Evidence of Learning
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Jun
06

Can’t help but wonder if all the postings and echos and re-echoes of thoughts are not similar to the discarded satellites and other forms of junk floating in space. I had almost forgotten about this blog, but then, while revising some material for a presentation, I came across it again, and decided that I’d revisit it. There it was, a collection of thoughts from more than a year ago, just sitting in cyberspace, doing not much of anything. At least old diaries have a chance of being found by someone, at some point. But what of blogs and wikis and such, millenia from now. Will it ever be found by anyone?

Mar
06

Some evenings I am so tired that I feel like someone has slipped a sedative into my after dinner tea. Tonight is one of those nights. As I try to catch up with my RSS feeds, my eyelids close for longer and longer times, until finally the nod of my head snaps me back to wakefulness, and I realize that I had been briefly asleep. When this drugged exhaustion overtakes me and I’m trying to mark papers, the written feedback often ends up being two or three nonsense words scrawled on the page, and I can see exactly where sleep has won the skirmish with consciousness. At that moment, I have no choice, but to put down my pen, and call it an evening. If I persist in pursuing my purpose, the results are never pretty, and are, in fact, often completely unintelligible. The strange part of this observation is that this evening fatigue did not manifest until I got older. During my younger years, I had no trouble staying up into the early hours, and many a time I watched the sun come up with no repercussions the next day. I finally can relate to the expression, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

Mar
05

I’m always searching for new ways to entice students into reading. I’d heard about Shelf Talkers (from several places), and decided to try one last night.  I wrote an appealing blurb on an index card and taped it underneath the book I wanted to promote. If the shelf talker worked, the book would get signed out as a result of someone reading my shelf talker.

Today, I was out of the building for the morning and the afternoon was a little chaotic. When school ended, I noticed that the book was gone. Excited to see who had signed it out, I logged into the system, only to discover that the book hadn’t been signed out at all! It had been taken, right off the shelf, without anyone signing it out. Stolen!

My elation instantly soured into a ball of bitterness which then morphed into a confusing mix of annoyance and amazement. I’d obviously been successful in tempting someone into reading the book, but I didn’t want it to work that well! I wanted to create a reader, not a thief.

I’m crossing my fingers that tomorrow the book thief will seek me out to confess that they were so tempted to read that they just “forgot” that they had to sign the book out first. Then they’ll tell me how awesome the book is so far, and all will end happily ever after. Sigh.

Mar
01

Weekends are always so fleeting. They arrive full of the promise of endless free hours, and suddenly Sunday night has arrived and I reflect not on what I have accomplished, but on all the things I haven’t. By Sunday night, I can count on having laundry I haven’t washed or folded, papers I haven’t marked, professional magazines I haven’t perused, books  I haven’t read, a treadmill that I haven’t run on, counters I haven’t wiped, carpets I haven’t vacuumed and corners I haven’t dusted.
Selfishly, the weekend hours are usually frittered away with whatever I feel like doing; not what I should be doing, not what needs to be done, but what I want to do. Friday I spent a few hours in the theatre watching Inkheart, and Saturday, my husband, mother and I watched Defiance at yet another theatre. We delivered a new electric guitar to my son, who is in residence in Hamilton, took him out for lunch, then decided to grab a movie on the way home. It was quite a lovely day, in spite of being quite cold.  Saturday night I finished a book, and started a new one.
This morning I finished a book for a fiction review committee meeting, and then, feeling tired, had a nap. The delicious luxury of spending hours however I want comes at a price. My house is a disgrace. There’s not a room in the house that doesn’t need picking up or dusting or cleaning or something. But I choose not to spend those hours cleaning and tidying and fussing because my selfish needs such as one more book begging to be read, take over and I listen to them. Before I know it, it’s Sunday night, and I find myself saying things like, “Next weekend, I’ll clean the spare bedroom or next weekend, I’ll start on that walking program.” Even as I’m thinking it, I can feel the tug of another book just waiting for the weekend and I know that I will probably make time to get that book read.

Aug
19

After a vacation in Calgary to watch my son’s team compete in the Canadian Ultimate Championships, I’m back to the All Together Now learning. (My son is the one with the disc, beating the four person cup).

We’ve been asked to create a post about what Library 2.0 means to us personally.

For me, it just means taking the Web 2.0 tools, and figuring out how those tools can best help me get my library job done. For example, if my main responsibilities are teaching the students research skills – how does Web 2.0 help me do that. If I’m interested in improving my Reader’s Advisory service, how does Web 2.0 help me do that. How do Web 2.0 tools help me communicate and help teachers?

