Monday, December 26, 2011

Counting My Blessings

In the movie White Christmas, Bing Crosby sings a song called "Counting Your Blessings". Even though it's not technically a Christmas song, I've heard it a lot lately. It begins: "If you're worried and you can't sleep, try counting blessings instead of sheep and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings."

Sometimes I can get as crabby as a Grinch when I think things aren't going the way I might have hoped but I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a great husband and two wonderful kids. My health is good and I have a decent roof over my head. I am a teacher-librarian, the best job you can have in a school. My workplace is filled with marvelous students, hard-working staff and supportive parents. It's Christmas, a special time of the year for me spiritually and emotionally. When I'm at Mass on Christmas Eve and I hear the words to "Silent Night", the grumpiness melts away.

T'is the season for giving, not getting, so let me give a little video viewing to the few folks still checking their blog feeds over the holidays. I don't think I ever posted the link to a video my students made about why they love the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading. Trying to show this video at our recent assembly nearly made me crazy (gotta love technical difficulties) but sitting and watching these kids wax poetic about books makes my heart glad and adds to my blessings.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Library in the News - Again

Sometimes bad news brings good press coverage. On December 6, the Book and Periodical Council hosted an Idea Exchange on the topic "Crisis or Opportunity: School Libraries in the 21st Century". The panel consisted of moderator (author/broadcaster) Kevin Sylvester, Annie Kidder from People for Education, Patsy Aldana from the National Reading Campaign, and me. Linked here is the promotional page from the BPC and the information page on the issue from the OLA, a co-sponsor of the event. Look for the #ideaexchange hashtag on Twitter to get a few highlights from the event. During the panel, Annie and Patsy alluded to an upcoming press conference they were jointly scheduled to have.

On December 12, they held their press conference, where they shared the results of some statistical analysis they conducted using EQAO attitudinal survey data. As both P4E and the National Reading Campaign state in their report "Reading For Joy", the percentage of children in grade 3 who report they “like to read” dropped from 75% in 1998/99 to 50% in 2010/11. The number of students in grade 6 who “like to read” fell from 65% to 50% in the same time period.

I received a call from the Media Relations Department of my board asking if I would be able to accommodate two film crews that wanted to tape some segments at my school library, interview me, and talk with some of our students so they could provide some footage to accompany the press conference report on the drop in pleasure reading. We set up the specialized media release forms and sent them home at lunch. We first heard about this opportunity at 11:10 a.m. and by 12:40 p.m., we were busy filming. Mike and John came from CBC; Dana and Pat came from CTV. Both crews were very nice. I tried very hard to give them different angles to use for their broadcast so that no one would feel like they were getting the same footage. Since the report focused on the EQAO years, I arranged for the CBC to have grade 3 students to meet and provided grade 6 students for CTV. We worked from 12:45 to about 2:00 p.m. and the results of the interviews can be found here from CBC and here from CTV. I was actually a bit surprised at how short the CTV segment turned out to be, especially considering how eloquent and knowledgeable Dana was on the topic - she's a parent as well as a reporter so she had a good grip on the issue. I found the CBC segment to be a bit more in-depth and positive in tone - and my students will be delighted by how many images featured them reading and chatting excitedly about books.

I guess in this case "no news equals good news" isn't true - maybe it's more like "out of sight, out of mind". When disappointing statistics like the ones cited in "Reading For Joy" hit the media, this is when interest in school libraries peak and the public becomes interested in what's currently happening and what's possible. As Annie Kidder said at the panel on December 6, it's the public that creates policy - and we need the public to care about and advocate for school libraries so that we can ensure that every school in Ontario has a properly funded and staffed school library.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Working out

My parents bought my husband/my Christmas gift early this year and had it delivered this weekend - a treadmill. I'm not very good about keeping to an exercise regime and I hope that this treadmill is going to put me on the right path to a regular fitness routine.

In the late 1990s my husband and I used to belong to a gym but once we had children, we found it impossible to take the time away from our babies to work out.

Around 2009, I used to be quite devoted to my Wii Fit and would use it nightly but I was derailed when I began to work on my Masters of Education final paper in the spring of 2010 and I had to devote my Wii Fit time to M.Ed writing time. When I tried to re-establish my Wii Fit pattern after earning my M.Ed, I found that I couldn't crack the top 10 of any challenges and I became discouraged.

I discovered Just Dance for the Wii later on and found that to be fun to do with my daughter but I fell out of the habit when my daughter had other things she'd rather do in the evening. I've started a Just Dance Club at school on Fridays at lunch for junior division students so that teachers and students could see dancing as fun and fitness rather than just as  performance, but once a week is not enough to stay fit.

What does this have to do with schools and school libraries? In Ontario, students are required to have twenty minutes of daily physical activity - this link to the Ministry of Education's site explains more and offers resources. I'm not a "regular classroom teacher" so it's usually up to them to incorporate the DPA time. I know many of our students lately have been hiding out in stairwells and bathrooms to avoid going outside for recess; I'm not sure if it's the cold they fear or the free time. School libraries support reading and research but can also play a part in working out the body as well as the brain. I'm trying to do it at school with my Just Dance Club (which is insanely popular - kids have asked if we could do it every day but I've got Tech Crew, Student Council, and Boys Reading Club on the other lunch hour time slots). I need to talk the talk and walk the walk at home as well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Going Shopping

Last week, I mentioned that I was late for my appointment with the students to go book shopping because of my pet emergency. I thought this week might be timely to explain a bit about my version of this practice, especially since many people are currently in a "shopping mood" as Christmas nears.

I've been taking my students shopping with me since 1998. Back then, I arranged a field trip to the now-defunct Children's Book Store for entire classes, including their teachers. At my two most recent schools (including the one I am currently at), I bring a small handful of students with me to the GTA Resource Fair, which I learned from James Saunders of Saunders Book Company is the biggest vendor fair in Canada, and quite possibly in North America! The GTA Resource Fair assembles nearly thirty different book vendors all in one place in the Queen Elizabeth Building at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. I choose these students from my student Library Helpers. This is one of the biggest perks about being a Library Helper and rewards them for all their time spent shelving books. My Library Assistant president and vice-president help with the selection - we try to choose students who have never missed a scheduled duty and we try to invite a range of grades. (My library assistants are in grades 4 through 8.) I know that my union frowns on teachers driving students around but I still transport the students in my car. Taking a cab would be too expensive and using public transit would take too long.

