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Voki   Leave a comment

http://vhss-d.oddcast.com/vhss_editors/voki_player.swf?doc=http%3A%2F%2Fvhss-d.oddcast.com%2Fphp%2Fvhss_editors%2Fgetvoki%2Fchsm=4d7c37668cb73bd02238bdd78fd9ae25%26sc=3848817

Posted May 7, 2011 by brentcatlett in Uncategorized

My 10 Picture tour . . .   Leave a comment


This is my office / classroom I share w/ @techiefeldie & @omahaparky

Here is our library / media center ran by the Great @pmaas3

Lewis & Clark Middle School logo! Home of the Scouts!

Here is a view of the Track & Football field!

Here is a view of the back of school.

Lunch hour in the cafeteria.

One of our computer labs.

View of front of school. Were located in Bellevue, Nebraska. (Home of Offutt Air Force Base)

Our fearless leader. Principal Dr. Smith in his office.

Oopps! My son made it in here! He was jammin out! Ha!

Inspired by Cale Birk (@birklearns) here is my 10 Picture tour of my school.  If you want to try this you should.  Here are Cale’s ideas on what to do:

5 Easy Steps How to make a “10 picture Tour”…
1) Use a cellphone camera, then you won’t have to pack/find another electronic gizmo

2) Take 10 minutes. That’s it.  Then you won’t find a reason not to do it.  And it won’t be too “staged”.  And you won’t take a 100 pictures and spend hours going through them (I took 14, and two of the ones I scrapped had my thumbs in them–new Blackberry–and the other two had refe

3) Take pictures around your school that you think showcase some pretty cool things.  They don’t just have to be of kids learning, we believe you when you say they are…

4) Put them into a blog post with basic captions so we know what we are looking at.

5) Put it as a link on your blog page, so that when we come and visit, we know that when we see a link called “10 Picture Tour” we will learn a little bit about what your learning environment looks like.

Posted April 21, 2011 by brentcatlett in Social Media, Technology

Waiting for the Storm   2 comments

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to Dance in the rain.”

I recently got this quote via a great Twitter friend from VanMeter, IA @shannonmmiller

She was given the quote by someone and she passed it along via a TWITPIC.  So 1st off I would like to thank @shannonmmiller for sharing because I was immediately struck by this quote.  It reminds me of so much I feel is so important;  a person’s attitude, a teacher’s attitude, and an administrator’s attitude.  In fact, this includes anyone in the school system, the lunch ladies, the custodians, the secretary, and anyone else I’m forgetting.

So often times in my young career in education (I’ve been in the game for 13 years now) I have come across so many teachers and administrators who bring me down because of their attitudes!  Their negativity is toxic!  Like a cancer in the teacher’s lounge.  I cannot understand how so many people get teaching jobs, and keep them?!?!  I cannot understand how some administrators don’t know what a thumb drive is?!?!  and worse yet they refuse to learn.  Some people have the worst attitude day in and day out and I find this very sad!  I have a hard time understanding why they have to be like that and why they come to work then.  I am a firm believer that if you are not happy doing what you are doing, then DO SOMETHING ELSE!!

I wish I could share this quote with everyone and they would actually adhere to it!  but then again, my dad always said “your such a dreamer kid”.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to Dance in the rain.”

Posted April 20, 2011 by brentcatlett in Education

Life vs. Death   2 comments

So recently I had an amazing experience.  A sad one, but a good one.  My dad has always said to me growing up that “Life isn’t fair” and I totally agree with him.

Sadly, my amazing wife lost her Grandmother last week.  She was terribly saddened and distraught which of course was not easy for me to sit back and take.  Seeing her cry when we walked into the hospice room where Grandma was taking her last breaths was very uneasy for all of us, including our 10 month daughter.  The three of us walked into Grandma’s room and she lay on this bed with tubes connected to her nose and we knew from the report of the nurses that things were not good and her outcome was very grim.  It reminded me of when I was 16 and watched my grandfather take his last breath in his hospital bed and my dad cried which truly blasted me because I had never seen him cry in the 16 years prior.

