Posts Tagged ‘howto’
Last week, I decided to start podcasting. Being the tech geek I am, I Googled the web for howtos, and quickly found the best freeware and (reasonably-priced) digital recorder. Now, my Amazon.com box is cracked open, and I’m asking myself hard questions about podcasting. What makes a good podcast? It seems like howtos for podcasting focus on what should come second -the tools of the trade, rather than what should come first – content. If I’m going to create a podcast for listeners, or use podcasts in my classroom next year (both to deliver content and for student projects), good content has to be at the heart of my planning and execution.
Dan Meyer says it best:
Consider these three mediums, in increasing order of technical difficulty: blogging, podcasting, and vodcasting.
- Successful blogging requires original thought, sturdy writing, and bloodthirsty editing.
- Successful podcasting requires original thought, sturdy writing, bloodthirsty editing, and a command of the aural experience.
- Successful vodcasting requires original thought, sturdy writing, bloodthirsty editing, a command of the aural experience, and a command of the visual experience.
In order to achieve the same communicative result, not only does the number of necessary skills increase across all three mediums but the editing process for each grows harder and vastly more technical, the difference between hitting the delete key in one and wielding Final Cut Express’ digital blade in the other.
What does it mean to have “a command of the aural experience”? Should I ship my digital recorder back to Amazon because my content is best conveyed via blog? I’m a big fan of writing workshop in my classroom. Students work through the phases of the writing process: immersion, collecting ideas, drafting, revision, editing, publishing, and celebration. I’ve decided to put myself through a podcasting workshop.
Now, I’m in my immersion process. In the classroom, I read texts by genre, author, or craft strategy. Then, I chart students’ observations about the texts, and we make an attribute chart. Over the past few days, I’ve listened to a variety of podcasts. I’m in the process of creating an attribute chart.
When I started making the chart, I realized it needs a different layout in its final version to separate different podcast formats (two hosts w/no interviews, roundtable/multiple people, narrator and story/interview, etc). This chart is still a good way to get started. When I have listed all attributes, I’ll sort podcasts into type. To start an attribute chart, pick your favorite podcasts (or ones you think are noteworthy), and figure out which features are shared between the podcasts. The final steps are to figure out which common attributes I should include in my podcast and the “holes in the market” – attributes my podcast will have that others do not have.
Stay tuned for my completed and sorted attribute chart in part two of my podcaster workshop series. What are attributes you’ve noticed in your favorite podcasts? Are there holes in the market – attributes you think should be in some podcasts but are missing? Can you reccomend podcasts I should listen to and add to my attribute list?
Podcasts listened to: Science Friday Podcast (NPR), This American Life (NPR), Stuff You Should Know (Howstuffworks.com), various news podcasts (The Economist, BBC, CNN, etc), Rachel Maddow Green 960, SMARTboard Lessons Podcast, Wicked Decent Learning Podcast, Project Xiphos, Bit by Bit, and EdTech Weekly.
A few years ago, I spent my summer vacation volunteering full-time at an alternative school located within the walls of a juvenile detention center. During the first few weeks there, I realized that my new insight into the juvenile justice system and teaching came with a few pounds.
The culprits were everywhere (no pun intended). I would stress eat like crazy. A few students attempt to jump someone during your first period math class –> Hungry? Why wait for a Snickers. You witness a student get beat up on the bus and the police tell the attackers that you are the one who identified them –> Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat Bar. A student successfully smuggles a stick of dynamite into the school –> Nobody had better lay a finger on my Butterfinger. Teachers and administrators would fill the lounge with cakes, cookies, candy bars, sodas – any food indulgent enough to drown sorrows. On top of that, I ate the same breakfasts and lunches that the students ate (they were free and I had to be frugal). The students of the alternative school at the same meals as the students in lockdown. They were designed to provide the most calories at the lowest cost.
I started running. By the end of the summer I ran for 2 – 5 miles each day. It was therapeutic. I lost a few pounds.
It’s three summers later and I’m about to start an intense MA+credential program. On most days, the co-teaching carpool leaves at 6:45 am and my university classes don’t end until 5 or 6 pm. This is great training for my future life as a teacher – I’ll probably keep the same hours.
I read the Elementary Educator’s post entitled What To Work On This Summer: Creating Habits of Intelligence. My goal is to create “habits of health” that I can master now and integrate into my busy schedule.
1. Bento Boxes.
I stumbled on the Disposable Aardvarks, Inc. blog. A vegan mother of three crafts bento boxes for her family. Bento boxes are widely used in Japan. Parents create easy-to-carry lunches that are healthy and visually stimulating. The box sizes keep portions small. Also, the process of creating a bento involves (fun) design and healthy thinking.
