Thursday, June 28, 2007

13 Things about Thrift Shops

Thirteen Things about Thrift Stores

1. Child having a tantrum

2. Several small children making a mess of the toy area with no parent in sight

3. A woman chatting so loudly on her cell phone that the rest of us know way more about her love life than we want to!

4. Multiple copies of "What to Expect When You're Expecting"

5. Several woman who are already expecting

6. A Singing Billy Bass (may or may not work) - not that anyone cares

7. Someone plaintively asking if there is a bathroom (there never is)

8. A pervasive smell of sweat and mothballs

9. Last years fad holiday gift - Blooming Onion makers are no longer all the rage

10. A Clear Channel Communication radio station - and during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas it's Christmas Carols 24/7

11. Zillions of Beanie Babies - the bubble burst on those long ago

12. Numerous customers in need of a wardrobe makeover - and a good dentist

13. Treasure! Such as the 13 Leather Bound Franklin Signed First Edition books I found today

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What Kind of Reader are You?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Do these results surprise anyone?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Brain on Over Load and Over Drive

Spent aay to much time hunched over one computer or another this past week. Among my summer plans was to down load and start using Art of Books. Thanks my scanner and some good garage sales and thrift store runs book inventory is up by 1/3 and my sales are too. That’s a very good thing, but getting the books packed up and shipped out is taking more and more time. Enter Art of Books, a combined listing, packing and when paired with Endicia shipping program. Excellent solfware but a killer learning curve. The Endicia / AOB shipping pairing spits out professional looking labels in the blink of an eye but somehow I can’t seem to get all the steps down in the correct order. This morning’s snafu resulted in triple printed labels. Good thing Endicia gives postage refunds!

Education, in an attempt to capture the attention of the video game generation is becoming more interactive. A chalk board and an over head projector just don’t cut it any more. Enter
Promethean , the educational version of a the Smartboard. Very interesting – a Promethean board is akin to an interactive PowerPoint presentation on Speed but overwhelming to say the least.

After 15+ years of new technology becoming old technology and being replaced my newer technology (even though the original new technology has never been taken out of the box.) the district has finally realized that folks need to be held accountable. The district is investing some very serious dollars in the technology and if you want to play, you have to go to training.
So, this time nobody gets the laptop necessary to run their gizmo till they attend training and nobody gets credit (necessary for continuing education) till they complete a “homework” project and bring it the advanced training.

Never being one to turn my nose up at a new piece of technology I dutifully took myself off to an all day training session. Great fun, but so much to comprehend in such a short time. I lucked into a small class – only 3 of us, and a class where all of us were already computer literate and it was still to much to absorb. New terms, new techniques and new methods all coming at me at warp speed.

Note to Self: Don’t ever try to master 3 new software programs in the course of one week. Especially after the age of 50. There just aren’t enough brain cells left to cope.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Learning While Playing.

Just as in most professions, teachers must garner continuing education credits. However, unlike Doctors who get to go to Hawaii and sip all expense paid by the pharmaceutical companies mojitas by the pool, we gather in a converted high school and drink coffee out of paper cups.

We used to have no choice as to what we were going to be educated in. That made for some worthless experiences. In my 16 years, I've had to suffer through everything from "how to make a bulb work using a battery and wires' to watching a talking head with a bad toupee give a canned motivation speech. A couple of years ago someone in administration finally figured out that if we were allowed to select what we wanted to learn we might not only actually learn something but also be a better audience. Teachers are notorious for inattentive and rude behavior when they are the student rather than the teacher.

This past week groups of librarians and teachers gathered together with the folks from library media services at the annual Summer Integration Academy. The goal is to create "technology rich lessons" and foster teacher / librarian collaboration . We started with a crash course in various programs and web tools - blogs, Inspiration, Kidspiration, databases on the Library Research page, streaming video, film editing and more – the brain is on overload.

It's been great fun. The levels of knowledge range from “ how do I turn it on” to semi expert, however everyone learns something new. It's also joyfully informal yet most professional, no assigned seats no "turn to your neighbor" and no cutesy, wootsey, bonding activities. We even get to go out to lunch like worker bees in the real world. It doesn't take much to make a teacher happy.
The created lessons; actually they are full blown units range from Nutrition to Greek Mythology to American Historical Figures to classroom rules to job interviews to the water cycle for bi-lingual second graders. All the lessons are posted on a website so that everyone in the district has access.

The class has many objectives - increasing librarian & teacher cooperation, replacing pencil and paper activities with computer related activities and replacing the traditional paper or report with a PowerPoint, a pod cast - anything other than a paper purchased from an online term paper company. After 3 days of intense work we all present our lessons. It's amazing to watch the transformation- what was a nebulous idea on Monday crystallizes are a full blown unit, complete with lesson plans, film clips, PowerPoints, rubrics for grading, blogs, student activities and follow up activities. TEKS and TAKS objectives are integrated and we even have differentiated activities for the students at the Special Ed and the Gifted/Talented end of the spectrum.

The teachers range from second grade to high school so we have a wide range of abilities. Technology a great leveler - it's amazing how I can adapt a high school lesson on nutrition and share it with our school nurse for her Housman Health Club or a 10th grade speech lesson for our own annual career day.

After each presentation, there are informal comments and suggestions. We all learn from each other and make mental notes of how we're going to adapt each lesson to our own schools and situations.

This is what teacher ed should be, unfortunately, it rarely is.