For the Love of Blogging

I think today is Blog Day. Or at least sometime soon it is Blog Day. I am not sure what that means exactly and we are not having a school-wide assembly to honor Blog Day but I am sure that I am suppose to write something regarding the benefits of blogging today. (It is all starting to run together now that school has started back.)

Here is my modified list of benefits of blogging:
  • Personal professional development
  • Collaboration
  • Networking
  • Fun
  • It's become a hobby
  • Keeping up with current events
Again, this is my modified list. I am sure there are more benefits that will come to me after I have had my 3rd cup of coffee this moring!

1st day poem

1st day poem
Originally uploaded by mmiller7571
I am using a feature in flickr to blog this so we will see how it goes. This is my poem and token I gave my teachers this year. Last month I posted about last year's poem. This poem was ready but I hadn't given it to my teachers yet so I couldn't post it. The glass votive and beads only cost a total of $21 at Hobby Lobby. That bought enough supplies for 60 people. I will post the actual poem when I see how this works.

I caved!!! Time to admit it.

I finally caved and bought a Palm Treo. May not be the "newest" gadget in the world but it is to me. I bought the palm phone about 4 years ago but took it back because it just seemed large and ridiculous. I have had a palm since they came out forever ago and loved it at first.
When I became a principal I had to go back to paper because things happen so fast in my job. But carrying around a clipboard, or notebook, or the paper pocket planner wasn't working either. So then I had cell phone, Palm, address book, iPod, and was carrying a calendar AND clipboard from school every day. CRAZY!!!

I played around with Janetta's for a while and it seemed very practical for me. Holy Cow! It's changed my life! I know, I know, EVERYTHING is changing my life lately. But here is why:

  • They keypad is wonderful. Trying to write with the freaking stylus all the time drove me crazy because I wanted everything spelled right all the time and the stylus has a mind of it's own.
  • Texting is easier. Yes, I am a texting crazy person. (By the way, spell checker needs to update it's bank of word to include the 21st century words.) My husband says I am a "loud phone talker" so I text in the car instead of call people. Probably not so good on their wallets but I paid for the "plan." :)
  • Check email anywhere - Now I am not really sure about this yet. Still tweaking. I keep getting the same emails that I have deleted and I get all my own emails that I have sent people. When I opened my email last night on my phone I had 77 emails but only 3 of them were actually new.
  • Email pictures to my family. When i am outside playing with my daughter I can take her picture and send it to my family all over the place. I took a picture during lunch doodie today and sent it to my mom just for fun.
  • Datebook 3 or 6 - These are palm calendar programs that allow me to include my "to do" items each day. On paper I was having a hard time keeping track of my to do lists. With this they are all somewhere in this gadget.
  • I can WEAR IT!!! This isn't so easy since I do not wear belts. I have always had a hard time wearing cell phones etc. because I wear skirts and slacks that don't need belts. i still take it off and leave it in the bathroom but everyone always turns it back in for me.
  • Supports my observation software - This was big for me. I have changed PDA's 4 or 5 times and my software never syncs. This was going to be the live or die moment but it sync'd perfectly and I don't have to retype all my phrases.
  • I can hear it! - Some cell phone brands are hard to hear out of. I was a huge Nokia fan but really wanted a pink razor. I "suffered" through having a pink razor for the past 2 - 3 years. I have to play around with the ringtones but I can hear the person on the other end as well as I could with my Nokia.
  • Thinking on the go - As I am all over the place in my building I can add to my to do list if people ask me things or stop me in the halls for something.
  • Multiple to do lists - Here's what I have: grocery, Walmart, IPA (teacher supply store), Lowes, staff blog, posts for this blog, Pride blog (weekly district blog we are required to post to), capital projects, custodians, Betty (my secretary), faculty meetings, newsletter, Staples, A-team, and E-team. When I run out of to do categories I start new categories in the Memo. I know that is pretty pathetic. As if the previous list isn't enough.
  • Word and excel documents - I can download any file I use regularly onto my palm in Documents to Go. I can create any Word or Excel document I need, on the go, on my palm.
  • Internet Access - Of course I am not going to admit that I pay more for internet on my phone than I do in my home but it is so worth it. I'll probably save money not having to call 411 for phone numbers since i can look them up on the web. Well not that much money.
  • Keypad - did I mention the keypad? That is the best part that has kept me with it.
  • Price - $200 after rebate and the data plan is a lot. Still cheaper than the iPhone I think.
  • I still forget to carry it everywhere.
  • Fear of dropping it.
  • Fear of it crashing.
  • My make-up gets on it when I use it as a phone.
Well, I'm tired and I am sure there is more to write but sleep would be good. So glad it is Friday

