Diigo Summary Posts CSS Modification

I haven’t found a better way to do the weekly summary posts than Diigo, so I spent five minutes messing with the CSS to make it look a little more like what I’d like. You can do this in WordPress from the WP Admin sidebar under Appearance>Edit CSS. .diigo-linkroll li { list-style-type: none; } .diigo-link a { background: #e6e6e6; font-size: 1.25em; padding: 2px; display: block; } .diigo-tags { display: none; } The first piece (.diigo-linkroll li) gets rid of the unordered list structure. The second portion (.diigo-link a) makes slightly larger text and puts a gray background behind the links- which essentially function like headers for the different articles referenced. The final piece (.diigo-tags) just makes the auto-included tags invisible. I may need to rethink this but it does clean up the post which looked far too messy for my tastes. You can see the side by side comparison below.

Historical Selfies

These were all focused on historical “selfies” right before disasters but you could do the opposite. I was inspired by the horrible and fascinating Selfies at Funerals Tumblr. You might also be appalled/inspired by Rich Kids of Instagram. I really don’t know quite enough about the selfie/hashtag culture to do this really well. The details with hashtags are what make it interesting and you need to do some research to make it work properly. There is work in humor. Get the Photoshop template here.

RVA Zombie Walk and Internet Karma

I brought my two older boys to the RVA Zombie Walk. It was our first time and it was pretty amazing just how many people participated and how professional many of the costumes were. I wanted to take pictures but I also wanted to be able to give those pictures to the participants if they wanted them. As a result I put a little more effort into metadata than I usually do and I made sure I got the pictures online quickly. My daily Flickr views usually hover around 2,000. You can see just a bit of a spike as a result of the zombie pictures. That’s amusing in certain ways but if lots of views was my aim I’d play a very different game. I do like that the people looking for these particular images were able to find them. What’s more I got some comments on a few of the images from people who knew some additional details. I love those interactions. It’s something that Alan talks about with his True Stories of Openess. Here Bryan talks a bit about the screech he made that impressed me so much. I was also able to point him to another picture I took of him that I liked. It’s not a world changing interaction but I find it fascinating and […]

Vocabulary Acquisition & Digital Word Walls

Kendall Latham worked with all of our ITRTs this past Friday around best practices in vocabulary acquisition. She gave us a decent overview of the research including the idea that it takes upwards of 13 interactions with a word to make it stick. That’s a lot more interactions than normally happen. We also have a push in a number of schools around word walls. This has the normal mix of decent implementation and compliance implementation. It did start me wondering about ways we might use online word walls to take this to the next level as both a teacher led interaction and as a way to aggregate diverse student content in ways that would be interesting.1 I thought about a range of examples I’ve encountered over time and space that might be educational/inspiring/worth thinking about. General Activities Around Words 2 100 Words – Defective Yeti – a quiz that allows you to select a portion of words from a total and enter your self-created definitions. It then provides a place for you to see your definitions vs the official definitions and decide if you were correct. His tool gives you an embedable “score sheet” but I wonder what could be done with aggregate data in terms of redisplay and in terms of analyzing submissions. It seems it wouldn’t be too […]

Real Life

Jon Wirsing was kind enough to share a couple of baby rat snakes the didn’t want around his house (and his wife Karen was even kinder to deliver them). For some reason we rarely run into snakes despite quite a bit of time in the woods. I think we’re just too loud. The kids were clearly incredibly excited. Two snakes and four kids led to some sharing issues which are always interesting when live animals are concerned. Five or six frogs (escapes required new captures) helped fill in as did a grasshopper and a roly-poly.1 I believe these kinds of experiences are invaluable. Because of my role, many people who don’t know me that well assume that I find technology a seamless substitute for virtually anything. I’m pretty sure they picture me in a basement somewhere avoiding physical contact with things. I can give these experience to my own children. I can take the risk or make the extra effort. There is no doubt in my mind these moments will stay with them creating memories that will be built upon and which will result in more learning and more interest in the world around them. We talked about poisonous and non-poisonous snakes and how the shape of the pupil was a very good way to help tell the difference between […]

