Consumption vs. Production

Darren Rowse gave a great challenge in the ProBlogger post “Don’t be Paralyzed by Over-Consumption in 2011”. I was challenged reading the resolution his friend made, “I will be a producer, not a consumer.”

This resolution has many important applications for me.

  • I resolve to produce more of my own food in the summer because I’ve been entrusted with this beautiful Iowan soil.
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  • I resolve to move more, so I can lose that extra ten pounds.
  • I resolve to produce more effective experiences for my students, rather than just read another great teacher blog post.

Of course, consumption is good too. After raising them, we need to consume those beautiful veggies. We need to consume calories, so we have energy to run our bodies. And all teachers know, we need the input of colleagues to plan productive school days.

Regarding the 21st century’s overabundance of information, and my last year’s inclination to over-consume. Here are my resolutions:

  1. I will not check Twitter or email until after I take my morning walk and write my 750 words, (The only Internet site I use first thing in the morning. It is a very refreshing way to brain dump as you begin your day. It gets you ready to produce!)
  2. During the school day, my Internet usage will be limited to the resources and communication necessary for me to be an effective teacher.
  3. I will not check my subscriptions on Google Reader until after a full productive day of teaching.
  4. Lastly, and most frightening, I will not just infosume, but I will join the educational conversation. I will write on my blog regularly and learn and share through Twitter (and in the halls at my school, of course). @mrsdkrebs

Infosumption in the 21st century, has the potential to put me into a tail spin of inefficiency and overindulgence. My head becomes obese with all the information, but since I’ve been considering the idea of consumption and production, I’ve done something about it. Now, I feel refreshed.

If you are still reading this little blog post, thank you, and I suspect you may tend to over-infosume, too. We must, as Darren’s friend said, dare to become a producer, and not just a consumer. In the last three weeks, I have become much more productive with information as a result of my four resolutions.  “I resolve to be a producer, yet rejuvenate with adequate and measured consumption.”

Photo: Royalty-free image from

Anna’s Genius

I walked into my classroom on Wednesday morning and saw my white board covered with messages. They were written by a genius. Anna had been in my room the evening before, as it serves as a dressing room for the cheerleaders at our home basketball games. She decided to Image from subscription iClipart for Schoolsleave a message for the junior high students I teach. One message became two, then three, and finally it became a whole book. A guidebook to life. How to live it to the fullest. Anna is a genius, and she had something to share with the world. Would that all our students were so passionate.

A Few of my Favorite Things

Diet coke and Nails.Inc.

My favorite things and people are many! Do not be concerned that the Diet Coke made the top of my list. It’s not my favorite of all. My family and friends and food are actually more favorite. However, I am practicing some new ways to use images in my blogging challenge, so I used a picture I found on Flickr in the Creative Commons. Jenny, The Style PA, decorated this classic glass Diet Coke bottle and is sharing it with the world with an Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic license. Thank you, Jenny!

I also tried something new, which was adding a gallery of my own photos to my blog. It was quite easy and actually saved a step from how I usually do it. To upload a gallery on your Edublogs, just upload images to the gallery and do not push the “Insert Into Post” button for each one. Instead, when you get them all in, scroll to the bottom of the gallery and “Insert Gallery.” You can experiment with how many to have in each row. I found five was too many.

I have lots of wonderful favorites in life. Here are just a few.

Privacy vs. Transparency

Screen shot 2011-01-22 at 5.14.42 PM

Twelve years ago I started a school web site. We were painfully careful not to show the faces of children in photos. We took large group photos from a distance or we showed the backs of their heads–only photos that were unidentifiable. Over the past decade, with so much of our lives online in Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and others, things have changed. We are not fully transparent, but we definitely have changed the standards of what is appropriate regarding privacy issues on school web sites.

Now I am trying to understand how much privacy I should maintain with my blog. Can my new friends help me, please? Will you answer any or all of these student blog and privacy questions?

  • Do you put up photos on your blog that identify your school?
  • Do you identify students by name in photos?
  • Do you use real names or netnyms (pseudonyms for the web) for your blogs?
  • Do you use first names only?
  • Do you link your blog and school web together?

It’s only been in the last two weeks, since the Kick Start Your Blogging challenge began, that I’ve felt like my students and I were developing an audience for our blog. I’m delighted and excited, but I’m also concerned about the privacy issue. I would love to get comments back from you about how you do it. Thanks so much!

Art: No known copyright restrictions. Source: New York Public Library

Avatars: Big Blue Creatures or Picassoheads?

Avatars. What are they? I had never given much thought to them until 2009 when the movie Avatar came out. I thought avatars were the little pictures we use to represent us on webpages, but then I saw that they were big blue critters. I was confused for a time, as I often am these days learning a new digital language. This post is about the little pictures I use to represent myself, not the James Cameron avatar.

I have one colorful picture that I use as an avatar for everything.

My Picture
My Picture

I do like that I have a familiar web presence. When I search for my username, I see much evidence that I am out there. Even on a Google image search, my colorful picture comes up–along with dozens of other unrelated images, of course.

For my colorful photo avatar I used Photo Booth on my MacBook. I do prefer a photo because I like to be a “real” person commenting on others’ posts. However, I like this playful image because it doesn’t look too stark or exactly like me, with all my middle age imperfections.

Just for fun, for this blog challenge I did create a new avatar. It was made on What fun to create! It is just another reminder to me that the world is having so much fun creating and using all these cool sites.

The Picassohead resembles me, with the one green eye and crooked lips. Not really :).  Actually, my hair is about the same length and color as on my Picassohead.

Every time I do something new on my blog,  my students have fun looking up the new websites and trying for themselves. I’m sure they will certainly want to check out the new ways listed below to create their own avatars.



Lego Avatar

Portrait Illustration Maker