Writing with pictures

I had a great meeting this morning and lunch with Lance Ford, who (if you don’t already know) has the most amazing car in Oklahoma. Lance had me thinking about a lot of possibilities for interactive virtual field trips at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum of the Oklahoma Heritage Association, where I work now. Using media to teach and learn can be extremely engaging. For our both virtual as well as face-to-face museum experiences, however, I want to strive to facilitate truly “engaging” rather than merely “enthralling” learning experiences. To that end, orienting people to think about capturing, creating and sharing their own stories and stories of people they know is very important for us.

As a visual person, I find it very powerful to experience a presentation which uses images well. In blogging, it is very important to utilize and integrate photos in posts. Because of this, I was delighted to learn about the free Photo Dropper plug-in for WordPress today. I learned about this from Michael Chalk’s post “Struggle with wordpress“, and got the link to Michael’s blog originally from a comment he left on my primary blog. Shazam! With just a few clicks, now a well-formatted and properly attributed legal photo can be inserted into our blog posts here on Learning Signs!!

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Creative Commons License photo credit: TooFarNorth

This plug-in provides a compelling reason to compose in the WordPress dashboard. To insert an image like the one I have inserted above, you simply click the editing icon in the upper right corner of the post composition window, enter your search keyword(s), and select the image you want to import: S, M or L. The image is sized correctly and includes CC credits. WOW.

I compose almost all my blog posts now with the software program MarsEdit. I wish MarsEdit would integrate this PhotoDropper functionality, to connect easily to Flickr Creative Commons images and insert them with a couple clicks. I’m going to teach my kids how to use PhotoDropper to insert images into their blog posts. Now it should be much easier and straightforward for them to write with pictures!

Current Affairs Books

We are having a delightful Saturday. No appointments or birthday parties, just a day to roam and loaf. I am writing this on my iPhone from a Barnes and Noble bookstore.
We are here because we love to look at books, and because I have a birthday gift card to use.

Current affairs books are always my favorites. I saw at least five books today I would like to own and read but am not getting today. The reality is that I already have started several books at home that I need to finish. I need to have a job which permits me to read uninterrupted for several hours per day. I need to be a professor.

Here are the new books I settled on for today.

National Meet Your Neighbors Night

I don’t know if this was the official day, but the evening of Augsut 5, 2008, was “Meet Your Neighbors Night” in our neighborhood. A tent, some white Christmas lights, a bunch of lawn chairs and some cookies made for a good opportunity to meet neighbors and get acquainted.

National Meet Your Neighbors Night

I brought over a bowl of fresh cherries and they went fast! This was a really great idea and I’m glad we have some neighbors who took the initiative to get this organized. Evidently they do it each year. I wish we did this more often!

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Bailey’s Close Shave

Rachel worked with her mom to spell the following caption to a picture yesterday, “Bailey and Wes had a close shave.” See the previous post for more context. Sentence construction and writing development continues to be relected on our living room chalkboard and whiteboard!

Our golden retriever has been shaved!

We have two golden retrievers in our household, and our oldest (Bailey) is 12 years old. Bailey usually has some skin allergy trouble in the summertime, and this year is no exception. Especially with the hot weather we’ve been having in Oklahoma, this summer has been tough on Bailey. She developed some type of skin rash on her chest which required her to go on a temporary steroid, but our Vet also recommended that we have her hair shaved off. I’ve seen other goldens in the summer who get shaved, but have heard two different things about this: Some people say it’s bad and you should let dogs keep their coats because it helps them regulate their temperature naturally, others say it is better to shave off their coats in the summertime to help them stay cool. In Bailey’s case, she is a house dog and doesn’t spend much time outside, but evidently part of the problem this summer as been when she has gotten wet (which I don’t think is too often) her coat has been so thick she hasn’t been able to completely dry out– and this has given her further skin problems in addition to her apparent allergy to grass.

So, here is a photo of Bailey I snapped with my iPhone this morning before I took her to the Vet for her shave:

Before the shave

This is Bailey just a few minutes ago, post-shave:

After the shave

She looks so different! Hopefully this will help her FEEL better. It certainly is going to cut WAY down on the dog hair in our house!

I wish Bailey could talk to narrate a “Getting a New Haircut” VoiceThread digital story like Rachel did a couple of years ago. 🙂

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Music notes by Rachel

Rachel is exploring half notes and quarter notes. I am not sure where her awareness of musical notation came from, I will have to ask her about this. She has been going to “big church” with us more instead of the church nursery, and the hymnals we use might be the source.

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4 year old perceptions of E.T.

My 4 year old saw the movie E.T. a few weeks ago, and we recently watched it together again on our DVR. She told me as the movie was starting that she didn’t like the ending part. “It makes my heart hurt, Daddy,” she said.

She has been very concerned for many months about whether things she sees on TV and at the movies are “real.” Not surprisingly, one of her main questions today was, “Is E.T. real?” “What is E.T.?” I tried to explain that E.T. was a pretend character, but I don’t know if there are real alien creatures living on other planets. There might be, but I don’t know.

Her next question was, “Does Jesus know if there are?” “Yes,” I told her, “Jesus knows.” This is some pretty deep thinking for an almost five year old!

We have a small whiteboard on an easel in our living room that we all draw on periodically and leave messages for each other on. This was what Rachel drew today after the movie.

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A donation to a mission to Uganda

This is a podcast recording of little sister discussing her experiences in Sunday School learning about Uganda, and making a donation to our church’s mission trip to Uganda. She also shares a prayer for the children of Uganda. She didn’t remember it, but she worked hard cleaning her room and working around the house to donate the money she gave for this mission trip. She gave 80 cents, which was all of the money she had in her own possession at that time.
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