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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwall

Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta Series #18)Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The most disjointed book by Cornwall that has ever come out. It is a fascinating story, but too much. It is hard to feel for the characters because they all veer on the side of being too flawed at this point, almost like a mid-life crisis. The demons of the past have cropped up in so many stories, now the past IS one of the characters. Fielding's past was de rigueur, as was the recent Briggs connection. Unfortunately, the whole locked box/apatheid story could have been a completely different narrative; too many elements all crammed into one made it a convoluted and tangled mess.

I am not used to being disappointed by this particular author and everyone knows I am going to snap the next novel up, but I can not help but point out that I was at times frustrated by the pace and the enormity of detail that all takes place in a two-day period. I do believe the assumption that Scarapetta could go from a pcp-induced rant to being able to sift through data and remains without sleep or food is expecting too much. I want to be clear, each story line and detail was good, just not this particular amalgam in a miniscule time frame. It would be nice to stay within the realm of possibility and not be removed from all the action at the same time. Expecting us to believe that Marino, Lucy and Benton and other staff would knowingly allow so much to go awry in Scarpetta's absence is not bearable either. She was blinded on such a monumental scale that we lose faith in the character. It may also be time for Scarpetta to be able to work a crime scene or case without being in physical danger or under threat herself. The helicopter inspection didn't really connect to anything later in the story. It was setting us up for Lucy to be in danger ...and

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rest in Peace

The Word "said" lived a long and busy life, gracing the writing pieces of novice writers world-wide. Although he was just a simple word, many people adopted him and used him on a daily basis. Unfortunately, "said" tired and overused, gave in under such intense pressure and gasped with one last breath, "Please forget me when I'm gone."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tech Quiz

We were asked to post our quiz results here, and for now it will clutter up my blog. While not immediately valuable to me, I did see that some people in our class learned how to grab an embed code for the first time to post various assignments and assessments to their blogs. I can see the value in this when working with my own students and asking them to post their results. This works only if the quiz locks them out after the first try and if the students are comfortable posting their grades in an online forum. Hmmmmmm... food for thought. I am conflicted because I KNOW that I have students that would be horrified and some students that wouldn't care a whit. I know I took the quiz a few times just so I could post my best score. If the quiz is being used to LEARN, and not as a FINAL assessment, it could be valuable to post the score certificate, such as " When you score an 80 or above, post your quiz certificate." Another observation I had is that I would ask students to use their first names or nicknames so their full names would not be published on the certificate.

Bit of a control freak here

I now have a direction for our lesson, but I am not inspired to write much about it here yet. I am still digesting this upcoming lesson for tonight's class, it should be interesting to create a pln graphic using only text. I was a little confused by the directions because we were supposed to be able to work on something we wanted to work on, but if we are in groups maybe we will be arranged according to the topics we selected. Anyway I created my own for tonight in case we have more rough snowstorms- here it is.

Perhaps I need some coffee to get motivated- I was up all night waiting for a snow day to be called or not called for kids and myself- amazing that I can never sleep when a snow day may occur. I am glad my partner and I got together for our project- I always feel unsettled with things that are not certain. I get anxious, just like the snow day thing. I guess I am a bit of a control freak. Since many people in class exhibit these tendencies- because we prefer to work alone rather than give up control, I thought I would share this picture...
I hope they are all headed in the same direction...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Who wants to follow them?

After tonight's lesson in class, I  am so much more aware of how the stakes have risen.  A perfectly executed lesson is a hard act to follow.  I particularly noticed how the assessment quiz related to the instruction and with the flashcards. The end result was tied in with the actual lesson, and if I took more time I would have aced my quiz, as it was I got a 60% because I kept selecting what I would do rather than what Gagne would do.  I would dissect at least part of frog to gain student attention rather than show a video clip, but that is just me.
I already have too many flashcards, but I can narrow them down to 10  assessment questions easily.  In fact, I think I may have already done this without knowing.  Let me explain, the quizlet application creates quizzes as well as flashcards- so I really just have to copy and paste 10 of the best into proprofs or word.  I can see if I can use quizlet to give me a link for others to take the kind of quiz I want them to take. Of course, Brian was going to do that part so we may have to shift roles yet again and trade jobs. We will see. I was so glad Dustin and Erin used the notebook software, not only because it is my favorite software and so much fun, but because it worked in WIMBA!  Finally, something works in the Wimba window the way it is supposed to. I learned some new things tonight about teaming up in the wimba environment.  Clearly the chat window was always being monitored by at least one of the presenters.  They handled the whole environment very well.  The bell ringing and little horn were nice touches.  I am glad Dustin and Erin used the people in the room to their advantage to assist them in making it such a great lesson.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Birthday

 My husband is having a birthday and that day is special enough for me to splurge on the most fantastic cupcakes that exist.  I will share some of them here with you in the hopes that someone inspired  enough in your area will make these mouth-watering treats for YOU.
The flavors are divine and fit for the angels.
The shop has a wonderful baker who lives- GASP!- 6 blocks away from me.  Thank goodness her shop is out of town or I would weight 300 pounds.  I do not eat sweets often, I prefer carbs- all carbs- all the time, but these creations are good enough to make me turn a blind eye to macaroni and feast on sugar! 

Can you just die looking at them?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I have to remember to put it all in one place!

Theory presentation notes:
A jog may work,  I have been using Tolis' tool since last semester with a vengeance!  Here is a sample of some jogs I have created for various content areas.  I think for Brian and I, we may have to put everything in one place to present.  We run the risk of people running ahead- but it will save time in opening files and avoid the whole sharing nightmare that I had before in Wimba.  Last semester, I pre-loaded a powerpoint- and then once I hit the archive button,  it wouldn't load properly in the screen.  I hate the lag of presentations in total share mode, it just gets annoying for me.  Therefore, I must stick to my guns.  Other questions remain--- what lesson to teach?  Which Synectic strategy to use?  I do not want to over-think it, nor do I want to leave anyone confused as to the application of Synectic theory.  Last semester was definitely simpler, but I am grateful that Brian and I do not have to present first.  I made the powerpoint too long last semester- so I am glad Brian will do our digital summary.  He is bound to get right to the heart of the theory.

Reflection on class:
I was kicked out of wimba a few times- that means Brian and I each have to have total access to everything we are creating- so we have a back-up plan.  I felt bad for John and Ryan, because they did not have the benefit of watching some of us struggle last semester with Murphy and his "anything that can happen, will happen."  I thank them for paving the way.  Can't wait for next week, the avatars are my favorite elements of the presentations so far.  I want puppet avatars.

School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine's Student Laptop Program

School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine's Student Laptop Program | Diigo

Since we are involved in the Talent 21 grant in NJ, I thought I would share this article.

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