Saturday, November 7, 2009
Now many years later, there's an app for that as they say. The $30 Cry Translator for the iPhone tells you if the cry is "hungry, sleepy, stressed, annoyed or bored." They claim 96% accuracy regardless of the age of the child.
Almost makes me want to try it on Glenn Beck!
Read the full article HERE
It will be a matter of hours before the lovely citizens of Racine awaken to, once again, bash our teachers on the Journal Times Web site.
The bill sounds great at first glance. Finally, some accountability! Let's look at this from a different angle. What will the administration do when they find out their biggest complainers are the very teachers who are excelling with regard to test score improvements?
If you want to pick apart anything, let's look at how administration fails the teachers. Those "old-school" teachers who care, are constantly begging and prodding the administration to support their efforts to manage truancy, tardies, lack of effort, the disregard of authority, general overall bad, bad, bad behavior of a growing number of students in the classroom which make effective teaching impossible.
Teachers who care, those who put forth effort, invest of their own time to come up with innovative lesson plans, who hold the children responsible and will not "dumb down" education and are willing to fail students are the very ones who also hold management responsible to do their share. Often times management looks at this as a negative employee who is unwilling to handle classroom discipline. That is not the case.
Staff at Unified also know that legislation like this, with wording holding teachers solely responsible for the failure rate is not a fair assessment of a teacher's ability. One poorly managed set of standardized tests, does not accurately paint a picture of failure of a single teacher. Currently, the WKCE is held during the beginning of the year. Some of the criteria that is tested has not even been presented to students. How can they be expected to know it, if it hasn't been taught yet? Teachers know that a large percentage of the failure is beyond their control.
The potential for unfair practices to harass staff (let's dump the most difficult students on Mr. X) is a concern. Staff at Unified know exactly how management can manipulate this type of wording to suit unprofessional practices.
Come spend some time in the school district, in the classrooms, before you bash teachers. Most people don't get into this profession unless they have an honest drive to further education of our children. It is very hard for apathy not to take over when they find they are fighting a lonely battle. Teaching is not an easy job. School is not what it was when adults of today were in school. It gets more and more challenging as we continue to see an overall decline in community, parenting, and the discipline in our children.
In my opinion, this bill, when signed, is only lip service. Once again, a means to garner more funding. I don't believe it will be honest in application. We have an administration fighting to hang on to bad, but easier practices, shucking off responsibility in a frantic me-driven survival mode.
We are failing... and it doesn't seem that anyone knows how to keep the ship from sinking.
Maybe, it is only the teachers that have those answers, but have given up on being heard because of being labeled as rebels or negative, or bad employees. Maybe the answers lie in those who have learned to keep their business behind the walls of the classroom, in a survival mode of their own.
Friday, November 6, 2009
1) What is your favorite movie?
2)What is you least favorite movie?
3) What was the last DVD you rented?
4)Have you ever cried while watching a movie? If so, which one?
Have a good weekend folks!
Now that the city has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the artist relocation program in uptown, the time has come to decide wheether or not it is a good idea. So we're gonna spend $12,500 more of our money to hire self-proclaimed "experts" to reassure us that giving $40,000 to a Texas "artist" to flip our city the bird is a wise investment.
No jobs, no chances, no hope for those born here who seek a living, but millions for "artists" and "experts" from out of town.
Party on, lying John!
And the "what would my mother say?," flip o' the day.... stu, you should never encourage me!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Even though I was pretty young at the time, I remember that pretty clearly due to the fact that I had a newspaper route at the time. I remember seeing the headlines on the Des Moines Register the next morning when I picked up my paper and thought the nuclear weapons were going to fly and I would be dead within the week (to be fair, I was a pretty nuclear war obsessed child and had long accepted that the nukes were going to fly and I wouldn't make it through high school).
Of course today will be marked in Iran by some anti-American speeches (and I bet I wouldn't have to search hard for some anti-Iranian screeching today on the web from Americans).
30 years later there are signs of another potential shift in Iran as we saw with the dramatic protests against the disputed presidential election earlier this year.
Once again, I urge everyone to see the film Persopolis (now on DVD). Based on an animated novel, it tells the story of a young woman who grew up during the revolution. It's a little said that some of the better commentary I have seen on the Iranian revolution in the U.S. comes from a cartoon (says a lot about our political commentators to say the least!)
Just thought it was a worthy anniversary to mention today.
No message in a bottle or other communiqué was delivered to my desk this week.
Racine has been relatively quite this past week, too. There have been some more shenanigans at City Hall, but that’s business as usual. The real mischief is just about to begin nationwide with the census. Trust Madame Zoltar on that one.
I really don’t know what to say about our precious Packers defeat at the hands of Mr. Favre and his Viking cohorts. It galls me all the more because he still has not made good on the rubber check he gave me for the last potion he purchased. When it runs out, I hope he doesn’t think he can charm any more out of me. I’m on to your game now, Brett, and I don’t think Deanna would appreciate the statistics. Pay up or lose your edge. Maybe it’s for the better if you don’t come up with the money. It’s beginning to look a little suspicious how a 40-year old hillbilly addict is throwing the ball so darn well.
