Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blogging Workshop at SJSU

I'm a highly insecure person when it comes to teaching new things. This is interesting because of the profession I chose. This Thursday I am presenting a workshop at San Jose State about Blogging. I blog for my online classes, I require my students to blog, I read blogs everyday, I have a personal blog, but this does not make me an expert by an stretch of the imagination.

I have been putting together a workshop that should last at least an hour and a half to two hours, and I'm terrified that I will receive questions I cannot answer, look like an idiot while I am facilitating this workshop or God forbid, the technology in the classroom will fail. My entire workshop is on the computer. I need to breathe.....

Needless to say, I have been doing some reading about blogging for a while, but figure that most students who will be attending will have very little blogging knowledge. Or at least I ASSUME that the participants will have very little blogging knowledge. Here is a schedule of how things will probably go:

1). Lecture/Discussion on what a blog is.
2). Chat about the purpose for blogging. We will chat a bit about some popular blogs here.
3). Anatomy of a basic blog.
4). Blog hosting and what this means.
5). A short chat about the content of blogs.
6). Components of blogging success.
7). Blogsphere - what happens when you post.
8). Blogging and Ethics.
9). Privacy/Reputation/Alienation
10). Choosing a blogging niche. We will chat more about specific blogs during this section.
11). Creating a blog. (This is a hands-on component)
12). Creating an RSS feed to read blogs. (This is also a hands-on component)
13). Individual group discussions about recent articles in the news about blogging. I feel that students should always keep up with current events.

All of this should take about an hour and a half....I hope! I will be testing out this workshop, at least the discussion part, tomorrow on my class at Sierra College. I briefly mentioned that I was doing a workshop on blogging and they seemed highly interested.

Even though I am preparing, I'm still terrified!

Spring Break

This will be short...

Last week was Spring Break for San Jose State, next week is Spring Break for Sierra College. I'm not quite sure why Spring Break's are different for school's, college's, etc..., but I wish they would line up so I actually have time off. I'm not complaining though! As soon as I noticed that next week was Spring Break for Sierra College, I almost cried, I was so happy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Square Foot Garden

This year we decided we would do an organized Square Foot Garden. Neither Shawn nor I have done much reading about this type of gardening, but then again, neither of us knew much about soil or gardening when we started planting a number of years back (and still don't), and gardening has worked out pretty well for us so far. This time around I decided I wanted to organize a bit so I added a bit of decoration to my existing veggie boxes. Can you see the square foot sections?

In this box we have: 6 Broccoliflower, 6 Beets, 4 Celery and 6 Brussels Sprouts.

This one contains 2 Tomato Plants, 2 Bell Pepper, 2 Bell Pepper and tons of onions that we separated (hopefully the onions will make it).

Two lonely Zucchini Plants hang out in this box.

Here we have 6 Strawberry Plants, and will soon have at least 10-12.

This is our last Square Foot box. I haven't added the string yet to delineate the square foot sections yet. We will be going back to the nursery this weekend to pick up some more veggies to plant. I'm excited to see just how much we are able to fit into our new square foot garden.

The most exciting part about the planting project this year is my discovery of Blueberry Bushes. The nursery we went to today will be carrying more Blueberry Bushes around Father's Day. I will be back there the first weekend they have them in to purchase at least 6. You can plant 3 bushes in a half wine barrel. Blueberries are filled with anti-oxidants, not to mention the pure yumminess of them. I can't wait! We will also be planting our traditional tomato plants in the front of the house. Hopefully this year they will grow to 8 feet again. I will update once we have more plants in the ground!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Confession #1

On my last blog, before I switched over to blogger, I started a series on my blog called confessions. It was a series of things about me that people might or might now know. I am starting up the 'confessions' series again. So here it goes:

Confession #1
The wedding song for my husband and I was the theme song for Star Trek Enterprise. I chose the song because I loved it, well, we both really loved the song. It was a series my husband and I had watched for a long time before we were married and every time we hear the song it brings back many memories of watching the show. Of course, had the show Farscape had a better theme song, and one that we could have danced to at our wedding, we would have chosen that one instead since Farscape was foundational to our relationship (but that's for another post).

If you want to hear the song, click HERE!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not sure what to think....

A number of my students ranging in ages from 17-65 have mentioned that I was their favorite instructor.....ever. Of course some mention this while the are in my class, and I take those comments with a grain of salt because, well, they are current students and you never know the motivation. But a few students from past semesters have contacted me to let me know that they in fact did have a wonderful time in my class and that I was their favorite instructor. I'm a flattered and humbled of course, but at the same time, I'm a little worried. Of course I'm worried, worrying is second nature to breathing for me.

My teaching philosophy is simple - have fun while you learn. Gain some great skills, understand some interesting concepts, expand your mind, learn HOW to think, not WHAT to think, but have some fun while doing it. I only had a few instructors like this throughout my education, but remember each one of them and appreciate the experience. I still keep in touch with a couple of these instructors. You probably know who you are. ;) Getting back to the point - what I want to leave my students with is simple.....enjoy life, enjoy your education, learn lots, but have fun while doing it.