Disposable Aardvarks Inc: Mentioned above.
My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch: Bento photos and recipes.
JustBento.com Handbook: Along with recipes and photos, this site has a great how-to guide for newbies. The author explains how to start make quick, inexpensive, and healthy bento boxes.
2. Changing my relationship with food.
I’ve had a turbulent relationship with food since childhood (childhood obesity). I still need to loose a few pounds. Instead of focusing on dieting, I’ve changed the way I think about food.
I stay away from processed foods and opt for whole/natural goods, cook meals using amazing recipes, savor every bite, and make sure that my indulgences are worth it (homemade pine nut rosemary shortbread cookies instead of 2 bowls of cereal). I’ve also adopted a vegetarian lifestyle.
GoVeg: An article about the meat industry’s impact on the environment.
101cookbooks.com: My favorite food blog…mmmm…..poppy seed pancakes….pine nut rosemary cookies…homemade black bean burgers…
Simply Recipes: I’m trying the sauteed zucchini with Gruyere recipe tomorrow…
Delicious Days: Quirky recipes.
I feel great when I exercise. I lift weights 3 – 4 times per week and make sure that I do some form of cardio 6 days per week. I’ve tried to fit my workouts relatively short time windows.
ExRx.Net: A great site for information about weight lifting (and fitness in general). I use the 2 day split (upper/lower) workout template.
HussmanFitness.org: An indispensable resource about weight loss and fitness. John’s BMR calculator is an easy to use tool to figure out how much exercise and eating you should be doing. I love his focus on lifestyle change rather than dieting.
Tae Bo: Billy Blanks.rocks.my.world.
4. Connecting with others via SparkPeople.
SparkPeople is a great website that features innovative web communities along with free exercise/weightlifting/eating plans, online exercise videos, a database with how-to demonstrations for each exercise, and calorie tracking. I use this site to keep track of my eating and exercise, share advice, and cheer on others. There are even a few spark teams for teachers.
Time for my hour of cardio…
Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order. – Samuel Beckett
Next time you’re mad, try dancing out your anger. – Sweetpea Tyler
We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. – Japanese Proverb
I stumbled across the 2 minute dance party in college. It’s 3 am. You’ve exhausted your supply of diet coke, coffee, and peanut butter M&Ms. Your mind has gone so fuzzy that you can’t remember simple facts. Your thoughts wander. Sample inner monologue: “Did the Civil War end in 1864 or 1865? Should I use an OLS or logistic regression model to model the determinants of binary dependent variables? Why is OLS ‘BLUE’? Who played Cowboy Curtis on Pee-wee’s Playhouse? What’s my cell phone number?…. Who am I?!?”
Enter the 2 minute dance party. I throw on a song with a fast tempo and dance like Kevin Bacon in Footloose. When the dancing is over I attempt my studies with renewed vigor – usually, it works. I retain more of what I read, come up with innovative ideas, and avoid the 3 am existential crisis.
It turns out that there are a few studies about the impact of exercise on learning (see NPR story). One of my projects this summer is to come up with ways to mold movement into my lessons. Daily 3 minute dance parties, active science experiments, jumping jack spelling bees, acting out stories, and concept relays are just a few ideas.
I don’t want my classroom to be like that little town in Footloose.
We all love Ellen’s dance parties:
Edupunk.Isn’t.Dead (“That works…” – an EducatorBlog Comic)
“A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’. So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’. So he kicks over the garbage can and says ‘That’s Punk?’, and I say ‘No that’s trendy!'”
“Punk to me was a form of free speech. It was a moment when suddenly all kinds of strange voices that no reasonable person could ever have expected to hear in public were being heard all over the place.”
I have a friend who is extols the virtues of direct vocabulary instruction. My word of the day today is edupunk. My friend would say that my use of the word edupunk is “so 2000” – but better late than never (this doesn’t apply to use of the phrases “whoop there it is”, “that’s whack”, and “fo ‘shizzle”).
Here are resources for the aspiring edupunk:
TechLEARNING Blog: Daily web 2.0 tools and tips for teachers.
Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling: A primer for educators who want to use digital storytelling in the classroom.
Hypertextopia: An innovative online project that aims to change the way people write and tell stories.
The Library of Congress: Teachers should integrate photographs, sound clips, copies of old pamphlets, and many other primary sources into students’ learning.
A great lesson plan that integrates Library of Congress materials into a Civil War lesson.
ToonDoo: A free and easy to use comic strip creator that teachers and students can use to communicate ideas in new ways.
Fo’ Shizzle my Edufizzles.