Monday, May 30, 2005
My Weekend

St. Louis Cardinals Game
Originally uploaded by acl0026.
I spent part of my weekend at the Cardinals Game. That was probably my last game at Busch Stadium. So sad. The Cardinals also lost. I also went to the zoo, attended a wedding, went to the top of the Arch, gambled 5 bucks away, and ate some great Italian Food.

Here are two pictures I took of the Arch. A view of the Arch while standing to one side. And a view from right below.

The Arch at an Angle The Arch in St. Louis

Thursday, May 26, 2005
This is not normal behavior.
When packing, my greatest fear is always that I will not have enough reading material. What if I get stranded in Dallas for an extra 7 hours? What if I am on a cruise stuck on a sand bar for two additional days? See. Those have both happened to me. Therefore, they could happen again. And what if I do not have enough reading material to see me through the catastrophe?

What if I never meet up with my people in St. Louis and I have to live in the airport for four days. Clearly I need enough books for four days. Extra shoes out, more books in.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Capstone Stress
I just sent off my topic proposal for my capstone project. I have also asked to get off work for three hours a week to have time to work on the project. The project I have designed would mean finding websites that would help in the creation of lesson plans or in the implementation of lessons for Junior High English teachers. I would find the websites, analyze them according to certain things, and tag them in a special new account in I would also teach the teachers about and show them how to benefit from it.

It would be facinating and educational. I would really enjoy the project. But I think the likelihood of getting it approved is at about 60%. If it is rejected, I need a whole new topic. And it will all be over in 37 days. Oh my goodness.

Four of those days I will be in St. Louis and I don't know if I will have internet access. Perhaps this travel weekend is a poor decision.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Teaching Blogging
This post at A Difference talks about reflective blogging and mentions a great teacher/classroom blog talking about their classroom and what is going on. Great discussion about why the teacher chooses to form the groups for a group project. That's fantastic.

In the Reflective Blogging post, teacher blogs are divided into three groups:
I am still waiting on kind number four: the ones that are all about teaching and learning but are not so reflective. The ones that instead on reflecting what teaching and learning is going on, they simply state it. A blog that each day lists the journal prompt for the day. The blog that lists the homework for the night. (And all the things that I can't possibly imagine because I am not quite a teacher yet.) Maybe these are not classified as teacher blogs. Maybe "teaching tool blogs". Or something.

But the reflective teacher blogs that really get into details are getting closest to what I know is either out there or will be out there shortly. Even if I have to do it myself. :)

Update: On second thought, those reflective blogs are really, REALLY good. I can learn a lot from these people.

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Squirrel on Graduation Day

Yeah. So if I hadn't scared this squirrel away, he would have called up into my lap and verbally begged for a treat. But luckily, I know that I don't want to be that close to a squirrel so I yelled and he ran away. Posted by Hello

I was sitting on the edge of this bench. The squirrel was THAT close. Posted by Hello
Thursday, May 19, 2005
A boy in my class today told me that my hair smelled like a princess. That made my day. (Hopefully that thought will get me through the weekend full of a graduation, friends, family, TExES test, homework due, and Capstone prospectus due. I tried to plan in a stress-induced breakdown but I couldn't find the time.)

In other news, these are some of the many useful and interesting links I have come across lately.

More delicious statistics. This one guesses that there are 9 million posts and 4.5 million bookmarks. Wow. This is just some educated guessing work until real numbers are discovered, but wow.

Tagging for Educators.
Something I have been looking for. This post talks about how educators are using or can use It links to various tags in like "classroom" and "lessonplan". I am still waiting for more though. I want to see more lesson plans with novels and links and integration. I want to know how the teachers are using the links by the tags they are using. I want it all.

RSS and more. This talks about and RSS and IP addresses from things discussed at the Syndicate Conference.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Password Protected
Not much to blog about. I have lots of great things saved in bloglines so that when (if!) I have time I can go back and read and think about them.

Today there was another comment by my technology, internet, and computer lovin' 4 year old in my class. He made a house with blocks and then constructed his name out of those little letter blocks. He told me that he couldn't put his password because (and then I didn't catch the rest because I was laughing). The little one was picturing that little prompt with your user name and password. Then he proceeded to tell me what his password is -- and didn't seem to upset when I told him now I could go to his house and access all of his stuff.