Before we go to the Resource Fair, I sit down with the students accompanying me and we go over the board's Selection Criteria for choosing books. We also discuss our library's specific needs, such as student requests and areas of the curriculum that need more materials. For our most recent visit, we needed to purchase more books on medieval times because my adult volunteers and I are in the middle of weeding our non-fiction section (we're working backwards and only in the 700s right now) and we purged many of the old and musty books on that particular topic.

Entering the large hall can be an intimidating and awe-inspiring sight. On the car ride down, when we aren't listening to the radio, I remind the students that the GTA Resource Fair is a media creation. All of the vendors are competing for our business. I advise them to carefully watch how vendors display their merchandise and the other tactics they use to attract customers. I remind them that many of the vendors offer the same titles and to compare prices between companies. We always take a quick overview tour of the different tables, describing the specialty focus the company may have (i.e. graphic novels, reference books) and then the students are free to travel in pairs or small groups to shop.

We bring walkie-talkies with us so that the students can contact me when they are ready to finalize their purchases. I double-check the items they select. Occasionally I ask for a brief summary of the book from them or ask them to persuade me why they believe we should buy a particular book. This is an authentic use for those skills we teach in school. I'm spending school funds and I want to be responsible.

My students have proven to be extremely responsible. The vendors now expect to see me with my students whenever I attend these fairs. They report to me that my students are polite, well-mannered and select the books very carefully. My students check inside the books to see if the reading level is appropriate. They consider the pros and cons of hard cover vs paper back editions. They compare prices and worry when they think they've gone over budget.

When I first started bringing my students to the GTA Resource Fair, I actually received some negative reactions from other teacher-librarians, who resented seeing children at what they considered to be an adult-only event. I encounter this attitude rarely now. In fact, I notice that other teacher-librarians have started bringing their students shopping. Both the students and the teacher-librarian benefit. The students have a say in the collection development. They use their critical thinking skills to choose the best books for our school library. The students know how much I pay for the books, which makes them much more careful when handling them. (Our most recent shopping trip cost $1800.) They are also the biggest promoters of the latest additions to the library; they tell their friends what was bought.

When we return, I display all the new books on tables in the library so teachers and students can see the newest books. Teachers will request titles. The only problem with this post-purchasing practice is that the students will incessantly ask/beg me to bar-code the new books as soon as I can and/or reserve them that special book they are dying to read. I still have teaching, yard duty, clubs, and other activities to do in the meantime but I try my best to make the books available. A large amount of books are ready today for borrowing. I hope they enjoy some of the great titles we've obtained and I look forward to continuing our shopping excursions with future library helpers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Power of Pets (and when they pass away)

Wilbur (front) & Orville (back)
I always take my library helpers with me when I go book shopping at our board's vendor fair. I should dedicate an entire post to that particular practice of mine but the reason I mention it in today's post has to do with my punctuality. I'm often late getting to my shopping destination for many reasons and I swore that this time would be different. I failed to begin as early as I had intended but this year I had a very good reason - I spent an hour before school at the vet with my pet skinny pig Orville.

Fudge the rabbit, dressed in holiday gear by a teacher
I have never owned a dog or a cat of my own but I can attest to the power of pets, especially the potential of pets in schools. Annie Slater, a teacher-librarian at Heritage Park P.S. and I will be presenting on this topic at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference in February. My school library has been home to several animals. I used to have a rabbit that I adopted from the pound that was specifically a school pet. We had an in-school contest to name him and he was christened Fudge. Fudge was absolutely delightful - he was huge and during some recesses when the library was quiet, we would let Fudge out of his spacious cage located in my office and let him roam the library. We'd have to watch him carefully to see that he didn't nibble any of the books. Fudge brought a lot of people into the library that never would have entered without him. The intermediate division science teacher was a big fan, as were several boys who would sit and read to Fudge. Our rabbit was a patient and friendly creature. Some of the newer teachers would sneak into the library, take him out of the cage, dress him up in clothes, and take pictures of him. Unfortunately, Fudge's fur caused some of our students to have sneezing fits, even though his cage was located in my office. These allergic reactions meant that Fudge had to find a new home. Unfortunately, my own son had an extremely bad reaction to the rabbit dander, so I couldn't keep him myself. Fudge ended up living with the family of a friend of my brother. He was renamed Sven and was spoiled even more so than he was at my school.

This picture of Max was taken by a student this year.
Another school pet introduced me to the wonders of a new type of animal - a skinny pig (hairless guinea pig). I adopted Roger the skinny pig from the pound for the purpose of being a school pet. The poor old boy only lived a few months but he intrigued me enough that eventually I bought one for my own home (named Monty). I really like skinny pigs because they are hypoallergenic, social and fascinating. Max the skinny pig is my current school pet and he is a charming little guy. He purrs like a cat when you pet him, calls to me when he wants attention, and is not flustered by the children.

L-R: Chita, Wilbur, Orville
At my own home, we own Chita & Chilli the chinchillas and Orville & Wilbur the skinny pigs. On Wednesday, November 23, my husband woke me up early in the morning to report that Orville was squealing in pain and limping around before lying unnaturally on his side. We rushed him to my veterinarian but he was not working that day. Skinny pigs count as "exotic pets" and even the city's animal hospital could not service him. The receptionist at my vet's office found another vet that could accommodate atypical pets and we rushed him over there. Orville improved a bit after he received oxygen and x-rays taken around noon showed no broken bones but in spite of the vet's best efforts, Orville died that afternoon.  