My wife was immediately a wreck upon seeing her grandma in this state and our daughter started to cry and fuss when she saw her mother like this and also it was like death was in the air and she knew it too, she could sense it, much like I could.  From my experience with my grandfather I could tell that this was not good, and the nurse confirmed she had just called my wife’s aunt to tell her Grandma would not make it through the night and things were going from bad to worse.  I swooped up our daughter and took her out of the room and gave my wife some alone time with her Grandma, at the time, I thought, perhaps for the last time.  I, of course, did not say that to her, but I was thinking it.  We were there at 6:30ish that night and later we heard she passed away at 7:00pm that same night.

In this whole traumatic chain of events and death I saw LIFE.  I saw LIFE in our daughter.  Our beautiful lil 10 month old.  Ok, I am biased, but she is so frickin cute!  More importantly, in this time of death with my wife’s Grandma I remember watching our daughter in the waiting room of the hospice center, knowing that Grandma was going to die, that I had LIFE right in front of me, and DEATH was just down the hall.  This was so sad of course, but so wonderful to see my little daughter so healthy and so full of LIFE.  My 10 month old daughter had her whole LIFE in front of her.  I took solice in the fact that Grandma had an opportunity to meet our daughter and she got to know her and spend many quality moments with her.  Moreover, our daughter was the culmination of Grandma, the offspring of her granddaughter.  If it wasn’t for Grandma my daughter wouldn’t be here today.  In Grandma, I saw my daughter.  My daughter will be Grandma’s legacy and that is a blessed and amazing gift.  So in the end when I saw DEATH,  I also saw LIFE.

Thank you Grandma.  Thank you so very much.  We love you and we miss you.

Posted April 18, 2011 by brentcatlett in Parenting

$700 Honda   4 comments

"The Racecar . . ."

Picture me rollin’ in this bad boy out of some parking lot where my wife and I had met this gal at a pizza joint via Craigslist on a nice Sunday evening to see about buying this car.  She was listed at $900 on CL.  I was out to buy something for less than $1000 for my new job of Instructional Technology Trainer for my district because I was going to be traveling all around the district from school to school and my BIG HEMI full size Dodge Ram 1500 wasn’t going to cut it with the way gas prices are!  I needed a little gas saver car.

So our journey led us to this Honda.  1993 Accord.  This “RACECAR” as I affectionately like to call her now.  That’s right, it’s a she.  She is somethin’ else.  When I test drove it the 1st time it had no muffler and sounded like a stock car so that is where her nickname came from.  In fact, my wife wouldn’t even get out of our other car to test drive it with me and I remember her laughing at me as I drove off in it.

So the test drive went well.  It rattled, it creaked, it leaked oil, there was rust all over it,  it had 253,000 miles on it, and it roared like a stockcar!  So I bought it!  I offered them $700 and they took it.  I bought it that evening and drove it home.  That was in July.  My new job started in August with the new school year.  I needed something and I needed it quick!

Now here is where my story gets better!  So a couple months into the job I was heading from one school to another and I decided to stop at a gas station to grab a pop and snack.  I pull up in front  and park in one of the stalls.  I go in and get my pop and snack.  As I am in line to pay in walks a gal dressed very sharply.  She walks in and grabs a drink out of the cooler and gets in line behind me.  I walk out and she isn’t far behind.  I walk around my $700 Honda and open the door to get in.  She walks around her HUMMER H2 parked next to me and gets in.  I fire up the RACECAR and back up and drive off.

I remember thinking, “now this is funny”.

Why is it that people feel the need to fill their lives with material things?  I had to laugh that day as I drove away in my $700 1993 Honda and she drove off in her very expensive Hummer H2.  Do you think she judged me when she saw my car?  Would you judge me for my car?  I remember thinking what a GAS HOG that vehicle must be?  Why not buy the ridiculous Hummer H2 that epitomizes the overspending and gluttony of our society.

I drive my RACECAR with Pride.  I don’t need a brand new Hummer H2 to feel like I’m important or worthy of looks.  People are so messed up in what is important to them.  I am not by any means singling this one gal out individually, but moreover I am questioning all of us, myself included.  As I reflect on what is important to me it has become more and more simple as I have grown to my current 35th year of life.

