20 Questions & Answers About DS106

Activity, DS106, Freebie, Humour, Project, Tip 4 Comments »

I have just completed the “Audio Assignments” section of my free online Digital Storytelling DS106 course and I have learned two very important facts. Having struggled through the creation of a 14 minute radio interview, I now have the utmost respect for the technical wizards who work “behind the scenes” to craft a radio show. Secondly, I have a new-found appreciation for the power and possibilities that Audacity, the free Macintosh, Linux and Windows audio editor and recording application, has to engage students in K-12 classrooms. With its wealth of online resources and support, Audacity should be a standard classroom and student application.

My “Interview/Music Mashup” audio assignment followed the Dickie Goodman interview style. Feeling that it was important to share the powerful ideas and learning that is associated with the DS106 phenomenon, I decided to create an investigative radio interview. I directed 20 probing questions at two “anonymous” DS106 students and they, in turn, answered with relevant snippets from popular songs.

20 Questions & Answers About DS106 by Brian Metcalfe

The K-12 Perspective
What have I learned during this exercise that might apply to K-12 students?

First, and foremost, students today are engaged when they use technology to support their learning. The fact that Audacity is a free, open source application (that runs on a variety of operating systems) means that students can install this application on their home computers and work on an audio assignment outside regular school hours.

For example, I’d recommend that students be required to collaborate with partners as they produce audio assignments such as the following:

  • Social Studies students might create a campfire talk between Radisson and Groseilliers as they discuss exploration and fur trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company. Can you hear the cracking fire, the loon and the wolves howling in the distance?
  • What would two privates, who are in the front line trenches preparing to go “over the top” during World War I, talk about? Imagine the sound effects of battle that could be added to enhance the realism.
  • Two students could compare and contrast a poem or novel in a Language Arts class.
  • Music students might make a recoding of a duet together with an added “Extra Features” section which outlines the learning journey that they went through in creating the musical recording.
  • Science students might create an audio interview where they ask questions of scientists such as: Archimedes, Marie Curie, Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Frederick Sanger or Jonas Salk.
  • Students who are interested in sports, might create an interview where they dissect a recent game and compare and contrast different coaching styles and player performance.

Regardless of the audio assignment chosen, I think that all students should include an “Extra Feature” that outlines what they learned during the activity, what they might do differently (if they were to select this same project again), and suggestions and tips for future students.

As an educator you would not want your students to upload their .mp3 formatted audio assignment to a web server. However, students could still transfer their home-created audio files to a USB memory device and bring them to school where they could be shared on a CD or showcased from the teacher’s computer behind the school’s firewall.

Regardless of the subject-specific learning opportunity presented to students, I can assure readers that using Audacity together with technology to tell a particular story is a powerful and engaging educational process.

The DS106 Perspective
For me, this audio assignment opened up an entirely new way of telling a story. True, I have used Audacity in past but I have limited my use to a very simplistic process.  For example, in past, I simply recorded my voice and added any additional audio into the single, primary audio track in the Audacity application. However, this assignment challenged me to use multiple tracks for the announcer’s questions, the vocal snippet replies, and the the musical interlude. I even played with a robotic modification of the two student’s responses to preserve their anonymity.

I began by roughing out an interview script where I identified “20 questions” (based on the old radio show of the same name) that I thought might highlight some aspect of the DS106 phenomenon. I then searched YouTube for songs that I though might contain lyrics that would apply to some aspect of the DS106 experience. I must admit that I spent a great deal of time searching for the right music tracks. Furthermore, it is often necessary to listen to the entire song to find the most appropriate lyrics or the section where the audio is clearest. Unfortunately, during this time consuming process, there were many songs that were considered but rejected.

One thing that I would like to see is an efficient way to search for all songs that contain a specific word or phrase. For example, when I was searching for music that would help share with listeners the time commitment that students may invest in DS106, the only song that came to my mind was Jim Croce’s “Time in a bottle”. Although the word “time” was in the title, Jim’s lyrics did not help me portray how busy students can be with this innovative DS106 course. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to efficiently search a comprehensive data base containing all the lyrics to popular songs. If you the reader can suggest a search technique to find possible lyrics and music, I would be very much appreciate if you could share your strategy through a comment at the end of this post.

In past, I would have began this assignment by recoding the first interview question into Audacity and then adding the appropriate musical segment as an answer. I would then continue repeating these two steps, which might span several days, until all 20 questions and answers were mixed to my satisfaction. However, knowing that on subsequent days, I would have difficulty making certain that the audio levels and that my microphone position were in the exact same location, I was concerned that there would be a noticeable difference between questions.

