Category Archives local event

Smartphone Screen Glare

Part of the reason I finally decided to ditch my dumb phone and get a smartphone, was to be connected. If I was out and about at a park, I could check in for an important email. When traveling, I would not have to worry about bringing my laptop and signing onto Wi-Fi. What I quickly realized with many of my phones was that just because you have your phone with you, it does not mean you will be able to use it. My troubles have had nothing to do with my 4G-LTE connection on Verizon Wireless, it was the screen glare associated with phones that I otherwise adored. There is nothing more annoying than missing a call or message and not being able to see if it was your child’s school calling because the lighting made it impossible. That is the reality that I have had with many different smartphones, including two previous Motorola Droids (Bionic and RAZR HD).

As part of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I recently received a new Motorola Droid Mini.

Glare be gone on Droid Mini

No stranger to the Droids, I quickly had the basics set up and was ready to head out with my family to the Emma Willard Marker Faire this weekend. It was an absolutely gorgeous autumn day. The sun was out and making it hard to see walking from location to location. Without thinking about it, I was able to use my Droid Mini to make a Vine, create a few collages to share on Instagram, and Tweet. When I missed a call, I was able to read the screen perfectly in the middle of a soccer field.

Droid Mini photos taken at Maker Faire

Even with the sun shining that you can clearly see in the photos above (taken on the Droid Mini), I was able to see everything. I did not have to shield my screen, twist my head, or hide under a tree for some shade. I was able to see everything. So while the boys were watching a Flying Pizza Box, I was able to use photos taken earlier in low lighting to share our TARDIS experience. Tech Valley Center of Gravity TARDIS

Yes, our Whovian family wore our Doctor Who shirts just for this occasion and the kids adored seeing the TARDIS created by Tech Valley Center of Gravity. It was a fun filled family day at Emma Willard where I got to know my new Droid Mini, Minnie, a little more. Thanks to this phone, I now know the importance of looking for a phone that can be used outside without the dreaded glare stare issues that so many phone suffer from. Now, while I wait outside of school, I can have confidence that I can check my email in any lighting situation.

Do you have glare issues with your smartphone? I would love to know how you battle this when you are out and about and need to use your phone.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I received the Motorola Droid Mini to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. There was no other compensation. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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5th Annual Start Smart Field Day

Sharing is caring and that is my feeling about local events that reach out to the community. The Addictions Care Center of Albany is having their Start Smart Field Day on Saturday, September 28. It is completely free for families to attend and will have a wide variety of items for kids of all ages to participate in. This event will help to kick off ACCA’s prevention education programs in Albany County schools.

Poster_Start_Smart_Field_Day_2013

If you are not familiar with ACCA, they provide programs on substance abuse prevention and bullying awareness. Their current prevention programs include:

In addition to this they deliver interactive workshops and presentations around the area on the following topics:

  • Bullying Prevention:  Take a Stand, Lend a Hand
  • Cyberbullying:  The Wave of the Future
  • Alcohol Awareness:  Myths & Facts
  • Addiction Awareness:  Signs & Symptoms of a Deadly Disease
  • Current Trends in Substance Abuse

The timing of these events are wonderful to spread the word about their services before October and National Bullying Prevention Month.

National Bullying Prevention Month

 

I applaud ACCA for coming up with programs that embrace literacy as a primary focus in helping children. You can read more about that on their website. So if you happen to be in the Albany area on September 28 from 11 am – 3 pm, please think about heading over to this family friendly event to support this organization that works to help our community.

It's Me

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Favorite Dinosaurs

On Tuesday morning, NHL had his braces put on his teeth. To help distract him for a little while, the boys and I went to miSci to explore some of the new exhibits for an hour. While the Dinosaurs! area was not technically open, many of the sections were able to be seen while we were there.

Dinosaurs at miSci in Schenectady

We roamed around and the boys had their photos taken with triceratops together. Then, JSL put his head into T-Rex’s mouth. It was either time for his dental exam or he was making the kiddo lunch. We saw a few more of the areas that were visible. At the time, Instagram video was not working, so I made this Vine to share.

A few of the areas were still roped off until the member preview on Thursday evening and the official opening on June 29.

Dinosaurs at miSci in Schenectady

We went to the members preview and we had a wonderful time looking at all of the dinosaurs. While we had technically seen them three years ago while visiting the Buffalo Museum of Science, it was interesting to see them in different areas of miSci in Schenectady. More video and photos to come as I go through the photos and we head back to visit them again when it is a bit less crowded over the next few months.

So my question to you this week is inspired by the new exhibit:

What are the favorite dinosaurs and why? Perhaps you wrote a report in school as a child, or your son/daughter likes one for a special reason.

It's Me
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Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this Friday fun. These days, Pamela at A Renaissance Woman is reviving the fun Friday Meme. Head over there to link up and join in the fun.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An<br<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    Island<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
    Life

Aloha #244

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One Voice United Rally on June 8

I am a teacher. That is what I tell people when they ask me what I do. While I may not be in a classroom at this moment, the educator in me is constantly working. Lesson plan ideas, classroom management concepts, and fun facts are always running through my mind.

