Thursday, February 27, 2003

K-12 Education Site of the Day

And more info on portfolios....

Fraudulent Education from Critical Mass.....great perspective on the race and education issue.

Dave's right, it's not such a beautiful day.....

Also via Dave, oops....

Using Portfolios via Weblogg-ed

Via Tightly Wound: a realistic view of Hollywood experts on the war. Dad was talking about Janeane Garofalo being on Fox News earlier today and they let her know she was there only because she was an actress. She seemed taken aback that she wasn't there for her foreign policy expertise..

And this is great!!!!

A wonderful story about Mr. Rogers' passing via
Kitchen Cabinet. It dawned on me that Mr. Rogers wouldn't be allowed on tv today - a white guy would not be politically correct enough..... :{

Also via Kitchen Cabinet: another use of duct tape .... and a useful one at that. But, I agree, these are prettier.

This is good, too:

George Will says that in Europe today, anti-Americanism is the new anti-Semitism:

From medieval times until 1945, Jews often were considered the embodiment of sinister forces, the focus of discontents, the all-purpose explanation of disappointments. Now America is all those things.... The demonstrators simultaneously express respect for the United Nations' resolutions and loathing for America, the only nation that can enforce the resolutions. This moral infantilism -- willing an end while opposing the only means to that end -- reveals that the demonstrators believe the means are more objectionable than the end is desirable.
He also makes the point that all this talk about anti-Semitism being the socialism of fools is "confusing, because socialism is the socialism of fools."

I'm using the wireless connection to the cable modem and sitting with Mom watching Bridges of Madison County.........later we'll watch ER. :}

Teacher: Year One is blogging again!!!! :}

My meeting today went much better than expected. I have a better understanding that not all NCSS leaders are anti-history (just like all the NCHE folks are NOT only about history to the exclusion of everything else; good history includes geography, government, etc...). And the networking with my colleague at a state peer institution was worth the drive alone. We have a lot in common - except the 7 hours of driving between us. We both are interested in history and helping mentor better history teachers and we will both find a way to get it done. :}

It's a little drizzly tonight so I'm glad I'm off the road. I'm also looking forward to some quality family time. My parents are 65 and 67 and it's scary to think about how few mobile years they might have left. I just keep encouraging them to do exactly what they want.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I'm blogging from Wichita!!!! I met a high school friend at On the Border and had a great evening. She is student teaching and facing a lot of new challenges but I also know she will be a great teacher. She made an excellent observation.....she's run a household and a business (cleaning) and not used to any other bosses. It is an adjustment. I also think student teaching is harder than your first year with your own classroom because you reach a point where you want to do your own thing instead of just following the lead of an experienced teacher - no matter how wonderful they are! It was great catching up..............her "children" are young men and she has a family and home to be proud of............all take a great deal of work. I'm anxious to watch her share all that expertise with her future elementary students. She has the nurturing down pat with a good balance of good old-fashioned "let's get in there and learn."

Had some more snow this morning but I delayed leaving town until the roads cleared up a bit and, except for a small stretch of some ice on the very edge, it was all fine. 400 Highway makes the trip to Wichita much easier.

Came home yesterday to a porta potty in my front yard (and my front yard isn't that big). Thought the contractor working next door had it put there but I was wrong - it's a fundraiser for a student group sponsored by one of the Beaver Kings. Good business plan . .... $20 to get it taken away or $15 to forward it. I forwarded it to my chair - I thin he has a good sense of humor. I'm impressed with the resources of the group because I didn't have my chair's new address but his wife sent me an email this evening so I know that it was removed. I promised her I hadn't used it. :}

I will be in a meeting tomorrow................attendance is important! More later..............

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

"It's time to deal with this problem."
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, national security adviser, on why the United States has asked the United Nations to support military action against Iraq.

Well said........... I think 12 years is quite enough waiting....

Monday, February 24, 2003

I was thinking earlier today that I need to occasionally reference the financial material I try to review each day. Here some interesting info
from Rebecca's Pocket:

Read Fortune magazine's long and fascinating account of one of the most influential organizations in the United States.
One Nation Under Wal-Mart: How retailing's superpower--and our biggest Most Admired company--is changing the rules for corporate America. [slithy popup!]
By systematically wresting 'pricing power' from the manufacturer and handing it to the consumer, Wal-Mart has begun to generate an economy-wide Wal-Mart Effect. Economists now credit the company's Everyday Low Prices with contributing to Everyday Low Inflation, meaning that all Americans--even members of Whirl-Mart, a 'ritual resistance' group that silently pushes empty carts through superstores--unknowingly benefit from the retailer's clout. A 2002 McKinsey study, moreover, found that more than one-eighth of U.S. productivity growth between 1995 and 1999 could be explained 'by only two syllables: Wal-Mart.'
'You add it all up,' says Warren Buffett, 'and they have contributed to the financial well-being of the American public more than any institution I can think of.' His own back-of-the-envelope calculation: $10 billion a year.

Compare: How Walmart is remaking our World.
Behind this manufactured cheerfulness, however, is the fact that the average employee makes only $15,000 a year for full-time work. Most are denied even this poverty income, for they’re held to part-time work. While the company brags that 70% of its workers are full-time, at Wal-Mart 'full time' is 28 hours a week, meaning they gross less than $11,000 a year.
Health-care benefits? Only if you've been there two years; then the plan hits you with such huge premiums that few can afford it--only 38% of Wal-Marters are covered.

I'm fascinated with all of this. Clearly, Walmart is re-creating local economic ecologies in the towns where it lands: first, by drawing shoppers with its low, low prices; next, after local businesses--unable to compete--have closed, by creating a need for employment at the local Walmart; and then, since so most of their workers are modestly paid part-timers, creating an even greater need for their discount prices.

And while I'm there, I find The Real Joe Millionaires: Young, Rich, & Single
Meet America's most eligible bachelors. They've got billions, they're available, and they appear on FORTUNE's recent list of America's 40 Richest Under 40. Forget construction worker Evan Marriott: We've got sports, entertainment, tech, and business moguls to choose from.

But not all of them have pictures. :}................

From ScrappleFace:

Protestors Can Get A Clooney Bobble-Head Doll

(2003-02-23) -- Organizers of protests against disarming Iraq through threat-of-force will start offering a George Clooney bobble-head doll to each person who joins their marches and rallies.

Protestors can register for the perk at, but must actually show up for an event to collect their limited-edition bobble-head doll.

"We're asking people to come out in the cold and stand around chanting for hours," said an unnamed protest organizer. "We felt we should offer incentives to boost attendance -- like baseball clubs do."

Mr. Clooney could not be reached for comment as he continued his marathon of interviews with European newspapers. The former star of the TV drama 'E.R.' is revered in much of Europe as a statesman of the caliber of Benjamin Franklin or Sean Penn.

The NYT take on Google buying Pyra...........while the "free web" is more than wonderful.............plain, old crass commercialism is needed eventually. People are willing to pay for good service..........

I'm a little surprised to find I'm
Congratulations, you're Washington, DC., the capitol of the United States.
What US city are you?
Take the quiz by Girlwithagun.">Washington, DC. But I did live there once. :}

Another good statement from Easily Distracted about the current academic publishing "world":

That's beside the point. Waters nails the fundamental dilemma of academic knowledge production at the moment. Too many people are publishing too many mediocre books because the monograph has become the single most crucial criteria for indexing a scholar's productivity. The result is not just too many bad, disposable books, it's the cheerless, careerist, productivity-mad sensibility that afflicts most academic life.

Political Patterns on the WWW illustrates some interesting info gleaned from the web....

Where All Grades are Above Average
also found from a link at a(musings)

From the article:

The last time I gave a C was more than two years ago. That was about the time I came to realize that my grading had become anachronistic. The C, once commonly accepted, is now the equivalent of the mark of Cain on a college transcript. I have forsworn C's ever since.

How rare is the C in college? The data indicate that not only is C an endangered species but that B, once the most popular grade at universities and colleges, has been supplanted by the former symbol of perfection, the A.

From (a)musings:

Grade Deflation?!

