Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seven Things You Really Don't Need To Know About Me

I was tagged by teacher Penny Ryder of Australia with this meme, 7 Things You Really Don't Need to Know About Me. I never heard that word before I became a Twitter user where I've found several Tweeple answering these questions. I wondered if it would get around to me and it did thanks to Penny. See who I've tagged below with some great websites to follow :)
Madison (beautiful cat nip lover) and BK (Big Kitty who is really a teddy bear)

1. I am an animal advocate and probably should have been a zookeeper, veterinarian, or animal trainer. I have saved many animals, found homes for strays or taken them to safety. As a child, I always had puppy dogs, but as an adult I've had a number of cats. I started with 1, then 2, then 1, then 2, then 0, then 2, then 4. Never thought I'd have 4 cats at the same time, but these kitties found me. The 4 I have consist of: 2 tabby cat that look like bookends from a woman who died of cancer ... and 2 kittens who were abandoned at our school. They all love, groom, and snuggle together in the winter months to stay warm. They also all have different personalities and keep me laughing through the week and calm me from a busy day.

Molly (came to me with a clipped ear: her trademark) and Tunaboat (senior kitty in the house and in charge)
2. Hmmm ... When I was little and sitting in church, instead of listening to the minister, I'd study the patterns of the person's shirt, blouse, or dress in front of me. I also used to study the patterns and make up pictures with the bumps on my bedroom wall. My favorite game was Feely Meely where the object of the game was to pull out the object inside the box without looking, but only by feeling. Hmmm ... all signs of intelligence and learning styles to come. Kinesthetic and visual?
3. I love to sing with a band and harmonize with other voices.
4. I love having nothing to do ... or rather pretending having nothing to do. :) I like to pudder around the house ... doing nothing much at all. Can't afford that luxury much.
5. I used to be scared to death of speaking in front of a group. Dropped my college speech class because of this. Teaching changed all of that!
6. I used to live in Virginia and worked at a women's college in publications/media relations. Enjoyed the beautiful seasons for the first time in my life ... being a southern Cal girl and all.
7. I've taken watercolor, drawing, lettering, calligraphy, and graphic design classes throughout my 20s and 30s.
And now, to pass this meme on, I tag the following 7 people:
2M Gems
Don't feel you have to play along. But be sure to let me know if you do.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Will You Speak Your Truth in 2009?

Stories connect people. Not facts, not stats, not figures, not money. Stories. ... The cardinal rule of posting on a blog is to be brief and to the point. Well, I'm still working on that. :) When I start writing from my heart, my thoughts tend to go in many directions. This is part of my truth :) If something strikes a chord in you and you think you'd like to comment, please do. Cheers to a truthful new year 2009! Oh ... see weblink at the end of this posting for how to share your stories online.

I ask myself ... What is my truth? What is my mission?
Why do I make the decisions I make? Do my decisions add value to my life? To the lives of those around me? What is my moment by moment priority? Big picture mission or vision? Is what I'm doing today, have value in some small way? Am I living for myself or for the common good of all? Am I living to get or to give? What do I need to communicate to the world so they understand how I operate? It is all of our jobs to teach other how we want, or need, to be treated. Are we to expect others to read our minds? If we want peace and truth, the answer would be ... a no.

Can we let people just be who they are?
Am I offended by others when I should just instead allow them to have their own reality, letting them be who they are around me? We can't change others, right? When do I step in and communicate, to resolve difference/conflict, to bring peace and perhaps more understanding; when do I step back and let be ... just BE? These are questions that I ponder these last few days of 2008 ... and before getting back into the swing of teaching and graduate work and the basic demands of life.

Speak the truth with grace and consideration?
Challenge yourself to ponder these questions ... to begin a value-added 2009! And remember to aim to also speak the truth with grace, concern, and consideration for others (easier said than done, I know, but we must try to bring more peace into our worlds. It's the smallest, tiniest gestures of consideration that matter.) ...

As you speak your truth, remember too that ...

Make a genuine connection by being authentic.

