Dear 11yo Daughter

You are growing up smart, talented, determined, and beautiful. (And mercurial. And obstreperous.) For a little while longer, please keep thinking that problems like these are so important, because I know I can fix them so easily.

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Star Trek: “Wink Of An Eye”/”The Empath”

Amusing, if cynical, reaction to some of my favorite third-season episodes. (I suggested that my sister name her dog “Gem,” after the name McCoy gives to “The Empath,” and through high school and college I wished for the ability to speed myself up to meet deadlines, so it’s a bit of a challenge for me to see these episodes as mediocre, even though I acknowledge they are not the best…


7 ways for teachers to beat the Sunday blues

Tell yourself, I am rejecting these thoughts about school because they’re not productive. I’m choosing to replace them with the thought that when Monday morning comes, I can trust myself to know what to do, so I don’t need to think about it right now. Then distract yourself by doing something more enjoyable, and dismiss any thoughts about school that continue to arise. It takes awhile to discipline your mind…


What blogging was

I’ve maintained this blog since the spring semester of 1999, though at the time I considered it an “annotated list of links.” Updating it meant editing the HTML by hand. Like Crichton’s dinosaurs, blogs have evolved into everyday things that we may not recognize as the powerful, conspicuous giants they once were. Blogs have evolved into the social media outlets where most of us (including me) do most of our…

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Jerz and Daughter Teach Scratch (Digital Storytelling Tutorial)

In the past I have posted tutorials for how to use Scratch to create a ball-and paddle computer game, but I let Carolyn create what she wanted to create. Rather than targets to shoot or puzzles to solve, she chose to tour a virtual environment, via a self-paced storybook. You move ahead by clicking the screen, and invisible buttons trigger animations.

This tutorial is a good introduction to how easy it is to make something interactive in Scratch.

Carolyn started with photos she had already taken of her Lego hobbit hole, added some simple programming to make a click advance to the next screen, and to make an invisible button trigger some animation.

In the video, she’s careful to run the program after every couple of steps, and she catches a few mistakes. When I point out that an interactive detail she coded would be hidden from a player who didn’t know where to click, she added a label that made sure her players wouldn’t miss the interactive bits.