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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making a word art using Wordle

Every now and then I learn something at school that I think it pretty cool. This week in my Educational Technology class we learned about making word art using Wordle. Part of the assignment was to reflect on how we might use this in our classrooms when we become teachers. I think it is a great idea for a classroom or even for use at home with kids. I am including my completed assignment along with a summary reflection with some ideas on how word art activities could be educational and fun.


Reflection of Word Art activity:

This word activity relates back to ISTE NETST by incorporating several of the standards we discussed in class. For example the activity worked to inspire student learning and creativity. This was done by the student picking their own descriptive words and then being able to creatively choose how those words would be displayed. It also served to design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments and also modeled digital age work and learning. The processes encouraged students to collaborate with one another on ideas for words and also to communicate by assisting other students who were not as familiar with technology. This also provided an opportunity to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility by allowing students to work together without them violating academic honesty or stealing intellectual property.

I would use this word art activity in several ways in my middle school classroom. A few examples:

1.       working in a small group, develop a word art using 15 vocabulary words from a science chapter on cell division. Be prepared to define a few of the words when your group presents the word art to the class. (ex: earth science astronomy words: orbit, galaxy, rotation, constellation, …)

2.       develop a word art using words to summarize the plot of a book  as the cover page of a book report. (ex: The Hunger Games words: Kat, lottery, game, poverty, laws, danger, teamwork, …)

3.       develop a word art using the order of operations words for a math class review. ( ex: multiply, divide, parenthesis, additions, …)

4.       develop a word art using 10 positive words from the classroom rules at the beginning of the school year.  (examples of words:  listen, help, prepared, prompt, kind, attentive, …)

Think of fun ways you can use Wordle to create word art with your children or students. It is also just plain fun. I am thinking about creating a word art and using my Silhouette to cut it in vinyl. Maybe one with a family theme for the living room or food words for the kitchen? Share your ideas in the comment section below :) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New holder for Nike Sensor and a calibration

I decided that my Nike+ sensor needed to be calibrated the other day. I started wearing New Balance shoes instead of Nike's. The Nike's had a pouch built into the inside sole of the shoe for the sensor. I had been duck taping the sensor to the outside of my New Balance shoes until my nifty sensor holder came in last week.

 You can order a Switch Easy by going here.
They are one of the best Nike+ holder I have seen and fit very secure on my laces. There is an easy access button to turn the sensor off as well so that the non-replaceable battery last longer. And it is easy to switch to a different pair of shoes. I recommend it :)

So with all of those changes, I knew that I needed to recalibrate the sensor so that it would read true.
I have an extensive background in calibration from my previous professional life. I even took this 4 hour exam through the American Society for Quality (ASQ) to become a Certified Quality Auditor. This training tells me that when you calibrate a variable readout instrument that you must verify that calibration so ensure the accuracy of any future measurements. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well I decided to do a little two mile walk at the track the other day. No problem, right? At the end of the walk I told my sensor to calibrate that walk as 2 miles. Then it hit me: Hey fluffy chick, you now have to drag your tired tail around the track for another mile to verify the calibration.  Grrrr.. Dang ISO standard brainwashed me.  But at least I know that my sensor is reading true now. And I got in a 3 mile walk on Saturday. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dried Fruit Snacks

I put some strawberries and bananas in the dehydrator tonight and wanted to share how I dry fruit to make super yummy and all natural fruit snacks.

You need to wash your fruit well and take the time to prep it correctly. Try to make all your slices a uniform thickness so that the food will dry evenly. Any food that turns brown shortly after you cut into it like apples, bananas, or pineapples will need to be treated before they are dried. You can do this by mixing lemon juice and water and tossing the fruit or you can use a commercially available product such as Fruit Fresh. Place the sliced fruit evenly on the drying racks. Leave a little space between each piece so that the air can circulate.


I usually put my fruit in the dehydrator overnight and check it first thing in the morning. You want to make sure it is dried out thoroughly. I like to put mine in a zip lock because I will eat it fairly quickly. You can also vacuum seal it and it will keep for at least 6 months. Enjoy!

School and Sammis

Remember when you were a kid and you came home from school and felt like you were STARVING? Yeah, that also happens when you go back to school as an adult. And I decided this week to give up my beloved diet soda. Do you know how hard it can be to drive past Sonic during the peak of happy hour???
Alright, enough whining and on the sammi. I was starving hungry when I got home so I wanted something quick for supper.