Julio the chameleon, circa December 2005
 Naturally, my own children were quite sad to hear that their pet had died. It reminded me about one of my other, more unusual school pets. Sir Julio Freaky Changini was a veiled chameleon. He belonged to relatives of an EA that worked at my school. She was dismayed to learn that these people didn't want to keep him and because chameleons are difficult to find new homes to take them, they chose to "solve their problem" by locking him in a closet and hoped he'd starve to death. The EA lived in an apartment and had no room to take him in, so my colleague and I told her we'd rescue him and let him live at school. Julio was a high-maintenance pet. He had special heat lamps and required live food like crickets and meal worms. The biggest challenge was that Julio's tongue would not work like a regular chameleon. We were never sure whether he had injured it on a sharp cricket leg or if he lost the ability to use it when he was starved, but it meant that Julio had to be hand-fed. My friend would manually open his mouth and I would inset a squirming bug using tweezers. Julio gained weight and regained enough of his health that he actually went into heat. We learned that chameleons have two penises when we discovered that Julio needed surgery to amputate one of his hemi-penises because it was infected. Julio defied the odds again by recovering from that operation and thriving. Unfortunately, Julio developed kidney failure and anemia. We gave him antibiotics multiple times a day but the vet said that we had done everything we could and he had to be euthanized. Julio was a popular school pet - the evening caretaker used to take Julio out of his cage to ride on his shoulder while he did his cleaning duties. My colleague and I made some special visits to each class at school. We read age-appropriate books like "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney" and "What To Do When A Pet Dies" and gave students time to ask questions and mourn in their own way. The children wrote their farewell wishes to Julio on chart paper and we took these with us when we took him in to be put down.
RIP Orville

Unlike Julio, Orville's death was sudden and unexpected, but these moments still provide an opportunity for us to talk with our students (or our own children) about tough issues that are a natural part of life. Lessons on fractions or mapping will be forgotten but spending time with other living things will not. When my students were interviewed for a study about school libraries, some of them mentioned that their favourite part of the library was seeing Julio & Fudge. At my Superconference workshop, I plan on going into detail about the benefits and research - however, today's post was more about retelling some stories about some of the animal companions with whom I've shared my library (and home) space. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pressing a Pajama Thought

Recently, I had the honour of attending the official launch of Pajama Press. This is a new Canadian children's book publisher but the people behind the company are not new to the business and the three authors that are part of Pajama Press' inaugural collection are well-known authors of KidCanLit. Deborah Ellis, Marsha Skrypuch and Robert Laidlaw were all present at the launch and each writer spoke briefly to the assembled guests as part of the evening.

What resonated with me during the short speeches was the respect and admiration the authors have for Gail Winskill, the publisher behind Pajama Press. Marsha Skrypuch recounted that it was due to Gail's encouragement that she branched out from historical fiction to write this non-fiction book, Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War. Deborah Eliis discussed how her current title with Pajama Press, True Blue, might appear like a significant departure from her previous books, because it is a murder mystery, but that all her books deal with the choices people make and their impact on others; Ms. Ellis and Ms. Winskill have worked together often in the past while the latter was a publisher with another company, and they enjoyed the collaboration so much that they wanted to continue it.

Much later on, I realized that editors/publishers and teachers have a lot in common. Good ones challenge people to go beyond what they think they are capable of doing to create things that benefit others and themselves. Editors and teachers can inspire, support and nurture. Bad ones can shatter the self-esteem of the people they encounter, plague them with doubt and make listeners dread the barbed comments they have to offer. Good ones can provoke improvement through descriptive feedback and can detect good ideas even when they are buried deep. Teachers and editors are not so much admired for their power and influence as they are for their ability to make good things great. I'm going to strive to make the feedback I give useful, supportive and inspiring. I want students to feel glad that they consulted with me before or during a project because the end result was better because of my involvement. That's what any good teacher - or editor - would want.

This is a photo of the launch - I'm in blue. 
 P.S. I'd like to thank Pat Thornton-Jones, secretary/administration at Pajama Press, for sending me this photo of the launch for me to use in today's post, and for permitting me to use the various Pajama Press logos as visuals for this post.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Minecraft & Me

I like video games. Despite the fact that I'm not a very skilled player, I believe that games are fantastic ways for kids to have fun and learn, almost without realizing it. Some of my biggest influences have been my own family members, as well as Beth Gallaway (author of "Game On") and Melanie McBride (researcher and educator at EDGE Labs, associated with Ryerson University). Melanie pushes my thinking and follows the philosophy of James Paul Gee, who lauds the situated learning inherent in game play. Schools and video games don't always mix and Gee says that we need to transform the way education systems operate. I can't see the school system changing in the ways Gee hopes for anytime soon but I can't resist incorporating video games into my school library program whenever possible. I maintain a separate blog that documents the non-school, situated learning that my own children experience through their home use of games - it can be found at Family Gaming XP. For a long time, I felt pretty alone in my use of video games in school. However, I've expanded my Personal Learning Network and some of my newest virtual colleagues and I have embarked on an exciting adventure.

We play Minecraft together.

Minecraft, for those of you unacquainted with it, is an online co-op game in which you work with the natural world to build and create. Take trees and cut them down to use the wood to make all sorts of things. Three of us educators are playing Minecraft together on a server and we plan on starting Minecraft clubs with our students in the next couple of months. We have a wiki where we share tips, post photos and write journals of our experience playing. These are some of the things I've learned - about learning, Minecraft, and myself - as I've played this game.

1) Following your own interests make things more fun.

IRL (In real life), I like to scrapbook. In the game, I'm the player that takes the most screen shots. One of the other players created a gorgeous inukshuk-like statue near her online home. The third player is quite a tinkerer and just recently built a underground rail system with carts. The nice thing about Minecraft is that there's no one right way to play it and we can do all sorts of things there. Here are some "photos" I've taken.

This is a screen shot of my character in Minecraft.
2) Doing things together beats doing things alone.

I already mentioned that I'm a pretty weak video game player. This is especially true in Minecraft. On my first day of playing, I spent most of the time practicing how to walk. If it weren't for the kindness of my fellow players, I'd be doomed. Minecraft characters need shelter to hide from the spiders and creepers that come out in the night. I am not yet talented enough to build a house (or even a secure hole in the ground) to protect myself, but my fellow players have invited me into their homes to stay and be safe. They never mock me for my lack of crafting abilities - they applaud when I figured out how to feed myself or kill a pig for food. Despite the huge difference in our skill levels, we have fun playing together. One person built boats for us and we went sailing together. We learn from each other. We problem solve. We learn more when we're together - even our expert player is discovering things by interacting with us.

This is my character's viewpoint while boating.
3) Messing up is part of the experience

One of the "gameducators" playing with me is keeping a list of all the different ways she's died in the game. It's a pretty lengthy one so far. I died my first few minutes in the game; I walked up to read the welcome sign and a creeper attacked me. I've fallen in lava, been mauled by spiders and destroyed by creepers. Sometimes when I die, I laugh. Sometimes I holler. Sometimes I curse. The follow-up is always the same - I respawn and keep going. No one's perfect and that's okay.