Crustacean Estimation

I’m still messing around with engaging elementary students with measurement and estimation. My own kids seem pretty interested. I don’t know if that’s a good measure at all. It has been a new experience for me to see how the different ages are able to engage with the same media. It is interesting to have your own tiered test group at hand- no matter how biased. This particular structure was sparked by one of the elementary specialists commenting that the students would often guess similar weights for a lion and a cat. My idea is to present similar animals but of very different sizes. I see it going something like this. Solicit comments about what kids know. Have the students guess which one is bigger. How much bigger? I may need a child sized silhouette rather than an adult- probably a good idea to mix the gender as well. I don’t know if that opens up additional areas of confusion. This is a also where I might add a zoomed in slide that breaks things down by inches. I think it’d be important to have a scale grid on the wall for students to measure themselves against. If it had the silhouettes, on it all the better. Now we have a much larger scale. What unit of measurement do you […]

Some Elementary Attempts

I’m working more closely with some of our elementary specialists this year. It’s been a good while since I worked with this age group. I’m pretty excited the potential to do some interesting things. Measurement is a big issue for our students in elementary. It spans math and science standards and kids are not connecting it with their lives. I’m playing around with some graphic ways to get students engaged. When I tried this out with my own kids (ages 9, 7, 5) they all really wanted to know how big the dog was. I realize it’s not the best sample but they aren’t shy if they don’t like things. I don’t know that will stick with an apple as the visual reference object. I’d like it to be something they have in their hands at the time and on a regular basis.1 I hope to encourage a lot of measuring against their own bodies. My kids like that- holding their hands up to where on their body the dog’s head would be. It might also be interesting to run a number line down the wall and have kids move to the numbers to indicate guesses, kid of a kinesthetic graphing exercise. I am pretty sure I saw that someplace. I’m attempting to imitate some of Dan Meyer’s three act […]


Like a Car Chase

This project was inspired by a Sklar brothers bit that I heard on the VA Beach AM comedy channel the other day. An edited and condensed version of track 16 is here. Now on to the assignment . . . Take any video.1 Add your voice over as if you were a local TV news anchor attempting to provide color commentary without stating anything as a fact or with certainty. Add all the hedge words and banalities that exemplify this kind of coverage. If you’re looking for the DS106 tag/aggregation for the assignment go here (AudioAssignments, AudioAssignments1085). The basic idea is this is almost the opposite of what we want students to do with writing. We want them to be specific, to eliminate hedge words, to make a strong argument, and to take a specific stance. In a class, I might flip it both ways. Have one understated version with no definite statements and then do another version which overstates things (like this Daily Show clip description which I may dig up the video for at some point). Or you could simply give them the option to either understate or overstate the commentary. This is a quick and dirty example where despite my efforts I accidentally say a few facts. For instance, there’s no way I could really know that […]

If You Give Bieber A Bike . . .

Mostly Nonsense A Bieber flavored over simplication on the fallacy of hardware creating change. Probably useless but it amused me for the presentation and the audience seemed to enjoy it. My 20 minute presentation ended up being a 90 minute conversation. If you give Bieber a bike will he get home more quickly? It seems like a straightforward question, an easy answer. Of course the bike will get him home faster. But we tend to make a number of assumptions. It could be you’re a Bieber fan and you know where Bieber is now and where his home/homes are, maybe you’re a Belieber and you even know which home he’s going to. Most people don’t. They don’t know where Bieber is nor where he’s going despite general agreement on the definition of “home.” Furthermore, I don’t know if Bieber can drive a motorcycle or if he can drive this motorcycle. If he can drive a motorcycle, how well can he do it? Does he have gas? Is a helmet required? Now if we give Bieber a bike and he can drive it, we have to think about the terrain between where he’s starting and where he wants to go. Maybe there’s a forest in between those two points. A forest without roads or gas stations. This street bike will actually […]


Colonial History Timeline

This was made with Timeline JS and is predominantly dates from the Virginia Standards of Learning USI5 and USI6 but I’m sure this is pretty standard fare for any US history course. I’ve got a fair amount more work to do but things are at least sketched out based on the “required knowledge.” My goal is to have a decent mix of primary source material, video, and links to places with fairly deep content. The difficult thing about making content like this for anyone other than yourself is that the ideas I have about how to use particular items aren’t easily seen by others. Adding a layer of “teacher directions” is fairly odious for me and unless done very, very well it will likely be ignored anyway. For example, I opted to use an image of the Geneva Bible to represent Massachusetts Bay. There’s the obvious ideas around how the colonists tried to use biblical elements to guide all aspects of their life. I was struck by this statement on the cover “With moste profitable annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance as may appeare in the Epistle to the Reader.” The Geneva Bible was seen as the first “study bible” and had extensive margin notes, numbered verses, was likely used by Shakespeare as reference […]