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Awesome!

Posted by Christine S on 9:47 PM

I remember this as if it were yesterday. This really brought back memories :)


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Posted by Christine S on 3:28 PM


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Posted by Christine S on 2:34 PM

This is Abbie on our way home from Blue Springs. We wore the poor
thing out.

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Fwd: Secretary Clinton Launches the Virtual Student Foreign Service Initiative

Posted by Christine S on 9:49 PM



     I recently signed up to receive e-mails from the White House Blog.  I really like the way President Obama is utilizing technology to keep people informed and to get people involved.  The program below sounds like a very interesting program.  Feel free to read more about it.  As a sidebar, I am posting this via email rather than actually going to the blog and posting.  Blogger now has a wonderful feature that allows you to post entries from email and from texts.  Check it out some time!
 

 

Secretary Clinton launched a new initiative today to allow for a rising generation of citizen diplomats to conduct digital diplomacy.

Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) Internships, announced by Secretary Clinton at the 2009 New York University commencement speech, are part of a growing effort by the State Department to harness technology and a commitment to global service among young people to facilitate new forms of diplomatic engagement. The VSFS Internships will be developed over the next year and will seek to harness the energy of a rising generation of citizen diplomats.

Working from college and university campuses in the United States, American students will partner with our embassies abroad to conduct digital diplomacy that reflects the realities of our networked world. By combining the talents of young people across America and the right technology, we can forge the solutions that our century demands.

Sign up to receive more information and updates on Virtual Student Foreign Service Internships.

Join the Virtual Student Foreign Service Facebook community.
 

 

Read more…






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The Mac Store

Posted by Christine S on 8:22 PM
     Well, I finally got my wish on Tuesday.  I took my class to the Mac Store for a field trip.  Now, this is not the make-up store I am talking about.  Being the techie that I am, I was surprised when one fellow teacher wondered why I was taking the kids to a make-up store.  Many other teachers had no idea of where it was that I was going.  When I explained where it was that I was going, I got the normal "only you Mrs. Cowan" since I am such a techie geek. 
     Anyway, we spent 2 hours in the store and the kids had a marvelous time.  They spent an hour creating a video using Photobooth and IMovie.  Their videos amazed me to say the least.  They spent the remaining hour checking out the IPhones, IPod Touch, and IPods.  They were asking me about the apps, programs, and much more.  The kids (and adults) really had a good time.  We then walked to McDonald's for lunch.  It was a really nice day.
     So, the next time you are trying to figure out a field trip, may I suggest the Mac Store.  Check this site out for more information. 

