Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
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Monday, December 28, 2009
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Sunday, December 27, 2009
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Saturday, December 26, 2009
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Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
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Sunday, December 20, 2009
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Saturday, December 19, 2009
Each elf made more than two.
The elf named Cher made one more toy
Than the elf who dressed in reds,
But Cher made one less Christmas toy
Than the elf who made the sleds.
Spry Johnny elf made racing cars.
Five toys were made by Jane.
The elf who dressed in yellow suits
Made each and every train.
The elf who always dressed in green
Another perky, smiling elf
Made each and every ball.
Old Santa’s Pack held 30 toys
All tagged for girls and boys.
Now from the clues that you've been given
Guess who made what toys.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I remember that it happened in 3rd grade. I was standing in line after recess, waiting to go back into the school building. Three or four students behind me there was a 6th grader. He was talking to the kid in front of him and he said, "There's no such thing as Santa Claus. Your parents are the ones who put the presents under the Christmas tree."
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I didn't understand why all these mistakes bothered her so much. Then I became a math teacher. You would think spelling wouldn't matter in math, but after 32 years of seeing the same mistakes over and over, I know why she got so aggravated.
Did you know?
Five nickles make twenty-five cents.
Eight times five is fourty.
Protractors are used to measure angels.
Freshman usually take a course called Algerbra.
The communitive property means 2+3 = 3+2.
An eclipse has an oval shape.
Lines in the same plane that never intersect are parralel.
These are just a few of the many mistakes I encountered. I thought when I retired I wouldn't have to put up with spelling errors any more. Then I started reading posts on blogs, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Now I know that I make errors in spelling now and then, but I do try. It seems many don't. I also know that with the 140 character limit on Twitter, some spelling shortcuts are necessary. I don't think the same should be true of blogs. Often, the misspellings make the material difficult to read. The mistakes that annoy me most are:
there, their, they're
too, to, two
So my advice today is to try to spell correctly and to use the correct spelling of words that sound alike. Remember, written language is for communication. If incorrect usage and misspellings make a piece difficult to read, then good communication is not happening.
Friday, December 11, 2009
"Text-a-Tip" programs are now making it easier to do the right thing. According to a newspaper article by Denise Lavoie (The Associated Press) on November 28, 2009, the text-a-tip program allows people to send anonymous text messages from their cell phones. Since many witnesses are afraid to come forward, these programs are becoming increasingly popular. The messages are sent to a third party server where all identities are removed and an alias is given. The information is then forwarded to police who use it as a lead to start an investigation. The programs have gained popularity in schools where most students don't want to be a snitch. It simply requires application software that most communities are using as part of their Crime Stoppers programs.
Unfortunately, not being a "rat" has its advantages. Today a news article on television (I don't remember which one) asked how Bernie Madoff was doing in prison. It was reported that he is doing fine and has gained the respect of fellow inmates because he has not snitched on any one who was involved in his Ponzi scheme.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
4. Try to catch individual snow flakes. Can you tell if they really have 6 sides? Do all snowflakes have a 6-sided shape? Why?
8. Be creative. Draw a sketch of the scenery around your house. Can't draw? Get your camera, go outside, and take some beautiful photographs.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
You know, Miss Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any ***** be your father.
Monday, December 7, 2009
1. Parents sometimes make excuses for their children.
On numerous occasions I had parents make excuses as to why their child didn't have their homework done or why they couldn't take a quiz or test or why they weren't in class. A few of the excuses were valid, but I must admit that I didn't understand a parent keeping a child home from school to babysit for younger children or so that the student could get some sleep before going to work in the evening. I didn't understand missing class for a haircut or not having assignments done because the family had company the night before.
2. Parents sometimes blame others for their children's behavior.
I actually had a mother blame me because her daughter had forged the mother's signature on a progress report. The daughter had a D in class and needed to maintain a C average because she was a cheerleader. I sent the progress report home with the daughter who was supposed to show it to her mother, have her mother sign it, and then return it to me. The report was signed and returned and I never gave it a second thought until the mother wanted to know why her daughter had received a D and was no longer able to cheer. The mother kept accusing me of not notifying her. I explained that I had. She said I hadn't. I explained that I had a signed report. She said that that was impossible because she had never seen a report and had never signed it. I never did get it across to her that it wasn't my fault that she hadn't been notified. The mother ended the conversation by saying, "Well, she's afraid of you anyway." Then she hung up the phone. I just stared at the phone for a few minutes, shook my head, went home, and tried to forget about the incident. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet.
