Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vienna- Vibrant and Vivacious!

Ok, so I love using alliteration to title my blog posts. Please forgive me!

Over the first full weekend in June Kate and I went to Vienna. Kate's days in Europe were numbered and it was still a site left on her list.


Thanks to my sister, AGAIN, we were able to stay at a super fancy hotel that we could not have afforded otherwise! We had a room that looked down on the Opera House and had a small balcony that you could peer down below from. The Opera House shows the live operas on a large screen outside where you can sit and watch the show for free. The opera that is performed changes each night and every day the sets and costumes are moved to and from the main opera house to storage locations outside the building. This we learned on an Opera House tour. We were able to go backstage and see the crew preparing for the night's show. While we were in Vienna they offered The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola. 

the view from our room- Opera House and the big screen
behind the scenes
beautiful chandeliers
We toured St. Stephen's Cathedral in the heart of Venice. In it's earlier days, the windows had stained glass but much of the glass was ruined during World War II. Now, they have a pretty cheesy set up, with regular glass and colored sheets of plastic adorning it, but it still produces a pretty amazing effect. I'm particularly fond of St. Stephen's roof, with its excellent geometric design. 

outside of St. Stephen's
a Hipstamatic filtered version of the interior
wow!
We also toured the Hofburg Palace and Treasury. This was the central Vienna home of during the Habsburg Empire, home of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth, Emperor and Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. The life of the Empress Sisi, as she was known was more predominantly displayed at the palace. There's also a museum dedicated to her life and her 1898 assassination. There's a Spanish riding school at the palace that has daily performances of the famous Lipizzaner stallions. We didn't have time this trip, so maybe a return weekend is in order.

nearby the Palace is this much more interesting building, which I think is a library
We had beautiful weather in Vienna and enjoyed exploring the city and stumbling upon some unexpected things, like a canal-side set of small stages with a variety of local bands playing. I enjoyed a Radler (lemonade and beer) while waiting for a tram tour of the city ring. And, we had a few minutes to stop and smell the roses literally and take some great pictures.

yum.

wow! one of my favorites!




Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Reading!

School is finally out for the summer and Kate and I have already left on our farewell vacation in Napoli, Amalfi, and Capri. But, the books I want to read this summer are already piling up and I wanted to share my list with each of you! The list is a little heavy on the professional side of things, so I'll have to find a few extras that interest me personally to add to the list.

Here goes:

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

I've read Pink's book Drive twice in the last year and find his ideas about motivation and the brain to be completely in line with my current thoughts about education and how society is changing. This book focus on the two halves of the brain, the left and the right, and the cultural shift that is demanding people use both halves of their brains to find success. Pink's books are not specifically directed at educators, but should be read by those in education who have a passion for finding out what drives their students and how to move forward in the future.



And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

First, I must preface this choice by saying that I am an avid fan of Hosseini's books. I loved The Kite Runner when I first read it and was eager to read A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was suprised to find that I loved it even more than The Kite Runner. So, when I heard that Hosseini had a new novel coming out, I was really excited. The subject matter is not always easy or comfortable to read, but the stories are well-crafted and rich with emotion. Plus, we've chosen this book for a new book club we're going to start in the Fall.I only hope this book doesn't disappoint!



Technology Together: Whole School Professional Development for Capability and Confidence by Renata Phelps and Anne Graham

This book was given to my by the Director of Technology at our school who has clearly taken a liking to this book! So, reading it this summer is on the to-do list so we can put some of the ideas into action this Fall. But, I am looking forward to getting more ideas about how to better help the teachers I work with on a daily basis.





The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Since moving to Europe nearly two years ago this book has become a frequent mention in technology and blogging circles. The advancements in technology in recent years have allowed so much of the world to become connected that this globalization and Friedman's ideas are have become dominant forces in classrooms everywhere. As a teacher, if you're not making connections between your classroom and others around the world, you should be. I'm curious to read Friedman's book to gather my own insight and hope that I can make it through this gigantic book!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I have no idea what this book is about but I've been seeing it everywhere. I put a hold on a digital copy through the Savannah public libraries in MARCH and am still waiting. Thankfully, I am climbing the list but pretty soon I might have to break down and actually buy a copy.