This is a picture of me trying to kill a cow for food. I ended up hacking my boat to pieces in the process.
4) Research is good.

If I don't know how to do something, I ask someone or look it up. My own children helped me with this when I was online by myself and got stuck in my boat. They read the Minecraft wiki and found out what I had to do to exit my ship. I tried the tips out and if it didn't work, I searched for more information or re-read the instructions. Isn't this the essence of research - having an authentic question, seeking answers by accessing information found in resources, and doing something with the found/processed information? I like research. I don't like writing long lists of references in proper APA format but I like discovering things I didn't know before.

This was my inventory. I learned that I needed a crafting table with a 3x3 grid to make things.
4) It's fun

My husband doubted that I'd like playing this game because it's very different from the few games I do play of my own volition (like Just Dance on the Wii or Webkinz). However, he's noted that I seem to be enjoying myself even though this is something outside my comfort zone. (I'm taking Melanie's advice to "go to the places that scare you".) It's hard for me but it's been fun. There's something beautiful about a virtual sunrise and surviving the night.

Sunset (or sunrise?) as seen from a safe house in Minecraft
I've been talking about my Minecraft experiences through Twitter. The day after I first mentioned it, no less than five students approached me to say "I hear you're starting a Minecraft club at school. If it's true, can I join?" I have a feeling that, like my Just Dance Club, this will be a way for students and teachers to learn and have fun together. Big thanks go to Liam O'Donnell (@liamodonnell) and Denise Colby (@nieca) for being my Minecraft buddies and mentors. You'll hear lots more about this project as we continue to play.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Student-Led Learning in Kindergarten Library - Let Inquiry Reign!

We have three full-time kindergarten classes in my school. As part of my job as the teacher-librarian, I see these students quite frequently - three times a week for two groups, and five times a week for the third. On paper, I'm teaching them "computers", "library", "media" and "dance/drama" - but to be more accurate, the kids are directing the program and it would probably be more accurately described as "integrated literacy".

One day many weeks ago, I was reading the picture book "Grumpy Bird" by Jeremy Tankard, when one of the junior kindergarten students piped up and said "You know, we should turn this book into a play." Brilliant idea! We ran with it. We began to plan but ran into a problem - we had 19 students and, even if we performed "Grumpy Bird" and "Boo Hoo Bird", we still had more actors than parts. I can't remember who thought of this solution, but we decided to write a third, Jeremy-Tankard-style book so that all the kids could be actors. We polled the class for emotion ideas for the new book - Happy Bird was the winner and Scaredy Bird was the runner-up. A small group of students and I sat down and began to write our story. We soon learned that it's easier to start with a "not-happy" feeling so that at the end of the book we could have a happy finale. The students came up with the plot details and we mimicked the style of the other books. Our story has been written and we are thinking of illustrating it and sending a copy to the author/illustrator. Today we started to discuss the costumes for our play and some groups have ambitious plans involving wings, feathers, and headgear. I'll have to share the results later. This has turned into a major project.

An activity that involves all three kindie classes is playing Webkinz. I have been using this youth MMO at my school since 2007 but this year I chose to devote it solely to our youngest kids. I supplied the toy porcupine with the special activation code. We brainstormed names for this new pet, voted on the class favourites, and then had a final vote with the selections from each class. We learned about the words "vote" and "tie" and tried out different ways to make our selections (e.g. using stickers on a chart, putting paper clips in a bag). I was so impressed that several of the kindergarten students were able to read the paper clip graph I posted with the results. (I must post a picture here later. ETA - added photo on November 12, 2011.) The winning name for our toy porcupine was Princess. We logged Princess on the account today with one of the other kindergarten classes. The students lead what we do on Webkinz. We had an age-appropriate chat on adoption and the observant ones noted that our happy/health/hunger meters were all below 100 and so we had to do something. We fed our virtual pet some food, which helped our hunger problem but not our health problem, so then we had to brainstorm ways we could make our pet healthy that did not involve eating. We were beginning to run out of time so we went to put our newest pet to bed but we discovered that we have 5 virtual pets and only 4 beds. The kids had a great time thinking of solutions to this dilemma - and lots of jokes were made about sleeping in toilets (ahh, bathroom humour!).

These two examples show how the students can be even better than teachers when it comes to integrating subjects - these lessons involved reading, writing, oral communication, media literacy, data management, number sense & numeration, health education, drama, dance, visual arts, social studies and character education. It can be a bit unnerving to have very little pre-planned for our lessons because you never know what direction the class discussion will go, but the increased engagement is worth the risk!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paying for things from your own pocket

I had a conversation with my husband recently about finances. I had just returned from the ECOO conference (which I paid for myself), where I had purchased a $100 LiveScribe pen (which I paid for myself) and I wanted help to set up a PayPal account so I could buy several Minecraft video game accounts to use them for a club at my school (which I was planning to pay for myself). My husband was, understandably, concerned.

"Why do you have to use our money to buy all these things for school?" he asked.

This isn't just a recent phenomenon either. The last pair of picture books I've read with the primary classes as part of their library lessons (Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians and Bats at the Library) were books from my own personal collection that I bought with my own money. Why do I spend my own hard-earned cash on school items? It's not like I have oodles of extra money begging to be used.
I came up with a few reasons.
  1. I have control over things when I own them outright. I don't have to worry that the book I want to use for a particular lesson has been borrowed by a student when it's MY book. 
  2. I don't have to worry about obtaining permission, begging for funds or providing a scripted budget proposal that may get shot down. When I had my Tamagotchi Club years ago, seven of the gadgets were mine - it was an experimental club that might have been denied funds if it relied on school money to start. School boards must be accountable for their purchases and certain expenses might be seen as a waste of taxpayer funds - it's easier just to buy it myself.
  3. If I believe in a project, I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, even if it's my own money. Aviva Dunsiger, a grade 1-2 teacher, bought two iPads for her students to use in class because she was convinced that this would help her students learn, and she's had great success with these tools. Yes, this may mean that her students have more technology available to them than other classes, but it is important to Aviva and how she runs her class.
  4. I don't want to insist that students pay for things because they may not have the money at home to do it. The Ontario Ministry of Education recently came out with some guidelines on charging fees for required class elements and to sum it up quickly, schools can't expect kids to pay extra for things they need for their regular lessons to be successful. 
All these justifications still don't excuse the fact that I pay for a lot of my professional development and classroom essentials using my own money. I have solicited funds from different organizations to help defray costs, but that is a huge undertaking of time to complete forms and explain rationale. For example, if it weren't for my mother's financial assistance, I never would have been able to attend the IASL conference in Jamaica this past August. I really do need to figure out another way to fund some of my little projects but in the meantime, I'll keep spending my pay cheque on books, conference registrations, and technology. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

ECOO Conference 2011 - Photos & People

Where did the time go? I meant to make many posts about the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario's annual conference and school life has swept me away like a tsunami. I really appreciated Doug Peterson's blog post with a list of many blogger thoughts on #ecoo11 and it inspired me to come back to the waterhole for another drink from the ECOO well. (What's with all the wet references? I must be thirsty!)

