Getting Rid of Technology

This is impossible. There is no way that we will EVER get away from technology completely. We depend on it too much. We can’t live without our smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Even those of us who lived without these things, now, we can’t go without them for too long.

Fourth through seventh grade students at Convent and Stuart Hall in San Francisco did just this. My first thought here was “fourth grade?” FOURTH GRADE?!!!!!! Why does a fourth grader have a smart phone?! But my three year olds know how to use my iPad, so I can’t really say anything. These kids in San Francisco took a Tech Timeout Academic Challenge which set out to prove that technology is a distraction.

Students signed up and gave up their tech. They sealed their cell phones for three days and tried not to use them. This is meant to help them connect with classmates and family as well as “enjoy the moment” and aid in creativity. Some kids were so attached to their technology that they felt anxiety after giving up their phones. The main temptation according to the student participants was social media. Some students, however, were glad to get away from the technology for a little while.

The goal of this endeavor was to prove that students can survive without technology and social media. The students were too distracted by text messages and social media notifications during school because they are allowed to use their technology during school hours in the classroom. I for one know how distracting this can be, so I wouldn’t like this policy as I’m trying to teach. I have the policy that I’m putting my technology away and giving students my time, they should do the same. The timeout was trying to teach students to “build the life skill of recognizing when it’s time to pay attention and when it’s time to zone out”. They need to learn to participate in class and discussions instead of giving in to the distractions of social media and technology. Kids had face-to-face discussions with friends and parents. They actually talked to their families, something which “never would have happened normally”.

One student, Ryley Aceret, learned how sidetracked he gets by technology. He noticed how much longer it took him to complete homework assignments with his technology than without it. This is something that I struggle with from time to time. I find myself “taking a Pinterest or Tumbler break” that turns into an hour on either. I think that these kids learning this lesson now is a wonderful idea now because it’s a hard habit to break later.

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This Week Wasn’t Great!

So, because I was unable to get to my crocheting this week due to a family emergency, I had a rope rug with lights planned for my nieces’ room (yeah, this one)

Photo courtesy of Marla buttery via Pintrest
Photo courtesy of Marla buttery via Pinterest

Cool, right?! I was pretty excited to do it in green and blue and really wanted to get this accomplished, but a family emergency because of which I was left alone with six children under the age of four, I didn’t get it done, nor did I have time to do my blogs when I wanted to. . . yeah, it wasn’t a great week! So, I decided to keep tabs on my online activities, not because I ever do anything awesome online, but because I had no choice!

So this week, I learned that I am a very boring online user! I thought that I spent a lot of time on social media, but I don’t. I spent about twenty minutes at the beginning of the week (Sunday)  looking at crocheting patterns. I was sitting on my couch with my feet crossed (I believe it’s called “Indian Style”) barefoot in yoga pants and a tee-shirt with spit-up on it thanks to my nephew George (GW). He has reflux and after two days of that, I just stopped trying to change my clothes. This was when I thought my mom and dad would be back by Wednesday (they had to go to Arkansas) and my nieces and nephew live with them so I became the baby sitter (not that I’m too terribly resentful, I’m kidding, I love them). Any way, I was on my iPad mini 2 on my Pinterest app and looking through crochet patterns for my Independent Learning Project this week. And I found that rug pattern! I ended up pinning it because I want to make it and I stopped after that because GW was hungry and all of the girls were awake. It was nap time, what I used to think was my personal time, but GW for some reason doesn’t sleep, like ever!

On Tuesday, I prepared a project for my reading and inclusion class. I did this through smart exchange. I made a Jeopardy game for the smart board that we will be playing sometime this week when I can present it. I spent about an hour on this because I had to do so online and wanted to complete it so I could get it saved. I did this after all of the kids were in bed, something I had to do to even get the peace I needed. I was once again, sitting on the couch crosslegged. “Sherlock” was on the telly as it’s on Netflix, and the only time I don’t watch something for children! I discovered that trying to prepare a presentation while also trying to deduce with Sherlock Holmes is uncommonly difficult! The assignment, however was fun, so I got it done and it turned out great!

On Wednesday, I worked on a prezi that has been ongoing for two semesters. I am in an undergraduate research program and have been preparing a presentation that will be complete and presented April 15th. The presentation is about the Romantic Period anti-hero and how Romantic authors (the Bronte sisters mostly) use Satan from John Milton’s Paradise Lost as a basis for characters such as Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and Rochester (Jane Eyre) so I was adding and cutting and working on that while the kiddos napped, GW fell asleep on the rug and I just left him. I was, once again on the couch, and I’m afraid that my posture is horrible! I was listening to a novel for my queer lit class, Ash by Malinda Lo because, let’s face it, I have three lit classes, and this week, this was the only way I was going to absorb anything! It wasn’t like “Sherlock” earlier, I actually paid attention to what I was doing and what was going on in the novel (which was pretty good, the others in my class enjoyed it more than I, but there it is. . . ).

