Monday, April 8, 2013
Today is Blog Against Hunger day... so here's my 3 cents:
There's hungry -- those with nothing of any substance to eat. And today is mostly dedicated to them. We like to think these people live far far away, but they're here in our community also.
But then there's hungry -- those with an insufficient amount to eat. And sometimes they're our neighbors. You pass them in the street, in the supermarkets. The mothers who go hungry to make sure they feed their children. The families who can barely buy anything, and must make do with as little as possible.
And there's the invisible hungry -- those with much more than enough to eat, but it's is sub-standard or lacking in vital nutrients. Unfortunately, that's most of us. We may think we're eating well, but what we're eating isn't really food at all. Reconstituted foods, over-processed foods, foods that had to be "enriched" because the nutrients were stripped out and then added back in through "nutrients" made in factories. Foods rendered unrecognizable to our metabolism through science. Free-radicals that are costing our health. We eat more and more because underneath all that massive food we're eating there's very little of actual substance or sustenance.
Those of us in the invisible hungry could improve our food intake, and fight for food freedom & responsibility -- then we won't be hungry anymore, and the food industry will respond to our demands and become more responsible. That improves the food available to those who don't have a sufficient amount to eat who live next door, too. Then together, we can help people find ways to grow good food locally, improve their soil, improve their water use, so that they can eat where they live, and live where they eat. That's been the answer for the vast majority of human history: technology cannot change the fundamental fact that this is the healthiest way to eat, that it's how our bodies evolved to eat.
For more information on Food Freedom, I'm always posting on my Facebook timeline on this topic, but check out my Fairy Goddaughter, Linda Borghi of Abundant Life Farm. She's got it all down and helps people learn about growing their own food. She's been helping people in Africa grow their own food and become self-sufficient.
Friday, September 21, 2012
One of the problems is the word "essay" -- once we have the skill of "writing an essay" down it ends up being used in emails, in brochures, in business plans, in letters of request or recommendation -- the same skills we call "essay writing" in school is even used for short-form facebook posting through to long-form thesis or dissertation writing. But we call it an "essay" which makes it daunting. We could call it "Writing an Instruction Manual for a Game System". We could call it whatever -- it's just "good writing technique". Or if you will a "sandwich writing technique". Or best of all "writing for the reader".
Monday, June 20, 2011
|Excellent Fiction Curriculum|
I've actually come across the National Novel Writers Month ("NaNoWriMo") and decided to participate both this summer, if possible ("Camp NaNo") and in November when the "official" NaNoWriMo kicks off. For adults, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. You are allowed to do pre-writing tasks before the event, in fact it's encouraged (and helps you write a quicker, much more cohesive project). There are no prizes, although winners might get special offers from sponsors.
They have NaNoWriMo YWP (young writer's program) where you (the instructor or parent) helps a child set a word-count goal that's within reason but still a stretch for them, and they can also set off and write along side you (if you participate).
Friday, June 17, 2011
|Photo by Jo Christian Oterhals via Flickr|
This is the same 13-year-old-boy who would write exactly 3 5-word sentences if that's all he was required, whose IEP writing goal in 8th Grade was to write 3 paragraphs. His main problems being a huge reluctance to write due to handwriting issues when he was younger, years of handwriting remediation, and having convinced himself (and others) that he "can't" write. His paper comes out with approximately a 10th grade readability level!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Inevitably I got to an age, probably 5 or 6 at most, where I was expected to have developed cleaning habits and skills in the face of a daunting amount of STUFF in a room much too large for someone my age to be fully in charge of.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I think I'd like to use this absolutely brilliant "Portfolio" assignment for an 11th grade writing course (following a creative writing course), although I'm considering working it in sooner rather than later and doing the assignments for myself alongside my son working on them. The end-product of this year-long assignment is a publishable autobiography. The teacher who created this curriculum packet has had a great amount of success with other teachers adopting it as well, including foreign language teachers, and has used the assignments in literature classes as well (where you write the portfolio assignment "as if" you are a character in a book).
|Hamlet on the Holodeck|
How much "socialization" does a child get in school? How much does a homeschooled child "miss out" on this so-called socialization.
First, the term "socialization" makes it sound like something deliberate, like animal husbandry. You pair kids in the corral for purposes of "socializing them." Anyone who has been to a school knows this is simply not the case; the schools group children together based on their classes, which are usually based on their abilities and at the starting level children are grouped simply based on their chronological age. If we were to purposefully socialize our children, wouldn't we pair or group them based on common interests?
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Here it is, another anecdote from the good-teacher vs. bad-system movement:
5 students that are completely beyond help, and one teacher who decides to put them first. So much so that she uses their first names and their group nickname in a fictional tale about how people in a downward spiral can turn everything around if they want to. The boys identify with the characters, I'm sure it's partially because their first names are in the book, and they actually read it. The students do so well, are so inspired to learn and straighten their lives out, that they all go on to post-secondary education. The teacher is given promotions and kudos.
The teacher's husband, without her knowing, puts the book up on the Internet and the teacher gets canned. Read more...
This is how we reward the world's best teachers.
Pay for performance. It's currently a pretty hot issue. There's plenty articles telling us how poorly it's working, too. A great summary of US and UK tests on pay-for-performance is at the Telegraph. Basically, giving teachers incentives for improving test scores of $3000-$15,000 is not effective in increasing the children's test scores.
My son loves math. He's got a lot of talent for math, and frankly I think schools and big textbooks hold him back. I don't really feel confident teaching Algebra, even though I think I remember all the important basics and could always brush up from resources online. However, I'm very confident that my son can almost teach himself Algebra with the right tools and materials.
I didn't realize that one of the books I already own has a whole chapter (a long! chapter) dedicated to quality schooling. So I started reading The Quality School (William Glasser) and the introduction referred back to that chapter in Choice Theory, so I went to the chapter and read it.
I'm so impressed with this concept, I want to make it a cornerstone of my homeschooling experiences.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I can't wait for my books that should be arriving on Quality Schools. I already have several of William Glasser's books: Choice Theory, Counseling with Choice Theory and The Language of Choice Theory. The Quality School is going to be arriving on my doorstep shortly. Aside from how you treat your student (in my case homeschooler) in terms of verbal contact, there's a basic difference in how children's learning and work is treated that returns dignity, respect, and a higher level of useful expectations to the children.
Basically, children work at their exercises until their work is an A or B level. Barely-passing work is no longer accepted.
Right now it's on the table with my family whether we're going to homeschool my son for High School. I tried to contain myself. I've tried pacing myself. I've tried just gathering information and thinking, but I think I've gone overboard with planning.
I think that homeschooling should be about what's right for a particular student.
Not-so-breaking-news: I pulled Let's Heal the World Together, and I'm saving the idea (and the logo) for a later date. I pulled it before I had surgery in December last year (2010). This has freed up several hours of my week, which I'm currently dedicating to my family and my own health.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
When I was growing up, we had all sorts of critter companions, or furry family, in our home. We had gerbils, dogs, cats, and finches, not always at the same time. I did spend some time without animals in my home and they were sorely missed.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
When I was deep in the trenches of working on my PTSD* I really felt I was dragging around a ton of extra baggage everywhere I went. I've always had a sense of humor that matched my pragmatism, so I'd occasionally quip about it. Now when I work with people who have PTSD I'll walk them through a visualization exercise of losing their baggage at the airport. It's fun, it's funny. It's vivid. It helps.