Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back in Action!

i was so out of it that i actually did the last post on the wrong blog. it was supposed to post on my scottelementarymusic blog. an idiot, you say? no, just a crazy woman that was trying to finish her master's degree and get ready for a performance of over 80 students in a new theatrical location (where i had no control over the sound). it was so stressful that i ended up getting strep throat over thanksgiving (the week after all of this mess).

but that is all the past!!!!! hurray!

my final portfolio presentation was wednesday, dec 9 and i am currently free and clear! i can not express the ultimate joy it is to have my tuesday nights and approximately 10 hours a week back in my life. instead of sunday afternoon football and homework, i can now do sunday afternoon football and laundry. this sounds like a wimpy trade, but my family has been digging clothes out of laundry baskets for the last eighteen months. now they might have a chance of finding them in a drawer. and now the bonus!

kim frank, you just finished your master's degree in education. what are you going to do now? "i'm going to disneyworld!" jason, the girls, his parents, and his sister's family (joy, glenn, and timmy) are all going with us christmas morning and we will be coming back january second. we are all so excited...what a great way to end the year!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Red Ribbon Week

We have just completed red ribbon week festivities and are preparing for a short week with parent-teacher conferences. Special class teachers have a pretty booked schedule. We will try to meet with as many parents as possible. Be sure to let us know if you have any concerns. Tune in next week for the latest on third grade.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

george w bush

i am sick and tired of people calling our president names like "lame duck" and such. he has become the butt of every joke and it pisses me off!

has he shown himself to be less than perfectly presidential? yes.
has he made decisions that we do not agree with? yes.
is he still the president of the best country and leader of the free world? yes, yes, yes!!!

last time i checked it took a majority of americans to vote in this president twice. we all voted him in for a reason. do we forget that if our president is truly an idiot then so is over half of the nation? if this is true then we better hang up our hats and join the socialists because we don't think our democracy worked correctly.

i will be the first to say our country is not in a perfect place, but i do believe that a big part of that problem is our fat baby whining and complaining, cnn, and how quickly we forget our own responsibility.

by the way, obama, biden and mccain have a lower approval rating as senators than george w. bush...and sarah palin has a higher rating than all of them put together.

so be done with it. he's gone in just a few short months and we may be wishing he was back before the end.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What is poverty? - Part I

terrible news about the finances of the u.s. has been all over the television today. the safety of the united states economy has become a questionable thing and i wonder what impact it will have on our society.

with all of the turmoil of this, the bombing in pakistan and the presidential election coming soon i had cause to think deeply about poverty in america. people on tv keep saying that we are losing the middle class in america and we keep heading towards a greater gap between the rich and those in poverty. this causes me to wonder. i once told my mom that i thought she grew up in poverty and she was offended. she said that she always had clothes to wear and food to eat. they weren't the richest people in town, but they had what they needed.

my family qualified for food stamps and just about every government assistance you can name. yet, i always had a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. i went to the movies, got christmas presents and really was able to do fun things that most kids do. in fact, sometimes i think i was able to do much more because of all the artistic events i was able to attend because my parents were involved with the productions.

so what is poverty? is it living without basic needs? is it a salary below $20.000 a year? in some ways doesn't american poverty look like middle class in other countries?

today i am just posing the questions...maybe i'll find some answers another day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fantasy Football

i now have my very first fantasy football team. it is a trivial persuit, but for some reason it makes me smile. i won my first game and can't wait to see what happens this week. i did put a lot of my team on seattle! gotta stay true to the home team! so i picked hasselback as qb and the seattle defense. they didn't do so great last week, but i'm hoping they will step it up this week. fun, fun, fun!


I should really look forward to weekends, but I am in a funk. During the week I am busy with the school where I work and the girls go to school, college homework and basically trying to keep the house from completely turning into a science experiment and keeping us fed. This is about all I can do during the week and I find it satisfying despite it being tiring.

The weekend is another story. I should be catching up on laundry and cleaning and homework, but my back hurts and all I feel like doing is sitting around and being lazy. It doesn't help that Ari woke up sick last night and that just sucks the life out of me.

