Family Guy Joins The Press

OK, not the Family Guy, but his daughter.  I’m not a fan of the show, but I ran across a clip on and had to find the whole episode.  It is goofy, twisted and just plain dumb – but kind of fun.  Worth a watch on a hot summer day.  Only 84 days until school starts.

Get Organized: Time Spent Now, Pays Later

I have a love/hate relationship with the end of the year.  I love the freedom of nearly three months of time off.  I hate having three months of time off after July 4th.  I love finally getting my classroom/studio/office clean.  I hate cleaning.

OK, you get it.  If you are a media/journalism teacher, then you probably understand what I mean.  During the school year, it seems like we drift from one crisis to the next.  Yearbook deadlines, video projects, shows, newspaper issues, etc.  Lots to do, lots to do.  It seems like the classroom is always a little bit disordered as is your office – sometimes more than a little bit.

Today was the last day of school!  Checkout list, graduation practice, pickup the kids, seniors buying last minute yearbooks, cleaning, staff lunch, more cleaning, phone never stopped ringing, grades due, and more cleaning.

I am still printing grades – at home 7:00 pm.  My check out list is not finished.  But I’m happy – we sold about six books today.  More than $300 closer to breaking even.

But the point of this post is getting organized.  Most summers I do not unhook all of our computer gear.  We clean the keyboards, check the cables, blow out the dust and wipe the screens.  Then put them away for the summer right on their tables.  But this summer the tables are supposed to get new tops.  Hoping!  So, all the computers had to be taken apart (mouse unplugged in box A, keyboards unplugged in box B, etc.).  It took a lot of time, but all the cables were put away neatly and all the equipment, like the Kensington locks were labled so that the key to each lock is easy to find.  It was nearly 5 pm before I left school today, then realizing I left my laptop charger at school, hit the road and went right back.

I was a little mad, but I know all the organizing will pay off in the fall.

I also updated all the system software and even installed 1.5 GB of RAM into an older Silver G4.  It will be our show machine for recording video projects next year.  The upgrade from OS X 10.2 to 10.4 and the RAM upgrade from 512 MB to 2.0 GB will really give it some more life.  I’m thinking of buying a 1TB firewire drive for it to store video too.  This will really give the old workhorse some new life.  The machine has been our server for the last four years running OSX server very well.  But it was older and slower than almost every Mac in the classroom now.

I also spent this last week color coding all the video equipment.  Most of it was already done, but several items did not have proper color coded tape on them.  Now it all does and is all put away properly for the summer.

I also took all the batteries out of the remotes and the cameras.  This is important so they don’t go bad and ruin a remote or camera.  On Monday I will make our final deposit of yearbook money and make sure the books are in order.  So, even though school is out, a media teacher’s work is never done.

Lots to do, lots to do!  (maybe a Harry Potter marathon next week!)

Killer Cliche’

It is hard to teach kids who don’t always have a great literary background about idioms and cliche’s – Thanks to 10,000 Words for this link to Kill The Cliche‘  – a great site about the horrible state of newspaper headlines – filled to the brim with cliche’ phrases.

Dealing With The Next Generation

60 Minutes has a really great video about how the Millennial Generation is really different from Gen Y, Gen X and even the Boomers.  The only thing they don’t really say is 1) how to get them to work 2) what they will do when the economy hits rock bottom and the jobs dry up.

All I can say is – then we will test their mettle, what will the kids who got a trophy just for participating do?  Some will be fine, they are tough, skilled and prepared.  But some of today’s kids will fold like a cheap pup tent when tough times come.  They think tough is when the half and half runs out at Starbucks or when Twitter is down.  They don’t know about real tough.

Luckily us Gen Xers are still around – we remember the 70s and how they sucked.  Gas lines, picket lines, worry lines.  Yeah, maybe we aren’t as happy go lucky as today’s kids – maybe because we remember it can all go sour on you.  Work hard, save some and stay employed.

Enough ranting for one day.  Good video.

Communities Not Always Ready For Yearbook

This story really underlines the importance of understanding your community and its values.  Some places are just not as open to the way that some kids want to be open.  Make sure you understand your community before deciding on what kinds of stories should be in the yearbook.

Czech Mate: Photographer Kept His Freedom Under Communist Rule

Today I ran across a couple of web sites about Miroslav Tichý, a photographer who lived in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) during the Cold War.  For kids today, the Cold War means nothing – but it was a brutal totalitarian government that was in league with the Soviet Union after World War II.

The amazing thing is NOT his photographs, which are stalkerazzi in nature and almost a little bit freaky.  But the amazing thing is that he was able to take the pictures at all.  He was seen as an enemy of the state, mainly for being a non-conformist (artist).  He was put in work camps for many years.  After his release, he built his own camera and darkroom equipment.  Who knows how he got film, paper and chemicals (other needed supplies in the pre-digital age.)

This guy would make a great photography project, just be selective of which photos you use in the classroom.

I’m So Emo: Sad and Sappy Day

It really hit me today that my seniors – Class of ’08 Rox! – are gone now.  😦

Today was their last day, of course I will see many of them several times over the next week or so, but I won’t be working with them any more.  In fact I told my ’09 editor in chief that we need to have an editor’s meeting next week and my ’08 ed in chief was right there and she said, “why do we need a meeting?”  I was  so sad, because I had to tell her that I meant the ’09 editors.

Of course I’m the emo sap.  My kids all tell me so.  I was able to make it all day without being sad, but then I stumbled on a comment from my ’06 editor had sent to me about my ’08 editor.  It caused me to go back and read the original post – she was saying how sad she was back in March finishing her last yearbook layout.  I got more sad.

And to top it all of my seniors gave me a huge card they made today – poster sized!  With photos of them at prom, in Austin, on trips, etc.  They had even themed it all up with stickers and stuff from our ’08 yearbook theme.

So, I’m sitting here being emo.  I’m sure I’ll get over it soon, but I will miss this bunch a lot.  They were such a great bunch of kids.  They took the baton from my ’06 group and kept up the pace until now.  This year really was our best book ever.  It is going to be so tough to top it next year.  We have a lot of hard work in front of us.  I just want to stop and smell the roses for a few more days before I have to say goodbye to ’08.

Oh – yeah and I’m banned from using the word “cute.”

Goodbye Class of 2008.  I will miss you.