Also on Wednesday, after putting all of the monsters down for the night, I watched the Ted Talk and read all of the articles for the week. I was again on the couch, and like Tuesday and earlier, was on my MacBook. I don’t like to sit at my desk unless I have to type a lot, like now for instance! I like to browse and research and build things while I’m comfortable, and I can’t be comfortable with my kids, even at my desk, as the kids can’t let me do anything without trying to help or get my attention. It’s hard to get anything accomplished with them so everything gets done when they’re sleeping. Again, having by then completed Ash, the TV was on, this time I was watching “Stargate SG-1”. I finished “Sherlock” and had moved on to another nerd classic. Again, working on things and also trying to zone out and watch Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) be a smarty pants archeologist who also happens to be great to look at was quite difficult. Maybe I shouldn’t try to do homework while also doing homework. Even though I already know this, I still do it because I hang out by myself and I like the background noise.

On Thursday, I spent time researching for a paper for my linguistics class. I wrote about the controversial etymology of the “f-word”. I’m not kidding. I really wrote about it because it was interesting. I found a lot of scholarly articles about it through the University of Nebraska’s library resources. As per the usual, I was on my couch, but I was listening to a book for fun! Yeah, I did something for fun because I had listened to the three books I needed for class the following day and finished reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelly for my undergraduate research for the meeting with my mentor professor also on Friday. My friend turned me on to the book series, and I began the audiobooks on Thursday (The Selection by Keira Cass which was actually pretty good it’s like Cinderella meets “The Bachelor” while also fending off rebellion). I got a lot of information in the hour I spent researching and was also entertained by a well-narrated novel.

So, yeah, I didn’t get any crocheting done, but I spent significant time online doing work. As you can see, I didn’t really spend a lot of time doing social media stuff, but I did get a bit accomplished.

Once again, I am sorry that this is so much later than I wanted it to be. I kept putting my blogs off and I shouldn’t have. Well, It’s done now. Hope that my boring times online were at least a little entertaining.

Daily Creates Week 2

OK! Last week went well, thanks for all of the comments. By the way, if you were wondering what movie I summarized with 140 characters, it was The Penguins of Madagascar. The girls were watching it when I was writing that one, so I used it! Well, here we go, week two, March 22-28

  • March 22: Write a story from the point of view of your favorite food (feel free to guess what it is!)

I was just minding my own business, hanging out with my friends when THEY came. I don’t know why they kidnapped me and some of my friends, but we were thrown together in a bag and, blind to our destination, we travelled for days.

After those days of travel and tossing by unknown fingers, I was put on display with a bunch of strangers. I didn’t know anyone there, I don’t even know what became of my friends. A kindly looking woman took me home with her. I thought for sure that her kind, intelligent eyes told me that she wouldn’t hurt me. I was wrong. I was placed in the dark with several of the strangers I was taken with. I don’t know how long we sat in the dark, but eventually, we were pulled out, she grabbed me first. I was bathed, which was nice, but the woman quickly, efficiently, and without mercy, pealed my skin off. She did not heed my howls of pain nor my pleading. She immediately cut me into pieces and put me into the hottest water i’d ever felt. Quickly, the others joined me in the boiling water. With all of us in agonizing pain, the woman covered the container, leaving us to scream so she couldn’t hear it.

After what felt like hours, the woman strained us from the water. Surely she could do no more, you say. No, you’re wrong. We were smashed and stirred together until there was no way of knowing where one of us ended and another began. Right now, I am upon a new surface, exhausted, no longer able to feel. I don’t know what the woman has in mind for us next, but it cannot be worse than what has already been done. Right?

  • March 23: From the nearest book, write a short story about the characters on page 42. (I wasn’t sure if this mean t to write about the characters themselves or use the names, I chose to just use the names from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, the characters are Will, Tessa, and the Dark Sisters).

Tessa and her younger brother, Will, looked up at the building towering above them. It was so grimy that it seemed to hover away from the tidy townhouses on either side, almost as if it did not belong on the street but alone in a haunted forest where no one could see or visit it.

Will, his thumb in his mouth, reached up to hold Tessa’s hand, squeezing it in hi fear. Tessa looked down at Will’s dark head and, with a sigh, picked up their suitcase and led Will up the front walk, her grey eyes darting between the two dingy windows on either side of the huge red door.

