Cool Links #63: The Wedding Post

I was away for the weekend attending my nephew’s wedding in Dallas and I didn’t find the time to do a cool links post.  But now I have some time to make one.

1 – Thanks to Andy Dickinson for a link to the Flip Video Spotlight site.  Under the Resources tab are videos about shooting and how to’s on production and distribution.

2 – This site may be part of the future of journalism and the arts in general.  This is a funding site for arts, writing, journalism, etc.  called Kickstarter.  Worth looking into.

3 – Anytime you need to show something to your students, it seems like the tech isn’t working that day.  But if you take a screen shot ahead of time, then you have a back up.  This is easy in OSX, and finally easy in Windows 7 – Freetech for Teachers shows us how.

4 – This is a quick and simple list of do’s and don’ts of web design.  Web Design Ledger has a list of 20 do’s and don’ts for the aspiring web designer.

5 – Trying to figure out the whole debate on the subject of Net Neutrality, then this video about the Open Internet helps explain parts of it.

6 – Adam Westbrook has posted his PDF eBook called 6×6: Advice for Multimedia Reporters.  The price is right = free.

7 – The networked blog has a great resource for creating screencasts and posting them online – Screenr.  Looks like it is worth checking out.

8 – Didja know that Mr. T was a teacher? I pity the fool who snapped a towel in his gym class.  How about Sting, Gene Simmons or Sheryl Crow?  All started out as a teacher.  Maybe we can all be famous some day.

9 – Creepy retouching taken WAAAY too far.  The site has a lot of inappropriate language, so I just posted a couple of photos.

10 – JEA has some options for online audio and video editors like Aviary and Jay Cut, but I just don’t think cloud computing is ready for schools yet.  Too often, we have slow internet  with limited bandwidth and filters.  So I don’t see this as a solution for every school yet.

11 – Ryan Sholin has some great advice for journalism students at all levels if they are serious about going into the world of media creation.

12 – Video shooter beFrank shows that you don’t need a super awesome set up to do a super awesome job of shooting a macro “product” shot for b-roll.

13 – Adam Westbrook also has this little gem – the figure 8 style of storytelling.  He says use it for video, but I think it could be powerful in print features too.

14 – If you’re like me, your school blocks everything useful or any kind of bandwidth suck – like video sites.  So if I want to use a video in class I need to be able to download it at home.  This great Firefox plugin is just the thing for that.

I hope you have a great time and Congrats to my nephew David and his new wife Jessica.


Where The Wild Things Are…In My Classroom

This post is not a journalism one really, but I just had to share the experience.

I went to see the movie Where The Wild Things Are at the local megaplex Friday instead of football for a change.  Took the whole family, mi esposa, my favorite daughter (only have one – family joke) and my son who is Max.  I enjoyed reading the book to both of my kids, but maybe more to my son.  It was his favorite for a long time.

The movie, however, is one of the few times that the cinematic experience was better than the book.  As much as I loved reading the book, Spike Jonze found that perfect blend of staying true to the original story while still making it more than it was.


My favorite part of the movie is also the same as my favorite part in the book, the moment when Max leaves the island of the Wild Things.  KW, like the monsters in the book wants him to stay.  When I read the book, I always felt the monsters were mad at Max.  But in the movie, the moment is packed with sadness and sorrow.   KW says the iconic line from the book “Please don’t go.  We’ll eat you up.  We love you so.”  But she is without anger, only filled with a horrible heartache.

The movie actually gave me a new insight into a book I’ve read literally hundreds of times.  That is rare.


I’ve also discussed it with a number of students who’ve seen it and most have said they liked it.  It is such a rare movie to me, because it opened up a new way of thinking for me about a topic I thought I knew.  That is something that I want to get my students to see in their own writing.  Look at it with new eyes, someone else’s eyes.  Try to see a different perspective on your writing and see it how they see it.

