Saturday, May 30, 2009

Follow Your Passion...

Graduation is always a special a time for the the graduates and their families. At this time of year, high school graduation are being held in every community in America. One, however, has attracted the attention of the media nationwide and worldwide.

Each year, Dr. Condoleezza Rice accepts only one invitation to speak at a high school graduation. This year, that one was Talladega High School. In addition to hearing the inspiring words of a fellow Alabamian, every senior met and was photographed with Dr. Rice.

Here is the news story as told by ABC 33/40:

Jeremy Campbell of ABC 33/40 spent time with Dr. Rice in this exclusive interview:

Coverage from Fox 6 is here:

Today's Birmingham News carries this excellent article.

Listed below is the Associated Press article which is appearing today throughout the country:

Associated Press
Published: May 29, 2009

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) - Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged graduates of Talladega High School to find their passions in life and follow them.
Rice a native of Birmingham, was the school’s graduation speaker Thursday night. She said she first studied music as a college student and later pursued international studies, although she said she “didn’t have a Russian bone in my body.“
She told the 150 graduates and their families that many years later, when she was leaving the White House lawn via helicopter with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife in 1990, she thought she had made a good decision in changing her major.
Talladega Mayor Brian York gave Rice a key to the city and declared Thursday “Condoleezza Rice Day."

Of all of the media attention, perhaps most notable is Chris Norwood's article in The Daily Home. That article appears here. This paper has proven to be a supporter of this school system time and time again. You may view a 29-picture slideshow of the event by clicking here.

Graduations are happening in every community in America. This one attracted the attention of the nation. As the Class of 2009 begins to make its mark on the world, who knows which of these graduates might just attract the attention of the nation. It can happen...just as it did for one Alabamian. Follow your passion...When you are convinced that you are right, find someone with a different opinion...Don't ever lose your thirst for knowledge. Wise words spoken by someone who has so much in common with the young men and women she was addressing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Could He Fool the Whole World?

"The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn't use information they find there if it can't be traced back to a reliable primary source..."

Suppose a person fabricated a piece of information and then posted it to Wikipedia. Would the fraud be snuffed immediately? Or, would the bogus information go down in history as fact? That situation happened recently, and you can read about it here.

The implications for the field of education are enormous. I had written recently about the need for us to check our facts before passing on what could be hoaxes. The Internet is a resource for information--both good and bad. The job of finding information is easier now than it has ever been. The job of verifying the accuracy of that information just got tougher. It's the universal trade-off. Students need to understand that. First, however, we must understand that.

Technology throws at us solutions, and it throw at us problems, and then it throws at us solutions to the problems it threw. Staying on top of developments in technology is a wise investment of time. Ultimately, it makes life easier.

As summer arrives, we have more flexibility in our days that at any other time. We have the opportunity to make the summer count for something, if that's our choice. Harnessing some aspect of technology and making it work for us isn't a bad way to make summer count. For the language arts teacher, it may mean perfecting research skills, something relevant to the story which begins this post. For the math teacher, it may mean learning Excel and then wishing you had taken the plunge ten years ago. For the elementary teacher, it may mean getting really good at using that Interwrite SchoolPad through some devoted practice time. For the physical education teacher, it may mean starting a blog to inform other people how they can stay physically fit.

Our school system's vision is moving forward to meets the demands of a changing world. For a system committed with that vision at its center, getting serious about technology is one of the surest ways to turn vision into reality.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Want to Know What a Scam Looks Like?

If you want to know what a scam looks like, look no further. This is an actual e-mail that I received. It looks oh so official. The bottom line is the scammer wants login information. It's not going to happen, at least not with me. Would you have recognized this was a scam or would you have taken the bait?

Your Webmail Quota Has Exceeded The Set Quota/Limit Which Is 20GB.
Your Are Currently Running On 23GB due to hidden files and folder on your Mailbox.
Please you are to follow the Below information to Validate Your Mailbox And Increase Your Quota.

First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:

Failure to follow this process to Validate Your Quota may result in loss Of important information in your Mailbox/Or Cause Limited Access To It.

Please provide all these information completely and correctly otherwise due to security reasons we may have to close your account temporarily.We have been sending this notice to all our email account owners and this is the last notice/verification exercise.

Localhost Support.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Please Remember Me

On this Memorial Day, we bring you a tribute to our fallen troops.

The music is "Dante's Prayer" by Loreena McKennit. The creator of this video does not give her name, but writes, "The pictures are from various sources on the web, and the editing is done painstakingly by hand using Windows Movie Maker. This took me forever, but I hope it will be appreciated."

Yes, I can assure you it will...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thanks, Daily Home!