Raising her hand, Tessa gripped the lion’s head-shaped knocker and tapped the door three times. The sounds of scurrying feet were behind the crimson door, but no one answered for a few minutes. When the door finally opened, it did so slowly, two pale faces peeked around it and black eyes looked bake at them. Suddenly, the enormous red door was slammed closed.

His tiny thumb never leaving his mouth, Will glanced up at Tessa, who knocked again. Without warning, the door was flu open, and the two faces stared back at the siblings. The Dark Sisters moved forward as one, almost slithering. Each took one of the children’s shoulder and guided the orphans into the house.

  • March 24: Share a recipe and a story about why it’s important to you.

1 lb of hamburger

1 package of onion soup mix

1 egg

4 pieces of damp day old bread

Preheat oven to 375

In a large mixing bowl hand mix (I mean literally with your hands) the hamburger, soup mix, egg, and wet bread until it is well mixed and holds together.

Place in a loaf pan and into the oven for 45 minutes.

Make a sauce, 3 tbsp of catsup and 1 tbsp of brown sugar; Mix with a fork until all of the lumps are gone and the color is a rich red. Place atop the meatloaf and return to the oven for 5 minutes

This is my grandmother’s meatloaf recipe, it took me a bit for measurements because I don’t measure. This is the meatloaf that I’ve talked about so often. It’s the first thing that I made alone, and my husband’s favorite. Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

  • March 25:The Most Famous Novel You’ve Never Heard Of- Write a summary for a novel jacket using the fourth title from a title generator while also using two of the titles as former novels by the author.

The Legend’s Dreamer

A member of Brynmor Morris’s family has been the emperor’s oracle since it was discovered that they had prophetic dreams. When sixteen year old Brynmor gains her gift, she is moved from the two room farmhouse  she lives in and her family for the opulent palace and loneliness. With a rebellion brewing, the emperor expects Brynmor to give him the information he needs in order to crush it. Brynmor, however, dreams of Colwyn, a legendary warrior who disappeared centuries earlier. Brynmor believes, in order for the empire to thrive, she has to seek out Colwyn’s reincarnation. So she sets out with the emperor’s eldest son, quiet and brooding Gerallt, and his personal guard, strong and confident Nicoline Paulissen. The journey is long and treacherous, and ordinary Brynmor finds herself on a quest for the legend she’s been dreaming about.

Lugh Grady McNaughton is the critically acclaimed author of The First Princess and the New York Times bestseller The Seventh Wizards.

  • March 26: Write a story about someone writing a story about someone writing a story.

Aiden slipped passed the guard completely unnoticed and saw what he had been hunting for for the last six months. The face that stared back at him was gaunt and tired, yet determined.

“How’s it going?” asked a voice behind her. Layla turned away from her laptop.

“Aiden is about to rescue Nathaniel.”

“It’s about time!” Jake exclaimed. “You’ve been at that quest for like two years!”

“It’s an art, Jake. I can’t just push out pages like a cog.”

Terry popped her neck as she glared at the screen. “Why did I start this?” she asked aloud.

No one answered but the cat flicking his tail on her desk stared at her with bicolored eyes. “Oh yeah. I have to feed you, tubbo.”

  • March 27: Write a creepy two sentence story.

The hotel stood, dark, dreary, before us as we approached, unwittingly stepping into the trap set for us. As the door creaks open, a scream erupts form upstairs, although none is inside.

  • March 28: Flash Fiction- Write a story with a five minute timer, beginning with an article of clothing, which the story is not about.

The tee-shirt was just that, a tee-shirt. Dane lifted it and pulled it on over his scarred back, and pushed off of the bed. He looked out of the window at the trees, which seemed more daunting everyday. He moved into the kitchen and sat at the table as his coffee suddenly appeared.

Silently thanking his invisible sailors, Dane took the firs glorious, life-giving sip of necessary sector. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been kept in the little cabin in the woods, but he started everyday exactly the same way.

That is all! Enjoy!!!! 

Doilies and Waiting

Ok, so this week, I wasn’t too terribly ambitious. I have ordered the yarn I need for my black and white sparkly lap blanket and have been waiting for it. While my classes at the University of Nebraska at Kearney have been on spring break, I thought that I could get some projects going really well. However, this didn’t happen. I made only a tie-dye doily. The picture is the doily with my unity candle as I think it requires a large candle because it is a bigger doily and it is the only one that large which I own as I have a lot of tapers, but not any big ones save my christmas candles which are put away and I’m too lazy to pull them out.