Our stories, our personal stories, are what will bring us back to the core of who we are ... or who we were. Get in touch with your stories, your core, why you do what you do ... because this truly leads to more genuine connections with people. Our stories, in fact, bring out the authenticity in others. Be YOU, share the true YOU, so others have a greater chance to be the true THEY - BE THEMSELVES!

Everyone has a story to tell, whether it is from their early years or just yesterday or last year or 8 years ago. Ask someone about their story and you'll have a friend for life. Ask them what in their past made them who they are today, having the kind of significance that changed the direction of their life or made an impact in some way. Show them compassion and understanding, and they will melt from the kindness and attention your give them in their busy, sometimes unacknowledged, personal world. And then in return, share snippets of your stories that made you who you are today. Snippets are good. Sometime that's all we have time or energy for! Be tuned in to people.

The love for learning that never dies.
My story is too long for this post ... but on the short side, I was a graphic designer at Children's Hospital, San Diego, for years and loved it!!! ... and now I'm a teacher of 4th grade working on my instructional technology masters of education degree and loving it too. I must say I like the research, study, learning and collaboration more than anything else right now. I love acquiring new information. Good thing, being in the digital world we live in.

Sift out what is useful ... all along keeping in mind my truth ... and leave the rest for everyone else. I need to speak my truth, live a life of integrity and honesty, tell my personal story when it might come in handy for someone else. I need to jump on, or find, my own bandwagon which changes from year to year - be creative, original (if possible; someone has probably already done what I was gonna do! :), simplify, inspire! But not worry if someone else took my idea or gets the credit (which has happened before). Maybe they needed the credit more than I did? There's a thought. :)

See what you can notice and surprise someone in a small way.
We are all hungry, after all, to be noticed, even if we don't admit it. One more question to ask ourselves, and then I'll stop :) Can we accomplish things in the world and be okay without being noticed or acknowledged? Good question to think about. That's a post for the future. In the meantime, see what you can notice, and surprise people in small ways, but know that people like to be noticed in different ways. You know. Some like public notice, some quiet notice. Get tuned in if you can.

I am a seed planter.
In my daily life, I speak and work with people from all walks, all cultures, and we solve problems together ... at school and at work. We listen to each other's stories, collaborate, adding richness to the process of learning. I must say ... teaching is much more than I bargained for back in 1998, harder and much more involved than I ever thought, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my students. I hope I am planting seeds that will blossom this year ... or in later years, that's okay. I'm a seed planter.

You are a seed planter!
We are not planting seeds in isolation, but together. What I learn from you, I pass onto others, and so on. That's why we need to speak our truth; otherwise we are passing on something less than optimal to the people around us ... we are teaching others to be false. The challenge is to pass on ... THE TRUTH ... so that they will pass on the truth. :)

What is your truth today? Your story?

Each day is just a small step of the journey that has adventures, questions, challenges, successes, mysteries, and nuggets of truth! What's your story? What's your truth!? I stumbled upon this great website today through my Twitter social network called For A Better Life ... Got to weblink: to share your story, long or short, or to find inspiration from others!

My Sources

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Member of:

Reflections from a first time presenter!

L-R: Asst to Malena, Manisha Javeri, Malena Ruth, Lori Rozelle
E-Learn 2008 Las Vegas

A week to remember in Las Vegas. I took the first "shift" of the presentations with Dr. Javeri and master's graduate John ....while about 9 more master's students took the 2nd "shift" of the week to round out the presentations with a roundtable. Dr. Chen and Dr. Samreau, also in attendance, did their fair share of presenting throughout the week with colleagues and master's students. So Cal State University Los Angeles was well represented at E-Learn Conference 2008. Hurray for CSULA and CCOE!!!

This was my first conference and first time speaking; you'd think it would be good to start small and local, but I started with one of the largest international conferences in the field of instructional technology and
e-learning thanks to Dr. Javeri. :) "Fascinating" is the word that comes to mind when describing the people in attendance. Every accent known to man could be heard; it was unusual not to have an accent. Every color of skin. There was absolutely no way that one would feel out of place with the mix of people in attendance.