Today is filled with finishing up my homework and watching football. I think the biggest frustration is that I missed church because Ari was sick and Jason has a toothache and can't hear in one ear. I think when I miss that time with other Christians that it just sets off the weekend and makes me look forward to going back to work.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

i dig her

i am stealing my husband's cool morphed picture because the more i hear about this person, the more i think that john mccain kicked butt on his choice for vp. not because he picked a woman, although it doesn't hurt. mainly because i love the way she is totally against wasting money and seems to be a straight shooter (at least when aiming a caribou). my hopes are high.

Monday, August 11, 2008


A couple of nights ago I heard about a hacking job on the news. The hackers used a broadband connection and a laptop (as well as some pretty good decoding software) to hack into a department stores computer and stole 41,000 credit card numbers. The news report said that a lot of stores have good encryption, but do not have passwords to get into the encrypted data. So the hackers just had to decode the encryption and BAM! they had the info. They also said that there is no legal requirement for businesses to have any kind of particular protection on their computer files, so as a consumer, there is no way to know how protected your credit card information is when you make purchases at the store.

Here we have been spending all of this time studying and learning about what can be done online and here you could have your credit card number hacked without every touching a computer. All you have to do is make a purchase at a store and you could lose your identity to a thief.

Throughout this class I have also been a proponent of the idea that stealing has always been a problem. Yet, I will concede that in the past people were stealing what you had, while today they are stealing what you may not have. They are creating debt for you. I guess people could charge things in your name in the past, but when they did it was face to face instead of anonymously online.

The news report concluded that the best way to protect yourself was to get cash from the bank and make more purchases with cash instead of trusting businesses with your credit card information because banks were more secure with their passwords, firewalls, and encrypted data.

I think the bottom line is that we are always at risk with our finances and we can do some basic things to be careful, teach kids ethics and hope for the best. The other option is crawling under a rock until the computer age goes away (which is not going to happen). Because of this class I will be more careful with passwords and make more of an effort to work with kids on these issues, but I refuse to crawl under a rock.

Goodbye ethics class and classmates that have completed the program. Hope to see you around!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

skittles vs. webquest

for my ethics in tech. course (the reason i started this blog) we did a skittles lesson, where we learned a lot about how to create a graph through data used from the colors of skittles. we also did a lesson about webquests, evaluating them and finding good ones. these two assignments were similar in that we were required to learn about an area of technology. they were different in that one pertained more to a specific program, while the other was exploratory in nature. i don't think it is fair to say one is better than the other. i think that they are different lessons with different goals in mind. one would be better for working with graphs and learning about excell, while webquests are better for using the internet to explore content informaiton. i would say that the webquests are more appropriate for my educational setting because i have very limited time with my music students. a webquest gets them using technology in a way that will help them learn about music without taking time away to just learn about technology. in my opinion, it is my job as a music teacher to use technology as a tool to enhance curricular goals. i actually believe that is true for every teacher. a lesson like the skittle lesson, would be more appropriate in a math class or a computer class.

Monday, July 14, 2008

plagiarism in kansas

in order to find out my school's policy on plagiarism, i searched the online board policy. the word plagiarism was no where to be found, so this is the closest i could find.

"Dishonesty--Any act of lying, whether verbal or written, including forgery.

First Offense: Nullification of forged document. Principal/Student conference, detention, in-school suspension, or 1-10 days out-of-school suspension.

Subsequent Offense: Nullification of forged document. Detention, in-school suspension, 1-180 days out-of-school suspension, or expulsion." - copied from the board policy of belton school district number 124

my next comments are based on an article about a plagiarism case in piper, ks. click here if you are not familiar with the article. if i did it right, it will take you right to the article.

my response: if i had 28 students plagiarize, i would give them zeros, but i would be absolutely sure that plagiarism had taken place. i was shocked to see the school board in piper, ks, undermine the teacher because parents complained. her policy was in writing ahead of time and the students should have had to live with the consequences of their actions. i remember the first time i turned in a paper without a bibliography. i had put all of the items in quotes, but i just ran out of time to finish the paper and just printed and turned it in. that teacher gave me a "c" on the paper because i did use quotations, but warned that future papers with any omissions would be "torn up and thrown in the trash." i had not signed any policies regarding plagiarism, but it only took that one time for me to learn my lesson.

unfortunately, the lesson learned by the students in kansas was that anything is acceptable if your parents are willing to back you up. i applaud the teacher and others for having the guts to resign on principle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

to search or not to search

i have learned a lot recently about crawlers, human powered directories, spiders, and search engines in general. it is very interesting that search engines do not all index the same sites.  i guess i always thought they were searching the actual web, not an index of the web...very interesting.  i also did not know that they do not search libraries or article databases.  i guess that's why i have better luck doing research through the web and through the cass county library site.  the library site gives me more articles.  i really enjoy finding out how things work, so this was fun to check into. when i am trying to find important info, i will definitely be looking for a second opinion from now on.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Since this post is for a grade, I have decided to use capital letters.