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Website Rant

Posted by Christine S on 8:17 AM
     Okay, this has been bugging me for a while and I haven't said anything about it or posted about it but I have to admit that I have hit the point where I am frustrated and saddened.  I have a website that I have put 100's, if not nearly 1000's of hours into.  I have worked hard to create it, maintain it, and make it user friendly.  The website has actually been around for nearly 12 years though it moved domain name 4 years ago.  I enjoy maintaining it because that is my hobby.
     Well, I like the teacher web-hosting sites that are designed strictly for teachers that charge a yearly fee (ie. Teacherweb, etc..).  However, I wanted unlimited space as well as the freedom to design my own space so I opted to have Yahoo host it under the small business plan.  It has worked for several years like this.  
     Several months ago I discovered a cool feature that allows me to see pages linked to mine.  For the fun of it, I surfed the links.  I have done that occasionally in recent months because it is interesting to see all of the other pages.  There are so many gifted teachers out there with so many wonderful ideas.  It is fun to make those connections.
     Well, last month I discovered a group of teachers had created a web page together for their grade level in another district.  This sounds like a great idea and would make it easier on the teachers because they could take turns updating the page.  However, they did something that really bothered me.  They copied not 1, not 2, but 3 full pages from MY PAGE!  They copied the pages down to the graphics, embedded links, formatting and embedded codes.  I have a code in the pages to prevent copying but apparently it doesn't work.  My name appeared nowhere on their page unless you clicked to open a graphic in a new page which brought you back to my site.  No credit, NOTHING!  They didn't link to me, they COPIED from me!  If I looked at the pages in question, I was looking at my pages!
     I realize that what I posted on my site is what classroom teachers do.  They are our strategies.  However, I am the one that typed them up into terms my student's parents could understand.  I used my own classroom experiences in creating them.  I am the one that organized them and I am the one that added additional hints to each strategy for parents to use.  I added the graphics that I purchased for my site to use.  I formatted the pages and made them into webpages.  I posted them by purchasing the website space.  I did it.  Doesn't that mean it is my work?  Is it any different than an author writing a book?  I mean we have all purchased those strategies books and found a strategy or two that made us go "I already know that" or "I do that already."  Does that mean I can copy that author's work and claim it as my own? 
     I emailed the teachers asking them to please provide a link back to my page.  The response I got (only two of a dozen responded) was disheartening to say the least.  One claimed she didn't get them from my page (even though the code in her page LINKED to MY page).  The other simply said "Wow."  I emailed back asking if this meant they would be removed.   She said she would discuss it with her grade level.
     More than a week passed and still no change.   It was obvious they would not remove the pages nor were they going to give me credit by linking back to me.   So, I spoke with their principal.  Perhaps I should not have but I didn't know what else to do.  All I asked for was credit for what I had done.  I walked her through the pages in question and showed her how I discovered that they were my work.   I stated that all I wanted was either a link back to my page giving me credit for what I had done or the pages removed.  She responded that they would be removed.
     More than 2 weeks passed and the pages were not changed.  This bothered me.  I know we get busy but all I wanted was credit for hours of MY WORK!  That is all.  They were able to take the time to copy the pages and post them.  It would take seconds putting a public link on the pages back to me saying courtesy of or created by me.  That's it.  So, I went to the next step.  I emailed the county office.    Suddenly, the pages were removed.  However, what still bothered me was an email that I finally got from one of the teachers.
     She forwarded me a email conversation between herself and the principal.  One of the principal's emails indicated that I was trying to take credit for normal classroom strategies.  Apparently, she had tried to explain this to whomever at the county office.  I was being the bad guy taking credit for my work.  This mentality really disturbs me.
    We tell our students not to copy from one another.  Yet it is okay for her teachers to copy my work and post it to their site.  Like I said, I am the one that typed them up.  The strategies came from my own experiences.  I sat at the computer and put them to paper just as many authors do.  I did it, not those other teachers.  Yet it is seen as okay for them to copy and post it as their own?!?!  I just don't get that.  I purchased the graphics for my site yet it is okay for them to post it to their site as their own?!?!  I formatted the text, created the supporting documents, and added the links yet it is okay for them to post it to their site as their own?!?!  With this mentality, does this mean I can copy one of my many reference books and post it to the web as my own?     

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Happy St. Patrick's Day

Posted by Christine S on 6:37 PM

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Big Thunder Mountain and Other Inklings