The first morning I met Miss Turkey, later Miss Germany and Ms. Finland. Even later, Mrs. Australia who worked at a women's college in Dubai, Saudi Arabia. There were Mr. and Miss Bahamas, Ms. Japan, Ms. Korea, and Mr. China, and Mr. UK in the elevator, not to forget Mr. Italy. I was surrounded by a sea of people all who were always friendly and open to communicate.

Just with one meeting, we would act like we knew each other every time we passed one another to and from presentations. In one quick passing, I introduced Miss Germany to Ms. Finland and they began their own conversation. I've never seen people talk so freely and so easily.

I enjoyed the keynote speakers the most ... as they each gave the big picture of life as it is currently in the education and technology world. It was great to be able to connect their language, their terms, to things I've learned in grad classes and have many things making sense to me. Conference were mixed; some I understood and could jump on board while others were complex, out of my league, or simply lacked engagement.

For a first timer, I listened for content AND watched for presentation style to see what I might emulate in the future. One duo did a stand up comedy routine that at first was fun and fresh. Less is more ... I need to remember this too.

One speaker I was especially impressed with in style and content was an Australian woman who is a professor of business at a woman's college in Dubai. Ms. Australia told us about the Bizarre she organized each year for year 1 and 2 college undergrads that put them in a simulated business setting as they each become entrepreneurs buying and selling real products they create. Talk about hands on! I wanted to attend these classes so I could be better prepared to finish the design of our microcredit interventions for women in Maputo. All schools are segregated by gender in Dubai.

Tuesday morning, 10 a.m., was my time to speak at the conference. Overall, I would say my experience was a success! Malena Ruth, African Millinneum Foundation, and her assistant were present and Dr. J was right up front for support; John was also present (thanks for coming, John!). I had 20 minutes before Miss Germany's presentation ... and did I cover a lot in that time period! My presentation was about HPT and the interventions EDIT 594 designed for the children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and the activists and caregivers. I had been working for hours on this presentation the days before, and then Dr. Javeri and I did some last minute tweaks to the presentation the night before, so I was ready to go.

Also the night before I had noticed that I didn't get the pants packed I planned on wearing, but hey, it was Las Vegas! I saw every type of dress. Wearing an acceptable alternative, I managed to spilled a huge amount of orange juice on my blouse, don't ask how. I guess it was my nerves. You couldn't miss the spot "river" it from far away. I'm thinking, okay, I can deal with this, no problem. It was not going my way, but I wasn't going to let these little blunders stop my enthusiasm. Miss Turkey and I got a laugh out of this. Working on her Ph.D. Miss Turkey was to present 3 papers and was worried about her English. I tried to calm her fears on that. She became a fast friend as we could understand one another.

The thing I loved about this conference was meeting all of the people from around the world and having conversations with them. The world got much smaller for me in 3 days at this Las Vegas Riviera Hotel and Convention Center. My perspective changed from being out of touch with the world at large to feeling like I was part of a common goal, a common language in education and technology.

I even started reading the published papers in the book that AACE published and gave out Wed on the airplane ride home later Wed night. Being there gave me a new appreciation for what we're learning in our Instructional Technology courses at Cal State ... and a hunger to learn more.

I returned to my 4th grade classroom Thursday morning feeling a bit like what I came from was surreal, not ready to re-enter what seemed to be my smaller world in Arcadia. Felt a little sad to be back, but by Friday, I was back in the swing. Told my students about my week and that it was a new accomplishment for me and my students spontaneously started clapping and then one came up and gave me a big hug and then another followed and before I knew it all the students were surrounding me in one big hug. It was absolutely priceless. Talk about the innocent wonder of children and a lack of reservation to show what they authentically feel in any given one moment. Wow.

I'll always remember my first presentation about our interventions to help the children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Africa and be ever so grateful to Dr. Javeri for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone. I'd say that discomfort is a lot less now and my horizons are broadening ... and that this is a very good thing! :) Onto the next presentation!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

To live ...

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
- Emily Dickinson

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.
- Henry Van Dyke

What, in life, makes you happy?

Life is ...

Life is a long lesson in humility.
- James M. Barrie