In order to maintain the same audio “balance” between all 20 questions, I decided to record the interview question track all at the same time. I had my script written out and I simply read out each question and left a three second placeholder interval between questions. Once I saved the respective Audacity project file (e.g. “interview-V1.aup”), I then could add in an additional track containing the vocal lyric answer which could be slid along the timeline and tweaked to fit into the respective “placeholder interval”. Knowing how much effort I was putting into this assignment, I made certain to save my “creations” on a regular basis. I used my traditional “version” naming convention and simply increased the “version value” each time I added a new lyric reply to a new question. This process allows me to save filenames as:  “interview-V1.aup”, “interview-V2.aup”, “interview-V3.aup”, etc. Should a “hiccup” occur, I can always go back and retrieve an earlier version to continue my work.

Extra Features
My tip to others who wish to create a Dickie Goodman-style interview using Audacity with musical lyric replies is to pay very close attention to the “sampling rate” of all components. Where possible, it is best if all audio portions can have the same sample sampling rate.

For example, when I started recording my main 20 question track into Audacity, I simply proceeded using Audacity’s default sampling rate which was set at the 44100 Hz level. In Audacity, one can set this sampling rate from a low of 8000 to a high of 96000 Hz. Obviously the quality of the recoding, together with the audio file size, increases as the corresponding Hz value increases. However, when I started acquiring my musical lyric replies, I failed to notice that most of these audio snippets had a slightly higher sampling rate of 48000 Hz. It was only when I was part way though blending these musical replies, that I noticed a particularly familiar snippet seemed to slow down and change in pitch when it was mixed with my primary 20 question track. It was then that I noticed the difference in the sampling rate between my question recording at 44100 Hz and the musical snippet at 48000 Hz. I explored all avenues and could not find a way to reduce the sampling rate on the individual musical replies without distorting the melody. So I continued blending my lowered sampled interview questions with the higher and more precise audio snippets. Once the final mixed interview track was completed at 44100 Hz, I simply re-saved the entire file at the higher 48000 Hz level which preserved the original melody speed and pitch. Unfortunately, this “tweak” sped up and slightly changed the pitch of my interview and any other components that were originally introduced to the mix at the lower 44100 Hz level. Once the remix interview was completed to my satisfaction, I used Audacity to export the project file as an .mp3 file which I uploaded to SoundCloud for sharing.

My recommendation is that you first open the song snippets or any other audio tracks in Audacity and determine the sampling rate that applies to most of the audio components. Once this value is established, start Audacity and change the default sampling rate so that this application will work without “hiccups” because now all your audio components will be utilizing a common sampling rate.

Lastly, but most important. In this musical mashup interview, I have used snippets from the following tunes listed below. In order that I might demonstrate the educational fair use of such music, I have purchased individual tracks for each of these songs on my iTunes card.

  • In the Mood – Glenn Miller
  • Magic – Olivia Newton John
  • You Really Got A Hold On Me – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  • I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
  • The Reverend Mr. Black – The Kingston Trio
  • Who Let The Dogs Out? – Baha Men
  • I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters
  • Just My Imagination – The Temptations
  • Makin’ It Work – Doug and the Slugs
  • Eight Days a Week – The Beatles
  • Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – Chicago
  • Help – The Beatles
  • With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
  • ABC – Glee
  • Let’s All Sing Like The Birdies Sing – Jay Wilbur & His Metropole Players
  • I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter – Nat King Cole
  • That’ll Be The Day – Buddy Holly
  • I’m Sorry – Brenda Lee
  • I’m A Believer – The Monkees
  • Taking Care Of Business – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • We Are The Champions – Queen
  • My Way – Frank Sinatra

Unfortunately, many of the songs containing the musical snippets may be more familiar to the “more experienced’ listener as opposed to our younger students. However, this fact should in no way diminish the power of using an audio interview to engage students in a powerful, new and exciting way.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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‘The Little Caption’ flips me out!

Activity, Humour No Comments »

This DS106 Design assignment is called “The Little Caption” to differentiate it from a similar activity called “The Big Caption“.

In this endeavour, participants are challenged to:

“Take one of your own photographs, one from Flickr Creative Commons
(http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) or one from the DS 106 Flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/ds-106/) and caption it.”

I chose to re-take an earlier photo that I had created for The Daily Create #29 and add a caption that one might hear from a customer’s telephone call to the Dell Customer Service “Help Desk”.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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DS106 – Now Available on Blu-ray Disc!

