Meme 2.0

15 March 2009

The ever-resourceful Nancy Flanagan recently posted her version of 20 Questions---all about her professional experiences. I'm a sucker for a good meme, so I am going to take her up on her suggestion to abscond with her ideas. Got a blog? You can play along at home, too.
  1. Teaching assignments, how long? Mostly secondary science for nearly 18 years, with some elementary, instructional coaching, and curriculum specialist work thrown in for good measure.
  2. Favorite class taught---and why? I'm going to change up Nancy's intent here and say The Class of 2000. I had those kids as sophs in 97-98 and there was just something special about that particular cohort: bright, creative, positive and hopeful.
  3. Worst class taught---and why? I can think of a few stinker class periods over the years, but I have to say that the worst class was more a function of subject matter than the students themselves. I was assigned to teach something far out of my expertise and knowledge base (even though it was pointed out to the PTB that I did not have the appropriate certificate...they didn't care). It was miserable for everyone.
  4. Favorite class taken? Oddly enough, I don't know that I have one. I've enjoyed lit classes, stat classes, and music classes. I've taken good things away from them all.
  5. Favorite education book? Hmmm...I have shelves full of these. Maybe Jim Burke's Reading Reminders? I frequently pull this out for work with both kids and adults. There's so many great strategies for learning here.
  6. Best teacher buddy? Someone I worked with in Curriculum, who has also moved on to bigger and better things. Her thoughtful ways, good humor, and professionalism are missed by me every day. I get to see her socially now, but not getting to work with her anymore is a real loss for me.
  7. Best administrator? The first Boss Lady. In spite of the disappointments I had along the way, I admire her clarity of thought and belief in doing what's best for kids should drive all decisions. I'm so glad she's in a position now that allows her to share her wisdom and talent with many districts.
  8. Most disappointing experience? Working for a district that doesn't care about kids.
  9. Most thrilling moment? Watching a struggling student finally "click" with a skill or piece of information. Seeing that sort of light bulb come on is fantastic.
  10. Funniest incident in your classroom? I've been trying to think of one. I got to laugh a lot in the classroom---from lab experiments that went awry (including kids who were afraid for pillbugs) to the times when my high school kids would work with primary kids (who inevitably walked all over my students) to puppet shows about cell parts and more. I'm grateful for all those memories.
  11. Most memorable student? Again, it's hard to say. I'm still in touch with some kids (though they are well into adulthood now), so I suppose that makes them memorable. Was it the one of the ones I've written about here over the last 4+ years? Was it the ones who went off to college to study something in the sciences, citing my class as an inspiration? Was it a teacher who sent me a kind note after one of my presentations? They're all part of my continuing work.
  12. What about unions? Should never ever be mandatory for teachers. If they exist, their power should be limited to teacher contract issues only---not student-related factors.
  13. What about charter schools? A nice idea; however, I hate seeing them touted as a solution when they get to set all their own rules. Is it any surprise when they succeed when they are allowed to stack the deck in their favour? I do think that many schools are looking for curricular or instructional freedom from district-driven decisions with the idea that "their kids" would benefit from something different. This may or may not be true when put into practice, but plenty of schools out there would like to try.
  14. What about merit pay? I like the idea; however, I can't think of any reasonably fair way to make it happen. It can't be simple can't be wholly dependent on student test can't be decided by an administrator's evaluation. There needs to be elements of all those things (and more), but what a nightmare of bureaucracy that would be. Instead, why don't we just focus on supporting classroom teachers to be their very best...and move out the ones who are just there to mark time?
  15. What does "21st century learning" mean? To me it means that we reach kids where they are---which includes cell phones in the classroom, cloud computing, gaming, and/or whatever tools students are choosing for their own personal learning. I don't think "old" skills for literacy and math are going to evolve, but the way that we reach kids in order to support their learning will.
  16. What makes a teacher "effective"? I think an effective teacher is one who is skilled at developing relationships within the classroom; building those teacher-student connections is the basis for so much more learning.
  17. Most overrated "reform"? Reform-based science materials. (Yes, I'm looking at you FOSS, STC, and Insights science kits.) These are great materials; however, if the National Science Foundation had poured money into supporting science instruction instead of science "stuff," we'd be so much further into improving student understanding and achievement.
  18. Best professional development? Being able to work with an instructional coach on lessons for my kids. Her support in implementing ideas and helping me revisit and reflect on things was invaluable.
  19. Personal education hero? Right now, it's Organized Chaos (with nods to her teaching partners Elementary My Dear, or Far From It; Kindergarten Chaos; and Together, We Are Unlimited). I am in awe of what she does and the grace with which she does it---in spite of all the variables in her school life.
  20. Priorities, if you could spend $5 billion on education? I hate to sound snobby, but five billion is not very much. Personally, I think the number one thing that would have an impact is simply time for teachers to reflect/plan. At secondary, this would mean hiring more teachers so that every teacher could have two planning periods (one personal, one for collaboration with others in dep't/grade) and fewer students. At elementary, this would likely mean more specialists (science, art, PE, library...) so that classroom teachers had more time built into their days. Yes, I know all of this impacts physical plant space and other issues...but I'm dreaming here.
So, there you have it. Some fence-riding. Some wishes. Some stabs in the dark. What would you say to these?