The reality is I miss many items outside of my own classroom. I miss…

  • being in a classroom and watching children learn
  • seeing the smiles on a child’s face when he/she learns a new concept and they are so proud
  • creating inventive ways to help different children to reach their academic potentials
  • being part of an educational community as a teacher
  • working side by side with other amazing educational professionals

NYSUT One Voice United

Unfortunately, the world of education has changed a lot over the last 5-10 years. The Race to the Top funding and the push for Common Core Curriculum has caused a dramatic shift in what classroom time looks like. Children in New York State and around the country are constantly getting ready for one test or another, taking one of what seems like a million tests, or being stressed about what their test results may mean for their schools/teachers. The reality is that your children and mine are paying the price. Creative and authentic learning environments are a thing of the past. We are teaching to the tests. Kids are becoming little robots that are taught how to highlight key phrases, pull apart a topic, and answer questions that may not even have a correct choice.

I have a lot more to say on this topic, but right now I am biting my tongue a bit. Rather than rant and rave here, I am working with parents and teachers to get the word out. I want our voices to be heard. Thanks to this, my family will be joining others on June 8 at the Empire State Plaza for the One Voice United Rally Together. Why rally? Here is a video from Peter DeWitt on the NYSUT website that answers the question.

As an educator, tax payer, and most importantly a parent I will be there with my entire family showing my boys that I will fight for their right to the education that they deserve. My children are more than a number. My 4th grader should not lose eight days to the ELA, Math, and Science tests, plus other hours for benchmark exams, and countless days spent preparing for these high stakes test. I should not have to hear my KINDERGARTENER come home worried about a test that he took on a computer. He should not fear tests and have to worry about this as he starts out his academic journey. His focus should be on reading, writing, learning math concepts, making friends, and enjoying school. Sad to say, his teachers are not to blame.

New York State needs to wake up, see what they are doing to our children and stop the insanity. For more information about the rally on June 8, please head to the information page from NYSUT. I will leave you with this PDF from NYSUT about the rally that you can download and share with others here.

Rally on June 8

I urge more people from throughout New York to make a trip to Albany in a little over two weeks to teach your children a valuable lesson.

It's Me

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The Albany Children’s Book Festival – Part 3

Going to The Albany Children’s Book Festival was an experience our entire family enjoyed. As I have mentioned in two previous posts (Part 1 and Part 2), meeting some of the talented authors and illustrators was wonderful. In addition to that, the kids were excited to read books that were new to them and add to our summer reading list.

What I really appreciated about this festival was being able to see the local authors. Often times, the kids and I forget that we have some wonderful authors and illustrators within the Capital District area. One example of this is author and illustrator Matthew McElligott. I was introduced to Mr. McElligott by my oldest son after he went to NHL’s school and spoke with the children. I was so curious, I immediately went out and read Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! and adored it. I am hoping to read this and the other books in the series with the boys, plus I know JSL will like the picture books by McElligott as well.

Author Matthew McElligott

Of course, then there is the moment that you recognize someone and feel so very naïve. That moment was when we wandered over to the table with author and illustrator Daniel J. Mahoney. Mr. Mahoney looked VERY familiar. Of course, it was NHL that realized why. NHL knows his son and I had absolutely no idea about his books none. Ooops! Now that we are on radar, JSL and I are looking forward to Monstergarten which is coming out in July. No doubt we will also look at some of the other books he has written and illustrated.

Author and Illustrator Daniel J Mahoney

The kids had a lot of fun talking with author and illustrator Jef Czekaj when they brought their passports over. He even drew a cute little cartoon critter next to his name. I reminded the boys that we had read at least one of his books over the summer. Yes, I recall the kids reading Oink-A-Doodle-Moo multiple times and laughing and enjoying it a lot. I know we will be looking at more of Mr. Czekaj’s books this summer.

Author and Illustrator Jef Czekaj

After this, the kids spotted a table set up to make some monster drawings. Local teacher, author, and artist Ira Marcks. Mr. Marcks actually had a station set up for kids to create their own Monster drawings. He talked with the boys as they were making their colored pencil creations. He also shared some of his camps and other local events that we will be investigating for the summer. His book Witch Knots is a graphic novel that really highlights his work.

Author and Illustrator Ira Marcks

After two monsters were drawn, we took the boys to get their prize for getting a lot of autographs in their booklets. Then it was time to select books so we could purchase them and go home. As I wrote in Part 2, NHL immediately knew what book he wanted to get. JSL, had some troubles selecting a book. We must have gone back to several tables over and over again. Thanks to this, we now have more books to add to the summer reading and several birthday present ideas for the kindergarten kiddo. In the end, my little Matey fell for author and illustrator Victor Ramon Mojica’s book Captain Cross Bones in the Treasure Hunt. I think Mr. Mojica sold the book by interacting with JSL and giving him a cool autographed poster of Captain Cross Bones. I also know we will be checking out Barbara Mojica’s Little Miss History book because they also looked like something the boys would adore.

Author and Illustrator Victor Ramon Mojica

Check out my little Wizards after we got home and were looking at our books and other items from some local vendors and libraries. You can see they love their new hats and were ready to dive into their new books.

My Book Wizards after the Book Festival

If you hear about a children’s book festival coming to your area, I urge you to make the time to take your kids. This experience was beyond anything I could have imagined. It helped my boys to come out of their shell, gain confidence, and ignite their desire to read even more new and wonderful books.

It's Me

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