Other than that, just a regular day. Tie a shoe. "Get off the fence." Wash my hands. "No tackle. No grabbing." Wipe a tear and give a hug. "Play on the grass, not with the dirt." Wash my hands. Count the kids. Read a story. Apply sunscreen to faces with cake crumbs still present.

The usual.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Capstone Thoughts
The only thing I have left before officially graduating with my MLS is my capstone. A project and two test questions. The project is pretty open but must "synthesize core knowledge and skills from my educational experience". Thats a pretty tall order. So getting the topic of the project is hard for me. My first two ideas were to write a manual for the student library aides of a local high school library or to weed and then select new materials to replace the weeded.

But then after reading more about the capstone project I think I could do something on blogging and Probably made for teachers and how they could incorporate those things in their teaching. A rough title might be, "How to organize and publicize information using new technology." Or something like that. The project might be a presentation and examples. A lesson. Ideas. Tips. Resources. Examples. I am just wondering how much this synthesizes all the knowledge I have learned over the past two years. But a webpage is a common project and this would be very similar.

I really need to get this thought out and written. It is a shame I am now working. And that I am brain dead when I get home. Weekends are not an option for me. This weekend I have my brother's MBA graduation, extended family in town, an English 8-12th grade certification test, and friends in town for 2 wedding showers. Then the next weekend I am in St. Louis for four days.

No time. There is never any time.

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Sunday, May 15, 2005
I am a liar and a horrible library patron.
Tonight, while cleaning my room, I found the book that I was so sure that I had returned. I hate that. I wish I had thrown it away so that I could still have a hope in my mind that it really was the library's fault. And that thought makes me feel guilty.

So now, I have to decide if I want to return the book or keep it. I'll end up returning it and getting my full refund minus the other fees.

I take comfort in that saying that doctors make the worst patients.
I am loving my inbox! It is showing me great links like this one that ranks the 86,800 most popular words in the english language. I am trying to see how high of a score I can get. (The more used the word, the lower the number, "The" is number one because it is used the most.) So far I have "computation" at 21,248. That is just after about 6 tries and I know I can do much better.

Update: Wallflower at 65,633. I am amazing.
Movie Trailers
The Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire trailer is out and it looks good! It doesn't come out until Nov. 18th. I can't wait! It ends with Snape (I think) saying, "Dark and evil times ahead, Harry. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy."

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie also looks good. I was reading the book written about the movie (should I be embarrased about that?), and this is the actress for the Bridget charactor's first movie.
Food Blogs
Through Kiplog's Foodblogs links I found blogs from Alton Brown and Jamie Oliver. Now all I need are blogs from Rachael Ray and Paula Deen. I also found 1000 Bars, and I am amazed at how long it took innocent me to discover that these are not nutritional food bars. I kept looking for what brand of bars they were eating. Nutrigrain? Clif?

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Saturday, May 14, 2005
No rain! I have had a wonderful day exploring REI, Barnes and Noble, Bath and Body Works, and HEB. (And I even had the self control to pass Amy's Ice Cream).

While at Barnes and Noble, I drank Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea on Ice (fabulous!) and read my two chapters of Instructional Design for Classroom Teaching and Learning. One part mentioned memorization and gave reciting Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening " as an example.

I thought about all the things that I memorized in school. "Stopping by Woods" in 6th grade, the first part of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" in 5th grade for extra credit, and some Elizabeth Bishop poems in 7th.

And to test myself...

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though
He will not see us passing by
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

Something something
He gives his harness bells a shake
To as if there's some mistake

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I sleep.

Ok, I just looked up the real words and when I read the lines that I couldn't remember today, I had this flashback to my 5th grade reading teacher's room and forgetting that line too. No wonder I couldn't remember it.

I can remember less of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere:

Listen my children and you will hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
'Twas the (some date) of April in (year)
Not a man alive will forget that fateful day (?)
One if by land two if by sea...

And for Elizabeth Bishop, all I remember is something about riding on a wagon. (Visits to St. Elizabeth's is one poem I memorized. Don't remember anything about a wagon.)

What is the value today for all this memorization and these random words in my head, some correct and some not so accurate? Is there real value and something that makes it more than a party trick? This article in the NY Times tals about the lost art of Elocution.

