Friday, December 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Revisited

During the month of November, many Facebookers were posting their daily thanksgivings, trying to post for thirty days. Here's my list of thanksgivings:

People we are thankful for:
1. Family (big J, little E, and all the parents!)
2. Cul-de-sac friends (best neighbors ever!)
3. College friends (pick up right where you left off!)
4. Cool teacher-librarians (LTM, gurus, and rock stars!)
5. Inspirational colleagues (Cores and SPEDs rock!)
6. Wise ones (both young and old and retired!)
7. Church families (nurturing, spiritual, caring!)

Intangibles we are thankful for:
8. Love (of family, friends)
9. Freedom (to live, work, play)
10. Intelligence (to think, create)
11. Integrity (to speak, live)
12. Happiness (to exist, work, play)
13. Security (to fear not)
14. Faith (to believe)

Tangibles we are thankful for:
15. Food (y'all know we like to eat)
16. Home (y'all know we like to sleep)
17. Car (y'all know we like to travel)
18. Books (y'all know we like to read)
19. Computers (y'all know we like to surf)
20. TV (y'all know we like to watch)
21. Job (okay, so we like having all the other things!)

And some other stuff that we are thankful for:
22. Warm blankets and hot chocolate for cold nights
23. Clear night skies with twinkly stars
24. Contentment and satisfaction with life
25. Chocolate
26. Music to sing with and to dance to
27. Peaceful mornings
28. Rocking chair evenings
29. Hot showers
30. Rainbows

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blogs I would write if I had time to blog...

Six months later my running list of blogs that I would like to write grows longer, but the time to carve out to actually write the entries grows shorter and tighter each day. So here's the list of blogs (topics) that I would like to write if I had time to blog:

Risk taking - how taking risks can bring about big results and make one's life more enriching.

Genuine enthusiasm - how the kind word, the sincere greeting, the genuine inquiry and enthusiasm about life is contagious and betters the world

Missing Dixie - how the positive, effective leadership of our now retired principal is so very needed at a time of low morale, budget cuts, disorganization and non-communication

New Year's resolutions - always a good entry to set one on the right course for the new year

Teacherprenuership - the idea that teachers develop their pedagogical talent, “sell” their expertise, and find innovative solutions to challenges facing their students

Digital footprints - making our stamp on the digital world, making connections both personally and professionally in the digital age

NaNoWriMo - the National Novel Writing Month and how I once again attempted to get thoughts on the page (I made it to 5000 words)

The Power of Small - a book that I am reading about how little things make the difference

Thanksgiving - a list of 30 days of things I was thankful for during the month of November

Information and Technology Essential Standards - the new document to integrate information and technology into the core curricula and how teacher librarians need to push in to the classroom and push back those that don't get our role in education

Growing up with Elizabeth - how life as a mother puts everything else in perspective

So perhaps over the winter break and in the new year, I will once again reorganize my life, break out my list, crack my knuckles and get to typing and posting new blog entries.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Funding Governor's School

A message from Jim Hart, president of the NC Governor's School Alumni Association --

Anybody here got $1.5 million to spare? Because that's what the GSAA and GS Foundation have decided to do in response to the General Assembly's decision to cut GS funding - we're going to fund it ourselves.

Fully funding 800 students on two campuses will cost roughly $1.5 million dollars. There are 30,000 alumni. If we were in contact with them all, it would take $50 per alumnus per year.

Unfortunately, we're not in contact with nearly that many. So we are asking all of you - if you think GS was an important moment in your life, if you think you are more successful because of it, then pass that success along to future generations of North Carolinians by making a donation to the GSF's Campaign 2011 at:

Spread the word. Tell everyone. Tell your friends, your classmates, your boss, your parents, your teachers, your kids. If you don't have kids, tell someone else's kids. Tell the parents of every rising Junior that if they want their kids to have a chance to attend GS, then we need help, and we need it now.

Why now? Because the Department of Public Instruction will have to decide if they are going to hold GS next year before the end of September. A strong showing of support on our part will give them reason to keep GS open.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Shine on, friends. Shine on!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saving NC Governor's School, Round Two

NC Governor's School is a program for the best and brightest to be challenged during a six week summer institute of sorts. It's a program near and dear to my heart since I spent the summer of 1985 being challenged, learning new ways to think, and building friendships with other academic teens.

