Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"23 Things" Reflection

In the beginning of the "23 Things" program, we were prompted to think about what it means to be a lifelong learner and how we feel about the concept of lifelong learning. Now that I've come to the end of my 23 Things journey, I've discovered a wealth of information, services, applications, and resources that I never knew existed. I am certain that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We must be lifelong learners - there's so much out there for us to discover...more than could ever be discovered in a lifetime. Every moment we use to gain knowledge, every experience we obtain, gives us the opportunity to become better and more well-rounded people.

There were times when I was frustrated in completing the "23 Things" program. Time is limited, and some of the programs just didn't seem to fit into my lifestyle or my vocation. This happens in life - not everything we do, not everything we encounter, is going to serve us in the way we'd like it to. There were other times, however, when I was glad that I was completing the program because it pushed me to work outside of what I know to get a flavor of "things" I had never before tasted. I like that!

I'd have to say my two favorite and most useful "things" would be Zoho Writer and YouTube. These applications were fun for me to discover and useful for me to implement in the classroom. Zoho Writer allows me to create and share documents with the parents of my students in a more effective way; YouTube keeps me informed of what my kids expose themselves to when they aren't with me. I also believe that these tools could be quite useful for the library in informing and staying informed of the public's interests.

Would I complete a program like this again? Maybe. Would I consider it? Definitely. Why? Well, though it came with its frustrations, it also expanded my arsenal of tricks and opened me up to searching more on my own to discover what's out there rather than settling with the tools I already have that are quickly becoming more outdated and, therefore, less useful.

Ironic as it may seem, to be a teacher is to be a lifelong learner. And I am a teacher.


I have used the library's Overdrive service in the past when I was searching for an Edgar Allan Poe audio book to use in the classroom when teaching some of Poe's short stories. I found the service to be useful and easy to use. I had no problem creating an account and searching to find what I was looking for. And, in the process, I found serveral other materials that I may be interested in using in the future. Downloading the appropriate software was also quite easy to do. I think this is a great service for the library to offer because so much of the public is leaning more and more toward doing acquiring information via technology from the comfort of their own homes. This gives people the option of acquiring the materials they need...or want...on their own time and at their own convenience. I look forward to seeing what other options we can offer to the public in the future.


I like podcasts because they offer a new world information and an innovative way of receiving it, especially for auditory learners. There are elements of interest for anyone and everyone, items that serve a wide array of purposes. It seems that podcasts can serve to teach, entertain, and even do both simultaneously.

I chose to look for a podcast to serve more of the entertainment purposes for this activity, something to get me out of the vocational route I've been taking for so many of these exercises. I found an interesting podcast that contains episodes of old time radio shows. It may seem odd for someone my age to find that interesting, but I do! I love watching old movies and TV shows, and I think listening to the radio programs of the 40s and 50s is fascinating! I look forward to listening to several of the old time radio episodes, as well as finding numerous other podcasts that I can listen to in the future, whether it's to pass the time on a rainy Saturday afternoon or to locate information for a grad class...or even to teach my own class! I've never explored this avenue of technology before, but I'm excited to learn more about it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007



The link I've attached above goes to a humorous clip from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I love to laugh and also love words, so when Jay does his humorous bits with the funny headlines, it cracks me up. After setting up my own YouTube account, I perused through several categories of videos and discovered this one. Cracked me up!

I'm glad I had a chance to visit YouTube. My students use this site a lot outside of school, but I had never taken the initiative to visit it. It's entertaining for me, but can also be educational because it will help me be more aware of what my kids are watching. I plan to visit this site again and hope that, through further exploration, I will discover videos that serve to do more than merely entertain.

Web 2.0

The site I decided to explore was craigslist because I've heard people talk about it before, but had never actually visited it myself. I thought it might provide a lot of useful tools to offer answers and assitance on a wide array of information. Although I believe it has the potential to do that, I did not particularly like the site. This surprised me, seeing as how it was the 1st place winner in the 2007 Web 2.0 Awards. The look of the site was distasteful to me from the start. It just looked like bunches of information jumbled together, an attempt to fit as much on the screen as was possible without as much thought about the overall appearance. It made me not want to search throught he various services craigslist has to offer. I did, however, peruse through several links because I do believe the site has the potential to be helpful in the library setting. It does provide a great deal of information that librarians may use to answer patrons questions - it's like a jumbled virtual newspaper that also allows for interaction amongst is users. Unfortunately, I just didn't feel like it was as user-friendly as I would have liked.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Zoho Writer

I love Zoho Writer! This is probably my favorite of the various programs I've discovered so far in completing the "23 Things" activities. This could be quite useful with my career in teaching, and I am excited to discover the advantages of this program.

Whenever I assign a major project for my classes...which is at least once a quarter...I e-mail the parents with an attached copy of the assignment sheet. It hasn't happened often, but occasionally, there are parents who do not have Microsoft Word on their computers and, therefore, can not open the documents I send them. Most parents like receiving the assignment sheets for major projects because it keeps them more aware of what their children are doing in my class; it also permits them to have a more active role in their childrens' education.

With the Zoho Writer program, I will be able to import documents (such as the speech assignmentI've posted below) and share them with parents in that manner. The one drawback I see at this point is that I don't believe there is a way to save e-mail addresses within the program. This could cause a problem for me because there are so many parents whom I e-mail simultaneously. I have not yet played with it, however, and am curious if I would be able to e-mail the shared document to my work account and then forward that e-mail to all of the parents that way. This definitely has potential!

End-of-Yr Speech

Name: _______________________________

Date: __________________________

Class: _______________________________

End-of-Year Speech

Due Date: ________________________________

Throughout the school year, you have surely grown and changed as a person. You have met new people and learned new things. You have lived through unique experiences both in and out of school. You have had happy times, sorrowful times, exciting times, stressful times.

As the end of the year approaches, now is the time to reflect back on your 7th grade experiences to discover how those times and the people involved with them have affected you. You might be surprised at just how much you’ve learned and grown in the past nine months!

You will present a 3-5 minute speech in which you share with the class who and what has influenced you this past year. You must answer the following questions in your speech:

  1. How do you believe you have changed from the beginning of 7th grade?

  2. Who are the people who have been with you the most throughout the year?

  3. What are some things you learned in each of your classes?

  4. What are some lessons you learned outside of class/outside of school?

  5. Who was the most influential person to you during the year? Why? How?

  6. What is your most memorable moment in school this year? Describe.

  7. What is your most memorable moment outside of school this year? Describe.

  8. What did you like most about 7th grade? Why?

  9. What did you like least about 7th grade? Why?

  10. Any other thoughts, stories, etc you wish to share with the class.

You may organize your speech in any way you wish – you do not need to answer the questions in the order they are given above, but each question should be addressed.

You will use 3x5 inch note cards for your speech. You may only use key words and phrases on your cards – NO COMPLETE SENTENCES! You must use ink, but you may write in print.

You do not need to have a visual aid for your speech, but one is STRONGLY recommended. You could create a poster, bring in mementos and other items that go along with the stories and experiences you’re sharing, etc. You may also bring in a treat for your audience if you wish.