DS106, Humour 8 Comments »

The overwhelming majority of individuals who are engaged in the DS106 course are doing so remotely. Today’s statistics indicate that there are 596 active DS106 members whereas less than a total 80 are in attendance in the two sections facilitated by Jim Groom and Alan Levine at the University of Mary Washington.

However, if you are part of the vast majority of off-campus DS106 participants, imagine if you could acquire a Blu-ray Disc which contained the following:

  • all DS106 lectures of both Jim Groom & Alan Levine
  • guest lecturers including Gardner Campbell & Zack Dowell (“the Noise Professor)
  • featured student reflections from past DS106 courses including the talented artist Giuila Forsythe, two of Saskatchewan’s most influential educators Dean Shareski & Alec Couros, and inspirational designer and DS106 facilitator Tim Owens
  • tips on how to acquire a personal domain and quick-start steps to setting up a WordPress blog & theme
  • time-saving tips on how to use GIMP and Photoshop
  • sample student and instructor progress conferences
  • top three assignments (voted by peers) for each of the eight assignment categories from past DS106 courses

How much would you be willing to pay for such a Blu-ray resource? I know that as a non-credit online “freeloader”, I may not have paid money to enroll in the DS106 course, but I would certainly pay handsomely for such a DVD if it saved me time and provided me with additional resources to improve my learning experience.

When I was considering enrolling in this course, I was impressed by what Jim Groom stated in his welcoming post entitled “ds106: We’re open and you’re invited“.

… what made it amazing was that anyone can do as much or as little as they wanted as part of the open, online section and leave the rest. We don’t accept apologies and we don’t believe in guilt, there is no sorry in ds106. Simply come prepared to make some art, have some fun, give some feedback, and leave when you want.

This important statement “there is no sorry in ds106” resonated with me. True, it provided me with a guilt-free opportunity to learn. However, this quote was also quite similar to an important line and theme from the 1970 movie “Love Story” staring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. In fact, it was this quote that motivated me to consider designing the following Blu-ray Disc cover as part of the “Animated Movie Poster“.

In that most participants in this DS106 course were likely born after 1970, and may not be familiar with the original movie, I thought that I would share the following original image:

I realize that my attempt to animate this image is somewhat elementary when compared with my colleagues’ more sophisticated submissions. However, I am just learning to use Photoshop Elements and I hope, in time, to eventually improve on the animation process using this application.

In the meantime, I chose to use a free, Windows tool called Ulead’s Gif Animator Lite (GALE). I concentrated on the word “STORY” because the focus of DS106 should be on the STORY (and not the software). Unfortunately for me, I am spending many hours becoming familiar with the intricacies of the Photoshop Elements software and I can assure you that I do have a story to tell about my learning experiences.

To animate a word, I knew that I would need to save several copies of this Blu-ray Disc cover, each with the word “STORY” in a different color. I began by changing the black “STORY” in the original “Love Story” font to red and learned that one does not want to have to change the letter colors pixel by pixel. This discovery only took me 2 hours! I then decided to replace the original black “STORY” with a similar font in Photoshop Elements where I could highlight all 5 letters and select a new color. Since only .BMP and .JPG images can be loaded into GALE, each Blu-ray image, with its own “STORY” color, was saved in a .JPG format.

 

In GALE, one selects the “Layer > Add Images” menu items which allows selection of the prepared colored “STORY” .JPG images using this important technique. Each of the individual color images were then set to display for half a second. By clicking the “Start Preview” button, one can determine if there needs to be any changes in the respective color time delays. Once the animation test looks reasonable, one can click the “File > Save As” menu items and save the result as an animated GIF.

In summary, there is no doubt in my mind that my engaged learning within the DS106 community is indeed a “Love Story” of sorts. My only concern, is that I have not added too much friction, with this Blu-ray fiction.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Fair Use Educational Image Credits:

  • “Love Story” Blu-ray Disc cover
    http://www.starpulse.com/news/Paramount/2011/12/26/love_story_debuts_on_bluray_february_7
  • Alan Levine photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/6318291537/
  • Jim Groom photo –

    http://www.colecamplese.com/2008/11/the-revolution-is-in-full-swing/

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Are you looking for a career change?

DS106, Food for Thought, Humour 3 Comments »

I guess it is human nature to ask yourself if you might have chosen a different career path? Educators, like many others, sometimes have second thoughts about their teaching profession during our long, cold winter. My solution for such mid-winter “blues” is to compare the tasks that others must do in order to better appreciate my own job. I attempted to capture this strategy in my “Design” assignments that are the focus for Week 5 in my DS106 course. The one I selected to begin with was named “Warning” and was described as:

Lots of things today have warning labels. Create warning labels for things that exist only in movies or your imagination.

