Archived Posts from this Category

Garden Update: Winds of time

Posted by on 29 Apr 2013 | Tagged as: books, cooking, copyrights, critters, food, friends, holidays, Local Artists' Websites, social justice, Uncategorized

Here are a few pictures from around the yard over the last couple of weeks, starting with the 18 or so raspberry plants a friend let us take from her garden!

2013-04-28 13.40.47
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A cool online bookstore

Posted by on 02 Sep 2009 | Tagged as: books, Uncategorized

A friend of mine sells rare books online. Also some funny, locally published things (local to her, in Michigan).

The bookstore is called Alan’s Used Books, the URL for her website is

Until I manage to pull my act together and post the update on the family and all, check out her offerings. NOT your usual bookstore-in-a-box!

The Book List

Posted by on 07 Jul 2009 | Tagged as: books, education, Uncategorized

For the first Quarter, the book list is minimal:

· Oliver Sacks, Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf, 1990/2000

· Joel Spring, The American School: From the Puritans to No Child Left Behind, 7th edition, 2008

· Barbara Rogoff, The Cultural Nature of Human Development, 2003 – selected chapters

· Carol Tavris & Elliott Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), 2007 – selected chapters

· James E. Zull, The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning, 2002

· John Bransford et al. (editors), How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, 2000 –chapters 2-3 (purchase PDF version on-line @

· *Elizabeth G. Cohen, Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom, 2nd edition, 1994

· *Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids will Listen & Listen So Kids will Talks, 1999.

· George Counts, Dare the School Build a New Social Order?, 1932/1978

· B.F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, 1971

· Jerome S. Bruner, The Process of Education, 1960/1963/1977

· Rethinking Schools magazine to-be-distributed in program

So. This should be interesting…

I am now halfway through the worst of the class load for summer session. On target to get everything accomplished first session… and staying on track for the meeting and all. Mostly. The office is still a shambles… Pics later.

People and Problems

Posted by on 11 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: books, books and authors, Uncategorized

It seems that all too often, we consider those who are violent or otherwise anti-social to be “others.” An intriguing book indicates that the difference may in fact be smaller than we like to think. (thanks, R, for pointing this out)

Cass R. Sunstein’s review of Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century by Marc Sageman holds many details from the book and studies that have been conducted on small-group interactions and the amplification of the sense of outrage of group members. I was surprised by some of the details, others seemed rather familiar.

While I don’t have time to read the book right now, the review gives me a lot to think about.

Books I am Reading

Posted by on 22 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: book review, books, books and authors, Uncategorized

  • Many Children Left Behind

    Subtitled “How the No Child Left Behind Act is Damaging our Children and our Schools.”  by Deborah Meier et al.  This was published in 2004, but the comments by people from many aspects of the education world are still pretty current. If anything, they have more meaning as time has gone on. I will say that I was surprised at how many of my own comments and arguments they DON’T refute. And how few new ones they present… A sad prediction of the state of our children’s education. public library

  • Tongue Fu! at School

    Subtitled 30 Ways to Get Along Better with Teachers, Principals, Students, and Parents. This is aimed at teachers, but has advice for older students. by Sam Horn.  I like it. This is one that I would like to add to my own bookshelf. Mostly, it seems to reiterate the advice of many good coaches I have read… LISTEN to the person, consider their point of view, and give chances for them to clarify. This author also talks about “phrases to lose” and “phrases to use.”  For example instead of clarifying the statement “this child works really hard on assignments” with the modifier but then continuing with something that detracts from the positive beginning (but she doesn’t have the skills to do well), he suggests using and then continuing with suggestions for further improvement (and she would benefit from extra help in some areas).  This is not to put a false spin on things, rather it is intended to keep people engaged in the conversations so they leave with a sense of being able to do something rather than a sense of hopelessness or anger. public library

  • Including Students with Special Needs

    subtitled A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers. by Marilyn Friend and William D. Bursick. How practical this really is, I am not sure since I am not in a classroom trying to meet the needs of both average students, delayed students, gifted students and students with behavioral or other needs. I find it slow reading — so far I am about three chapters in after a month. I won’t finish it before my classes start, that is for sure. There is a lot of information in this book, which, though 6 years since the last revision date, is still fairly current. This book goes over definitions, how various federal laws impact service delivery, how funding affects what schools can offer their students… among other topics. There are some sections that deal with specific needs such as autism, or gifted/talented, or health issues. And there is a heavy emphasis on how a regular classroom teacher can make reasonable adaptations to curriculum and with classroom management to accomodate children’s needs. I also appreciate the discussions about how the classroom teacher can (and should) work with other professionals in the schools, as well as the clear reminder that a principal, a parent or a counselor cannot simply tell a teacher to do something without adequate support to and feedback from the teacher. This textbook, like so many today, has additional offerings online and includes website information along with other reference information. found for $4 at the local Goodwill store

