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February 2011

First week of classes down--how did they go?

Finished my first week of Jan. 2011 classes at Edinboro University. In my opinion, they went well. I was on time to all of the classes, I had a clear plan for each of them, and except for a few computer issues, all went very well. For some odd reason on Thursday, about 3/4 of the thin clients in Wiley 114 wouldn't let students log in. No problem, though; I just went to Plan B. I'm eager to read the students' blogs in the T/Th classes next week.  One thing that was kind of funny, though, that happened in my 2nd ENGL 102 class of the day: I was showing students Wordle and how that works, when one student who seems quite well engaged in class, asked the ultimate question that should be asked of nearly everything I do in the class: Yeah, that's neat, but how does that help us? or it was something like "how is this useful?" I just have so much fun with Wordle that I was at a loss for an explanation and laughing sheepishly, said, "well, it's just really COOL! Isn't it? I can't just show you something because it's cool?" Then I knew how idiotic that sounded, so I said it can help you when you are brainstorming for ideas; the words that are repeated show up in bigger type, and so that might give you an idea of ideas that have more importance for you. Meanwhile, they agreed that it was cool, also, but I LIKE that they challenged me with that question. I should always be able to answer that question to the students' satisfaction (and myself). Wordle: blogpostwwa Click on the above picture to see it full sized. The content used is this blog entry minus these 2 sentences. (BTW, I did see a few online slideshows called 38 Ways to Use Wordle in the classroom," and another "25 Ways..." --so there ARE ways to incorporate it legitimately.

One reason I showed it to them yesterday was because each letter and picture in Google's logo of JFK and his presidential speech was done in Wordle or something like that, so I thought it was especially relevant to know how they did that. Nevertheless I plan on having multiple answers for that anticipated question for every thing I teach.

I also noticed a new sign on the street that goes onto campus (forget its name) in back of the Compton parking lot.

Snowed In!!

Boston snow1 Boston snow2 Boston snow3 Boston snow4 Boston snow5 Boy, oh, boy, are we really snowed in!!! We're on the 3rd floor where these tree branches are and it is JUST a WINTER WONDERLAND out there!! Blizzard--big time. I am soooo glad I got to reschedule my flight. Jet Blue was really good about it. At least I'll be back by the time school starts. Meanwhile, I'm working hard here to complete my course handouts and planning. What would I do without my laptop? (Probably NOT be obsessed by it, taken over by it, that's what!)

non-MLA convention

One of these years, I will eventually make it to the MLA convention. However, it is ALWAYS in the way of my time off and/or my birthday, and it was the latter case this time. I hate to give my birthday away to a few thousand people. I like to keep it all to myself or to a few loved ones and friends. It was a quiet one yesterday, but comfortable. Tomorrow I'll venture out to get a few needed items and maybe a little birthday treat besides. It'll have to be little, but still I think I can manage a small treat.

New Year, Fresh Starts

I always enjoy starting a fresh semester or starting a new year! It gives me a chance to have a "do-over" or new plan.  I hope that everyone out there that I care about has a great year in 2011. I'm already starting out great by having my family all intact still and here. While I miss Greg, Uncle Don, and Dan's dad, Monk Austin, it helps if I sometimes think they're just in a different place for now, and I'll see them again when I can--Just like when people live in a different place from you, and you only get to visit every once in a while. 

I am so grateful to my family--both the one I grew up in and the one I helped others grow up in. You are all the greatest thing about my life!