Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Countdown Is On

As of tomorrow I'll have only 2 weeks left to my summer vacation. I've got lots of goofing off to do, plus I'll be hosting the carnival again soon. Oh summer, there were so many things I wanted to do but didn't.

I wanted to go see the Meteor Crator outside of Flagstaff, AZ. It would be about a 1200 drive so I would LOVE to fly out there, spend a day or so, and fly back. I could get plenty of pictures I could use in my classroom.

I haven't read much this summer. Last summer it seems like I spent the entire time reading, this year it feels like I've done nothing but home improvement projects. So far we've remodeled our bedroom and bathroom. We also built a pad to place the hottub on, as well as installed 2 bi-fold doors in the place of regular doors in our house, one to our bathroom and one to the laundry room.

Next up will be a deck around the hottub, as well 2 more outdoor speakers, these 2 closer to the hottub.

But before then I have some serious goofing off to do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The 129th Edition of the Carnival of Education

I've received what seems like a TON of entries for this week's carnival, and I'm going to do my best to use all of them for this week's carnival, so here goes.

My Daily Reads

When he's not shamelessly promoting his book, Learn Me Good (available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Lulu), Mr. Teacher is the walking epitome of studliness at his school. At least that's how new (to me) blogger Fractions speak louder than nerds views male teachers. Funny, the women at my school must have missed that directive. As an added bonus Mr. Teacher links to other male teachers who blog. You can also take his >YouTube Challenge, (is that Styx's Too Much Time On My Hands I hear in the background?). A winner will be drawn from the names of those who comment on his videos (*cough, Mike in Texas, cough*)and will receive a free Learn Me Good t-shirt.

If you like to speed AND you're a resident of the state of Virginia, be careful out there. According to the EdWonks Virginia governor Tim Kaine wants to put massive fines on speeders, at least those who are from Virginia. If you have an out of state license you pay a more modest fine.

Once again NYC Educator takes on the KIPPers with his comments on the drill and kill methods to meet minimum standards they employ. On a side note, wouldn't it be great if we could pick and choose our students and demand they spend extra time in school?

The Science Goddess is getting a PhD and preparing for her upcoming role as an instructional coach. This week she looks at research into teaching and learning. I'm not much for charts and graphs but anyone who refers to herself as a goddess is OK in my book.

If you like movie trivia be sure to check out the Movie Madness every Monday over at A Shrewdness of Apes

Around The Blogs

The Repairman presents A Hidden Third Factor That Influences Math Scores? posted at RepairKit. In this post he examines factors that may influence Math scores as well as solutions to these problems.

When it comes to Math, what's more important Thinking or Knowing asks Kim over at Kim's Play Place.

Frequent Carnival contributor IB a Math Teacher Student-Teachers With Disabilities over at 3σ → Left examines the case of a student teacher with disabilities, in this case depression and social anxiety. Should this person be allowed to work with students when her professor feels she one of the most negative people he's ever encountered?

New blogger In 2 The Trenches is excited about the new school year, and has a bunch of links to Google Apps that teachers can use. Be nice to her, she's a carnival virgin.

Matthew K. Tabor is seeking teacher opinions on this essay from a teaching applicant. There will be two followups for this post.

I'm always a sucker for any presenter who brings snacks, so Stephanie over at LeaderTalk suggests you Feed Your Teachers. She also offers of a list of positive traits for leaders to have. If you bring cinnamon rolls to my school I'll be yours forever, Stephanie.

Somehow I missed this great post, also about leadership, by Scott over at Dangerously Irrelevant. Scott invited bloggers and readers to write about effective school technology leadership.

Jose Vilson remembers When ... school was a little different. I have to ask, does that make him craaaaazy? Possibly!

Another blog new to me is Washington Teacher and judging by the picture on his blog, Washington must be a beautiful state. His submission is about a class action lawsuit against alleged NEA retirement kickbacks

Ryan over at I Thought a Think blogs about the snazzy new NCTM newsletter, and apparently has a Man crush on Skip Fennell. Is it

Tim has been reading up on John Dewey who felt that education should be about the here and now, and not a preparation for something (like standardized tests).

Cheating should not be allowed in any form writes Darren of Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher. Darren examines the cheating scandal involving an Oakland charter school known for placing large numbers of students in college.

Chanman is taking the sans-union plunge as he resigns from the California Teacher's Association. Those of us who teach in Texas are often perplexed by powerful teacher's unions (you know those ones Rod Paige compares to terrorist organizations) as here in Texas teachers' unions have no power whatsoever in regards to salaries, working conditions or teacher assignments.

A good story can capture the attention of students, and History Is Elementary loves to tell this story about Washington crossing the Delaware, and NO! I won't tell you how it ends.

As a teacher who has researched the No Child Left Behind law and its supporters, I'm not a big fan of the Broad (rhymes with road) Foundation, and neither is Norm of Education Notes Online.

Are we doing kids a favor when we praise them, wonders Mr. Pullen. The results of a study he read may surprise you.

I've written numerous times about how I feel administrators ignore the opinions and ideas of teachers, and The Tempered Radical agrees with me. His submission for this weeks carnival is entitled Draconian and Dysfunctional. . .

Teachers are among the most trusted Professions writes Charles over at Trusted Advisor. Nurse and doctors are also high on the list.

Money management should be a family affair and who would know that more than the Millionaire Mommy Next Door. Her entry suggests ways to involve your children in the money management process.

Life can be tough teaching in UK secondary schools writes Scenes From The Battleground. He has a nice guide to his blog with a quick links to past posts.

Donna (a.k.a. Ms Whatsit) wants to know what you're doing to prepare for the first day of school. The first day? I'm still working on suppressing memories of last year!

