Sunday, January 31, 2010

574-Project 1

When I looked at the technology requirements and was deciding which ones I wanted to try, I saw  I have used their RubiStar many times and loved it so as I was looking through their home page I saw NoteStar.  This website helps students to keep track of their notes and sources.  Winner!  I signed up and after a while, I have figured it out.

When searching the websites, I would click on Note Card which was installed by NoteStar.  A box pops up and you fill in all the information.  It asks you what project it is for and what topic or subtopic you want it filed under.  (You create this in the "manage projects" section.)  There is a place for you to put the publication year, organization sponsoring the site as well as other bibliographical information.  The best part is there is an open box that lets you type notes about that website or copy and paste the information you want to keep.  You have the option to choose "my own words" or "quote" and once you hit create note your information is saved and organized for you on NoteStar.  There is even a function for viewing the bibliography!  So far it is a hit.  It also keeps track of your sources that are not online.

When I was loking through my websites, before I chose to Note them, I would look at who was responsible for the content of the page.  The zoos and other educational well known names I considered to be reputible sites.  It was also reassuring that the information was consistent from site to site.

When I started this project, I had a general background knowledge about elephants and it has been reassuring that what I thought to be true is and that the information I am finding just elaborates on those facts.  I knew that males did not stay with the herd.  I did not know however, that they left at about 14 or 15 years old to travel on their own in search of a female in a herd that was in heat.

574-Project 1

Today I have spent my homework time by searching the wonderful World Wide Web.  I have found the internet to be my best friend when doing homework since my time is so short and there is just a wealth of information out there.

Since my topic is about elephants and how they behave in their herds, both in the wild and in a zoo, I first looked at the San Diego Zoo's website.  I happened up on it last week and find myself returning regularly to view their webcam.  In addition to their webcam, they have an online elephant game you can play as well as lots of facts and information about the elephants.  I also visited the Indianapolis Zoo's website to see what types of information they had since they have the Elephant Project.  I like the way they catagorize their information so it was easy for me to filter through.

After looking at those two websites, I did a google search for "elephant herd behavior" and came upon some good websites with a wealth of information that talked about how elephants travel in herds and the herds can be up to 100 members.  Herds only consist of female and young males.  Once a male reaches maturity he goes out on his own to find a breeding herds with a female in heat to mate with.  This is just a tidbit of the information I have found.

I then looked for "elephant behavior in zoos" which lead me to a IDA website which was stating its case for elephants to not be held in captivity since they are not able to maintain thier natural behavior and their health deteriates.  When I saw the word "captivity," I changed my search words to "elephants in captivity" and found an interesting article that discussed how being held in a zoo affects the elephants both physically and emotionaly.

I think my research questions are still applicable to my project so I have not tweaked them.  I have so far used the internet and Inspire to look for my information.  I am going to look at my elementary library tomorrow and see what information I can find on our shelves.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Disgrace by J.M Coetzee
Genre: Domstic Fiction (also my classic)

In Disgrace, a 52 year old projessor at Cape Town University who has been divorced twice finds himself unemployed after having a sexual relationship with a student.  He refused to defend himself or seek counseling to save his job.  He feels that he acted as a man should....act on desire.  I have a feeling this is what probably ended his two marriages.  Before the relationship with the student, he found desires filled by a weekly "working" woman who left the business.  He was lost without her and not willing to settle for another one of the agencies women so instead he started the affair. 

Once he finds himself unemployed, he decides to visit his daughter who lives on a farm taking care of stray dogs.  He finds life there to be very different from city life and much more dangerous.  After his daughters house was robbed and they were both attacked, she changes and becomes more determined to stay and have a life there.  He wants her to leave before she is killed by the local thugs. 

Through the story, he is trying to find his place.  Who is he and where does he belong?  He begins to acknowledge that his relationship with the student was a bad idea and after returning to the city months later apologizes to her family.  He finds his home robbed and still he has no job.  With nowhere else to go, he returns to his daughters town and rents a room while he tries to repair their relationship which was strained from the time spent living in the same house.  Upon his return he finds his lesbian daughter is pregnant---from the men who robbed them on his first visit.  He is outraged that she insists on keeping the child and refuses to press charges on the one of three suspects.  He doesn't understand their way of life, but in an attempt to be there for his daughter he remains to assist in any way he can. 

While this book is called Domestic Fiction which has been compared to the genre Women's Relationship, it is written from the man's prospective.  It is what I would call a gentle read.  There is no suspense or thrill....nothing that makes you unable to put the book down because you HAVE to know what will happen next.  It was an enjoyable read with a good story and some interesting lessons.  I am not sure however why it is considered a classic.  It was published in 1999 so I am not even sure it has been out long enough to be considered a classic.  Overall, I enjoyed this book.

574-Project 1-Wondering

When I decided to do my project on elephants, I didn't have particular quesitons in mind.  I just love reading about them and learning everything I can.