I know that ....

(at this point in the night I took time to find the book that I was about to mention. It was a young adult book that I read probably around the age 14. It was a good book and it mentioned "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Eveing" and talked about how it could be about suicide. I spent 3 hours--wasted three hours of my life-- looking for this book and could never find it. It's probably out of print. But not knowing will bug me for the rest of my life. )

... I did not particularly enjoy memorizing these poems. But I do enjoy knowing them now. I wonder if I will have my students memorize and recite anything. Extra credit sounds like a good idea.

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Blue Skies

Today there is a 50% chance of rain in Austin. The skies do not quite look like this. But this was the view out of my window a few weeks ago. Posted by Hello
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I am a procrastinator. I waited until Saturday morning to order books for my class that started on Monday. So I had some time to kill on Monday and Tuesday while waiting for my books to arrive in the mail.

I knew I had a book waiting for me at the Austin library. So I went there and got it. It was a book by Karen Kingsbury who I have just discovered. A Christian fiction writer, who made me question how the author was going to fix all of the issues in the book like I have never questioned before.

I usually read books that are very predictable. Or if not predictable, then at least I know a few options that might happen. But with One Tuesday Morning, I remember consciously thinking, "What in the world is the author going to do with this story?"

It was fascinating, both to be reading a book that had interested me so much, and to be cognizant of my reactions to how I was reading that book.

So I went to the library to get a book of hers that I had requested. Not the sequel to One Tuesday Morning, but the first book of another series. And then after I had checked out at the automated checker outer, I went back and discovered the sequel was there too, reserved just for me. How exciting!

What a great treat before starting a new teacher certification class. A class where the teacher has warned us that the book isn't that great. It's hard and abstract and we will probably have to read the chapters more than once.

Hmph. I am hoping my library courses on lesson plans will help me out here.
A question was asked in one of the library listservs that I am still on but keep thinking I should unsubscribe from. The question was about business blogs or business library blogs. One of the suggestions was Corante. So I went there and found a whole lot of interesting stuff. I can't decide which of the RSS feeds to subscribe to (28 options). I started with the main page and was surprised to see that only 157 subscribers on bloglines. The main page has also been posted to 4 times (but then I noticed that my posting had not used the "www." Using the www, there are many more than 4 - 151 to be exact. But the bloglines number stands.) That sounds really low to me.

I found a lot of interesting things here. There are sections from industry insiders and weblog sections about various topics. Business, law, technology, social software, online dating, branding, consumers, copyright. Interesting.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 Blog
I have said so many things lately. But I have just one more. A blog. Complete with pictures of cats and the place where it all happens. And comments asking for correct punctuation. Hmm.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Email woes
Today I figured I should work on all the email I have in my listserv email account. I haven't really looked at it in about two weeks (so that can tell right there how essential it must be to my daily life.) So my library folder had accumulated over 1000 emails. It took me about 1/2 hour to scan the titles and delete 50 emails at a time. I found 6 that really interested me enough to scan the actual email and I ended up tagging (using Gmail) and 4 of them to keep. My rule is if I keep an email, I need to tag it with something so that I know how it is useful to me. Some examples are: websites, book title, library programming, recipe.

But I hate looking at this email. I signed up to LM_NET in my bloglines account so maybe that will work better for me. But probably I will just sign off in another month if that doesn't work any better. But what I want is to be able to see the FULL content of my email in RSS in bloglines.

I do enjoy the emails, but not being a current school librarian they seem like a waste of my time. But I did discover this today. PABBIS is Parents Against Bad Books in School. The librarians posting it to the listserv mentioned that it is good to be aware of what people are thinking about books, and where they get their information. The website has lists of books and exerpts of their bad words/ objectional parts. I am all for parents making informed decisions about what their kids are reading. But I sure hope they are actually going to the source and reading the whole book and making a truly informed decision. Also, the books on the website are divided into several groups according to what letter they start with. (A-G, H-L...) Then the books are listed at the top and then they are listed again with their objectional part. But there is no internal link from the first list to the second. What kind of webpage is this?

The website also has chart that looks at books and shows if they were banned at various times, on certain lists. I looked for Where's Waldo. That's the funniest banned book. Yep. I found it.

