Monday, January 23, 2012

Kelty at Gifted Ed Day in Olympia

Proud day in our house today! My daughter was chosen to represent the highly capable students of our district and state in Olympia today for Gifted Education Day. She got to introduce Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and then make a statement about how the program has impacted her and the 50,000 students in the programs across the state. Finally, she got to present a letter to Governor Gregoire and thank her for her continued support of Gifted Ed. 

Kelty and Superintendent Dorn

Thanking Governor Gregoire

After the presentation we took advantage of the day and decided to extend our civic experience by visiting Senator Kastama's office. We didn't have an appointment (I'll be honest, I was just focused on getting her there and having all of the right speeches done and approved), so we did a "drive-by". He wasn't in his office, so we did leave notes.  Kelty's was about Gifted Ed, but I took advantage to plug school libraries (of course!). 

Note: today was also the day the legislature was holding hearings of the legalization of gay marriage, so we were expecting big, maybe cranky, crowds.  Not so much, and all very civil (as we would hope, right?). All in all, a great civics lesson for Kelty and the family (now I hope the school will excuse her absence with all of that educational chatter).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Information Overload

A friend just sent this to me with the caption: Why We Need Librarians. Perfect!

Friday, January 20, 2012

PNW Ice Storm - January 2012

Here is a sample of the ice-encapsulated trees and shrubs in our yard...well, in everyone's yard. This is what six inches of snow followed by a day of freezing rain and under 30 degree temps looks like.

Kelty took this one. Love the bright red berries peeking out.

This cherry blossom tree is not nearly as pretty on its side with the roots poking out of the snow. This made me really sad as I'm pretty sure this tree dates back to our first year here (1999-2000).

What Do You Love (asks Google)?

I discovered something I love today...on Google (yes, I do that often, but I promise, I do use other search engines and tools, too). While hitting the "more" button on my Google home page, I found a box at the top that asked me what I love: What do you love? How can I not fill in the box with "books" followed by a little <3 that is my "search" button? My results were a page full of all things books: videos, trends, images, websites, blogs, news, even how to say "books" in 57 languages (with audio, of course!). You can even set yourself up for updates and feeds about your favorite stuff. I then tested with my daughter (theater) and my son (UW Huskies) and they too were filled with joy (okay, maybe a little heavy on the descriptor) to find a page full of love. You can go directly to and find what you love.

Educational Application: We all know that reading, writing and researching about things we are interested in make for much more pleasant reading, writing and research experiences. If you can give an assignment with some freedom of choice, have kids start here, then decide what are the best places/tools to get what they need (facts, trends, opinions, images, videos, arguments, etc.). Great opportunity to discuss the need to go to different sources depending on purpose and audience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Students and their Digital Footprints

As my own district considers cutting school librarians to half time at the middle schools, I find myself thinking of ways to make sure the school board, parents and community knows what a great, fully staffed library and information technology program can do. One of the best ways is to let them know what we teacher-librarians are doing to ensure the students are prepared for the digital world they live and work in. In my quest for balance, a number of my posts will of course be about the job I love.

Last Friday I spent the day in 7th grade math classes teaching about digital footprints after their teacher began using Twitter as a tool for sharing lessons, resources and engaging students in social media correspondence. Perfect time for me to point out the benefits and consequences of their online behavior. I went to Common Sense Media for ideas and videos  and we used Wall Wisher for a brainstorming activity about the good and bad about social media. Twice I was thrilled by the kids' level of engagement (wheels were visibly turning): when I asked them if they ask permission to post friends' pictures online and then when we discussed whether or not parents have the right to read their son's blog even though he didn't tell them about it and used a fake name. They were digging it! On Monday their math teacher had them write (Yes! Writing in math class!) about any changes they made or think they will make to their digital footprint as a result of their lesson on Friday. One of my favorite lessons, and relevant and current...even in math class.

Snow Day in the Northwest

My family's snow day (while I was in here creating my new blog. Yayy!)

So I'm Blogging (Can I Keep Up This Time?)

Okay, so I’m blogging. Well, as my parenthetical above indicates, I have established yet another blog on yet another hosting site, but time will tell whether I have really committed or not. Anyone who is reading this far needs to tell me they are here so that I have some motivation to keep going. I have actually talked about blogging any number of times, but as my blog name states, I am always looking for a little balance, and I couldn’t decide whether I was going to share my adventures, ideas, whims, thoughts and visuals about my working life or my home life. Sure, “do both!” sounds great, but maintaining two blogs does not (aren’t Facebook, Twitter and Google+ enough to keep us all busy and updated, anyway?). So my response was pretty typical for me: just don’t do either one, take a nap, and see how I felt about it later (you’ll find napping comes up often in my posts, I predict). Later has arrived. In trying to come up with a name for my blog, I think I found the perfect answer: here you will find me trying to find some balance. I am equally passionate about my family and my career, but making time for both is not so easy. I will think and write about both. I am not equally passionate about cookie dough and vegetables, but as a well-educated adult (thank you, I do understand that the scale should be heavier on one side than the other (A tablespoon of cookie dough weighs more than a tablespoon of green peppers, and I get that that I have to eat way more peppers…I just don’t like it). So, those are some of the things you’ll see in here (work, family and food), peppered with some fun and hopefully interesting bits and pieces from the hundreds of other folks I find entertaining and worth sharing. Here we go, and thanks for reading!