After reading some of the San Diego Zoo's website (, and viewing their webcam some questions came to mind about the herd itself.  I wondered how when elephants where put into the zoo, how they created their herds.  I wondered if African elephants were friendly with the Asian elephants and if they even realized amont themselves if there were differences.  To answer this question I emailed an "expert" through ask an expert on 

Since there is so much information about elephants both wild and housed in zoos, it is hard to really narrow down a focus for my search.  I wonder certain things about the herds in the zoos, but then I also like to read about their herd behavior in the wilde.  I like the facts on the zoo boards at the elephant displays that talk about how the male elephant leaves the herd upon reaching a certain age and travels to visit other herds to mate with.  I find it fascinating that a female elephant is pregnant for 22 months (no, thank you!) and how when the babies are born the can stand right away to eat.

After reading what I just typed, I think I just make my subtopic "life in the herd" and include both behaviors in the zoo as well as in the wild.  That way I can compare these two.

A few questions to be answered in a addition to the one I asked the "expert" are:
1.  How is a herd started?
2.  Can a herd ever be too big to where it needs to separate into smaller herds?
3.  Who is in charge in the herd?  Who makes the decisions?
4.  Elephants are said to mourn their dead.  How does the herd do this?
5.  Do elephants have any other "human" like behavior?
6.  How does the herd defend itself from predators?

Well, I think that wraps up my wondering....
On a side note about the project in general, I am feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of work this project entails.  I now understand why my students freak out on me when I introduce projects to them.  They just want to know what to do first or next....that is how I am feeling.  Upon looking at the "Evaluation" list of what all has to be done, I nearly had an anxiety attack....I am hoping that by following the 8 W's, doing the 4 technology steps, commenting on others blogs, and putting my findings into a PowerPoint or Brochure for the final product that I will have completed the project.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire
Genre: Fantasy

Elphaba is born to a minsiter father and a immoral mother as a girl with green skin and huge sharp teeth.  To go along with her odd physical appearance, she seems mean spirited and has to constantly be watched.  While her father is off preaching her mother has an affair with stranger from a different land that happened upon their home.  When her sister, Nessarose, is born with no arms the mother is unsure who the father is.  Elphaba grows into a strong willed woman who is insistent on saving the Animals from the life that the Wizard has condemed them to.  Her life takes her in different directions and many different experiences.  She encounters a young man with whom she has an affair, she is involved with plots against the Wizard as well as her head mistress from her school, she ends up in what is comparative to a convent and leaves wtih a child she is not sure is biologically hers or not, and finally ends up settling down in the land of her lover and ironically with his wife and family since he died more or less as the result of Elphaba's political activities.  From there she is informed that her sister has taken over as ruler of thier homeland nicknamed Wicked Witch of the East.  When Elphaba visited her sister the people then assumed she too was evil and called her the Wicked Witch of the West which Elphaba kept simply becuase it was amusing to her.  Upon Dorothy's arrival to Oz which resulted in the death of Nessarose, Elphaba went in pursuit of the red shoes that Glinda (nicknamed the Good Witch) cast a spell on to make Nessie stand unassisted.  Sadly, the measures Elphaba took to get Dorothy to her home were wicked indeed and in the end resulted in her accidental death at Dorothy's hand.

On a personal note, I feel the book has a good story line, however, the way in which it is written is difficult to read and follow.  There are scenes in the book that are even inapporpriate for my 30 year old self and could have easily been left out as they did not apply to the story line at all.  Along with that, some of the language and descriptions were crude and vulgar and again could have been left out.  While I am interested in the story that the next two books have to tell, I do not plan on reading them for fear of the same writing style, language, and sexual scenes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

524-Kirkus Review "Kindred"

Author: Octavia E. Butler
Title: Kindred
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (September 15, 1988)
Language: English
Category: Science Fiction/Young Adult
ISBN-10: 0807083054
ISBN-13: 978-0807083055
Hardcover: $23.70
Paperback: $15.00

Butler creates a path to explore what women in the twentieth century would be like if they landed back in the time of slavery. Through some sort of time travel, Dana Franklin, a black woman writer, travels between 1976 and the time of slavery. She encounters a white boy, Rufus, and saves his life. Upon saving him, his father begins beating Dana and she travels back to 1976. Often she is thrown back in time, where she must learn the rules of being a slave and unwillingly follows those rules to stay alive. The timing of her travel becomes clear. When “Slave Master” Rufus’s life is in danger, modern day Dana comes in and saves the day. Thankfully, when Dana’s life is in danger she gets to go home to her white husband (who eventually joins her on a travel and had his own adventures.) This riveting story is suspenseful, thrilling, and quite the page turner. Through some investigation, Dana soon learns that Rufus is her ancestor and that if she does anything drastic to change history she will not exist. During her time spent under Rufus’s iron fist, she befriends her ancestor, Alice, and teaches her literacy but also has to encourage her to withstand being raped by Rufus thus to ensure her own birth many years later. Reader’s who surely enjoy this historical fiction with a twist that teaches many hard lessons.