If you go to the H1N1 vaccination clinic at Case High School this Saturday, I predict a long line. It’s only for specific people and age groups, so don’t attend unless you or someone you are taking is eligible. More information is available on the City of Racine’s Health Department website: http://www.cityofracine.org/Depts/health/media/pdf/Vaccine clinics website info.pdf. They don’t want you there if you have a fever or are sick. Please don’t spread the germs in public. They will have about 5,500 doses to distribute. I don’t understand how Kenosha got more doses than we did, and earlier, too. I am sure that there is some logical explanation involving red tape and submitted forms and deadlines and so on. Every time that I try to penetrate the mysteries of the bureaucratic universe, I am reminded of my trips to Hades - but at least those were educational.
Speaking of the government and hell, I was hoping to give my Irregulars some predictions on the health care reform, um, process that is currently fermenting in Washington, DC. I have peered and peered, my dears, into the future on this one, but each time that I do, it’s completely different. I’m seeing everything from teeming masses of healthy, robust Americans to legions of lepers and zombies swarming and spreading disease across the land. Until they stop tinkering with the works in Washington, it’s impossible to call it. I hate to say it, but our representatives seem to always lean more toward the zombies than health.
The following video is a request from Mr. OrbsCorbs’ cat, Charlie. Charlie, of course, cannot post videos (because he is not an author on this site). He contacted me as I am sensitive to communication with nonhuman life forms. Charlie hopes that this short video is in keeping with the start of the Thanksgiving holiday season. He also wanted to make the point that it’s not always the cat, Mr. OrbsCorbs. Thank you, Charlie, for “Happy Thanksgiving:”
That’s my blog for this week, my dear Irregulars. Thank you so much for reading it. I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you. Please don’t hesitate to send me your latest gossip or surgical horror stories: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indian summer or arctic blast ahead? Mother Nature isn't telling me. I hope for the best and plan for the worst. Emporia!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Pro life advocates are against it. Family Planning advocates are supporting it.
This bill would require school districts who offer sex education classes to include instruction in contraception use and discuss sexually transmitted diseases, neither of which are now taught.
Here is an excerpt of some of the topics that the bill would require to be included in health classes:
*skills to make responsible decisions about sexuality and sexual behavior throughout the pupil’s life span;
*the benefits of and reasons for abstaining from sexual activity;
*the health benefits, side effects, and proper use of contraceptives and barrier methods approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections;
*methods for developing healthy life skills, including setting goals, responsible decision making, communication, and stress management;
Parents would have the opportunity to review the material and opt out of the class for their child.
Do those topics sound dangerous to you? Do you think kids want to know? I know they do. I hear the questions they have. I see the girls who are pregnant. I see what it does to their lives. I know many of those babies could be at risk.
Pro-life says that this would promote promiscuity. I disagree.
When has educating anyone with facts become a bad thing? We are struggling with the media promoting sex to children. We have an alarming number of teenage pregnancies. We have children having children. We have more and more children living in poverty. We have many teenagers who don't know fact from fiction concerning reproduction and how to prevent pregnancies. "Just say no," or solely teaching abstinence, isn't working.
Here is the rest of the bill (pdf) if you care to read more.
If you have children, especially teenagers, there is an excellent website you should introduce to them. It offers information on any health topic that may be of interest to your child and is reviewed by M.D.s. It covers swine flu, how much sleep you need, acne, tattoos, piercing, healthy weight, exercise, you name it. It is written so that they can understand it.
Review it first, I'm certain you will approve. Sometimes kids don't feel comfortable talking with their parents about topics that embarrass them. The website is http://kidshealth.org/
Monday, November 2, 2009
I have been on the road a lot recently and haven't had much time to write. On of the blog entries that I know I needed to do is to plug They Might Be Giants new album Here Comes Science. This bargain comes with a 19 track CD as well as a DVD with videos for all the songs. All the songs are science based ditties laced with TMBGs sensibilities that have made them a long time favorite of mine.
I am lucky enough to be at the Association of Science and Technology Centers annual convention in Forth Worth. TMBG signed copies of their CD Saturday night (yeah, I got mine signed) and did a performance at the reception last night. They rocked the house and had a bunch of nerds belting out the chorus to songs such as "I am a Paleontologist" and "My Brother The Ape". They did some of their classic songs as well.
Here are a couple of videos of songs from Here Comes Science.
Fortunately, he was in a good position to eject and escaped with only minor injuries...but what a ride!
If only they all did that.
"The study, authored by psychology professor Joseph Forgas at the University of New South Wales, showed that people in a negative mood were more critical of, and paid more attention to, their surroundings than happier people, who were more likely to believe anything they were told.
"'Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, cooperation, and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking paying greater attention to the external world,' Forgas wrote.
"'Our research suggests that sadness ... promotes information processing strategies best suited to dealing with more demanding situations.'"
Now I feel much more positive about being so negative:
"People in a bad mood were also less likely to make snap decisions based on racial or religious prejudices, and they were less likely to make mistakes when asked to recall an event that they witnessed."