We all have seen warnings to help prevent the injuries that are caused by repetitive tasks whether it be tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or rotator cuff strain. As an educator I placed a tremendous value on my eye sight. However, I think that, like-minded, readers will be thankful that we do not work on the assembly line at the U. Khant Duit Corp.

 

[Please click on above to see details]

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Fair Use Educational Image Credits:

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Happy Valentine’s Day – A Google Love Letter

Food for Thought, Humour, Social Networking No Comments »

I have been saving the YouTube video “Google Docs: A love letter” for Valentine’s Day. When I first saw it several months ago, it certainly demonstrated (perhaps somewhat in jest) just how the “dating scene” has changed since I was a young man. Perhaps when you view the video, you can determine if you think these changes are positive.

 

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credits:
–   Flickr – Creative Commons image “Happy Valentine’s Day
by Ian Junor – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifijay/6871951719/

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Lou Costello buys a computer

Humour No Comments »

Each year as our winter continues, I find that people in general, and teachers specifically, need a little humour in their lives. Last evening my sister emailed the following and I thought that our readers, particularly our Windows users, would chuckle at this innovative dialogue.

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, “Who’s on First?” might have turned out something like this:

~~~~~

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT

ABBOTT:  Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO:  Thanks I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.

ABBOTT:  Mac?

COSTELLO:  No,  the name’s Lou.

ABBOTT:  Your computer?

COSTELLO:  I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.

ABBOTT:  Mac?

COSTELLO:  I  told you, my name’s Lou.

ABBOTT:  What about Windows?

COSTELLO:  Why?  Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT:  Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO:  I don’t know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT:  Wallpaper.

COSTELLO:  Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT:  Software for Windows?

COSTELLO:  No.  On the computer!  I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT:  Office.

COSTELLO:  Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT:  I  just did.

COSTELLO:  You  just did what?

ABBOTT:  Recommend  something.

COSTELLO:  You recommended something?

ABBOTT:  Yes.

COSTELLO:  For my office?

ABBOTT:  Yes.

COSTELLO:  OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT:  Office.

COSTELLO:  Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT:  I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO:  I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT:  Word.

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT:  Word in Office.

COSTELLO:  The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT:  The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO:  Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT:  The Word you get when you click the blue ‘W’.

COSTELLO:  I’m going to click your blue ‘W’ if you don’t start with some straight answers. What about financial  bookkeeping? Do you have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT:  Money.

COSTELLO:  That’s right. What do you have?

ABBOTT:  Money.

COSTELLO:  I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT:  It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO:  What’s bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT:  Money.

COSTELLO:  Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT:  Yes.  At no extra charge.

COSTELLO:  I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT:  One copy.

COSTELLO:  Isn’t it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT:  Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

ABBOTT:  Why not? THEY OWN IT!

** A few days later **

ABBOTT:  Super  Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO:  How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT:  Click on ‘START’…….

For those who prefer to see this dialogue acted out, I recommend watching the “Abbott and Costello Computer Spoof” on YouTube.

Take care & keep chuckling :-)

Credit: – “Lou buys a computer” email forwarded by Lynda Metcalfe

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Texting for Seniors

Humour No Comments »

As a “more experienced” (some might say “older”) educator, I chuckled when I read the following email message. Perhaps the odd texting acronym will bring a smile to your face and help reduce your stress.

Since more and more Seniors are texting and tweeting there appears to be a need for a STC (Senior Texting Code). If you qualify for Senior Discounts this is the code for you.

Please pass this on to your children and grandchildren so they can understand your texts.

ATD:
At The Doctor’s
BFF:
Best Friend Fainted
BTW:
Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT:
Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM:
Covered By Medicare
CGU:
Can’t get up
CUATSC:
See You At The Senior Center
DWI:
Driving While Incontinent
FWB:
Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW:
Forgot Where I Was
FYI:
Found Your Insulin
GGPBL:
Gotta Go Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA:
Got Heartburn Again
HGBM:
Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO:
Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO:
Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL:
Living On Lipitor
LWO:
Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR:
On My Massage Recliner
OMSG:
Oh My! Sorry Gas.
ROFL… CGU:
Rolling On The Floor Laughing… And Can’t Get Up
TTYL:
Talk To You Louder
WAITT:
Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA:
Wet The Furniture Again
WTP:
Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO:
Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI:
(Gotta Go Laxative Kicking In)

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credit: “Texting for Seniors” email sent to me from Aleda Sloane.

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‘Survivor’ – Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast

