It’s back….from the archives of blogs posts long lost! From the farthest reaches of the internet, comes…..”My Animated GIF Day!”
Poor setup, I know, but for those who didn’t see the original animated GIF day post back in February, I’ll be telling the story of my day through animated GIFs all day long, so feel free to leave a browser tab open to this post to follow along with my day using that most meme-worthy of digital storytelling devices, the animated GIF.
My son, like my daughter and myself, is an early riser. While this makes for some unpleasantness when certain people want to sleep in at our house, it also means that if he’s quick enough, my son can run into our bedroom in the wee hours of the morning, snatch my wife’s iPhone from the bedside table, and manage to sneak in a few minutes of his current obsession; watching home-made Thomas the Tank Engine videos on YouTube. We usually don’t let it go on for too long, but some mornings he can get in a good 15-20 minutes of watching before either my wife or I are awake and aware of what’s happening.
My daughter has grown into a love of reading, much like her mother. While I used to “pretend” to be a reader, I was never as enthralled with books as much as this little one. After finding her brother obsessing over the exploits of Thomas, I found my daughter re-reading (for the 4th time) one of her “Faerie” books. I could easily spend the entire morning reading with her tucked under some comfy blankets, with the smell of fresh pine from the Christmas tree permeating the house.
I made scrambled eggs and sausage this morning for the family. Usually my wife makes us something special for breakfast at the end of the week (she doesn’t have to work on Fridays), but I took the opportunity of being up early to get started on breakfast for her. Kindly ignore the faded blue tile and grungy-grout countertop. It was in the house when we bought it, and would cost somewhere between “new countertops cost how much?!” and “ha, we wish we had that much money to spend on remodeling!”
Morning coffee. It’s a ritual, an addiction, and a nice quiet time of the morning for me to collect my thoughts and chat with our System Administrator who happens to sit on the other side of the wall behind the coffe maker.
After reading and responding to a number of morning emails, I helped our System Administrator get some new iPods destined for our Early Elementary school ready. We had to asset tag them with barcode stickers, put some screen protectors on them, get them snuggled into their new silicone cases, and then make sure they were good to go. We purchased older refurbished 4th generation iPod Touches rather than splurge on new ones, so there’s always that feeling of “are we sure they’re going to be ok?” They will very shortly be used as modern listening centers, replacing old CD/tape units in classrooms. We have some enterprising teachers turning their analog audio into digital formats (with publisher permission) so multiple students can listen at once with a listening station, and then repurpose the iPods for classroom use the rest of the day.
I left a comment on a particularly well written, and even better visualized, recap of a presentation that Tom Woodward presented recently at the annual Virginia Society for Technology in Education conference. Tom and I go way back to 2005, although curiously we’ve never met in person. If I recall correctly, we were both teaching in 1:1 environments he in Henrico County, Virginia and me in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He may have been drawn to the community that I once tried to foster and facilitate on my site through a connected forum, and I was certainly drawn to his DIY ethos when it comes to education. I feel like Tom is probably the closest and dearest friend that I’ve ever made online, but have yet to actually meet (don’t worry Jim, you’re high on the list too). He’s a very thought provoking individual, and I’ve certainly taken more from his ideas and work in education than just about any other colleague that I work with.
Most days I spend this time eating lunch, but today I got busy finishing up a number of smaller tasks from earlier in the week. I helped out with a few tech issues, answered some email, worked on a grant amendment, and journeyed down into the “dungeon”, the old locker rooms underneath the bleachers in what used to be the High School. We use it as a central store house for technology past its prime, or waiting to go into service. When I don’t have time to eat, I snack….healthy of course, for the most part. I keep this tin of mixed nuts by my desk for when I feel the munchies, but know I shouldn’t be wandering down to the donuts that I know are in the teacher’s lounge, or the chocolates in central office.
After lunch I started to really dig into the grant amendments that I had been tasked with earlier in the day. While a large part of my job is helping teachers with technology, leading professional development workshops, and troubleshoot minor problems, I spend a good portion of my Fridays doing administrative work. This afternoon I’ve been reworking elements of previous grant applications and expenditures into an amendment for our school’s current consolidated grant application. I don’t have a decent workflow for this yet, as disparate leaders in our district share through various ways (email, Google Docs, print out, etc.). I’m grateful for F3 on my mac though, as Expose helps me make sense of it all.
There are some afternoons at work when it’s so quiet in the office that if I were to get down on all fours and put my ear to the ground, I could almost hear the crust of the earth shifting beneath me, and the magma churning along deep within the mantle. I spent a lot of my afternoon piecing together the grant amendment that I mentioned before, walking around from building to building to talk to various parties and people involved with some of the projects and initiatives that we fund with the grant. I hate working in isolation and not including voices in work that will affect a good number of people, so I typically try to get a few conversations going as I work. Since my amendment isn’t due until the middle of next week, I started some small conversations now, and will finish up with those I couldn’t get a hold of next week. In the meantime, the world keeps spinning, as it always does.
After coming home and having dinner, our family headed out to the Tree Lighting Festival in our small town, walked through the brightly lit shops, and enjoyed hot chocolate, treats, and merriment. I love living in a small town, especially a small tourist town, because we get to reap the benefits of the extra “charm” and “down home cheerfulness” (if there is such a thing) that comes with living somewhere where everyone is trying to relax and enjoy themselves.
The evening is just about over for a family with two young ones that have spent a very busy week filled with birthday parties (my youngest turned 3) and the excitement of having the house decorated for Christmas. My mother-in-law is visiting for the weekend, so we went down to the bluff above Lake Michigan to see all of the lights. While some find it beautiful, I find it rather obnoxious when every single tree is flickering spastically in rhythm with the sounds of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra being pumped over loud speakers through the park. When walking around with family though, it becomes quite pleasant, and I enjoyed the way the children laughed as they hid behind the trees and ran in circles around the giant lightbulb-covered snowflakes.