Members only

In an effort to reach out and share the positive impact of video conferences in the classroom, I’ve been looking for education conferences that I normally would not attend.  My conclusion is that there are a lot of very insular conferences taking place.  In today’s connected society why do I find limits such as I found at several conferences where they require that I be a member of the organization?  I do realize that they need money to sustain the organization but isn’t my conference fee enough?  Why do I need to join a group to interact with them once?  Maybe I’ll like the group and join again but shouldn’t I decide that after we meet?  How do organizations grow if all of the speakers need to be members?

If knitters only spoke to knitters there wouldn’t be the plethora of knitting stitches available in the world today.  If knitters only shared with others in their circle it would be a far different group of people.  Education should learn from knitters…if they see someone with yarn a conversation is started.  If educators see someone with an idea, they should start a conversation, too…and not force that person to be a member.


Just is a four letter word

I read a blog today by Pernille Ripp in which she encased the word “just” in quotes. I appreciated the quotes as she was (in my mind) pointing out that preceding a job title with the word diminishes the job and by association, the person holding the job. In the comments section following the blog, a person then referred to herself as “just a classroom teacher”.  (I wonder if she has seen Taylor Mali read his poem about What a Teacher Makes. )

Too many times I have heard the word used in technology training sessions prefacing a direction such as “You just click on the link.” and followed by “It’s just that easy.”   The connotation is that the action is simple and that the person should see it clearly.  I find that the first time I do almost anything it’s JUST not that simple.

I just gave up and looked up the word in the dictionary and found that the meaning of “merely” is actually number 12 out of 14 possible meanings.  The first ten meanings listed have to do with principle, being right, and being exact.  Maybe “just” isn’t as bad as I thought but it sure has become a trigger word for me.

Do you have any trigger words?  What words make you tense up and not see quite straight?  I just want to know.

Starting anew

Have been overwhelmed recently by the number of places to go on the web…Google+, LSSK community, Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, DLWG, TCEA, ISTE ning,  and my three emails.  There are also other online communities to which I belong that I gave up on long ago.  Some I join just to help others figure them out and then I move along.  In others I intend to be active but then new ones grab my attention and I’m off again.  It takes some time to get to know people and bouncing around different communities can make your head spin and feel like you don’t belong anywhere.

I laugh, though, because this is how I knit, how I read and how I stay in touch with friends.  I bounce like Tigger!  I rarely have less than three concurrent knitting projects that take varying degrees of concentration.  I read part of one fiction book, move to a non-fiction and then back again.

I read with envy those who stay the course in any given community and write amazingly insightful blogs.  So, my intention going forward is to continue to bounce but WITH intention.  I hope to make my blog my focus to pull together all the strings of thought and as in knitting, use the various strands to create something useful or beautiful or both.


Getting ready for the holidays

I haven’t written for ages and am now motivated by the excitement of maybe winning some knitting tools and yarn. If you are reading this, I put my wishlist on Knitpicks for some pretty nifty little tools that could make my hobby a bit more fun to do.
Realizing that I have been intertwining knitting and education, I realize that sometimes it’s like that in school,,,,things are just going along sometimes smoothly, sometimes with some rockiness but the monotony of the same schedule becomes comfy and doesn’t stretch the imagination. It’s like knitting a sweater with all the same color and stitch. May look lovely in the end but was a very predictable path to get it done.
I know that I need things changed up a bit now and then to get the blood flowing again and to force the oxygen back to the brain…let’s hear it for holidays, for changing the schedule just for the fun of it and making each day in our schools a totally new and engaging experience. And, if I win the contest that prompted me back to writing…well, I’ll start a new fiber project!

Trying new stitches

Have been stash busting and working my way through a book of  knitting stitches at the same time so I now have a growing collection of scarves … not exactly the type of collection needed in the heart of Texas.  Perhaps my friends and family hanging out in northern climes will come to appreciate my handiwork. I find that I rarely keep anything that I knit and find the most pleasure when I am creating something for another person.  The few things that I do keep are often replicated so that I can share with others.

Have you ever really looked at the teachers in your midst?  They create for others all the time.  I have never met a good teacher who wasn’t knitting together some ideas that will make concepts and facts more meaningful for their students.  They work their way through books of stitches almost everyday trying to find the stitch that will best suit the students in the classroom with them.

Today as we listen to the political debates raging around the country about how to cut education costs, it makes me wonder where the thought came from that you can use cheap products to create masterpieces.  Isn’t that what some are talking about?  Cutting our school budgets to the bone ( or in some cases,  amputation) will not help teachers, counselors and coaches provide the experiences that will foster creative, thoughtful, skilled citizens for the future.  Instead of looking for new stitches to build meaning for their students, teachers will be scrounging for scraps of yarn and darning needles to plug the holes in the fabric they now have.  Do we really want to clothe our children in harsh, scratchy cast-offs when we can afford a resilient, stretchy,  made-for-you education?



It took a lot of thinking before I frogged a project for the first time.  For those of you who don’t knit, frogging means ripping out row after row of knitting…maybe even going back to the original yarn ball.   I’ve asked folks over the years how the process got the name and there is agreement that it’s because you are  going to “rip it, rip it”. (Even wikipedia offers this definition.)  Over the years I’ve been able to see things in the knitting process that I didn’t see as a beginner and even now I find that the more I knit the more I understand the process and what to look for in the details…though I still dreamily drop a stitch here and there.  Luckily I’m better at fixing the omissions along the way.

So, being terribly depressed by all of the flaming rhetoric on what’s wrong with education, I find myself wanting to find a way to “rip it, rip it”.  I want to rip away the uncivil talk that has permeated the bits and bytes dedicated to the topic in the past few years and start a row anew.  I want the fantastic teachers that I work with on a regular basis to feel the radiance of knowing that they are an important part of our society;  I want the students to know that their course through the formative years in schools are so important to our future that we will insure that they have the best teachers, the most creative and visionary leaders. and the most wonderful supplies and tools.  But what can I do to help make this a reality?  I find that I am feeling less and less motivated to do something….kind of like not wanting to get the half done sweater off the shelf to finish….but I know I must.  I have watched, taught, listened to teachers and worked with them for most of my life.  It’s a process I know better that knitting and I know there are many stitches that have been dropped…but it’s not too late.  You can frog anything and make it beautiful.. I’m going to start by supporting those teachers I work with.  I’m going to work with the students I can.  I’m going to become vocal about what we can do to make schools a place we are all proud of whether they are bricks and mortar, on the computer or in a field.  The saddest thing I read today was a blog by a sophomore who wrote that he can’t wait to be in the “real world”.   For teachers, students and all those who work in schools, I would hope that is the REAL world and not just a make=believe waiting room.

Dropping stitches

How is it that even with careful counting I end up a few stitches off in my lace pattern and have to go back to fix it.  I can look at this as a life lesson I suppose, that I need to reflect more often to make sure all is well and “fix it” before moving on.   The philosophical approach leads me to the larger picture of what I’ve done with my life…are there relationships that need attention, projects to complete, places to go.  Oh, yes… So knowing this sounds trite, I do find parallels in my knitting and life.

I still want to know what to do so I won’t goof up the lace pattern.  Maybe I just daydream too much and am not counting as carefully as I should.

I hope all my dropped stitches in life are as easy to pick up.