Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Summer Vacation

I read about the cool "Red Scarf" project over at Now Norma Knits and watched the video here and am now in the process of making this:

What a great idea that provides care packages for college students with no traditional family support. I remember diligently checking my mail for letters and cookies and such from my friends and family. I guess I still do, so I'd better get busy writing cards and letters of my own, so that maybe some day my box will be filled with stuff other than bills and junk and the ever-popular BedBath&Beyond 20% off coupon that you'd better USE NOW because you won't be getting another one for at LEAST a week.

I'm also furiously working on this which I need to finish before Wednesday, so I can wash it and have ready to go for my brother-in-law's wedding. I didn't want to make a full "bed" quilt that they'd have to politely use even if they didn't like the color choices, so I made a size that's suitable to cozy up with on the couch when you're watching the telly. Well, "made" is used loosely as I'm not done and am blogging instead of working on it.
Okay, off to the sweat shop ... or is it snack time?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Who You Know

I just returned from visiting friends in Louisiana and East Texas. Both women are active activists in their own way. One is volunteering in various ways with the Katrina aftermath, and one is highly involved in animal rescue and fostering and placing of animals.

My "Katrina" friend is surrounded by people doing good and being a community and her outlook is that people are inherently good. My "animal" friend sees the worst that people can do to animals and sees people as inherently evil. This has become a second-nature thought for both of them.

Growing up I was surrounded by a dysfunctional, alcoholic, ethically-challenged, "the world is out to get you" family, and I was sure I didn't like people and ultimately wanted a job where I worked in isolation. After I went away to college and met different sorts of people and grew up and saw "good", my outlook changed.

So now when I see my students in class and they behave in a variety of good and bad ways, I rest assured in the fact that the "bad" behaving people can only benefit from being repeatedly exposed to "good". Even though this may be how they act now, that doesn't mean that will always be their behavior.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Thanks, Tony, for the idea. Just out of curiosity, which ones do you think of as bottles when you look at the pictures? (ooh, pretty small picture and letters for an old lady's eyes)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jar or Bottle

Last night at dinner I was opening a small spherical glass container of mustard, and my husband and I got into a discussion on whether it was a jar or a bottle. Then we started thinking of other glass containers and tried to sort them into the jar and bottle camps. Yes, I know, scintillating. Tonight maybe we'll discuss pennies: pros and cons.

Of course then I started thinking of geometry when we hit the unit of being precise with definitions of triangles and squares and such. I looked up the jar/bottle definitions via google, and I'm not completely impressed with the output. The word "wide" is used, and I think that's subjective. And the jury is still out on the mustard bar/jottle.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Enthralling Book

While I was on vacation up north, I read Rafe Esquith's, "Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire" and loved it. Even though he teaches 5th grade, I still jotted down notes on things I want to explore and think about later on for my high schoolers. Some things that resonated with me (that my tired brain can remember while my lazy body does not want to go upstairs to retrieve my 4 pages of notes):

* don't settle for mediocre
* incorporate art somehow into your curriculum
* teach manners and behavior (he lists 6 levels and has his kids strive for the highest) ***
* assign short term (1 week) and long term (1 month) projects consistently to teach time management (hmmm, this one I'd have to think how to manage and teach)

*** (the levels came from another book and were of the effect:
1. I behave because I don't want to get in trouble
2. I behave because I want a reward
3. I behave because I want to please someone
4. I behave because I follow rules
5. I behave because I have empathy for others
6. I behave because I have my own moral compass and want to do the right thing because it IS the right thing

There's much more, and it was an inspiring read.