Sunday, November 19, 2006


A friend of mine recommended Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World, which I have been reading on the bus and in between activities. Admittedly, I have skimmed/skipped several parts not of interest to me. But for the most part I have read and enjoyed the many stories of those living simple lifestyles. It has made me realize that I choose to live a more simple life than typical. I choose to live without a TV, limit my spendings, live in a place which is not at all fancy, and choose a job for love rather than money. I wonder what it is that has made me live this way when I see other family members in a much more hectic lifestyle. I believe I will spend some time checking out some of the listed resources at the back of the book. I really appreciate the list at the end of the text:

A Prescription for a Simple Life

1. Write in a journal daily, or almost daily.
2. Take three to four months off every few years and go live in some very different place, preferably a foreign country.
3. Limit your work (outside of the home) to 30 hours a week, 20 if you are a parent.
4. Don't let any material thing come into your home unless you absolutely love it and want to keep it for the rest of your life or until it is beyond repair.
5. Spend at least an hour a week in a natural setting, away from crowds of people, traffic, and buildings. Three to four hours of nature time each week is even better.
6. Live in a home with only those rooms that you or someone in your family use every day.
7. Select a home or place of work no more than 30 minutes away from each other.
8. Do whatever you need to do to connect with a sense of spirit in your life, whether it be prayer, religious services, meditation, spiritually-related reading, or walking in nature.
9. Seek the support of others who want to simplify their lives. Join or start a simplicity circle if you enjoy group interaction.
10. Practice saying no. Say no to those things that don't bring you inner peace and fulfillment, whether it be more things, more career responsibility, or more social activities.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freedom Writers

At NECC 2005, I went to Erin Gruwell's keynote speech. Her story was great and some of us were left in awe. I remember her telling us that there was to be a movie out of her story and Hillary Swank would be the star. On January 12, Freedom Writers will be out in theatres. It is the story of her class writing about their world. Their stories were published in The Freedom Writers Diaries. And today, Erin Gruwell and freedom writer have programs to spread the what she started in her classroom.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Educating Linux

Here is Linux:

He has been taught by sitting and being spoken to. He does not seek out information, but let's it come to him. He is a computer, not a boy.

Here is Linux:

He is living life, because learning is FUN. We hope he will be given the same information and will absorb it through active learning, hands-on, mistakes, and adults & peers to help him out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

procrastinator voter

I have labeled my type of voting. I am someone who continues going on day-to-day knowing I need to vote--civic duty, right? Well, I feel it's necessary anyhow, and I don't like the idea of sitting back and watching other people make all my decisions for me. But... I'm not very politically active. I have a hard time keeping up with all the BS that comes with it! I can't handle all the debating because I feel things just get old. Having said that, I could possibly handle it if I did a better job of informing myself day-to-day and discussing issues with those I already know, rather than strangers on the street.

Anyhow, I put off all consideration of how I'm going to vote until... oh!, it's November 7th! And I struggle to find the issues, the candidates and make decisions. I feel I do a fairly good job, given my procrastination, but I still choose to not make all decisions based on my lack of knowledge. I was recently told that I should blog about the pre-vote atmosphere. Obviously that time as past, but given that I am lucky enough to be a part of voting for such an influential government, I feel it is also my duty to do the best I can to represent what I do get to see and hear. With that, here is my email of random experiences to Cherrie in New Zealand:

Today, I voted along with...well not as many people as would make sense in a democratic government.

To be honest, I don't see much more than you do or could. Most of my information comes from the internet. Sure there are fliers everywhere about local elections, and I hear about this event or that relating to the city governor, etc., but I'm not much of one to attend these events. I have no TV so I do not see the crazy advertisements I've heard about, and I'm busy in my own little world.

I have seen that graphical representation of the system before. It's pretty neat. There are different numbers of representatives from each state, and this is why you can see a very obscure version of the USA in blocks. It's cool to see which states are more definite one way or other and which are not. I sometimes think I should vote absentee in my own state just because my vote would help the weak vote there more. But even though, it wouldn't change the vote as it doesn't much change it here in my new location. I do, however, feel it is necessary to vote no matter how the atmosphere is or the likelihood of my vote changing the result. Civic duty. Many, however, don't think much about it.

