Dragonfly in Milanese lace

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

TRAILS                            September 2018


NJ Smith








Friday, January 29, 2016

How to Create a Morning News Program Using Microsoft Power Point with Mix

For many years, we aired our morning news program live through our school’s television distribution system.  With the arrival of interactive white boards, our school district quit supporting the television system, so we needed a new way to put on the news.  After much experimentation, we have found an easy and inexpensive way to produce and show our morning news.

We have five student news crews- one for each day of the week.  Each crew has four students – one to produce the script, one to handle the music, one to run the camera and an anchor.  Often, the students switch jobs, as circumstances require.  We create and film the show the day before it is aired.

The first step is to write the script.  We create a PowerPoint presentation with a welcome slide with the date, one slide for birthdays, one for the lunch menu, one for the weather, one with announcements, one for a math or spelling problem, on for the daily book talk, one for the Pledge of Allegiance, and a final slide with the morning exercises.

We have installed Mix with our PowerPoint program.  Mix allows you to record audio or video or inking onto a slide.  Using the computer’s web camera and microphone, we record the anchor reading the slides and writing out the answer to the day’s math or spelling problem.  One nice feature of Mix is that you record only one slide at a time, so that if an error is made, you only have to re-record one slide.  You can add special effects and transitions as well as web links, documents, photos and more. You can also have your principal or teachers record a slide if they want to appear on the show.  I do a daily book talk, featuring one of the titles in the library.

Our physical education teacher does an exercise or dance routine for each news show.  She chooses students from her PE class to appear on the morning show as a reward for good behavior.  She either exercises or dances with these students and we record them with a digital video camera.  We than upload that video to our school’s You Tube channel.  After uploading, we embed the You Tube link into a slide on our presentation.  This allows the teachers to link to the You Tube video so their class can participate in the exercise program every morning.

After we are finished creating the show, we use Mix to upload it to the Office Mix website.  There are different security settings so that you can limit who can watch the show and allow comments, if wanted.  Mix then provides you with a link that you can send to your teachers.  I also put that link on our school’s Facebook page so that the parents can also enjoy our morning show.  We’ve had a lot of positive community reaction to our morning news show.  The students and staff enjoy watching it every day.  The students on the news crew gain valuable experience in creating and filming a daily show, and they have a good time working together. 

Click the link below to see the show we aired on January 26, 2016. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weaving Tech into the Library

Tonder Bobbin Lace
  Although this blog is usually about the textiles in my life, I also have a "real" job.  I am an elementary school librarian at Great Falls Elementary, a small school in rural South Carolina.  Last year, I was selected to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and my school is a Microsoft Showcase School.    This is quite an honor for me and I have been trying to include much more educational technology in my library curriculum. One of the most important skills I teach my students (ages 4 to 11) is how to find things - books, articles and facts both online and on paper.  To that end, I teach them how to use our online catalog, databases and search engines.  I am partial to Bing, because it has limited advertising and provides copyright free images.  I teach them how to use a variety of search engines - including Duck Duck Go, Dogpile and the South Carolina Virtual Library.  We also use Wolfram Alpha for the older students, especially with math and science.  Not only does it give you the answer, it shows how the answer was calculated.  I teach all of the students how to analyze what they find on the internet - Is it current? Fact or opinion? Attributed? What type of site is it? Is it trying to sell something? Is it biased?  These are life-long searching skills for all aspects of my student's lives.
     Once students locate useful information, they need a way to organize it.  As our school is moving towards a one-to-one environment and away from paper as much as possible, I have been teaching the students to use OneNote as a digital binder to keep their files, images and notes.  Its easy to use, even for very young students, and is available anywhere there is web access.  Each student and staff member has an Office 365 account, provided by the school, giving them access to a whole range of Microsoft products.  In the library we mostly use Outlook email, OneNote, PowerPoint, Word and Sway, although some of the older students also use Excel.

