Are you still teaching?

by Stuart on May 12, 2014

IMG 2940This year I’ve been asked quite a few times, “Are you still teaching?” Short answer — yes. Long answer — I’m teaching teachers how to use technology in the classroom.

We rolled out iPads to all elementary students. The district wisely decided that teachers and students needed integration training as well as tech support. I visit classrooms, provide tech support, and supply Professional Development. I’m a weird cross between an IT person and a technology teacher. Think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles applied to education. Some people consider me to be a Teacher Mutant Ninja Tech Person (my official title).

This has been the best job ever. Most of the time it doesn’t feel like work. I have a great boss, a cool coworker, and an efficient team. The administration has fully supported us as we make sure each student has a device. Next school year we will deploy iPads to the middle and high school. The only downside is that I really miss my high school students.

I’m excited that the school is allowing us to be pioneers in Educational Technology (more on that later). I plan on another year of EdTech awesomeness!

Taking a Break

by Stuart on August 31, 2013

No more Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or RSS feeds for awhile. I might not even respond to email. I need a break from the internet. Peace.

To My Students

by Stuart on August 11, 2013

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Dear Lads and Ladies of VHS Graphic Design,

I finished my first week at the new job. It honkin’ rocked and I love being a Technology Wizard because I’m swimming in iPads. The little lads and ladies are pretty cool too. I have to admit that I fought back the tears all week (hypothetical tears since The Wolverine never sheds tears). The first day was a killer. I thought about all the stuff I covered the first day in Graphic Design for the past three years.

On day one I always set up crazy expectations and watched the slackers cower in fear. I enjoyed introducing you to the proper usage of the word ‘honkin’. I promised a brand-spankin’-new iPad for the top design student and I watched you drool like a pack of rabies infected dogs. Hopefully, you all remember the number one rule—be cool! I taught you to respect the iMacs, the cameras, your workspace, graphics tablets, and the coffee pot. You were introduced to the “conference table” and assured that I would prevail in all ping-pong matches. Competition, file naming conventions, perfection, and Apple indoctrination were all drilled into your brilliant brains from day one.

I appreciate all of you (even the ones who hated me). You helped me laugh. You challenged me. You changed my thinking on a few things and taught me how to pronounce “Kid Cudi” (by the way, you shouldn’t be listening to that stuff). You didn’t take me too seriously even though I was a bit too serious most of the time. You were patient, forgiving, and understanding. You proved that teenagers are not animals, but deep thinkers waiting for a shot at something great. You created great designs and I’ll always be proud of you. You made me more creative.

Class of 2014. I will miss you guys so honkin’ badly. If I were on T-Mobile in 2008 you would be on my Fave 5 list above Charles Barkley. You were so cool in your junior year I can’t image how cool you are this year. Your class has talent and opportunities so don’t muddle it up in your last year. When you’re rich and famous please help me retire, get me an iPad, or at least put a Starbucks in Sanders (and give me free drinks).

I will miss all of you. No worries though. I’m sure we will see each other around. I’m on the other side of the Puerco. If the construction company doesn’t wreck the bridge I’m sure I’ll see y’all at a few games. You will have a great year without me. You’ll be having so much fun that no one will notice I’m missing. Your new teacher is an exceptional designer. She will train you to be a Black-Belt Design Ninja.

Take care of the lab. Get a job. Buy an Apple product. Be cool. Take it to the next level. Do something with your life. Friend me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. Don’t waste your teenage years. Buy me an iPad for Christmas or my birthday. Think different(ly). I will miss you all in a non-creepy way.

Peace out,
Your Teacher

ABQ BioPark

by Stuart on August 4, 2013

At some point during the summer the we visited the Albuquerque BioPark. Grandpa Zahn had a season pass and took us on a fun trip to see the aquarium and the zoo.

Grandpa Zahn with the kidos.

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The Greenhouse

by Stuart on August 3, 2013

I picked up the plans from Ana White. They were the easiest building plans I could find on the internet. The entire process was easy thanks to her free plans. Thanks!

The first step requires level ground. It seems obvious, but it will save you time getting it level the first time.

Next, build the wall frames and check for squareness. Easy stuff so far.

One of my helpers.
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Abbey Road Crossing

by Stuart on July 30, 2013

This is cool.

Video of the Week

by Stuart on July 29, 2013

I need a cool sport to complement my male pattern baldness.

Welcome Home

by Stuart on July 21, 2013

It’s been over a month since Claire Annaliese and Gabrielle Anne were born. They arrived June 4, 2013 around 11:00am (about five weeks early). IMG 2700 Claire was 4lbs. 6oz. and 17in. tall. Gabrielle was 4lbs. 10oz. and 19in. tall. Both girls are absolutely beautiful. Claire has light blond hair and squirms around. Gabrielle has dark hair and she sleeps most of the time. We are so happy they are finally home! IMG 2595IMG 2598

Teaching: Year Three

by Stuart on June 5, 2013

If I include substitute teaching I’ve actually been teaching five years. This past academic year was my third year teaching Graphic Design. Every year gets better. Here are my third year lessons:

  • Students are sometimes overwhelmed by work. They will thank me later in life for not making it easy. 
  • I LOVE my students. They are fun, intelligent, and crazy. 
  • Students are people too. They don’t always act like it. Sometimes they act like animals.
  • Thank you notes are the number one tool for breaking down barriers and building bridges. It takes a little thanks to make friends and influence people.
  • I can lead adults. This was an odd discovery. I got over my fear of speaking to adults. I’m still a weird, socially awkward, creepy computer geek though (I wear socks with sandals too). 
  • Administrators are still powerful. Chuck Norris is still more powerful than administrators.
  • Teachers care. Stop blaming teachers. Let’s blame the politicians. 
  • I might be interested in politics someday.
  • The Teacher as The Entertainer—it works.
  • I needed to spend more time with my students outside of class. 
  • I like righteous rebels.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud is a stupid idea. 
  • We finally earned a first place finish for our NATIVE SkillsUSA Competition. 
  • I’m so excited about Big Momma!
  • We don’t need reform. We need true leaders.
  • Get things done by inspiring people NOT threatening them.
  • Next year I need to pace myself and be willing to say NO.
  • I enjoy being a chaperone if it means going to Disneyland
  • If Chuck Norris were a teacher, I think he’d choose to be me.
  • Chuck Norris did not approve the previous statement.
  • It disturbs some people that I talk about Chuck Norris so much.

Next year I’ll be taking a break from teaching students. I’ll be teaching teachers how to integrate technology in the classroom. I’m excited about the new opportunity, but I’ll definitely miss my Design Peeps. 

Chuck Norris Knuckle Sandwich

by Stuart on March 17, 2013