Monday, July 15, 2013

Warning! Zombie Digital Footprint Sighted

Man, it's HOT in Minnesota right now. My Advanced Graph Art / Transformations book is 2/3 complete and much of the editing is done as well! Perfect day for vegging by the computer with a bowl of popcorn in my air conditioned kitchen, NOT doing that work.... maybe some other work instead... so I've been perusing Digital Citizenship curriculum for my students, bookmarking helpful pre-made resources.

Teaching students about their Digital Footprint is an important first step in Digital Citizenship. It's a good idea for everyone (students, teachers, parents, etc.) to "google" themselves every once in a while to see what kind of trail you're leaving. Here's mine.

I find it hilarious that I've been with Twitter for three months and it's my #1 hit, compared to LinkedIn, my website, and my Pinterest account that have been around for years. Twitter must have a deal with Google for prime searching.
You have to actually search my full name (Immanda Bellm) to get any references to my published works. And my physical address on didn't even make the top 5 search results!

This is a good exercise for students, to see what (if anything) comes up when they search for themselves. Adding key words like their hometown, school or middle initial might help for common names, to see if they have begun leaving a digital trail yet.

Once they start networking on Social Media, they will begin to find themselves in searches, which of course means... everyone else can too. Having a talk about limiting contact info, and especially about appropriate pictures/tags and language is very important, as well as what is not appropriate to include. They need to be told about the very real possibility that their future employers may search their name, and they will be judged on their digital footprint all the way back to their teen years. 
Begin the conversation EARLY. "Digital footprints" are summed up in this excellent lesson example from It's really worth watching the whole video.

An important next step is to talk about the latest trend of attracting "followers". Like in the picture above... I look like a total nerd compared to the goddess Amy Farrah Fowler. We have similar numbers of tweets, BUT... While I am following over 250 people, I only have 29 followers (follow me!?!? please!!??)... and Amy is only following 11 people, but has over 32,000 followers!!??? WHAT!?!?!? 

Seriously people, I know it's super trendy to try to attract followers to market your brands, sell products and network (which I am doing just that) but our students are on a totally different course of perceived POPULARITY, in the latest "tag for likes" and other following tools. Several of my students have comments on their homepage, "Follow me! I follow back!" to help newbies start gathering their own network of "friends", "followers", or whatever you want to call them. Many of whom they don't even know. You click on their profile information and they have their cell phone number listed, their email, and sometimes even a physical ADDRESS! Yikes!

One of my favorite examples is a former student who has TWO, count them... one TWO... pictures on his Instagram account... yet has 200+ followers. Why!?!? Because it's "cool".  My Instagram, on the other hand, is relatively in control... 99% of my contacts are people I know, and I try not to tag or upload pictures of friends and/or family on my sites without their consent. Students have NO FILTER when it comes to snapping pictures of friends, photo-bombing each other, or taking video without asking for consent. This is a big privacy violation, especially for school device usage.
LinkedIn is equally dangerous for adults, especially when we are looking for work... giving out copious amounts of personal history and contact information in the hopes of finding new employment.
The problem is... personal data on LinkedIn doesn't necessarily mean much! Take my "Skills & Expertise" for example... while this is pretty accurate to what I'm good at, 100% of these supposed "endorsements" come from people that I have never met. Yep, that's right... you can solicit endorsements, or individuals can look through your digital "stuff" and endorse you for things they think you are good at, without even asking your permission.

Pinterest is another of my big obsessions that scores high on my digital footprint search. There is a lot of really good image sharing going on, especially on the education boards. The thing that worries me, is that the general public doesn't even need to log in to see any or all of my boards. 

My "Silly and Often Inappropriate" board may be offensive to some people, even though I try to keep it pretty G-Rated. Likewise, certain individuals might create a "pretty undergarments", or "nude canvas paintings" board that contains some pretty sketchy stuff (however tastefully it may have originally been perceived). They get searched, not realizing their boards default to "public" and badabing! They get a nasty parent call that their student was looking at their "naughty links" and YOU get fired. (I have no personal experience there, thank God!!!)

I guess the bottom line for everyone, kids and grownups alike, is... if you're not sure that you should post something, you probably shouldn't. If your partying ways are some day going to come back to bite you in the butt like Katie Perry's "Last Friday Night" song, you might need to rethink your lifestyle. Kids especially can be bullied or peer pressured into doing or saying much less risque things online, whether in text, pictures/editing, video chat, you name it... but it can affect them for the rest of their lives. 

