Monday, July 20, 2015

The Toolbox.

Mary Poppins has always brought a smile to my face.  What's not to like?  Dancing penguins, happy children, a bit of mystery, and putting the curmudgeony workaholic in his place.  

There are a fair number of days that I, too, feel a bit curmodgeonly,  especially when I feel as if I am re-doing the same tasks over and over, and getting nowhere in the process.   The concept is less prevalent in the summer, now that my children are grown, and only one is still in the house, so I am rinsing out the sinks and tossing loads of laundry in about 60 percent less often than I did ten years ago.  I've also convinced myself, somehow, that all of these chores should be done easily, done  right the first time, and let me move on with my day.  

One of my personal goals for the last couple of years is to consume 100 oz of water each day.  I drag around my 32 oz UCONN nalgene bottle, with the nifty splash guard, guzzling water like clockwork.  I was feeling really good about myself, and my water consumption progress, until one of my coworkers freaked me out with the idea that the water bottle needed to be washed waaaaay more often than I had considered.  I started taking it home on Fridays, putting it in the dishwasher, and was pretty disillusioned by the less than clear bottle.  Humpf.   Fast foward to two weeks ago, when I discovered this bottle brush.  Honestly, I actually become joyful with the amazing job this brush, and its two companions for straws and snap caps, does.  

It's a magical kind of joy.  The same kind of sense of amazement and wonder that we had when we first realized that Oxiclean would instantly take red wine out of a tablecloth -- and actually did our own science experiment at the dining room table after dining with friends.

Maybe this is a weird, nerdy obsession.

The Toolbox.

All of this gushing over shiny waterbottles got me thinking this morning, as I scrubbed the entire collection out to start the week: how many of the tools available to me in my classroom do I use effectively?  I'm told I can connect to my EPSON projector wirelessly, and walk around my room with my Lenovo YOGA, using the tablet to send signals to the projector.  I haven't bothered to do this, primarily because I use audio in almost every lesson, so it doesn't seem to make sense to disconnect and reconnect.  I have a file of resources on my desktop, that I don't access nearly enough, when searching for ideas to activate or summarize lessons.

Ainissa Ramirez mused on this very topic in her Edutopia blog entry entitled "Our Tools Shape Us" last October.  Her toolbox analogy is beyond brilliant, as she comments on the integrated use of old school tools and technology.  Those of us in the over 50 crowd have to work a bit harder, as digital immigrants, trying to remember where we left our passports to success with the ever-changing face of technology.

And we still need to keep our eyes on our students at home, who may find success simply because somebody cared enough to wash their waterbottles and make the sides crystal clear.

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