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?