From my understanding New York City is pretty crazy today. Everyone is talking about the elections, or so my friend tells me. She has been told to vote so many times, it's apparently getting annoying. (She voted just before I went off to.)

Oh, the other thing that I get is a lot of people asking me to sign petitions before the election comes (actually almost year round). These petitions are to get things on the ballot. Very often I just walk right by them because the petitions are things I'm not comfortable standing out for, but occasionally I'll let someone give me their spiel and sign when I see something I'm interested in.

One of my friends texted me to day: "have you voted today :)". Although many people nagging me is bothersome, this friend I appreciate the reminder/push from. She has always been a bit of an idol for me in her efforts to be involved and create change. So I guess it's those who you know best that have more of an affect on you, right?

Anyhow, that was really long, but I thought I'd try to get as much as I could of my personal experiences in there. It must be pretty exciting to watch from afar... the elections to me seem more important if I look at them from an outsider than the typical American living the life... how sad. We'll have to see if there are any major changes in American government/politics coming soon.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Other Duties as Assigned

I'd like to be more a part of the blogosphere--both posting blog entries and commenting, but I don't feel I have the time to write thoughtful, useful posts or comments. I'm jealous of others who have well organized and dissected posts and comments--even the simple ones appear to have well thought-out, valuable opinions.

With a busy, stressful job, I'm likely to spend an evening trying to forget about work. I'm usually unsuccessful and wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things that I need to do. Maybe I can build up this and begin blogging about life in non-profit.

I joke about "other duties as assigned." It's in almost any non-profit job description, and I see it first-hand. The other day, I helped move used furniture into the office. I've also recently acted as a driver's instructor--helping people practice parallel parking and more. The funny thing about these other duties, however, is they can be the highlight of my day. When stressed over paperwork and recruitment, I love the chance for physical labor, easy tasks creating spreadsheets, or helping others in their new positions.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

the "challenging" youth are the best ones

Yesterday, I spent most of my time talking to students. Today, I spent hours trying to figure out paper work. And my mood changes. When with students, I come out of the day pumped, excited and enjoying every moment of life. When doing paperwork, I feel alone, drained, lost, and negative.

I feed off people--becoming energized. After one year with this student population, I feel so much more comfortable. I have fun with them. I am able to create a conversation out of nothing and soon, I'm learning all about their lives. It's great. I am able to watch students grow, be a role model and friend, and learn from them.

It's fun watching the new Leaders try to establish themselves. They are getting to know their students and themselves. Soon, the good ones will learn how to have fun with their students while still maintaining order. Others will try to have fun, but never have order. And others still will never let themselves have fun because their too busy trying to maintain order. I just hope they will all be able to see all the great talents in their students because these students amaze me day after day. I so glad the students have a positive place to learn and a group to be a part of.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

student tracking website

I ran across schoolloop today and took the online tour. I'm impressed! It's nice to see all the features they've put into this online application. Teacher's can manage grades, assign homework, are alerted of students who are doing poorly in several classes, can email parents and teachers of concern or congrats to students. Principals can pull up information about student grades, look at any assignments that were posted online. Parents can login and check students' status in each class, even look at assignments that were posted online, or easily email teachers. There are a lot of cool features. I fear, however, it'll never get it's full use. It's an excellent application for larger schools where teachers do not have easy access to discuss students with other teachers, but I find it hard to believe that these large schools will get even a majority of teachers truely involve in posting grades on schoolloop, etc.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

plane ride

My new favorite place to read my feeds is on the plane. I accomplished so much with no where to go and not much else to do. Now if only I could finish all the reflection blog entries before it's too late. I was testing the Windows aggregator SharpReader offline. I just wish it had a place to highlight parts and make notes on the entries for future commenting, etc.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

