This is The End

I have fought against it, but I have to admit that I am blog-fading.  There are several reasons for this, so I think I will share this with you.

1 – I don’t teach much journalism anymore.  This year I’m down to two journalism classes – yearbook and broadcast journalism.  I no longer teach newspaper, photojournalism or intro to journalism.  I’m teaching many more technology applications classes – desktop publishing, web design and video tech.  Next year I mostly likely will add Digital Art and Animation.

2 – I’m more involved outside of school, both in my son’s scout pack and my church.  That leaves less time to blog.

3 – I’m using my district’s Moodle server and much of what I used to post here, I now put up there.  I really enjoy my Moodle, and I wish there was a place to back it up online or a way to share it without taxing the district servers.  If I find it, I promise to share.

4 – Economic, my former two-income household is a one income household and I’ve been spending more time helping mi esposa find a new job in this wreck of an economy.  Texas laid off tens of thousands of teachers and so, finding a teaching gig is not easy with 4-5 applicants for every new job.

So, at least for the near future, this blog will go dormant.  I will leave it up for those who still find it useful and may occasionally post something here.  I hope to share more via Twitter – you can follow me at teach_j.


YLYB: Number Unknown: Scouting

I have fallen off the blog wagon. I am a bad blogger. But ever since my son started Webelos, I have been super busy with that. I happened to mention that I was once a scout myself and now I am just a much a part of his pack as he is and that leaves less time for blogging. I do hope to blog more, between yearbook and scouts, there is no time.

YLYB #116: The Day of Amor

We have reached official end of school related eating days. Valentine’s Day is the final distraction from yearbook before the big testing push. So we are now in a narrow window of opportunity to finish the book in three weeks. So, if I miss a YLYB anytime soon, you know why.

New Year, Same Old Blog

I am still amazed that I am still with this blog.  I started it on April 14, 2007 and now we are about to begin 2011.  Come April – it will be four years.  In those four years, I’ve had three principals and five yearbooks.  Things have changed so much.

I started the blog as a simple way to keep organized.  I wanted a cloud solution for all the resources I found for teaching journalism and media technology.  My blog now has 617 posts, 720 comments, 147,000 plus views, and is really a part of who I have become as a teacher.   I almost can’t get by without my blog.

My top posts are about Journalism Movies, my Photojournalism Syllabus and my Yearbook Ladder Template.

I hope I can keep it up through 2011 and beyond – another 600 posts or more.


A New Generation In The Shadow of 9/11

Those of us who teach were adults, or nearly adults when 9/11 happened.  Our students barely remember it.  In a few more years, the kids in our classroom will think of 9/11 the same way that I thought about the Kennedy Assassination or Pearl Harbor.

The generation of students we teach has lived most or nearly all of their lives in a post-9/11 world.  They see it as normal to take off your shoes at the airport.  They don’t know that there was a time before “Homeland Security.”  They live in the “new normal.”

But I still think about that awful day.  I was teaching my yearbook class and we were working on our theme for the year.  Someone came in late to class and said that a plane had hit a building in New York.  I turned on the TV, and we turned down the sound because it seemed like it was just a horrible accident in a far away city.  Terrible, news, but not really going to affect us in Houston.

I told the kids to get back to work.  And then I turned towards the TV, and it happened right before my eyes – the second plane hit the other tower.  That is when I knew in the pit of my stomach, like others around the country, this was no accident.

Within the hour, our campus was put in semi-lock down mode.  We were to stay in our classes for the rest of the day, no more passing periods.  The calls began to come to send students to the office.  Parents were coming in droves to pick up their students.

It is hard to believe it was so long ago, nearly ten years.  I used to talk about it with my students every year, but recently, the students have little or no memory of it.  They were too little when it happened.

I later learned that a friend of mine from college, an Air Force Captain at the time, was at the Pentagon.  He was very near the section that was hit by the plane.  He made it out and was able to lead others to safety and rescue some who were injured.  He was awarded a medal for his actions.  I was glad to hear he was safe and uninjured.

He later served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in Air Force special forces.

It is our responsibility to remember 9/11 and to ensure that we find a way to defend against that happening again.  But I think that as the years pass, the memory of that day is already fading.  We are again focused on other, seemingly more urgent problems.

I have a number of former students and friends serving in the various branches of the military.  I hope that they remain safe.  I also hope that we don’t forget those who have died, both on that terrible day and in the wars after.

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.

Cool Links #93: The One About Independence Day

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  If only we could live up to these ideals.  But the first link today shows that we don’t.

1 – The First Amendment is dead.  Just ask Anderson Cooper.  Link via ShortForm Blog.

2 – If you live in Boston,  it may be too much to visit USC or if you are in Washington, then University of Miami is a long commute for a campus visit.  But youniversitytv can help your student get a look at a far away campus they are considering for a college choice.

3 – The Journal Register Company, a small chain of 18 publications is now running it’s entire operation open source.  Check it out at the Ben Franklin Project.  Freedom of the Press is for those who own the presses.  The Press is now FREE!

4 – I hate the pen tool.  In photoshop, illustrator, etc.  I don’t like it.  I don’t get it.  All Web Design Info wants to change that and help me and you learn how to control the pen tool.

5 – Don’t know how to post a video to YouTube?  It’s only seven basic steps away.

6 – Google Apps For Education has some training available for you at the right price – FREE! Learn all the basics for all the Ed Apps.  And then get certified.

7 – Royalty Free music is hard to come by – Adam Westbrook has Five Places for Cheap or Free Music for your video project.

8 – On a day when Freedom is supposed to ring, we are hearing the slow death of freedom.  At a time where nearly everyone carries a camera with them every day in their pocket, a photographer was harassed for trying to shoot video in Miami.  You have to watch this.  I can’t believe this is America, sounds more like the Soviet Union to me – “where are your papers, comrade?”  What scares me the most is that nobody seems to care.

9 – Maybe we need to show this to everyone!

10 – All Web Design Info has a simple series of graphics that explain how CSS3 Properties work.

11 – Great advice for young, starting off journalists from 10,000 words blog.  My advice via my j-prof:  “Get the secretary to like you.  The world is run by the secretaries.”  Best advice since my high school band director – “If you’re early, you’re on time.  If you’re on time, you’re late.”

12 – The Denver Post followed one kid from high school graduation to boot camp, to Iraq and back.  Great photo story telling.

13 – Not sure where I found this presentation about HTML 5, but make sure you start on slide 16 and skip the Java Script stuff unless you need to know about that too.

14 – Adventures in Pencil Integration has Six Lies We Tell Ourselves about Technology.  The biggest lies we teachers tell ourselves is:  If only I had this piece of technology or software, then everything would go smoothly in my classroom.

Have a happy Independence Day.