Those little monsters should learn to appreciate what they have, says Alvaro over at Brain Fitness Blog. Actually his post is called Mental Training for Gratitude and Altruism, but you get the point.

The arts are being left behind says Riley Central, and one test score should not be used to judge an entire year's success. Amen, Riley, amen.

Connie is one talented cutie and even manages to win over grumpy Brit Simon Cowell. See for yourself!

Don't you just hate being ordered around by some teeth sucking bacon hunting desk jockey? Mimi is ready to take a cart full of math supplies and shove it up that jerk's . . .well, you get the picture.

Get an admissions blog already Yale! demands Sam Jackson, or else Mimi is going to take that huge stack of admission papers and shove it up your . . . maybe I'm the one who should switch to decaff.

Get a Job! Peter demands of himself over at A School to Call Home. I was nice and left out "you bum!" since I've been doing my best to form an ass-shaped impression in my chair all summer.

Check Out the Homies

Everybody's always talking about Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! and her post defining Who am I?. I bet she never gets tired of that joke. I also bet she wishes she could just reach out through the internet and slap the living . . .once again, you get the picture.

Need a great idea for some Social Studies projects? How about 25 of them courtesy of Annette at Homeschooling Journey?

Why not learn a foreign language along with your child? asks Sylvia over at Po Moyemu--In My Opinion.

Teacher Certification and Testing is on Janine's mind at Why Homeschool.

Thanks to all who contributed. Next week's carnival will be hosted by Dr. Homeslice. Submissions should be sent to drhomeslice(at)hotmail(dot)com no later than 9 P.M. EST on Tuesday, July 31st, or you can use this handy submission form.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Carnival Entries Are Due

Once again I am hosting the Carnival of Education. Please submit all entries to me at by 10 P.M. CST

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Seen on TV

I thought television had hit a new low with the Discovery Channels Stunt Junkies, where the "part scientist, part daredevil" and the show's host seemed to lack the ability to form coherent thoughts or complete sentences without using the word Dude!, but yesterday, as my daughter was flipping through the channels, I saw something even more stupid.

She happened to stop on a show called Bridezillas on the WE TV network. One bridezilla actually forced her sister, who had the gall to get pregnant and be due around the date of her wedding when she was supposed to be baking 38 cakes (one for each table) and the wedding cake, to have her baby induced 2 weeks in advance.

Does the word "No!" ever occur to these idiots? And what about the future husbands, who stand their with stupid blank expressions on their faces? I long for the day when we'll be able to reach into the TV, grab these people, and slap them around some and tell them, "For God's sake get a pair of balls!"

In a few years some poor teacher will be raked over the coals for the test score's of these idiots' children, who obviously have no chance in life.

If you'll excuse me there's another pot of coffee with my name on it brewing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How Much Brain Power Should This Take?

I'm currently in San Antonio, helping my sister-in-law and brother-in-law move to a new home. Amazingly enough, in this day and age, the house they were moving into did not have smoke detectors, so it was off to Wal-Mart for new ones. SIL decided to spend a little extra and get the "premium" detectors, from the company who claims their detectors will be the "First" to "Alert" you if you catch my drift.

Now for years we've had smoke detectors in our home that have a battery installation that is extremely simple. Snap the batter into the metal clips designed especially for 9 volt batteries, and make sure you use the clip in the back to hold it in place. A child could do it in 5 seconds. But in the business world, you know those people who think they know more about education than us teachers, if you're not changing you're not moving forward, and a battery clip that works but is an old design simply won't do. The new "First" to "Alert" you smoke detectors have a new swinging out battery compartment along the outer edge.

The only problem is, 9 volt batteries are rectangular, the smoke detector, and it's swing out battery compartment, have a rounded edge. We could not get the batteries installed without a major struggle.

I managed to get one in, after about 10 minutes of struggling and actually banging it on a countertop, at which point SIL decided she would just return them. Later we examined the brain power in the room trying to get these batteries installed.

Collectively we had: A BS in Education, an M_Ed in Education, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and a Medical Doctor. Lest you think we were not prepared to deal with a mechanical device, there was also a BS in Biomedical Engineering.

I don't mean to brag, but I think its safe to say we had an above average amount of brain power in the room, and still couldn't figure out this supposedly new and better battery compartment.

So much for progress

Saturday, July 07, 2007

At This Rate, I'm Going To Have To Change My Nickname to "Eyewitness"

For the 2nd time this week I have witnessed an accident on Highway 59 in East Texas. Earlier this week, on a stretch loaded with businesses, a car trying to turn to go south pulled out in front of a northbound pickup. The driver of the car tried to take off, but seeing as how his rear axle was snapped he didn't get too far.

This afternoon, just south of Moscow, Texas, I saw an 18 wheeler log truck take a turn and roll over. Even from half a mile away it was spectacular.

Luckily, no one was hurt in either accident. Why don't people just slow down a little when the roads are wet?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Summer Goal: Get A Hottub . . .Done

Thanks to EBay I have achieved ONE of my summer goals, to get a hottub. I got a great deal and thanks to my McGyver buddy, it is up and running. We built a concrete pad and added the extra wiring, and when I say "we" I mean mostly him. We also had fun driving around an enormous forklift we used to move the hottub around, well, except for that hour and a half we spent digging it out of the mud where it sank in my backyard because of all the rain we've been having.

In addition, the bathroom remodeling is done, just in time for my wife to come up with other summer projects.

All I need now is for Mr. Teacher to bring over some of his Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders friends and I'm all set.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Now For Something Funny

I wasn't familiar with Kevin Pollack until I came across this video on 100 Farmers and YouTube. I'll definitely have to look for more of his stuff.