Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 Edublog Nominations

Hideeho bloggeroos and readers… It’s that time of year again to nominate for the 2009 Edublog Awards. You can go here to get the skinny on how to make your nominations.  Nominations must be made by Dec. 8 and voting will then be up until Wednesday, Dec. 16 with the winners announced on Friday, Dec. 18. (You may recall I was nominated for best teacher blog last year.)

Well, without further rambling or minimal rambling, here are my nominations for the Edublog Awards… (drum roll pah-leese!)…

For Best Educational Tech Support blog… Assorted Stuff because he always posts interesting stuff that’s fun and easy to read. Even though I can be somewhat technologically challenged (OK, so maybe more than somewhat challenged) and even though I’m not a tech person, I enjoy reading his posts which range from web filtering to general educational news.

For Best Individual Blog… Of course, that has to be my blogger buddy over at the Scholastic Scribe.  She covers lots of fun things from Mr. Principal Man to her Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. What’s not to like about that?

Best Student Blog… That should go to MOO who is a college student studying photography. I, of course, am partial to that since I teach photojournalism.

Best elearning / corporate education blog… This category is the closest one I could find that fit my next nomination. I just love my pal, Sarah Ebner, over at SchoolGate, the London Times’ education site. She always has such interesting posts. It’s fun to see the similarities and differences between education here and across the pond. If this is the wrong category, I hope the contest organizers slide SchoolGate into the proper one.

Best Teacher Blog… Well, of course, since we all know I have an ego the size of a barn, I would nominate myself. But alas, the rules for this little contest prohibit that. Although there are quite a few teacher blogs I love, I’m going to have to nominate Mr. Teacher over at LearnMeGood because he also doesn’t take life too seriously. I love his sense of humor and his Darth Vader impression.  Plus, he was one of the few people who helped me when I first  stepped into the blogosphere and launched my site.

Best Resource Sharing blog… Hands down the nomination goes to Teach J. If you need help, this is a great first place to stop. If you can’t find the info there, I guarantee Robert will point you in the right direction.

That’s all the nominations I have. Remember be ready to vote!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Woo-hoo! We’ve Got A Review!

Woo-hoo! What a great way to start my Thanksgiving break! Renowned  blogger and educational guru Joanne Jacobs reviewed my book, How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned From Professional Development.  You can read her comments here.

And then, of course, you’ll want to pop on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of my book and toss in a copy of her book, and then voila, you’ve got your free shipping. Wow! It doesn’t get any better than that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blog Topics, Necklaces & Whoville

People often ask me how I come up with subjects for my blog. Well, if you spent even just a few hours with my DIs (Darling Inspirations), you, too, would see how topics just appear--kind of like those nasty villians in scary movies that pop out of nowhere.

Sometimes they scare the bejeebers out of me, and by “they,” I’m not talking about those villians either.

When I returned to school  after my trip to Washington, D.C., I entered the school with just a tad bit of dread as to what disasters awaited. Much to my surprise--a pleasant one at that--I found my door and classroom decorated in celebration of my award and my book.

Ever the opportunist, the DIs in all my classes used my return as an excuse to bring their own food and hold an inpromtu party of sorts--probably in violation of all those nasty little rules regarding acceptable food consumption.

I’m not quite sure if it was my absence or their sugar consumption, but the DIs and I had a tad bit of trouble understanding each other upon my return. I don’t know if my hearing got worse or their mumbling became more pronounced.

One conversation went something like this…

Student… “blah blah blah?”

Me… “What?

Student… “Where else did you go?”

Me… “I went to visit my best friend in Annapolis…”

Student… “What? Your friend lives in a necklace?”

Me & Everyone else… “What?”

Student… “A necklace?”

Me… “A necklace?”

Everyone else… “What?”

Me… “I said AN-NAP-PO-LIS…”

Student… “Oh, Annapolis. I thought you said ‘necklace.’ That would have been a pretty big necklace…”

When I repeated the story to my newspaper staff, my omelette-making-sports-editor said, “Well, you could live in a necklace if you where a Who…”

“Who?” I asked. “What who? Who’s a who…”

“You know, Whoville,” he said. “You could live in a necklace if you lived in Whoville.”

The rest of the staff just nodded in agreement.

“I didn’t go to Whoville,” I stammered. “I went to Annapolis.”

I called my BFF later that day and told her the story.

