Thursday, May 18, 2006


My sister is in China now bringing home my niece, Beilei. I'm excited. She'll be here next week. Just thought you'd like to know.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sarah Silverman

The first great impression I ever got of Sarah Silverman was when I was watching public television, and they were having an auction of doodles done by various celebrities. Most of the doodles were really neat, and I was enjoying watching as I lay sleepily in my bed. Then, they showed a very simple doodle of what was, as it was obvious to me, a butt with a little turd coming out. It wasn't, however, obvious to the public television announcer. She said, "And here we have a "W" with a bubble by Sarah Silverman. I thought I'd die of laughter fits.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Thursday, May 04, 2006

*a pretty amusing cartoon called "The Immigration Debate" here*
*and, oh my god, one about Bush and MySpace here*

5th Grade Teacher Rambling

Learning to Write a Persuasive Essay

(addressing the class)

"A couple of weeks ago, we read an article from the adult TIME (as opposed to the TIME for Kids) about kids and technology. What was that article about?" [student: It was about whether or not technology was bad for kids.] "And what do you think the author was trying to get across in that article?" [student: That even though there are some bad things about technology, that there are some good things too, like some skills that are built.] "Right, and what he was doing was persuading his reader to see his viewpoint. Authors do that a lot in their writing. That's why I always tell you guys to think about what you read and develop your own viewpoint about it. Listen to the author's views, but remember that many times what they're saying is their opinion and not necessarily fact." (enter explanation about how I would be asking them to write a persuasive essay)

Later that day...

[student (one who needs multiple explanations of a task): What are we suppose to do with writing?] "Brainstorm a list of topic ideas for a persuasive essay." [student: Is that like what we did with the fake petition we started in Social Studies?] "Well, yes, sort of. You could use what you chose for your petition as a topic to persuade your readers to see your viewpoint if that's something you feel passionate about." [student: But, isn't that sort of mean?] "Well, I see your point, J., but if it's something you believe in, you will want other people to feel that way too. Hopefully, other people will do what we've talked about and develop their own views about it, sort of like you did with the article on technology." [student: (grins shyly)] (She was the only student to challenge the article, claiming technology "sucks time from kids" and "makes them lazy". And she questions my ethicality for asking them to write a persuasive essay. Pffft.)

I like my job.

*The article was "Don't Fear the Digital" by Steven Johnson.
I liked the article (which was actually quite balanced) and I've liked what Steven Johnson has to say since I saw him on The Daily Show last year promoting his book. I definitely think that if I'm going to waste my free time, I'd rather be doing it in a way that's engaging and interactive rather than sitting hypnotized in front of a box. Note: I do, however, make it a point to keep my own opinions to myself in front of fifth graders. That allows me to talk about all kinds of stuff that makes them think critically. Teachers who give their opinions during lessons, in my opinion are very much over the ethical boundary.

Steven Johnson's blog.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Friends don't let friends get addicted to MySpace.