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Showing posts from April, 2012

Are You Through With Microsoft Word?

For as long as I have been using a computer to write and create documents I have been using Microsoft Word.  The word processing component of the Microsoft Office software suite can be trace its history back to 1983.  I currently own Word for Mac 2011 on my machine.  The product is loaded with features.  It seems with each new version users have additional formatting options to choose from.  Lately, I have found myself using Word less and less. Most of the time, I do not need all of the formatting tools in Word.  Often, I'm fighting with the program as the "auto format" seems to take over my document.  Lately, instead of fighting with Office I have been using Google Docs , the web giant's web-based, FREE productivity suite.  All you need is a Google account, then you can start creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  The best part about Google Docs is the fact that your work is stored in "the Cloud" with Google.  You are able to access your cre

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Event

Back in November I wrote about what I believe to be the best part of my job; running into Carlson High School graduates that are success stories and hearing about how well they are doing in the "real world."  Carlson High School graduate Nathan Matatall is clearly one of these success stories.  After graduating from Carlson High School and Michigan State University Nathan has gone on to very successful career at Dell Computers.  The News Herald even published a feature piece on Nathan a few years ago.  This past week, Nathan provided my family with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.   Nathan, my former public speaking student, contacted me via email a few weeks ago and inquired about taking my kids on a tour of Marine One (one of the helicopters used to transport The President of the United States and other dignitaries) and to possibly attend the landing of Air Force One when President Obama was scheduled to arrive in Detroit.  I was very excited a

Teachable Moment With Dad

I have previously wrote my praises for The Henry Ford , so most of you know I enjoy spending time at this amazing attraction in Dearborn, Michigan.  Today I was fascinated with the newly remodeled "Driving America" exhibit.  Of course the current big draw is The Titanic Artifact Exhibit , but my kids and I decided to save that for another visit this summer.  I learn so much with each visit, but today I was able to share a teachable moment with my children. Now, working in a high school, I hear phrase "teachable moment" often.  When a true "teachable moment" comes along in school it is a blessing.  "Teachable moments" usually create excellent discussion and everyone walks away learning much more than they would via a normal lesson plan.  One of the best aspects of my "job" as a dad is that there are no lesson plans; "teachable moments" are a daily occurrence.  Today was no different.  While walking through the Civil Rights se

ALA's Most Challanged Books for 2011

The Detroit Free Press has a little piece on the American Library Association's list of most challenged books for 2011.  It should really come as no surprise that Suzanne Collins' popular hit The Hunger Games is on the list.   Thanks to the recent hit film, the book is as popular as ever.  Reasons provided for challenges to the trilogy include, "sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence, anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language and occult/satanic."  Wow, that is one monster list of "offenses."  Maybe I missed quite a bit while reading the trilogy, but the only complaint I can really see is the clear "violence" that is prevalent in the series.  Even Collins agrees the books are violent and not for everyone. I personally enjoying reading through the list of challenged titles and gain even more enjoyment reading the various reasons for challenges.  One of my favorites is "nudity."  Nudity in a book?  What will

April 2012 Read of the Month

For my April 2012 Read of the Month I am going to stick with some young adult fiction.  I just ordered Unwind by Neal Shusterman for the Carlson Library.  When I made my initial evaluation of the book I knew it would be a title I would want to read immediately when it arrived in my office.  With Spring Break just around the corner, it is a perfect time for me to enjoy a new book. April 2012 Read of the Month This novel picks up after the Second American Civil War.  The war was fought over abortion rights.  After the fictitious war, abortion becomes illegal, however in a cruel strange twist, parents have the option to have their children "unwound" between the ages of 13 - 17.  What does being "unwound" mean?   Simple, children are sent off to have their organs harvested for donation, so technically the children are still alive; life is preserved (if you say so.....).  The novel follows three teen characters trying to avoid being "unwound."  I realize

March 2012 Read of the Month Review

I have finally finished my March 2012 Read of the Month , The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  As I stated when I first wrote the introduction I really enjoy John Green's work.  I love the humor and sarcasm in his novels.  Now I have only read two of his books, but they are easy to follow and deep at the same time. The subject matter is a little tough in this novel.  Teens suffering through cancer is really not a humorous subject matter, but Green creates humorous, enjoyable characters.  The novel focuses on teens Hazel and August, cancer survivors that enjoy life.  Both characters are strong in many ways, but also need each other as they fight for their lives.  The novel contains a major twist which I will not spoil.  While the novel brought many laughs, as expected with a book about ill children there were also numerous sad moments.  I think what I love most about John Green's writing is his ability to create intelligent teenagers that are still able to be "kids&quo