How about 2/3 done?

Tunnels of Time by fdecomite

Tunnels of Time by fdecomite

Yep. We now approach the two-thirds, 66.7% done part of the school year.

Next Thursday, that’s correct, next week Thursday we will have completed the 2nd trimester.

My year has gone by fairly quickly. And I know how the last marking period zips by, especially after spring break.

So, before your 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and on, years near the end, share something briefly about how the year has unfolded so far for you.

I know that I have asked this before, but, you are a year older and wiser now, so your comments will be interesting to compare!

What is one thing that you don’t seem to have time for these hectic days?

Me? I am not writing short stories as much as I had been before. I need to get that fire burning again.

I need to sit, stop, breath, and think: What is really important to me that I am blowing off now because I am choosing not to make enough time for it?


Facebook: Friend and Foe?

So, I have a Facebook page.

And, I know, mostly, how to use it to communicate.

But, I don’t like all the little cutesy apps and ads and other things that seem so fun and friendly but sure like to know more and more about me and more and more about my friends.

So, I redid a LOT of my privacy settings (which FB recently made HUGE changes on), and so I am glad that I don’t appear in ads or that when friends mention me to an app, the app can’t just go into my profile information any old time.

I do like using something like FB.  It is convenient.  And it, or something like it, will be around for quite a while.

But, it is a drag to keep on top of all of this privacy business.

What do you think about Facebook?

About your online privacy rights?


Yeah, but would you go back?


It has been a bit since the last posting.

Many of you people have moved on to eighth grade or high school.  That is weird to think about.

Get to the point, Mr. Madden:  How has the school year gone so far?

Are you classes what you guessed?  Without mentioning any names, how are your teachers?

What is your favorite part of the day currently?  Going to school?  Bus ride?  A particular class?  The hallways?  Lunch?  Leaving school?

Here’s one:  What has surprised you the most about this school year?

Is this true?

I was recently reading a blog, Box of Tricks, written by a teacher, Jose Picardo. This particular post had a video embedded in it that Mr. Picardo created, which is below.

Now, like the author states in his posting, there are way more videos, PPTs, etc., than I would like to view or read about 21st Century students, teachers, and learning.  But, I did think that this video, short and sweet, and not loaded down with text, was pretty interesting.

So, of course, I am most curious about what 21st Century students think of it.  Check it out, and if you wish you can follow the link from Mr. Picardo’s name to the posting itself, which is also brief.

Then, think, respond, and submit a reaction.  I am truly interested.

One of 10

Challenge:  Predict in great detail how your coming school year will unfold.

Problem:  Write your prediction in ten (10!) words or less.  Eleven or more won’t get published on the blog–Ha!

Solution:  As always, be creative!

Quit stalling and get active!  (And don’t you dare use as many obnoxious exclamation points as I have.  I am a teacher, it is my right.)

And counting…

So, some of you are moving on, not just out of a grade level, but out of Hayes all together.

Hmmph.  That does not really make me very happy, but I will get past it because I know that you may drop by here occasionally in your new life in the fast lane, AKA, high school.

So, can I ask you? 

  • What will you take with you from your time at Hayes?
  • What will end up being your craziest memory?
  • What will you miss the most (not the water, I assume)?
  • What will ultimately be your proudest moment at Hayes?
  • What do you look forward to in high school?
  • Do you have any concerns about moving on? (You will be awesome, by the way.)

    Take a few minutes just to answer some, a couple, or all of the inquiries above.  Think of it as a time capsule that you can come back and visit in a few years!

    You know that I am always interested.

    Pained pardons and pictures

    Wow!  Where have I been?  A thousand apologies.  I can only sit here, type, and beg for your understanding and forgiveness (see groveling).

    Honestly, I let myself get a bit too involved–and overwhelmed–with my two online web design courses through Lansing Community College.  The work, building web sites using XHTML code only, took up an inordinate amount of my non-teaching time.

    But this is just an excuse, and I am bored of myself already, so enough!

    Only eighteen school days remain in the 2008-2009 year!  Yikes!  Some of you wonderful people will be making the trek over to the high school next fall, which makes me a bit sad.  Not that I get to speak with you as much as in sixth grade, but just the knowledge that you are in the building is usually enough to make my day.  No lie.

    Speaking of you peoples, I have recently discovered that some of you have begun venturing into photography.  Splendid!  I have always regarded photography as a form of magic.  People seem willing to expose their inner selves (on many levels) when a lens is targeted upon them.  Objects that we take as mundane, or boring, or do not even notice because they are so every day, so trivial, become beautiful or downright spectacular in a photo.

    It is art, is it not?  What do you think about that idea?  Some people claim that since a person uses a machine (a camera) to record an object which they themselves did not create in the first place, that this does not qualify as “art.”

    I tend to disagree with this notion.  I believe that a photographer can take an object, a barn full of “junk,” or dust on a radio dial, for example, and create an image with a unique emotional quality.  I think that photographers use their individual perspectives and “see” a certain loveliness or tragedy or hilarity in the subject that they are photographing. Probably, they already know what the picture is before they even snap the shot.

    I don’t know.  But I am curious as to what you think.

    By the by, since we are talking, I know of a couple of online editing sites that may be worthy of checking out if you are at all interested.  They are: pixlr and splashup, both still free (Web 2.0).  Then there are a couple pretty nice sites (also Web 2.0) which you can upload your photos (or take directly from flickr) and create videos, movies, with your own music or choose from their selection of tunes.  These are stupeflix, and Animoto.

    Could be fun!

    Congratulations, Aman!

    This past Saturday, April 18, Hayes hosted the Greener Delta event.  The focus is on environmental issues, and tons of community members took time out of a beautiful day to pay a visit.

    During the event, the winners of the Greener Delta Essay Contest were awarded prizes.  Our very own Aman S. took first place in the 7th-9th grade levels!  It was an exciting moment when Aman’s name was called and she strode up to receive her award in front of a packed house.

    Aman did not give a speech, but you can read her essay by visiting the Greener Delta web site here.

    I won’t go on and on about how sometimes it DOES pay to be a good writer, but, well, it occasionally does!

    Way to go, Aman!

    Speak up!

    All right, yes, it has been a bit since a posting. That was then, this is now.

    Good, we have moved on.

    I would like to encourage people to make use of the new comment options on the blog: written (as usual), audio (if you have a computer mic), and video (if you have a web cam).

    Why not give it a try if you can?

    I know, think of three words of advice for teachers, past, present, and future.  The words can be separate, like “laugh, run, Tabasco,” or a phrase, like “Always move forward!

    Brainstorm while writing:  You could create a three-word advice piece on a visual, such as a piece of paper, a sticky note, a guitar, a gym shoe, a hand, a poster, a banana, etc.  This way, you could opt out of showing yourself in the video portion, if you so wish.

    So, set your thinking wheels in motion, get off your duff and create!

    If I can, you can.

    (Advice image by Dave Parry)