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Sunday
Feb252007

Odds and Ends, Snow Edition

bstounge.jpgThe snow and wind that came in last night has kept my two Sunday newspapers from being delivered - upsetting this creature of habit.

Another habit is posting a few odds and ends now and then that come across my radar...

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"Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television." - David Letterman

I am a big fan of clever quotes, so one of my favorite RSS feeds is "Quotes of the Day" from The Quotations Page.
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Mary J. Johnson, author, respected colleague and friend, has begun a new blog, The Primary Source Librarian that focuses on primary source research. Since I have always promoted this as means of both combating plagiarism and building engagement in school research assignment, I'm really looking forward to reading Mary's comments.
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Miguel over at Around the Corner has a list of changes happening in the newspaper business, arranged by 'The way it is" and "The way it will be" and asks if there is a similar list for education. This is a list I use in one of my talks, mashed up from a bunch of sources...

The way it is: Teachers lecture - students listen

The way it will be: Teachers guide - students do

The way it is: Students work alone    

The way it will be: Students work in groups

The way it is: Subjects are departmentalized

The way it will be: Subjects are integrated

The way it is: Curriculum fact centered  

The way it will be: Curriculum problem centered

The way it is: Teacher primary source   

The way it will be: Rich resource environment

The way it is: Primary print medium    

The way it will be: Variety of media

The way it is: Success = tradition

The way it will be: Success = accountability

The way it is: Schools are insular    

The way it will be: Schools are connected

The way it is: 3 R’s (Rote, Restraint, Regurgitation)

The way it will be: 5 C’s  (Children, Computers, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration)

Before NCLB hit us, I thought our schools here in Minnesota were really moving toward the "way it will be" model. But we seem to be going backward now. Sigh... 

Add your own comparisons! 

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Chris Smith at Shambles has posted a podcast interview we did together a few weeks back.  (Look for LIBcasts toward the bottom of the page.)

Chris is an British expat educator who heads the Education Project Asia (TEPA) and lives in Chang Mai, Thailand. He has made Shambles a great resource for teachers, librarians and techs in SouthEast Asia. Spend some time on his site - it's a bit like an Asian bazaar in that you can find nearly anything if you are willing to dig a bit.  I always learn something of value from his newsletter he publishes three times a year. 

BTW, Skype was used to do this interview once again. I am getting to be a huge fan. I've even purchased some minutes so when I am in Bangkok late in March I can call the LWW directly on the home phone or her cell  using Skype for about $.03 per minute. Way cool.

But Chris, if you are reading this, I still don't believe the elephant I rode through the jungle near Chang Mai still remembers me.
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I think I heard the rumble of the snow plow go by. I off to check for the papers. Stay warm. 

Saturday
Feb242007

Operator, operator...

lilytomlin.jpgTalk about serendipity! My project this morning is to complete a column for Leading & Learning about using Google well. And what do I find in my e-mail inbox from Dennis O'Connor at ISMA's 21st Century Learning Project?

 Latest Issue of Full Circle Resource Kit Now Available!

Featured Competency: Using Operators Effectively
Lead Article: Carl Heine examines common mistakes students make using AND, OR, NOT and "Quotation marks" operators. more...
Podcast: Operators and Search Engines, Chris Sherman, Executive Editor of SearchEngineLand.com, shares insights on using search engines and operators. more...
Personal Side of Searching: Dennis O'Connor writes about searching under pressure to save Pinky's pups. more...

An interesting question Dennis's group raises is "Do we still need to teach people how to use Boolean operators?"  Log on, weigh in on the debate. Oh, and find out if Dennis is a good enough searcher to save his daughter's newborn hamsters!

Friday
Feb232007

A "Lucky" perspective

Higherpoweroflucky.jpgControversy over the 2007 Newbery Award winner The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron rages on LM_Net and the blogosphere. As I understand it, the author uses the word scrotum which some librarians found objectionable and then other librarians found finding scrotum objectionable, objectionable. Confused? I will withhold judgement on the book and the use of the word until I've actually read Lucky, but I will say here and now that I like the word scrotum. Somehow it is nearly onomatopoeic.

 My friend Tom Ross, the poet-librarian, puts the issue into very stark perspective. He sent this to our state listserv and has given me permission to reprint it here:

 

Come on folks... I am not worried about this word. I am worried about my student who  attempted suicide twice. I am worried about my student who is falling through the cracks because everybody wants  to discipline him, but I think he is so  depressed that he will end up like that first student. Everybody is trying to do the right thing, but we are not perfect people. Sometimes we may not  cover every child perfectly and yet our  heart is breaking over each one. I am worried about the gangs x-ing out each other,  I am worried about my principals giving up because they are  being worn down by parents who are demanding perfect people handle their children and there are none to be found.  I'm worried about my Goth student who thinks that nobody cares about him as a human being and I wonder if he is cutting again. I'm worried about the  little girls that come to school with  bruises and bumps and social services is working on the problem... but there are not enough of them to cover  everybody fast  enough... I'm worried  about the teachers that are leaving because they can't handle the disrespect, intensity and pace of their  job...Good people who will be lost  forever to one of the most important task society has given them. I'm worried that society is abandoning  us because they want to pretend the  problem is the language in the book and it's not the kids who are dying. I'm worried about the kids whose  mom has three part time jobs and no  insurance.  I'm worried that if one of my students ends up running away, she may end up a street child who will  be abused by some evil man for something  as fleeting as money. I'm sorry this is  a word that just doesn't worry me. I want my students to live to  the next day... That worries me.
 
Sorry if I have my values misplaced, my heart is breaking for my kids right now - Tom Ross, Plymouth

 

I am as guilty as the next person about worrying about and arguing over and finding importance in those issues that this time next year won't even be remembered. Thanks, Tom, for grounding all of us who read your message.