Once, Twice, Three Times a Meme-y

14 December 2008

Miss Bioteacher tagged me for the "Seven Random Things" meme. I believe that this is the third time I've been asked to play---so apparently, I haven't developed an immunity to this particular meme. I think it must be a December thing, as it has been almost a year to the day since the last time I posted some answers. Have I discovered anything new to share in the last year? Hmmmm...
  • I recently received the final piece of paperwork regarding my elementary endorsement for the state of Washington. After nearly two decades of haunting secondary schools, I'm now qualified to warp the minds of little ones. I never anticipated I would actually be k-12 certified. It's just one of those strange turns---one of many---my career has taken.
  • I rarely watch the news on tv...or much commercial television at all. That's not to say that the tv isn't on as I do things at home, just that more often than not, you'll find the channel tuned to Turner Classic Movies or other movie channel. I don't find the way news is presented on tv to be useful anymore. Some of it is vapid in nature (or at least presented by and about vapid people)...much of it appears to be constructed to intentionally frighten viewers...and the rest is just an overloaded screen of information. When the intelligent talking head reappears, I'll go back.
  • One of my greatest pet peeves is when people display an utter lack of personal responsibility, especially by those in positions of leadership. If you screw up, say so and figure out a way that you can fix it. Don't make others continually clean up after you. Seems like this particular nerve is being rubbed raw these days.
  • As is the one stimulated by overuse of the word "team" in reference to work situations. Please, people, give it a rest.
  • My self-identified area for professional growth this year is information visualization. I keep thinking that all of the various tools out there (things, not people) have great potential for schools...I just haven't had the time or headspace to get practical with them yet.
  • I don't like slimy foods. Things like runny eggs or jams and jellies make me squick. I don't know what it is. I just can't handle the way they feel in my mouth.
  • Speaking of food, I'm allergic to strawberries. I get nasty hives every time anything with a hint of real strawberry comes close to me.
So, there you have the 2008 edition. I admit that I didn't check previous editions to see if there are any repeats. Do visit Miss Bioteacher and give her some encouragement as she progresses through her first year in the classroom!


Five Things I Wish Ed Policymakers Understood

01 August 2008

Nancy, the always delightful Teacher in a Strange Land, has offered up a meme concerning the five things educators wish policymakers understood about the public school system. I feel honoured to be tagged by the first group she named for the meme: Stories from School: Practice Meets Policy. Besides, we Washington edubloggers have to stick together.