pick a career, any career

I found an excellent site this afternoon California Career Zone. It offers career testing with results of potential careers. You can explore careers on your own through industries. Each career is explained including education, potential classes, wage and job listings in California. My favorite part is the old movie clips explaining some careers. There is also a "Reality Check" feature allowing people an opportunity to estimate there lifestyle expenses and look for careers to fit it. It's not perfect--missing some careers, etc.--but I'm sure going to use it with my students to have them explore potential careers, especially those who have no idea what to consider yet.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

type of learner

I preparing curriculum for my high school senior after-school program. I will be leading 10-14 students at a time. I hope to spend most days with students in sets of 1-3 each working on different things at a time. One thing I would like to do early on is a multiple intelligences test. I would like each student to have a good idea of how they learn. This way when it comes to times of helping them discover good ways of learning new things or studying, I can refer back to how they learn. One thing I always found great for my studying was creating and using notecards. I was such a visual/kinesthetic learner, I found the act of both making and using these cards really helped me retain information for school tests. I would love to help students to creatively learn and study for each of their own styles.

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tracking down the source

This morning with very little time to rush off to work, I came across a great post in my bloglines feed. Wondering where these came from, I began clicking links. First I checked out Weidon and Kennedy's website. I found they are an ad agency with a fun flash site, but I don't have time to run flash and move on the the next lead Miguel Guhlin has left me. Blog about Libraries thanked Jennifer Davis for linking two things together. Finally, in Yes, And I find it came from an article in Men's Health that was posted on Innovation Network. Going to each of the sites, I check the search engines for "Five Rules of Creativity".  This doesn't work, but with a few other searches such as "Weiden" and "creativity", I come across the original article. By tracking down this source, I've practice a great research tool we should be helping students to follow, and in the mean time, I've come across several other resources which I may find useful in the future.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

who hates school reform? part 1

Who are those people who don't want change in our education system? The people who think that the traditional way of educating is the best way. Are there people out there who still think a teacher lecturing in front a classroom of students with pencils and notebooks in hand is the best way of learning? Where do we find these people?

I've been trying hard to find how to define these people. I would like to learn as much about them: how they think, what they love, and why notes and tests are a good way to learn in their heads. Because there must be people out there keeping our schools from radically changing to better the education system.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

the power of consumers

Thank you Cherrie for sending me over to the show with zefrank. I've only watched a couple, but loved one of the favorites: ugly myspace. zefrank's representation of the power of today's consumers is so great. As a journalism graduate, i enjoy the metacognition of the average citizen's power to understand, create and control their media. Although media is now EVERYWHERE and very hard to get away from as I once discussed on my old blog (but can't find--it was about persuaders), we also have access to more information and control to understand this advertising. We just must be educating our youth to use and understand these forms of media as told by Will Richardson when talking about teaching myspace in a recent podcast of a presentation.

Monday, August 07, 2006

getting to your desired career

One of my favorite things about being young, single and brought up with many opportunities is my freedom. I've managed to reach this point in my life with all debt nearly eliminated, no inconvenient commitments to family, friends or otherwise, and the ability to figure out how to do nearly anything I wish to. "You can do whatever you put more mind to" has become a challenge to me.

I imagine a career where I am able to travel, help and learn from educators and students, and improve our education systems all around the world in order to improve our society of the future. But now, I sit with all this freedom and desire and no understanding of how to get there. I could choose to first become a classroom teacher or I could stay out of schools entirely and work through a community of educational alternatives, such as after school programs. If I choose to stay away from teaching, which programs? How do I gain respect in the educational world? Do I stay in non-profit or do I check out the corporate world? If I choose the teaching route, how do I go about it? Do I go back to school--undergrad, graduate? Do I choose a teaching certificate program? Which one-Teach for America, a teaching fellows? Where? Public, private, charter? Once I'm a teacher, how to I make sure I don't get stuck in the teaching career? Do I become an administrator? Do I stay in one location or travel around? How about teaching internationally? Do I step back and join life outside of schools again?