I learned a new stitch for it, but I forgot to take a photo as it was exciting to get the slip stitch correct and it looks really boring with just one row.

Any way, the rows go around and around an have a pretty up-turn to the edges, at least I think so. I couldn’t quite get the granny squares down. It’s something that I have to work on. They are supposed to be one of the easiest things to crochet, but my fat and clumsy fingers refused to allow me to perform correctly. But… I will get them, I will make a granny square. My grandmother made an entire blanket of them, all different colors. I remember one of them that is this ugly baby poo green color with a vivid and pretty blue. I never asked why she chose those colors on that particular granny square and now I wish I had. I think the yarns may have been of similar weight and therefore easier to work with together. At least that’s what I think. I don’t have that blanket, one of my aunts does, I believe. So, please don’t think I don’t have any failures and frustrations, because I totally do. I can’t do a granny square yet.

While I was frustrated because I couldn’t make a granny square, I chose an easy doily pattern because I needed a success. And I got one. One with which I am pleased. My girls like it. They play with it and wear it on their heads as a hat. When I tell them it isn’t a hat, but a doily, they say, “No, Mom, it’s a hat.” It’s pretty cute.

IMG_20150329_135106039

Cute, right!!!
Cute, right!!!

Anyway, this week I didn’t do much, but it turned out fun!

Digital Activism: You Have a Voice!

Digital Activism is an easier way of putting your opinion out there! So easy! All it takes is a status or photo change, an online donation, a signed e-petition, or an email to your congressman. Maybe because you aren’t out marching or protesting, some people call this “slactivism”, but don’t listen to that, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life! Who cares if you would rather make your voice heard quickly instead of pushing your point in person. I for one, have signed several online petitions. I’m not saying that they’re huge issues like changing laws all of the time, which I have done, but sometimes it’s easy to get passionate about something that others will think is silly, such as signing a change.org petition to bring back a television show which touches you.

Honestly, I never really thought of what I post online as any form of activism, but last week, I posted a blog about cyberbullying that I realized was, in fact, a form of activism albeit a “lazy” one. It didn’t matter that I didn’t go out and protest on the street or organize a march on Washington to make change. Those days have passed, even though marches and sit-ins made amazing changes in our social consciousness. We live in a time when the internet is an amazing tool to help others and pushing your agenda, even if it isn’t exactly well researched.

The beauty of the internet is that it is anonymous. While that allows bullies to flourish, it also allows activism to do so as well. You are able to spread news and ideas as well as inform. It is, however, easy to get lost in all of the other voices online. So, you need to stay active. Like anything, persistence is best. Keep spreading the word and people will eventually listen.

Social media is an excellent tool for activism. I have been looking at one of the nominees for the Shorty Award for teen activism. A seventeen year old named Jason Harris runs Hope (@3000lives) from his small town home. Jason tweet inspiring and relatable phrases to spread hop and help people with their struggles. He reaches out to others and raises awareness for suicide prevention. Assuring others that they are worthy, Jason tries to tell others that suicide is not an option and that life is worth living, he also gives the number for the suicide prevention hotline in order to give those he can’t help another option. During his work, he has been available to talk 24/7, saved 29 lives, and won a Jefferson Award, which celebrates public service.

I think that suicide prevention goes hand-in-hand with my anti-cyberbullying wishes because too many young people who are bullied online commit suicide. I like what Jason is doing, and his community should be very proud of him because he is using the internet to spread his beliefs and help others.

Daily Creates: Week One

In honor of my sister’s birthday, I decided to start my Daily Creates that day, and chose a great one to start it!

  • March 15th: Summarize a movie in twitter length (See if you can guess what it is, I’ll have the answer in next weeks blog!)

Four friends set out on an adventure to reunite with an old roommate until one of them is kidnapped and the remaining three must save him.

  • March 16th- Write an excuse for why you didn’t do your Daily Create assignment today.

To: Yentle’s Teacher,

Yentle was unable to produce a Daily Create today on account of her suffering from a disease… Obesity. Yes, I know this comes as a shock, but Yentle is fat. You should know that she also called in to work fat, but it was not a valid excuse according to her boss. I hope that you will take this disease more seriously, as millions of America suffer from it, and excuse her.

