Goodbye, my first webhome

geocitiesTomorrow, Geocities is closing.  If you were around the web in the mid to late ’90’s, you are familiar with the bold, multiform, free-for-all that was the Geocities community.  It was the “free web hosting” site to be on, and you could find practically anything you could imagine there.  That included my very first pages.

Let’s see, there was a home “link-page” that was my very first effort, written on Netscape Composer, as most of my first pages were.  Follow that with my online resume, a page devoted to the Amiga computer, a page that showcased my artwork, a page for the University of Missouri’s Special Education class of ’98, a kid’s homework help link page, a site I wrote for students who wanted to participate in (or even run) their own IEP meetings (that one was featured in the newsletter for the Center for Innovation in Special Education, or CISE), and probably my most popular splash at the time, a website written in honor of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, as depicted by Alexandra Tydings on the TV shows Hercules:  The Legendary Adventures and Xena:  Warrior Princess.  That last one was an experiment in writing something with popular appeal, and it succeeded for its time; it was visited several hundreds of times daily at the height of its popularity.

It was a different era, I guess, when regular people felt free to put up a simple page featuring their eclectic interests.  Now, it’s all done through MySpace or Facebook.  Though I have archives of my old sites (and they will soon be linked to my main page at Todd’s Webspace), I will miss that colorful community.  Goodbye, Geocities!

My projects

TODDCAST RADIO, WWW – After several consecutive weblog entries about movies he’s seen recently, Toddcast Radio has gone dark.  Will it return to the Web once again to propagate ripples of zeros and ones through the information superhighway?  Or has its signal silenced permanently? *crackle, buzz, static* Hello, faithful listeners!  I thought I’d let you know what I’ve been up to.  If I just said “work,” no one would be impressed, so let me share with you some details on the exciting new initiatives I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of at our school.

…let me share with you some details on the exciting new initiatives I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of at our school.

First of all, I’m in charge of our school’s AIMSweb management.  AIMSweb is an online software tool that assists in student benchmarking and progress monitoring.  I’ve been putting in “overtime” learning the program, managing login accounts for our school, and putting together tools and resources for our assessment team to utilize during this year’s three benchmarking periods.  As the year goes on, I’ll be working hard behind the scenes taking and managing our school’s data and generating all manner of reports from the program, in preparation for its use in our building’s “response to intervention” (RtI) implementation over the next few years.

Speaking of schoolwide initiatives, Continue reading My projects

The Proposal

proposalAfter jotting down some notes in Angie’s file, after recommending she drink lots of Gatorade (for the electrolytes), after she explained about how sick she’s been after last week’s recess duty in close to one hundred degree weather on a shadeless blacktop playground … after all that, our doctor looked at us and smiled.  “My wife and I just saw a movie I think you two would really like.  It’s called The Proposal.”

I’d seen the trailers before.  Kind of a “chick flick,” I had thought at the time.  Not that I was being dismissive; there are many “chick flicks” I have enjoyed watching.  Fifty First Dates was good fun.  The Legally Blonde movies were entertaining as they gleefully poked fun at the legal profession.  Come to think of it, when I used the word “chick flick,” I really meant “date movie.”  A “chick flick” is something you’d see on the Lifetime network or Oxygen.  Date movie is a much better description of what I’m talking about, and is more inclusive of great comedy-action movies like The Princess Bride and The Incredibles.   Continue reading The Proposal

Internalizing

When faced with a child who misbehaves, I usually work with the homeroom teacher to try to determine what may be causing or reinforcing the behavior. Standard procedure, I know. But when developing a plan to help manage the child’s behavior, one thing I usually say first of all is, “We can’t ‘make’ a child behave in an appropriate way. What we have to do is take what we have learned about the child and create an environment that compels the child to make the right decisions with regard to his behavior.”

I’ve always thought that was a rather accurate and wise way to put it, if I don’t say so myself. I’ve been explaining it that way to general classroom teachers for over a decade. But I recently went to a conference on PBS, positive behavior supports, and was privileged to hear one of my old grad school professors, Dr. Tim Lewis deliver the keynote address. As he went through his speech which sounded so familiar, I had to chuckle when I heard him say this:

I’ve always been quick to internalize things that work, without attribution. Isn’t it amazing the impact a good teacher can have on students, even when the student is a teacher, too?