I have just finished my first semester teaching at a large and well-known northeastern university that shall, as usual, remain nameless. Though I have only a semester of experience under my belt, this CNN article resonated with me. I was teaching a large, introductory history course and it became clear to me that most of my students lacked the most rudimentary study skills. This could be in part because, as the article put it "only 33.4 percent of college freshmen reported spending six hours per week or more studying or doing homework during their senior year in high school." I figure six hours is about the minimum a student would need to put into my class. Most of my students were putting in the time, but not using that time effectively. I imagine they didn't learn how in high school. Instead I had students traipsing into my office hours demanding lists of terms that might appear on the final and possible essay questions. One particularly clueless student wished to know what parts of the textbook he should "look at" prior to the exam. (I replied that he should look at the parts that were assigned. "But that's the whole book!" Duh.) Today's college freshmen are graduating from high schools where the task of teachers is apparently to make As as painless as possible, so that students may be assured of a place in my classroom. What they find with me is a rude awakening.

I make these observations as Harvard University, that bastion of grade inflation, reports lower overall grades for the second year in a row. "I think that moving grades more in the direction of the B-level will restore A as a recognition for truly outstanding work, in the context of Harvard students in Harvard courses," said Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Jeffrey Wolcowitz. Whatever happened to C's are average, B's are good, and A's excellent? Students who got C's, or even B's, on my papers generally presented themselves with stony faces at my next office hours, eager to parse with me paragraph by paragraph, footnote by footnote, for those few extra points that earn them a B+ or even an A-. Even if Ivy League universities are deflating their grades, it isn't changing the perception among students that grades are negotiable entities, not markers of their performance.

As a parting gem, this Duke University professor claims he gave no C's this semester. Well, at least I claim the distinction of having given five C's this semester, and no straight A's (only A-'s). That's a far cry from redeeming the C as an average grade. And it has been not-so-jokingly suggested in my presence by my elders that I could become one of the most hated and feared Teaching Fellows in the department.

Hurrah for me.


Although I will add that high school teachers are under the same pressures!!! And it starts with the main stakeholders.........students and parents....

I was visiting a student teacher last week and heard her cooperating teacher go over what all they were offering students if they performed well on the state assessments. Different food (pizza, hot dogs) parties EACH day along with days out of school for doing well on the exams..........but it sounds like a good solution or at least counterattack to making teachers so over-responsible for how a teenager decides he wants to do on a test that he often never gets returned or only after an infinite time lapse despite computers....

From (a) musings of a grad student:


A high school student in Michigan is suing to have his grade changed from an A to an A+.

His mother claims her son deserved A+ credit for a work/study program that involved the student working as a paralegal in her law firm.

Incidentally, the grade of A+ would keep him in line to become valedictorian. Yes, that right, on the judgment of a parent, not a teacher, a student is suing to get an A+ so he can remain valedictorian. I sure hope this kid isn't coming east, specifically to my institution, to go to college. I have enough problems with grade inflation and students whining about grades to have to start worrying about being sued when perfection isn't perfect enough.

ProfQuotes is really good! We chat about good student comments but we professors make some interesting comments, too. :}

From the same source, I'm going to send this to my students:

Staying Afloat: Some Scattered Suggestions on Reading in College

This looks interesting: Textism: A Humane Web Text Generator

What Textile Does

* Replace single and double primes (' and ") used as quotation marks with HTML entities for opening and closing quotation marks (‘’ and “”) in readable text, while leaving untouched the primes required within HTML tags.
* Replaced double hyphens (--) with an em-dash (—) entity.
* Replace single hyphens surrounded by spaces with an en-dash (–) entity.
* Replace triplets of periods (...) with an ellipsis (…) entity.
* Convert many nonstandard characters (ŸúߊπŒ) to browser-safe entities corresponding to keyboard input.
* Apply block- and phrase-level structural tags automatically and at the discretion of the writer via quick tags.
* Create hyperlinks and insert images via quick tags.
* Define acronyms via quick tags
* Wrap an tag around runs of three or more capital letters automatically.
* Convert (TM), (R), and (C) to ™, ®, and ©
* Convert the letter x to a dimension sign: 2x4 to 2×4 and 8 x 10 to 8×10
* Find the first person who broke your heart and report back on how devoid of joy their current life is.


Via Kieran Healey's blog:

All of which is great fun for a type-freak such as myself who wants to see the text available online take advantage of the hundreds of years of experience that typographers and book-designers have accumulated in making stuff easy and pleasurable to read. If you really don’t care about type or design then of course all of this will just be boring. But it’s my view that if you really don’t care about type or design then you are a philistine.

Another historian with a blog: Easily Distracted

Great sections on "Should You Go to Grad School" (Graduate school is cotillion for eggheads.......Take time away from college. That will tell you how much you want to be back in this life. Love your subject well before you ever start, because that passion will be tested mightily.) and "From ABD to the Job Market: Advice for the Grad School Endgame"

Here are a few excerpts:

Do not be a perfectionist with your dissertation. Write the sucker and damn the torpedoes. Just make sure it's good enough for your committee. If you *can* write it in such a way that it will require little work to make into a publishable book, do it. For example, make the opening and inevitable "literature review" as modular as possible and plan to just rip the entire thing out of the book manuscript. If you embed your review of the relevant scholarship inside your analysis, that may be more artful for the dissertation, but it's more of a pain in the context of the manuscript, unless it’s really artful and worth keeping even in the book.

(I can empathize.........mine sat with a publisher over 2 years who wouldn't publish it but wouldn't release it......lost all my still trying ten years after graduation...........will give it one more shot and then I have to MOVE ON.................I was on the press board for the first press since it's the state university system press - that also published in my field .....I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it or not. But it's a cold cruel world out there. I watched them hold graduate students' hands almost literally as reviewers rewrote a text and I received a nice 2-pager with no other guidance. Politics, politics, politics. Academic culture makes you feel like a failure without "the book"............but I've found my time better spent in the digital world and can make much more of an impact on that world than on beating my head against the wall in the traditional monograph world. Several times I asked for the editor to just give it back and he just put me off, later claiming to be embarrassed. But the damage was done. ..........Anyway, I finally had to think about two things..........1. Is my priority in life to write a book that only a few specialists will read or to create work -- although some consider it sub-par -- that tens of thousands or even more will use in their classrooms and actually read; I can communicate between some groups to the benefit of both and why not play to my the rest of the world teaches you to do instead of continually pointing out your weaknesses like academics do.........and 2. I went back to graduate school after teaching junior high and high school because I wanted to teach college........not because I wanted to publish "the book" - as one of my colleagues said, my tombstone isn't going to say "but she didn't get that first book done...." )

Back to Easily Distracted:

On the other hand, give up all hope that you will be able to live in a community or place that you have a preference for. Your life is now a complete crapshoot as far as that goes. When a decent job comes up, it doesn't matter if it's in Alabama or Alaska, Newark or Tuscaloosa: you have to apply for it and take it if you get it. If you have a significant other, be sure they understand this. If you have a significant other who is also an academic, get ready for some serious pain in the next six to seven years: the likelihood is that one of the two of you is going to find your career on the backburner. In this one case, you may want to limit yourselves (both of you) to applying for jobs in areas that are dense in colleges and universities.

Some perspective on the academic life from Ms. Mentor in the Chronicle:

Question: Is it true that academics today may have higher work loads, more administrative work, dumber students, less time to publish, smaller labs and more ignorant colleagues -- but they also get paid for living the life of the mind, they have flexible hours, they can wear decrepit shoes, and they rarely have to submit to drug testing?

Answer: Yes.

And for those of us who feel guilty for succeeding:

she does believe that if you love someone -- including yourself -- you should set them free.

Another winter storm hit with full force and it's beautiful! I left the farm just as it began since I needed my fast internet connection to get some work done and I didn't want to drive in whatever was left today. I stopped by the store on the way home and made homemade vegetable soup and cornbread. Perfect for a day like yesterday and I have lunch for the next few days....

Because all the schools are canceled and even I-44 was shut down, my 479 teaching students are going to have a virtual class session
in Blackboard. I don't regularly do it with my online class since it's asynchronous and it's something new for one of my F2F classes. They can send me assignments through the Digital Dropbox or fax them. They don't have to turn in the final copy until we meet in person next week since this is their first full lesson plan.

Did some research on action research in history yesterday. Found some interesting stuff. I like the "back" and "go" features so much more on Netscape and get frustrated..........but that means it's hard to remember to convert the URLs when I don't have the IE window open. I'm sure, however, that there will be more down the road to report.........

Am reading _Understanding by Design_ - so far what I've learned is that you need to decide what you want students to learn before you design your lessons. Here's how one high school is applying its concepts. And from Harvard, Teaching for Understanding.

I have a KSDE meeting in Wichita on Thursday and hope to hook up with a high school friend the night before but another storn is headed this way. Usually at least some of them miss us but it doesn't look like this one will. The next week I go to Topeka
for a Kansas Territorial Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee meeting. I missed the last one of those because of weather.