With all these choices, I don't know what to do. I don't know which avenue will be best for me or if I even wish to go through these fields to get to my desired job. I suppose we must accept that to get very far it will take many different jobs, a lot of schooling, time and money. I just never thought that the freedom to do anything would be such a challenge to figure out how to get to that anything.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Physical changes affect the emotional mind

I was FINALLY catching up on some feed reading when I found an old entry of Miguel Guhlin's (who had 81 entries in the past few weeks) about cool blog habits. His first addition to Cool Cat Teacher's 10 was "Consider everything you do as fuel for your blog". I've struggle with this recently because I find I can't seem to make links between my current life and my blogging topics. But this inspired me to share a little about my weekend. With struggles as my AmeriCorps year ends and life in San Jose changes for me, I've myself challenged to make emotional changes in my life. On top of the help of a friend with excellent listening skills, I've found a way to make this easier for myself. I rearranged my living space. It was a slow process through out the weekend, but from moving around furniture and getting rid of unnecessary items, I feel renewed. I am re-energized to be strong and start anew.

This has gotten me thinking about the many adult students at the San Jose Conservation Corps Academy who have been through bad times and come to our school to start fresh working toward their high school diploma. I watch students become empowered when put in new surroundings and given responsibilities. With the ability to change their physical surroundings through the new building, help with recruitment and Student Council, some students take on an enthusiasm you'd never expect.

It re-enforces the idea that the TakingITGlobal Student Voices group discussed a year ago for NECC 2005: "We would like to contribute to the design of these learning spaces. Giving us a chance to impact the spaces in which we learn gives us an added sense of responsibility, passion, and connection." I can see student continually creating and recreating the space they work in. It fits along with one of the reasons why students love MySpace so much--it's customizable.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I'm currently between aggregators-Bloglines and Netvibes. I favor Netvibes because I can place so many things available to me one page and tab through them. I had a first happen to me today. I have read ALL of my feeds. Nothing has come back in since the last time I read. I don't know what to do with myself. Now I can explore more and focus on where I want to go with my own blogging.

Sadly, I don't believe this will happen again anytime soon. I was lucky to have two days off of work in which I spent a great deal of time at home working off of my computer. Tomorrow begins 6.5 weeks of hard work leading high school students in outdoor projects for 20 hours a week in the mornings and recruiting 45+ adult high school students in the afternoons. This will be a race to the end of the Youth Corps AmeriCorps year.


Recycling is an easy (and necessary) way to help the environment. I do not understand that the US is not more interested in making recycling a must. With garbage going into our landfills and materials likely to run out, it makes sense to recycle and buy recycled products. So why is it that, we can still through recyclables into the garbage and consuming many non-recyclable products is reasonable. The US could follow other country's lead, such as Sweden's example.

Monday, June 12, 2006

google search your potential employee

I was reading my RSS feeds and came across a blog entry about an article addressing the availability of personal information online affecting the job application process. The idea is that when applying for a job, the business may search for information online about the person--via google, facebook, myspace, etc. So I googled myself and found only ten of several places I can be found. They mostly relate to my jobs:
Newspaper question
TLC News article
TLC News article
Kansan upperclassmen living on campus article
Student Voices group
Student Voices presentation report
JSchool Alumni news
E-Waste Press Release
E-Waste event summary
Youth Corps Newsletter

As far as Facebook, I hope no one bothers to judge my ability on my profile (which isn't all the incriminating). What I wonder though is what if someone with your name publishes something incriminating online, and it is assumed to be your's. You shouldn't be judged based on other people's doings...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The importance of tagging

A recent search of mine while finding and testing the many excellent new options/features online is tagging while using blogger. I can't seem to figure it out (granted I haven't spent much time on it), but am adamant to tag my posts. Tagging has become a great tool when users are bringing information they desire to themselves. Just check out Technorati and you'll see the possibilities are endless. Not to mention tagging found on flickr, 43things, and much more.

