Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe that tomorrow is our last class. I am ready to present my final project, but as the time gets closer, I know I'll be nervous. I've learned so much in this class and worked with some wonderful people. Thank you everyone! I have one more project for another class and then life will be back to normal.

I was able to take a couple hours here and there between work and school to put up Christmas decorations around my home. I love the feeling that this holiday brings especially when my home is decorated. I haven't done any shopping yet. I know, it's December 5 already.

I'll probably do some of my shopping online and then brave the malls on the weekends and after work. Thankfully, I don't have that many gifts to buy since my family does Secret Santa for the adults. At least I already ordered my family Christmas card.

I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. May you find peace and joy during this wonderful time of the year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blessed & Thankful

This past week I was reminded of how blessed I am. I celebrated another birthday with my mom. I was born on her 25th birthday and we've been celebrating our special day since then. She always reminds me that I was her best birthday gift ever. As old as I am, my mom still makes me feel so special. I am thankful for my mom for all that she has done for me in making me into the person I am today.

A few days later it was Thanksgiving. Through the use of technology, we had most of our family members present at my home. My brother, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said the prayer on speaker phone. My sister on Kauai joined us at our after dinner activities when her son texted her a video showing her what we were doing. Although this day marked the 16th anniversary of my dad's passing, I could still sense how proud he would have been to see how we are carrying on the tradition of having fun as a family.

I am also blessed to have the time to work on my final project for this class. The four days off from work has given me the time to really concentrate on the Facilitator's Guide and the Course Website. I still have the written narrative still to tackle, but I can now see the light at the end of this MOOC.

The semester is coming to an end and I am thankful for that. It's been a challenging four months juggling home, work, and school responsibilities. I am blessed that in just a few more weeks, life will be back to normal (no work and school). Wait, can life really be normal at Christmas?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Last Friday, I went to a workshop that taught me how to use my interactive board. I learned that to make my own flip chart, I need to understand layering. I need to know what's on layer 1, what's on layer 2, and what's on layer 3. I need to know what layer an object is on so I know what it can do. As I was sitting there listening to the instructor, I thought to myself..."This sounds like my life right now!"

With the semester winding down, I'm busy working on final projects. Right now, this task is taking up much of my life. But, what layer is school on in my life?

Well, here's the break down...

On layer 1, you would find me.  I need to take care of myself so I can take care of everybody and everything in my life. I need to make sure I'm eating (yes, I tend to forget to eat when I'm busy). I need to exercise to keep my energy up and the stress down.

On layer 2 is my family. I need to take care of my family's needs. On a weekly bases, I cook dinner about three times a week (we eat left overs or get take out for the other days), I attend my son's soccer games about 2 to 3 times a week, I help him with homework at times, I wash/fold laundry weekly, and I tidy up the house when it bothers me.

On layer 3...well, on this layer it would have to be between my work and my school. This is the layer where I spend all my "free" time on. I look at it this way...when I'm not working, I'm working on my school assignments. If I'm not working on my school assignments, I'm at work. I now call work a distraction. A good distraction, that is. You see, my work helps me to forget about school assignments for awhile. I love that I get to work with elementary children, and I get to see the innocence in their eyes. They are wonderful reminders of what is important in life.

Even though the layers of my life are off, I know it's only temporary. I'll be back to normal in a month. The layers on my flip charts, on the other hand, are perfect. They're doing what they are supposed to be doing right now.

With that, I must say that I, too, believe that even though my layers in my life are off right now, I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Healthy Living

Anyone who knows me well, knows that health and fitness is one of my top priorities in life. I have experienced health and vitality as a result of living a healthy lifestyle. On the flip side, I have found that when I do not exercise or eat well, my life is just not the same. I wake up tired, because I tossed and turned the night before. Then I feel yucky all day. This doesn't happen for too many days for I know what I have to do to. I told my doctor the other day that I am finding that exercising for me has become an essential part of of life, not only for keeping me fit, but more importantly, to keep me sane.

That's why when I was tasked to design a MOOC (Massive Open Online Class), I chose to concentrate on Healthy Living. I see all around me how unhealthy living affects our society. It's unfortunate, but it is affecting our youth. I feel if we teach them to live healthy lives when they are young, they will grow up to be healthy adults. This would be a cycle that would be worth repeating through the generations.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Online Communicating...Be Careful!

Last night was my school's Fun Fair. It was a long day but very fulfilling. I got to see students whom I taught many years ago. I see many of them on Facebook so when we were hugging, we commented that it was great seeing each other in person. Oh my, some even had their own children!

