December 2010 – Top 10 posts

December 2010 has seen a few changes to One Foot In Reality. This month I have changed the focus from Special Education to reviewing software/web applications and how they work in my classroom.

  1. MY NEW TASK MANAGER – Dec 25, 2010
  3. OFFICE SUITES I USE DEC 2010 – Dec 14, 2010
  4. CHANGING MY BLOG FOCUS – Dec 12, 2010
  5. START PAGES – THAT I USE DECEMBER 2010 – Dec 29, 2010
  6. PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010 – Sep 4, 2010
  7. GOING BACK TO GMAIL.COM – Dec 18, 2010
  8. December 2010 – Blizzard Photos – Dec 27, 2010

Only two posts in this month’s top 10 is not related to my new focus on technology and one of those had images of the big blizzard that happened last week.  8 of 10 were related to technology and in keeping with with my new blog focus (including #4 which announced the change).

I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my posts and who have been so patient with all the changes my blogs have undergone during this last month and past year.


As the new year approaches, each year I put together my goals for the next year (in writing) so that I can refer back to see how I am doing and if I made very much progress towards the direction I want to be going.#1  Determine whether or not I want to remain in Special Education as a teacher.  This is something that I do every summer – take a good long look at the job I am presently in and decide whether or not to stay.  It is very stressful being a Special Educator for a variety of reasons (which I have documented in other blog posts) and I have to determine if that stress is still worth it to me or not.  I won’t make any rash decisions or anything like that, but I will look at whether I am still enjoying my chosen profession and make my decisions during July of this year.  If I do decide to no longer be a Special Education teacher, I do plan/want to remain in education in some capacity, preferably in Education Technology or some other role.  Time will tell.

#2  Enjoy writing more at One Foot In Reality.  Writing about what I do for my day job (Special Education) was getting very tedious for me – it was just too much of something. I needed to be able to take off my Special Education hat much more than I was.  Changing my blog’s primary focus to doing reviews on software/web applications is something that I always wanted to do, but in the past always thought “who am I” and there are so many other people out there already doing that, who would want to read what I have to say?  If I don’t do this now, I am not following one of my dreams and giving it a chance to see where it leads me.  I am very passionate about using technology and believe that I have some unique perspectives on how software/web applications are or can be used, so we will see how this change pans out.

#3  Prepare for a reduced income over the course of the next couple of years.  I have a feeling that education is going to go through some tumultuous times over the next few years in the State of Maine and throughout the Country.  I am still at the bottom of all the lists and am probably in a better position weather the storm than some others, but at the same time it doesn’t hurt to learn to live on a reduced income.  This goes well with my last year’s goals of being less materialistic and more self-sufficient.  Hey who knows, maybe I will decide to leave teaching, become a freelance writer and finish writing the book that I have started and stopped so many times.

#4 Get myself back in reasonable shape.  My knee is balky at best, but it doesn’t bother when I lift weights or use a recumbent bicycle at the gym.  There are some lower body exercises I will have to stay away from, but other than that I don’t have any limitations other than what I can do.  My definition of reasonable will be walking over 1,000 miles (logged), getting my weight back to 170 or lower (lower is better) and not having the doctor bug me too much when I visit him in May.

#5 Let go of things that I can’t control.  I have a difficult time with this, I want to do so much, but I have come to learn that I can’t fix or help in every situation.  Sometimes you just have let it go and move on.  Don Quixote is not my alias but I have the belief that Don will ride again, but just not as often.

#6 Be positive as possible in all my personal and professional relationships. This is a carry-over from last year and believe that it helped to look at this every so often.  If I am positive good things happen and relationships improve, it is when I get negative…well we all know what happens then.

#7  Say “no” and mean it.  Often I say yes to things that I can’t accomplish or don’t really want to do, but say I will because of who is asking or some other reason.  Saying no is not part of my usual “can do” attitude, but with the demands of home, work and other things I like to do, taking on even more is not something that I want or should do.  This will be something that I do more often this year – just say no.

#8  Take the Google Certified Trainer series of tests and finish them by the end of April break.  I started going through the trainings last summer and completed them, but just haven’t taken the tests.  Completing this would be good resume material, if I need it and will help me gain more self-confidence that I do know something about what I am doing with technology other than in my own mind.

#9  Attend one of the #edcamps in the area.  I really love to meet the people that are in my Personal Learning Network and see them face to face.  I have come to rely on my PLN for ideas, support and comments to help me improve as an educator.  I plan to continue to participate in the #chats that are on Twitter and MLTI webinars whenever it is convenient to do so, but they are on the calendar as probable, not definite.