Thank You,

Yentle’s mom

  • March 17th- List twenty uses for a banana (keeping it G rated!)
  1.  banana pudding
  2. banana cream pie
  3. bananas foster
  4. banana and peanut butter sandwich
  5. banana nut bread
  6. banana muffins
  7. banana cupcakes
  8. banana pancakes
  9. banana split
  10. banana trifle
  11. strawberry-banana smoothie
  12. banana crepes
  13. banana boats
  14. banana pops
  15. banana and nutella tortilla snacks
  16. cottage cheese and bananas
  17. Irish Bananas (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!)
  18. banana spring rolls
  19. banana daquiri
  20. BANANA PHONE (ring ring ring ring)
  • March 18th- describe the sky in a single sentence without using any color words.

The sky, after a rainstorm, holds a sense of gloom, yet a ray of hope springs when the light hits the water moisture hanging in the air.

  • March 19th- Create an acrostic poem that includes an item of clothing you’re currently wearing.

Really

Extremely

Disorganized

Should do

Housework but

I’ll

Re-watch

The entire “Firefly” series instead (you know the only season made, and possibly the movie!)

  • March 20th- Write one line from a song that predicts how your day will go, another how it really went

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day”- The Temptations, “My Girl”

“In every life we have some trouble”- Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

  • March 21st- Write step-by step instructions explain how to become a superhero.
  1. Become “super”- This can be done by becoming fabulously wealthy, being bitten by a radioactive insect, leaving a planet about to go into a black hole, or having radioactive waste dumped on you, really, the sky’s the limit.
  2. Discover your powers- If you don’t know what you can do, how can you be expected to save anyone? This can be anything from stealing the powers of other people to glowing in the dark. The key is to figure out what you can do and use that power. *note- if you have somehow become fabulously wealthy, you will need to immediately figure out your “thing”, i.e. bats or iron.
  3. Come up with a name-You can’t be a super hero under your given name! Your friends and family may end up being hurt, also heroes have a lot of collateral damage, and you don’t want to get sued.
  4. Make a costume- Once you figure out what powers you possess, or what you want to embody, you need to make a costume. While you can use any design, color, and fabric you want, I’ve discovered that spandex is the best way to go, with bright colors.
  5. Save someone- You can’t be a super hero if you just sit around watching TV. You have to get out there and rescue someone. It’s usually a good idea to save a woman or child, they get the most press.
  6. Get a nemesis- Sure, you’ve saved some people, but you need a villain to really be a super hero. This person needs to stand in direct opposition to you, and yet the two of you should have a lot in common.
  7. Well, step seven is to enjoy your new life. Best of luck in all of your endeavors!!

Yentle Dyas: A Total Bore (According to Google)

Image courtesy of google.com

When I googled myself today, I noticed two things. I have quite a bit about me on the internet, and I am boring!

The first thing on the first page of searches is my Twitter page. I was able to use my own name (go figure!), and so it comes up quickly. One of my shares that is on the first Google page, is to my PLN, so I think that looks good to employers.

The next thing that a searcher would see is my Pintrest page, and two of my boards. One of them is my PLN board “Teaching Ideas”. The other is my Mortal Instruments board (It’s my guilty pleasure!). The next thing I saw was my Facebook page, a tag from my photography of my girls. Then, for some strange reason, my Myspace page, which I haven’t been on in over six years. Finally my seldom used Google+ page appears.

I’m surprised that my blog is not on the first page, nor is it on the second. I suppose I am most active on Twitter. I have to use it for two classes, so i am sharing something almost everyday. Next, unsurprisingly, is my Pintrest as I am always pinning something.

From what I see after googling myself, I’m so boring. I share very little of myself online. I looked at images during my search. There is only one of me. i use it for Twitter, Facebook, and Pintrest.

yep, that one!
yep, that one!

A picture of the twins from two years ago and the picture that appeared in the newspaper announcement of their birth were also there.

courtesy of gprmc.com
  courtesy of gprmc.com
courtesy of Developing Memories Photography
courtesy of Developing Memories Photography

The photo used for my paternal grandmother’s obituary is present as well because I was mentioned as one of her survivors. My maternal grandmother (the one who crocheted) had too many grandchildren to list (23 grand children and 25 great-grandchildren at the time (we’re up to 29 greats now))

The second and third Google pages are littered with little articles or just my name from the Telegraph (North Platte’s newspaper). I’ve been on the Dean’s list and the President’s list at both Midplains Community College and University of Nebraska at Kearney. A story about my ceramics class is on google as are the birth announcements of my girls and the announcement of my marriage license and wedding.

I hope that if an employer were to google me, he/she would be impressed. I don’t share much and have some accolades online. But I’m sure that any employer will see what I see. I’m boring.

It should also be noted that Google suggests the Barbra Streisand film, Yentl when someone searches for me. Yes. . .  I am named after it!

courtesy of Amazon.com
courtesy of Amazon.com