Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Electing a President

I'm very excited to finally be able to teach social studies this year. My dream job, yay! To celebrate the realization of a life-long dream, the country has been kind enough to hold a presidential election that should prove to be quite interesting, to say the least. I've spent the past couple of days looking for resources to use with my students this fall, and just this morning found this fabulous video posted on Twitter.

Our friends at The Common Craft Show have taken a break from all things Web 2.0 to create Electing a U.S. President in Plain English. It's perfect!

After you watch the video, if you have a Digg account I know the folks at The Common Craft Show would appreciate a quick Digg here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

No More Time to Waste

Professor Randy Pausch passed away last Friday (July 25th), losing the battle with cancer that led to his Last Lecture video and book. [You can see that video on my blog here] It has always amazed me how people come and go in our lives, some close by and some at a distance. Some stay for a lengthy period of time, others flit in and out of our lives rather quickly. All have something to teach us if we're willing to stop and learn.

Professor Pausch was given an amazing gift to be able to reach so many people with his story. And yes, I did mean to say that he was the one given the gift. And I'm willing to bet he might agree with me. As a teacher I can tell you that teaching is a gift that you share with your students, but you keep a big chunk of that gift for yourself. It's a wonderful thing to be able to go home at the end of a day and say, "Wow! I reached at least one person today!" How it must have felt to reach millions, I can't even imagine.

My sympathies, my prayers, and my thanks go to his family at this time. Especially my thanks for sharing Randy with all of us, even if only for a short time.

But there's one more lesson to be learned. This one is all about time management. And it comes from the man who had so little to waste.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How to Break In Your New Laptop

If you're wondering what the best way to break in that new laptop might be, this is NOT it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spam I Am

If you hate spam but love Dr. Seuss, this is the slideshow for you!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

THE Web 2.0 Directory

I was sent a link this morning (thanks @kolson29) to the Web 2.0 Directory that you see below. It is a comprehensive list of Web 2.0 sites, everything from abazab to Zypsy. If there's something you'd like to accomplish on the internet, chances are you'll find a solution here.

Seeing this directory also led me to check out the website it came from, Scribd. Scribd is a website that allows you to "Publish Yourself Online." You can upload your own documents if you'd like to have a worldwide audience and possibly get feedback from the community. You can also explore their library of "over 12 billion words" to find documents that might be of interest to you. Once you join the website you can save any documents you like by marking them a "fave", or even download the document to your computer. If you'd like to share the document on your blog, you can easily get the embed code right above the document (that's how I managed to include the Web 2.0 Directory here).

Once you join, add me as a friend. I'm McTeach there also.

Read this document on Scribd: Web2-Directory

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Grammar Post?

Yes, I know, two grammar posts in a row. While you might not think of this as entirely a grammar issue, I just had to share it somehow. Nothing irks me more than finding grammar or spelling errors in publications or advertisements like the one I saw at the gas station today. Picture this mild-mannered grammar teacher standing there, pumping my gasoline (I'm still trying not to think about how much that cost me), when my eye is caught by the sign above the pumps. I read it and reread it a few times before my mind actually acknowledged, "Holy cow! There's a big glaring typo on this sign!" And it wasn't on just that one pump. No, it was on each of the six pumps, one sign on each side, twelve signs in all.

At first I was shocked, then amused, and then teacher mode kicked in. Frantically I searched the gas station for someone with a cellphone who could take a picture for me. No such luck. I even waited for a few minutes to see if someone would pull up who could help me with my future grammar lesson. The only people who pulled up were the landscaping crew from up the street. No cellphones.

What's a grammar teacher to do? Well, drive home, get her camera, and drive back to take the picture, of course! At this point you're either shaking your head or, like my mother, just outright laughing at me. That's fine. I can take it. I've got big shoulders. And somehow I will work this photo into my curriculum next year. In fact, I'd like to ask for your help. If you find an advertisement or billboard or street sign with an error, please take a picture of it for me. You can either email it to me at or add it to the group I've created on Flickr. Follow this link to the group's page, Stop the Grammar Madness. How's that for a catchy title?

But on to this morning's find.

I'm hoping that any one of my seventh graders could tell you what's wrong with sentence number one. That's right, even a seventh grader can tell you how to spell "available." Perhaps I should suggest to Chevron that they hire a few of my students as proofreaders. Just a thought.

On to error number 2. Now, unless they are actually planning on adding armor to your tires, I would suggest that they make "ArmorAll" one word and, to be completely accurate, they should also add the "registered trademark" after ArmorAll (you know, the little circle with the "R" in it). I'm sure the ArmorAll folks would appreciate it.

So, in your travels this summer, if you happen to spot an errant apostrophe, a glaring misspelling, or, heaven forbid, poor grammar, please take a picture of it and send it to me. Let us band together and say "Stop the Grammar Madness!"