#10 Make sure that I stop and smell the roses.  I get so wrapped up in getting school work done, trying to figure out how to interest my students, playing with the computer, participating in #chats, webinars and all the other things that happen my day-to-day world that I forget to stop and just enjoy my life.  I need to remember I have a life beyond school/education or my laptop and need to enjoy that part of my life more.  The work-life balance that I sometimes forget about.

Again this year, I have written my goals and all but a couple of them are difficult to measure.  I am tired of people saying that we have to continually measure everything in order to know whether or not we are making progress or not.  That is the mathematician, engineer, manager or politician wanting data to measure artificial progress that may not really occur, but can be shown as evidence of how much we are doing. I am none of those and don’t believe more data or measuring everything is appropriate for every situation. These goals are mine and mine alone, I will know whether or not I meet them, writing them as measurable goals does not serve all that much of a purpose to me.

I hope that you have written down your goals for the next year and that you do as well in reaching yours as I will be in reaching mine.  The most difficult one will be getting back in shape, but I will do it.

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This year has been a tough but mostly good year for me personally and professionally.  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I write down some goals that are important to me and then review them at the end of the year  So here we go.

Last year I discussed how only we can control our reactions to situations and still believe that is true.

What do we have control over? Only our reactions to what is going on around us, which can be positive or negative, but most of us have the ability control how we react (if we choose to).  So my resolutions are going to focused on things I can influence or control.
#1 – Stop and smell the roses more. I tend to get too involved in things and then I let life pass me by.
I did okay on this one, but not enough to say that I was successful, being a teacher makes it difficult when school is in session to stop and smell the roses and that is just the way it is.  However, I didn’t do as good job of this when school was not in session – okay#2 – Be positive as possible in all my personal and professional relationships. If I am positive good things happen and relationships improve, it is when I get negative…well we all know what happens then.  I did really good on this one until a bunch of family medial issues came up and took over what I was thinking about, during September/October, but I think that I am back on track and back to being the positive me – pretty good

#3 – Train for the Maine Marathon. Just doing this will take care of all those eating right/weight related resolutions. My only concern is that my body might betray me, but I can try until it does. I just have to go slow and steady and not attempt too much too soon.  My right knee acted up and I haven’t able to train or even run since about April, my weight has gone up more than I want to admit.  I went to the gym, but not as consistently as I should have – not so good

#4 – Do the work as it arrives and touch things only once. I was able to this in the office atmosphere, now I have to translate it to the classroom and special education. This one will be tougher, but I have to make it a priority. If I do, I will become more organized and be less stressed about getting my school-work done. Which in turn will make teaching my students easier.  I have been working on using this system and for the most part have done this, although once in a while I have let things pile up a bit and have had to go back and do over work that should have been handled only once – pretty good

#5 – Be less materialistic. Do I really need all the stuff, I have accumulated, as I get older I find that I want/need less to be happy. This year I plan to buy less “stuff” and focus on things that I actually need. Boy am I glad I got my Mac before I made this one.  I actually did quite well on this goal, I bought a lot less “stuff” than I did in past years and believe that I can do even better this year.  Now if I could just figure out how to stop buying apps and software, that would be a huge thing 🙂  overall – good

#6 – Be more self-sufficient. I am not a survivalist, doomsday buff or end of the worlder. At the same time I believe that being able to be self-sufficient in as many ways as possible is a way to save money (which is a good thing) and if our infrastructure continues to deteriorate at its present rate, it will affect us less. Being able to grow food, hunt, fish, cut/burn wood, etc. are skills I need to maintain and improve upon. I live in the country so it is easier for me to develop these skills and use them.  Again my wife and I (her more than I) did quite well on this one, if we had to we could go a couple of months or so without to much disruption to our lives.  Very good

#7 – Last but not least enjoy life. It may sound a lot like #1, but we all have a limited time on this earth and it is mostly up to us whether our life is miserable or if we enjoy what we have available to us. I choose to enjoy my time here.

I did okay on this goal, some big family health issues got in the way in the fall and I have been letting little things at work bother me more than they should, but overall I know that I have a very good life and that I am grateful for all the things that I do have. pretty good.
I know that most of these goals were very general and mostly not measurable (heaven forbid that I a Special Educator put together goals that can’t be measured), but is it really necessary to measure everything? I think that all too often we put way too much emphasis on the end outcome and forget that sometimes the journey is just as important – maybe more important.

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