On that happy note, here are some great resources I found in my searches! Please, if you find more resources I have overlooked, tweet them to me @MandyBellm! (and then "follow" me so I can feel "cool" ;)

Yahoo Digital Safety Kit (differentiated by Age)

Digital Footprint Survey (for HS, College, Adults)
How's Your Online Health? (for professionals, how to build a healthy footprint)
That's all I've got for now! The sun is setting, I should probably go for a run... although I did DVR a few episodes of HGTV Star and Food Network Star... hmmm... 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Zombie's Amazingly Easy Egg Sandwiches (no brains included)

Happy Wednesday!

I had a dual-epiphany last night that #1-I haven't shared a recipe in a while and #2-My boys beg for egg sammiches for breakfast all the time. So here you go, one recipe post that's sure to wow. Yes, "sammich" is in the Urban Dictionary so I will use it as frequently as possible. Plus it's WAY more fun to say than "sandwich" which just sounds gritty ;) 

My Egg Sammich recipe can taste as similar to, or as different from, an Egg McMuffin as you want it to. Although, if you're anywhere near a McD's, their new low-cal Egg White Delight McMuffin is absolutely divine for 250 calories. Your call... mine doesn't require you to get dressed, leave the house, or spend nearly any money at all. And it only takes about 5 minutes to make.

-Bread product of your choosing (bagels, sammich thins, English muffins, toast, etc.)
-1 egg per person (~1/4 cup per person for Egg Beaters)
-Shredded cheese (colby jack or cheddar works best)
-Meat of your choosing (we usually do precooked bacon, but ham is good too)
-Spread for your bread (I LOVE BUTTER)
-Cooking Spray (or go old school and grease your pan with BUTTER)


1. Spray your egg pan with PAM and heat to just under medium (mine is set to 4.5). I usually go with a small sauce pan because there are three of us, and I want the eggs to spread out like an omelet.

2. Crack your eggs into a small mixing bowl or measuring vessel. Since I have 3 people eating (my hubby hates eggs, so none for him!), I have three eggs. 

3. Whisk your eggs until they are nice and smooth. Don't bother adding any milk since this is more of an omelet recipe. You can see that if I had been using pourable eggs out of the carton, I'd need about 3/4 cup for the 3 of us. 

4. Pour the whisked egg mix into the pan and leave it to firm up for a good 4-5 minutes. I will sometimes spread the loose eggs on the top around or push them to the edge to help it cook faster if I'm really impatient.

 5. While the eggs are cooking, microwave your bacon or slice up your ham or canadian bacon. We go through at least 2 boxes of precooked bacon a week. It's SO easy, pretty cheap, and doesn't make your house smell a ton. Space out 1-2 slices of bacon per person between 2 paper towels, microwave for 25 seconds, and you're good to go! Only 25 calories per slice too.

 6. When the eggs are nearly set, work your spatula all the way around under the edges until you can flip the whole circle in one big motion. Cover the top immediately with shredded cheese and let the eggs cook for another minute before removing from heat. 


7. While the cheese is melting, toast and butter your bread product of choice. My boys go back and forth daily between bagels, toast, muffins, or half of each. 

These mini bagels are usually perfect for each of the boys to have two sammiches. Avery (the youngest) has wanted THREE lately! Must be going through a growth spurt.

8. Build your sammiches. If serving to adults, you may want to throw the final product in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to meld all the flavors together. 

9. Serve with fruit and a glass of milk! You've got yourself a healthy, yummy breakfast!

Calorie Breakdown per Sammich: (the way I make it)

1 light English Muffin  - 100 calories
1 tbsp light spread - 50 calories
1 egg - 70 calories
1/8 cup shredded cheese - 50 calories
1 slice bacon - 25 calories

Total: 295 calories! Boo yeah! And I used the word SAMMICH seven times! (Eight now ;)

Enjoy :o)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Advanced Coordinate Graph Art for Grades 6-8: 44.44% finished!

 Happy 4th of July everyone!

Yesterday was by far the most relaxing day yet of the summer. As it should be. The weather was a perfect 10 with blue sky, light breezes, low dew point and temps in the 70's. It was also the first year that the kids made it through the entire Delano parade, loaded down with huge bags of candy (now safely hidden in the cupboard). 

