Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Power of Plastic In Pictures

I'm feeling very "infographic" lately.  Maybe it goes along with my visual learning style and the fact that a picture does indeed say 1000 words.

I think this one speaks largely to me because there are so many times that we mindlessly waste.  For me, plastic shopping bags is one of them.  For the 20 min. life span of these baggies (many of them that wind up wafting in the wind as "witches drawers" and then later in our waterways), I seriously question the use of petroleum for this.  Yet, a grocery store trip seems so second nature to all of us--to come home with a plethora of plastic bags.  I think freezer bags and the zipped up quart, gallon, and sandwich sized ones of these fall here too.  So common place to throw leftovers or lunch into them, where they in turn get wasted.  Even when we feel mighty, "I am recycling," what are we doing?  So many municipalities don't actually recycle these.  It's a farce that we smugly buy into, thinking we are doing good, when in fact, they often times also become landfill fodder or windblown items that ultimately become part of marine debris, harming our watery wildlife or additional waste cluttering up the corners of our planet.

Just watch the movie "Bag It" and you will see life through a new view!  Same too, check out this infographic below.  In these past days of Black Fridays, and Christmas/Holiday shopping ahead, it might be worth doing yourself and your planet a little good, by planning ahead and packing your bags--so the stores don't have to pack their own plastic, vexing varieties!


Infographic from http://www.learnstuff.com/suffocating-the-world/ , plastic bag monster pic from http://www.bagitmovie.com/.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Seeing the Forest Through the Black Friday Trees

Here this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it got me thinking:

In the aftermath of all of this...
Infographic: The Dark Night Rises - Black Friday Madness

...perhaps we should be focusing a little more on this...

Take time this weekend to focus on what is truly important.

Black Friday infographic from Sortable.com, Gratitude infographic from Via Mindbodygreen.com all found at http://www.infographicsarchive.com/

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Treats for All This Thanksgiving!

Eat Like A Pilgrim
by Lemon.ly. Browse more
 data visualization.
Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here is just one of a great many fantiastic finds that I happened on from Larry Ferlazzo's growing list of The Best Sites To Learn & Teach About Thanksgiving.  There you'll find over 6 dozen Thanksgiving themed links and sites, so you can have a tasty, informative and edtech-ian Turkey Day!!  (His "Best of..." Series is an amazing bounty of resources alone--on any subject a teacher might have a hankering for!!!)

Of course, after your feast, you might want to hit the SunSentinel's Holiday Exercise Calculator!!

And, in my book, no Thanksgiving is complete without watching & chuckling over the 1978 sitcom "WKRP" Thanksgiving episode!!

Have a bountiful &
beautiful Thanksgiving,
full of family, friends,
feasting, festivities & frolic!!

Infographic from http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/27/the-best-sites-to-learn-teach-about-thanksgiving/

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Cornucopia Called EdCamp

Thanksgiving is just a few short days away.  It's usually at about this time in the school year that I wonder how the heck it has happened that we are already here?!
When I look back, especially over the last 6 weeks alone, I see my own autumnal path to here--and it was by way of EdCamps. A virtual cornucopia of EdTech, iPads, PLN's (Personal Learning Networks) galore and more.

I've written about EdCamps before, and I'm a self-proclaimed EdCamp fiend.  In this season of gratitude and taking time to celebrate those things I'm thankful for, EdCamps certainly are up there on my list--certainly after family and friends, but right alongside personal job satisfaction.  How can an amazing and FREE professional development opportunity where you can learn from your regional colleagues/educators NOT be in there!?!

Here is a great video that describes the essence of EdCamp:

Between my time at EdCamp Baltimore (Sat., Nov. 10th), EdCamp Harrisburg (Sat., Oct 20), & before that on Sat., Oct. 6th at EdCamp Hagerstown], I have harvested a bounty of professional development.  I most certainly got a cornucopia of EdTech treasures by way of websites, iPad lesson activities, new apps to investigate, and great ideas I could use in class each of the following Monday mornings. 

The level of sharing, both in and out of sessions, on Twitter, their websites, and beyond make it possible to let the learning continue...even if you weren't there.  Along those lines, one of the neatest sessions I went to was when Jeff Bradbury from TeacherCast led a panel of EdCamp pros in a panel discussion concurrently (by way of livestreaming and Google hangouts) with a panel from EdCamp Minneapolis St. Paul.  Pretty darn cool to be crossing time zones with tech, and be in two places at once!