Posted by Christine S on 8:31 PM



     It is no secret that my daughter Abbie means the world to me.  Like most moms and dads, I would do anything for her.   I simply want what is best for her just like every other parent out there in the world. 
     It is also no secret that my daughter Abbie is growing much too fast like every other child out there in the world.  We decided this past weekend to pay a visit to the land of the mouse (Disney World ).  Abbie loves to visit Disney and being Florida residents with seasonal passes, we visit for a day here and there.  (As a sidebar, Seasonal Passes are WORTH EVERY PENNY!).
Well, like I said, we decided to visit this past weekend because we needed to get away. 
     Well, as Abbie has grown, she has continued to ask if she can go on certain rides.  Most of the time,  the answer has been no because Abbie is not tall enough yet.  When we went last month, she was still not tall enough for many of the rides.  Needless to say this has disappointed her on more than one occasion.
     Well, like most kids her age, Abbie must have had a growth spurt since our last visit.  As we were riding the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, Abbie informed us that she "would" be going on Big Thunder Mountain.  She left no room for argument or discussion on the matter.  It was clear that her mind was made up and she would not take no for an answer, regardless of the silly sign that states "you must be this tall to ride this ride."  She was going on Big Thunder Mountain PERIOD.  
     With fear clearly etched on our faces and in our walk, Bob and I began the slow trek up to Big Thunder Mountain.  You see, our daughter is a very loving child but she is also a very strong willed child (like most kids out there).  Since her mind was made up about that ride, we feared the tantrum that might follow should she not be tall enough to ride it.
      Well, slowly we trekked our way up the mountain.  Surprising yet unmercifully, there was no line.  It was then  that we spotted it.  There, beckoning us, was that infamous post with those huge red arrows.  Those enormous red arrows that Abbie now towered OVER.  That wretched post with those huge red arrows that now clearly yelled at us, "She's not LITTLE anymore!" That infamous post with those huge red arrows that taunted us by calling us old.
     I know I shouldn't put it that way but she is truly growing WAY TOO FAST.  It was less than a year ago that she was much too short to ride those rides.  Now she stands a good two to three inches TALLER than the minimum.  Where did the time go?  Before we know it, it'll be time for school.  Then it'll be time for a license, then college, then marriage, then grandkids and so on.  Life is definitely moving way too fast. 
    However, no matter how fast she grows, she will still be my little girl.  I find solace in the fact that she held on tight to me for the entire ride. 

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Baby Shower Cake

Posted by Christine S on 11:21 PM



     Most people may not know this but I used to be a cake decorator for Publix Supermarkets. I was not one for very long but I enjoyed it. I used to decorate cakes for fun. Well, I decorated a cake for a baby shower this evening and thought I would share. I also decorated cupcakes as well. I had forgotten how much fun it was to do that.  Have a great evening!  I am off to bed :)

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Very Interesting

Posted by Christine S on 3:53 PM


You are The Hermit


Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.


The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.


The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.


The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


2

DocStoc

Posted by Christine S on 9:06 AM

Reading Inventory - Get more Business Documents

     Like so many teachers out there, I love to create files or documents for classroom use. I enjoy adding my own touches to them such as graphics and word art. Well, like so many other teachers out there, I have file folder after file folder on my desktop full of all of these goodies I have created. One of the main reasons I pay for unlimited space on my website is so I can store and share many of these files. I wanted parents, teachers, and students to have access to the files such as newsletters, forms, etc.
     Well, Nicole recently published some documents she created on her own blog.  I was curious as to how she accomplished this so I checked out the site.  It is called DocStoc.   It is currently in Beta form which means it is still in the testing stage. I am sure eventually, like so many other resources out there, it will eventually become pay for use. However, in the meantime, it is FREE and it is a nifty tool. You can embed documents within your blog, website, etc. You can share your site with fellow teachers so that you may exchange files and so on. Check it out!

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My Horoscope (my own take on it)

Posted by Christine S on 9:09 PM
     A few days ago I posted my horoscope from a website I clicked on in my search of the net for new stuff.  For the fun of it, I decided to see what my horoscope was.  I know I am a Capricorn but the sun rising stuff was all new to me.  Anyway, the post from several days ago was the result of my surfing.
      What amazed me about it was the accuracy of it in its description of me.  Like most capricorns, I set high goals for myself and work very hard to achieve those goals.  The moon sign portion struck a nerve with me.  The possible weakness of being overly sensitive rings so true with me.  Most people may not know this portion of my personality until they get to know me.   I have been and probably always will be overly sensitive.  I take things to heart much to the dismay of my husband.  As he puts it, I tend to "think too much" and try to extrapolate information about others and their feelings/perceptions when I really don't need to.  That is the way that I am.   It is my flaw and I am okay with it. 
     The rising sign of scorpio REALLY hit the nail on the head.  Like I said, most people do not know how overly sensitive I can be until they get to know me.  I have tended to weigh my words carefully and control my reactions to the point of bottling my emotions.  Bob calls it my "poker face" because I don't tend to let anyone in.  I don't let others know what I want and it often results in my own frustration.  I may come across as rather stern and unemotional when, in fact, I am truly the opposite of that.  I'm not sure of how to overcome that aspect of my personality.  I am slowly beginning to express my feelings and opinions.  
     As for the Chinese sign, that describes me well in some respects but seemed to miss the mark with other aspects.   I am, after all, an extreme introvert that shies away from attention so I have no claim to being popular.   I often observe and remember things.  I have often given in just to prevent discord.   I willingly share and do indeed need to be the one taking the initiative in that respect.  However, I do not seek to be rewarded.  I do like the occasional pat on the back so if that counts as a reward, then I am indeed guilty of that.  That is my take on my horoscope.  