Monday, January 25, 2010

574-Project 1

Part of this was on my previous post when I listed my three choices.  The conclusion of this step is as follows. (Since I think I am grasping the directions, I am using the 8 W's to help keep my process posts on track.)

I think I am going to do my inquiry on elefantes.  I find elephants absolutely fascinating.  I want to learn more about their culture (yes, elefantes have one!) and about their history in relation to us, the horrible humans who kill them simply for their ivory tusks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

574--Project 1 Inquiry Ideas

Well, I am a bit overwhelmed when looking at the directions and requirements for Project 1 so I am going to take this slow and hope I do it right.

Some subject ideas I have had is:
The Holocaust--a subject I have always loved learning about.  I am particularly facinated with the children's stories.  What they went through, how they survived, what are they doing now if they are still alive.

Down Syndrome--my 14 year old cousin and her twin who passed away at 6 weeks old were born with DS.  While she is my cousin I always think of her as my baby.  She and her sister, Anna who is 17 and an academic genius, are the joys of my life.  Since Alana was born, I have been fascinated with DS and can't learn enough about it.  I do anything I can to help Alana be successful.

Elephants--I collect elefantes (spanish word I usually use when I refer to them) and decorate my house with them.  I love visiting the zoo (I am a member) and spending most of my time there at the elefantes just watching them.  They are beautiful animals!

Those are my 3 ideas.  Hopefully after reading the directions for the project a few more times (I have already read them 3 times) I can make a decision by tomorrow and begin the next part....whatever that is!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

524-Ding! Dong! The Witch is DEAD!

It is official.  I have officially finished Wicked and am glad to be done.  I will say the last 60 pages were the easiest to read since I have seen The Wizard of Oz many times before.  The last 60 or so pages picked up from when Dorothy arrived to Oz, but it was told through Elphaba's perspective which was interesting.  After completing the book, I feel the Wicked Witch of the West has been misrepresented throughout the years.  I look forward to seeing the play, but never again plan on picking up the book or reading the other two books in the series.

Now on to read Disgrace which is counting as my Classic and the genre is Domestic Fiction.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

524--Wicked....Am I done yet?

Well, over the weekend I officially choked down over 100 pages of this "wonderful" book.  I am currently on page 260 of 400 and am hoping to complete it by our class on Thursday.  Is it getting better?  Yes and No.  I have finally found a story line I can follow even though at each new section of the book it has jumped years ahead and I spend the next few pages trying to figure out what is going on.  Is it still wierd strange crude and just plain gross at parts---yes.  As I have described it to my friends, it is porn.  I am all about the hot and steamy romance novels that I freely admit to reading.  However, this is not HUMAN!  These are Wizard of Oz characters and well, I am sorry, but it is just not cool.  Not too keen on the way it is talked about either...very vulgar. 

Currently, the Wicked Witch is not yet Wicked or even known as a witch, I think.  I could be missing some things since I tend to doze off every 10 pages or so....I could put it down right now and never read another page and be totally ok with that.

But, I will finish it just so I can say I did.  From what I hear the play is awesome and leaves out the parts that I do not like.  So, I will look forward to that.

This now ends my status report on the hardest book I have ever forced myself to read.....
Until next time...Happy reading, Folks!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

All About Me

Hi!  My name is Nichole and I am an elementary school Media Speialist.  I am taking this class as an elective and am looking forward to getting to read adult books in this will have me reaching out of my comfort zone since I usually read children's books (Hey! I work in an elementary school! Don't judge!) and Young Adult books (um, sadly, I just like them! haha).  I love the Twilight series and am on a vampire kick right now!

I am currently at IPS School 79 which is an ESL site so I get to use some of my Spanish which I love.  I taught Spanish for 2 years in a Catholic elementary school.  I have been a teacher for 8 years and decided to switch to media because the classroom was becoming too political and not about the kids anymore.  In the library, I get to help kids and have a relationship with them that isn't about passing tests and doing thier homework and I love it!  At my current school, I have been asked by my principal to teach computer skills instead of library skills which saddens me, but I hold out hope that someday my job description will be my actual job. :)  In addition to being a teacher, I have always also been a Swim Team coach.  I am looking forward to being able to go back to it one I graduate.

In my free time (let's be honest here, before I started grad school), I like to scrapbook, quilt, sew, crochet, knit, make cards, bake....anything crafty really.  I love spending time with my friends, family, and boyfriend (he would be the one in the picture on my blog).  I have a younger sister and brother who are both married.  I am close to all of them.

Last spring I adopted a kitten who quickly became my baby.  Now I understand how people are so attached to thier animals!  Corby Tarzan is crazy, lovable, smart and dumb at the same time, and thinks he is both dog and human, but don't dare call him a cat...I think he would be insulted!  He loves water, snuggling, having his belly rubbed, and eating.  (He is currently on a diet!)