I'd better post this. I already lost it downloading a Word file from the web...............

Saturday, February 22, 2003

More from Scrappleface:

French President Changes Name to Chiraq
(2003-02-18) -- In an apparent show of solidarity with the Republic of Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac has officially changed his last name to Chiraq.

A presidential spokesman said it was a humanitarian move designed to show empathy with France's ally.

However, political opponents charged that the name change is actually part of a multi-billion dollar sponsorship deal between the two nations.

From Scrappleface: L.A. Council Adopts Resolutions Against War, Crime
(2003-02-22) -- Moments after a 9-4 vote on a resolution to oppose a U.S. war against Iraq, the Los Angeles City Council approved another measure opposing crime in L.A.

"Once we realized that we had the power to affect global policy, we decided to apply it to our own situation," said one city council member. "The criminals and gangs of L.A. now know that we oppose such behavior. That ought to take care of it."

The council hall was filled with peace protestors for the historic vote. One man and his 9-year-old son were dressed in ragged clothes, bandages and fake blood. Fred Greissing said he and his son came dressed that way to dramatize his fears about children dying in a war on Iraq.

"But when they brought up the resolution about crime in L.A., I thought 'Hey, these costumes will work for that too'," Mr. Greissing said. "When you think about it, the city council hasn't figured out how to stop the drug dealers and other terrorists in our streets. Who are they to tell the President what to do about Saddam?"

On next week's city council agenda -- a resolution to secede from the United States and become a French colony.

and from a neighboring state:

Gephardt Insists He's Really Running for President
(2003-02-20) -- Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-MO, whose leadership is credited with securing Republican control of Congress, insists he is really running for President.

An overnight poll shows that 73 percent of Americans believe the Gephardt announcement story originated on "one of those satire web sites." The other 27 percent think Mr. Gephardt declared his candidacy "just to get media to show up at his press conference."

But the candidate himself insists, "I'm really running...really."

Experts now estimate the number of Democrat presidential candidates is "into the double digits." The federal government printing office has reportedly run out of exploratory committee paper forms and is scrambling to print more.

Political pundits acknowledge that among the flock of Democrat candidates, Mr. Gephardt could be a front runner, "if he can overcome his high name recognition."

This is great: SUV's to the rescue

DC Web Site during the recent storm:

"Volunteers needed to shovel snow at schools; SUV drivers needed.” The story said the mayor was soliciting people with four-wheel-drive vehicles to provide transportation to and from work for emergency personnel and for persons who have special medical needs."

From: C-Log

Hollywood Foreign Policy Review is even better!

And let's not leave out the musicians:

Stick to the music

Matt Drudge is reporting:

"Top CBS executives are deeply concerned that Sunday night's GRAMMY Awards may turn from a celebration of music -- into a giant anti-war politically rally"

"I would hope the artists will remember they are on stage because of their music," a top CBS source told the DRUDGE REPORT Friday morning.

I wish they would remember this all the time.

I went outside to get some wood in the fireplace and disturbed the turkeys...didn't know they took that route through the woods. They're so big and clumsy they can't move quickly when they're back there. I have heard noise that direction in the dark before but just assumed it was the deer since the deer were all I'd seen in the daylight in that location.

A big pick-up truck drove all the way up to my house (the driveway is a quarter of a mile long) last night and I turned the outside lights on and they turned around - but not until getting very close. Hopefully it was just some good ole boys out drinking. I couldn't locate the neighbor's telephone number until after they would have gotten out of the driveway. She helped me get my wits about me - if they were looking to do something or steal something, they would have turned off their lights. I did sleep okay though without any nightmares about intruders!

My US As A Superpower course has everything in Blackboard now for the semester. I decided against any formal objective tests since someone cheated last semester and caused potential problems for both me and the other students. Besides, as a trusted graduate student commented, the fill in the blank and multiple choice questions online really only test how fast you can look up answers. Writing coherently and effectively are much more important even when students think you grade them based on how you "feel" about them personally. :}

Welcome to the Blogosphere - this is a good overview of what is going on with blogging.

Here's a great idea for a class: Teaching Library: The Write Way with the World Wide Web.

We're expecting another winter storm tomorrow - it would be great to have one more before spring peeks out!

Check out the February 20th entry on Tightly Wound:

Don't believe me? Read her latest column, full of lamentation for how the poor fashion industry is suffering, struggling to regain its footing after its self-absorbed hedonism was so cruelly stopped by those insensitive jihadis. But that's not the really annoying part. This is:

IS IT JUST THE RESIDUE of fashion week that makes me wish there were more, or should I say any, gay men in the Bush Administration? At The Sunday Times in the Seventies one top editor used to shake his head when the paper became too humourlessly high-testosterone and say that what it needed that week was “more pooftah power”.

Behold the power of the gay! I know that in matters of dire national emergency, the best way to ensure the success of our nation is not to find qualified folks to lead, but to randomly select people on the basis of their sexuality! Because it's all about offsetting that deadly testosterone! Although, I do want to bitchslap Tina Brown. Could that be due to the Power of the Gay, or is it just that she's a twit?

In lieu of outright womanhood — except for Condoleezza Rice, who crosses the gender barriers by becoming the most zealous enabler — perhaps an injection of androgyny could be brought to bear on diplomatic relations in this moment of crisis. The Bush crowd’s only management style, like that of many who subscribe to the outmoded cult of America’s Toughest Bosses, is to unzip and thwack it on the table. As Senator Robert Byrd put it in his speech last week, they deal in “crude insensitivities”.

Yeah, gotta get in the gratuitious "slap Condi" moment. So now, not only is she inauthentically black, she's inauthentically female. And while we're flailing that broad brush of stereotyping around, let's do mention the whole BSD trope. It's all about the penis, people. Power to the penis! Wait a minute--there's a knock at the door....oh, look! It's our good friend Irony. Hi, I! What's up? Oh, yeah, I noticed she's talking about insensitivity by using a former Klansman as a mouthpiece--I was trying to ignore that. Hey, Irony, you look a little down. Beer? Help yourself. I'll be with you in a moment.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Yesterday was busy with meetings but I think we have the outline down for the new teacher education degree. I ran the meeting pretty quickly but I think everyone had time to talk. I finished in an hour what some folks thought would take two when they saw the two-page agenda. But we've been struggling with this for so long that I was clearly ready to move through it. And, since the degree has to meet the standards, we have little wiggle room. We will also work on the parameters of admitting students to a "history/government" education program that will help get students to finish their undergraduate work and not get stuck at the end with a course they can't get into or isn't conveniently scheduled.

Bowling went well and I logged in another pre-bowl. My scores ranged from 162 to 99. And I had one turkey. :} It's a fun group.
I hate that I am out of town for 3 of the next 4 meetings. Oh well.

Meeting with student teachers went well. They would like an MA aimed towards them and flexible because they can't attend classes on campus while they're teaching so online and some night courses would work. They all had interesting stories and realize they're learning more than we could ever teach them at PSU. The chair talked with them briefly which is always appreciated.

Senator Brownback was on campus and was most interested in talking to students. I stepped in when I was done with student teachers and listened for awhile. He made some interesting points. I was glad to see over 100 students there. I'm sure extra credit played a role but whatever works.

I then went to a meeting of Phase 3 of our PT3 grant. It's pretty involved like Phase 2 but they are paying us after all. After finishing, I will be able to say I've done some research.

Then we had the teacher education committee meeting and then I went out with two of my colleagues and one of their spouses and we had a good time. The chair and his wife seem interested in occasional weekend dinner outings. In the past, for a variety of reasons, we seem to be limited to weekday meetings which can be a little more restrictive since we're all so busy. I think 25 years ago the department did more socially.

For some reason, my work groups have not ever been the most social. There was always another school or another department that seemed to always be going somewhere. Sometimes I want to be out and about a bit and Beaver Kings fit the bill. I may miss the meeting today but an occasional miss is okay. The builder's worker is here at the farm doing all the odds and ends. We may almost get them all - still have some Andersen window grill pieces we're looking for and the company had a big shakeup last year which didn't help.

Sorry for "no links" - will work on that when my connection is back to being more than dial-up out here. I did see the deer and the turkeys this morning - haven't seen the deer in awhile. I talked to the turkeys when I walked after I finished Tuesday's blog entry. They went running two directions and I told one group they were going the wrong way because it was a much longer distance to the woods. :}

Next week will be busy with a visit to Wichita and Carthage and finally finishing up the AP Government course now that I have all the new stuff and know how to add pictures.