I was a little overwhelmed to see the front page of yesterday's Daily Home. The two huge color pictures taken at my retirement reception were really overwhelming. The cutline read:

Talladega City Schools Curriculum and Special Education Coordinator Frank Buck was honored at a retirement party at Magnolia's Tuesday evening. Buck has served in the current position for three years, and has been ad administrator at various levels since 1993. He launched his career in education in 1982 as a award winning band director.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Virtual AETC - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Virtual AETC is just around the corner. Registration will be done on through STIPD. After logging in, search the PD Catalog for VAETC. You will see a list of all of the sessions being offered, and you can sign up for those you like.

I am conducting two sessions:

Managing Digital Data With Ease (VAETC09002) June 12 11:00-12:00

Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less (VAETC09003) June 8 11:00-12:00

After registering, you will receive this e-mail message:

“Congratulations! You have successfully registered for a session in Virtual AETC. First, copy down your STIPD session number/title. Then, go to the following link and create a login to Moodle using your correct name ( If you are registering for more than one session, you will only need one login to Moodle. Save your Moodle username and password and use them to access your sessions. Once logged into Moodle, you may find technical requirements, help files, and session links listed within Moodle. For help on registering in Moodle, download the following file: Please create your Moodle login as soon as you register so that you won’t be delayed getting into your sessions.”

Those outside of Alabama can register as well:
  1. Go to the following link and create a login to Moodle using your correct name (
  2. Use this help file to create the Moodle login:
  3. Save your Moodle username and password and use them to access your sessions.
  4. Once logged into Moodle, you may find technical requirements, help files, and session links listed within Moodle.
  5. The links will be active on the day of the session.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Join us at JSU for Get Organized!

I will be conducting a full-day Get Organized! workshop through the Jacksonville State University Inservice Center on June 23. The time is 8:30-4:00. Because the inservice is providing a free copy of the book to all participants, registration is limited to those in the JSU Inservice Center Region.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To the Class of '09

This one has been around for a while. The advice was good a decade ago, and it's good advice now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Forever Young"

Sixteen months ago in a post entitled "Little Things are Big Things," I wrote, "Doing little things, and doing them well, is a big thing. Virtually every task we perform is insignificant when viewed alone. Knit together, those small accomplishments move mountains..."

The post spoke of the challenges of beginning leadership facing an interim principal. This post provides, in words reminiscent of Paul Harvey, the rest of the story.

As days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, the little things began to add up. Grass and flowers began to grow where only dirt had been. A pothole-filled parking lot was re-surfaced. Awnings were erected to keep rain off of children and out of the building.

Inside the building, a spirit of cooperation united parents, teachers, children, and the community. The school became as financially solid as it was academically solid. All of it happened because of little things--little things all moving in the same direction.

Soon, it became apparent that the best person for the job was the person already doing the job. With more degrees, better people skills, a flair for creativity, and far more years of classroom experience at the elementary level than anyone around, fate had created the best of situations for this school.

This past Friday, the Board of Education made a great decision for the stakeholders at Raymond L. Young Elementary School. Ironically, it was on "Forever Young" Field Day that the Interim Young Principal became the "Forever Young" Principal. Congratulations to Pattie Thomas, and may the best days for "a good place to learn and grow" be those still in the future.

You've got to think about the "big things" while you're doing the small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.

-Alvin Tofler

Friday, May 15, 2009

You'll Never Walk Alone

With high school graduations approaching, I am always reminded of graduations when I was a student at Tuscaloosa County High School. Under the direction of Ronnie Lett, the mixed choir at the school was one of the finest in the state, and their annual rendition of this song seldom left a dry eye in the place.

The message is just as relevant now as it was when I was in high school, and is just as relevant as when this song premiered in 1945.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On Choices

Every day brings choices. We can’t go wrong with the choices we see in this video.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Checklists are great for making sure we don't forget anything. A couple of weeks ago, I finally thought through a comprehensive "Packing Checklist" which lists everything I need to pack when I am going out of town as well as listing the few tasks that must be done before leaving.

In another post, I will talk about some of the checklists I have, where they are stored, and how I use them. The purpose of this post is to point you to a very simple web-based checklist maker.

Printable Checklists is a site that allows you to give your list a title, add as many items as you wish, and print your list. Think of all of the checklists you use over and over. The trip packing checklist is one example. If you have to plan lots of parties for children, composing a checklist for that activity would be a great idea.

The download seems to be the inability to save the list and then change it later. The upside is that it is so easy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Who Puts His Trust...

In a blog all about saving time and getting organized, one of the questions we must keep ever present is, "Save time for what?" The answers differ for each of us. For many of us, the answer is that we can save time on the mundane and direct it to the creative aspects of our lives.

By the way, in this performance, it's not a band with a choir behind them. It's the band that's also doing the singing.