“Well,” she said, “is it a pretty necklace? I don’t want to live in a tiny one.”

Next time, when someone wants to know where I’ve been, I think I’ll save everyone a lot of trouble and just say, “Whoville.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Conventions, Museums & Yukon

After spending a week in the nation’s capital attending the National Scholastic Press Association convention, promoting my book and sightseeing, I suppose I’m ready to head back to the great Lone Star state and resume my classroom duties.

All in all, it was a successful trip—I got my nifty little national Dow Jones Newspaper Fund distinguished adviser award, ran willy nilly through Washington, D.C. touring the fabulous Newseum, pretty much all the war memorials, some art museums and the Lincoln Memorial just to name a few.

I saw Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, learned Grace “Sunshine” Coolidge had a pet raccoon and that there were more conspirators in Lincoln’s assassination than I remembered from my history lessons a gazillion years ago.

At the space museum, I discovered that my career as a flight attendant wouldn’t even have gotten off the ground in the ’60s (too old, too fat and married).

As if that wasn’t bad enough, at the National Museum of the Marine Corp, I realized the Marines probably would have booted me out of boot camp quicker than you can say, “Semper Fi.” I couldn’t lift the field pack, I completely bypassed the chin up bar, and sadly, I managed to kill three soldiers assigned to my unit in a simulated test.

None of which was good for my self of steam. Hails bails, the video drill sergeant even yelled at me. My husband, a former Marine, just shook his head and walked away.

I guess it’s a good thing I’m a teacher.

During part of our trip, we stayed with my BFF Jennifer in Annapolis (who btw also fared poorly, but better than me in the flight attendant/Marine thing). Now, you are probably wondering how any of this remotely connects to education. Well, hold your horses, Missy, we’re getting there. 

As I was saying, we stayed with my BFF and her really nice husband--and their not-so-nice, very, very, very psycho cat, Yukon.

Yukon doesn’t like anyone. Never has. Never will. In fact, she probably belongs to some SKTC--Secret Kitty Terrorist Cell. Forget the German Shepherd and the Chow, Yukon actually chased a pet sitter out of the house and reduced her to tears in the front yard. The dogs just watched.

In many ways Yukon reminds me of some of the challenges we face in public education. She’s resistant to change and believes if she turns her back and ignores something, it will go away. But if it doesn’t disappear, Yukon will resort to sabotage. This particular cat has nabbed car keys and hidden them, lurked in the shadows and conducted sneak attacks, and positioned herself to block entry points or any movement forward.

Hmmmm, see any similarities with that teacher down the hall or the one in that school across town, or that teacher at your committee meeting or the one you occasionally see at a professional gathering?

Now, I’m not saying that anyone stole my keys at the convention, or whacked me upside the head in the elevator or gave me the wrong directions to the bathroom.
No siree, Missy, nothing like that happened to me. But we all know Yukons in education. Hails bails, I’ve been like Yukon a time or two myself (not the stealing part or the whacking part--although I have felt like popping someone a time or to).

But Yukon got me thinking about things (and you know how I feel about things). I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, if we want to improve education, perhaps we need to run speedy quick past the Yukons in our paths and ignore their whining and swatting.
I think I can do that.

As long as I don’t have to carry one of those Marine Corp field packs or weigh under 135 pounds.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Carnivals Are Up & Waiting for Patience

It’s that time again to head on out to the midway to see what’s buzzing about in the EduSphere. Yep, the Carnivals are up. The EduCarnvial V2 can be found over at Epic Adventures are Often Uncomfortable. The Carnival of Educators #3 can be found at the My post, “The Richie Hata’s Club, T-Shirts & Interesting Emails,” was included, but you don’t have to go on the midway to read it there. It’s right here.

And if all of that weren’t enough, hop on over to the BlogCritics magazine to check out another post of mine, “Waiting for Patience.” Although not education related, I think you’ll enjoy reading about my top 5 “Bucket-less List,” so head on over there.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Richie Hata’s Club, T-Shirts & Interesting Emails

The Richie Hata’s Club grew this week, an unintentional by-product of being in the publications biz.

I shrugged it off, though, partially because I was wearing my nifty, spiffy “Don’t Be A Big Fat Stupid Head” t-shirt. I decided it was worth the money to print the minimum dozen order, so I could wear one willy-nilly through the halls surreptitiously calling people a BFSH without really doing so, thereby keeping my nifty little timer ticking. Clever, huh?