I wish Teacher: Year One was regularly posting. There's almost a sense of implied contract when people start these things and you feel like you've been "denied" when they have other priorities. At least the fall entries were really good.

I may actually be ready for spring and the trip down south on the train next month will definitely expedite that process. On the trip last year I could have done occasional blog entries because we were in hotels with internet access. But this time every night is on the train - which is better because there is much less packing and unpacking.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Where is the week going?

I'm back at the farm. It's raining but that's okay. :} At least we're not snowed in like the east coast....

I was able to work quite a bit on adding pictures to the AP Government class yesterday morning. I took my guest speaker to lunch and, as usual, he did a great job with the teaching students. One student was concerned we were being a little too negative and we just tried to explain that we were trying to prepare them for the real world so that they weren't shocked and/or disillusioned when they took over a real classroom with real live students. He did a great job explaining about NCLB and QPA (a Kansas-specific accreditation plan usually done in conjunction with North Central) and how it affects a teacher's daily life. I have a recent graduate coming next month who can explain student teaching, etc. from a more recent perspective.

I went to eat with the quilt guild ladies but didn't go to the meeting because I'd been gone too much that day and Jan couldn't go either. I actually relaxed a little last night. :}

Today was busy with office hours. I had a nice chat with my chair (the person not the object :} ) about teaching in general and the challenges we face. I also started on loading Dreamweaver on my school computer - it is old enough it will just barely handle it. So I think it will work.

I need to do some paperwork for my Thursday meetings but otherwise I'm ready for the rest of the week. Next week will be busy with a KSDE meeting in Wichita.

Tomorrow I have to wait on a repair person and then go see a student teacher in Independence. She is expecting a baby early next month so I have to hurry and get the visit in. She's already substituted quite a bit in the district so she should be fine.

The builder and crew can't make it out tomorrow because of a funeral so we'll try for Friday - hopefully the potential rain isn't a problem. I just don't have any day to do it next week and I think the builder wants it off his list - which is a good thing!

Abby came by to get me for lunch today and we went to El Charro and munched down on chips and dip. She just went to Denmark with work and had a horrendous time getting back but had a great business trip during her stay. She may be going over 3 times a year.

I was trying to wait on the mail before I left town but since they had yesterday's holiday to catch up with I couldn't wait. I stopped by Palucca's on my way out of time to get some lettuce and then dropped some cookies off at M&M. I'm so glad to get my Explorer back - it almost feels like a new car and the guy did a really good job on the seat. The leather smell makes it smell like a new vehicle. I also dropped some cookies off for Lisa. I passed her on the road but Kim was a big help. I also chatted with Sam and Russ really quickly. Russ has a great idea for a slide show for some pictures that will go up
on Project Mine. The geography professors at PSU are studying why people are building very nice new homes on the edge of strip pits - where just the poor miners used to put shacks. It is quite interesting. We'll use some of the info in the summer institutes. I also gave the guys working on the house next door some of the cookie batch. I was good and only ate one (plus some of the dough of course). That was my comfort food during my grad school days. I always had time to at least make the dough. Some of the professors gave me a hard time that I had time to bake (the same ones that called me a workaholic) and I said many times I was baking in the middle of night so that I could relax a little.

I just watched Oprah's show on decorating from Wal-mart - she was inspired by the recent commercial with the woman redecorating her daughter's room from Walmart. I have never done much decorating - now I realize I should have experimented in all those apartments..........although I did put mini-blinds up in one apartment ..........they were pretty new then (late 1980s) and the drapes weren't dark enough to keep the light out - back when I couldn't sleep with even a little glimmer of light..........anyway.........I need to take some more chances and try some new things - even if I just paint some furniture in the garage.

When I was talking to my chair earlier today, we both shared our "publishing the monograph" challenges. I was on the state university press board when I submitted my dissertation for them to consider. Why they held on to it for two years and didn't just tell me, I don't understand. (I think I know why but that doesn't mean that I understand.) That lag really contributed to my losing momentum. And as I've begun doing more pedagogical and technological stuff, my thinking process has changed. I need to start writing more about those types of projects............that's part of the impetus behind this blog - just to have regular practice writing...........and work on presenting and publishing those. Our teaching load is too heavy and on top of that the work with teachers is so integral it only makes sense. Besides, many fewer traditional history monographs are being published and there are more and more PhDs graduating every year. I also think I'm contributing more to my profession by writing study guides and instructors manuals that tens of thousands of people used compared to a monograph that 5 people might read. Besides, the publishing-on-demand aspect of the web is going to change the nature of scholarship as it becomes more accessible. My chair and I also talked about that because, since I'm at the front edge of the curve, I won't necessarily benefit as much as those behind me. But hopefully that will all work out to the positive ...........and since my ultimate goal is to help students and if money were the primary object, I'm in the wrong profession anyway!

Time to get some dinner.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

From Boxes and Arrows:

Understanding Visual Organization

Also via Computer Vet Blog:

Clay Shirky outlines the "Big Flip" that the Internet has produced, and why it hasn't quite carried over to the music business yet.

The internet has lowered the threshold of publishing to the point where you no longer need help or permission to distribute your work. What has happened with writing may be possible with music. Like writers, most musicians who work for fame and fortune get neither, but unlike writers, the internet has not offered wide distribution to people making music for the love of the thing. A system that offered musicians a chance at finding an audience outside the professional system would appeal to at least some of them.

Another item:

The Baen Free Library is a grand experiment in proving that offering free or low cost downloads, of books in this case, has no negative effect on sales, and usually leads to more profits for the creator. Last year they provided their evidence that the experiment had been a success.

via the Computer Vet Blog:

What's Your Idea of a Mental Model?

To illustrate the consequences of having a mismatched mental model, I describe a person who goes into a buffet restaurant and waits for someone to take their order. The person’s mental model of how that restaurant operates doesn’t match the actual situation, and he would experience confusion and frustration until he modified his original model to include buffets.

posted by Scott Schrantz at 10:31 PM Comment?

Oh, man .............
Google just bought Pyra - the maker of this blogger software!!!!

The subhead is that Blogging Goes Big Time.................I got in just in time!

NCLB = Let's All Stay in Place Act

Oops ....... lost a few more links during the last lockup - at least they weren't mission critical. I think I've more than made up for last week's lack of posting!!!

Here's an interesting piece for Highered Intelligence:

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Posted 08:59 by Michael Lopez
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: I was going to blog on this earlier when I heard about it on the radio (about two weeks ago), but I decided to wait until I could find a link. Well, here it is: The First Affirmative Action Bake Sale. It's not what you might think.
An affirmative action bake sale organized by the Bruin Republicans last week has provoked impassioned responses from a top California Democrat and political student groups on campus.

The sale, held on Bruin Walk on Feb. 3, offered cookies at different prices depending on the customer's race and gender. Black, Latina and American Indian females were charged 25 cents for cookies that cost males of minority descent 50 cents. White females were charged $1, and white males and all Asian Americans were charged $2.AThere's all sorts of things that you could say about this Bake Sale, and talk radio has covered all the expected bases. But there's one issue that I haven't heard addressed. I'm really curious to know what the reaction would have been if they had charged HIGHER prices for minorities and women. Do you suppose that such a thing might have even been allowed? Would it have violated University Policies regarding racial and cultural sensitivity? Certainly it would have drawn more ire and clouded the message - so what the Bruin Republicans were doing was understandable. But it was still an open sign proclaiming formal discrimination, and I find it fascinating that such a thing was not immediately quashed by the University. I mean, don't you think if they had reversed the pricing structure it would have been shut down?

Since I went to UCLA Law School I'm especially interested in the last quotes of the article:
Juan Carlos-Orellana, president of the Democratic Law Students Association, responded to the event with similar indignation, referring to the bake sale as an "insulting trivialization of the serious issue of race and gender equality."

Orellana sees the effort by the Bruin Republicans as detrimental to the discussion of affirmative action.

"By reducing the complexity of this issue into dollars and cents and cookies they are working to stop discourse," he said.Let's take a closer look at that. It's an "insulting trivialization of the serious issue of race and gender equality." OK, in the first place those are two issues. Law students should know better. In the second place, it wouldn't be a trivialization if the issues weren't serious. If it wasn't serious to begin with, it would already be trivial and more or less immune to trivialization. In the third place, I always like to add on all appropriate prepositional phrases when I'm speaking, so I'm going to ask "Insulting to whom?" Perhaps the bake sale is widely insulting, demeaning to almost every student on campus. Or perhaps Carlos-Orellana means that he finds it insulting. That could be it.

