April 3, 2011

Novinger Genealogy

My grandfather, Keith LeRoy, and my father, Terry Keith, have been researching our family history for much of their lives. Some of my fondest memories of visiting my grandparents are when Papa, Dad, and I pored over document after document, photo after photo, just chatting about our family history.

Recently, I asked my father to scan some of the documents so we can start putting them in digital form. To organize their research, my grandfather came up with a numbering system (see document below). You see, we are the descendants of Dewalt Novinger, who had 10 children! Our lineage runs through his 9th child, Isaac.

File Numbering System for Novinger Family (Keith Novinger)

February 18, 2011

Are Group Projects Really THAT necessary?

Lately, I've been writing so much that I can hardly keep up. What's discombobulating though, is that I've been writing lesson plans, feedback notes, professional development plans, and all other responsibilities known to the teaching world as "meeting expectations".

I've lost count of how many colleges I work for. The over/under is on one hand. I bounce between online and campus on such a daily basis that faculty meetings often overlap time working with another school, grading deadlines compete with my availability.

Knocked out of this list of priorities I've been juggling since the new year is my fiction. When I gave up the lure of being a sports reporter last fall, I figured all of my writing time would be spent on one of my three novels in the works. No, I have yet to have had the time to make them--or parts of them--into short stories. 

Instead, I'm helping others become better writers.

To be selfish, one of my hopes during this "Aaron-is-an-instructor-first" time is that I will attain some sort of perspective that allows me to break through the issues I have with my first novel's first draft, my second-in-the-work's plot problems, and my should-I-or-should-I-nots about whether that one in between is more of a short story needing a quick ending. One thing is for sure: I will be practicing my usage of hyphens no matter what! He, he.

Anyhoo, the title of this post has something to do with group work in the realms of college-level academia. Personally, I feel as if I've been performing to some student-centered expectation that regards different learning styles and multiple intelligences. Lately, I have realized that my comfort in direct instruction is a strength of mine.

Emphasizing the managing of group assignments feels forced to me. Is this because I'm male and always look for direct solutions? Is this because I'm a student who respects and has relied upon direct instruction for inspiration and guidance? Or do I just feel uncomfortable with pushing students to socialize with each other in the academic constraints of a classroom?

Regardless of where I work, I always encourage students to help each other out, quiz each other prior to exams, and to conduct peer reviews. That's the extent to my pushing group work, so far. Perhaps it's the writer in me that feels left out while they are encoding and decoding messages regarding tone, sentence structure, flow, theme, and every other aspect of writing in which I'm not partaking.

I want to learn to write better, too! Peer reviews seem a memory now. 

Are all English instructors wanna-be-writers, too? If so, let's get together for some sort of group project. You'll have to assign me a role!

January 11, 2011

December 29, 2010

Top 10 Things I Love About My New Kindle...Thank you, Santa!

I now have all the resources I need to increase my number of books to read in 2011. My New Year's Resolution was to read a book each week. But after hearing about the annual count of books read by the avid readers in my life, and seeing that I am now the owner of a funky fresh Kindle, surely 52 books seems to be a modest goal.

On to the Top 10...
1. Freebies! - Thanks to the copyright-free days of pre-1923, there are enough free downloadable e-books in cyberspace to keep all of us from having to reach for our virtual wallets. After splurging this holiday season, frugality will be my friend into the spring.
2. Catch Up On Classics - I know I need to read more Swift, Dickens, and perhaps refresh my love/hate relationship with Chaucer. Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote... 
To begin my e-book career, I am bouncing between freebies, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Oliver Twist. Oh, and I downloaded the top "selling" free game as well. ;)

3. Fits In My Back Pocket - So far I've only tried this with jeans. Can't wait to take Walking with me on my next hike!
4. Just Read, Baby! - That's what it's for. Don't argue with me that you can do the same thing on some phone app or your iPad. I'm just trying to get lost in a story, not stay connected with the rest of "real" world.
5. Noone Else Wants To Use It - They're all playing with their own gadgets. Plus, who picks up another person's book, reads some of it, then remembers to replace the bookmark where they found it?
6. Battery Life - That e-ink takes little to no energy to display. Going to Europe for a couple of weeks and can't fit your Kindle charger? This puppy will last up to a month!
7. No Glare - Hey, it's winter so I'm not out e-reading by the pool. But so far, I have yet to get distracted by the reflection of my eyes. This is also an effect of the e-ink technology.
8. Author Pic Screensavers - When it times out, it still continues to inspire with its black-and-whites of famous authors. Hello, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and Oscar Wilde. I will be reading each of you soon!
9. Eco-Friendliness - I'm not burning gas to hit up Borders or Barnes & Noble. I'm not purchasing some classic that will sit on my bookshelf--it's former tree self wondering when giving up its life will no longer be in vain. Just polluting my own little WiFi network, that's all.
10. Just Read, Baby! - Yes, I am using this one again because that's all I want to do. Just read.