New Teacher Podcast

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of talking to our district's group of new teachers. District-wide this year we have over 38 new teachers. I am always the last presenter and I am not sure that is a blessing or a curse but I try to just give them advice and build them up to start a new school year. Check out my podcast page to the left for my most current podcast.
Below are links to a couple of the resources I used during this presentation:

Slideshare presentation
Teacher Movie

Brag on your teachers!!!

Willard East is off to a GREAT start this year! Theme for the year is "Cruising to Success at Willard East." I have heard more positive comments this year than, I think, any year I have been in this profession. Teachers are in and out of the office skipping with joy about their classes and great the group of students they have this year. (Grammar? Oh well.) Once again I have taken tons of pictures that I hope to be able to upload to this blog and talk about.
I sure wish I could take credit for this but I can't. I am so impressed with the dedication of my teachers. Coming in during the summer and preparing. Working together as teams over the summer. Participating in book studies. I even get emails in the evening and late night hours from some of my teachers so I know they are also putting in time above and beyond my expectations.
Our district is going through reading training with the Missouri Reading Initiative this year and I think our trainers are going to be amazed at the progress we have already made toward the goals and philosophies of this initiative. 3rd grade teachers are already working on management towards guided reading groups, classroom libraries are organized and labeled, Guided Reading tables/centers are reading to go. I am not kidding when I say it is amazing. These teachers know what it means to be prepared!
Have you bragged on your teachers lately? I know that some of my teachers read this blog and I don't care. They all need to know I see their hard work and extra time on the job! Amazing things are going to happen since we put the kids first!!!

Live Podcasting!!!

Okay so maybe there is no such thing as "live" podcasting. This week I recorded two presentation/workshops that I did for two different groups of staff members. This was my first attempt at recording myself live EVER. That might be an exaggeration but I can't think of another time I watched myself present on video or listened to myself on tape.

Lessons learned so far:
  • I need to work on my grammar during my presentations. When you are there it is one thing, but when you don't know me and you listen on a podcast I sound really 'hick-ish."
  • You have to get over hearing your own voice. It's not about me. It's about providing help/service for other people.
  • Editing takes longer.
  • I have to actually listen to the whole thing before I upload it. I have just been uploading everything 'raw.'
  • A separate intro for 'live' recordings is important because it is a little different than my regular episodes.
  • My voice recorder has a mic that I can clip to my shirt. I can un-clip the mic and hold up to anyone who asks a question. That way I do not have to amplify anyone. Still some amplification necessary.
  • Cut out dead space. When you present you are sometimes gathering your thoughts and there is dead space.
  • If you have 'visual aids'.........ppts, work samples, etc. be descriptive in your podcast.
  • Let your audience know you are recording the episode and where they can find it. During the workshop you may have to say something that sounds weird to the people present but they need to know you are talking to two audiences.
  • Don't put so much pressure on yourself. I am trying to do too many things right now and I have to remember that I can upload my stuff at any time. Not 30 seconds after I record it.
After thought: I wanted to record my faculty meeting today but it didn't seem right. I think it wigged the teachers out and there was a saw going in the background. I finally decided it was a really bad idea when one of my staff members jokingly, hypothetically said something that would sound right on a podcast. I guess some meetings are just going to have to be sacred. I will still attempt to record workshops though because I think that is appropriate.