The great thing is that he can afford to be insulted.... he didn't get into UCLA because of affirmative action. He knows he belongs there so he doesn't carry any insecurities around with him. That, of course, is all secondary speculation. The real meat is in his final quote: "By reducing the complexity of this issue into dollars and cents and cookies they are working to stop discourse."

See, as soon as the conservatives on the issue start making public statements and having rallies, it becomes important to have a discourse. Let me tell you about when I was at UCLA, which wasn't that long ago (1998-2001). When I was at UCLA, students would march through buildings while class was in session chanting "What do we want? Affirmative Action! When do we want it? Now!" This was loud, disruptive, and boorish behavior. It was the opposite of discourse.

I also, in my capacity as Editor in Chief of the Law School newspaper, had to drag myself to one of those tedious affirmative action rallies. While I was there I was treated to a man of some Hispanic persuasion or another (contrary to popular belief, the fact that my last name is Lopez does not give me the ability to distinguish Americans of Honduran, Cuban, Mexican, Guatemalen, or Chilean descent) who had the following charming things to share with his cohort of activists:
"We're right! We're right and they're wrong! And remember, people on the other side are going to try to rationalize their position, they're going to try to rationalize and explain, but don't listen. Just remember that we're right, and they're wrong!"Mmmm, wouldn't want to harm the discourse, would we?

Space Agriculture in the Classroom.................

Here's a link to the PDF file, State Agricultural Profile for Kansas.

The snow is coming down now!!!!! I thought this one was going to miss us but am glad it didn't. I don't have to be anywhere until 11:15 tomorrow when I meet my guest speaker (a former graduate of PSU and successful social science teacher at Olathe South High School in the Kansas City 'burbs) at the Mall Deli. :}

Families of Astronauts Lost More Than Heroes. Amen......... :{

Here's an excerpt:

Families of Astronauts Lost More Than Heroes

HOUSTON, Feb. 15 — Lani McCool's husband hid 16 large black-and-white photographs of himself around their apartment before he left, one for each day of his mission on the space shuttle Columbia.

From space, where he wore both of their wedding rings and kept with him other photographs the couple took in 17 years together, including "the Kiss shots" — their private renditions of the Rodin sculpture they adored — Cmdr. William C. McCool, 41, would use e-mail to send his wife clues about the pictures.

"Look in the Scrabble box," said one. "Check above the towel rack," said another. "The Reese's Puffs cereal box," said a third.

Willie, as everyone knew Mr. McCool, was an astronaut made suddenly famous on Feb. 1, the day he and six others perished when the Columbia broke apart.

But he was also Mrs. McCool's Scrabble and chess partner, a father of three sons who wore goofy hats with protruding Mickey Mouse ears at home while he wrote his thesis for test pilot school and gave poems as Christmas presents. He was the "trigger finger" on the camera and a constant muse for Mrs. McCool, who spent much of her time photographing nature and the family — Willie most of all.

............a great way to make the whole horrendous incident more "human" to students

Here are some Assessment Resources.

It's just gotten light enough to see outside and it's snowing again!!!! There's a light covering on the ground. YEAH!!!
I prepared yesterday to "snuggle in" today. And I'm glad it paid off. I will probably drive to go get the newspapers. No need to fall on the ice again. One big head thump and concussion a few years back is quite enough - thank you - especially when it impaired my thinking for two months or so. :{

Here's something even more useful: Alternative Assessment in the Social Sciences.

My 479 (teaching) students just finished an Excel assignment - a simple "create a gradebook" - here's a site I need to share with them:
Spreadsheets in the Classroom.

I'd better go get busy in the AP Government class and get that sucker finished this weekend so I can cash the check!

Here's the latest Educator's Road Map to the Web. I remember getting so excited to see those over five years ago. I can't imagine how big they'd be now. What a great concept, though - taking something we are familiar with - a road map - to help us figure out the web in its early stages. Obviously now it's way too complicated for that!

This web site has information on helping teachers successfully integrate technology into their classrooms. Should be helpful.

Here's a WebQuest site I haven't seen before.

Was quite surprised to hear the BBC on NPR interviewing people this morning who were NOT against it. They expressed my sentiments exactly: we don't want to but we're tired of being bullied!

Here are the results of my Car-O-Scope. I wonder if it changes the results if my Explorer is the Eddie Bauer model. :} I don't see myself in any of the cars they mentioned.....

Hello, Kelly

Here is your official Car-O-Scope, the patented Car Talk assessment of the compatibility between you and your Ford Explorer. As you well know, the degree of compatibility between you and your car is crucial to your happiness and well-being! Driving the right vehicle--i.e., having the correct "carma"--will give you an incredible lightness of being, a constant sensation of euphoria and, possibly, a Rocky Mountain high. On the other hand, the wrong "relationship" can be devastating: a continuous frown, a deep and inexplicable depression, a sense of foreboding. In short, a life of quiet desperation--not to mention an incredible headache, lower back pain and continuous hemorrhoidal flare-ups.

So, ready or not, here it is.

Comparing You to Other Ford Explorer Owners

Boy oh boy, Kelly, you picked a vehicle that just isn't quite right for you. You're compatible with your Ford Explorer only in terms of your age and your income.

When compared to other people who drive a Ford Explorer, other Ford Explorer owners are far more willing to take risks than you are, you're more generous than other owners, you're just too educated to be driving a Ford Explorer, you are a little too much of a snob, you are much more objective and logical, and you care a bit too much about your car compared to other Ford Explorer owners

For your further edification, here's a little further elucidation on these personality characteristics.

OK, so you're a bit of a wuss--or is it woos?--when it comes to taking chances. So, why are you driving a Ford Explorer? Eh?

We agree that there are lots of dangers out there--and you're perfectly justified in attempting to insulate yourself from them. Car-O-Scope will try to suggest some vehicles that are more in line with your risk-taking profile.

Compared to most other Ford Explorer owners, you certainly aren't the type who squeezes a nickel to see if the buffalo will cough up a dime. No, not you. Quite the contrary. Let's face it, you're far too generous a person to be driving a Ford Explorer. So continue to "cast your bread upon the waters," and Car-O-Scope will find a vehicle that's more compatible with your generous nature.

Gee, this is interesting. Car-O-Scope has determined that you are a person who is quite concerned with status. And yet, you're driving a Ford Explorer. Other Ford Explorer drivers just aren't as much of a snob as you are. We're going to have to do something about this, now aren't we?

Some of us have an overdeveloped left brain, and some have an overdeveloped right brain. And your strength is definitely on the left: logic and objectivity. This is not a bad thing. We do need rocket scientists. But it makes you somewhat incompatible with your Ford Explorer. Other Ford Explorer owners are a bit more "touchy-feely" than you. But you are what you are, so take your pick: Change what you are or get a new car. (That rhymes, doesn't it? Oops, that's a right-brain thing. Sorry.)

My dear, it appears that other Ford Explorer owners just don't care as much about their cars as you do. You're going to have to lighten up on this if you insist on driving a Ford Explorer. But, since this is probably a basic character flaw and therefore unchangeable, you probably will have to buy a new car to get your carma in balance.
Car-O-Scope Makes Suggestions for More Compatible Vehicles

Have no fear, Car-O-Scope is here to save you from a life of misery, depression and hemorrhoidal flare-ups. Through a secret and proprietary process (patent pending) the official car-o-scope has determined that your psychographic and demographic profile is far more compatible with the following vehicles: some of these suggestions might surprise you. But try to keep an open mind. It's quite possible that the car-o-scope has discovered some hidden and/or repressed aspects of your personality.
1. Volvo 760
2. Infiniti J30
3. Infiniti I30
4. Acura Vigor
5. Buick Roadmaster

So, let's look at your compatibility profile vis-a-vis the Infiniti I30. If you dumped that Ford Explorer and got yourself a Infiniti I30, you'd be a lot happier.

For example, you'd be almost perfectly compatible in terms of your gender and your grasp of reality.

In addition, you'd have pretty good compatibility in terms of your tolerance for taking risks, your age, the extent to which you're a cheapskate, your educational level, status consciousness, and how much you really care about your car.

Here's a little info on these personality characteristics. Read 'em and weep.

Reality check:

You have a pretty good sense of what's real and what ain't. You aren't one of those "head in the clouds" types--like some people I know. On the other hand, there are worse places your head could be--I guess.

Here's a more detailed look at your compatibility scores for the other vehicles on the list.