The National Educational Technology Standards are a good idea to give guidance to teachers.  With the high expectations of "no child left behind", however, I feel that most teachers will not have the time or resources to meet these standards.  I know teachers that are not even able to send an email with an attachment, for these teachers, the standards are quite unattainable.

For myself, I was encouraged to see how many standards I already follow.  I am especially good at staying abreast of current and emerging technologies.  Part of that is due to my dad.  He has worked with the technology field in Seattle, Washington for over twenty years.  I remember being on the internet in the eighties when it had not been named the world wide web, yet.  So, although, I would not call myself an expert (I actually know little about how computers actually run) I am comfortable with learning most programs and have no fear of working with new technology.

I am also good at teaching ethical practice.  In fact, as a music teacher, I am often explaining to students about copyright laws and how we should not copy music for our friends that haven't paid for a piece of music.  Just because we have the technology to do things, doesn't mean we should.  Students usually look at me with shocked faces when I tell them this.

I am very weak in the area of assessment and evaluation.  Music teachers do not usually give the types of assessments that make data analysis a simple procedure.  I also wonder if any teachers are evaluating "students' appropriate use of technology resources for learning, communication, and productivity."  It seems as if this would be something at a computer teacher would do, not a regular classroom teacher or music teacher.  The problem being that we do not have any computer teachers at the elementary level and I'm not sure about the Middle School.  The regular classroom teachers currently do not have a place on the grade card to report this information and I can't imagine them adopting this sort of thing any time soon.  Especially with all of the other things to be concerned about.

As a K-4 music teacher, I am glad to know of these standards and am happy to see that I do use technology to enhance my student's learning.  In the past I have used the smartboard, projector, computer lab and eight computers that I incorporate into learning stations.  I go to technology workshops at my annual music educators conference to stay abreast of the latest trends and I try to get students to use websites that enhance the information that we are learning in class. My current frustration is that I will have much more limited access to these tools in the new school where I will be teaching.  I am hoping to write grants to acquire some of these tools so that I can use them again.

In conclusion, I would say that the standards are a helpful guide to help educators guide their teaching.  They are good for all teachers to reflect, but will matter most to those that actually teach computers, rather than those that simply use computers to teach.

Monday, June 9, 2008

evaluating blogs

before taking this class, it never occurred to me to find out the author of a website.  i just looked to see if the site had relevant material and made sure it was ok for kids.  i could see how this is important because you could have a good webmaster that makes a web page look great, but the information on that page could be completely inaccurate.  we need to be sure that the author is someone that has the credentials and information to back up what they are saying.

another thing i didn't really think about was dead ends.  i remember one time during a music career unit we used a school appropriate search engine, but it had a lot of dead ends and blocked areas of the site.  if i had checked that out ahead of time, the students and i could have avoided a lot of frustration. 

in the end i found a cool website that i put in as a link just because i've always wanted to try that.  i hope everyone has fun playing with the San Fransisco Symphony Site.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

summer school

i have my girls all ready for kindergarten summer school.  i never intended to sign them up, but their pre-school teacher recommended it and the girls are really excited.  i had always considered summer school to be cruel and unusual punishment, but if they are excited and i actually get time to could i say no?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

marvelous week

this has been my first full week home this summer.  the twins and i have been having a marvelous time.  the first couple of days we were lazy around the house and didn't do much.  wednesday we went out with friends from church, thursday we went swimming for three and a half hours, and friday we went to the park and met a bunch of surprise friends.  one of the girls' favorite friends surprised us at the park and we spent most of the day with her.  we finished up the evening with their dress rehearsal for their first dance recital.  i thought this would be very long and boring, but the girls really enjoyed watching the other dancers.  we stayed for two hours longer than we had to, just so the girls could watch.  now their recital is today and it looks like it will be a beautiful day.  i am lovin' summer time!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

first mystic moment

welcome to my new blog that i am doing as part of my tech ethics course for baker u.  may we have excellent discussions through our posts and have an enjoyable summer blogging together.