Here are some places to go to learn some of the cool things I learned along the way in my autumnal trek of Maryland and Pennsylvania EdCamps...
For more EdCamps on the horizon, check out:
  • EdCamp NJ ~ Sat., Dec. 1st
  • Upcoming EdCamps ~ Check out the Wiki of dates & places--you can go here to also get links to all of the past EdCamps (including the more than 30 EdCamps just this past fall). Each link takes you to the individual webpages and listed resources from each of their own their full days!
Here in this season of crispnes and color, may your Thanksgiving be bountiful--full of blessings, love, peace, harmony.

Annnnnndddd... if you're truly lucky, may there be an EdCamp nearby, sometime soon, to mark on your calendar!  ☺

Cornucopia photo from http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/06/what-do-you-think-of-apples-announcements/, EdCamp video from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQyceeXzuPM, Edcamp logos from each of their home webpages; Thanksgiving iPhone screensaver from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thanksgiving-wallpapers-for/id565858947?mt=8

Saturday, November 17, 2012

America Recycles Day ~ Nov. 15th

If you were paying attention, this past Thursday, November 15 was America Recycles Day.  As with many of the "Environmental Days," even with a presidential proclamation, America Recycles Day didn't get the press it deserved.

Of course, some camps argue the value of a one-day environmental "day."  With something like recycling, it begs the question:  "Why just recycle on ONE day?  What about the other 364?"  That is a great question!

I personally subscribe to both camps. No, one day isn't enough.  We should be recycling daily.  And I do--both at home and at school.  I talk about it in my classroom, especially because it is a Maryland "Green" School. 

Yet, as a  firm believer that change can begin with one person, I believe change too can begin on one day.  Most current data takes us to 2009, where we (in the US) can celebrate a 34% recycling rate. (For more eyeopening statistics on all sorts of recycling data, go to the Keep America Beautiful Recycling Stats & Facts page.)  For as many years as we have all been recycling & been urged to recycle, and for the amount of items out there that we CAN recycle, I'm disappointed in this figure. I personally think we can do more, and do better.  It is for that reason that Environmental "Days" such as our November 15th America Recycles Day are important.  It brings about a focused one-day effort of awareness.

Of course, how much of that "news" do any of us actually see on that one day? That also is the disappointing part.  I only saw it (and knew about it) because I'm always on the hunt for eco-news.  Similarly, it's also because I teach at a Maryland Green School.

So, the moral of the story is:  yes, it can only take one person to make a change.  Even better--a lot of those solo individuals.  Each one of them highlighting it, shouting about it, and helping others become aware so that recycling eventually can become that "every day activity."  That way it can become those "other 364 days" activities as well.  With that, then perhaps our 34% can move it's way up to a fraction better than just 1/3.

Lucky for us too, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) [in coordination with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and the Alcoa & Alcoa Fountation] are also working on moving that percentage--especially since the US is far below many other countries in this department.

So, even if you missed America Recycles Day this year, no one said it had to be on November 15th in your house.  Make it happen.  You can get a lot of resources, facts, and helpful hints here:

Guides, Templates and Downloads from America Recycles Day

Recycling Tips from America Recycles Day
RecycleBowl Symbol

Information & Ideas from Keep America Beautiful

Information about the "Recycle Bowl"
(A "SuperBowl of Recycling" event where 1500 schools participated for 4 weeks in October to November of 2012 nationwide.  Eagle Cove School contributed just over 400 lbs during our time RecycleBowl-ing.  Not to shabby for a school with a population of 83 students!)

American Flag pic from http://cityofls.net/Environment/America-Recycles-Day.aspx, Recycle Bowl symbol pic http://recycle-bowl.org/, Keep America Beautiful logo from http://www.kab.org/, iCare image from http://triblocal.com/antioch-fox-lake/community/stories/2011/11/america-recycles-day/kVideo from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zEBEXPB4c0&feature=player_embedded

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Mosaic Leading Up to Veterans' Day

It's been a rather significant week or so--more eventful and bigger than most.  Few weeks are as full as what we have faced here in our country the last week.  We've had:

A catastrophic hurricane, where the damage is still in repair in much of the East Coast.  Don't even get me started on how amazing that some people can still question if this is a matter of climate change.