I posted about the Fun Fair on Facebook after I came home. Students who saw me replied that is was great seeing me (Mrs. Ahuna) too. Sometimes I forget that I have past students as friends because I block many of them and they usually do not reply to my posts. I once posted that I was frustrated with my class and that I was seriously thinking about a career change. This was an OMG time for me...those students came out of hiding and responded and responded. I did feel appreciated and loved, but I also felt embarrassed. I learned a lesson that day.

When we were introduced to Google+, I thought that this was the answer to adding students. Since it has the Circles features, I saw that I could arrange all my students into different circles. Then when I want to gripe, they do not have to see it. Unfortunately, Google+ has not reached the masses yet. It will be a great tool for me when it does take off.

Until that happens, my rule will remain. My students can only request for me to be their friend after I am not their teacher anymore. Since I've switched to being a resource teacher, I teach all grades. Some of my last year students asked me why I didn't accept their friend request. I told them...because I'm still your teacher. I get groans from them, but my rule stands. "I'm your teacher," I tell them, "not your friend."

Since I block many of my students from my wall, I do not see everything they are doing. When I have the time, I visit their individual walls to check on them. It's obvious though, that they don't block my posts from their walls. After that one post a few years ago, I know I have to be careful.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stranger to Friend

I was introduced to the Tech Cadre by a stranger visiting my school at the beginning of the school year.  I didn't sign up with this cadre until the Fall Break that D.O.E. schools just came off of. Since then, my school email has been receiving so much mail, I almost regretted joining this cadre.

That was how I felt, until today...

I was having problems with a wireless router up in one of our buildings. The laptops detected it, it had a strong signal to it, but the laptops couldn't connect to it. I tried all that I knew how to do. Then, I thought...I'll post my problem to the Tech Cadre! Boy, did I get a response.  And, immediately, I might add. My next thought was...are people just sitting at their computers waiting to respond? I mean, I got lengthy emails from others giving me suggestions on what to check and I even got one that scolded me for using that type of router. The best was that the help I was getting was beyond me. I told a friend out of frustration, "Why can't someone just offer to come and help me."

I finally went back to my classroom. I checked my email, and I couldn't believe what I read. A somewhat stranger (after all, he is a teacher) wrote, "If you stay till after 3:30, I can come and help you tomorrow." I looked at the sender; the tech person was from Wheeler. You see, my school is in Kaneohe and Wheeler is in Wahiawa. I quickly responded, "I would gladly wait for you. Do you live in Kaneohe? I wouldn't want you to come out of your way, but I appreciate the gesture." It was late, so I left work right after that.

The thought lingered in my mind. I thought, do I know this person, is this person just being nice, is this for real? When my friend came over to exercise, I told her about this. She teased me, "Is he a forgotten, long, lost boyfriend?" I laughed, "No way; my memory is not that bad!" We got so curious; we googled him. I saw what he looked like (Wheeler had their teacher's pictures posted). I came to the conclusion that I didn't know this person. I figured, if he really comes to help me, I better have something to thank him. I worked my crafty magic, created a pencil out of Rolo and a Hersey Kiss (idea from Pinterest), and attached a tag that read, "Mahalo for your kindess!"

When I returned to school this morning, I got another email from him. He responded that he did indeed live in Kaneohe, his niece and nephew attended my school in the early 2000s, and this would give him an excuse to leave his school early. Well, what would you guess? At 3:30, he arrived at my school.

We introduced ourselves, and I did remember having his niece as a student but not his nephew. I quickly learned that this guy was not only kind, he was so into this stuff.  He showed me an app that detects wireless systems. In the short time he was there, I was learning a whole lot. I took him up to the building where the wireless router was. The app showed the wireless router. He worked his magic and 'tada', the laptops connected to router. I now know what the "magic trick"is so I can perform it the next time I have the same problem. I also now have the app on my smart phone.

So I am thankful that I did join this Tech Cadre and now I don't regret joining. It worked for me...there's wireless in D building and I made a friend today.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Change is Good

Today I had a workshop for the evaluation program the Windward District is piloting. I brought my iPad and wireless keyboard to take notes. I noticed that besides the instructor, I was the only one who used a technological tool. However, this is not what surprised me. What did? I felt extremely comfortable using these wonderful tools.

I can tell you I received my iPad for Mother's Day 2012. I use it a lot around my home to do all sorts of stuff, but I rarely take it on the go. When I was getting ready to leave this morning, I thought of packing my laptop. Too big...I didn't want to lug that to my workshop. I immediately changed my thinking and put my iPad in my bag (along with the wireless keyboard).