But don't delay! Your health, happiness and general well being are at stake here. Don't drive that Ford Explorer for another day.

It has been an honor and a privilege for Car-O-Scope to serve you in this very important decision.

And, don't drive like my brother.

How about a BMW Z8?????

The stuff that dreams are made of: an engine that is nothing less than a work of art, encased in a brilliantly-designed aluminium Spaceframe and open to the heavens. A two-seater sports car in the tradition of the legendary BMW cars of the twentieth century. A classic based on the essential principles of car design, made with the best engineering on earth and the finest technology available. The BMW Z8. Experience a car that is the very embodiment of a passionate love for mobility.


Time to look at blogs. I used Google to search for Teacher Education Blogs and found this from Teacher NC: Teacher Time
Savers: Blogging. I need to put that one on the 479 Blackboard site. I'm still playing with the idea of having them Blog a bit.

Which led me to David - a blog on web design.

Ok, back to the Teacher NC site............
Racing Against Catastrophe: A WebQuest for English I Teachers...............

Make it visible: create a graph!

This free online tool comes from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). In addition to providing a wealth of educational data and statistics, NCES houses a site called the NCES Classroom that offers guidance and tools to understand and use the information collected by their organization. One of these tools is located in the Games and Activities section and is called Create a Graph. The activity was designed to teach students about the role of graphs and charts and how they function. It is an excellent site for students, but it's also great for the busy educator who doesn’t have access to graphing or charting software.

Here's Carol Moser's Making connections for environmental education

Get students outside and get them involved in local issues.

And now I find Writing a lesson plan for publication

When you write a lesson plan for publication, you're not just documenting what you do; you're teaching someone else to do it. That requires instructional writing.

The author has a great section on "Questions Before Writing":

Ask yourself:

* What did I think about the first time I taught this lesson that I don't have to think about now?

* What content do I refer to that another teacher might be unfamiliar with?

* What terms, instructional strategies, etc. do I refer to that a beginning teacher or lateral-entry teacher might not be familiar with? Am I using jargon that is unnecessary or unclear?

* Are there materials and resources that you use, either on the Web or in print, that another teacher might not have access to? The more specialized or obscure your resources, the more difficult it will be for another teacher to use your plan.

* Could this lesson raise issues with classroom management for a less experienced teacher?

* How do I evaluate students' learning? What clues am I looking for to see that they "get it"?

* What do I do if students don't get it? What is my backup plan (or plans) if the lesson doesn't work the first time?

Great ideas!!!

Something a little different:

Design, discover, and discuss

3d&i lets students explore the role of design in the world around them, from graphic and product design to architecture and fashion.

WHAT IS DESIGN, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? 3d&i takes a look at design and its role in our daily lives. The site's creators define design broadly, encompassing topics in nature, engineering and art. By developing awareness of art and design in our daily lives, economy and environment, students will build visual literacy.

This might help with my work on studying material culture and how to teach it to student and teachers............ :}

Here's something History-related:

Calendars Through the Ages

And here's all you ever wanted to know about Daylight Savings Time.

Here's a great section on New Teacher Support.

I'd better save this and come back. I already froze the computer once this morning and had to redo some of this. :}

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Saw this on Diana Harker's Blog:

Born once. No need to do it again. (oops, quote may not be exact but close)

Check out Car-O-Scope.

BTW this blog has made me focus on actual html a bit and realize if I take it step by step, I can figure it out eventually. :} I just miss some of the important details initially. :}

It's the first time I've told someone I know I have a blog - my friend from my hometown who now lives south of Wichita. She won't have much time to look at it but since she is going into teaching I thought she might find it somewhat interesting.

It's NOT going to be 68 degrees here again today. Last night I walked Shadow and the neighbors were out on their front porch - who'da thought we be visiting on the front porch in February! But today the snow and ice is coming in. I will keep an eye on things in case I need to head back to town.

I got so busy with Dreamweaver MX that I didn't need breaks! It's much more like Net Objects Fusion that I can have imagined so the learning curve was not nearly so steep. That should get me moving on Flash MX just a little sooner. So I'm almost finished tweaking the new departmental website that will soon be here. They have been having meetings for webmasters about meeting the new state-mandated accessibility guidelines and I have mostly had conflicting meetings. Also, I didn't know enough and wanted them to hash it out a bit. From nosing around the PSU web site, most of them are maintaining "mirro" text-only sites. I don't have the time to maintain two sites so ours will mainly be text-based with one picture of our Gus Gorilla We just received new business cards with his image. I do, however, miss the old university seal that said "By doing, learn." It really fit our mission and our institutional history but research and service are more political correct emphases. :}

I need to get outside to load up on firewood for the next visit before it gets bad. I need to get outside and get some exercise anyway. It was great to see the neighbors - I hadn't realized I hadn't seen them more than in passing since Christmas. Didn't catch any mice last night but it had appeared that they had tried to chew on the edge of Shadow's mat. They're desperate when I take his food away! I am doing better about putting it up at night, though. And, I seem to have deterred the squirrels somewhat. The neighbors think it's because I'm not here all the time but even if I was primarily here, I wouldn't be sitting on the deck all the time to catch them. My neighbor's husband came by last weekend and they couldn't see any. The neighbors said it's "nesting" and "baby-making" time. It's not too far off from when I can spray the Thompson's water seal and I'll be good to go - or at least I hope so!

I was glad to see Diane Lane was nominated for her work in Unfaithful. I just saw that a few weeks ago on Pay Per View and it's nice to see a non-young and non-old actress be recognized for such good work.

I can't believe Dreamweaver didn't take so much more time - I thought I would just get started this weekend. But I also made the web page pretty simple - most especially text-based. The next thing I'll work on in putting up our assessment data online, including resources for students trying to understand it. We have a meeting with other departments that are involved in our teacher education program next week to make some more progress on assessment. So, we're getting there plus we just need to document what we're doing the for the accrediting agencies. It should make the boss look good!

I also noticed in the Dreamweaver book that Adobe will now let you go create Acrobat files for free online. I'll have to check that out! Well, I just did and I should have figured that it's a free TRIAL. :} But that's a great way to start.

mammusings has a great story about following your heart...........and I hope I used trackback successfully! :}

I'm listening to Car Talk on NPR. They're great!

Friday, February 14, 2003

Multiple Forms of Assessment: The only responsible choice

Still getting a handle on all this............hope I can help 479 students, too

Rozanne was named the "folio queen" and it's an honor well deserved. We couldn't have made it through teacher certification/licensure reaccreditation without her. The folio fiesta was fun - especially seeing people you don't often see.

The assessment conference in the afternoon was also very worthwhile. The department meeting also turned out okay. So, all's well.

My Explorer still isn't ready but today they called and I can exchange the Taurus for an Explorer when I go through tomorrow (I just missed the call in time for going by there today). We're supposed to get some sleet tomorrow so I will feel more comfortable in an Explorer. And then hopefully Monday, I'm good to go. I may wait til Tuesday to get it though and save myself an extra trip.

Uh oh ........... controversy in Pburg....

I love the map referenced by Mean Mr. Mustard:

How Europeans Look at America

Once again, I've scored an exclusive scoop.

A flurry of linkage has occurred in response to this map, purporting to show the American view of the Muslim world, followed naturally by items such as this map by Mike Silverman, giving a detailed exposition of the American view towards Europe.

We here at Mean Mr. Mustard have learned, through our various sources, that certain European governmental entities have implemented a program of informative response for their own citizens.

The product of that program:
How Europeans Look at America

In your face, mainstream media!

Need to work on learning Dreamweaver - will reward myself with breaks to check out other blogs.....

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Where has the week gone? Didn't realize til this morning that I hadn't posted since Sunday. Better stick with my new year's resolution!

Monday's teaching class went especially well again. They're starting to ask the deeper questions about the gray areas of dealing with students in the real world. I try to help guide them but also tell them that they need to ask these same questions of our upcoming guest speakers and the teachers where they student teach next fall. It's a hard realization for them that there isn't always a "right" answer.

Tuesday was busy with office hoursgrading papers the online class had turned in. Several more are doing better this semester than at this point last semester. There always seems to be one that spends more time explaining via email what a good student they are instead of just doing the work. Human nature - for some - I guess. Several of the rest are really enjoying digging into the material - especially since there is obviously so much going on in US foreign policy right now.

My Tuesday afternoon meeting was canceled and so I worked on the many other projects that need to be done.

A student came in Tuesday morning that is going to be shipped off to Camp Pendleton. He will find out when he gets there whether or not he is in the part of his unit that goes on to the Middle East. He would be back from the front, though. But, as he said, there's no place that's safe right now. There seems to be even reports that colleges are the next target. Hopefully our small size will work in our favor.

