YLYB #17: Cameras Wanted

My photojournalism class is supposed to start taking photos this week.  But the problem is that my 11 tired old Canon point and shoots are sad and without batteries.  I thought we were going to get new cameras this year.  We are past due.  But with budget cuts all around, we probably are not going to get them.

It frustrates me when we don’t have the tools we need to educate the kids.  We are using cameras that are last cycle technology.  They are out of date and teaching with them is like using a 57 Chevy to teach driver’s ed.  The chapters on anti-lock brakes, air bags and power steering are kind of difficult to teach.  Modern photojournalism is the same.  We don’t even have SLRs.   We couldn’t afford them when we ditched our darkroom 8-9 years ago.  Back then DSLRs were too expensive, but so was our aging darkroom.  We had light leaks, old enlargers and needed a new silver trap in the sink.  Plus digital is faster.

But it is hard to teach concepts like f/stops, depth of field and shutter speeds without DSLRs.  I’d say that we can’t teach about 1/3 of the photojournalism curriculum due to technology limitations.  So, today I had to rethink my photojournalism curriculum to deal with the old, sad point and shoots.

YLYB #16: Time To Climb The Ladder

After school today, several of the editors stayed after school to set the ladder for this year.  For those who don’t know, a yearbook ladder is a chart with all the pages in the book, that shows when they’re due and who is responsible for each page.  They also charted out the topics for the different sections.

This year, we are doing our book chronologically, but even more than that – for the first time we are doing a true “year” book.  The book will have everything from the first day of school until Prom in it – and still come out in May.  I’m excited, very excited.  The students really have put together a great ladder and have big plans.

Cool Links #98: The One That Took Two Weeks To Finish

‘Twas the night before school and all through the house, the kids were sad, and so were the teachers.  Not really, but it makes a good scene.  Both children and teachers in this house are ready to go back – mostly.  So, here’s a few last minute links to bide you over the first day back.  Mine is tomorrow.

[Editor’s note:  I started this post last Sunday, the night before the first day of school.  I’m finishing it seven days later.  It was a long week – can you tell?]

1 – Journalists in the 21st Century really MUST be jacks-of-all-trades, so says the hiring practices of most media organizations.  Honestly, I was getting this advice back in 1988 – so, really is this a surprise?

2 – Net Neutrality is all the rage right now – thanks Google, you surrender monkeys.  Read, Write, Web has a super graphic with 15 facts about Net neutrality.

3 – More than any other mathematical concept, the Golden Ratio has my attention.  I love the many ways that the ratio is represented in art, music, architecture, nature and more.  It is a divine concept.

4 – The Beaumont, Texas office of Taylor Publishing (Balfor now?) has a cool resource site – check it out!

5 – Tamron video wants to help you use your Flash better in Episode 12 of their continuing series of photography videos.

6 – Free Tech 4 Teachers has a list of 140 user generated ideas for things that teachers are going to try in their classrooms this year.  I’m in the slideshow (yea me!) and I’m going to try Moodle.  My district has started it’s own Moodle site.  I really like it so far.

7 – I stumbled upon DigitalRev after watching a great stress test video that pitted a Nikon vs. a Canon camera.  DigitalRev has a Youtube channel and a great blog too.  I’ve added them to my RSS and Youtube subs.

8 – The Principal’s Page had a great graphic timeline of the History of the Internet.  Huge!

9 – Gizmodo had a good companion to the last link – The Secret History of those $%&@ing Computer Symbols.  My favorite is – of course the Mac Command symbol.

10 – According to Wired Magazine – The Web is Dead:  Long Live the Internet. It’s a Pro vs. Con on the walled gardens or suburbia of the internet – phone apps.

11 – After the Exposure Triangle – dPs wants us to get a little more advanced with our thinking about the exposure triangle = meaning aperture is more than just more light.

12 – The Internet gets news out faster and better right?  Not when Twitter punks the news.  Rumors can run rampant and then CNN and others actually report fake news stories.  Oh Dang, can you say retraction.   And in a related post, The Chive, punked us all with Dry Erase girl.  Supposedly she quit her job with a series of photos posted on a photo sharing site, telling all about her boss.  But alas, it was just a hoax – it did come from the Onion-like Chive site.  Duh.

13 – The Kobrechannel has a list of Five Things They Can’t Believe Every News Video Doesn’t Already Have.  Byline anyone!

14 – The folks over at 2¢Worth are trying to create an innovative online/DVD yearbook mashup.  No printed copy or only as a print on demand product.  I’m interested in seeing how this might work.

15 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page blog for reminding us all of this.  As the year goes by, things get busy and they often get hard.  It’s the hard that makes it great.