I brought my camera to take some photos but I was usually so busy listening or learning that I didn't take many. My friend Alanna King took some photos during my Thursday presentation on positive digital identity. She went wild with the camera. There are plenty of close-ups of me making faces as I spoke. I'm glad she got one of the paper I re-used as a poster advertising my session - that took a dreadfully long time to create, if you recall my post from last week on the subject.

At the beginning of my talk, the #ecoopenguin kidnapper made an appearance! This was pre-arranged via email by Cal, one of the ECOO conference organizers (although I actually - and ironically - did not have time to check my email during the conference). The Rumplestilsken-like game to rescue the penguin by deciphering his name was a fun activity. I didn't participate but many people did and they enjoyed it. ECOO conference prizes can't be beat!

I did manage to take photos of my children presenting at our Friday morning session - the grandparents love seeing shots like this, and it's good for my own children's positive digital footprints! This is a photo of Peter, my son, running the quiz game with six very patient and kind volunteers. Give a nine-year old power and knowledge above adults (and educators to boot) and you can imagine the thrill he had.

My daughter Mary has presented with me quite often, at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference and at more local, smaller affairs. She taught some people how to play the board game Labyrinth and everyone at the table looked like they were involved and engaged. My kids were scheduled to leave at noon on the dot and my parents drove to pick them up but Grandma and Pop Pop waited patiently outside the room because they didn't want to interrupt Mary's game.

I've said it often enough but it bears repeating - I learn just as much outside the sessions as I do in the workshops. In some instances, I may learn more through the informal learning. I was really delighted to meet some new people. We "clicked" and they deserve a "shout-out" as well. (Above is a photo of my first Korean BBQ restaurant experience, which I'll explain further below.)

Royan Lee

Royan is with the York Region District School Board (and is a former TDSB'er). He attended my digital footprint session and ran his own with Zoe Branigan-Pipe. (Any pal of Zoe's is a pal of mine!) I was only able to catch a few minutes of his talk because I hate workshop-hopping and didn't want to interrupt the flow. Royan is also an enthusiastic learning and bon-diggity dancer - at the ECOO Playground, he used Just Dance for the first time and was amazing. I look forward to honing my understanding of digital identity through his work.

Brian Smith

For some reason, Brian's data in my mind is filed under "Chris". He attended my digital footprint session and made some great points during the discussion.  Brian is also one of the funniest guys I've met. He had me cracking up with his zinger tweets during the #ecoofaceoff - I still can't believe that he does not yet have a permanent contract with his board. He's a board game fan who has already given me some great tips on new games to get.

David Hann

David is a fellow Toronto District School Board employee - in fact, his school is located in the neighbouring FoS to mine. In a "6 Degrees of Separation" moment, I found out that he works at the TDSB school where Royan used to work. David is very knowledgeable about web design and has become even more so. He taught me about adding a Twitter button to my school site, CSS and all sorts of stuff that may have gone over my head at the time but will sink in if I keep reading and playing with it. 

Sari McDowell

I had dinner with Sari and Brian at a Korean BBQ place. I've never had Korean BBQ before. Sari and Brian taught me how to do it safely (no picking up cooked meat with the tongs for raw meat) and while we ate, we had great conversation about teaching. Her job description is fascinating and I'd love to share teaching notes in the near future.

Cindy Foss-Silveira

Have you ever recognized someone but been unable to pinpoint exactly how you know them? Cindy seemed very familiar and we deduced that we must have met at a past conference. Cindy ran the Xbox Kinect Just Dance station during the ECOO Playground and as I waited for my turn, we chatted about all sorts of things. Now that I have her Twitter ID, it'll be easier to stay in touch and keep the conversation flowing.  (And so it returns to the wet allusions - a suitable end to this post!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

ECOO Conference 2011 - Session Summaries

On October 20-21, I attended the ECOO conference. I may need to break from the one-post-per-week tradition again so I can devote several blog posts to my reflections on the conference. Here's my conference reflections based on the sessions I attended. I like to give a hard copy of these types of documents to my school administrators so they can see that my attendance at such events can benefit the entire school.

Educational Computing Organization Ontario Conference 2011
“Learn to Play – Play to Learn”
Conference Reflections by Diana Maliszewski