3. Parents sometimes lie.
During the first round of parent teacher conferences in a school year, I used to ask for email addresses because it was always so much easier to contact parents by email rather than phone. When one student's grade dropped to an unacceptable level, I contacted his parents by email to let them know. I didn't get a reply from them, but that was not unusual. The student was an 18-year old senior who didn't need the credit, but the low grade would still affect his grade point average. Being 18, he should have been responsible for his own grade, but it was school policy that parents be notified. When he received a low mid-term grade during third quarter, his mother was irate. She demanded to know why I hadn't notified her. I explained that I had notified her, that I had sent her an email. She told me that was impossible because they didn't even have email. When I said I had the email address she had written down at the first conference, she replied, "Well, that's beside the point." Again, I couldn't make her understand that, yes, that was the point. I couldn't believe that she actually lied to me thinking that she wouldn't be caught.
These are just a few of many instances where parent have been less than cooperative. Thank goodness they make up just a small percentage of the parents a teacher deals with during his or her career. Believe me, if they were all like this, there wouldn't be many teachers stay in the profession.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
And it is tempting for the parent. No one wants to see their child suffer. But that little bit of siuffering will pay off big for the child. The child will gain knowledge, problem-solving skills, ethical work habits, confidence, and the satisfaction of having done the job himself (or herself). He or she will also be more likely to become an independent and self-sufficient adult.
If you really want to help your child, make sure they have a proper diet and plenty of exercise and sleep. Make sure they go to school everyday on time. Make sure they have time and a place to study each evening. Supervise their study time and help them through obstacles, but don't do the work for them.
I used to have students who would turn in papers in two different sets of handwriting. Maybe they thought I couldn't tell, but it's pretty obvious, especially when the easier problems are done in the student's handwriting and the harder ones are in someone else's.
I was reading a blog today where the parent had written the child's entire term paper and had plagiarised the whole thing. This may be one of those cases where parent and child both deserve grades lower than "F."
If, as parents, you want more information as to how best to help your child, talk to your child's teachers. They should be able to give you lots of information about the courses they teach and how your child can succeed in them.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
1. Typing (keyboarding): At the present time almost all information is entered into a computer or phone through a keyboard of some type. Eventually voice recognition technology may take over, but right now, typing skills are a must.
2. Non-fiction Reading: Most of the reading I do is non-fiction and I don't mean biographies or self-help books. I mean insurance policies, tax code and forms, owners manuals, directions, research articles, investment reports, and so on. These are some of the most prevalent and difficult materials to read and yet they are rarely taught.
3. Mandarin Chinese and Hindi: I know that learning a foreign language is important. When I studied Spanish in high school, it actually helped me in my English classes. I have recently found on Twitter, that I'm able to understand the tweets from people living in South America, Spain, Italy, and France. And this is from studying Spanish 40 years ago. With the people of China and India making up about 38% of the world's population, these are two languages that should be added to the curriculum. The four languages spoken by about 30% of the world's population are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, and Hindi/Urdu. The six official languages of the United Nations are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Arabic, Russian, and French.
4. Research: I believe every student should have to take a research course in high school. I know that research papers are done in other classes, but to me, one course devoted to research makes more sense. First, this would free up time in other classes. Second, all aspects of research could be studied in one course. Students could see how the library (research), mathematics (statistics), science (scientific method and experimental research), reading (gathering information), writing (creating the report), history (gaining previous information on the topic), technology (presentations), and speaking (presentation or defense) are all related to each other. Too often students think of their courses as separate entities, completely unrelated to one another. Research can bring it all together for them. I know that this has been a course previously taken by those working on higher degrees in universities, but I also know students would benefit greatly from having more of it in high school.
5. Finance: So many students graduate with little or no knowledge of the financial world. This course would include consumer skills, investment practice, and economics. Students could study taxes of all kinds, filling out forms, budgeting, working with a financial advisor, etc. Information on entrepreneurship and small business ownership could be included. I know that many schools include this type of information in their business departments, but it should be coursework that every student is required to learn.
6. Physical Education and Health: In some schools these courses have been abandoned or reduced to just a day or two a week. I truly believe students should have a certain amount of physical activity each day. With health, medical, and insurance issues being such a major concern in today's society, student's need knowledge as to how important physical activity and exercise are.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
When my doctor told me that I absolutely had to do 40 minutes of physical activity every day, I was highly motivated...at first. But day after day, that 40 minutes sometimes feels like 40 hours. One thing I haven't done, however, is skip a day. I know that if I skip even one day, it will make it easier to skip the next day and the next and the next. Before you know it, I'll be right back into my old habits.
I know this about myself because of dieting. Even though I know this, I still have a problem in this area. It's easy to diet every day when things are routine, but throw in Halloween (candy) or a birthday (cake) or Thanksgiving (stuffing) or Valentine's Day (chocolate), and I immediately shift into "today's special, one day won't hurt" mode. Next thing I know, I'm back to my old habits and have gained 15 pounds. And believe me, 40 minutes a day on the treadmill will not burn up those "celebration" calories. So, even though I know this about myself, I still continue. Why? I'm not sure.