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My Horoscope

Posted by Christine S on 2:37 PM
Your Sun Sign: Capricorn Sun 1° Capricorn 53'

Element:
Earth
Key Planet:
Saturn

The sure-footed Mountain Goat can climb to higher altitudes than any other mammal. And you sure-footed Capricorns are also well-suited for climbing. You set high goals for yourself and then you overcome whatever obstacles may appear between you and the top of your personal mountain. As you climb the ladder of success, your ambition pushes you forward. Status can be important to you and often, at the top of your game, you gain personal satisfaction by knowing that others respect you for what you have accomplished.

Motto: "If opportunity doesn't knock, then build a door."
Greatest Strength: Your ability to overcome obstacles
Possible Weakness: Too much work and not enough play

Your Moon Sign: Pisces Moon 22° Pisces 53'


The Moon in Pisces is like having an emotional antenna that picks up every radio station in the universe. Feelings flood in from all directions, sometimes filling you with delight, sometimes with panic. Learning that all you feel is not yours can be an enormous relief because it reduces the emotional load you have to carry. You are not responsible for everything that you feel. Yet this openness also makes you compassionate and imaginative, openly receptive to others and their needs. Knowing when to pull back, though, is essential to your well-being since you absorb so much of what's going on around you.

Motto: "I can feel your pain,"
Greatest Strength: Boundless empathy and imagination
Possible Weakness: Being overly sensitive

Your Rising Sign: Scorpio Ascendant 17° Scorpio 15'

Looking at the world through Scorpio Rising gives you a very measured view of your surroundings. You have a tendency to carefully weigh your words and your reactions... controlling your feelings so that you only show what you want others to see. You're passionate, yet not overtaken by emotion most of the time. This power makes you very skillful in emergency situations as you channel the intensity you feel with focus and direction. Letting others in takes some time, so you can come across as more stern or closed than you actually are until you feel comfortable enough to relax and let them in.

Motto: "Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut."
Greatest Strength: Not flinching in the face of a challenge
Possible Weakness: Not being direct about your desires

Your Chinese Sign: The Pig

The PIG THE PRISTINE PIG

Mantra: Honesty opens all doors.

The Pig is true to his goals and beliefs. Their natural simplicity makes Pigs popular and loyal - once a friend, they'll be your friends for life. Pigs can be stubborn, but they will give in for the sake of peace. A Pig is happy to share what he or she has but needs to be the one taking the initiative in giving and wants to be rewarded for it. Sensual and energetic, she is persuasive and perceptive. The Pig sees and remembers everything.

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Twitter Friends

Posted by Christine S on 6:20 PM
     Okay, I know this will come as a shock to many but perhaps I am not the introvert I thought.  I have found myself on Twitter quite frequently in recent weeks.  In fact, I have found myself making more and more connections each day on Twitter.  Those connections have also helped me to grow professionally.  I find it a great way to share resources as well as connect with educators across the world.  
     In honor of those connections, I stumbled upon the coolest way to display those connections when looking at Melanie's blog.  So, here you go with my own Twitterverse.

Get your twitter mosaic here.



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