence at their monthly forum so it will be a busy place today.

More good news - my new furniture just arrived. I wanted to finish out the 'red' bedroom set before they quit making that color. I missed out on a great off-white apothecary chest for my entranceway because they changed off white to bright white - which wouldn't work.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Grant Teachers participate in graduation

I'm so proud of them! We'll finish up this summer with a two-week institute in July and a trip to DC!

Monday, May 22, 2006

What Time of Day are You?

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.
What Time Of Day Are You?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Semester Has Ended

Graduation was last night. I had a 50/50 shot of being on the correct side for all of our grads to walk by that are in our Teaching American History grant and were graduating with their MA in History. Too bad I was on the wrong side - they were going to slap hands as they went by.

Most of them made it to the departmnet reception prior to graduationg and the new Vice President for Academic Affairs also stopped by to say hello to them. He's a pioneer grant writer and works with Greenbush and understands how important these partnerships are.

The chicken dinner went well afterwards - esp. for those that traveled a long way with family. Most restaurants in our small town would have been closed by the time graduation ceremonies ended. One teacher even had to get back to a town 3 hours away to go to her high school's morning graduation.

This morning I worked in the yard and picked up the last of one farmer's strawberry crop. I'm glad I asked for extra since he thinks he is at the end of his run. I stopped by the store and then got the pedal kayak ready for the trailer to head to the Lake of the Ozarks. My brother was already here and helped me unload. Then we headed out to get something to eat and then over to our cousin's a few "bends" over. They just built a new house based on the foundation of the family cabin. The interior design looks professionally done. She and her husband and her sister and her husband are going to Vegas next weekend.

We'll continue to clean tomorrow until my brother goes home. Then, I'll keep going like the Energizer bunny and also do some reading and pedalling (two lls?). I can't believe I've done my last difficult grading for a year. Sabbatical officially starts in August but I have cut campus ties except for summer grades. It really is here!

Just two weeks in the Midwest until it's time to head to New York City with one group of grant teachers for an institute. Hopefully I will catch up on all the cleaning by then!

BTW Hi, Chris!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Finals Week Begins

It's official. Our academic year ends the same day as the high school where I used to teach. We really do go longer than other colleges and universities. In many ways, we still think of ourselves as a post-secondary institution instead of a university. Students can drop classes 11 weeks (yes, you read correctly) into the semester - thus, what appears to be rampant grade inflation is only a financially inefficient system of allowing students to take classes over and over again instead of just actually doing the course work. It's not that our students can't do it, it's taking the time to do it. And, of course, those with the busiest schedules (one or more jobs, children, commuting), are the students who manage to get it all done plus take full loads or overloads.

Yes, it's time for the end of the semester.

The positive note is meeting with student teachers who are out in the field for our final meeting today. They blog using Blogger to maintain a weekly reflective practice journal and it is a much better way than previous paper and email assignments to keep in touch with them. Plus, they hand in a CD of their Teacher Work Sample that is also required from their education supervisor as one way for us to collect data for KSDE/NCATE - counting down to our next visit in 2010.

Then, I'm involved in some unexpected committee meetings that will require 6 to 10 hour stints on campus. But Monday and grade submission means summer has started. Since 2001, summer means Teaching American History grants - one of the most invigorating parts of my job!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday morning

It's a beautiful day with perfect Midwestern spring temperatures. I took teachers to hear David Blight talk about the civil war and memory. His work will be a great addition to the historical cognition course that I first taught last spring. I emphasized 20th century topics but will add Dr. Blight's book to the reading list. He actually has me interested in the Civil War.

Three of the teachers were able to go to dinner and Anthony and Dr. Blight agreed to join us - we had a great discussion and good food. The wine and cheese reception after Dr. Blight's speech was also fun.

I have already spent a great deal of time outdoors and even made it to the farmers' market this morning. My favorite farmer was there but I had already missed the strawberries since they're just starting to ripen. (last year I missed them totally given my May travel). The good news was that I found out I can reserve them ahead of time so I'm not aced out by the older women who make a sport of surveying and not deciding. :-)

Monday, May 08, 2006

The end of the semester

While most other schools are in finals week, we are just beginning dead week. However, it seems to be anything but dead with me with both both expected and unexpected committee service that will involve several meetings each of the next two weeks besides meeting with student teachers for the last time on Monday and attending graduation a week from Friday. I will learn more about our institutional culture than I probably wanted to know but the end result should be a more positive work environment upon my return. Or, at the very least, to know I have done everything I can do to create same.

We took grant teachers to Denver this past Thursday through Sunday. They were knee deep in primary sources at the National Archives there after our arrival Thursday and then we were 1000 foot under the ground on Friday in a working gold mine. Best of all, we saw snow one last time this season!!!! Then, received a bit of an unexpected sunburn the next day at the Cinco do Mayo festival - about 200,000 in attendance.

Headed to the ed service center today to get rolling on a science podcasting grant - I will learn a great deal and the project director is way organized - just the way I like it!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Berkeley offers free podcasts

Interesting article in the Chronicle about Berkley's free podcasts via iTunes. Great marketing tool plus a great resource.

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