Why This Blog? Why Now? Why This title?

I am no longer blogging under duress. This part remains true: I had a blog once and I lost the password...and then, I gave up. I really am not a giver-upper, but there is a point of diminishing returns to anything that takes energy, passion, and vision and yet, doesn't work out. So, off I go again, wish me luck! AND knock on wood I have had luck. And it is sort of fun.

P.S. Why this title? I read this phrase today 6/16, don't remember where. I liked it. I'm using it. I might change it. It may or may not have relationship to the content.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wildlife Photography and Other Thoughts and Tips

I took a walk this AM, (one of my newly rediscovered former passions...see past blog post) and took my camera because I often see things that I want to take a picture of (sometimes I take my sketch pad and do what sketchers...not the shoe people...call "an event walk", but that can make a walk take a really long time)

Tip #1--figure out where the sun should be for the picture you want to take...I'm still working on that one. I hope the answer is not that I (the photographer) should be looking into the sun. I would appreciate any insight on this from my readers.

Tip #2--Never wave at a bird when you are trying to take its picture. Sounds like a no-brainer. Here is the short story. I have been trying to take a picture of a bird (any bird) sitting on these cactus-looking plants that grow in the fields by my house. Of course, every time I get close, the bird flys away. Well I was walking along, not paying attention to much of anything when I saw this great bird sitting on the cactus-like plant, preening itself, close enough to get a shot...the very picture I was looking for...I was so thrilled I waved at the bird to say hi, and it flew away. Lesson learned!

I think I don't often have a lot of nice things to say about utility companies. I would like to redeem myself a bit right now. I believe that the utility company in my area installed the street light fixtures. They are very tall and have a box on top that holds the light bulb. The nice thing is that these fixtures create a great place for birds to stop by, have a chat, and a great place for folks like me to see a wide variety. So, hats off to the utility company!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cafe Sky

There is a cafe off Parker and Yale by the Hmart Korean grocery called Cafe Sky. It is my favorite Korean restaurant, not because of the food, although the food is great and inexpensive, but because of the "Waffle House" feel. Cafe Sky is THE Korean Waffle House. It is small, has a counter, a few tables scattered around, not many people at any given time, and most importantly a smily guy behind the counter that greets all who enter with a hearty "Hello"!

I always have the egg wrapped rice or rice omelette. The picture looks like a large blob, skinny at both ends, fat in the middle, with a omelette like skin, and ketchup artfully scrolled across the top. However the name and the picture are deceiving. You think you're just getting what's in the picture with white rice inside. The picture is correct, it is blob like, it is wrapped in an omelette skin, there is a ribbon of ketchup across the top, and that is where the picture and the name part company. It is not just rice. The greatest part is what is inside...wonderful, rice with ham, shrimp, more egg, assorted finely chopped vegetables and other mysterious, and delicious Korean Waffle House delights. It is yummy. I leave very satisfied, both with my rice omelette and the delightful employees that keep me company as I eat. I suggest you give it a try.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Joy of Creating, Revising, and Redeeming

There is a phrase that we use at my school...Revise and Redeem! It is not our invention, we borrowed it from a presentation that Linda Darling-Hammond (don't you just love her name?) gave at an ELOB national convention several years ago. She was speaking to the value of revision, the value of the journey and not necessarily the destination, and allowing yourself the freedom to revise and thus redeem your work--several times--over time. Well, I've just finished a round of creating, revising and redeeming--and it feels good!

Based on working with teaching teams in designing Learning Expeditions and the work of Ron Ritchhart, the  steps for designing Learning Expeditions are newly revised and redeemed to include a greater focus on assessment, collaborating, communicating, critical thinking, and creating AND some great ( in my opinion ) resources to support the both complicated and rewarding process of designing a Learning Expedition.

The creating part is my new site about iPads...really designed for a PD next week...the site itself will be short lived. And this is the cool part...you've probably heard of "flipped classroom" well...we're trying "flipped PD"! Teachers will hopefully work their way through the site, learning some care and feeding tips that would normally be the first part of PD, leaving that much more time to explore and differentiate for individuals. And another cool part is that I made my first youtube video, and also used an app called "show me" (an interactive whiteboard) to illustrate some parts and functions of iPads. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Drawing and Painting Again

This is related to my last post about again being able to do things I thought were lost to me forever--that sounds pretty dramatic, but it comes close to the way I felt. My latest diversion, or self-expression that has come back to me is drawing and painting. For those of you who have only known me for the last 10 years, don't know about my "artistic" (loosely defined) side. Well, I've rediscovered it! Yeah! It started slowly, like the frog in the water that gets hotter and hotter--only this time the outcome is good--the frog gets boiled, I get liberated.

I took a class through the Colorado School of Mines (BTW, if you are a teacher and need quick and painless college credit, take a look at what they offer) called the illustrated field journal. It was all about sketching and writing. Now I sketch and write everyday. I've also begun to paint my window panels for our library and some deck chairs for a good friend. All things to celebrate.