It’s family, it’s my son, it’s my daughter, it’s my wife, it’s my future baby coming in October, it’s my parents, brother, sister, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and cousins.  It’s all them, it’s not the material things I have or accumulate.  It’s the relationships with those people and the people I come in contact with.

Simple as that.  Maybe you should by a RACECAR!?!?!

Posted April 10, 2011 by brentcatlett in Education, Parenting

EdcampOmaha!!   3 comments

This past Saturday (March 26, 2011) I attended EDCAMPOMAHA at UNO in the Alumni Center!  One of the things about edcamp is that it is FREE!!  So that was fabulous, my district didn’t have to pay a dime for me to attend and neither did I.  Although, like my Twitter friend @Matt_Gomez from Plano, TX who was in attendance, after we attended the 1st session called, “APP MANIA” together we were both about to spend $15 on featured Apps for our iPads!

Ok, so EdCampOmaha was organized by my other Twitter friend @j_allen!  Many other great Twitter friends attended the edcamp and many different states were represented at the camp!  I was immediately blown away by the whole thing!  I was so excited to meet some of my Twitter friends in person so I attended the Tweet-up on Friday night and had a chance to meet some and then of course on Saturday at the conference.

I am still wrestling with whether or not this was the best conference I ever attended.  The environment was immediately laid-back and I could tell I was in a different place that I was going to enjoy.  There were no vendors, no team of people walking around in the same colored shirts.  I’ve always attended NETA and will again this year.  NETA is a whole nother beast.  To truly understand EdCampOmaha one must have been there.  My PLN grew exponentially and I had the chance to meet, collaborate, and learn from so many AMAZING educators from the Midwest.

Here are some Twitter friends I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing and learning with:  @shannonmmiller @michellek107 @BarbInNebraska @mrbadura @mhuskerfan @mrmanteacher @bgoeman @mattiejg @jerrodkruse @lfeld52 @russgoerend @teresa_casart @afitzgerald @kylepace @johnccarver @smileyomahan @usamimi74 @Mrskmpeters to name a few. . .

EdCampOmaha was so cool because people could present if they wanted to, or they could hang back and listen and learn.  Either way you were bound to collaborate and engage in conversations with other passionate educators that was sure to have you thinking and taking notes to bring back to your home district and school.  Is was very cool!  Very Fun!  And very rewarding!  So glad I attended!  Thank you Josh Allen.  Great job!!

Posted March 27, 2011 by brentcatlett in Education, Social Media, Technology

Twitter? Should we use it?   1 comment

I would like to pose the question of Twitter?  Should we use it?

My answer is we should all be using TWITTER!!

Quick background, I am fairly new to twitter.  I used to think of it as Celebrities using it to promote themselves and posting ridiculous things about where they were and what they were doing.  I never realized the power of connecting with fellow educators and establishing a PLN!

Currently, I am an Instructional Technology Trainer for a Public School District in Nebraska and in my district TWITTER.COM is BLOCKED!  My fellow colleague @techiefeldie and I decided after embarking into the Twitter world (that she showed me upon learning at ISTE) and realizing the power of it that we had to bring it to the teachers of our district.  So we put together a plan to have an on-line class so they could do it from home.

With wonderful support from our Superintendent and boss we launched the class to 40 teachers at the beginning of March.  As class has continued this month we have been excited to see the interaction and collaboration with these 40 people and all I can think about is why don’t all of the teachers of our district use Twitter!?!?!

In my dream world, every teacher, principal, main office employee, and anyone else in between would have a Twitter account.  The true collaboration that could take place would be instantaneous and connecting.  A 4th grade teacher could throw a question out there and immediately have feedback from all over the district.  Principal’s could poll teachers quickly and easily, or they could disseminate information to their staff.

Imagine the possibilities.  A truely connected and collaborative environment in a district via Twitter.  I could go on and on about the endless uses of Twitter in my district.

then my man Nelly sings . . .  “I realized it was only JUST A DREAM”. . . . .

maybe my dream could come true

Posted March 17, 2011 by brentcatlett in Education, Technology, Web 2.0