30 June 2008
I got one of these new design milk jugs a while back when I picked up some milk at Costco. I thought it was great and it makes total sense. More stackable, fits in your door better, is more environmental. And there are some major savings in packing & transporting. No need for crates anymore! I can't recall if I struggled with pouring out of the new shape or not. If I did, I'm sure it is just a matter of my body's muscle-memory being used to one shape when pouring milk. It'll just be a little retraining. We've got to continue rethinking our old products and practices as our world evolves and changes.
29 June 2008
Check out this link to see what one blogger felt were the top 5 goals of the tournament. I would probably have added Spain's first goal against Russia. But the 5 shown are all top-quality stuff. Lots of fun watching the games over the past few weeks, now only a little over a month before the Olympics start!
28 June 2008
Here are a couple things I wrote down, wanting to learn a bit more about...
- Several of the people involved with starting the new school had been involved with Fe y Alegría schools in South America. This little article talks about why teachers enjoy teacher in Fe y Alegria schools.
- Nativity schools were mentioned throughout the book. These schools are showing up with more and more regularity in America. You can read more about that movement here or here.
- They talk about using the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm when developing their curriculum. It consists of the student's learning following three main steps; experience, reflection, action, and then evaluation over it all. The link gives a solid, concise and useful description of the paradigm.
- There were two books that I wrote down as I was reading because I wanted to find out what they were all about and maybe read them myself. The first one is Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed".
- The second one I am looking forward to reading. It is "Breaking Ranks: Changing an American Institution" written by the National Association of Principals. It is a collection of key points that must be adopted and implemented to improve our education system and make it relevent in today's society.
- There is a phrase that the author mentions is common among the Jesuits, "What are you doing for the kingdom?" The way it comes up in the book, it almost takes you by surprise. It's a simple question and, as shown in the book, we can be running from job to obligation to problem to whatever the next thing on our calendar is, but it is good to pause and ask ourselves that question and see what we come up with as our answer. A quick search of that phrase turned up these three interesting blogs. One, Two, Three.
27 June 2008
26 June 2008
Monday, June 3o, 6-9:00PM
Smokes For Free
The legendary Blues on Grand is going SMOKE-FREE a day early on Monday, June 30th. From 6:00pm until 9:00pm everyone SMOKES FOR FREE. The Blues on Grand Cigarette Girls will distribute free cigarettes to everyone (twenty-one and over).
In honor of Iowa’s statewide smoking ban, music will be provided by DJ Serge (pronounced sehr gā) playing your favorite Soviet Union standards. There also will be specials on Stoli and Smirnoff Ice. At 9:00pm, Blues on Grand will officially go non-smoking and have a flag raising ceremony that truly represents the direction our government is heading.
Blues on Grand sends out a special invitation to all Democratic Senators, Representatives, Governor Culver AND Mrs. Culver and the rest of the Politburo (their papers must be in order however) in appreciation for them looking out for us.
24 June 2008
23 June 2008
[credits & thanks to homebase for passing this on to me. Great to reminisce and laugh about it!]
18 June 2008
(thanks to homebase for passing on the link to the video)
17 June 2008
16 June 2008
I made it to football games, the powder-puff game, a volleyball game, boys and girls basketball (another trip to State for the girls!), a drama fundraiser in the park, a wrestling meet, boys swim meets, girls soccer matches, enjoyed my first synchronized swimming exhibition, tennis meets, chaperoned Winter Formal, chaperoned spring dance, chaperoned Prom (loved it), sponsored the Ping-Pong club, founded & sponsored the Recycling club, sponsored the baseball club, supervised the dodgeball tournament, organized a group to go see a famous speaker on a Saturday, was amazed by the show choir show, attended the spring play, attended several choral concerts, was wow'ed by two fashion shows, met parents at conferences, watched step & dance teams, and even though I only made it to less than half of the receptions I was invited to, that still constituted quite a few. By the end of the year, it was common knowledge among the seniors that I was a solid bet if you were in need of a faculty member to sponsor or supervise something. I may not have stayed forever at all those events, but I don't think there were any that I was not happy to be at. Kids are incredibly talented and it is great to see them show it off. Combine all of that with the bittersweet pleasure of residing close to your school, which means seeing students everywhere; at the grocery store (doesn't matter which of 3 I go to), at the coffee shops, at church, at the video store, at the gas stations, at restaurants, at the mall, etc. I think I have personalized and I know it has aided my teaching...and I know that I enjoyed it.
The Austrian coach was talking to the press before their big match against Germany. He told them, "We are not wetting our pants because we are playing Germany, we know they have problems and we know some are injured and they are not playing that well. They are not as good as they were in 2006 and we have home advantage, we think we have a good chance." So that was the headline on ESPN Soccernet today. "Austria not wetting pants" I laughed out loud. I'm sure the Austria team equipment manager was relieved to read that.