  • The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

    by Julie Andrews Edwards. I am halfway through this book. It is, so far, a wonderfully fun, rollicking tale that would appeal to many children. I like that she used some pretty big words and new scientific ideas — especially for the time it was written about 25 years ago. The descriptions are vivid and fun. Still, it is decidedly a children’s fantasy book. Scholastic booksale ~~~I finished it that same night. It was sweet. A great bedtime story for kids! And tired mamas.

Poet of Note

Posted by on 29 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: art, books, education, good things, poetry, Uncategorized, wordplay, words, writing

This is from “Always a Reckoning” by Jimmy Carter. I really treasure this book. Some of the poems make me uncomfortable, some make me sad or angry. This one in particular makes me feel peculiar. Wistful?

Priorities of Some Mexican Children

A sign was leaning toward adobe shacks
back from the road, across a dry plateau.
LLANOS it read, the same as our Plains.
When we stopped to photograph the view
three blackhaired children hurried down a path
shouting something, eager to be heard.
“Get out your pocketbooks,” I said,
“I can guess the word.”
When they got closer, we could tell it was not dinero but
lápiz and papel.

What would it take for our own children to value education so highly?

dinero = money; lápiz = pencil; papel = paper

Helping in High School

Posted by on 02 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: books, books and authors, children, education, fun, hope, parenting, reading, school, Uncategorized, words

I never thought I would do it, but I did.

I am helping in one of the kids’ English classes at the local high school.  They have book discussion groups, and I am working with one (my kid and two others chose to read the same book).  Today was the first day I got to sit down with the kids, and I think it went pretty well, considering none of us really knew what we were doing!

I was nervous, but apparently this book is too “highbrow” for the rowdier kids, so I got lucky.  The three boys in this group and I had a great time, and I am looking forward to next week.  There is a lot of good material for discussion — if time were unlimited, two hours’ discussion at a stretch would not be impossible.  I don’t know how many parents bother to volunteer in schools at this age…  but I think it is good that I am there.  If nothing else, these are three children the teacher doesn’t have to monitor for an hour, so he can focus on other students who need more help.  Maybe when this book is done I will keep coming back and helping in other ways.  I would like to.

I would like to recommend this book, but there is a caveat.  There is quite a bit of un-necessary vulgar language and prurient topics…  though the book deals with a teen-age boy’s “coming of age” story, I don’t think some of the passages had to be quite as graphic as they were.  Still, if you can overlook this flaw (which could be rectified with judicious editing and small re-writes), the rest of the book reads well, represents the area I live in beautifully (many passages are quite poetic and inspiring), and isn’t “dumbed down” in any way.  By Jim Lynch, The Highest Tide has been a national bestseller in the United States, and may be available locally in a library near you!


Posted by on 25 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: books, education, friends, fun, stidmama, Uncategorized, wordplay, words, writing

Like a challenge? How about adventure, romance, thrills and chills? Aspire to be/do/say something a bit more than the average?

November is National Novel Writing Month. I think I will give this a try. I managed to write a chapter in the BabbleStory today… 978 words in one hour. How hard can 50,000 words be?

Thank you, LiveJournal for the timely announcement to your users’ list!

If you want to join me, please let me know and we can keep each other company!

Another New Page

Posted by on 09 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: art, books, books and authors, education, fun, good things, hope, poetry, review, school, Uncategorized, wordplay, words

A Writing Notebook Quotes and miscellany about and for writers and writing. It is in the “Literary Pursuits” category in the navigation table. Things in the Notebook will be, like a real notebook, in random order and never sorted… Enjoy!

A project to be proud of…

Posted by on 19 Sep 2007 | Tagged as: art, books, children, school, Uncategorized

And I am. This is the bulletin board I have been blogging about, stage one:

bulletin board phase one sept 2007

I left the table and chairs in for scale. The long side of the board is a little more than 28 feet long. The side with the book cover about 4 feet. 3 1/2 feet tall. Each little “button” along the top is about 1 3/4 inches diameter, there are close to one hundred of them up there!

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