In April of 2009, I blogged about the impending budget cuts to this incredible state program that uplifts and meets the needs of our highly academic students. I find myself two years later encouraging folks to stand strong and to contact their legislators.

This year's state education budget calls for ELIMINATION of this program.

Here's a note to share from the GS Alumni President:

Dear GS Alumni,

2011 may go down in infamy as the year that North Carolina abandoned all pretense of promoting gifted education. According to sources within the Legislature, the proposed budget from our new majority in the General Assembly includes reducing the allocation for Governor's School to zero.

Last week, I received a message from one of our alumni containing a link to a document entitled "Education Budget Reduction Options - Public Schools" that lists the changes that are being proposed in the Department of Public Instruction's budget for 2011-2012. Here is the link:

On page 8 of this document, line item 34, you will see that the proposed option for Governor's School is to reduce its budget by 100%.

Today, I received a message from Joe Milner, past Director of GSE and husband of current GSW Director Lucy Milner. He went to the Legislature today and spoke to three Senators. He did not hear any encouraging news. The two majority Senators seemed supportive of the idea of cutting GS, and the one minority Senator indicated that there was little that could be done legislatively to prevent this cut.

I realize that our state is in the middle of a budget crisis and that cuts have to be made somewhere. But the $850,000 annual GS budget is practically pocket change by comparison to other programs, and the benefits to the students and the state far surpass the cost. The only thing that I know we can do is to make ourselves heard. We need to raise public awareness of the value of Governor's School and make it one of the programs that the citizens of North Carolina believe cannot be abandoned or destroyed.

This is a huge challenge, one that we must meet with everything that we have. I encourage all of you to write your legislators, write the Governor, write your local newspapers, blog - do anything to get the word out. And let's make sure we are heard down on Jones Street.

I will keep you informed as we make plans. If you have any ideas, contact me via FB message or at my home address,

Thank you,
Jim HartGSAA President

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One of My Favorite Blogs, Grocery Store Feet

One of my favorite blogs to follow is "Granny Beads and Grocery Store Feet", formerly "Books, Bytes, and Grocery Store Feet". The blogger is a down-to-earth, no nonsense Southern country boy whose voice and stories resonate with my own tales and the telling of them.

If you don't know what grocery store feet are, you can certainly read the author's explanation of them. I've had my own blissful days of grocery store feet, although mine would probably best be called hardware store feet. I spent many a summer day in PaPa's hardware store with my tender ten-year-old feet bare on those dirty hardwood floors. That makes for some pretty nasty bathwater!

I love reading about life in his small rural town, his Mama and Daddy, and his wife, whom he calls Budge. The stories more often than not resemble my own childhood and some of my experiences growing up in a small town where everybody knows your name, your family, and your business.

Oh, and if you don't know what Granny beads are that's the ring of dirt you get around your neck from playing long and hard outside, digging in the dirt, playing in your sandbox, tromping through the woods. My mama never used this term with me, but she has been known to "dig potatoes" under my neck in the bathtub after a hard day's play. Funny what sticks with you.

I like reading this blog because ultimately it inspires me to write more.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Professional Renewal at a Instructional Technology Conference

I'm spending the next two days at the NCTIES conference, hearing from the gurus in instructional technology and seeing the latest gadgets and products to engage students.

I've spent the three concurrent session spots so far listening to the same presenter, Patrick Crispen. Before the conference, I had never heard of him, knew nothing about him. But after spending three hours with him - two this morning and one right this very minute - I've had some new insights and my own personal revelations about technologies.

Here are my random notes and thoughts about what I've heard so far:

  • Cloud computing - "K12 is broke"; therefore, we need to find cost-saving technologies to assist with instruction. But while using open source, web-based applications, there are still issues: security, safety, storage.
  • Mobile is big! With open source, web-based applications, you don't need a browser, or at least you are not tied to Internet Exploiter.
  • Considerations? Where is my stuff? Is it private? Do I still own my stuff?
  • Technology is the delivery; the content and teaching is what really matters.
  • Choose the best media that supports cognitive processes needed to perform the tasks at hand.
  • We need declarative knowledge before procedural knowledge.

Okay, so those are random notes and thoughts. But they have me thinking about my own personal tech savviness, my own professional growth, my own teaching and students and teachers, and what the future classroom and library media center looks like, will look like, should look like.