12 June 2008
A couple days later I went to the airport to give a friend a ride home. I parked and cleaned up a few things in my car since there'd be someone else sitting in it and popped the trunk to make room for the luggage. As I went back there to organize my trunk, I checked my pockets to make sure I wasn't leaving anything (phone, money clip, keys) and had that feeling of dread and disgust when I didn't feel my keys. Peering back into my car revealed that, yep, my keys were still in the car and my doors were indeed locked. Possible fixes to and ramifications of the situation were flying through my mind when I remember that I had popped the trunk. I vaguely remember there being emergency releases that allow the back seat to fold down. I went back there and, thankfully, I was right. It wasn't easy and it involved getting completely into my trunk and since there was a bunch of stuff on my back seat it took quite a bit of finagling, but in the end I was able to reach through and unlock the back door and then go around and get my keys. I laughed about it afterwards but these two incidents happened so close together and both were car-related, I couldn't help but think that a little karma was involved.
11 June 2008
"In the Netherlands 25% of all trips are taken by bicycle. Denmark: 20%, Germany: 14%, Switzerland: 10%. In the U.S., the number is less than 1%."
- World Transportation Policy & Procedure
It would help to know just what they defined a 'trip' as, but I think it is a pretty telling statistic regardless. Some might argue that our country is much larger and less densley populated that those it's compared to but I don't think they are talking about switching to bikes for the family vacation to Disney. I think they're talking about biking to work, to church, to the coffeeshop, or to the grocery store. This statistic is the inverse of two other related stats where the U.S. leads the way, obesity and gasoline consumption.
09 June 2008
Oh, and on a great food-related side note...I returned to Pablo's today for the first time since spring break. It was amazing. Never fails to disappoint and never seems to get old. And after all those school lunches, it really tasted incredible.
Oh, and another food-related side note...I enjoyed my first ever Tropical Sno this afternoon. I've heard a lot of hype about these shaved ice treats and the seasonal shacks that vend them. My students were aghast when they heard I'd never had one and insisted I go. Today I made my maiden voyage down the street and ordered the Pirate (Very Berry & Passion Fruit), courtesy of my friend. She had the Moose (Watermelon & Strawberry-Banana). I can say that it completely lived up to the hype. I will be going back this summer...probably often.
I hope to watch Spain take on Russia tomorrow at 11:00. Tune into ESPN2 if you're interested, or if you're in the Des Moines area, gimme a call, I'll be out watching it somewhere over a long lunch since I don't have ESPN.
06 June 2008
05 June 2008
I watched Game 1 of the Lakers vs Celtics matchup for the NBA Finals last night. I am not a fan of the NBA and never watch it during the regular season. But this is just such a classic matchup that I am going to have to tune in and and watch. And it didn't fail to live up to its billing. When I was younger, I used to be a big fan of the NBA. And before the Bulls dominated the 90's and before I admired the 'Bad Boy' Detroit Piston teams, I cheered for the Celtics. So last night, just as I did twenty years ago, I was cheering the Celtics and hoping that they'd beat the L.A. Gone from Boston are McHale, Bird, Ainge, and my favorite, Parrish. Nor does L.A. have Magic, Kareem, Worthy, or Green, but the cast of stars in this series is still pretty impressive. Kobe, KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce. There was no parquet floor (Boston has moved to a new arena) but drama was not in short supply. Paul Pierce went down with a knee injury and was carried to the locker room by two teammates. He returned a few minutes later and the place went crazy. And they went even more crazy when he checked in and started raining three's. So the Celtics take a 1-0 lead and I'm hooked.
Obama has met and exceeded the necessary number of delegates. It sounds like Hillary is going to concede on Saturday and endorse Barack. It's been a lengthy road to get to this point but I am confident that Democrats will come back together and support their candidate. I'm also excited to find out who he will name as his running mate.
It was over a year ago when I went to Ames and heard him speak. I was worried about the direction of our country and his words moved me to volunteer with a political campaign for the first time in my life. Phone calls, door knocking, walking in a parade, grilling food at an event on the Fourth of July, driving in his motorcade, caucusing, celebrating his victory. It has been a long process, but it's been so worth it. I'm happy and proud and am looking forward to the fall election.
After some incredibly long days at school with no seniors, and therefor not much to do, we are officially done and summer vacation has begun. We kicked it off with a big golf outing yesterday. I signed up to play, regardless of the fact that I've played golf once in the past six or so years. And it was not pretty. My foursome (actually a fivesome) was very fun and there was no pressure or tension when I wiffed on my first tee shot. None of us were spectacular and no one had a monopoly on ridiculously bad shots. But I improved as the day went on, and that's what's important, right? It was a fun time and I enjoyed it, so maybe it won't years before I go out again.