Yesterday I went to get my haircut and have lunch with a high school friend. She's busy with four children going every direction. I also was able to get some time in on the quilting machine and, of course, helping Mom and Dad with both their computers.

Last night I went to a gathering of cooperating teachers and supervisers - the first time the secondary people like me have been invited. They went over the new computer system they're using and it was just great to see everyone. We were at the new elementary school here, Meadowlark, which is a beautiful facility.

Today I have bowling - last week I bowled a 162 and 163 so I think I'm finally back to somewhat normal - but that still means I could have a game that is under 100. I still need great work on consistency. :} But the women are a fun group.

At lunch I go to a folio fiesta over at the education building. We're celebrating surviving the folio process last year (and be glad I wasn't keeping a blog then! :} ) and then I run back to Russ for a department meeting and then back over to education (Hughes Hall) for an assessment workshop. So the day will fly.

I hope to find out that my car seat has been repaired. I miss my Explorer and just having "my" car. Then if it isn't too late, I'll stop by Greenbush for a meeting. Then, if the heavy rain doesn't come tomorrow, I hope to have the builder's crew at the farm house doing final touchups. Next week is somewhat calm but the next week includes a trip to Wichita and then a few weeks until the spring break.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

From Dave Barry's Blog:


If you are not passing, GET OUT OF THE LEFT DAMN LANE.

The Top Ten Lies Told by Graduate Students

-- taken from the Harvard Crimson

10. It doesn't bother me at all that my college roommate is making
$80,000 a year on Wall Street.
9. I'd be delighted to proofread your book/chapter/article.
8. My work has a lot of practical importance.
7. I would never date an undergraduate.
6. Your latest article was so inspiring.
5. I turned down a lot of great job offers to come here.
4. I just have one more book to read and then I'll start writing.
3. The department is giving me so much support.
2. My job prospects look really good.
1. No really, I'll be out of here in only two more years.

by way of mamamusings. She subtitles it: "more evidence of procrastination"!!!!

I was going to check a few other blogs before I began work on my AP course and ended up doing 3 hours of internet research on some other related topics because of a post on The Educator Asylum. A Feb. 4 post mentioned:

Ohio's New PK-16 Teacher Technology Framework for Professional Development/ It's now module-based, participants complete integration modules that address various standards. I need to make the time to familarize myself more thoroughly with this.

And that led me on a mission to find out more about the professional development issue. Apparently ours is one of the few universities in our state that doesn't do much (or at least that I can see) with National Board Certification. I can see a lot of potential on the net with this - esp. when it concerns such a spread-out state like Kansas. I can also integrate it into working with pre-service teachers and work on more support for our master's program. I've been trying for years to find an angle to get more teachers included in the program - somewhat difficult since we compete with some of the "sit and get" mentality that is inherent in some of our "competition" (Thanks to Lisa for the term "sit and get" - I hadn't heard that before).

Anyway, I found all kinds of important references and hope to post some of them hear later. I did quite a bit of research on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) since that will be important for my pre-service teachers to know (and me!). Found relevant articles
in Time
and Education Week.

While I was at Education Week, I found a great article for my 479 students: Career Planning: Think Before You Act. This is great: Education Week has a linke to an article on grading parents!!!!

I should have had my blog post log open while I was doing this. I'll have to remember that next time. I also found some great stuff at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, including reports for each state. And also some great stuff at the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching.

Yesterday I was watching Rebecca's Garden and found some interesting info
on growing mushrooms. I'm going to order one of the kits from Mushroom Adventures. I'm going to get an early start on the garden this year!!!!! I still have all the supplies left from last year. :}

Karen and I enjoyed our trip to Joplin. We ate at Quiznos and then hit Target. Last night we went to see Chicago and really enjoyed it. I'm really impressed with Renee Zellweger.

It's cloudy and so I hope to get to the Y and lift weights. Being sick so much has kept me from that. And I also may get up to the office to get some stuff ready to go for class tomorrow afternoon so I can work here at home in the morning. I'm going to walk Shadow and pick up the Sunday papers (Pittsburg, Joplin, and Kansas City) to read later. Dixie Chicks were on Saturday Night Live last night and then I taped Someone Like You on HBO this morning. Will watch those late this afternoon/this evening. :}

Saturday, February 08, 2003

From Tightly Wound:

All Right, Dammit. That's About Enough Out of You.

This'll be brief, as I'm pressed for time. Via the Corner, this lovely piece from the ASA about "the storm of attacks on intellectual freedom and the ebb of open public debate, in the name of patriotism and a war on terror."

Yep, this crap again. Note the use of "chilling effect," the academic's version of the overused "drums of war" trope. It's a collection of the usual suspects--profiling of international students, the eeevillle of Campus Watch--and actually has the gall to state the following:

University administrations are under pressure to silence faculty and researchers who take unpopular political positions. Organizations such as Campus Watch publish lists of faculty and students critical of US foreign policy, especially vis-à-vis Israel. They represent a broad trend among conservative commentators, who call for the censorship of faculty dissent and equate criticism of the government with being anti-American and anti-patriotic. We call on colleges and universities to resist external pressure to curtail academic freedom and to stop aiding federal agencies in the surveillance of teachers and scholars with scholarly or familial ties to other countries.

Look at all the pretty "red alert" words: Israel, conservative, censorship, dissent. It would be funny, except that they actually believe what they're saying. Yes, I stand outside of my office daily, pointing and laughing as the jackbooted thugs drag yet another unsuspecting professor away to the gulag. Hoorah for the suppression of free speech! Viva the quashing of dissent! Can I go kick a puppy now? Oh, sorry, just another fever dream brought on by overexposure to Brit Hume. Ignore me.

Again in the interest of brevity, let me get straight to the point.(Emphasis added by KiK:)

Dear ASA: Folks are paying attention to the crap you spew, and they're calling you on it. The ivory tower isn't so unassailable anymore, and that's as it should be. And your response is typical--"Ooooh! People on the internet are being disdainful of my intellectually superior beliefs! Our country is acting in its own self-interest, just like every other country ever! The sky is falling!" Get real, get a spine, and get your heads out of your asses. Oh, and you might want to try actually responding to the charges made against you in the name of the academic freedom you hold so dear, instead of running to mommy and crying McCarthyism. You are beneath contempt, you pathetic, puling little whiners, and if I were on your playground, I would take extreme pleasure in knocking your ice cream cone into the dirt. And then stomping all over it. But then, I'm funny that way.

Switching topics: more press "clarification" on important issues like abortion:

Re: Revival of some old myths about Roe v. Wade and partial-birth abortion

Date: February 1, 2003

Many media outlets published abortion-related stories in January, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Many of those stories contained demonstrable errors, some of these apparently adopted uncritically from polemical materials issued by pro-abortion advocacy groups. This memo offers critiques of several of the most common errors. Some of these points are pertinent to anticipated upcoming coverage of debate in Congress (and in some state legislatures) on bills relating to abortion and other issues involving members of the species Homo sapiens prior to full live birth.

From NRO:

STUDENTS FOR WAR! [Stanley Kurtz]
Speaking of democracy promotion, Josh Chafetz over at Oxblog has just announced the formation of pro-war democracy promotion organizations at Yale and Oxford. Although I suspect I’m a lot more cautious about democracy promotion than Chafetz, I agree with a good part of what the new organization’s principles have to say. Best of all, whatever our differences on democracy promotion, here we have student organizations at two major universities that support action against Iraq. Good work!


There is a difference between criticism and hatred!

For more on the positive, Reviled in Many Places Around the World, Americans Are Adored in Kosovo

On a little less controversial (albeit still debated) subject:

Sharing vs. hoarding knowledge (from McGee's Musings)

Several items over the past few weeks all suggesting that sharing knowledge pays off far better than hoarding does. Handy to have around if you're fighting arguments that investing in knowledge management has to overcome hoarding.