16 – I love this. Stickers for the newspaper, with truth in advertising about the news contained inside.  Could be used in yearbook too!  Not as funny as you think.

Quid es Veritas?

Quid es Veritas?

That’s a wrap.

YLYB #15: The Longest Day

Yesterday was day number 15 in the Year In The Life of Yearbook, but I wasn’t able to publish the post until now because we didn’t get home from the football game until 1 a.m.  At least we won.  Here in Texas, football season dominates yearbook.  We have the games of course, halftime performances, cheerleaders, pep rallies, homecomings, parent’s nights,  pre-game, post-game, and more.

My day started at 5:15 a.m. when I got up.  School starts at 7:15 a.m.  The game started at 7:30 p.m.  It ended at 10:30 p.m.  The opponent was an hour and 15 min. away.  So it was OMG it’s early when we got home.

It’s always fun working with student photographers and video shooters.  Last night, I was showing a new shooter how to shoot a football game solo.  I’ll be checking the footage soon and seeing how well she did.

YLYB #14: Staying Organized

Keeping up with the crush of information is a full time job, never mind lesson plans, yearbook class and the cranky camera that won’t white balance.  Meetings, due dates, forms to complete, football games, photo dates, etc. it’s a crush of to do lists.

To top it all off, I left my phone at home today.  My phone is my life.  It knows all and tells all.  It has my calendar and my reminders in it.  I was lost all day.  Plus yesterday, when I was adding an appointment in my calendar, it told me it was full.  I had to delete old events.  Annoying.  I always thought it just deleted them after a set time.  I guess not.

I use everything I can think of to stay on top of things.  I have calendars, my phone, and I even use iCal to remind me to sign in every morning and to warn my class before the bell rings to put up equipment.  I swear I have alarms to remind me to set alarms.

I think I’m going to set a reminder to remember my phone.

YLYB #13: The Moodle Kazoodle

I am one of a few teachers in my district who has already been trained to use Moodle.  So, basically I’m a guinea pig.  We’ve been trying to get the thing to work right.  It’s been a struggle.  Password and login troubles have been our bane for the last three days.

But today, success!

I’ve gotten about half my kids logged into Moodle today.  Tomorrow I hope to get the other half.  My photojournalism students even took a quiz online today.  It was so cool.  I feel like a real 21st century teacher.

YLYB #12: Keeping It The Same

I have two Intro to Yearbook classes.  I can never keep them on the same page.  It’s only the first day of real instruction and I’m already off.  The two classes are not on the same page.  My students are learning “Yearbook Lingo” as I call it.  Terms like picas, bleedlines, gutter, and typefaces.  But I can never seem to keep it all on an even keel.  It makes me glad I’m not a teacher who teaches the same thing all day long.

We’re still in need of an editor for this year, looks like we’ll be interviewing tomorrow.  Lots of fun.  And finally, our new principal invited me to the pep rally meeting!  I was in the know and even got to put in my input on a few topics.  It was really nice to be included.

YLYB #11: And So It Begins…

The first day of school was the usual hectic craziness of missing schedules, odd bell schedule, short and long periods.  Yearbook went by fairly quickly.  We had a discussion about the size of the staff and what that will mean when it comes to the amount of work required.  We also discussed what we missed doing at yearbook camp this summer.  I think the returning staff members are cautiously excited.

We also began the process of choosing a new editor for this year as well as section editors.  And finally, I have two staff members who will have to be in yearbook, but not in the main yearbook class because their schedules just won’t allow for it.  Basically, everything’s different – nothing’s changed.

YLYB #10: Small, Young Staff

Today, I had to go to work.  Almost a double whammy, since Monday is the first day of school and yesterday was the last day of PD.  Today was a Flex Day.  This means we could come in to work to replace a PD day on Feb. 21.  Nearly all of the staff was there.  It really wasn’t so bad, I was able to put some finishing touches on my classroom and make some copies.

I also met with some of my returning staff.  A very small number of a small staff.  I only have about nine returning staff members out of a staff of 30-35.  We are going to be short on everything – especially experience.  We need more photographers, editors, etc.  This is going to make our year, much more challenging.  I’m excited to begin, but concerned at the same time.  The kids who were there agreed that we have a lot of work in front of us.  I’m glad that they see it, because ready or not – here it comes.

YLYB #9: Trying To Get Info

Every year, no matter who the administrators are, it always seems like there is always something that seems to be like pulling teeth to get those at the top to distribute.  It could be a lunch time list or a phone list, but something is always playing hard to get.

I know that there are always a ton of detail work to get done before school starts, but it seems like some things always take a backseat.  It just is frustrating when you need the information to get something done and you are left waiting.  It just means you’re losing time when you could be doing work.

I’m meeting with my staff tomorrow – we’ll see how many show up.