Friday, July 29, 2005

Change of pace - birding!

Tomorrow morning we head off to toasty eastern WA (Walla Walla) with our friend Marv for some birding adventures. We are not (hardly) daunted by the triple digit temp forecasts... I hope we can get some good bird pics to post - Marv has a great setup with a digital camera hooked up to his spotting scope. I wonder if I can get his camera hooked up to my laptop and post a picture or two?

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 9:03 PM   0 Comments

Thursday, July 28, 2005

rss for tictech

I finally made the move and set access to the tictech discussion list to public. There was some concern a while ago that things might be said which might compromise the integrity of district security. Hopefully, people will see that as security overkill - by now members should have enough trust in the moderator to have that not be a concern. One of the main reasons for doing this is to enable an rss feed for tictech out of yahoogroups. I've set up a feed on the right column here. Great site, that one that generates the javascript to just plop an rss feed anywhere! Build a Feed You Can Cut 'n Paste We'll see how it goes when I start up the list the end of August. I did add this info to the monthly "rules of the road", so for those still reading email in the summer, they'll find out about it Aug 1.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 4:07 PM   0 Comments

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Del.icio.us Downers Grove

OK, i'm following along with the Downers Grove Summit, and today I picked up the del.icio.us idea, so have set up one for myself. It's just a beginning, but I see, as many of the Downers participants, the incredible potential of this one! Will be just adding to it as I can. There MUST be a way to import a list of bookmarks...?

I loved reading the blogs from today's sessions - from first timers to some who have been doing this for a while, the ideas expressed are wonderful, thoughtful, insightful - reminds me of what Sundance said to Butch, "Who ARE these guys?!!" I'll learn more tomorrow, I'm sure...

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 5:28 PM   0 Comments

Monday, July 25, 2005

Downers Grove Summit

David Warlick is hosting a workshop in Downers Grove for the next coupla days. I remember visiting my cousins in Downers Grove when I was growing up inthe 50's. I'm very interested in what David will probably be demonstrating - and wishing we could have him at my school - or in Seattle. As with NECC, I'll participate by reading and listening to what they make public.

I'm still struggling mightily with how I am going to deal with a school adopted writing program (for a fair chunk of change) that has no tech component. I am ready to move out on my own, with 16 licenses for Inspiration, a classroom blog spot ready to go on blogmeister, digital camera ready to add spice and incentive, plenty of ideas and experience with Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.... It was a 30 to 1 vote to go for this program next year, so I will have no backing from my colleagues. There is so much I'd like to try and explain about where literacy is NOW - and why our kids deserve to be taught with the tools of today, etc, etc....

We are all supposed to have the kids writing with a pencil in Mead notebooks every day. I think I'll contact the folks running the program (Powerful Writers) and see how flexible they are willing to be.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 10:00 PM   0 Comments

Random thoughts update - at last

This morning I finished updating the Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier. I was behind over four months! Guess that's an indicator of how much extra time I've had... whine, whine. I really have to figure out a better html editor for doing these things. I like working in straight html, with a little bit of an editor behind me, but the program automatically saving file names as CAPS is just a bit irritating. Been using htmlwriter since 1994, and with my recent move to XP, this is a new byproduct. I'm sure I can find another program - just have to find the time.

Went in to school this morning to download new virus definitions on this laptop. Also took the opportunity to swap the hd, battery, and ram on my classroom computer with a body that works. I think part of the reason for the trackpoint failure was that the fan wasn't working.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 11:49 AM   0 Comments

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The day after...

Well, Janeanne's recording is finished - and it went very well yesterday (day 3).

