Of That We Do Not Speak

It was a perfect day.  I wandered through my apartment.  Enjoying my new furniture, paintings on the wall.  Later on that day, I met friends at the beach.   We laughed, played, talked, and then some went snorkeling and I chose to horseback ride.  First along the shore and then took a trail up into the hills.   Along the ride, I turned a corner and there in front of me — was a lake, reflecting the sun.   It was a moment….one of my best moments.  And as I leaned back, I thought, today is the best day of my life.

And that was my last day in Second Life.

Three Years Ago.

I realized that the BEST day of my life — was completely virtual, on a computer screen, sitting in my computer chair…..and that saddened me immensely.

Yet…….technology still continues to have a strong hold on me.


This past weekend, my church hosted an event called “Children at Risk” event on the topic of “Protecting Your Family Against Gaming Disorders & Online Predators” and I admit, I decided adamantly that I would not attend.  I would not go and sit through a session that talked about the bad of internet and gaming.

But after I chose to be a mature grown up, I decided to go — with a semi-open mind — and listen to what was shared.   And I did learn a lot — a lot I did not know, some that I did.

And the fact, that I often just smash down to not deal with boiled up to the surface, the fact that I am addicted to the internet & gaming.   Yes, I can turn it off, I can walk away — so I justify the time I spend with a “well it is educational use” — but still, I am drawn to the bells and whistles and the excitement that is on the screen.

And this is not new to just the “internet”.  When I lived in Hawaii (’93)…on Oahu on the North Shore….the ocean was less than 1/4 mile away — and I spent most weekends playing “Legends of Zelda” — which I proudly will boast that I finished the game.  But I also missed out on “Hawaii” because I was gaming.

I tumble in and out of games — FarmVille, CandyCrush, Slingo, Triple Town…..always having a 100 game limit…..but then moving onto another game.

—–So, as I sat through the session about “Protecting Your Family Against Gaming Disorders & Online Predators” — I squirmed a lot because I was confronting my addiction F2F.

At one point of his session, he mentioned a recent study that shared that the average high school student spends 7 hours a day online — and to be honest, I scoffed at that.   Not because the number is too high — but because I believe the number is too low.

If I am honest about my online time — it is more like 14 hours of day.  Not steady time — but on and off all day long.   I rise in the morning, I grab the ipad for my morning rounds of Words With Friends, Twitter catchup, check email, etc.   On the way to work, at red lights, I glance over to check twitter, mail.   Once to work, I log on — doing my IT job, yet having multiple windows open just to “stay connected”.    Once I get home, because our wifi is so bad….I turn off tech until bedtime…and then once again, Words With Friends, check twitter, read through Flipboard, etc.

Technology has a strong hold on me.  I admit it.

And if technology has a strong hold on you — or you are just interested to learn more about the addiction aspects of technology — I invite you to watch or listen to the session I attended.

Follow the link here:  http://www.calvarymurrieta.com/ministries/justice-matters1.asp

I learned a great deal.  Somethings I did not wish to learn….I like my gaming time.   But it was good to focus on something that I tend to blur so I don’t have to deal with it.

And now, I am trying to deal with it — by being open and sharing this journey with you….for support, for understanding.

Perhaps the conversation will help you too…..or someone you know.

Just My Thoughts Today.



Rearranging Yet Again

With only 7 weeks of school left — I wondered if it was appropriate to “flip” my classroom set up yet again.

But with putting in the new green picture window

7I decided that I probably needed to rearrange one more time to make that area safe.  (having students sit on a rolling cart might not be the smartest move — plus we had to keep moving the chairs, beanbags, rocker out of the way to use the window.)

So — I rearranged the room — one last time.

I completely moved one table outside – and opened up much more of the green wall for “videos”

2and moved the “cozy” area to the back of the room.

4I moved the table (which had been where cozy area is now) to under the picture window — which gave a more firm foundation for kids to sit on when taking pictures at the window.

1The rest of the room — I left pretty much the same — except swapped out the green woven baskets for the mice to more sturdy blue plastic bins.

5 6and kept my desk pretty much the same.

3I look forward to hearing the student comments when they come in on Monday.   It is always noticed when the room switches — some love it — others groan (you changed the room again?)

So — how often do you switch up your room?


Picture Window

I shall admit it willingly — I have become a “green screen junkie” —
I shall admit it willingly — until now, green had NEVER been my favorite color — but now, I am constantly on a quest for the “newest” green opportunity for my students.

Green screen that is.

I wander the aisles of the “cheap” stores in search of green — doilies, table clothes, cups, etc.
I ask Starbucks often for straws and plugs.  (the green plugs make excellent holders for stop motion stories)
I wander Hobby Lobby material aisle — looking for green ideas.It is a new obsession.

We have one LONG wall in our classroom painted green — but over Easter Break — I decided that it would be great to add a Picture Window on the other side of the room.   It had been a curtain covered white board that we never used — so wasted space equaled opportunity!!

My friendly handyman, Chris, came in — and painted and framed — and TADA — we now have a Green Picture Window — just waiting for opportunity.

Cost us nothing — we already had the paint and being a handyman, he had the wood available.   Took probably 4 hours to put together.  The paint is Valspar Luscious Green (valspar 6010-7)

I look forward to seeing how the students react to this — when they return tomorrow — and then how they will start inventing ways to use it.

We use the DOink Green Screen app for all our green screen work — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-screen-by-do-ink/id730091131?mt=8

$2.99 and worth EVERY single penny!!!


Are You Leveling Up

I am addicted to games on the internet — right now, my favorite is Monster Breakers.    I can lose too many hours in a month playing the game — moving from level to level — within minutes.

Each level a new adventure, a new possibility, a new game plan, always something new.

And it got me to thinking —

how boring school must be for our students who are used to “leveling up” — often.

For them — change is not a surprise — it is an accepted expectation.
For them — change is not a worriment — it is a new conquer opportunity.
For them — change is not a hardship — it is just another step forward.

Yet, the typical school environment does not change.

Each day — they come to school, sit in the same seat, open the same books, look at similar powerpoints, glance at same bulletin boards, wait for same bells to ring, move to new class —- and begin again.

These students — who, when away from school, have changes and new opportunities presented to them at the touch of a button.

Yet, we plod on…..as we always have…..

offering them with the same old thing.

So when we will start leveling up??

Just my thoughts today