Weaving Tonder bobbin lace
     An important skill I recently taught all 3rd-5th graders was how to use email properly,  This fall our students started using their new email accounts and I began to receive some rather unimpressive and confusing emails from students.  I taught them how to format an email, create an informative subject heading, and proofread their message for clarity and correctness.  I had each student send me an email with a reference question they wanted answered, and chose several to answer in the next weekly class.  I pointed out what was done properly in their emails, and we collaboratively searched for the answers to their questions.
     For Thanksgiving, I had pairs of students create word clouds about what they were thankful for, using Tagul.  I had them save their clouds to OneNote and email them to their parents.  I also printed them out and used them for a bulletin board.
     I also use educational technology in my "out of school" life, especially when I teach lacemaking and knitting. I use Windows Movie Maker to edit instructional videos and I use Sway to create promotional brochures for knitting and lacemaking.  They are easy to use and don't require a lot of time invested in learning how to use the software.  I appreciate that most Microsoft products have an intuitive feel and ease of use.

Antique Irish Crochet Cuff

New Lace

This fall I attended two lace workshops in the Charlotte area.  Golden Bobbins hosted a workshop with Kumiko Nakazaki in October and a Milanese Lace workshop with Louise Colgan in November.  I haven't finished the Flanders piece I started at Kumiko's class, so no pictures yet of it.  I did however finish the Tulip I started at Louise's class.

This spring, we also had a Idrija workshop with Allie Marguccio, where I started a butterfly.  Its finally finished. 
Christmas is fast approaching, so I made an insert for my candle holder from the book "Lace for Ten Pairs" by Claire Burkhard.
And I have started an angel from "Angels in Russian Tape Lace" by Hanne Sonne..
I'm also doing a whole lot of knitting (see my Ravelry page for details).  I can't wait for Christmas!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Binche and Flanders Bobbin Lace Workshop with Kumiko Nakazaki

Hosted in Charlotte, NC by the Golden Bobbins lace guild

 Mary working on a Binche piece.
 My Flanders piece.
 Kumiko talking to Sumi.
 Myrriah designing Binche lace.
 Ann, our hostess, working on her Binche piece.
 Karen and Vickie working on Binche pieces in Ann's beautiful living room.
 Dawn, Marie and Marion working in the nice light from Lake Norman.
 Dawn and Marie.
 Dawn's Binche tulip.
 Our teacher, Kumiko Nakazaki, playing the violin during class!
 Spanish lace bobbins that Sumi bought this summer.
My Flanders piece. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Old Lace

 Venetian Gros Point Needlelace cuff
 Irish Crochet Collar
 Detail of Collar
Detail of Cuff
Thank you to Lee from our lace guild for these beautiful pieces.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My New Old Wheel

This week I bought an old spinning wheel at an estate sale in Great Falls, SC.  It is a Saxony style wheel, made by (Jean Baptiste) Aram Paradis, who lived in St. Andre, Kamouraska, Canada from 1857 to 1925.  It has a screw tensioning device, not the tilt tension that he used for his later CPW wheels (Canadian Production Wheels).  It has ARAM PARADIS  incised in the end of the table and some other (possibly random) marks on the top of the table. The wheel diameter is 22 inches and it has a C-shaped wheel crank. It seems to have all of its original parts, although one of the wheel uprights is cracked.  I wrapped it with cord to prevent the crack from widening while I research how to get it repaired.  I cleaned and waxed the wheel and installed a drive band, but it needs adjustments because whenever I treadle the band pops off.  The bobbin turns but the flyer sticks. The flyer turns when I turn it manually, but not when I turn the wheel.  The Antique Spinning Wheel forum and the CPW forum on ravelry.com have a lot of information about this type of wheel.  I purchased the ebook "Fabricants de Rouets:  Nineteenth Century Quebec Spinning Wheel Makers and their Twentieth Century Heirs 1850-1950" by Caroline Foty to learn more about the history.  I can tell that this is going to be fascinating.
 The flyer and bobbin assembly

 Screw tensioning

 Marks on the top of the table
 Maker's mark ARAM PARADIS
The hub of the wheel