Thursday, October 20, 2011 8:30 am
Redefinition Jeopardy: Taking Back the Language of Learning by Will Richardson & Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Summary =The opening keynote by founders of the PLP Network had participants think independently to create their own education hashtag and work collaboratively on ways to provoke and promote change. The traffic was so heavy due to an accident that I only arrived to hear the last 5 minutes of the session. Thankfully I was still able to hear a bit of the talk.
Thursday, October 20, 2011 9:45 am
Budding Bloggers: Getting Students Started On Blogging by Aviva Dusiger
Summary = Aviva (@Grade1 on Twitter) shared the technological and pedagogical practices she uses with her grade 1-2 students through blogging.
3 Key Points
·         There are many different blogging options, such as Kidblog, Edmodo (which is good if you want privacy), and board-sponsored platforms (like The Commons in her board, which uses a Word Press version) – the key is not to get hung up on the software but focus on the doing
·         Aviva and Heather (a kindie teacher that blogs on video tape their kids in ways so you can’t see their faces, or you may hear student names said but not have faces connected with them – it’s important to check your board’s privacy policy
·         There are many ways to use blogs in class and it’s okay to change your plans and ideas as you go – Aviva supplements the technology in her room with her own materials (e.g. her own iPads) to use with blogging and if other teachers aren’t using the school computers, why keep them idle?
So what? Now what? = It was delightful to finally meet Aviva face-to-face, as I’ve known her online for a while. I think I’d like to show Aviva’s class blog to my own students so they can see the possibilities; their blog is public and I still toy with the idea of public vs. private student blogging. I should re-start our grade 3-4 class blog, which has not begun yet this school year.
Thursday, October 20, 2011 11:00 am
Creating a Positive Digital Footprint (without putting your foot in it!) by Diana Maliszewski
Summary = The OCT advisory on social media scared many people but teachers already have a digital identity, whether they like it or not. Diana shared some mis-steps and some ways to cultivate a positive presence online and the benefits of doing so.
3 Key Points
·         Individuals need to decide their comfort level in terms of what they share online (e.g. photos, personal information, etc.) but realize that information is already out there (e.g. Google search yourself)
·         Students need responsible adult role models for online conduct in the spheres in which they operate online (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) and teachers can do that
·         There are benefits to cultivating a digital identity, like meeting other educators, helping your students, and extending learning beyond the school
So what? Now what? = I cannot give a purely objective report on this session, since I was the leader. There was a lot of discussion in this workshop from the audience, some of whom were wary of enhancing their digital identity and others that were very comfortable with the concept. The participants created some incredibly insightful analogies: the OCT advisory is like the travel advisories created by the Canadian government – they may scare some people but it always comes down to “be safe and be smart” / honing a positive digital identity for your school is like raising a child – you praise them as much as you can (positive feedback) but once you have to scold them for a wrongdoing (negative feedback) then you have to work extra hard giving more compliments to put things back in balance because one bad comment tends to overshadow ten good comments. I was still able to squeeze in a counter-argument about allowing “alts” for freedom of exploration without totally destroying my main premise.
Thursday, October 20, 2011 1:30 pm
Differentiated Instruction and the SMART Board by Bill Schreiter & Bruce White
Summary = Bruce, a Differentiated Instruction and Assessment task force member in his board, and Bill, a SMART Board representative, showed many ways to use the SMART Board to address different interests of the students.
3 Key Points
·         Several web resources were shared, such as with information about this session (including a link to a large SMART Board file for downloading), for converting video types that you can embed in Notebook, for 100s of SMART Board tools like the garbage can, and for a database of lessons that you can search for instructional mode
·         Bruce surveyed all his grade 9s with a 40 question survey that then created a learner profile that he gave to teachers as data for planning lessons so they’d consider various entry points to lessons or stressors in class; he also uses symbols and coding for different types of questions
·         To have the students leading more on the SMART Board, give a paper copy of a test so kids can ahead / faster when using Senteo Response systems (something a colleague of mine came up with – great minds think alike), or set up avatars on Notebook that when clicked link to their own page, so that by using dual screen and pin page, the left side can stay the same and the right side can be individual spaces
So what? Now what? = My school’s improvement plan relied heavily on using technology to help differentiate learning and this workshop gave me some more ideas how to make it happen using the SMART Board. In addition to teaching hints (like using digital cameras and placing icons on pages as hints that extra information is available on a page if needed by a student), Bruce also gave technical hints, like how to capture sections of a video or how to bring MS Word files into Notebook (either using screen capture tools and then expanding, by choosing File>Print>SMART Notebook, or by highlighting and pressing Cntrl&C).
Thursday, October 20, 2011 2:45 pm
Integrating Video Games into Language Arts and Math by David Hutchison
Summary =Video games are cultural artefacts that should be played in class, discussed in class (even the controversial ones), and used to transform pedagogy.
3 Key Points
·         There are many sites that teachers can consult about video games, such as and for information about games, and for creating games, and for links to David’s recently published book on the subject
·         Students should be encouraged to think about how games are played and marketed, and take critical perspectives on video games, even becoming game creators themselves
·         One of the people sitting near me told me about Microsoft Touch Pack (Google it) which is a free download that incorporates 5 items such as a screen saver, picture pack and blackboard that can work with Promethean and SMART Boards
So what? Now what? = I’m always a bit cautious when academics discuss video games because Melanie McBride (an influential figure in my PLN) has shown that many scholars write about the topic but don’t play themselves. David plays and he even got James Paul Gee to write the forward to his book. This session was more about confirming my own opinions about the importance of video games than about learning new things, although I think I want to buy David’s book. I snuck out in the middle of the session to listen in on Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Royan Lee’s session on “Our Digital Footprints: Reflection and Practice” because I thought it would be a nice follow-up to my session from the morning – it was, but I didn’t stay long because I still wanted to hear David’s talk.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 4:30 pm
ECOO Playground
Summary = The theme of the conference was “Learn to Play – Play to Learn” and so several play areas were set up with Mario Kart, Guitar Hero, Angry Birds, and Just Dance 3 for people to try. I played Just Dance 3 (Xbox Kinect version) and it was nice! I also met with the group to finalize plans for the ECOO Web 2.0 Face Off session the next day and had dinner with a group of new friends at my first ever Korean BBQ.
Friday, October 21, 2011 8:30 am
Promethean Interactive Whiteboards “Bus Tour”
Summary = My son and daughter accompanied me to the conference in the morning because they were scheduled to co-present with me at 11:00 a.m. Rather than attend a traditional workshop, we went to a vendor presentation on interactive whiteboards. My children got an opportunity to play on the IWB with drawing and maps and I heard about the own-mobile-devices option (schools will need to pay an access fee) and ways for poor schools to get the benefits of Promethean even if they don’t yet have the money for a board.
Friday, October 21, 2011 9:45 am
Utilize Multiple Technologies to Create Engaging Animations in the Classroom by Roark Andrade
Summary = Roark shared many different ways students can create their own animations, from simple to complex.
3 Key Points
·         30 frames per second is the typical ratio and students should be aware of this number when creating their animations
·         Some programs that can be used for animation include Photoshop, iMovie, YouTube, JayCut, Keynote, Stykz (that’s Mac – we use Pivot), Adobe Flash, etc and they can use non-computer ways like flip books or a paper task Roark got from Art Attack
·         One of the people sitting near me was from my school board and showed me some great ideas about revitalizing school web pages, like adding a Twitter button and ensuring source code is simple and asp (active server pages) are standards compliant – he recommended a book called “CSS in 10 Minutes” by Russ Weakley.
So what? Now what? = I didn’t learn as much as I could have from this session – I’m not sure if this was due to my preoccupied state (I had my kids with me, two presentations to present right after this one) or due to the presentation style.

