Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

My wish for you Santa, and all of us this Christmas 2017



Buncee created by me: https://app.edu.buncee.com/buncee/ef0e02f5b75844ed8bb18050e6b706de

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Let it Snow... Faux Snow!

 The other day we had one of those Hallmark Christmas movie snows. But
it was real! Big flakes coming down, landing on you, dotting your sweater with lasting white polka-dots. Best part too... it was quite mild out and you could really be out with just a sweater or light coat.

For a minute I thought I was in Christmas, Montana... Evergreen, Vermont... or wherever it is that Hallmark/Lifetime movies take place.

But I was really and truly in my own Hometown, USA... where the snow was real, and Hallmark Christmas movies are a staple of the season here at our house, especially during present wrapping time. 'Tis the season for that!

Unfortunately, when you are generating fake snow for a movie, it's a little less ice crystal & a lot more fabrication.

To find yourself slipping down a collection of faux-snow and see the ins and outs of all that artificial white stuff, check out the links below:
  • There's always the eco-friendly company Snowcel, where you can buy your own, ready-made.
  • Apparently, "Snowbusiness" is a "world leader in snow and winter effects" (according to their webpage).  They have been in the faux snow business for 30+ years and have the ability to make 200 different kinds of pseudo snow. (Who knew there were that many!!) Paper and plastics seem to be the heart of the materials, along with some micro fireworks that create a "snowy ash"
  • CGI is always there for the win as well... as this video shows.

  • Then there's always this (shhh... no spoilers)!


Hopefully this season ahead, you find some real snow to make yourself holly, jolly, merry and bright!

Images from https://www.dafont.com/faux-snow.font (Illustration © ├ćnigma); http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/04/video-these-microbes-are-key-making-artificial-snowhttps://www.balsamhill.com/how-to-flock-an-artificial-christmas-tree.

videos from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4e9i0sCX7c and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Q87WniJYE&feature=youtu.be

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hour of Code 2017

Technically, the Hour of Code has come and gone, but as with most things, it's really truly never too late.

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2017 Computer Science Education Week will be December 4-10, but you can host an Hour of Code all year round. Their newly featured coding module for the year is all about Minecraft.

It has been amazing to watch the explosive growth of both Code.org since its beginning in January 2013--just shy of 5 years ago. This year marks the fourth Hour of Code, as the first one was during Computer Science Education week, December 2013

To learn more about the Hour of Code, check out these videos below.  Then if you missed it & want to check it out--or if you simply need more of it--you might want to take advantage of the holiday break ahead to dive right in, getting your feet wet with coding. Check out the Hour of Code website to find the right level for you and a multitude of activities that will get you programming like a rock star.







Logo from https://code.org/ and https://hourofcode.com/us; videos from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsOIlDT145Ahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoPx_rSicrMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSg9dZBtSWchttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzwa6Pm03Zk

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holiday Countdown Abounds!

Here on the 16th of December, we are on the 5th day of Hanukkah and progressing into the single digits of days toward Christmas.  While we are doing our counting and countdown-ing, here are some #edtechy ways to keep you busy!




Two Edtech bloggers out there have some countdowns going that are totally worth sharing! The first here is Eric Curtis' Control Alt Achieve: Transforming Education With Technology has his "12 Days of Tech-Mas" series for 2017.  Included in those are the following:

6 Googly Winter Activities"  includes....
  1. Build a Snowman with Google Slides
  2. Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings
  3. Holiday Greeting Cards with Google Drawings
  4. Pixel Art Ornaments with Google Sheets
  5. Wintertime Emoji Rebus Stories
  6. Holiday Lights Writing
There's a bunch of other goodies there, including (to date):
Over at EduTech4Teachers, you'll find the 12 Digital Days of Christmas for 2017 (Part VI).  Jamie Forshey created a ThingLink to touch on the clickable hot spots, making it a one-shot-stop to be able to link to her suggested holiday ideas/activities/apps. To date her "tech treasures" include:
  1. A Visit to Northpole.com
  2. Holiday Hideaways, a digital adventure 
  3. Sugar Sugar Christmas at MathPlayground.com
  4. How to make light up holiday cards using circuitry from Makerspaces,cin
  5. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" at the iTunes app store
  6. Santa Paparazzi puzzle game at Squiglysplayhouse.com
  7. Adventure Elf at Quiglysplayhouse.com
For her previous 12 Digital Days of Christmas ThingLinks, click the captions below!
Click below to get there. Screenshot from
http://tech-knowledge-y-rocks.wikispaces.com/The+Twelve+Digital+Days+of+Christmas+I