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Monday, May 09, 2005 Spam
Last night while wasting time on the internet, I found this piece of delicious spam in my bloglines account. Why is it spam? Because it uses the most popular tags to generate traffice. The tags have little to do with the site posted.

The piece of spam had already been metioned in this blog post and on the discussion list. But last night was the first time I had ever seen it. And it shocked me. It really jumped out at me because it has 236 tags. (Or a huge number somewhere around there. I might have made a mistake or two while counting.) That is way too many tags.

I took a screenshot picture of the spam. The discussion list said the original spam had been deleted. So just in case there was a deletion, I wanted to remember how massive it was. And when most things I see take up only one line worth of tags, yes, this is massive.

I started thinking about what could be done about this. (Not that it is that big of a problem. Just kind of tacky for people to use the popular tags to get traffic to their site.)To my non-tech mind, it makes sense to flag someone anytime anyone posts a site with a certain number of tags. But what number would that be? What would be the maximum number of tags that one website would need to have? Certainly much less than 236. I went back to the delicious pilot study to see if it found out the average number of tags per post. No luck. That would be interesting to know. 236. Thats ridiculous.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005 thoughts
It is weird how I live in my own little bubble. Whatever I am doing, obsorbed in, or interested in, I tend to forget that everyone is not as into as I am. Right now I am in a 4-year old children bubble where sometimes I want to tie shoes of little strangers. Occupational hazzard, I suppose. I also have my bubble where I find myself using too much. I see something out of my window and I want to tag it "cool" or I hear something interesting on the news and want to tag it "to_listen_to_later". But I can't.

I was driving to Houston for Mother's Day with my brother. I asked him if he had ever heard of He hadn't. So I shared. He thought the whole thing was pretty interesting. Especially the part about the funding and wanted to know what was going to happen with that. (I then set up a technorati watch list for delicious business model. Found this blog and this one and then emailed the information to my brother. It was exciting to make the information come to me and then be able to share it.)

I was thinking more about how I will continue to use to my advantage. I really want to use it when I am a teacher. I can see myself using it for projects. If we were working on To Kill a Mockingbird in Freshman English, I could tag things with TKAM and English1 and tell students they will find useful things there. (New discovery: someone has already tagged something with ToKillAMockingbird! Looking at their other tags and their website, they are in the education field. )

I have been thinking about if I would need to make a new account for my students to access or if I will just use my existing one. Do I want to share all of my links for my personal enjoyment with my students? It would certainly be easier to have just one account. I have thought about using for a teacher account and keeping my as just my stuff. Then I could add more notes. So that is one idea.

I started to think about what general tags I would use when teaching. I might tag something with "extracredit" or "bellwork". So I set up the RSS feeds for those tags (which have not been used yet. NOT ONE TIME!) into my bloglines account so if anyone does use them I can find out. Fantastic!

I love this stuff.

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My knife

What I bought with my paycheck. Its a 7 Inch Wustof Santoku Knife and Honing Steel. The knife has been on my wish list for over a year. I am now a member of the Rachael Ray Club. Posted by Hello
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Firefox withdrawal
I'm in Houston, at my grandparents house. (Where I walk into the door and my grandmother says I am getting prettier... but not to get sexier because apparently there was some librarian who thought she was not getting promoted because she was too sexy. It was one of those stories from Star or National Enquirer. But that's a whole other story.)

I am on a computer without firefox, without my cool extensions. I right clicked a link and dragged it to an empty space on the screen and NOTHING HAPPENED. It made me sad. (Update: I did it again! I just added that extension a week ago. How have I become so dependent on it?) I miss my bookmarklets and my live bookmarks.

Obviously I need a laptop. And for all of my relatives to have wireless internet to cater to all of my needs.

Friday, May 06, 2005
Money money money
Today I opened the biggest paycheck that I have ever gotten. Since this is the first time I have worked an 82 hour two week period, this was not hard to do. But it was nice. And just to think how much better it will be with a real job, not just a summer one.

