Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Speedy 2013

Once again, here is our year in quick time. The little critters are growing up so fast and becoming so independent... and so are the big critters. It's always chaos in our house, but with a lot of help from above, we make it through... Check out our 2013, and for laughs the previous 5 years. Happy New year and God bless. John & America

Speedy 2013 from John Costilla on Vimeo.






Monday, December 31, 2012

Costilla Speedy 2012

As Twenty-Twelve comes to an end, we are thankful for all the great memories. Happy New Year to all our friends and family. See this past year's Costilla Speedy 2012.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lessons from a Llama & John M

As you may or may not know, America has been homeschooling the two littles this year. As such, there has been a lot more flexibility and creative structures to "schooling." Having worked for education technology groups for the past 22 years, I thought we should use more technology with the kids.

Recently we signed the home academy up to Edmodo. I wasn't sure America was going to buy into it, but it has become a great resource to manage, organize, share and deliver open source resources. Additionally, it is great for creating daily assignments tailored for each of the two kids. I especially like finding great resources by age or grade capability and organizing them into the library for later use or to create short assignments. Once they are assigned, the kids can complete the task, come back to Edmodo and mark their activity as "Turned in."

From a technology end, it is great to manage content, embed content and curate great resources all into one location. There are some things I wish it did better like organize and archive assignments, posts, etc. The linear sequence of scrolling through activities can get cluttered, but overall it's something I wish I had when I was in the classroom. The kids love it.

So below is a screenshot of a short lesson America assigned to John M. & Grace: Write a creative story about a Llama with a beginning, middle and ending. Using good old fashion paper and pencil, she had them write their story, illustrate using a Draw Write notebook. Then I had them go to to narrate their story and animate a Llama to tell their story. Once he completed his story, we were able to take a picture of his story and drawing and upload them to his Edmodo profile/portolio from our iPhone Edmodo App. How cool is that?

Finally, he posted his final production Llama video to his profile. Take a look...

 I am just amazed at how much these kids can do if we give them the tools and engaging resources to do so. I think the notion of "teaching to the test" is something we hear over and over, but I don't believe we are really teaching them when we do this. Kids are going way beyond "learning from the test" when they get home or go online. This is the digital world they know and they are moving ahead with or without the adults. There are so many good things happening in classrooms today that go beyond traditional textbooks, worksheets and test taking. And, the web has made it so compelling to find shared resources online to teach and reinforce concepts. I have discovered and stored many great online education tools. What are some of your favorite resources that you use to engage your students?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tips for a better you.

A friend of mine gave me this and I wanted to share with you. These are great tips and thoughts to ponder as you go about your busy day. I have this posted on the side of my desk and try to take time to at least do a few a day. I've perfected #9.

Tips for a better you.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.
3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'
5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.
7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, and prayer. They provide daily fuel for our busy lives.
8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
9. Dream more while you are awake.
10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
11. Drink green tea and plenty of water.. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or
things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that
appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like college kid with a maxed out charge card.
17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
26. Forgive everyone for everything.
27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
28. GOD heals almost everything.
29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
33. The best is yet to come.
34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
35. Do the right thing!
36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)
37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.
38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

Which tip do you favor?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Costilla Speedy 2011

As Twenty-Eleven comes to an end, we are thankful for all the great memories. Happy New Year to all our friends and family.

See this past year's Costilla Speedy 2011.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Costilla Family

In typical fashion, America and I are late in the process of sending out Christmas cards so here is our 21st century Christmas video card and family update...

This Christmas we are very blessed and thankful to have all our family together. The Costilla family has been very busy this year with many ups and challenges but through it all, we are grateful for all our friends, family and support.

Gabriella is home for the break and entering her last semester as a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas. She celebrated her 21st birthday this year and is officially legal... Alec, 17, is doing well at St. John's and learning all about military life and leadership. Caroline, 11, is in her last year of elementary school as a 5th grader. She has become a great artist and cartoonist. John Michael, 8, is deep into cub scouts and enjoys 2nd grade. He is also quite the WIImaster. And then there's Grace. She entered kindergarten this year and already has taken to writing everything and everywhere, including walls and chairs. It's fun to read her phonetic spelling and try to make sense of it all.

May your Christmas and New Year season be filled with all the blessings, love and support that you have shown us. We pray that your 2012 is joyous and inviting to all that is good.

God Bless,
John & America Costilla

Friday, June 10, 2011

Right Here. Right Now. Social Media is a FAD?

Wow. How long has it been since my last blog post? Does anyone really blog anymore? I think blogging is so 2010... Actually, I've probably spent more time in Google Reader, StumbleUpon and Twitter reading, sharing and posting in the 6 months than blogging. One of my favorite apps, now gone, was FriendFeed. This allowed me to post once and have it automatically linked to all my other social components. Now almost every app has a Facebook connector that allows all your post to automatically shift over to Facebook status updates. I find my self checking into locations using Gowalla, an Austin based location social media service...this of course let's everyone see where I am, most often eating out...hence, the additional 20 lbs.

In any case, it turns out that social media may not be a fad as much as a way of life in today's every instance connected world we live in. The question I ask, is how do we leverage this social tool in our work and personal lives as well as in our education system. For the most part, education has stayed away from it.

This updated version of the now famous Shift Happens takes on the reality of social media is here to stay... Very cool and well produced.

DO you use social media in education? If so, how?