Thursday, February 28, 2013

Words up in the Sky....:)

A word cloud is a beautiful, informative image that communicates much in a single glance.
Some possible educationa (and not-so-educational!) uses include:
  • as topic summaries for speeches and written works
  • as blog tool or website analysis for search engine optimization (SEO)
  • for visual analysis of qualitative data
  • as brand clouds that let companies see how they are perceived by the world
  • for data mining a text corpus
  • for helping writers and students reflect on their work
  • as name tags for conferences, cocktail parties or wherever new collaborations start
  • as resumes in a single glance
  • as visual poetry
  • as a visual representation of a written biography
  • as a visual representation of a page in a website
I find that my students LOVE to create word clouds.  I have most often used Wordl, but there are MANY options available!  To find even more, explore Pinterest boards for "Word Cloud" as well!  Here are several that you should give a try!

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 9.26.24 AM.png ABCYa has a very simple-to-use word cloud!

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 9.29.46 AM.pngTHIS IS WAAAAAY Cool!
Tag Galaxy is a word cloud unlike any other. It is a innovative site that visually represents words in a galaxy style format. Submit a word and it will give you related words also!  The 4th graders had a blast with this yesterday!

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 9.35.16 AM.png
Tag Cloud Generator goes to a website that is entered by the user. The effects are impressive since the results are a moving flash file that can be downloaded. It also provides an HTML tag cloud.

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 9.38.03 AM.png
Make Word Mosaic by Image Chef It allows for different shapes, colors, and fonts.

external image Picture+7.pngTagul is a free word cloud generator that offers the option to link every word in your word cloud to a Google search. Click on any word in your word cloud to be taken directly to a Google search results page for that word. Tagul creates a word cloud from text you copy into your Tagul account. Tagul will also generate a word cloud from any url you specify. Just as you can with other word cloud generators, Tagul allows you to specify words to ignore in creating your word clouds. Once your word cloud is created Tagul provides you with an embed code to put your cloud on your blog or website.
USERNAME: annelyon

external image Picture+7.pngWord It Out creates word clouds out of any text that you paste into the word cloud generator. Once the word cloud is created you can customize the size and color scheme of the cloud. You can also customize the font used in your word cloud. The feature of Word It Out that I like the best is that you can choose to have Word It Out ignore any word or words you choose. Ignoring words keeps them out of the word cloud.
external image Picture+16.pngTagxedo makes it very easy to customize the design of your word clouds. You can select from a variety of shapes in which to display words or you can design your shape for your word cloud. You can enter text into the word cloud generator manually or simply enter a url from which Tagxedowill generate a word cloud. As with other word cloud generators you also have options for excluding words from your word clouds.
external image wordle.png
Amongst educators Wordle is probably the most famous word cloud generator. Wordle provides many options for color, shapes, and fonts for displaying your word clouds.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beethoven's Fifth...

What would Beethoven say if he experienced his composition in this format?  Can you imagine how much fun he would have creating with the technology we have now?  Here's Beethoven's Fifth, performed by Salt Lake Pops Orchestra...and lots of technology!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013 emotional fellow!

We are studying Chopin in music this month.  Students will be using QR codes today to learn more about him, and listen to the Minute Waltz.  We are also reading a book about Chopin a little each class period as we experience listening to his music.

.Frederic Francois Chopin was a composer of the Romantic Era.  He was born March 1, 1810 in Zelazowa, Poland and died October 17, 1849 in Paris, France (from tuberculosis).  Chopin was an emotional musician, perfect for the musical era in which he was born!  As a small child he would sit under the piano as his sister practiced and become very emotional, even to the point of crying, as he listened to her play.  

Chopin began his musical career at a very early age.  He once played for the czar of Russia and was given a diamond ring in appreciation!  This piece below, entitled the "Revolutionary Etude Opus 10 No. 12" is not the gentle music of his Nocturnes.  Instead, you can imagine the emotions of anger and frustration in this piece of music.  It is said that he wrote it as a response to Poland's failed revolution against Russia.  "All this has caused me much pain. Who could have foreseen it!" (Niecks, Frederick (1945), Frederic Chopin as a Man and Musician, p. 98.)

The pianist performing is Russian Stanislav Stanislavovich Bunin.  He is fantastic.  I think that I would like to challenge myself to begin learning this piece of music.  It would be a challenge for sure!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Only A Shadow

Another Carey Landry favorite of mine...Only A Shadow.  It's hard to imagine the vastness of God's LOVE for each one of us!  If I can only Love HIM a fraction of His Love for me!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We Behold The Splendor of God

This weekend we will hear the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus.  Our home, our citizenship is in heaven.  As we await our Savior, Jesus Christ, we also know that he will change our earthly body into a glorified body.  Listen as Ness Sings this song by Carey Landry as you reflect.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Begin Again...vocal version today

Here's the vocal version of yesterday's instrumental piece by The Piano Guys.  Megan Nicole and Alex Goot lend their voices to compliment the beauty of the cello and piano.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Some Wednesday Piano Music

Here's a gentle piece by The Piano Guys to awaken your senses this Wednesday in February.  Enjoy Taylor Swift's Begin Again.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Hawaii Chair!