One of my huge frustrations is that many of the exciting things I learn about, turn out to be blocked by my board. It’s hard to get people turned on to using something that isn’t accessible at their work location. I can’t see much of a way around it either because people have to have awareness of the tool, and time to practice and use it, and if it is blocked at school, how will they know about it, and when would they find time to become familiar with it. SO FRUSTRATING. Often the IT guys at my board don’t have sites blocked, so they can’t imagine our frustration since they never have to experience it!

Aug
10

Where’s Matt

Aug
06


Ultimate throw, originally uploaded by janicerobertson.

I love to fool around with Photoshop; expecially when I start with a picture I like. I took this during a Dirt practice, and I really like the effect of the spin filter. I think it is just enough to make the photo really interesting.

Aug
02

I find the whole idea of group editing without ownership to your contribution to be an interesting one to wrap my head around.

When I have students work collaboratively, I’ll often ask the kids to each write in a different colour; it’s not as hard as it sounds because one of the four almost always has some kind of funky psychedelic ink pen, and the others just use pencil, and black or blue ink.

I like the idea of using it as part of a collaboration, but does who contributes what no longer matter? Does one person do all the work and the rest of the group take the credit? That might be the wrong way to think about wikis, and perhaps I should worry about who is doing the  work but I’m trying to replace the camping scenario from the video, with an acutally educational purpose instead.

I think it would be really great to share a wiki with students from a neighbouring school, expecially if you were doing a novel study. All the kids can read the book and then have an online discussion. What about having a novel shared amoung SEVERAL schools!!! That would be really neat.

I don’t think wikis shoud be assessed, but with the press for marks, how can you devote the time to letting them. What does everyone else think?

I tried to edit the SLJ site, but it would let me in, even though I was signed in!!!!!! It kept telling me I had to sign in.

More thoughts, when I’m not falling asleep at the keyboard.

Aug
01

I’m a bit late getting to this, but my favourite podcasts are:

The One Minute How To – where individuals come on to the show, which is only about 2 -4 minutes long, and they tell you how to do something that they know very well, in one minute. The diversity of topics is up to the individuals, and I really like how the “how tos” have incredible variety.

I also like Just Vocabulary, because I use it with my classes, and they love it too! I stop it after they give the word context, and let the kids guess. It gives them great practice in using the sentence to help them determine the meaning.

I really like CNN Student News, and have watched it for years, way before it became a video cast.

Lastly, I like Tech Chick Tips, and The Tech Teachers.

Jul
31

This is almost embarassing to admit, but what the heck – here goes!

I’ve been a podcast listener for a long time now so I was pretty relaxed about our third assignment.

BUT… it has been a LONG time since I bothered to check out the podcast listings on iTunes, and there has been such an explosion of offerings that I felt like I was in a warehouse when previously I was in a corner store! So, the good news is that I’ve discovered some new podcasts that I need to follow, and the bad news is that I’ve discovered some new podcasts that I need to follow! No… that’s not a mistake. I know it says the same thing, but I know those of you who listen to podcasts can understand what I’m saying.

As to how a library could use podcasts… obviously there’s some great content for listening and viewing, but more importantly, I think it would be cool to create your own content.

I’ve used Audacity and had kids create mP3 files that we burn to a CD and play over the PA during announcements, but it would be neat for students to know they potentially had a much bigger audience.

My explorations recently led me to discover gCast, which allows you to record a podcast using any kind of phone, and I fiddled around with that until I got it to work. I’m already thinking of some kind of “on the spot” reporting that the kids could do. I have visions of student reporters armed with a cell phone interviewing kids as they exited the library after an author visit. It would be great PR to post their responses on the school web site.

Alan November at his site, http://novemberlearning.com/ in a section called Community How-Tos has a GREAT pdf explaining exactly how to use gCast. He suggested how neat it would be to use it while kids were out on a field trip. If the parental group leaders had a cell phone, then periodically, the kids could be required to report what they were doing and what they were seeing.

The other reason I’m excited about gCast is because this year we purchased five $40 USB microphones because the cheap dollar store mics were not working with our computers. The front microphone jack is defective in the computers our school board purchased, and the microphone wires were not long enough to reach the back jack…. Anyway… of the five microphones only two survived the school year because kids disconnected them without properly ejecting them… So the exciting thing is that this would help decrease the need to have expensive microphones – most people have telephones. Wahoo!

I'd rather learn than sleep!

My learning curve is so steep lately, it’s a right angle!

I’d rather learn than sleep!

Ciao,

Janice

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