Star Trek

startrek

I’ve always liked Star Trek, so I guess you can call me a “trekkie,” but I’m not a “dress up like an alien and go to a convention” kind of trekkie. In fact, I really only like the original series, though there are certain isolated episodes of the subsequent shows I have enjoyed. As a whole, the newer ones tend to be more arrogant and preachy in tone. They “tell” while the original episode “showed.”

I guess this gives me an unusual perspective on the new movie. While I found it entertaining, it felt disconnected from the original series it was supposed to connect to. The characters were all a little off, and without supplying any spoilers, I suppose there is a good reason built into the story for that. Still, taken by itself, it was an entertaining movie, and I’d have to give it my recommendation. The less you are attached to the original series, the more you will like this one, I think.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

mallcopOkay, so this movie isn’t going to sweep the Oscars.  In fact, it could be described as silly fun.  But sometimes you want nothing more from a movie but a comedic escape.  If that’s what you’re looking for, check out Paul Blart:  Mall Cop.

I’ve been a fan of Kevin James’s work for awhile.  From his role on television’s King of Queens to his hilarious dance lesson from Wil Smith in Hitch, James never fails to deliver the laughs – especially when the comedy is physical.  There’s no shortage of physical comedy in Mall Cop, but, as is typical of James’s work, the story also has a heartwarming side.  It’s at its heart, Mall Cop is the story of an underdog being thrust into a seemingly impossible situation and rising to the occasion.

In short, where a lot of today’s movie comedy is sarcastic and mean-spirited, this movie is a good, light-hearted alternative.  Angie and I got a kick out of it.

Gran Torino

grantorino

Movies are something my dad and I have shared for many years now.   When I went away to grad school, I would not only come home every Saturday to watch the latest HBO premier movie, but I would bring back tapes I had recorded from my residence hall’s closed circuit movie channel – movies that weren’t even on regular cable yet.   Each week, I’d bring home half a dozen or so of them, and then Dad and I would make a pizza and enjoy the Saturday HBO premiere.

I’ve also shared some good movies with Dad at the theater.  One of the best was Apollo 13.   That’s one movie that just isn’t the same on the small screen.  Conspiracy Theory was also good fun, and there have been many others.

We had meant to see the new James Bond movie in the theater, Quantum of Solace.   We enjoyed the last one so well on DVD, and we thought it would be a perfect movie to see at the theater with all its action.  But unfortunately, it left our local theater before we had a chance to see it.   We were bummed about it until we saw that Gran Torino was coming out.  We were able to catch that one.

Gran Torino was good.  Tragic and heroic in its quiet, yet explosive kind of way.   It was really enjoyable.   But the real fun of movies is sharing them with someone, like your best girl, your dad, or in this case: both!

Zombie Fluxx

zombie“So, what are the rules to this game?”

“Each player draws one card and plays one card on their turn.”

That sounded simple enough. Of course, I neglected to ask how you win the game. Even had that occurred to me, there would have been no answer to that question. The game goals are defined by the cards played. That’s right, the conditions for winning are fluid. Some cards you play have you do one time actions like draw multiple cards or steal cards from another player. And even the core rules can change by the playing of rule cards.

It was a fun evening of games and visiting: a first “couples date,” so to speak with our new friends. Now, the question is, how do you follow up a game like Zombie Fluxx? Killer Bunnies, anyone?

Election year maze

corn03Now here’s an interesting metaphor.  Our annual trip to Shryock’s Corn Maze took on an intriguing theme:  the U. S. presidential election.

I suppose as we have to chart a course through the maze, progressing through many obstacles and making decisions at every intersection, we should also ponder the presidential election as we, the people, chart a course for our country, keep our nation progressing through many obstacles and choose someone who we think will be making the right decisions at every intersection.

Or at least for this year, making the right decisions much more often than the other candidate.