Tuesday, September 30, 2008

clearly, he's not a whig

If you're looking for a third party candidate, one with talents rivaling, and possibly surpassing those of most hockey moms, then you might want to give Zod your vote.

He'll reform Houston.

Thank you, major otis.

Friday, September 26, 2008

but don't let your teaching fall under 'random'

I link 'spontaneity' with other fanciful, fictionalized words like 'utopia' and 'normalcy'. As such, I took a calculated hyperlink over to Five Card Flickr Story thanks to the hyperlinking of Alan Levine.

Instructionally simple:
1. Pick one picture from a choice of five, watch the deck reshuffle, and then pick another until you have five photos.

2, Then, tell the story.
A BMX racer, lost. A confused crowd heads to the museum and airport, and ultimately, employs the racer's horse to hunt him down.

And there's probably some romance along the way.

Oh, and there's a delay at the airport. This adds to pot-boiling character development. And the consumption of empty carbs.

Any way to get kids to work on story-telling, right?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

solutions needed, not a follow-up email

I don't think it's his remote. I tried two other remotes with the teacher's overhead projector and the remotes were either sluggish or entirely unresponsive in their delivery of on/off commands.

At one point, I pressed the 'power' button 17 times, from 12 different angles/trajectories. I am part compass, part protractor. Geometry with size 8 1/2 feet.

I tried all buttons, even the button that has the text 'please don't press this button as it is the psychological experiment revolving around explicit cautionary statements against one's innate curious desire to press buttons'. Nothing happened; although, in truth, I think an island somewhere in the South Pacific amazingly relocated to an as yet undisclosed location.

Tried the new batteries that your staff gave me in the other two remotes as well. I even ate one of the batteries, pressed incessantly against my right ear lobe, and hoped it might be able to communicate with the overhead projector. I have a deep cartilage contusion, like a botched ear-piercing procedure. My stomach hurts.

What else is a guy to do?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

crushed with eyeliner

You'll never know Claire. She'll only let you tangle with her anger. If you're privy to anything else, you might get a word about her interest in graphic design. But she'll never, never show you her work.

Right now, Claire is in science class. She and her classmates are working on presentations for their study of the branches of biology. Claire's done her research. She's answered "the teacher's questions". She's recorded her finding on the assignment sheet. Claire heard the talk about PowerPoint reform, the Q&A about qualities of a good presentation, slides are cheap, treat them like they are on trial for their lives, and she's been directed to a handful of sites addressing slide design.

And she makes her first slide.

I inquire about her slide. I poke at her interest in art and graphic design. I'm direct about the expectations for slide design, and more importantly, presentation skills.

And she says:
This is how it's done. We get an assignment. We answer the questions. We write them down on a sheet. We type the answer in PowerPoint. We read them aloud. We sit down. And everyone gets B's
She's angry. That's her norm.
She's defying the front-loaded expectations, but she's in the wrong.
She citing precedent.

And she's right.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

four dollars worth of perspective

So he had this pseudo-fit / obsessive thing going on the entire drive to The School House.

"We need to bring donuts!" over and over he exclaimed.

"But we neeeeeed to bring donuts!" he whined from North Wales to the Route 309 on-ramp.

And no matter how many ways, times, and styles I told him that donuts were provided, he would not relent.

So a box of 25 Munchkins accompanied us into The School House, me refusing to hold them, Mark more than happy to carry them, his cinnamon-coated trophies!

And Director Chris, why in all her years, she always sees something new.

The first time a student brought donuts for Daddy Donut Day.

"He's such a wonderful, thoughtful, special young boy," she says.

And I feel like an ass for fighting him on what turned out to be an exercise of altruism and selflessness!

Monday, September 15, 2008

sleepless imagination

Three days in a row. He's in the living room, in his pajamas. It's 5:30AM. And I ask the same question:
"Why did you get out of your bed and come down here?"
Saturday's answer:
"My bed was making me dizzy."
Sunday's answer:
"I needed to snoop around."
Monday's answer:
"I was looking for Transformers."
Schools just kill this, don't they?

Friday, September 5, 2008


I watched both conventions with the same sort of awe reserved for bottle-necking at the scene of a mass pile-up on the highway.

I know I should not watch, should keep my eyes face-forward, drive smoothly by the wreck.

But I know that curiosity is a thinly-disguised veil.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

the four questions

(alternatively titled, 'not your traditional Passover')

(esoterically titled, 'metacognitive dissonance in traditional k-12 schools: a 21st century inquiry-based analysis of instructional practices ')

krasicki delivers some spot-on follow-up to Dan Meyer's request, Yiddish-infused as it is, that 'edupornographers' get a new 'schtick'.

He believes that today's students might ask their educators:

Why memorize information as long as I can find and retrieve it?

Why worry about plagiarism if I can locate what is worth saying, take what is already well spoken (does the world need more badly reworded variants of the same ideas?), and mash it up into something that I want to express as a different whole message?

Why test me on information tidbits that anyone and everyone looks up instead of teaching me how to think about information I look up?

If the majority of communication is telepathic, instant, sloppy, and disposable, why beat me up for grammar when I am trying to communicate ideas?

My chest seizes every time I think I know the answers.