• Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    by David Allen
  • Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction
    Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction
    by Robert F. Mager
  • The Perfect Puppy: How to Choose Your Dog by Its Behavior
    The Perfect Puppy: How to Choose Your Dog by Its Behavior
    by Benjamin L. Hart, Lynette A. Hart

    This book includes super helpful graphs describing 56 common dog breeds in terms of 13 traits, including playfulness.

  • Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog
    Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog
    by Carol Lea Benjamin

    My favorite book on dog training.

Thoughts on instructional design, my dog, and life


Volunteer Résumé Entry

The Nutcracker rehearsal

I recently took a résumé writing workshop (always learning) and, since I was working with Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre on their production of The Nutcracker, I thought it would be interesting to write up my experience in the form of a résumé entry. It comes out like this:


Boys’s Dresser, 2015
Ensured male dancers ages 11–25 and with experience levels from first Nutcracker to professional dancer, were in stage costume, hair, and makeup by cue time. Facilitated quick costume changes. Maintained performance atmosphere in dressing room.

Mother Ginger, 2013, 2014
Performed role of Mother Ginger on stage in all five performances. Worked with approx. 10 children in two casts. Researched drag queen makeup, and worked with MAC makeup artist to learn how to apply. Documented performance kit and makeup application.

Party Mom, 2010, 2011, 2012
Performed role of Party Parent on stage in all five performances. Researched Victorian era hair style and jewelry. Worked with MAC makeup artist to learn appropriate stage makeup application. Researched character acting. Documented performance kit, putting up hair, and applying makeup.

Cuer, 2009
Ensured performers in wings on both sides of stage in costume, hair, & makeup to specifications, in time to go on stage on cue and unflustered, over course of 2.5-hr performance. Created job aid documenting who should be where and when (with approximate music time signatures), and what to check on the costumes. Job aid later presented to SCBT Board of Directors.Nutcracker cuing job aid

Girls’s Dresser, 2008
Ensured dancers ages nine–13 in stage costume, hair, & makeup before cue time. Researched best tools to create period-accurate ringlets. Created costume checklist.

It’s a fun exercise. (Imagine what a dancer's entry would look like!) Give it a try and let me know what you think.


Enticing Teenagers

Capitola VillageWhenever I mention that I’m designing a course for teenagers on how to manage their money, the adults always react with enthusiasm. “That would be a great course!” “I wish I’d had a class like that when I was a teenager!”

But when I mentioned it to my daughter (a junior in high school), she wrinkled her nose. At this point, managing her money isn’t relevant to her (always an early test when doing instructional design). She doesn’t bring in money, nor does she spend much money.

How do you make a class on managing your money exciting to such a teenager?

First of all, change the name. Maybe call it “How much money do you have?”, or “How much money can you spend?” My daughter’s eyes lit up when I mentioned shopping. Maybe I should call the class “Shopping”. I can envision our first session, a field trip, me and four students window shopping in Capitola Village.

Of course, this presupposes that each student has money and some sort of bank account: add this to the conditions of the course objectives.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I have the main learning objectives, but I need to either break them down or do a skills hierarchy, or possibly fill out a final student performance worksheet (a favorite job aid I picked up at Practical Management, Inc.’s Instructional Design workshop).

Has this ever happened to you, you start a project and immediately your mind shoots off in a spiderweb of directions? Time to reel it in….


Trail Maintenance

For a good part of this year I’ve been giving back by helping the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Association maintain the trails in Castle Rock State Park. Every third Saturday. From 9 am to 3 pm.

 Pickaxe & McLeod

For the first number of months, I spent the three weeks leading up to the work day dreading it. Gradually, that lessened to just one week leading up.

Also, for the first number of outings, my weekend was wrecked, I was so worn out and sore. Things have gotten better in that area. I was even able to muster enough energy to cook dinner Sunday night.

What have I learned from my experience so far? Well, you really need a mosquito net in August and September. I’ve learned how to properly wield a pickaxe. How to leverage large stones out of the earth. To think carefully about where a tree trunk is going to roll once it’s cut. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I really enjoy learning, even when it comes to such predominantly physical tasks as wielding a McLeod.


Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday LogoI thought I could list, off the top of my head, the charitable institutions I support. Nope. I checked last year’s tax return, & I would’ve missed a few. As it turns out, other than recycling/decluttering donations, almost all of the charities I support have to do with learning. The obvious ones: Santa Cruz Montessori, Stanford University, Wikimedia, Kirby. The not so obvious ones: Yellowstone Association (education is actually their main mission), Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre (the associated studio is for-profit, so to support the learning of classical ballet locally, I support SCBT). And possibly least obvious, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Association, to which I donate time and sweat at the monthly trail maintenance days. Their charter doesn’t include learning, but I’ve learned a lot by volunteering for them.

Is this true for everyone? Does everyone donate to institutions primarily concerned with learning or education? Or is it the nature of charitable institutions to have a strong education component? And if the latter is true, what does that say about our society?

Cogitate, give, and enjoy on this Giving Tuesday! #givingtuesday #Stanford


Learning to Manage your Money

Money chestWhen did you learn how to manage your money? (Have you learned how to manage your money?)

I had my initial lesson in managing my money when I arrived at university freshman year. There was a bank conveniently located right there in the student union. Of course, I wouldn’t say I learned the right way to manage my money. In fact, I picked up some very peculiar ideas, about how to use credit cards, for example.

So, now that my daughter is about to take off for college, I find myself wondering how she’ll learn, and, because that’s what I do, I find myself designing a course.

At this point, my working learning objectives are: a student should be able to (ASBAT) answer "Yes!" these three questions daily and accurately:

  1. Do I know how much money I have? (Register balance)
  2. Do I know how much money I can spend? (Budget/spending plan)
  3. Am I sure? (Reconciled bank statement)

The next thing I need to figure out is how to make the course enticing to the target audience, i.e., teenagers about to leave home. Stay tuned!