Zombie Vocabulary

So in the theme of restrictions creating creativity and my own desire to be doing things more directly related to the classroom- I have decided to start Zombie Vocabulary1. I’ll take a few words from Merriam-Webster’s word of the day and create a zombie2 themed use of the word that I’d use with my students (if I had them). So to start things off here’s facetious– WOD from Oct. 14th. 1 Why zombies? I like zombies and I like the CC zombie pictures available in flickr and saw so many I wanted to use that I needed to make a reason to use them. 2 I may switch from the zombie theme if it gets boring so other theme suggestions are welcome.


So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

[cue Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On”] For those who haven’t already counted me out, now’s the moment you’ve been putting off for months.  I’ve enjoyed my erratic posting on Bionic Teaching over the past couple years.  Tom, thanks for letting me ride along with you for awhile.  I’m continuing my professional development work at Varina High, but I’ve decided to dedicate my personal time to other explorations and exploits.  You can find me at my newly renovated home, Cynical Idealists.  Expect nothing less than what I’ve always provided:  Everything from the heart, and nothing on a timeline. -Jim

WordCampEd 2008

I got the opportunity to go to WordCampEd at George Mason this Saturday. Special thanks to Dave Lester- our host and the organizer of the conference (blog and twitter) It was pretty interesting to me in a couple different ways. One, I got to meet (in some cases just sit in the room with) a lot of interesting people and add their various feeds into my aggregator. There’s something interesting about these type of conferences. There really small and intimate. They are full of people who really want to be there, and that are passionate about the topic. Two, I’m really convinced that HCPS needs to go to the WPMU model. We’ve got all sorts of schools doing their own thing with tons (relatively) of individual blogs. This means individual updates, individual theme uploads, individual plugin uploads and most importantly no community outside the school and little interconnection within the schools between blogs. I think that’s what most people don’t get. In my opinion, Jim Groom has done such interesting things at UMW because he has worked hard at connecting the individual blogs, at creating community. He makes comments, he brings key posts to the forefront for attention. He’s made a unified whole. That’s where the power is and it’s interesting power because it’s exponential. We saw evidence of that […]

DIY Doctorate?

1 I’m looking at doctoral programs and not really finding what I want. I see lots of things that will lock me into what others think I need to know, lots of chances to end up stuck in a program I hate. I’ve had a number of people say to me “It’s not the program, it’s what you put into it.” Yeah, I know but, you see, this program is going to take time away from what I’m already trying to learn, so it needs to be worth it. I’m going to have to do whatever work they require no matter how useless, mundane or repetitive it may be. I already did that to get a master’s degree2. I got some good out of it but there was lot of wasted time and energy3. That’s time and energy I could have used to do things on my own, to learn things. What I want to learn about is that area where design, cognitive science, advertising, data visualization, gaming (mainly ARGs) and education overlap. Where’s that program? Who would let me build that program? I don’t care about EDD or PHD or whatever. I just want a few people around to help guide me and talk about things. I want the stupid letters checked off so they don’t stop me from […]


Life Photos on Google

I’m sure this one will get blogged to death but . . . it does fit in with my earlier post so I’ll add to the noise. Google is hosting 10 million or so photos from Life magazine in a very nice searchable way. They are really nice photos that’d work well in any number of subject areas. Oddly, I don’t see any stated copyright information (although the largest images are watermarked with LIFE in the lower left hand corner). via Lifehacker

History Images

Transparent History PNGs

I’ve taken a fair number of public domain photos and dropped the backgrounds so I could use them in various projects. I figured they might be of use to some other people out there. If you click through to the largest image size you’ll find they are decently done (not perfect by any means) but the smaller versions auto generated by Flickr look like COMPLETE garbage. I’m not sure why. But they are PNG files so you can clean them up some more pretty easily if you’d like. The flickr set is here. Most of the ones up there right now are history related and it’ll likely stay that way for the immediate future.

Submissions Wanted

1 I’m in a weird place right now. I’m in Central Office- cue ominous music. Central Office is not a place people normally speak of fondly. It’s often referred to as one of those places where people go to get out of touch and become bossy. I don’t like being out of a school. To be honest, I don’t like being out of the classroom2. I’ve essentially moved into a role where I’m one more step removed from where I feel I have some skills- that is, figuring out interesting and useful ways to use technology to help students learn. So one of the things I’d like to do is work on at least one lesson each month3. If anyone out there wants to submit something to discuss and make more engaging then I’m game. I’m hoping there’ll be some of that going on because the collaboration and discussion will definitely make the end product better. Failing any submissions, something I that’s pretty likely, I’ll just wander around and find one on the Internet or pick an SOL to work on. It’s essentially a “Pimp My Ride” for lesson plans. We’ll see if I have the skills to keep up. I should go buy www.pimpmylessonplan.com. 1 Photo credit Joel Bedford 2 Lots of things make this happen but it all […]


Playing with Vocabulary

I did this a while back but don’t think I ever posted about it 1. So vocabulary work often is one the most boring things an English teacher (or anyone else) ever does. The beauty of an English class is that you have a fair degree more flexibility when dealing with vocabulary than a lot of subjects. Here are two ways I wanted to attack words in a way that’d make them stick. the album Students pick a word/root/suffix/prefix and then build an album around it complete with cover art and song choices that reflect that theme. You see my Puffy Ego album above with songs like “Your You’re2 So Vain” and “I Love Me.” It’s simple and pretty engaging for students. The association with music (and likely with music they like) should really help internalize the information. the t-shirt Once again, a pretty simple idea. Students take a word/root/prefix/suffix and make a t-shirt3 with it. This could be fun and you could also make posters, hats etc and get the best ones made 4 The point is just to have students think more about the words, to do something real with them and to have a little fun. Were it me, I’d have a variety of options like these and allow students to pick various options each week. 1 […]