I also shrugged the Hata’s off because by 9 a.m. Friday, my poor principal looked like he needed an entire case of BFSH t-shirts. I would have bought him some, too, but then he would have had to increase my stipend. And well, my friends, we all know that isn’t going to happen. This is Tejas, after all. (I probably should explain that little remark, but then that is exactly the kind of thing that would get me into all kinds of trouble–and not even a truckload of BFSH t-shirts could save me from that one. Instead, I’ll just file that little piece of info in my “Things That Will Get You Fired Folder.”)

So back to the Richie Hata’s Club. I received some “interesting” emails this week. (Remember the word “interesting” is our little code word for things that range from nine kinds of stupid to snarky to rendering one speechless.)

I received an email from a parent who was upset at me because they missed the final deadline to purchase an ad for their senior. (You know, the ads that appear in the back of a yearbook where parents run baby pictures and say wonderful things about their kiddo?) Despite mailing home the information, announcing it almost daily and posting it on the school website, the parent missed it all and missed the deadline.

The parent’s biggest complaint? The information was posted on the school website.

The parent said they couldn’t afford the Internet.

“Interesting,” I thought as I crafted my reply and clicked the “send” button.

Here was an email that apparently found its way into my inbox. I’m guessing from the Internet.

I wonder what Al Gore would have to say about that.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some Odds & Ends

Just a few little reminders…

#1… The EduCarnival V2 is up and running over at I’m a Dreamer. Check it out. There’s lots of good stuff over there. My post on “Deadlines, Omelets & Banned Chocolate” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here. But, my dears, you really need to take a walk down that midway so you can walk the walk and talk the talk about all that is important in the EduSphere.

#2… If you just love to read more fun stuff from me, head on over to Blogcritics magazine and read my latest post, “Making the god of Exercise Smirk.” Although it’s not education related, I still think you will be amused.

#3… And, of course, please keep spreading the good news about my book, How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned From Professional Development. You can order it online at or from the Journalism Educators Association Bookstore.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Deadlines, Omelets & Banned Chocolate

Somehow we managed to survive this deadline without our Emergency Chocolate drawer. Of course, that made us all a tad bit more snarky than usual.

The lack of EC had absolutely nothing to do with efforts to shed 5,000 pounds, acknowledge the evils of refined sugar or fit into those pair of blue jeans now stashed in the back of my closet.

No siree, Missy.

We can blame this entire 5-alarm chocolate-less state of emergency on a nasty little email sent just days before we launched into our second newspaper deadline. This little electronic ditty outlined some not-so-nice edicts from a bunch of state bureaucratic chocolate hatas. Jeez Louise, what is the world coming to?

The email went something like this “blah, blah, blah, high schools may not serve or provide …blah, blah, blah… candy at any time anywhere on school premises… blah, blah, blah…such foods and beverages may not be sold or given away to students on school premises by school administrators or staff (principals, coaches, teachers, etc.), student or student groups, parents or parent groups, guest speakers or any other person, company or organization…blah blah blah… stricter penalties… blah blah blah…”

Is there anyone left in the free world not on that list that can slip us a little contraband chocolate? Now, I know these little rules have been around for a bit, but like Jack Sparrow, I rather preferred to think of them as merely “guidelines,” mate. Apparently, such is not the case.

According to these rules, you can dive into a sugar-laden, fat-filled frenzy after school hours, but not during school. No illegal chocolate for the sports guys after they discovered they desperately needed a quote from the golf coach, who hasn’t been seen in days because the team’s at a tournament. No chocolate. None. Nadda. Zip.

And, no forbidden chocolate either for my cute little editor-in-chief when she discovered–once again for the gazillionth time–that no one shot her photos for the centerspread. No chocolate for her either. None. Nadda. Zip. Just two blank pages staring back at her.

And, there was no emergency chocolate for the rest of us either when–in the midst of deadline–we asked one of the sports guys, “Hey, what are you doing?” as he popped paper plate after plate into the microwave with some sort of egg concoction instead of working on his pages.

“Making omelets for my Spanish class,” he replied.

Now, I’m not exactly sure where mixing and microwaving omelets fit under the chocolate hatas memo. I remember seeing some link that had the words “square meal” somewhere, but I didn’t bother having a look.

You see, my meals come on round plates, and the only thing square comes in the form of a little banned chocolate bar.