Friday, October 21, 2011 11:00 am
Levelling up learning with video games by Diana, Mary & Peter Maliszewski
Summary = Are all video game players socially inept obese young men with hygiene issues? This presentation dispelled misconceptions and highlighted the benefits of playing video games by speaking with actual game-playing kids and playing alongside them.
3 Key Points
·         Both girls and boys like to play video games but, depending on the individual, their game play style, favourite games, favourite systems and favourite methods (solo vs. collaborative) may differ (e.g. Mary has just a few games she plays regularly but she prefers co-op games / Peter has many games he likes, can’t choose the best system, and likes playing by himself although he does enjoy playing with others)
·         Playing video games has many benefits – one caution is to ensure that games aren’t hijacked for just certain pieces for education purposes because that’s detrimental to education and to gaming
·         Use real-life games, even board games, and play, so you can relate to students that play on a new level (fellow gamers)
So what? Now what? = Once again, it’s hard to determine how successful the session was to the audience because of my position. We ended the presentation portion of the workshop 20 minutes early to give people time to play games or attend another session and most people stayed. Mary and Peter were authentic speakers. Mary was very professional and even led a group in a game of Labyrinth. Peter enjoyed having the answers to the buzzer quiz but was bitterly disappointed that I forgot to bring the nunchuks so he could play Super Mario Galaxy and sulked a bit. Grant emailed me afterwards to say that based on my session and others he heard at ECOO, he was making video games a key part of his ALP. There is already huge interest in the Minecraft group my gaming PLC is creating.
Friday, October 21, 2011 1:30 pm
ECOO Web 2.0 Face Off by Anita Brooks-Kirkland et al.
Summary = In hockey-game fashion, two teams faced off to highlight Web 2.0 tools in ways that promote learning.
3 Key Points
·         The first period tools mentioned by the players were Google Earth, Jux, Bitstrips for Schools (red team), Voicethread, Google Apps for Education, MMORPGs (blue team)
·         The second period tools mentioned by the players were Prezi, Postini, Evernote (blue team), Glogster, Myna, Popplet (red team)
·         The third period tools mentioned by the audience were Little Bird Tales, wikis, blogs, Twitter, Aviary, GoAnimate, Zite, Snapseed, Voki, Lino, Animoto, Tagxedo, Facebook, Dropbox, and others not written on
So what? Now what? = I had a technical difficulty (my Prezi wasn’t up on Zoe’s computer for me to reference and that took up precious time) and it was hard to maintain the “tough trash talk tone” when everyone really respects and admires each other in real life. The audience seemed to enjoy it. Brenda and Peter were wonderful commentators because they appeared to really pay attention to what was said and gave actual descriptive feedback. Kudos go  to Anita for coordinating eleven people with this project. I really need to try Voicethread and Glogster with my students – they’ve been mentioned often.
Friday, October 21, 2011 2:45 pm
Final Jeopardy: The Big Questions by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Summary = Sheryl cited many people at ECOO as she encouraged conference attendees to continue spreading the word among other people, beyond our schools and province.
3 Key Points
·         Teachers need to share their learning experiences; you can do it with the hashtag #changegame on Twitter – she told the group to take back the language of learning and be a lead learner
·         People need to get ready to be uncomfortable as they embrace change – get out of our boxes and learn from the kids – go after project-based learning, passion-based learning, and inquiry learning – be a connected educator and embrace DIY PD
·         Bloom’s Taxonomy now has “create” at the top; Sheryl says as part of that creating, you should see share > connect > remix > collaborate (co-construct) > take collective action
So what? Now what? = This was an upbeat way to end the conference. Sheryl said if this group of educators was able to make @dougpete trend on Twitter for all of Canada, we should be able to change the face of education. I think I’m going to tackle the gaming aspect of things, by working with my new gaming PLC and beginning a Minecraft experiment. Since I’m a terrible player myself, this will definitely be a time of discomfort and change!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The things I do for copyright-friendly images!

One of the related news stories linked with Steve Jobs' death was the celebration and later partial villification of a Hong Kong design student that created what he thought was a unique tribute to the founder of Apple.

The young man posted the image on his design website and it received an astronomical number of hits after Steve Jobs died. However, unbeknownst to this young man, an older graphic designer in Britain had previously created a similar icon. This should by no means diminish the work of either man. It can be difficult to create something that has never been done before, or in a similar way.

Last year, I spent a lot of time talking with my students, especially my intermediate students, about respecting the rights of image creators. I had my brother, a former MMA photographer talk with the special education students about "stealing" photos after a Google image search and show them strategies and ways to find images for their projects that can be used ethically. It's not easy - and it's definitely not as easy as performing a Google image search!

99.9% of the time, I only use photographs that I have taken myself for use on my blogs. I felt that I should practice what I preach to the students. As I got ready for my various ECOO presentations, I realized that I wanted to use some images for my session on Creating Positive Digital Footprints. These are all the steps I took to arrange to make an original (I hope) image for my presentation.
  • find big blank paper, blue paint, paintbrushes, towels, and newspapers
  • ask my son if he'd let me paint the bottom of his feet and then walk around on my paper (he said no)
  • grab our two laptops and place them artistically on the paper
  • put on shorts and paint my own feet blue
  • walk on the paper (and realize I needed to take one step at a time and then repaint my feet)
  • drag myself from one side of the paper to the other without letting my feet touch anywhere
  • reposition my feet on the paper for clear prints
  • wash my feet, the brushes and the paint holder
  • reposition the laptops
  • start taking photographs
  • realize that the background was distracting from the shot, so found a large bulletin board and garbage cans to prop them up so no one could see the rest of my basement in the shot
  • experiment with flash vs no flash, different angles, different levels, horizontal vs vertical shots, etc.
I was sweating by the time I was finished, but here's the result of that work!

I should make these images available using Creative Commons, and I will (eventually). I've still got to finish those presentations.