Rather than engaging in house cleaning or yard work, I am back at the computer, chugging coffee and playing Candy Crush with a fluffy cat by my side. The boys are silent on their respective couches, recovering from yesterday's fun with their favorite iPad games. 

Now that I have burned through my lives on Level 147 (please send me some more!), I suppose I should get back to work on the task at hand... which is finishing my second publication by the end of the month! Between the teacher and student versions of my first book, I have sold over 250 hard copies... plus another 20 digital copies, and then there are the chapters on TpT (which you can still purchase, by the way). My "Let's Get Cooking with Ratios" and "Number Systems that Rock Your World" are only available on TpT so check it out! I may expand those chapters into full books at some point... you never know.

My point is... if you are a semi-decent writer, whatever your vocation (especially you stay-at-home moms and home-schoolers), you too can start publishing yourself! We all have something to say, whether it's sharing worksheets or blogging or tweeting or sharing expertise on raising many kids, and someone out there wants to read it. Start small, say writing a free blog or posting a small unit on Teachers Pay Teachers... if you get some bites (haha not from Zombies), then you can start expanding up to a full book. 

Here's how I did it:
  1. Start with a really great idea that your students, kids, friends, etc. already really enjoy, and most importantly, YOU enjoy making materials for. Mine, obviously, was graph art puzzles. 
  2. Digitize it, if you haven't already. I use Apache's Open Office software, which is free and converts into virtually any other format you could want, including .pdf.
  3. Play with your computer's Paint program or an iPad app such as Skitch to make your own graphics. Most teachers, or whoever your audience is, don't go looking for products based on their "looks". They are searching for good content, not state-of-the-art graphics. I also use Smart Notebook, if you can afford it, (or try the 30-day free trial) because you can layer, group and clone the images much easier than with Paint or Skitch. 
  4. Sign up for TpT or even eBay and follow the prompts to set up your store front. (did you know you could sell digital products on eBay? Yup!)
  5. Sign up for your own blog, or Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account and start marketing your product! The more you "follow" other people and groups, the more they will "follow" your products. It will spiral from there. The more you post and market, the more you'll sell!
  6. Ready to publish a whole book? Sign up for and they will walk you through the rest of the process! CreateSpace is a free, online self-publishing company that partners with All you have to do is decide what size and roughly how many pages your book will be, and then you download their pre-made templates to complete your project. When you're done, you save it as a .pdf, upload it for CreateSpace to proof, and Viola! you will be self-published on 
  7. BEFORE you make your book available to the public, make sure you order a copy to check the layout of the cover art, pages, and to proof for typo's. (speaking from personal experience, I think I mailed myself 3 versions before I was satisfied)
As usual, I am getting very off-topic. And my Candy Crush levels must be nearly back to full by now... so back to what I wanted to share, which was a preview of the new chapters. 

As much as I tried to make parts of my first book "difficult", my top students still found it too easy. Hence, the first chapter of my new book covers the same material as the first four chapters of my old book. With much harder puzzles. Like this one! It "cracks" me up! LOL, it's called "Which Came First". Get it?? :)

The second chapter, or section, or whatever you want to call it, is a much more in depth study of translations. Puzzles start easy and get harder, ending with a super challenge puzzle sure to keep even your highest high-flyer busy for at least ten minutes. Maybe fifteen if you make them color it ;)

The third section, which I am just starting, is a full section just on dilations including an introductory activity with dilating your EYES! My students ooooh and ahhhh over watching their neighbors' pupils expand and retract, which immediately engages them in a review of radius, diameter, circumference and area of their dilating eye balls. 

Most of the print material on dilations that is available is either Quadrant 1, or 4-Quadrants, but not both. I'm taking the same training-wheels approach to transformations in this second book, as I took to coordinate graphing in the first book. Start with Q1, then add Q4, then add Q2, and then try all 4 quadrants. 

Such as this one... "Sail Away". Dilations limited to Q1, with graphing practice included in all 4 quadrants.

Stay tuned for more book updates!

I will post Sections 1 and 2 on TpT as soon as my editors finish their proofing work. 

In the mean time, I am still looking for more teacher editors for later sections of the book. What do you get out of it? Just your own free digital copy of the book, with unlimited copyrights for your home and classroom, and your name published in the book as an editor. No big deal! 

Have a great Holiday Weekend!
-Zombie out