Click below to get there!  Screenshot from
http://tech-knowledge-y-rocks.wikispaces.com/The+Twelve+Digital+Days+of+Christmas+II

Click below to get there!  Screenshot from
http://tech-knowledge-y-rocks.wikispaces.com/The+Twelve+Digital+Days+of+Christmas+III

Click below to get there! Screenshot from
http://tech-knowledge-y-rocks.wikispaces.com/The+Twelve+Digital+Days+of+Christmas+IV

And one last find.... read John Spencer's article "10 Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break." Here, you'll get some wonderful high tech, low tech, and no tech ideas for rounding out 2017 before winter break that are all definitely high on the creativity side!!

Coining Eric Curtis' phrase.... may it be a very "Tech-Mas" time of year for you!!  I think this could keep you quite busy until well into 2018!


Images from http://www.controlaltachieve.com/2017/12/winter-activities.html, screenshots from http://tech-knowledge-y-rocks.wikispaces.com/ (as listed above); and https://gaylelantz.com/2011/11/07/the-holiday-excuse/

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Wrong With this Picture?

At my previous school, we had a morning assembly feature every now and then entitled "what's wrong with this picture." Our science teacher would share photographs of on-campus sights he'd seen. 

Usually the students would spot it immediately; and often times, the main offender would actually be a teacher! (This li'l nugget of information would typically only be known to those on the inside of the Green Team--mainly, myself and our science guy!)

Classic shots would include:

  • A half-eaten apple in the recycle bin versus the compost bin. (The container a foot away!)
  • A soda can in the trash can. (Again, with the recycle bin the container right next door)
  • An empty classroom with all the lights aglow on a sunny day.  (Many of our rooms had 2 walls of windows)

It was a great way of keeping the kids sharp with their eagle eyes on the lookout for making good recycling and environmental decisions.

In that classic sense....here's this week's trip to my grocery store. 
Can you tell what's wrong with this picture?


Riddle me this, Batman...

1. Why do peppers need to be individually-wrapped in plastic? They have an outer-covering which does a nice job of protecting it.

2. Looking closely at their shiny plastic outer-wear: these are organic peppers.  Why spend the time, money, effort, & nutritional value to grow organic peppers... to then spend the time, money, effort, and nutritional de-value to coat them in BPA plastic sheen?

I shake my head!

Photo from my camera, "What's Wrong With this Picture" illustration created at canva.com

Saturday, December 9, 2017

River Waste Flowing to Our Oceans

Pollution seems anywhere and everywhere.  When it comes to rivers, the gift keeps giving as the water (and pollution) just flows.  From Newshub's article "10 Rivers Causing 95% of Ocean Plastic Pollution," this list is a snapshot of the 10 worst rivers of 57 (and the seas they flow into)--not surprising, some of the largest and/or longest rivers in the world. It certainly causes you to take pause. Not surprising, the "mismanaged plastic waste" that hits many of these rivers come from being near high population centers... meaning a lot of people add a lot of waste and contribute to a lot of the problem!!
  1. Yangtze, East China Sea, Asia
  2. Indus, Arabian Sea, Asia
  3. Yellow River, Yellow Sea, Asia
  4. Hai He, Yellow Sea, Asia
  5. Nile, Mediterranean, Africa
  6. Meghna, Bay of Bengal, Asia
  7. Ganges, Bay of Bengal, Asia
  8. Amur, Sea of Okhotsk, Asia
  9. Niger, Gulf of Guinea, Africa
  10. Mekong, South China Sea, Asia
Here are 6 things you can do to help solve the problem where you are... may we all follow suit to help keep our waterways safe!
  1. Look to your hard outdoor surfaces to watch for stormwater runoff.
  2. Keep in mind--your toilet is anything but a trashcan. Don't flush away the nonessentials!
  3. Think before you sink... meaning: pay attention to what you are washing down the drain. It's not the place for chemicals or other waste.
  4. Don't let your puppy's poo get the best of you. Clean up after your pup.
  5. Keep your car maintenance in check so fluids don't improperly go down the drain.
  6. Donate your money and your time to river clean ups such as the National River Cleanup or Ocean Conservancy's: Fighting for Trash Free Seas.

Information & photos from http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/10/10-rivers-causing-95-pct-of-ocean-plastic-pollution.html; river clean up pic from http://blog.unitedwater.com/2015/04/22/earth-day-cleanup-events-activate-thousands-of-volunteers/

The Bad, Worse, & Ugly of Aspertame

I was a Diet Coke Girl.