The funny thing is, the more I do, the more I realize how complicated the copyrighted use of images, music, and video is nowadays. For instance, just last week, I was helping my students finish their entry into the Ontario Library Association School Library Month video contest. (Remind me to post their entry in a future blog post!) I thought that by using classical music as part of our soundtrack, and since the composition is hundreds of years old, we wouldn't have to worry about copyright, right? Wrong! The recording we used belongs to the symphony that played it and the record company that produced it. Thankfully, as YouTube informed me in a bulletin sent to my account minutes after I uploaded it, they will still allow the music to stay with the video. Other videos aren't as fortunate - I've seen videos of elementary school dance performances that were uploaded to YouTube muted because the song that the students were dancing to had strict rules about performance rights. Lifelong learning certainly applies to mashups, defining ownership, and copyright!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looking at the other side of things

I vowed - VOWED - to myself that I wouldn't do the usual holiday-related "I am thankful" post today. Instead, I caught up on polishing lesson plans teachers and I have co-planned, creating SMART board files for use this week, cleaning my house, and preparing for some of the four (yes, four) presentations I'll be doing over a three-day period next week. My blog composition came late Monday night, because forcing myself not to do a gratitude-themed post meant I needed a new idea - and fast - for my post.

I already mentioned my initial and subsequent reaction to reading the Ontario College of Teachers professional advisory on the use of social media. I wanted to ensure I understood both sides of the issue and when I visited my parents for Thanksgiving, they handed me articles they had saved from The Toronto Star on "bad teachers" who often use social media to groom their victims. It was very distressing and disturbing, although many of the cases I was familiar with because they appeared (anonymously) in the "blue pages" of the OCT magazine. My parents worry about me - they don't want my activities online to harm my career.

I also read a depressing account of a teacher's foray into provincial politics. This teacher is a podcaster and many of the things he's said online were mis-quoted and used against him in the campaign.

To be more educated about the rationale for the OCT's advisory, I read the backgrounder article; I had always wondered why the time of day for online interaction was such an issue, and they explained:

"Communicating with students or parents late at night, for example, may be misconstrued and considered inappropriate. E-mails drafted late at night can instead be sent the following day using the “delay” option in the toolbar."

A slideshow elaborating on the advisory said that all communication be kept professional and formal, with the example "Please come to room 204 at 3:30 for help with your homework" instead of "c u 3:30 @ my room". I admit that I've shortened my "you" to "u" when I didn't have enough space in my tweet. I've sent direct messages to students when I had a concern that I was uncertain about (e.g. I thought a student was bad-mouthing a teacher but it was unclear - I direct messaged her and it turns out I misunderstood her tweet). Does that mean I'm flirting with danger? I don't think so - but it still makes one worried.

I wanted to ensure I saw "both sides of the story" so I could provide a balanced overview of the issue but ended up depressing myself. I need to remind myself that the message is not to stop using social media, but to be careful and wise in its use. To paraphrase a friend, "let's not even step into that 'social media is bad' debate." It's not going away, it's part of our students' lives, and by using it appropriately, it will do more good than harm.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Election Campaigns and Web 2.0 Tools

 It's election time! I'm not referring to the provincial elections that will occur on Wednesday, October 6, although that's a pretty important topic. I'm talking about my school's Student Council elections that will take place on Monday October 4. The teacher that was in charge of last year's student council is on maternity leave and several students begged and pleaded with me to be one of the staff sponsors so that student council would continue to exist at the school. Despite having a pretty heavy workload, including yearbook and my new position as school chairperson, I agreed to co-run it with one of the intermediate division teachers. I've warned the students that I will manage the council in a different style than my predecessor. Some immediate changes centered on the voting procedures: there will be no "teacher vetoes/overrides" of the election results and the candidates are allowed to vote in their class election. There are three classes involved - two grade 7-8 classes and one grade 6 class. Each class will choose three representatives for the student council. When I talked to each class about the election, there were many questions and lots of interest.

"But what if people just vote for their friends? What if it ends up being a popularity contest?"

The teachers and I explained that, just like in real life, democracy can be messy. Sometimes people are swayed by fancy rhetoric or the influence of their friends or the media. We just have to hope that the voting public (the grade 6, 7, and 8 students for the school election, the eligible citizens of Ontario for the provincial election) will be responsible enough to think carefully before voting and choose a representative that will best meet the needs of the group. Responsibility is the character trait for the month of October, so it fit the discussion well. 

Students that are up for election have to make a 1-2 minute speech in front of their class explaining why their peers should vote for them. That is the only required element for the candidates. I've been impressed by how these students have taken the initiative to do some extra campaigning. Some samples are below.

One of our grade 8 candidates has a grade 9 campaign manager, who has been busy emailing the students in his class and recommending that they vote for him. He has also taken to Twitter to advertise. Since both of their Twitter accounts are public, I'm leaving their names and photos in the tweets I copied to share on the blog.

Cassandra Tsao
omg. LOL why?. is the best person for student council, because he cares. :D and like.. like cookies? and.. yeah.

Gunchong Yang

Haha, said to me today "Nice campaigning idea! ;) "

Gunchong Yang

aww, dressed up today to do my speech but we had our terry fox run so we couldnt do them! :(

Gunchong Yang

are you actually gonna buy a cookie for the people who vote for me?

By the way, I did remind the candidate and his campaign manager that it is illegal to try and buy votes using bribes. Amazing how school life and real life intersect!

The grade 6s have their own private blog, the Agnes Macphail Learning Playground. Once again, of their own accord, the students decided to do some campaigning online. Because this blog is private, I'm altering their names so they aren't completely identifiable.The comment section is just as fascinating as the original posts, so I've copied them here as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

VOTE FOR ME- student council

Tired of the same spirit days every year? I will change that for you if you VOTE for me. Want better merchandise in school fundraising activities? I will ask for you if you VOTE for me. I know what you guys like. Trust me, I DO. I am a student just like you. VOTE for me, and you will have the best school year ever!
For more info, please contact me in room 114.
Thanks for your vote.


J said...
Eh... Maybe
P said...
That's all you got! MAYBE!!!!! :( :( :(!!!!!!!!
J said...
Well when I read it it wasn't 1 min and I gotta hear other people's speech first
V said...
And are we suppose to post our speech on the blog?
M said...
P said...
I didn't make it 1 minuet, that is for the real speech. This is just to get some publicity
C said...
We'll see.... But will you vote for me? thats the question. Um you spelled minute wrong.