Cool Links #62: Teacher Support System

We teachers who blog often put our emotions and feelings out on display.  We put our experiences and teaching technique in public for all to see.  Most of the time, it is rewarding and helpful.  It has connected me to a number of teachers from Maine to California.  I literally have a whole network of educators I can depend on to share their talent and expertise.

But sometimes, it calls out the trolls.

A teacher and fellow blogger, who I think of as a friend (even though we’ve never met) has become the focus of one of these trolls on her blog.  It is sad that some people have nothing better to do with their time and energy, than to spew vitriol at someone who is only trying to do their best to educate young minds.   If you have a moment, please visit her blog and give her a word of encouragement.  I know how difficult it can be when a troll decides to target you for their bile.  She deserves so much better.

Now, for a change of pace – some cool links.

1 – I love TED Talks.  They are often powerful, educating, entertaining and insightful.  A recent one is by Julian Treasure who has a great talk about the Four Ways Sound Affects Us.

2 – If your school newspaper doesn’t have an online site, then you need to watch this video.

3 – This kid is incredible.  He has created his own news channel on the internet (Weekend News Today) by banding together with other kids and setting up a global newscast.  He just needs to get an RSS feed so I can add it to my Google Reader.

4 – This was a fun read from Journalism 2010 – Four Things Journalists Can Learn from Presidential History.  Best take away:  Personal relationships are best begun face-to-face. In today’s age of texting, tweeting and cell phone calls we sometimes forget that face-to-face human contact adds so much.

5 – The wonderful Hongkiat blog has a super post with 100 Beautiful Black and White Portraits.  Sometimes we forget about the power of black and white in the digital age.  I just finished a unit on portraits and this would have been great, maybe next semester. And it is totally safe for school.

Snap, Gotcha!

Snap, Gotcha!

5 – Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for this link to a hand-washing video from Sesame Street.

Wow, I know short list of links.  But some weeks it’s feast and some it’s famine.

Staff Development and the Endless Sitting

I don’t know about you, but I dread staff development days.

First, I am a department of one.  Being a journalism teacher and a technology teacher, there is simply no one in my district with the same course list as me.  So, when I go to staff development sessions, they either don’t apply to my content area or I’m the only one they do apply to.

This makes for long, boring days usually spent sitting on my bum.  When I teach, I rarely sit.  I’m an up and around kind of teacher.  I like to wander the room and see what my students are doing.  My room often looks like chaos, but work is usually getting done.  I have to help it sometimes, and so my wandering has a purpose.  Plus I get bored sitting in one place.  I like to move around.

Staff development is hell.  And today I’m going to be spending eight hours discussing Career Academies.  I get the idea and we’ve already had three different meetings about them.  This is one of the reasons I like my principal, he hates meetings and so do I.  I won’t get to make any of the decisions about the Academies.  Seems to me they could have emailed us a power point on how they will work.  So, this seems mostly pointless to me, but I will go and do my duty – and sit on my bum.

Cool Links #61: Something Wicked This Way Comes

We’ve had a spell of weird weather in Houston and it has rained or threatened to rain nearly every Friday Night and dampened our Football Lights.  This week it made for a soggy Homecoming.  We also had a power outage on the same day, making for a wicked, wild, weird October weekend. So, we are in need of very cool links:

1 – PBS Teachers has an archive of their webinars that are for Media and Technology – definitely worth a look to find something you may be able to use.

2 – The Teach Paperless blog is right about the kids being all right.  Paperless, online newspapers are the wave of the future and my school gave up printing a paper edition three years ago.  We are fully online with via ASNE.

3 – The has a super video on how to create your own DIY light kit from lights available at any Lowe’s or Wal-Mart.

4 – The Online Journalism Blog has an interesting video about making sure your text rules, because audiences still want text when it comes to news.

5 – The TED Talks blog has posted a video from David Logan who discusses the levels of tribes and how we see other tribes.  This is important for any group who is trying to complete a task, like a yearbook.  My staff is usually a level three tribe, and a few times a level four tribe, but never a level five tribe yet.