Napsterize Your Knowledge: Give To Receive. The primary lesson: "The more that a company shares its knowledge, the more valuable it becomes." It's astonishing how many people still don't believe this. But when I look back at the success my website and OLDaily have brought me - despite my lack of any obvious qualifications in the field - it is self evidently true. When you share your knowledge, you share your ability, and this is what makes you or your company more valuable. People prefer to hire or contract for services based on proven ability nearly every time. Moreoever, the more you share, the more people share in return (many of the items in OLDaily are the result of submissions from readers), which increases your personal or corporate knowledge base. Anyhow, this article discusses some of the benefits of sharing knowledge and then offers some advice on how to do it

Another good one from Kitchen Cabinet

This Boston Phoenix article claims that Al Gore beat Bill Bradley in the 2000 New Hampshire primary thanks to a traffic jam purposely created by Gore operatives:

As late as 3 p.m. that day, Gore operatives had access to exit polls showing the vice-president being defeated by Bradley. They also learned that while Democratic voters were voting in large numbers for Gore, independents, many of them upscale suburban voters, were voting for Bradley's sophisticated brand of liberalism. Knowing that Bradley's strength came from tony tech havens such as Bedford, the Gore team organized a caravan to clog highway I-93 with traffic so as to discourage potential Bradley voters from getting to the polls. (Michael Whouley, a chief Gore strategist, recounted the Gore team's Election Day field efforts at a Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics symposium.... He knocked down the rumor that they considered overturning an 18-wheeler to clog up traffic.) The caravan — spoken of with awe by operatives who worked on the campaign — had the desired effect. It was harder for Bradley voters to get the polls.The Hotline has reaction from New Hampshire Democratic chair Kathy Sullivan: "All I can say is, if this is true, it's outrageous. It should never have happened. No one should try to make it difficult for anyone to vote. That's just plain wrong, and there's no place for that in either party. I don't get it. I just don't get it. I read the story and I just sat here shaking my head."

And the New York Sun has an editorial on the subject.

It'll be interesting to see how much play this gets.


I agree. :}

From the same source:

Dr. Seuss - Top Ten Pick Up Lines

The Top 15 Dr. Seuss Pick-Up Lines
15) "I may not like Green ham or eggs
but I sure love your long, thin legs."

14) "Marvin K. Mooney, will you please come now??!"

13) "From far or near or here or there,
haven't I seen you before somewhere?"

12) "That's not the only place this Sneetch has a star, baby."

11) "Sally from Whoville, what's your sign?
Let's blow this joint--your thneed or mine?"

10) "Y'know, after he stole it, the Grinch hid Christmas in my pants."

9) "I love someone who knows what wine goes with red fish or blue fish."

8) "Is that a cat in your hat or are you just happy to see me?"

7) "I hate this place--the crowd's so phony!
Say, care to ride me like a pony?"

6) "My heart ain't the only thing two sizes too large, if you know what I mean."

5) "On a boat, in a car, with your toes all curled--
Oh the places we'll go when I rock your world!"

4) "How'd you like to be in my next book: 'Great Legs and Ass'?"

3) "I do not like my wife you see.
I do not like her, no sirree.
Her looks accuse, her words disparage,
and so we have this open marriage."

2) "Each book makes a million, a zillion, or three.
Would you, could you, come home with me?"

And the NUMBER ONE Dr. Seuss Pick-Up Line...

1) "In all of Hooterville, where there's Hooters supreme,
yours are the best of the Hooters I've seen!"


Yet another:


Just discovered this tremendously addicting way to pass the time. The gist is that you try to put two search terms into google that will return only one result. You cannot use quotation marks. If you are successful, the top right hand corner of the blue google search bar will read "Results 1-1 of 1." The rules also dictate that your words must be in The blue google search bar will indicate if this is true by underlining your two search terms, which appear in the top left hand corner. The first one I found took a few minutes. It was "alimony microburst." I registered it into "The Whack Stack."

Been a busy week. The snow was pretty but melted pretty fast - but we did have some gorgeous large flakes.

went to my "Beaver King" meeting last night - we had a great time. Stayed later with John and June and decompressed. We're all interested in good teaching and often frustrated with why that isn't as valued by our bosses. :{ We'll just keep trying. It's too bad that at all levels of teaching, to move up you have to move away from students. They queried a representative group of our students about what they needed to learn more about. Apparently some of the top responses were American history and American government. However, since the current administrative interest is "global" - the students must not know what they are talking about. They are soon on the path to learning more about other people than themselves. I hate this political correctness c&*). If students don't understand themselves, how are they supposed to understand anyone else? I think some take it for granted that they do/should know this "US stuff" and don't realize that they really don't. I also hate to see students not taken more seriously because they don't know what's best for them. However, when they complain about other things, they are suddenly experts and we as profs know nothing. Oh well. Just some more decompression.

Going with a friend to Joplin today -the nearest mall. Found some Schlotzsky's coupons online.
Wish Quizno's had some. We also hope to go see Chicago tonight. It will also be good to spend some time with her - she's been so busy with work and her kids lately I haven't seen her much. :}

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

For some reason, my Sunday post didn't show up. Maybe it was the version of IE on the iBook. Oh well.

A Boston Globe article about Google. From Kairos News: Search EnginesThe Boston Globe has an interesting piece on how Google is fueling the "collapse of inconvenience" and making it difficult for us to 'leave the past behind,' since everything documented electronically is made equally "present" by search engines like Google. Its ability to pull up information in seconds is making 411 nearly obsolete, and allowing blind-daters to make preemptive cancellations. But there is more at stake here than just spoiled dates or the availability of bad high school photos. I think studies of access must also take into account the effects of information access to the lives of individuals who because of Google, can lose jobs, lose face, or, in the extreme, have their lives endangered.

We didn't get the winter storm the other day but are "on watch" for one again tonight although, again, we're on the edge of it.

I'm at the farm today. Got quite a bit done for my Houghton Mifflin project and one file sent into them. I get really focused and can get quite a bit done in the "right" mood. And Jeff at HM is great to work with. :} I also need to work on my PT3 grant stuff to earn my $500 PD and get set for the last phase of it. I just need to do some paperwork demonstrating I know the issues surrounding using technology in the classroom. Just 'seat time' - it's not that difficult.

I am almost enough on top of things that it's scary. I'm definitely less stressed.

Six Feet Under starts back on March 2! :} I'd like to get the first season tapes for my friends that have a monument shop but it's almost $100.....I was surprised I liked SFU so much - I hated Ball's American Beauty- Hollywood has some really weird ideas about "us folks here in the Midwest" and I thought it was just a stupid story. But SFU has some amazing twists and just plain keeps its viewers entertained. :}

Monday I worked on HM until it was time to get ready for my teaching class. I'm still more impressed with how well they're doing. We went over cover letters and resumes. Next week we will be looking at geography and related lesson plans. I had felt bad the week before since it was the first time the class met and I was still cloudy-headed from being sick.

I had office hours Tuesday morning and saw one student who was having trouble in his statistics class (I can empathize). He's been to talk to the instructor so I suggested several alternatives. I found Judy and we went to lunch at the Mall Deli. Then we went to our department meeting with the VPAA and his assistant (our former dean). We are back to having choices in general education instead of just one required course. So, instead of just talking US until the Civil War, students can now take either half of US history and world history. Or at least we hope it turns out that way. What they want us to do for assessment purposes sounds like a cakewalk compared to my struggle with NCATE/KSDE the last year.

I was invited to the cooperating teachers dinner Monday night at our new elementary school, Meadowlark. I am glad to be included and am anxious to see the new school - it's on my biking route.

I got my car to Girard just in time to leave it to get the seat repaired. I saw the owner and commented (again) how great his service guys are. They are unbelievable.

Then I had a meeting with Mike at Greenbush. I woke up at 3am the other morning thinking about the Teaching American History grant ideas I have and am still sorting through them. Mike apparently thought it was great I was already thinking about since it will take time to put together a good proposal. And this year we have time. Last year I didn't have the time or the focus.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

It was 71 degrees today but there is a snow/ice mix threatened for tomorrow. The weather everywhere is unpredictable I think. I did get back on my mountain bike (although just on city streets) - 6 miles each day but I get credit for going "against the wind." I also got the car cleaned out and found some things I almost thought were lost......

Looks like the heat tiles had something to do with the Colombia explosion - I guess time will tell.

I woke up at 3am thinking about the Teaching American History grant proposal. Am bouncing some ideas off some H-Net colleagues. Also submitted my twice-a-year updates to the @history web links for the Houghton Mifflin US history web site. Also finished getting started on several chapters of the Boyer text and the Flash activities I'm preparing for them. I'm not going to miss this deadline! I love surfing around the web for web sites related to history - I've already finished an activity on the history of plumbing, including a site about Thomas Crapper. :}

Also, finally started reading Coal: A Human History. So far this work by an environmental lawyer is more interesting than I thought it would be. It helped illuminate the meaning of taking coals to Newcastle, for example. And it's also where we get the term "jet black" from............

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