Design Thinking for Educators

design thinking

I came across this resource from IDEO, the premier design and innovation consultancies in the world today.  They have this amazing toolkit which breaks down a design-oriented mindset to problem solving in five steps: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution. Simplify the exercises and see if you can use them to define and find unusual solutions to a challenge you’re facing in your life or business.

Be sure to watch this video Why Design Thinking? from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

Read full story · Comments are closed

Coaching eLearners 6-12 Summer 2011

Coaching eLearners Summer 2011sm

The Coaching eLearners 6-12 Summer Session 2011 opened this week.  A very exciting course for developing 21st century habits of mind.

Read full story · Comments are closed

Homework Help Site Has a Social Networking Twist

Today’s NYTimes had any interesting article called, “Homework Help Site Has a Social Networking Twist”.  Poojan Nath is the founder of Piazza a website created to help students post questions and get answers.

“The whole idea of Piazza stems from the dynamics that I observed at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, an elite engineering school in India where Ms. Nath went to school.  There, she had seen how her male classmates collaborated on problem sets.  From the sidelines I saw how effective it was to get immediate help, from peers in the same room,” Ms. Nath, 30, said.

Although there are rival services, like Blackboard, an education software company, Piazza’s platform is specifically designed to speed response times. The site is supported by a system of notification alerts, and the average question on Piazza will receive an answer in 14 minutes.

Read full story · Comments are closed

Not in Kansas Anymore

Hammock in Cahuita

Between the hammock and the beach, Cahuita was a very wonderful vacation.

Black Beach Cahuita CR

Beach CR

Our front porch….ahhh!

Front Porch CR

Read full story · Comments are closed

In search of Bruno the sloth

You should be able to  view the video. I am still trying to figure out how to upload a video directly into my blog from my iPad.

Read full story · Comments are closed

Before and After: Bookshelf Organization

Call me a bit obsessive if you’d like…but before you utter those words, just look at how much nicer this bookshelf looks after some simple organizing and rearranging.

BEFORE: years of messy, toss-it-on-the-shelf activity and dust
BEFORE: years of messy, toss-it-on-the-shelf activity and dust

How-to achieve the look:

  1. I took each and every book off the shelf.
  2. I separated the books by color and by size.
  3. Then, I re-arranged them back on the shelf in an order that would fit the bookshelf and was pleasing to the eye.
  4. Tip: alter the vertical and horizontal arrangement, of your books, to give more room on the shelf and some visual interest.

After: ahhhhh!
After: ahhhhh!

Read full story · Comments are closed

Rolling down the river

Over last weekend we did some canoeing in Rhode Island with friends.  I was happy to have kept the canoe upright…during the hours long trip.  It was a good workout and fun to meet new friends…let’s not mention the ticks, low hanging tree trunks, and mosquitoes.

Megan and Mary

Megan and Mary

Fewer trees, roots and debrie in this area
Read full story · Comments are closed

Prom Dresscue-The “Twisty” Middle

The humidity was high as Emily, Bella and Xernay worked to get their hair and makeup just right.

Prom Prep 1

Prom Prep 2

Prom eyelashes

Black clouds rolled in, the winds blew and it began to rain…..really rain.  We were the lucky ones.  Unknown to us, Springfield, Westfield, Brimfield and across Western Massachusetts tornadoes rumbled. Here, they don’t have the tornado sirens I remember from Wisconsin.

But these beauties kept on…

PromPrep 3

With dress shoes in hand and umbrellas we all headed out to Limo Central.  It seemed outdoor pictures were going to be out of the question. The car ride to the Leeds Limo was hazardous at times, rains whipping across the windshield blinding our view.  We muddled onward….and by the time we got to Dan’s house the rain’s had stopped and clouds were moving quickly east.

Flowers were exchanged as we waited for late comers and cameras were at ready.

Prom at Dan 1

Prom Dan 2

Prom Dan 3

Prom Dan & X

Prom in front of limo

Prom parents

Prom Off in limo

And they were off…to official picture taking that was suppose to occur in Child’s Park.  Due to the wet grass, this happened in front of the high school, were limo after limo pulled up and dropped off the relieved Prom goers.

Prom NHS 1

Prom NHS 2

By this point, the tornadoes had touched down in Springfield and were moving easterly.  The damage heavy. The Prom goers shuttled on over to the Log Cabin, Holyoke which is up on top of Mt. Tom.  I’m pretty sure they saw the spectacular sunset which cast an orange glow across the Valley.

Sadly, just after 8:30 pm or so, and post dinner-I received a text message telling me: Prom was canceled.

By 10:30 the fancy Prom dresses were exchanged for more casual attire and the party had moved to the Post Prom locale.

Oh, and of course Prom Dresscue bucks the going trend, noted in today’s  New York Times article: The Prom Dress Moves Into the Designer Leagues.

Read full story · Comments are closed

Prom Dresscue-The Beginning

It started about a month ago now. From the local thrift store a lilac pair of size 18, elastic waist pants came home with Xernay.  The cost? Under $2.  The vision?  Dresscue these pants and create Xernay’s prom dress. Luckily, since Juniors wear short dresses to the Senior prom, I felt we had enough “fabric” to pull this off.
Prom Original pants

Prom_1The fabric is a permanent crinkle. in a lightweight polyester fabric of some sort.  The inspiration for the Dresscue came from Elie Saab’s lavender couture dress that Mila Kunis wore to the 2011 Oscars.

Prom inspiration front

Click for a slightly larger view

Prom Inspiration backOf course, given the origins of these pants, the inset lace wasn’t possible.  So, I navigated towards the drape, fabric, lace and some rhinestone trim.  To get the shape, I cut off the pants just below the pockets and ripped the sides to create the arms and shoulders.

This is the front starting to take shape

This is the front starting to take shape

Then, I worked the back of the dress

Then, I worked the back of the dress

It worked best to remove fabric as we went along the process of many try-on’s, pinnings and bastings.  I made a couple of trips to several stores to find the chiffon and trims.

Prom Trimming5

Stay tuned for the big reveal….tomorrow.

Read full story · Comments are closed

On Wisconsin!!

I’ve mapped out how long it would take to drive to Wisconsin.  A large portion of my Wisconsin family are teachers and I would like to be in Madison to join and support the protesters who are marching against Gov. Walker and those who wish to take away our power.

University of Wisconsin student Matt Wisniewski features three days of footage (Feb 15-17) from the Madison, WI protest against the SB11 budget repair bill. This is a wonderful video, very inspiring.  Well done Matt and thanks!

Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest from Matt Wisniewski on Vimeo.

I also recommend these words from one of my favorite columnists: Paul Krugman Wisconsin Power Play

On Wisconsin!  Stand firm on Collective Bargaining!  Power to the Democratic 14!

Read full story · Comments are closed