6 – This is a great idea for keeping the yearbook in front of your readers all the time.  Have the yearbook staff create custom wallpaper for every sport, group, etc. That way, they put you on their desktop and you can always tell them to buy a yearbook.  Works for newspaper staff too.

7 – Want to make big money in broadcasting, forget TV and Radio, that’s what Leo Laporte did.  He created his own network on the Internet and makes $1.5 million a year. Watch him talk about it.

8 – It’s all about Solo-Mojo’s or One-Man-Bands these days in ENG.  So, how do you do a ‘stand-up’ without a camera person? Bob Kaplitz’s blog will show you how to do it right and be creative too.

9 – Finally, Digidave has a roundup of videos on his blog this week, some you may have seen before and some new ones about where is this thing called journalism going?

Keep on teaching!

Day of Weirdness

Today was a crazy day.  We lost power, but only in part of the building.  I actually sat in air conditioned splendor during the entire event.  But because we lost power in about 70 percent of the building – during lunch no less – we ended up sending the students home.

This happened on Homecoming Friday.  Normally we have a pep rally on this day.  It is a huge deal and a big tradition.  But with no power, there was no way to even feed the students, never mind have a pep rally.  So, we called for the buses and sent the kids home early.

Before we were able to do all of that, we were under “lock down” with our kids for two hours.  This meant I had to sweep up any kids near my classroom, there were two, and keep them in my room until the all clear.  I understand the lock down, but it was hard on the kids who didn’t have lunch yet.  We were lucky because my class is actually connected to the freshmen class offices.

The freshmen counselor actually made my kids popcorn and we used the soda machine in the teacher’s lounge to help keep the kids happy and not hungry.  It turned a potentially bad situation into a fun one.

I still have to collect several cameras, due to the fact that my photojournalism kids were out shooting during the event.  They were swept up all over campus.  Fun will ensue again on Tuesday after our teacher workday.

If that wasn’t wild enough, we are now dodging the rain that started falling around 10 a.m. at the game tonight.  Hopefully we can crown the king and queen without them drowning.

Cool Links #60: Workshop Wonders

I had a great time at the TAJE Houston Journalism Workshop yesterday.  It was almost all about new media and convergence journalism.  It actually got me excited about all the crazy changes we’re going through right now.  Here are the links.

1 – You ever wonder what HIPPA or FERPA stand for?  Well, wonder no longer and use the Abbreviation and Acronym finder to figure all that alphabet soup out.

2 – This one is just great, heard about it at the workshop – Nick Thune sings about why you need to buy a yearbook – so people can write in it.  Courtesy of the Jay Leno show.

Think about what you write in people's yearbook

Think about what you write in people's yearbook

3 – Here’s a great resource I’ve never seen before – snapfactory’s Photography One to One.  Great podcast-like video show where the host answers questions about photography.

Snapfactory's YouTube Channel

Snapfactory's YouTube Channel

4 –   This video has such a good use of b-roll and great angles.  This could be a student produced video, easily.

Great video showing how to use b-roll

Great video showing how to use b-roll

5 – This one is just for fun: 21 Signs You’re A Real Photographer – best takeaway:  1. Your friends have begun to hand you their cameras at social gatherings when they want a good picture taken.

6 – This tool is going to get a work out the next time I have a sub.  This is a vocabulary quiz maker. Every journalism/media/tech subject has lots of vocabulary.  This quiz maker finds the definitions for you and then generates the quiz.  Great.

7 – This is so much fun.  I’ve seen the evolution of Mac OS from the Lisa to Leopard, but this is the evolution of Windows. Fun.

Windows 1.0

Windows 1.0

The first real GUI of Windows

The first real GUI of Windows

8 – Copyblogger has a great tip SPEED for improving the productivity of your writing – best take away E: Establish a Structure.

9 – The former CEO of the Dow Jones says the obvious:  High Quality Journalism Costs Money.  Wow, who knew?

10 – I love the Common Craft videos and this is done in that style – Digital Storytelling for Teachers.

11 – Here’s great advice for giving presentations from Guy Kawasaki.

Enjoy the cool link goodness.