In-Service Day Wrap Up: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

I gave my Web 2.0 presentation today at the extended faculty meeting–I took nearly an hour and I still wasn’t finished.  Sheesh.  Good thing I cut it back, eh?

I’m not sure if I was very helpful to people, but I hope so.  I began by asking the assembled faculty if any of them knew what “web 2.0” was; not a single hand went up.  That was actually nearly reassuring; it meant that I wouldn’t be talking down to them.  I hate it when that happens, from either side of the communication.

A few more joined the faculty ning I set up over Christmas break–that’s a good sign.  Quite a few who had joined right away and then forgot also showed up today—adding some information, discussing other things.  A good start.  And, a group of us had a meeting today about doing interdisciplinary lessons and performance preparation for the concert that’s on Cinco de Mayo–we came up with some neat ideas–and we immediately said we need to add a group for that purpose on the faculty ning.  Yay!

Drop by drop.

Also had a discussion about YouTube (and subsequently Nibipedia and Wordia) being blocked.  It sounds as if most of the faculty (if not administration) supports unblocking it and finding other means of monitoring students than wholesale locked gates.

We’ll see where that goes, as well.  Drop by drop!

In other news, grades are due this week (I have hundreds of papers I’ve been putting off) and Round One of Mock Trial competition (I have two teams, and both play the same day) on Wednesday.  Preparing for a sub for the whole day plus the stress of the trials (I lose years of my life each time) added to the grading, AND a new semester starting tomorrow, and I’ve about had it.

Might explain the migraine I’ve been nursing all day, one that promises to gather strength if I keep heaping stress on like Mrs. Tam O’Shanter nursing her wrath to keep it warm…(one of my all-time favorite lines of poetry, there–thanks Robbie Burns!)

Oh…the insulting part of the day?  The insurance meeting.  We have a pay freeze on, statewide (Governor Pawlenty), but our already outrageous health insurance is going up at least 20%.  I have no idea where I’ll find that kind of money–we already aren’t making it, and my husband doesn’t even *have* insurance.

I’m trying not to think about it right now.  Not this week.  I can’t physically afford the worry.  Once grades are in, once Mock Trial is over, then I’ll spend the time to deal with having two degrees, several years experience, working a gazillion hours a week, but not being able to support myself doing so.

“It’s a dangerous thing, Frodo, stepping outside your windows…”

Here’s the deal.  Aside from grading stacks and stacks of papers, planning a few lit units, organizing my house that has, for the last two years, slid further and further into “crazy psycho collector read-all-about-it-in-the-Lifestyle-section” land, and catching up on leisure reading, I’m supposed to be putting together a presentation for my colleagues about all the neato things I learned at the TIES conference at the beginning of the month. (Reference this blog and this one for context.)

That wouldn’t be a problem–I like putting together presentations–except for two things:

1)  I hate, loathe, detest, and am flattened by having to present to colleagues.  I can only teach teenagers.  That’s it.  My repertoire is quite…small.  I can do 8th grade, and I can do seniors, and I can do everything in between, but beyond that?  I either come across like a total imbecile or, in trying to avoid that, I assume far too much and end up speaking babble in Greek.

and…

2)  In deciding what to include, I’ve been spending hours reading edtech blogs, following links, adding to my bookmarks, and exclaiming, “Oh, hey, another way to use Twitter!” and “Wow, that’s so freaking cool!” a lot.

Neither of these points are very helpful, you might notice.

Perhaps as an act of exorcism, I’ll lay out some of the cool things I’ve been finding for #2.  (If any of you have ideas on fixing #1, please comment or e-mail!)

  • Wordia.  I’m having visions of some very fun and creative vocabulary lessons for kids.
  • Search Cube.  Cool for visual learners, I suspect.  You can view an example here.
  • Twitter Venn tools.  Very cool.  Visually interesting and fun.  (Not to mention an awesome woman whose blog I need to watch closely so it’s already added to my RSS feed!)
  • Speaking of new bloggers I’m following, here’s a great idea for Movie Trailers for Books with a very cool resource for keeping track of visual sources.  Woot!

Where did most of these come from?  Tweets on Twitter posted by other educators or edtechs.

So…back to that presentation.  Maybe after following links to just a couple of more sites…and checking my tweets another time…oh, and yeah, that new Wiki I joined for educators, that might have something new…and…and…and…