I've talked about it here,
a time or two.

But now, I'm a changed woman.

I'm rounding out 9 months of being Diet-Coke-Free. Only Green Tea and water for me these days, Bay-bee!  (Well, yes, the occasional vino as well!)

And I really will say, regarding Diet Coke....I don't miss it. I thought I'd miss that zingy zip, but I really don't.  It might be because of the spicy Bigelow green tea that I love. (No fruity tea for me, thank you very much.)

They say recovering alcoholic are the worst in their attempted conversion. Same for smokers, over-eaters, & probably newly turned Vegans & more. Odds are high it's true for Aspartame addicts as well. I'm not trying to be in that category, yet I will say this video did strike me multiple times in my old Diet Coke department.

In the multiple episodes of Shawn Stevenson's Model Health Show I've listened to over the years, This is my go-to podcast! In it too, I've learned that food & intake are probably more important than exercise.

This video highlights that too. It also packs a punch with all of it's factual information. It's worth a watch!


video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB6L9S_jc5E: no soda pic from http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/2013/09/ill-take-a-burger-fries-a-milkshake-and-a-diet-coke.html;

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

NASA Shares 20 Years of Climate Change Impact

I've heard it said that as soon as astronauts hit outer space, they turned the cameras back on ourselves and our planet. I'd imagine, back in the day, being able to see what our giant blue planet looks like for the first time was probably pretty awe-inspiring.

December 7, 1972 was that first photo date. Our first planetary selfie. This now-famous photo was known as the "Blue Marble," and the Apollo 17 crew did a beautiful job with this snap shot.

NASA's still taking pictures of our planet, nearly 45 years later. This time, in video form. A pretty amazing 5 minutes and change.


This video is a compilation from NASA of nearly half of those 45 photo years.  This data visualization & compilation was released mid-November.  In it, you see:

  • The polar ice caps waxing and waning with the seasons...and shrinking over time
  • Oceanic colors that showcase the life that is (and is not) under the ocean's surface.
  • The green-ness moving further north, taking the place of where ice should be covering land.
Close analysis also shows algae blooms, a shrinking Lake Erie, and evidence of warmer temperatures further north.


In a world where climate change has become a partisan issue, perhaps data such as these will help open the eyes of policy makers so that our big "Blue Marble" continues to breathe, thrive, and survive.

To read more about this, check out this article.


NASA logo from https://www.nasa.gov/; "Blue Marble" photo from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photos/milestones-space-photography/ 
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8rQwbw9LMw

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age

I wrestle with my phone.

It's nearly always attached and it is the "remote control" to my world (I am a Tech Specialist by day, after all). It's my phone, my email, my camera, my calendar (though I will admit, my paper calendar is my #1 event planning place), my Internet, my Seesaw digital portfolio monitor, my "Words With Friends" portal, and my place to text, connect, troll Facebook, and sometimes even write this blog.

I wrestle with my phone because I live a connected life. It's a true love-hate relationship. I research lessons for school, read (& sometimes grimace at) the news, and stay in touch with the #edtech and #eco trends and information out there.

I don't always set the best example to my children. And I definitely wrestle with that.

A decade or 2 ago, I was the first to make fun of smart phones and crack a joke about "the CrackBerry" (errrr... I mean, BlackBerry, mobile-phone-wise versus fruit, that is). And now I'm living life on TechCrack.

A few months ago, we had Sameer Hinduja at our school talking to all levels about Digital Citizenship, good choices, bullying, and empathy. He was excellent. Today I landed on this video trailer which feels like a good revisit and "part 2" to the conversation.

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age is a documentary by Dr. Delaney Ruston. In it, she details our diminishing attention spans, our thoughts that we can actually multi-task (we can't), and the fact that teens spend (on average) 6.5 hours on screen per day. She discusses how tech affects us all and how we can achieve balance.

I've not seen the movie, but the trailer alone has sucked me in.


SCREENAGERS Movie Trailer from lisa tabb on Vimeo.

Screentime has a wealth of resources on their site:
My plan--to find a place to see this or inspire my school to host a screening. What's your plan?


Screenagers Trailer video from https://vimeo.com/215750447; image from https://marcellapurnama.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/when-apple-and-blackberry-were-just-fruits/; phone handcuff pictures from http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/healthy-living/5-ways-avoid-technology-addiction/view-all/