One way I planned on using tagging is to participate in NECC 2006--National Educational Computing Conference 2006. This conference was 40,000+ people last year and the possibilities were endless. Already it's the buzz among edubloggers. I'll tell you one thing--I sure be reading all their conference posts and participating as much as possible even though unable to be in sunny San Diego. Thankful for technology.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Education from socially aware lawyer's perspective

Last night I listened to a friend laid out a very broad version of his thesis for Rhodes Scholar application. The intriguing thing is how he got to his theory. Having studied political science in school and planning to go to law school for years, he had a very different perspective on the problem. He has spent nearly 11 months in an AmeriCorps program, working with at-risk high school youth. This has changed his passions a bit, and he now plans on going to school to study education, following traveling, before started his own charter school with a fellow AmeriCorps member.

He planned on laying out an alternative to the way countries focus on education, based on how they have run their government in the past. As example, the United States is focused on technology and democracy. The US would like to see all countries running a democracy and will never get into battles with other democracies, but will justify inhabitation of a country by helping them develop a democracy. Also the US will do what possible to increase and help our technology--i.e. oil for our major cars, home, etc.--and do whatever possible to get that. This focus, however, may very well be because of the US education. When this education is changed to focus on alternative means of fuel and acceptance of others, our international relations will change. For example: teach an American only English, of course they will come across problems relating to other cultures and not understand what it takes to respect others.

This was laid out to be very broadly, and I'd like to see it filled it. But it fits very well along with my view of global education. I see education as a way to change the world because what we teach our young becomes how the world is run. Global education to me includes helping youth to learn to be compassionate, understand diversity and love learning and working respectfully with all different people across the world. There are many organizations working on this now, such as iEARN and TakingITGlobal, but this view has not been express by the mainstream.

It was interesting, even liberating, to see someone work through to this conclusing from a completely different view point. Here was a socially aware citizen logically proving that global education must be a focus because of current politics and international relations. When I concieve of the of this view point, I work from the changing of education to help the world through changing values and changing values helping our government and international policies. There may be hope in the world for politicians.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Oh, the possibilities...

I have found many websites, extensions and more to play with online. It is nearly overwhelming to keep up with all the great possibilities. I am growing to enjoy Netvibes. I am using Performancing. I use FoxyTunes and Weather, and I'm trying out Google Notebook.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Too many blogs?

I think I have too many blogs. I'm not sure which ones to update with which pieces of information. I don't know if I want to focus on making one better and how to go about it. Should I pay attention to one blog and avoid the others? What should I consider on topic? How do I continue to blog when I don't believe I have any readers? A committment to make...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

high school exit exam debate

This article and the comments that follow it frustrate me! There are so many good points both ways, but so many people who are missing things in reality. People can get by without the knowledge base that comes with passing the California Exit Exam. At least they can in some areas, namely San Jose and other places they don't need to speak English or jobs that desire high school graduates, but don't need the full knowledge base. Students learn in different ways. They may be likely to learn better on the job or at an alternative school, but they've never been informed of this. Intelligent people don't always know how to pass tests. Work with this kids; it's amazing! How can you deny them so much and just give up.

My solution is alternative schools for different learning styles. A better school reform comes in creating these and giving/showing students their options, rather than being fully worried about accountability and these large, badly run public schools. We need new answers! I'm not saying they don't work for some, and I'm not saying accountability and test-taking doesn't have it's place, but there can be options. We can give different types of schooling and different types of diplomas and help these students out in their lives earlier on.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Songmaster Book Review

A story of one man, one boy... that is all. It is beautiful to read of his influence, love, emotion, experience. The power of the song is great. The allusion in the future is intriguing, but it is lost in the story of one boy.

I enjoy reading Orson Scott Card, especially those novels from when he was younger. I relate more to the exploration and searching Card does in his stories. Through is books, such as Ender's Game, I have been able to discover the world and my impressions of it.

Songmaster is about the life of Ansset, a beautiful young boy with a voice of power. He can relate and change moods. It is great to read of his struggles as a child. He must learn to be human and understand what he can do with his voice. The novel reads like a movie. Although I am unable to imagine seeing the greatness representing in this novel on screen, I  watched the story play out infront of me as a read frivolously.

To re-discover Card as a youthful writer, read Songmaster. Just don't let your expectations and values keep you from enjoying another's experience.