Do you have suggestions for me to read? I'd love to hear about books you love! Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mapping Milano

While school is sloooooooooowly coming to an end here in Milan, I've been trying to squeeze in Google's latest MOOC (massive open online course) on Google Maps and Earth.

As part of the requirement to earn the completion certificate for Maps, you must create your own map in the new beta version of Google Maps Engine Lite. I'm sharing my map here for those interested! 




Monday, June 3, 2013

Futbol in Italia!

Several weeks back, Kate, Siri and I went to an AC Milan game at San Siro Stadium here in Milan. We had wanted to get to a game before Kate and Siri left, so Siri bought our tickets while she was in the US. Funny that you can't buy tickets online from within Italy, it seems, so this was an easier option. Also to be filed under strange, but true is the fact that your tickets must have your name and birthday on them and you must present them with a passport or identity card to get into the game. Since we bought our tickets second hand they came with name change forms. I think the security is tighter to get into a game than to get into the country.
Siri, me and Kate
We arrived at the stadium right before the game was to start so we rushed to the proper entrance, past the police in riot gear and over the ground covered in broken glass from the day's tailgaters. This site is one I'm sure would've indicated to my father that this event wasn't one we should classify as inherently safe.

We found our seats, buried within throngs of native Italians and die hard Milan fans. They were playing Napoli that night, who, at the time, was in 2nd place in the league while Milan was in third. A win was important for Milan to make up ground on Napoli.


The Milan fans sit at one end and the fans from the visiting team at the other. Thank goodness for this. I'm not sure if every game feels so aggressive, but the tension was palpable. The Milan fans had come with large quantities of huge signs that they changed and displayed about every 10 minutes. The Napoli fans had some large cannon sounding device that scared the crap out of us every time it went off. And, just for fun, each side brought a handful of flares to set off in their sections too.

In the end, the game tied at 1-1.

A little video to allow you in on the noise and excitement. Listen for the cannon and look for the smoke!

video




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vienna- Vibrant and Vivacious!

Ok, so I love using alliteration to title my blog posts. Please forgive me!

Over the first full weekend in June Kate and I went to Vienna. Kate's days in Europe were numbered and it was still a site left on her list.


Thanks to my sister, AGAIN, we were able to stay at a super fancy hotel that we could not have afforded otherwise! We had a room that looked down on the Opera House and had a small balcony that you could peer down below from. The Opera House shows the live operas on a large screen outside where you can sit and watch the show for free. The opera that is performed changes each night and every day the sets and costumes are moved to and from the main opera house to storage locations outside the building. This we learned on an Opera House tour. We were able to go backstage and see the crew preparing for the night's show. While we were in Vienna they offered The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola. 

the view from our room- Opera House and the big screen
behind the scenes
beautiful chandeliers
We toured St. Stephen's Cathedral in the heart of Venice. In it's earlier days, the windows had stained glass but much of the glass was ruined during World War II. Now, they have a pretty cheesy set up, with regular glass and colored sheets of plastic adorning it, but it still produces a pretty amazing effect. I'm particularly fond of St. Stephen's roof, with its excellent geometric design. 

outside of St. Stephen's
a Hipstamatic filtered version of the interior
wow!
We also toured the Hofburg Palace and Treasury. This was the central Vienna home of during the Habsburg Empire, home of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth, Emperor and Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. The life of the Empress Sisi, as she was known was more predominantly displayed at the palace. There's also a museum dedicated to her life and her 1898 assassination. There's a Spanish riding school at the palace that has daily performances of the famous Lipizzaner stallions. We didn't have time this trip, so maybe a return weekend is in order.

nearby the Palace is this much more interesting building, which I think is a library
We had beautiful weather in Vienna and enjoyed exploring the city and stumbling upon some unexpected things, like a canal-side set of small stages with a variety of local bands playing. I enjoyed a Radler (lemonade and beer) while waiting for a tram tour of the city ring. And, we had a few minutes to stop and smell the roses literally and take some great pictures.

yum.

wow! one of my favorites!




Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Reading!

School is finally out for the summer and Kate and I have already left on our farewell vacation in Napoli, Amalfi, and Capri. But, the books I want to read this summer are already piling up and I wanted to share my list with each of you! The list is a little heavy on the professional side of things, so I'll have to find a few extras that interest me personally to add to the list.

Here goes:

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

I've read Pink's book Drive twice in the last year and find his ideas about motivation and the brain to be completely in line with my current thoughts about education and how society is changing. This book focus on the two halves of the brain, the left and the right, and the cultural shift that is demanding people use both halves of their brains to find success. Pink's books are not specifically directed at educators, but should be read by those in education who have a passion for finding out what drives their students and how to move forward in the future.



And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

First, I must preface this choice by saying that I am an avid fan of Hosseini's books. I loved The Kite Runner when I first read it and was eager to read A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was suprised to find that I loved it even more than The Kite Runner. So, when I heard that Hosseini had a new novel coming out, I was really excited. The subject matter is not always easy or comfortable to read, but the stories are well-crafted and rich with emotion. Plus, we've chosen this book for a new book club we're going to start in the Fall.I only hope this book doesn't disappoint!



Technology Together: Whole School Professional Development for Capability and Confidence by Renata Phelps and Anne Graham

This book was given to my by the Director of Technology at our school who has clearly taken a liking to this book! So, reading it this summer is on the to-do list so we can put some of the ideas into action this Fall. But, I am looking forward to getting more ideas about how to better help the teachers I work with on a daily basis.





The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Since moving to Europe nearly two years ago this book has become a frequent mention in technology and blogging circles. The advancements in technology in recent years have allowed so much of the world to become connected that this globalization and Friedman's ideas are have become dominant forces in classrooms everywhere. As a teacher, if you're not making connections between your classroom and others around the world, you should be. I'm curious to read Friedman's book to gather my own insight and hope that I can make it through this gigantic book!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I have no idea what this book is about but I've been seeing it everywhere. I put a hold on a digital copy through the Savannah public libraries in MARCH and am still waiting. Thankfully, I am climbing the list but pretty soon I might have to break down and actually buy a copy.






Do you have suggestions for me to read? I'd love to hear about books you love! Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mapping Milano

While school is sloooooooooowly coming to an end here in Milan, I've been trying to squeeze in Google's latest MOOC (massive open online course) on Google Maps and Earth.

As part of the requirement to earn the completion certificate for Maps, you must create your own map in the new beta version of Google Maps Engine Lite. I'm sharing my map here for those interested! 




Monday, June 3, 2013

Futbol in Italia!

Several weeks back, Kate, Siri and I went to an AC Milan game at San Siro Stadium here in Milan. We had wanted to get to a game before Kate and Siri left, so Siri bought our tickets while she was in the US. Funny that you can't buy tickets online from within Italy, it seems, so this was an easier option. Also to be filed under strange, but true is the fact that your tickets must have your name and birthday on them and you must present them with a passport or identity card to get into the game. Since we bought our tickets second hand they came with name change forms. I think the security is tighter to get into a game than to get into the country.
Siri, me and Kate
We arrived at the stadium right before the game was to start so we rushed to the proper entrance, past the police in riot gear and over the ground covered in broken glass from the day's tailgaters. This site is one I'm sure would've indicated to my father that this event wasn't one we should classify as inherently safe.

We found our seats, buried within throngs of native Italians and die hard Milan fans. They were playing Napoli that night, who, at the time, was in 2nd place in the league while Milan was in third. A win was important for Milan to make up ground on Napoli.


The Milan fans sit at one end and the fans from the visiting team at the other. Thank goodness for this. I'm not sure if every game feels so aggressive, but the tension was palpable. The Milan fans had come with large quantities of huge signs that they changed and displayed about every 10 minutes. The Napoli fans had some large cannon sounding device that scared the crap out of us every time it went off. And, just for fun, each side brought a handful of flares to set off in their sections too.

In the end, the game tied at 1-1.

A little video to allow you in on the noise and excitement. Listen for the cannon and look for the smoke!

video