✎ A coming together of people to help our fellow citizens rebuild.  This past Monday, November 5 was coined a "Day of Giving" by Disney & ABC TV, and the American Red Cross.  ABC television shows focused their efforts on gaining donations for Hurricane Sandy victims.  A reported  $15,663,327 was collected.

✎ A remarkably emotionally-charged and close election between two dynamically different candidates.  According to Huffington Post on Friday, November 9th, with most of the votes finally being in, the popular vote totals were really strikingly close.  61,173,739 votes (or 50.5%) for Obama to Romney's 58,167,260 votes (48.0%).   In the world of millions, 3 million isn't a huge difference when you look at 119 million voters.  What that means, is there is a lot of hard mending ahead.

✎ A local celebration occurred at my school, Eagle Cove School, on Friday, honoring Veterans. A powerful parade of PreK'ers through 5th grade students, their teachers, parents, grandparents, police escorts, military representatives, a deacon, a bugle player playing "Taps," a gun salute...all with flags waving on a causeway overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. It was an amazing tribute, followed up by visiting a fire truck, an ambulance, police motorcycles, and a Coast Guard boat at our pier.  Extraordinary!
 A national holiday.  Today.  Veterans Day.  A day to honor all of our men and women who have fought for our country.  A day where we should all stop and say our thanks, and say some prayers to the men and women we have lost who were fighting for all of us, and for the men and women who still are!

I think when you look at all of these events together--happening in such a short period of time--you get a very powerful mosaic.  A mosaic not only of our country, but also of the American people.  We're emotional and empowered, hardworking and helping. When the times are tough, we're there for our fellow citizens... to help out our country.  We have a whole crew of people who have taken on a hard sacrifices to fight for our freedoms and our country--and for them we are thankful.  They have secured our right to vote... even if it gets venomous and vitriolic at times. 

So today on Veterans Day, where some people might still be feeling broken by the results of the election or the aftermath of the hurricane, remember that it is indeed like a mosaic. Sometimes in the piecing of thing back together, we get something stronger, more beautiful, and more memorable than we had before. Our Veterans have helped us become the monumental mosaic and the country that we are today.

Veteran's Day pictures from my camera, "Day of Giving" pic from http://theblogisright.blogspot.com/2012/11/news-in-flash-quick-game-show-updates.html, & the mosaic pic from http://www.dipity.com/tickr/Flickr_flags/

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Time Is Now... Now Is the Time: VOTE!

At long last, it is here, the time is now. USA Election Day is one "wake up" away. In some ways it seems as if it has taken forever to get here (if you count up all the campaigning ads and the time they took up to get us here.) In other ways, it flew. Okay, no not really, but I was trying to be optimistic. I too am a bit in Abbie's neighborhood of crying over "Bronco Bamma." I am tired of the politicking and complaining--on both sides of the fence.

 According to CNN reports, we are at an unprecedented "neck and neck." It's going to come down to late hours and electoral college end-of-night summaries. It literally could go either way. Whether that comforts you, or scares the pants off you, it is what it is. Given that, get yourself out there and vote! Even though I personally feel we should be a nation that decides by popular vote, your popular vote counts in determining you state's electoral vote. So go out there and do your civic duty!!

For those of you who need a refresher on the electoral college, check it out thru Disney and this electoral college video:

In summation: The time is now...now is the time. Vote. Do your civic duty. Make your voice count and be heard. It's important. It's THAT important! Even if the lines are long and it doesn't feel worth it. It is. Now get out there and do your thing!!

Happy Election Day!

Vote pic: from http://inhabitat.com/patagonia-vote-the-environment/ ; video #1 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj5bmcBSQyM&feature=related' video #2 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCjWPo70XZY#

Friday, November 2, 2012

MTV Chats Climate Change With President Obama

With just a handful of days left of presidential campaigning, and in the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, this seemed like the time to share last week's MTV's interview with President Obama. With the focus on Climate Change in this clip, perhaps we'll all see it in a new light in the after the wreckage of Frankenstorm Sandy. 

Our GTG hearts go out to all of those folks who are still wrestling with their devastation.

Video from http://youtu.be/vWbwsuk3-cI