When I'm in church, the things I remember most are those things that make me laugh, things that amaze me, things that strike a chord with me - but most of all, things that entertain and engage me. Perhaps this is why I have given up on formal religion, but that's for another post. How do you engage a variety of people? This is the question I have been asking myself. I don't want to be someone's favorite instructor if they aren't learning anything. Most, if not all students in my classes who have complemented me have assured me that they loved my class because they learned a lot and had fun in the process, but part of me is still skeptical. Is it possible to have a great time, build relationships and learn on an intellectual level all at the same time? Am I sacrificing something by trying to be personable? Is the education aspect somehow sacrificed? I have been giving this a lot of thought lately, and probably will continue to do so. Any thoughts out there in blogland?

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Poopie List

***Please be warned, this list is not for the faint of heart.*** About once a year I look up this list when I need a good laugh. Well, last night was one of those times. I looked it up and thought I would share it with you in case you have never read the list. Enjoy!!!

Ghost Poopie
The kind where you feel the poopie come out, but there is no poopie in the toilet.

Clean Poopie
The kind where you poopie it out, see it in the toilet, but there is nothing on the toilet paper.

Wet Poopie
The kind where you wipe your butt 50 times and it still feels unwiped, so you have to put some toilet paper between your butt and underwear so you won't ruin them with a stain.

Second Wave Poopie
This happens when you're done Poopie-ing and you've pulled up your pants to your knees, and you realize that you have to Poopie some more.

The kind where you strain so much to get it out, you practically have a stroke.

Gassy Poopie
It's so noisy, everyone within earshot is laughing.

Drinker Poopie
The kind of Poopie you have the morning after a long night of drinking. Its most noticeable trait is the skid marks on the bottom of the toilet.

Lincoln Log Poopie
The kind of Poopie that is so huge you're afraid to flush without first breaking it into little pieces with the toilet brush.

Corn Poopie

Gee-I-Wish-I-Could-Poopie Poopie
The kind where you want to Poopie but all you do is sit on the toilet and fart a few times.

Spinal Tap Poopie
That's where it hurts so badly coming out, you would swear it was leaving you sideways.

Wet Cheeks Poopie (The Power Dump)
The kind that comes out of your butt so fast, your butt gets splashed with water.

Liquid Poopie
The kind where yellowish-brown liquid shoots out your butt and splashes all over the toilet bowl.

Mexican Poopie
It smells so bad your nose burns.

The Surprise Poopie
You're not even at the toilet because you are sure you're about to fart, but oops.......a Poopie!!!

The Dangling Poopie
This Poopie refuses to drop into the toilet even though you know you are done Poopie-ing it. You just pray that a shake or two will cut it loose.
I apologize if you were offended, but I think this is hilarious.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Student Ratings

Instructors are evaluated every semester by their students. Since last semester was my first semester teaching online, I was highly nervous about my student ratings. In fact, I have lost sleep quite a few times worrying about what my students thought of me (see the last post).

When you teach an in person class, you get to know your instructor's personality. In an online setting, personality is much harder to convey. My f2f classes at Sierra College are so much fun. We get a lot of work done, but have quite a bit of fun in the process. Just yesterday my students were commenting about how wonderful they thought my class was. Quite a few of them commented about how my class has been a unique experience. They also mentioned how they never quite get to know their classmates in other classes, but in my class everyone feels so connected that they never want to leave (their words, not mine).

In an online class, it is quite difficult to create an environment that is connected on that level. I try different things to connect the class, but I suspect the students feel more connected to me than the other students. If I am afforded the opportunity to teach online again next semester, I will need to think about this a bit more and figure out how to encourage the class to get more connected with each other rather than me.

In my Public Speaking class online, the students LOVED the class. I don't think I received one bad rating. In my other class, I received only one bad rating.....but that's a blog for another time. I am ecstatic about my ratings. I have already changed the things my students didn't like. You can glean a lot from phone conversations, online conversations and emails. I'm glad I made the changes I did, and hope that I will have the opportunity to revise the Public Speaking class again next semester. From what my students told me at our last meeting on Friday, they LOVE the class and really like the interaction with each other and me. They really like how accessible I am - phone calls, emails, online chatting, etc... Of course this makes my schedule quite hectic because sometimes students can only chat late at night, or early in the morning - but it's worth it. I love what I do and can't picture myself doing anything else at this point in my life. I'm excited!!! Can you tell?


All hours of the day and night my mind is racing with lists of items I need to get done, stresses I am trying to work through and daily life maintenance. This has continued into my 'sleep life', which I try to keep separate, but somehow constantly spills over and mostly just keeps me up at night. When I was a teenager I used to choose my dreams. Sounds strange right? I had practiced so much that I would direct my dreams. This was a useful tool when I had too much on my mind. I was able to check out during the night and enjoy a quick vacation on the beach, go hiking or dream about whatever else I chose that night. Since I haven't been sleeping well again because of the economy, and life, and a handful of other things, I need to start practicing again so my sleep in enjoyable again. *Sigh* I wish it were easier.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I have fought against writing and researching since I graduated. It's time to start. A colleague and I will be research and writing a couple of papers. I will update once we know which direction we are going. :) And so it begins....