I was really shocked to read/hear the news about the hotel bombings in Egypt. Something about the name struck me, and then I realized I had gotten a report on the Earth Day Groceries Project this year - from that place! I scrambled to find the report, not sure if I was remembering the name of the hotel, or what was exactly what... re-read the AP coverage, and finally figured out that the hotel sending in the report was part of the same resort community - but was not bombed. Senseless. This brings the world violence to a doorstep very close to my heart. I am so thankful those at the Radisson were not hit directly, but my heart goes out to the families of the other victims - which I am sure include friends and relatives of those from the Radisson:

http://www.earthdaybags.org/pics/05/radisson.htm

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 1:18 PM   0 Comments

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The shining place

The new digital camera has done good work. Much improved quality with a tripod on the second day of recording (duh). Tomorrow I hope to get some good pictures of Janeanne and Shannon, with her oboe. Got the website started off with one picture (www.theshiningplace.com). Went with Godaddy again, as they are very cheap, and I know the drill, after having transferred several domains from Network Solutions. Going from $47.50 to $7.95 a year is a no-brainer. While I was at it, I initiated the transfer of www.menbakebetter.com - next up, in August, will be www.arborheights.com.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 9:20 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ready for recording


Janeanne had a great rehearsal with pianist Robert and producer Dean on Saturday at PLU in Tacoma. The music is amazing! Really excited (and nervous) about helping out - turning pages and feeding everybody. Hope I can get some good shots with the new camera that will work for the CD booklet...

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 9:00 PM   0 Comments

Mr Lincoln


The cat, not the president....
busy at work stalking hummers.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 8:45 AM   0 Comments

Friday, July 15, 2005

Backyard bliss

Sitting here at the picnic table in our beautiful little back yard. Keeping an eye on Lincoln, the notorious hummingbird eater... Been back from CT for two days now, and it does finally feel as though I'm catching up. Not that I've done anything yet, just that I finally think I'll be able to...

Is so nice to have a broadband connection again, vs. AOL dialup. Makes me wonder how Amanda (teacher from Arbor Heights) is managing all those emails from Europe. I imagine the next one will be from a beach cafe in Croatia - really! Had to re-install my wireless card, as I think I messed it up, changing settings for the Newark airport. Looking forward to getting on to a little bit faster laptop this school year.

Making progress on the classroom blog site, have played around a bit with a coupla test students. Want to see how realistic it will be for me to do all the editing of their work. Also think it would be nice to have two class sites - one public, one private (class only). We'll see... Am more determined than ever to go this direction instead of Mead notebooks (saw an ad for them in an Office Depot ad last night - great deal - for somebody else!). We'll show folks some Powerful Writers!

Today we meet Marv for a birding lunch, then I hope to go camera shopping - gotta have a new one for Janeanne's recording sessions next week.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 8:16 AM   0 Comments

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sleepless in Newark

What a drag. Sitting here in the Newark airport. My flight to Hartford was cancelled due to thunderstorms. So I leave at 8:30 in the morning, if the skies are clear. I've tried draping myself over seats, laying on the floor, nothing close to comfortable yet...

But it is nice to be able to fire up my laptop and get connected. They have wireless access pretty much throughout the airport. The occasional user like me can get 24 hours of service for $6.95 - so I'm gonna get my money's worth :) Gotta keep up with the email anyway.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 12:25 AM   0 Comments

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Gaylord Nelson dies

Just read with sadness the passing of Gaylord Nelson, founder (with Dennis Hayes) of Earth Day. Reminds me to get crackin' on a few more reports and pics on the web site before I head back East Tues.

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 3:02 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Planning for next year

Have been learning how to add rss feeds to this page - have a couple over on the right side right now. Feel like I'm back learning html again or something. It is nice to use this part of my brain again - acquiring new skills.

But really exciting today was setting up a classroom blog site through BlogMeister How truly cool! This is exactly the thing I had in mind when I had such a cow last spring about a staff decision to go with a schoolwide writing program with -O- tech component. David Warlick has really created an amazing tool for classroom teachers! Now I have to be sure the district will allow access to that domain.

A big personal relief that my mom had a pacemaker put in today, and is doing great. Go Mom!

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posted by Mark Ahlness @ 4:47 PM   0 Comments