Friday, October 31, 2014

Tech Tidbits: Autumnal Events

In my role during my new day job this year, I am the Technology Specialist. Along with integrating technology in the classroom & curriculum (and troubleshooting), to the 3 year olds to the 5th graders, I am known as the iPad Lady. Everyone loves the iPad Lady, and the iPad Lady gets a lot of hugs from the li'l guys. Life is good!

So of course I had to capitalize on it this Halloween & go as "The Queen of iPads."

This is a new position to my school, so I do a lot of inventing as I go along. Part of this led me to create a weekly email I call "Tuesday Tech Tidbits." In it, I address any tips or tricks we need to have on our radar at our school, but some of the more fun things I do is share resources. This week, I shared some of the upcoming events of Autumn. Here's a smattering here for you to peruse, use, choose, or refuse! ;-)

Fall & Fall Foliage

Daylight saving: This weekend: Nov. 2, 2014
Spring Ahead, Fall back

Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014
Veterans Day: Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014

Picture of me on Halloween from my calendar; Leaf image from; Fall Back image from; Election day from, Veteran's Day

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Going Green At Halloween

Halloween is in the thick of the autumnal season.  The richness of the colors, the crispness of the leaves, the scampering of squirrels, and brightness of the pumpkins all shout out during this time of the year.  That, combined with the spookiness of the wind in the trees, the candlelit jack-o'lanterns, some wind-blown ghosts....Halloween has a lot of natural elements to it.

Given that, it's the perfect time to go green this Halloween:
Copyright Notice
Green Halloween Logo from; Green Jack-o'lantern from;  WWF pic from; GTG logo.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From "What's Possible" to "A World of Solutions"

Every great movie deserves a great sequel.

In my last post, I wrote about the short climate change video that was narrated by Morgan Freeman for the Sept. 23, 2014 United Nations Climate Summit.  That video, "What's Possible," painted a picture of world I think we'd all like to live in and a call to leaders to help us get there. Now, versus later.

In the sequel, "A World of Solutions," Morgan Freeman is back.  "Climate change" often has an air of "doom and gloom" associated with it.  Yes, it's a planetary problem that can be huge, overwhelming, and depressing.  But out of the peril of the problems rises a need for the buoyancy of change and a willingness to take action & make things happen.

I tell my students all the time: every good story needs a problem and a solution.  Morgan Freeman, director Louie Schwartzberg, producer Lyn Davis Lear, writer Andrew Dickson, the Moving Arts Studio, and the Lear Family Foundation are offering that solution in "A World of Solutions."

Together, we can make it happen:  "through actions large, and small."

Video from ; image from &

Monday, October 20, 2014

What's Possible?

Anything, especially if Morgan Freeman is involved.  (But, that could just be my own personal opinion!!)

The last time I wrote, I was pondering the planetary population, here as it is on the cusp of 7. 3 billion people.  As you sit and ponder about 8 million people by 2025 & how 7 million more people will fit in a mere 11 years here on Earth, you begin to worry a bit.  But through worry, you also look at the flip side of the coin.  With hope and faith, you wonder "what's possible."

Luckily narrator Morgan Freeman, director Louie Schwartzberg, writer Scott Z. Burns, producer Lyn Davis Lear, & Moving Arts Studio also have pondered "What's Possible."  in the new short video of the same name.  Created for New York's 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, the video presents that climate change is conquerable, but we can't be slow about it.  The time is now.  When you watch the video, you do get the feeling that it is possible due to determination, activism, technology, and momentum.

The bigger question might not be "What's Possible," but rather, what's delaying us from doing what we need to do!!

To learn more about the September 23, 2014 UN Climate Summit 2014, be sure to check out the UN Climate Summit webpage and webcast archives.

Video from; image from

Saturday, October 18, 2014

7.2+ Billion & Counting

Nearly 2 years ago (almost to the swiftly approaching day) on October 31, 2011 it was projected that we reached 7 billion people planet-wide. Here's an anticipated infographic from that time period 2 years ago.

Where are we now--just 2 years later?  A good 265,000,000 more people and the second!!  That rounds up 7,300,000,000 people! That's 7-point-3 BILLION people. To see exactly where we are, population-wise, the Worldometers website can show you how swiftly it changes by the second.  In the time it took me to write this piece, the population jumped well over 2000 people.

According to the UN World Population Report, here in 2014, we are only 11 years from a predicted 8 billion by the year 2025.  Future plans?  If current trends continue:  9 billion by 2050.  10 billion around 2081,  And 11 billion by 2100.  Now, while I won't live to see 2100, that's only 86 years from where I'm sitting.  My children might not see it, but my unborn grandkids probably will.  So 2 generations from now, we'll be on the rise of over 3 billion people (which is just under half of our current human population of 7.265 billion people right now).