That's also one of the reasons I blog everyday. There are days I would rather do something else or can't think of an idea or really don't have the time, but I blog anyway. Again, I know that if I skip even one day, I'll end up skipping two or three or more.
I believe this is true of students in school, also. If a student never missed one day of class or never missed turning in an assignment or never missed a test, they would stay motivated. But as soon as a student misses one assignment, it makes missing another one easier. One missing assignment almost always leads to more. It's much easier not to do something, regardless of the consequences (as evidenced by my dieting habits).
So my tip of the day is to stay motivated by making whatever you're doing a habit. Do it EVERY day. NEVER skip a day. It's a little harder, but the results are definitely worth it.
Monday, November 30, 2009
One way to give students a helping hand in this area is for parents and teachers to take advantages of any and all learning opportunities in consumer education. Today is the perfect time to start.
6. http://www.freeshipping.org/ This is a great place to find free shipping coupons to 1854 stores.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
If your semester ends before the holiday break, you only have three weeks before your grades will be calculated. Those three weeks include time spent in class reviewing and taking semester exams. If your semester ends after break, you probably have an extra week or so.
Now is the time to ask your teachers if you have any missing work. If you do, you need to get it finished and turn it in this week. Give your teacher a few days to check that work, then ask your teachers for your grades. If any are less than they should be, ask your teacher what you need to do.
By starting now, you will be giving yourself and your teacher plenty of time to get everything finished.
Now is also a good time to start studying for those semester exams. The earlier you start, the better!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
There are two components of this technology: CAPspace and Polycom.
CAPspace: CAP stands for Collaborations Around the Planet. CAPspace is a social networking site for education videoconferencing. Members log in just as they would to any social network. They can create and advertise their projects to other educators around the world. They can also attend collaborative events, do projects, teach classes, and more. http://projects.twice.cc/
Polycom is the hardware used for videoconferencing. It is similar to a webcam, but more advanced. Groups of people in separate locations can be connected. Each location can tune into any other location to ask and answer questions, to collaborate on lessons, to listen and learn. The entire system runs through computers and is operated with a remote control. http://www.polycom.com
The advantages of such a system are limitless.
1. Field Trips: Students can take field trips to anywhere in the world. They can attend classes in other countries or visit museums, historical sites, Congress, NASA, or maybe even zoos. These are places they might not otherwise be able to see because of the physical or financial limitations.
2. Shared Classes: Classes in different locations can work together using the technology. They might work on lessons or projects. Schools with limited budgets might be able to get by with fewer teachers by sharing classes. One teacher could present the lesson to several classes in physically different locations.
3. Professional Development: Professional development can be very expensive. The fees for keynote speakers, conference registrations, and travel expenses add up quickly. Videoconferencing using CAPspace and Polycom can take care of all these with minimum costs.
The biggest expense for this system is the hardware purchase. After that, everything goes through a computer.
CAPspace and Polycom seems to be a win-win combination. Students and teachers experience more with increased learning and school districts can reduce budgets.
Friday, November 27, 2009
7. The black dust (toner) used in laser printers has been classified by the FDA as a class-A carcinogen.
8. Technology, especially video games, makes people less active. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity which leads to a variety of diseases.
Parents, students, and teachers need to be aware of these dangers as well as others that may exist. Limiting the use of technology may be necessary for the health and welfare of all.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~ W. J. Cameron
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~ W.T. Purkiser
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~ Thornton Wilder
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. ~ Cicero
Some complain that roses have thorns—others rejoice that thorns have roses! ~Unknown
Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. ~ Aesop Fables
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. ~ Irv Kupcine
Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people. ~ Samuel Johnson
Thanksgiving, when the Indians said, “Well, this has been fun, but we know you have a long voyage back to England. ~ Jay Leno
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The following is a list of those that deserve thanks. If I've left anyone out, I sincerely apologize and please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated.
School Bus Drivers
School Resource Officers
Study Hall Monitors
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I could have said something, but didn't want to ruin my lunch or hers with an argument. So I continued eating, getting more angry as time passed.
The police officer she was talking about is called an "SRO" or "school resource officer." He wasn't there because the school had a lot of problems. He was there to help prevent problems.
The main duty of an SRO is to insure the safety of the students, staff, faculty, and the school. Each officer in the program is a regular police officer who has taken extra training to deal with students and schools. It is currently one of the fastest growing areas of law enforcement.
Besides safety, SROs also educate, counsel, give classroom presentations, patrol halls, prevent delinquency, and perform other duties as needed by their particular school.
The biggest problem SROs have is job security. They are police officers, but whether they will be in a school depends on funding. Of course, when schools cut their budgets, the School Resource Officer position is usually one of the first to go. Some, however, are paid through grants and collections which provide an extra source of funding.
