* A-Z Challenge: N is for Naughty

I guess this photo could also be called “Fire in the Hole!”  NAUGHTY Mrs. Everson almost set the school room on fire!  Who knew the fan behind me would be such a NUISANCE?  Or that my clothing was perilously close to the flame?  NOT me!  The NURSE who filmed this did try to warn me.

fire in the hole

* A-Z Challenge: K is for Keep calm and….


This is the side of an Indian food truck in Durham.  The truck is a bit dented but it’s a popular spot.  Yummy!

Keep Calm and Curry On.JPG

This second photo comes from a family of a kiddo who struggles with digestive disorders.  A sense of humor really helps.

Keep Calm and Poop

* A-Z Challenge: J is for Jaguar

The Carrboro Jaguars are the (relatively) newest cats in town, competing against the Tigers and the Wildcats.  This mascot looks alive, doesn’t he?  Not sure why he has a tag fastened to his canine.  I was afraid to get any closer.


* A-Z Challenge: I

I is for Imaginative.  My nephew, Isaac, has Imagination in spades.  He flew up to me and donned a sad pose, doing his best Luke Skywalker Imitation.   He’s Incredible!

Isaac 2.JPG

I just noticed his brother’s shadow in the background.  Dear Christopher, with his finger in his mouth.

* A-Z Challenge: E and F

I’m creeping along with the A-Z blogging challenge, all my letters out of order (and who knows which ones I’ve already done!).

Here is Easter Fun, and it was another one of my challenging craft projects.  Last year’s egg dyeing was a disaster, with “blown” eggs that first floated in dye and then completely filled up with that same colored water.  No amount of shaking would empty those critters, so they leaked colored water forever.

This year I bought oversized paper mache eggs.  A good size to hold, I figured, and we could experiment with designs.  But the eggs were not easy to hold.  Once slippery with paint, and with no good way to grasp them, they shot from our hands and coated the student and his special chair with bright orange, purple, and green paint.  I tried to ram a paperclip into the bottom, but unlike any paper mache I’ve made, these were as hard as steel.  Eventually, I was hammering a sharp pair of kitchen shears into the base, to no avail.  Every egg below had to be repainted multiple times after it squirted from our hands.  Maybe I could use the letters S and P for slippery as a greased pig, whatever that means.  I do know what greased eggs means.

Easter eggs.JPG

* A-Z challengeD: E and H and J

This is my way of catching up on the A-Z challenge.  Not sure it’s legit, but whatever.

E H J.jpg

I’m currently taking two education online courses, both of which are Excellent.  But that’s not the E on my mind.  I am feeling Jaded at times because J stands for gallons of Jargon oozing through the discussion forums (and I’m not innocent either!).  The Highlight of the courses is learning cool ideas to improve my teaching, but I don’t approve of Hijacking familiar terms and reworking their use.

One example of Hijacking is “affordances of technology,”  which was originally coined by psychologist Ian Hutchby “as a reaction against social constructivism. ”  Yeah, I thought so.

An example of Jargon-creation is arbitrarily changing the definitions of words, such as this new one for abstraction: “Removing extraneous/irrelevant details from a problem to define the elements of a solution that are consistent.”

If you are still with me, can I hear a “HuH?”   On the other hand, folks got to make a living, right?  So is this what it means to be a 21st century learner?


* Z is for Zinged!


Yep, I’ve been zinged by “Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance.”  I admit to being addicted by technology.  I love tech challenges and will spend hours searching for ways to make STUFF work just right.  I’m also hooked on computer games with matching jewels.  So what about kids?  How is their increasing use of technology affecting them?   Published by Common Sense Media, this research brief on Technology Addiction included the results of 180 studies combined with a recent survey of tweeners and teens.  The article concluded:

  1. More study is needed to determine whether internet addiction is a psychological disorder and exactly how it affects kids.  (Have I become a tech zombie?)
  2. Our ability to focus may be affected by digital multitasking.  (Duh.)
  3. Technology is a source of conflict in families.  (You can ask my dearest tech widower about this!)
  4. Overuse of digital media may lead to “lower empathy and social well-being.”  (As in neglecting family and friends?)
  5. Technology may help teens express their developmental needs to connect and receive peer validation.  (Too late for me.)
  6. Balance, balance, balance the use of technology while modeling its appropriate use.  (Put away the phone while driving!)

This is a much-needed zinger for many of us, I imagine.

What do you think?  Are bloggers more likely to be or become addicted to technology?


* X is for Xylophone

Or x-ray.  Or xyst.  Or xylotomy.  Trust me, if you play Scrabble, you need to know about xis.  But as an educator, I feel for the developers of those ubiquitous ABC charts.  X is a killer.  Surely it’s a Z, right?  Since we most commonly read, write, and hear an x at the end of a syllable, some alphabet charts now use words like fox or taxi.

Good news!  If your alphabet chart has xylophone, you can encourage kids to play that virtual instrument online.  Paul Hirsh has created a fantastic site with REAL sounds of alternative instruments (including a fabulous wooden xylophone).  I admit that I am lost in most of his discussions of music and notes, but I also get lost when driving home.  I would recommend his site as a playground for musically interested and challenged kids.  Even I can play the panpipes!  Click here for links to making your own instruments.  Way cool!  Now I’m glad that xylophone made its way into my alphabet chart.


Go to Paul Hirsh’s super site here.