Tune in soon to hear about my newest toy!!! I tell you what, this blogging and podcasting is getting hard on my wallet!!! I hope others are benefiting but I just enjoy it.

8 Random Things - I've been tagged!

Cathy Nelson over at Techno Tuesday Blog 'tagged' me! Aren't we just like the kids? :) Anyway I would love to play...........

The rules:
  • List 8 random facts about yourself
  • At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
  • Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged
My Facts:

1. I have the most wonderful family! Husband and daughter are amazing! We make a great team.
2. Scrapbook addict! Actually I have become a scrapbook supply collector since I have no time to scrapbook. Someday I will have some amazing pages
3. I used to sell explosives! Fireworks on the 4th of July.
4. I watch mindless TV shows. Being a principal is so stressful I can't watch stressful suspenseful TV. (Nascar, The Hills, ET, Last Comic Standing, General Hospital, Hannah Montana(Alyson) Little Einsteins, MTV Cribs etc.) Not that I have time but flip through until I find one of these.
5. I'm addicted to white caramel mocha's at Starbucks.
6. I love gadgets and technology.
7. Just got a Palm Treo phone thingy and I love it. Can't believe I didn't get one of these years ago but it is amazing so far. Synced great with my last palm stuff.
8. This was harder than I thought!

Tag, your it!!!

Janetta Garton
Scott Elias
Bob Andrus
Chip Gann
Marca Hayter
Jennifer Grant
Kara Crighton

My 1st Leadertalk Post!!!!

Many of the contributors to Leadertalk cross-post on their personal blogs so here goes......The following can be found at the Leadertalk blog for/by school leaders!!!
Motorcycle Training??? What?!

Welcome to my first Leadertalk post! I am so humbled to be part of such an experienced team of leaders and have the opportunity to virtually talk with all of you on a daily basis. So humbled I guess that my 1st original post is out there in the virtual world somewhere since my post was for the 4th and it is still nowhere in sight!

Anyway, on with the show! What in the world is this principal blogging about motorcycle training??? This evening when I was working at my school, a group of people were using the school parking lot to help a friend learn how to ride a motorcycle. First, two people were pushing the rider on the motorcycle. Then they were walk/jogging along beside her. Finally, she was on her own and you could hear the squeals of joy as she made one lap around my parking lot all by herself! It was amazing to watch as grown adults were squealing like kids and giggling and laughing. I can relate as I teach my 1 1/2 year old how to ride a tricycle! My point............

THE KIDS ARE COMING! THE KIDS ARE COMING! The excitement this particular person, a lady to be specific (a Chopper chick:):):) is the excitement that is going to be bursting through our doors in a little more than week. When was the last time you were excited about learning something new? What was it? How did you feel? Multiply that by the number of students at your school and that is what they are going to be feeling the first day of school and many more days after that.

I guess I am a pretty brief "poster." I am sure that will change as time goes on. Thanks for inviting me to the conversation and please be kind in your first comments. Once I 'make one lap by myself' in this blogging universe I'll be ready for the cold hard truth about my posts!!!!

Scott Elias - Podcast interview

Not sure how I got so lucky to have Scott Elias from Do I Dare Disturb the Universe on my podcast but you have to listen! Early this week Scott and I had emailed back and forth to coordinate a time to Skype. Please forgive my podcast editing skills as I continue to work on them. :):):) We will definitely chat again since this was such and easy 'production.' Comment or email us if you would like to chat with us "live."

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe was one of the 1st blogs I read and subscribed to. One the firsts posts that I read of his was about using GTD. Thank you Scott and I hope you all enjoy!!!

Some links to items we discussed:

Some additional GTD resources