Turkey, Avocado, and Feta Pita Sammi
For each half sammi, layer in order:
1 pita pocket
1 big leaf romaine lettuce
1 smear of home made guacamole
2 thin slices of turkey
1/2 Roma tomato chopped
1/8 cup feta cheese
1/2 tablespoon Greek dressing
This is so filling and has great flavor. It was also quick to fix and didn't dirty any dishes other than the cutting board and a knife :)
What is your favorite sandwich?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small steps leading to big changes

So after the conversation with myself I have been trying to make positive changes in my health. One of those has been to get out and MOVE! The easiest and less expensive way to do so has been walking. I already had good walking shoes and a Nike sensor that connects wireless to my iPhone. I am able to track my walks this way. I am a data driven person so if I can see that I am making immediate progress it helps to spur me on. :)

One of the things I love about the Nike+ system is that I can upload my workouts right from my iPhone onto the Nike+ website. Once I do that a screen pops up that gives me details about the workout that I just completed and if I have hit a personal best it will give me a celebration banner.
I may start sharing these on a side bar on this blog as an accountability method. I haven't decided yet. I have drafted my two best friends who also happen to be my husband and sister to my accountability team. So if I don't send them one of these screen shots at least 4 times a week, I will hear about it.
The best part is that I am not really even ashamed that I am slow or that I could only do 2 miles today. I am proud that I went out and walked! And I am happy to share this tool that has helped me :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back to school

This past week I started back to school at Henderson State University.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time. But it is time to finish my education. Besides, with winter being here and me not being able to spend time outside I think I was driving Jason nuts. He started giving me pitiful looks when I iron and starched his socks. So back to school I went  ;)

I am in the Middle School Math and Science program. Once I finish I will be certified to teach grades 4-8 and will have my math/science endorsement, which is in high demand in Arkansas.

The problem with going back to school when your age is greater than the product of 15 and 2 is that you feel REALLY REALLY OLD. And I wore my grey slacks and a heather blue sweater with sensible black flats. Apparently the uniform of HSU female students is skinny jeans tucked into your boots. I was already feeling pretty out of place when I walked into my noon class and asked the girl sitting next to me about her Kindle Fire since hubby is thinking I may need one for my birthday. I asked her if she liked it and she looked my square in the eye and said "Yes Ma'am". I nearly died. And then we discovered that we graduated from the same high school, about 13 years apart.  And I am only 7 years younger than her mom. *sigh*

On the upside I am more educated and experienced than these kids who were just born 20 or so years ago. Right?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

To organize your craft paints

I am continuing with my create room organization series with this dandy idea.

I keep my bottles of craft paint in a tub. This keeps any leaking paints contained. I used a swab to put a dot of paint on top of each lid so I can tell at a glance down into the tub which paint I want. Give it a try for your paints :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My create room organization tips

I have been working for a while on my create room. I am calling it the create room because it serves so many functions. It is the place that I do all my sewing and my crafting. It is also where I store all my home canned goods and the tools used for canning. So this room needs to accommodate everything from a pressure canner and food dehydrator to paint and glitter and a desk for our office supplies.

This is still a work in progress but I wanted to share a few snippets of what I am using to organize my create room.

I saw a great idea on Pinterest to use those over the door shoe holders to store all kinds of other things.  It works great to keep the things I use most visible and within arms reach. This is on OUTSIDE of the closet door in my create room:


I am also using a dresser in this room. My scanner/printer is placed on top. (Ignore the other stuff... it is for a project I am working on).

Since the printer is there I decided to use the top two drawers for my paper storage. I keep my plain printer paper here. I also keep my card stock, decorative papers, greeting cards, and photo paper here.
Further down I keep my scrap fabrics and my patterns. I have found it easier to keep my cut patterns in zip lock bags with the original envelope shown in the front. I can never get the patterns folded back just right to go into the paper envelope.

I am hoping to have the whole room ready to share soon. It is at least functional now :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our Christmas Story

We had a nice Christmas. Jason and I hosted my family here at our house. My brother in law had to work the day before and after so he wasn't able to be here and he was missed. So we ended up with 6 adults.  For our family it was all about the dinner! LOL
For breakfast I made a strawberry and cream cheese braided bread, blueberry muffins, and fruit. Jason made an awesome quiche loraine. It was so the big breakfast hit. I personally think that dish should be a Saturday morning tradition from now on...
Jason also helped make a few dishes for dinner. It was really odd and really nice to have some help with dinner! Jason roasted a beautiful bone in roast beef in his dutch oven under the carport.

After dinner we exchanged gifts and spent some time hanging out. My family had to leave early because the weather was about to turn messy. It was raining most of the day and then.....

We had a white Christmas!!! That NEVER happens in Arkansas! It started snowing Christmas evening and kept snowing all night. In all we had 9 8 inches of snow!

 The only problem was that snow was followed by 5 days without power. We roughed it out for the first two days and then I took the furr kids and we to Jason's parent's house while he went out on the road. We finally got power back on Sunday night and I headed home. I had to throw out all the food in the refrigerator and inside freezer but I was able to save some of the stuff in the garage freezer since it had been soooo cold outside. I was really worried because it took a lot of hard work to put up all that corn! Read about my corn experience here.

I celebrated with Jason's family on Thursday evening. He had already left for a trip to Canada but we had fun without him. I really love my new family :)

I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and Christ.