Sunday, November 20, 2011

FlipSnack's from Hailey's Science Classroom

I always love it when new teachers come to Van Meter.  And our students love it too.

This year we have a brand new junior high and high school science teacher.  Her name is Hailey Beneke and she graduated from the University of Northern Iowa.  From day one, Hailey has been motivated and excited to try new things and integrate technology into the science curriculum.   

A couple of weeks ago, Hailey came to me with a question about inserting PDF's into FlipSnack.  FlipSnack is a Web 2.0 tool that I came across at the beginning of the school year.  It lets one turn PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications.  Once your FlipSnack is created it can be shared online and even embedded into a website or blog.  

Hailey had her 7th graders create FlipSnack's about cells.  They created their pages first using Tux Paint, a free online drawing program that our students have on their MacBooks.  Once their pages were created, the students took a screen shot and saved the pages as a PDF ready to use in FlipSnack.  

Here are a few of the FlipSnacks her students created.....

Thank you for sharing these with me, Hailey.  Our students are lucky to have such an ambitious, creative new teacher.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Be....Inspired

I have always been one to be inspired by the things around me.  As an artist, as a teacher, as someone who hears and sees the world and all that it holds.

Inspired by nature, by art work, by architecture, by churches that I sit in, by light, by music, by sadness, and by happiness.

I sometimes question this....what inspires others?  Does everyone take the opportunity each day to be inspired?

As I started writing this post, I looked up the definition of Inspire on  Inspire can mean the fill with an animating or exalting influence; to produce a feeling or thought; and to animate, as an influence, feeling, or thought.  

Over the last few months, I have been filled more than ever with these feelings and thoughts that the definition holds.  I have been influenced, moved, and inspired like never before.

The reason I have been so inspired....the people that I have surrounded myself with.  The people who have come into my life and have made a difference.  It is not just the "things" that inspire me.....I am inspired by others.

I am inspired by..... beautiful daughter Brianna as she had her senior pictures taken in the pasture with her horse.  I stood there in tears not because I was sad she was growing up, but that I held this incredible feeling of being inspired by her on that day.  Her strength, her confidence to face the world, her happiness.  
I am inspired by the friendships that I have in my life.  I am inspired by friends like Kristina and Brianna because they are strong, caring, intelligent, and I am never without them.  I am inspired by their love.  
I am inspired by and so proud of my wonderful 8th graders who founded the first high school chapter of She's the First last spring.  Over the last 6 months they have raised over $1,000 to put our Kisa Scholar Neema through two years of secondary school in Tanzania.  Every day I watch as this group not only gets stronger together, but each individual girl gains so much of her own identity.  And now, as they form a relationship with Neema, I am inspired by what they are gaining from each other and the new relationship that is unfolding.  
I am inspired by Neema Amos.  She wrote to us that she wants to go to University to become a teacher.  She is so thankful, gracious, and filled with love for the girls in Van Meter that are giving her the opportunity to have the life that she dreams of.  Everyone should be inspired by her.  
And I am inspired by the students that I am so lucky to work with everyday.  Their energy, creativity, intelligence, and love for life inspires me to take it in and share it with the world.  

So I give you this charge....

Open your eyes, listen, let it all in.  Be inspired by the world around you.

The little things. The big things.

People. Music. Art. Words. Love.

If you just take a seat or a little step back and give yourself a chance to just be.....

You will be inspired too.