I don't know about you, and I don't know about my unborn grandkids, but I suspect none of us (or them) will want to live like sardines.  How will we fit?  What will the impacts be on our resources and the environment.  How are we going to generate that much "stuff" with all our material desires for "stuff" in just 86 year.  Houston, we have a problem here.  We are only one planet of one size.  What's it going to take to stop it, and slow down that Worldometer clock?!?!

And given what we are doing currently to our planet (with refusal to truly address global issues of pollution, deforestation, marine debris, climate change, energy consumption, and more), what will the planet we have created look like, 86 years from now?

Images:  In 5 minutes: 7 Billion People from;  Worldometers logo from, 7 billion people:  ipad app:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day, 1492, and Do I Celebrate or Am I Blue?

On the path of full disclosure:

I had Columbus Day off today, and I loved it. I really did. 3 days are the size that every weekend should be.  Especially here as I begin a new year, and a new job.

I. Love. 3 Day Weekends.

Yes, this is spoken as only a teacher can speak!


Did I toast good ole CC?

Did I raise a glass to the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria?

Do I think Chris C is awesome to end all awesomeness?

Do I post a flag and take over a native community--much like he did, back in 1492?


I am a girl who enjoys a teacher day off, but I am also a girl who has taught a half dozen years in Florida.  Good ole Chris Columbus is not revered in Florida.  Good ole Chris Columbus isn't revered many places.  In MOST places.  Chris Columbus was a greedy you-know-what.  Especially here in the aftermath of his true creds being outted and his reputation for being a not-so-nice-guy brought to the fore-front.  The Vikings even beat him too it by 500 years.  And you know what kind of guys those Vikings were!

Yes, it is still a federal holiday for some.  In fact, as of last year, 23 states AND DC did give their working folk the day off

As a way of combatting the CC'conundrum, some people go the opposite direction, like Seattle, and declare the day "Indiginous People Day." (Check out the video!)

One of my favorite Christopher Columbus classroom traditions is to read the Jane Yolen book, "Encounter."  It tells the tale of CC's acquisition by way of takeover of the Tainos people.  It doesn't paint a pretty picture.  Every year, I have students comment on how wretched and evil good ole Chris looks.  This book trailer does a nice job of summing up the book.

But no one can quite do the anti-PC-holiday quite like John Oliver.
Take note:  it's not kid-friendly!

Christopher Columbus pic with stamp from; Columbus Day map from; video from

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Calling all Kindle Books: FREE!

Books are the way to your heart, the way to your soul, the way to everything about you!

Given this eWorld, books are also on the digital platform.

Here's a pretty nifty link that takes you to a multitude of free iBooks and eReads.  Be sure to check it out:   Free Kindle Books For Your Kids

Pic from

Friday, October 3, 2014



You like science.

You consider yourself a scientist at heart.

You feel the planets would be in line if all the people in the world were out there, doing something, about SCIENCE!

SciStarter is for you!

It houses a database of citizen science projects that are easy to approach, easy to attain, and draw you right in on the scientific level!  Students, teachers, scientists, and more can all be at the same place at the same time!  You can go right in and find projects that might be suited for you, your students, and all of a sudden.... you are there, making a difference!!

And sometimes you get there by way of a little F-U-N!

If you are looking for some fun AND scientific projects to do with your students, then Citizen Scientist is the way to go.  Once you are in on the website, it's only a matter of clicking along the parameters, and you are knee deep in a project you want to be in!  And you are making scientific news, collecting data as you go!  Search projects by free/low cost, featured projects, projects suitable for students or children, projects you can do by outdoors, do--it-yourself projects, or ones where it list available teaching materials.

Citizen Science pics:,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Clubs in the Great Outdoors

Stephen King may have said it perfectly.  Just check out the "photo quote-o!"  Books can transport you like nothing else can. In the busy world of back to school, I don't read nearly enough!

Hence, probably why I fell in love with this idea from Stephanie Burn's August 13th, 2014 Forbes article, "A New Twist on Book Clubs."
In the article, Stephanie interviews Jill Hinton regarding her Outdoor Book Club.  The concept:  travel, women, adventure, and books.  It's camping and characters, rolled into one.  It's outdoor exploits meets literary essays and bestsellers.  Ecotourism meets living room book clubs.

Pretty darn cool.  Makes you want to curl up in your sleeping bag and tent with a good book.

To learn more and "discover your inner heroine," check out Stephanie Burn's article (see link above), or go straight to Jill Hinton's source:  Outdoor Book Club.

I love her page:  Is this for you:

Her schedule for workshops for the next six months or so looks pretty darn cool!

Be sure to check it out over at Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as well.

And, if you can't make any of her upcoming least go outside....or read a book...or do both!!!

Stephen King quote from ;  screenshot of "Is this for you?" from
Outdoor Book Club pic from