My how I've changed! Since being in the OTEC program, it has become second nature for me to turn to my laptop to do all my assignments. I compose and read on my computer, so I use very little paper and ink. I know this is natural for an online program but little did I know it would change the way I do things outside of school. The way I see it is as long as my iPad is charged and I have it, I will not need a notebook.

Change is good right? I think so...I'll still keep my notebooks handy for the day that technology doesn't work. We all know that happens now and then.

Wondering about the workshop? Well, that was a big change for an online student...and the topic...let's just say that I was glad it was over when it was done.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Online Collaboration

Collaborating online is new for me. I'm simply amazed with all the tools that make this task possible. I am a social person so I am surprised that I am surviving. Why is that?

I think it is because the tools that allow for online collaborating is only missing the face-to-face aspect. I can still talk, share and be myself. I'm learning to communicate more clearly because no one can see my facial expressions. Agreeing is always easy to express, but if I disagree with something, I have to voice it. I can say that it's been a smooth experience thus far.

To accomplish Week 7's assignment, create a one-page web page with the focus on Web Based Content, we communicated through email to get our group together. We agreed to meet on Skype. During this Skype session, we got to know each other a little better, we decided on our focus, we agreed on what we each would do before our next meeting, we created a Google Doc to keep our ideas together, and we set the day and time for our next meeting. Whew!

During our next Skype session, we looked at all the ideas that were on our Google Doc. Yes, everyone did their homework! We chose the articles we wanted to use, we shared the websites we found, we created a Weebly page that we all could access, we decided who would do what, and we set our next Skype day and time. Yes!

I've come to realize that the online collaborative tools that are available are wonderful and reliable. However, these tools are nothing without the people who are using them. Through this journey, I've also come to appreciate my classmates. They, too, are wonderful and reliable. 

Thank you, Ty and Amy, my current partners, and all the other wonderful people I've worked with. It's because of all of you that I am surviving this online journey. It is my wish to meet each and every one of you in person. Until then, continue being the wonderful and reliable people that you are.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Worth the Wait

At work, my SmartBoard was finally installed. It was ordered in May, came in August, and has been sitting in our library since then. The installation guy gave me a brief training and as soon as he left me, I quickly got the CD and started the installation of the software. Gosh, the install took a long time. By the time in finished, I had to leave to pick up my son. I packed up my laptop even though I knew I wouldn't have any time to create a flip chart or find one on the web. What I had was determination...I was going to have something ready for my first graders the next day.

I was right, I didn't have any time to explore or create, so I made it a point to get up early. About a 1/2 hour before I had to leave for work, I sat down and turned on my school laptop and my personal laptop, too. I knew I was getting a SmartBoard so I already had some websites bookmarked on my personal laptop. I ended up on the Smart Exchange website. I downloaded a few activities and then I was off to work.

I got everything ready for my first class. When they arrived, I greeted them outside and told them that there was something new in the lab. I told them when they entered to sit at their computers and to raise their had if they knew what I was talking about. By the time everyone was in the class, many were already raising their hands. The looks on their faces told me what I predicted.

The wait was worth on.

Some grade levels ask that I focus on some area of instruction and others allow me to do what I want with them. Grade 1 teachers requested that I focus on math, specifically, adding up to 10.  I found a flip chart that had several problems for the kids to solve. I demonstrated answering the first problem. I used my finger to write the answer...the children gasped. I told them that, yes, this board is a touch screen! I tapped the arrow to the next problem and asked, "Who wants to solve the next problem?" I had everyone's attention...all hands went up.

Everyone was engaged and excited throughout the entire lesson. They helped each other...even if they weren't chosen, they helped the person who was. When the problems ended, they wanted more.

So, was waiting for four months worth the wait? I say it was. To see kids who are engaged and excited about learning or practicing what they are learning makes the wait worthwhile. I plan on using this SmartBoard to continue doing this.

I'm just glad the wait is over!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Laughing at Myself

I try to keep up with my assignments following Thomas Jefferson's rule..."Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today". His Ten Rules sit in front of me on my desk at home reminding me about how to live my life. For this class and my core class, OTEC 602, I try to work on assignments as soon as I know they are assigned. For the most part, I'm working about a week ahead.