Saw this on the Anderson Cooper show yesterday.  FUNNY!
Hey, who knows, it might add a bunch of activity points on to my ActiveLink!!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

 Last week, a group of musicians from Afghan performed in Carnegie Hall.  This is no ordinary group - it is a group of young people ages 10-21, mostly orphans, who have been educated at the only music school in Afghanistan.  Music was once forbidden by the Taliban.  Can you imagine your life without music?  There are places in our world where this is the norm.  

The group is supported by the US Department of State, the World Bank and other sponsors.  There are nearly 50 musicians in the group.  

The Afghan Youth Orchestra, featured in this news article from the Today Show, has been in operation for only 2 years.  It is led by William Harvey,  an American violinist, conductor and composer who lives and teaches in Kabul. 

Traditional Afghan instruments such as the  rubab, the national instrument of Afghanistan,  and the long-necked sitar, an ancient instrument of Indo-Afghan musical traditions, and the  sarod, another plucked Afghan instrument, like a rubab but fretless were some of the featured native instruments.  

I wish I could have been there!

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

What is Your Desert

Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, facing temptation.  What is my desert?  When have I been tempted, and had to fight to retain my integrity, my faith?  When we journey through our deserts, we face our enemy one on one.  Our true self is exposed.  Our desires are exploited.  Yet, we have the power of Jesus Christ and His Word as a sword and shield.  He is always there beside us, arming us against the temptations of the desert.

Here is a song entitled Desert Voice by composer Eric Becker. Imagine yourself in this desert, alone, thirsty, exhausted, afraid.  Embrace the love, protection and nourishment that God provides you.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Who needs drums when you've got ICE!?

There are instruments all around us in our everyday life.  Often I will have students drumming on coffee cans, buckets, plastic containers, but I've got to admit, I haven't had them drumming on ICE!  This is a video from the IRKUTSK ethnik percussion group ETHNOBEAT.  They are playing on frozen water of deepest and oldest Lake Baikal with pleasure and delight in the soul:)  The video wascreated by Natalia Vlasevskaia for BAIKALSTORY 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coffee or Tea?

Are you a coffe or tea drinker?  Seems like we are always hearing news of how "good" or how "bad" one or the other is for our health.  Here's an interesting infographic detailing some information about coffee and tea.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

First, Happy Valentines Day to my sweet husband, Jerry!  I have been blessed so much in the years we have been together.  He is my best friend, my partner, my lover.  Love you Dear!

Have you ever wondered where our traditions come from for Valentines Day, and how it actually became a holiday?  Here's a video from the History Channel that might help explain!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Change My Heart, Lord!

It's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a time of reflection, penance, forgiveness.  Here's another tender video form Sidewalk Prophets.  Listen as you begin this holy season.  Listen to the words, ask God to change your heart again.  Life is about change.  God is about always being there and Loving us!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent Challenge 2013

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow.  It is a time to think about ourselves as a whole -  mind, body and soul.  Father Jonathan Morris has some good thoughts on this process.  Think about what you would like to focus on during the next 46 days to make your life more pleasing to God!

Monday, February 11, 2013

How Strong Is Your Password?

We have been doing a unit about Online Safety in technology class.  One of the most important things to consider for all of us is our passwords.  We use passwords for everything in our lives these days - banking, gaming, checking our children's grades, Google Calendar, the list is endless.  

Are you using passwords that are easy to crack?  As a rule of thumb, you should change your password every 6 months.  Did you know that when you hit 9 characters (upper case password), it will take a computer approximately 178 years to crack it?  Here are a few other tips:

  • Protect your information by creating a secure password that makes sense to you, but not to others.
  • Avoid consecutive keyboard combinations— such as “qwerty” or “asdfg.”
  • Don’t use dictionary words, slang terms, common misspellings, or words spelled backward. These cracks rely on software that automatically plugs common words into password fields. Password cracking becomes almost effortless with a tool like John the Ripper or similar programs.
  • Don’t use personal information such as your name, age, birth date, child’s name, pet’s name, or favorite color or song.
  • Reusing passwords for email, banking, and social media accounts can lead to identity theft. Two recent breaches – HBGary and – showed a password reuse rate of 31% among victims.
  • Make sure you use different passwords for each of your accounts.
  • Be sure no one watches when you enter your password.
  • Always log off if you leave your device and anyone is around — it only takes a moment for someone to steal or change the password.
  • Use comprehensive security software and keep it up to date to avoid (keystroke loggers) and other malware.
  • Avoid entering passwords on computers you don’t control (like computers at an Internet café or library)—they may have malware that steals your passwords.
  • Avoid entering passwords when using unsecured Wi-Fi connections (like at the airport or coffee shop)—hackers can intercept your passwords and data over this unsecured connection.
  • Don’t tell anyone your password. Your trusted friend now might not be your friend in the future. Keep your passwords safe by keeping them to yourself.
  • Depending on the sensitivity of the information being protected, you should change your passwords periodically, and avoid reusing a password for at least one year.
  • Use at least eight characters of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password. The more, the merrier.
  • Strong passwords are easy to remember but hard to guess. Iam:)2b29! — This has 10 characters and says “I am happy to be 29!”
  • Use the keyboard as a palate to create shapes. %tgbHU8*- Follow that on the keyboard. It’s a V. The letter V starting with any of the top keys. To change these periodically, you can slide them across the keyboard.
  • Have fun with known short codes or sentences or phrases, like 2B-or-Not_2b?
  • It’s OK to write down your passwords, just keep them away from your computer and mixed in with other numbers and letters so it’s not apparent that it’s a password.
  • You can also write a tip sheet that will give you a clue to remember your password, but doesn’t actually contain your password on it. For example, in the example aforementioned, your tip sheet might read “Shakespeare’s question"
  • (taken from
If you are more of a visual person, check out the infographic below by SecurityCoverage.