It was a great time to relax, enjoy the weather (until hole 16 when a storm came through and forced us off the course) and have some laughs with co-workers, some of whom from other departments that you may not get the chance to talk to much.
So, now that vacation has begun, let's see what it may hold...
I slept in today, woke up with no alarm, which was great. Did a couple loads of laundry. Did the dishes. Picked up my room, which was a mess. Played some scrabbulous with homebase. Met teachers for chinese buffet. Made sun tea. Messed around online and I've got volleyball to look forward to tonight. Pretty easy day and very laidback, but I am gonna need more to do for the rest of the summer.
I do have some 'to do' ideas...
- lots of bike riding
- getting in shape (goes with the first item)
- get caboose to play tennis with me once a week
- start watching my Netflix movies again
- get back to cooking more
- see about taking Spanish as adult ed again
- put together and plan my Master's project so I can do it in the fall
- get my new classroom cleaned, organized and set up
- develop curriculum & lesson plans for the three new classes I'm going to be teaching
- trips! Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Madison, Omaha, Kansas City, back home (of course) planned so far.
- make it Pablo's for lunch multiple times.
- (thx to funseeker for the reminder) improve on the drums
02 June 2008
"But I also began to realize that I wasn’t just helping other people. Through service, I found a community that embraced me; citizenship that was meaningful; the direction I’d been seeking. Through service, I discovered how my own improbable story fit into the larger story of America.
Each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the years to come. And I say “chance” because you won’t have to take it. There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America’s.
But I hope you don’t. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, though you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that debt.
It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in America’s story."Senator Obama made his speech at Wesleyan University's commencement a missive to those young graduates, and to all Americans to contemplate the importance of doing service. This is one of my favorite topics and something I hope to incorporate more into my curriculum. His comments closely match many of my feelings on the topic. I really enjoyed his speech. Read it here or watch it here. You can also read this Op-Ed piece criticizing Obama's speech for its omission of military as he lists possible service vocations. "He felt no need to remind students of a different kind of public service — one that entails more risks than community organizing. He felt no need to tell the graduating seniors in the lovely groves of Middletown that they should be grateful to their peers who were far away facing dangers on behalf of their country." Two points - 1) Yes, military service entails more risks than community organizing, but is our military improving conditions for homeless, or working to end poverty, or increasing literacy, or creating jobs? Also, in the last decade our military has not earned a very glowing light for young minds to aspire to be a part of. 2) Telling the graduates that they should be thanking their peers serving in the armed forces doesn't seem to really fit with the idea of the speech. Yes, we all should be grateful for their service, but it was incongruous with the topic at hand.
He also questions whether the $12,000 that Obama was paid as an organizer was really that little. [Adjusted for inflation it would be equal to $23,957.96 today] I don't think Obama's point was that it was a ridiculously small salary. I think he says it more as a comparison to what his classmates were earning; showing what the opportunity costs were of his decision. Also Mr. Kristol, the columnist, fails to ever mention that the topic of the speech was actually one that had been chosen by Ted Kennedy, not by Senator Obama. Just wanted to provide a little of the contrary view as well. I loved it and hope to find an mp3 of the speech...
"And so, should you take the path of service, should you choose to take up one of these causes as your own, know that you’ll experience frustrations and failures. Even your successes will be marked by imperfections and unintended consequences. I guarantee you, there will certainly be times when friends or family urge you to pursue more sensible endeavors with more tangible rewards. And there will be times when you are tempted to take their advice. But I hope you’ll remember, during those times of doubt and frustration, that there is nothing naïve about your impulse to change this world. Because all it takes is one act of service – one blow against injustice – to send forth that tiny ripple of hope that Robert Kennedy spoke of."
01 June 2008
"The darker the night-the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief-the closer is God."
"in order to get to know anyone, it is necessary to approach them cautiously and by stages."
"I do believe you'd let a man beat you up just for the satisfaction of doing him a favor."
"Pain and suffering are inevitable for persons of broad awareness and depth of heart."
"Everyone has a duty to spread education and propaganda, and the more bluntly the better if you ask me. I might implant an idea, a seed. From the seed something real might grow."
"Be of great heart, and fear less."
"In the light of failure, everything appears stupid."
I kept a list of words that I wasn't positivite on their definitions so I could look them up at some point (haven't done it yet). And since I love lists, I thought I'd share this one in case anyone was interested. Or in case any english/lit teachers are Googleing "Crime and Punishment" "vocabulary words" and happen across this page (I can provide page numbers if desired). The definitions are in the comments section:
This goes right along with the Free Rice website that I've been enjoying lately. I added a banner for it in my sidebar if you want to check it out. Find out your vocab level and help battle world hunger.