Food for Thought, Humour 2 Comments »

Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 1 school year.  Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum, and a class of 20-25 students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks each month.

They must attend workshops, faculty meetings,and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS tests.  If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times.  If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they may not be able to afford it.  There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day.  The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies.  The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense and on their own time.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to their job.

Pass this to your friends who think teaching is easy and to the ones that know it is hard.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credits:
– Anecdote forwarded by: Aleda Sloane
– Remixed Flickr image “Outwit Outplay Outlast” by Thomas Hawk
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/4629130046/

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Hassles + Humour = Happy + Healthy

Humour, Reflection No Comments »

The other day, I decided it was time to start doing some “spring cleaning”. I decided to start deleting unnecessary files on my computer because operations seemed to be slowing down as my hard drive was filling up. During this purge process, I discovered my old Eudora email application. Although I used Eudora as my primary email application for more than five years, I hadn’t used it for about he last three years since I moved over to Outlook and webmail.

I began looking through hundreds of “Subject” descriptions of email messages that I had received and/or sent over several years as an educational technology consultant for a large K-12 school division. I confess that I rarely deleted incoming messages unless they were spam and I kept all out-going messages as they could often be “tweaked” and sent out as a response to other educators. Therefore, as I began scanning and deleting the messages in a chronological fashion, I realized that my hard drive was, in some respects, like a personal journal or diary. This reflective exercise provided me with an opportunity to review both my personal growth and accomplishments through this historical email perspective.

As I reviewed the email “Subject” topics, and in some cases the specific details of certain messages and optional attachments, I began “classifying” them into the following main categories:

  • Messages from supervisors and colleagues asking that certain actions be taken
  • Local professional development workshop initiatives and resource sharing
  • Manitoba Education’s Literacy with Information and Communication Technology
  • Administrative correspondence related to meetings and projects
  • Software and hardware trouble-shooting
  • Feedback and recommended changes related to our Elementary Report Card
  • Email regarding information shared through my “Bits and Bytes” newsletter
  • Email to keep me up-to-date from various educational Listservs

Then I began to ask myself the following questions:

  • Which messages required action which added significantly to my busy workload?
  • Which messages caused me hassles and added more stress to the job?
  • Which messages included a “thank you”?; and, finally, the critical one …
  • Which messages were most important?

True one might suggest that all email messages were important because each communication related in some way to defining my job and the responsibilities that I had to help students and staff integrate technology into their learning. Although the vast majority of my email, particularly from superiors and colleagues, I would deem very important. However, there was also one important category which contained the fewest email messages. Although this category often contains less than 5% of one’s total message volume, it is one area that I believe should not be overlooked or ignored. These are the email messages from friends and colleagues that contain humour. Often such accompanying email messages do not contain any additional personal information from the sender. They are simply jokes and humourous anecdotes that are quickly forwarded. However, the fact that the message was sent with a joke or an accompanying humourous attachment indicates, in a very small, tangible way, that someone cared enough to send you an email to make you smile.

In fact, I can distinctly remember an incident where I had just received a delightful email joke at work. I immediately tried to tell the joke to a colleague but I was laughing so hard as I told it, I had to finally let him read the humourous email message. We both started laughing so hard that tears began running down our cheeks. After a few minutes we composed ourselves and then we realized that our outburst of uncontrollable laughter demonstrated how stressed we both were. The shared joke, with its resulting laughter, relaxed our bodies and allowed us to return to our respective tasks with a new energy level. After all, it has been stated that “laughter is the best medicine”.

As teachers, we know how stressful the job can become and we also know how humour, used in a judicious manner, can reduce stress and re-establish our equilibrium. For this reason, I have decided to add a humour category to my Life-Long-Learners blog and to start by sharing with you this educational anecdote, which was recently emailed to me from an elementary teacher.

From the Diary of a Pre-School Teacher

My five-year old students are learning to read.

Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said …

“Look at this! It’s a frickin’ elephant!”

I took a deep breath, then asked …

“What did you call it?”

“It’s a frickin’ elephant! It says so on the picture!”

And so it does…

[Instructions: Move your mouse over the picture, to see what the youngster read.]

[Note: If you only receive “Life-Long-Learners” blog entries by email, you unfortunately have to view this entry on-line to see the punch-line caption.]

Take care & keep smiling  :-)

Credits:
– Anecdote forwarded by: Aleda Sloane
– Flickr image “African elephant” by Arno & Louise
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arnolouise/376384771/

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