How Strong is Your Password?

How Strong is Your Password? infographic by spacechimpmedia.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

That's My King, Do You Know Him?


"Official Video "That's My King" sermon by Dr. S.M. Lockridge

Visuals set to the audio of the famous sermon "Seven Way King" as spoken by Dr. S.M. Lockridge. The audio is slightly edited for a better flow in the video.

The music in the background was performed live by the GCC band while the video played on the screens. It then led directly into the worship song "Here is Our King" (To see the performance in it's entirety go here:​mediaplayer/​playeropener.asp?id=478 )

Created entirely using After Effects with footage from the movie "The Passion of the Christ". The video took 30 hours to create plus around 6 hours of rendering. The final After Effects project file totaled well over 600 layers."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Arts ARE Important!

There are so many schools who do not have art/dance/music/theater instruction as part of their curriculum, or have these crucial classes offered sporadically to their students.  The arts ARE important!  So often, art educators are told to justify their subject because we cover math or reading standards.  Yes, we have ALWAYS incorporated these skills!  BUT, our subject areas are vital and essential because of THEIR OWN value!!!  From creativity, to self-confidence, to collaboration, to problem-solving, the arts not only instill a love for the arts in children, but develop within them many other  traits that will serve them well throughout life! Character, self-discipline, a sense of accomplishment, are all part of a students' development as they grow.  The arts provide an opportunity for students to develop and flourish as they mature. 

A recent article by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post sums this up well.  Take a moment to read and share with your school board!  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Was I LOVE when no one else would show up?

What is my legacy?  Does my life point to my source of life, JESUS?  Do I live my live so that my convictions are evident to anyone looking?  Do I give life all I have?  Do I sing, dance, celebrate the awesomeness of my God in all I do?

Sidewalk Prophet's new song 'Live Like That'.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tropical Vibes

Another video from Moving Art.  Time to relax and get away with TROPICAL VIBES!  (watch full screen if you can!!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We are many parts...

As a human being, I am dependent upon my God for sustenance, guidance, love.  Of course, He never fails me!  

We are all dependent on each other as well, one human being to another, in so many ways.  Children are dependent on their parents for love and nourishment to their minds, bodies and souls.  Adults are dependent upon spouses, families, friends for love and support.  We are dependent upon our employers to pay us our wages.  We are dependent upon the farmers to have the skills and knowledge to raise healthy food for us.  We are dependent upon engineers and mechanics to keep our cars, computers, everything mechanical in good working order.  Our elders are dependent upon us to care for them as they age.  

So, too, we as humans are dependent upon the rest of creation to fulfill their role in our ecosystem.  Each animal, insect, has a role to play.  We humans don't do this thing called life "alone."  God created quite an intricate system that is a wondrous thing to behold.  

This video is just a peek into one tiny part of our planet.. "The Beauty of Pollination" by Louie Schwartzberg.  Find more of his videos at the Moving Art Channel.  Of no surprise, my favorite part is at the end :) 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Butterfly Circus

This is an AWESOME short film.  22 minutes long, so take some time, enjoy a cup of coffee, and keep the kleenex nearby.
 "At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus discovers a man without limbs being exploited at a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed. "

Monday, February 4, 2013

I thought this was pretty cute!  Do you think "the cloud" will ever become a bit crowded with all of that information up there?

Source: unknown, via: webdiscover
The post Storage Evolution appeared first on MakeUseOf Geeky Fun.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Do you remember reading and singing nursery rhymes with your parents?  Do you know that it is crucial that children have these experiences to lay the foundation for literacy later in life?  Even rocking your baby in a steady beat will develop that inner beat within your child, which will lead to the development of literacy skills as they mature into readers.  PLEASE read nursery rhymes with your children, no matter how old they are!  And as they get older, don't stop!  Older children will reap benefits in their own development if you continue to read TO and WITH them at home!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

What's your DREAM?

My dream is of a world of harmony, peace, love.  Of course, that all begins with myself.  My attitude matters.  I can add to a more peaceful world, or add to it's dissonance.  Some in our family, as in many, are not on speaking terms.  My dream is that they can put aside their differences, and see beyond our humanness and see God dwelling in others.  What is your dream?

Here's the 3rd in a series of  3 videos by Sam Fathallah, a Linn-Mar (IA) High School student.