Well tonight I had to laugh at myself. I was rushing around after work...went to the bank, did some light grocery shopping, then made dinner. I even told my friend that I couldn't go to Yoga. At about 5:55 p.m. I settled at my laptop, logged into Blackboard Collaborate only to find that I was the only one there. I quickly looked at my calendar, checked the date and realized I am a week too early. All I could do was laugh and my son laughed louder.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do well for most of my life. For school, it has worked for me in all my asynchronous activities. I try to do what is easiest first so I have more time to tackle the harder stuff. The screencast, for example, took me a long time to get it to a point where I was satisfied with it. I want to use it in my classroom so it had to be just right. I just posted it last night after working on it since Monday.

What it doesn't work for is a synchronous activity where everyone needs to meet at a certain time. Makes sense! So, do I need to, I don't think so.  I'll continue to do my school work as I have been, but I'll be sure to pay attention to the actual dates.

"Laughter is an instant vacation." I don't know who said this, but it's true. I know I enjoyed it. It put me at ease; I could least for one evening (a short vacation).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mid Week Blessings

Today is Wednesday and my brain is feeling so tired. I went to bed exhausted from the day to wake up to my husband telling me I had to get up to take our son to the bus stop. Wednesday is my only day to take him. On the radio going to the bus stop and then on the way back home, the DJ was having a contest saying the worst day out of the week for men is Monday, so what is the worst day for women? I thought for sure the answer was Wednesday because of how I was feeling. Well, I was wrong. A lady called in to say it was Friday. The reasoning behind that day was that the work week is done and now women have to get ready for all the events, cleaning, etc. that the weekend brings.

Fridays are not like that for me. I'm the most busy during the week tackling home, work and school responsibilities, so the middle of the week is usually when I feel the most tired. This explains why I feel the way I do this morning.

You see, I am blessed to have only one child. My husband and I agreed early on that we would not be parents who would over book our child. Therefore, the weekend is a time for our family to recoup from the week. We do have activities but not so many.  I actually enjoy the distraction that they bring; they help me to turn off my brain.

Blessings are all around us. We just need to slow down to see and realize them. Who else feels that having a great cup of coffee is a blessing? I just had mine, and I'm ready to get going again. Annotated I come...and Friday, don't come to soon, I have much to do still. : )

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On-Line Adventure

Creating an on-line class is much like creating a class for a traditional classroom. What you have to teach is important, but more importantly, you have to consider your audience. What kinds of learning styles do they come with? How do they learn best?

That’s what I was asking myself as I read through the R2D2 article. How do I learn best? What kind of a learner am I? I couldn’t pinpoint my learning style to just one. I realized that I learn best when there is a variety of learning activities that tap into my variety of learning styles. I conclude also that as I mature as a learner, I adapt and learn to deal with what is presented to me and how it is presented.

The two online classes that I am presently taking are prime examples of classes that engage me as a learner. My instructors use a variety of tools and they assign a variety of activities. They provide rubrics for these activities allowing me to know what is expected. Like anything new, some of it takes a while to learn (Learning Pains). However, that is engagement for me. I enjoy challenges…where I am acquiring knowledge, reflecting on that knowledge, visualizing what I need to do, then doing it and going on from there.

My adventure continues...I will use my experiences in how am learning in my on-line classes to create a unit that engages and challenges my audience.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Learning Pains

Tonight was our first online class for ETEC 622. It was so different from my OTEC 602 class. I feel that because we didn't have a face to face meeting, I didn't have a feel for who everyone was and what their agendas were. It was very overwhelming to me having so many people chatting about all kinds of things. I decided to not look there to help me concentrate on what was being said and what was shown on the whiteboard.

Because of this experience, I have my answer to our first discussion question, "What are the two most important tips for succeeding in an online class?" The tips I would give myself after tonight is to have  patience and to be flexible with yourself and others. I have a Type A personality so I can get very agitated when things or people are not organized or when I don't know something I need to know. I know this about myself and tonight I was aware that I was getting very frustrated. I take away from this experience that I need to be patient with myself and others and I need to be flexible to let things work itself out.

Our second discussion question was, "How would a course designer or instructor address these tips?" A course designer or instructor would have to make sure that they communicate well with their students. They have to make sure that their students know how to navigate the course and know what is expected of them. The course has to be set up in a way that everyone taking the course could navigate it easily. I feel my instructor and his two teacher assistants did a wonderful job tonight in making things more clear for me.

I recognize that these are learning pains that I'm experiencing. I realize I have not been a student for so long. There is much to learn...about myself as a student too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bucket List

I am starting my new journey and I am loving it. I got accepted in the Master's in Educational Technology at the University of Hawaii in the Fall of 2012.  This goal has been on my Bucket List for a long time. Family and work responsibilities are right where I can manage going back to school. So far, I think I'm managing well. I love learning...I realize that I know a lot but I have so much more to learn.