Money isn't everything. It won't make me really happy. But at naptime, when only 4 kiddos were asleep, (and the others were on the verge of their daily naptime revolt) I did open my paycheck and look at it. It gave me the strength to go on.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Little Bits
A new blog about RSS use in libraries should prove interesting: RSS4Lib (Link via Tame the Web)

And a newsweek article about blogs in Tokyo. Where they evidently pay money what we get for free here. This struck me as odd:

Here, blog providers (the equivalents of for Americans) prominently display the PV rankings of their users. I pay mine $2.70 a month extra for a detailed "access analysis" of who visits my pages, how often and what words they typed into, say, Google to find me.


And for me, job prospects are adding up. Today there are over 125 jobs posted on this one website that I check every day. My goal is to have applications in at least 6 school districts. I currently have 3. Way to go, me.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Boys use words; girls just cry.
These are the thoughts of one four year old.

A girl started crying because her hand touched something and so her hand was hurt and it was then ok to start crying pathetically. (She is the best crier. Real tears in no time.)

I asked the crying girl to use her words and tell me what happened.

The boy next to me looked doubtful. He squinted his eyes and said, "Mmm. I think girls don't use words. They just cry. The boys can use words. Girls just cry."

I tried to stop laughing as I told him that we all cry and we all should use our words.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
All about Numbers
I am in charge of getting the children to sleep at rest time. Somedays, I just how good or bad my day was by the percentage of children that I coax into sleep. (Other days I realize thats just stupid and find a better way to judge my worth.) Today it was not so good. Just 11/21. When the kids were too squirmy and talkative I walked around the room and told them to shh. Then I said I could start patting backs (something that they love and sometimes helps them quiet down and sleep)if I got to 100 while they were being quiet. I told them everytime I saw someone moving around or talking I would start over. Sadly, I never got past 25. And I must have said "1" about 40 times.

Later we were outside and I saw two kids run into eachother. It was one of those slow motion moments. I saw it coming but I knew I was powerless to do anything. It was such a head on collision that I actually covered my eyes as I saw it happen. I then ran to the child who was on the ground, crying and clutching his leg. I didn't know if he was seriously hurt and I couldn't figure it out while he was crying. I told him to point to the part that hurt the most (his calf) and I told him to stop crying and we would count to 20 and see if it still hurt after that. After 20, he was well enough to get up and run around again.

It still amazes me how fast he stopped crying. But the number two, he was just looking at me and listening to me count. Something about the definite amount of time made it ok to take a break and just count. I am always amazed when something that simple works so well.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
New discoveries: Elistic
Elistic was started this weekend. I haven't yet signed up for an account but I will probably end up doing that. I don't think I fully understand what I would do with it yet. I don't quite understand what makes it a social "list" organizer. Or what makes it different than I guess it is the notes part of without having to link it to anything to begin with. But then you can link the notes to other things? I don't know.

But maybe if I start working on it, I would discover some uses for it. Here is some information from the about page.
Elistic is a social list manager. You can use it to keep just about any kind of list, or record any text content.

Elistic's building block is the Entry. Elistic users can create as many entries as they want, and fill them with just about any content. Entries can be public or private, and public entries can be viewed by anyone browsing Elistic. A basic entry consists of a title, a note, and a set of user-defined tags with which to categorize it. An entry can also be linked to any other entry, including another user's, as long as their entry is public.
It looks interesting. The creator blogs about the creation here, where he describes that the original publicity was just through tagging it on
Within a short while, the bookmark had been picked up by a few more people, and people were starting to sign up at Elistic. By the end of the day, Elistic had about 50 unique visitors, and about 200 more throughout Saturday, all from one link on Of those 250, ten people created an account and started experimenting with it.
If that isn't facinating, I don't know what is.

The creator says he started it to organize his Getting Things Done lists. GTD... like the 43 folders google groups that I lurk on, even though I haven't read the book. I was surprised to see that the creator did not announce his project on the 43 folders list. But maybe that is just all part of a brilliant publicity plan.

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Happy Mayday
Mayday always fills me with curiosity, awe, and sadness. Because when I was little, my brother's school had a huge Mayday celebration, complete with a Maypole created by the students. I remember watching with awe as the students just walked around held their ribbons up and down and twirled around the pole. And soon, the pole was covered in ribbons and color. I always looked forward to the day where I could be part of the Mayday celebration. The sadness comes in because we moved before that could happen. So I never got to make that maypole. But maybe someday I will get a chance to see one made again. Happy Mayday.

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