So today, as we approach Thanksgiving, I just want to say "thanks" to all the school resource officers. They have a tough job, but provide a valuable service. I always felt better knowing our school had one on duty.
Monday, November 23, 2009
It might also be a good time to do a little advance planning. There is a website http://www.ihaveaplaniowa.gov/ where you can plan for high school, college, careers, and more.
Students can set up four-year plans for high school. They can research careers and discover which classes should be taken to achieve that career. There are planning charts, pdfs, and videos that give information on a variety of topics including grants, scholarships, and financial aid.
For a good video overview, see http://www.ihaveaplaniowa.gov/Home/Videos/Overview.aspx
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I often express gratitude, but have rarely written it. However, I think I will start and I think that with Thanksgiving Day coming up, this is the perfect time to start.
Why? Scientists have researched gratitude and find that it plays an important role in many aspects of a person's life from good health to a sense of well-being to kindness and a feeling of being loved.
The scientists conducting the research studied several hundred people. They divided them into three groups and asked them to keep diaries. One group simply recorded the events of the day. A second group recorded those things for which they were grateful. The third group listed their unpleasant experiences.
Results showed that people in the the second group had less stress, exercised more, were more alert, more enthusiastic, had more energy, worked toward personal goals to a greater extent, and were less depressed.
Most religions promote gratitude and extol its virtues, but Dr. Michael McCollough, of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California at Davis, found that the beneficial results of giving thanks work independently of faith. It turns out any one, religious or faithful or spiritual or not, can enjoy the positive effects of gratitude.
Most people have so much for which to be thankful...family, home, friends, and more. So give thanks everyday.
If you can't find anything to be thankful for, then perhaps this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJkN0Y2k70M can help:
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Norwegian health authorities have discovered a mutation in the H1N1 virus that leads to more serious symptoms. It causes the virus to go deeper into the respiratory system. It's not widespread, but similar mutations have been found in other countries. http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssPharmaceuticals%20-%20Diversified/idUSLK71202920091120?sp=true
H1N1, a mixture of swine, bird and human viruses, has recently been found in three cats, one in Iowa, one in Utah, and one in Oregon who died of the virus. Five ferrets have also contracted the disease. Recommendations for limiting the virus in animals is similar to that in humans...wash hands (especially before feeding), use sanitizer, sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue, avoid touching your face and the animal's face, and limit contact with the pet while you are sick. http://www.examiner.com/x-26424-Indianapolis-Healthy-Living-Examiner~y2009m11d20-Oregon-cat-is-the-first-feline-death-from-H1N1-in-the-US
British officials are investigating a strain of the H1N1 virus that is resistant to the antiviral Tamiflu. So far there has been no confirmed person-to-person transmission of this strain. http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idUSLK44053620091120
There is some good news. The H1N1 vaccine appears to have the same safety record as that of the seasonal flu vaccine. Even better, 80 million doses have been distributed, and 65 million have been given worldwide. http://www.swineflufight.net/?p=161
Of course, there is a problem with the availability of the vaccine. In my area, H1N1 vaccines have only been available by appointment through the county health department, and then only for certain populations. In fact, I've been on a waiting list for several weeks for the regular seasonal flu shot and still have not been called to make an appointment to get the vaccine.
Friday, November 20, 2009
For anyone making a major decision in their lives, I think this is how you know if you're doing the right thing. It will feel like you're doing the right thing. When I made the decision to retire a couple of years ago, there was no doubt in my mind that it was the right decision. I knew I would miss the kids. I knew I would miss the people I worked with. I knew that I would miss the math. But I also knew that it was time to let it go.
I'm not sure I could tell anyone how I knew, but I knew it was right. I've done this with most major decisions in my life and my feelings and intuition have never steered me wrong.
I believe that with any major decision, from choosing a college or career to choosing where to live to choosing (or not choosing) a partner, you can almost feel if the decision is a good one. Yes, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your decision, but in the end, you'll choose it because it feels right for you.
If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. It's either the wrong decision or the wrong time to make that decision.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I used to use this example when teaching. My original intention was to show the video clip and use the quote to help students learn the theorem.
Then I watched the clip. I had only vaguely remembered it and was so glad I reviewed it before showing it to the students. My lesson plans were immediately changed. I still showed the video, but instead of using it as an example, I asked the students to list all the things that were wrong with it. The students always came up with a pretty good list.
My advice to all teachers is to always review beforehand any media that you plan to use with students. I think this is usually done, but when time is short, you may want to skip this step. Don't!
My advice to students is to not believe everything in the movies, even when it sounds and seems like reasonable truth.
The actual Pythagorean Theorem states, "The sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the length of the hypotenuse.
Monday, November 16, 2009
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