And with that, here we go...
  • Change is slow. Perhaps we all wish that it weren't, but the reality is that just because legislation is passed one day doesn't mean schools can implement it the next day. There are always discussions of who will do the work, how resources will be made available (and which will be taken away in order to make time for the new), responsibilities for accountability measures, and more. Meanwhile, we're not working in a vacuum. When we change one variable, it impacts everything else in a school community---and not always for the best.
  • Along these lines, don't pass any legislation that doesn't have specific funding sources attached. If you want to require that schools fulfill certain obligations, then you need to provide the dollars to do so. Most districts are already at the breaking point trying to fulfill all of the various mandates. They should not be forced to choose between providing a school band program and buying books for classrooms.
  • It may be that policymakers don't realize the totality of the financial strain they place on schools. I think this is because they don't take time to look at the big picture. What are all of the pieces of legislation schools are trying to manage? What new ones are you trying to pile on top this time around? Take a step back and look at all that schools are supposed to do. Consider SPED, transportation issues, technology needs, standards and assessments, fine arts, nurses, and so forth. If you are going to add something to the plate, think about what you might take away. The various committees and groups need to talk to one another. Don't try to push through a change in the law based on one letter from a constituent or news event. Be holistic in your approach.
  • If you really want to change what happens in the classroom, you have to change the instruction. Changing graduation requirements for kids isn't going to get you there. Invest in high quality professional development, such as instructional coaches or other job-embedded support. We might not be able to get a superstar teacher in every classroom, but we can do more to make teachers effective.
  • It is time to do away with closed shops/forced unionism. While these laws may have originally been written as a protection for teachers and working conditions, they have resulted in creating places for poor teachers to hide. Unions protect the lowest common denominator in our schools. Our children deserve better than that.
I believe in standards-based education. I believe that all children deserve access to a rigorous curriculum---whatever that may mean for the individual student. And I believe that we can make social change happen. In order to do that, however, policymakers are going to have to engage in some learning of their own about what day-to-day operations in schools are really like.

This is a meme where anyone can play. So, please do join in if you would like. I am going to specifically reach out beyond my state's borders to
  • Clix at Epic Adventures Are Often Uncomfortable. Her east coast perspective can balance out us westerners.
  • Athena from Texas. She can chime in from the south (and from a small town).
  • Mr. McNamar from The Daily Grind. He's a former Washingtonian, but is now ensconced elsewhere. As he spent the last year dealing in contrasts, I'll bet he has a worldly view to share.
  • I would love to hear from someone who works with the pre-school or primary crowd as their experiences serve as forecasts for the rest of us. Mrs. Sommerville, are you interested? Elbows, Knees, and Dreams? Organized Chaos? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
  • Finally, I'd like to see some administrative input. Perhaps one or more at LeaderTalk would be willing to chime in? Stories from School did some nice modeling on group blogging in this area.
What do you think? What should our policymakers understand about education before constructing legislation?

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Meme for a Summer Friday

25 July 2008

Clix has a meme that she believes is too good to keep to herself. As for me, since my Well of Inspiration has had to be raided for other pursuits recently, I'm glad to have a germ of an idea for a post. You're welcome to use it, too.

When you go to the beach, lake, or pool, are you more likely to lower yourself gradually into cold water or to take a determined plunge and get it over with? I'm more of a "one part at a time" gal, myself, especially when I don't know how deep the water is. Nothing spoils a swim like a broken neck.

How is this like (or unlike) your approach to other tasks or ordeals? Dude, if I'm at the beach or the pool, then it is likely not a task or ordeal. As for those kinds of things, if it's a familiar task (e.g. housework, paying bills), then jumping in is the order of the day. New problems require more caution.

When someone gives you flowers, are you more likely to let them turn completely brown and gross before throwing them out, or to discard them the moment they take on that sick-flower look? I absolutely love having fresh cut flowers. They are both a luxury and a rarity---but there's nothing better to perk me up than to have them in the room. Usually, I keep them until the bitter, gooey end. However, I will toss out individual stems along the way, if they're too yukky.

How is this like (or unlike) your approach to other gifts, purchases, or relationships? Depends. I am rarely sentimental about "stuff" and have routinely regifted items that I didn't like or thrown away small Christmas gifts with the wrapping paper if I know I'll never want something cluttering my space. This is not to say that I don't have some things I absolutely treasure and will always want to have with me.

Think of your favourite movie (or a movie you really like, if you can't think of a favourite). Some people say that the reasons you love your favourite movie are related to what you value in romantic relationships. How is this true or untrue in your case? I'm a real movie hound, so picking a single favourite is not an option. Some movies I like because of the way they're shot, others the story, and still others the acting. I tend to be rather eclectic in my choices. I can find things to appreciate in nearly anyone, but the confluence of just the right factors is a rare thing, indeed.

And now, it's time to open a nice bottle of wine for this Friday evening and see how much inspiration I can find at the bottom of a glass. :) Merry weekend to one and all!

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Meme O' the Moment: Hope (Passion Quilt)

10 March 2008

I've been tagged by the Repairman for the meme o' the moment: Passion Quilt.


Post a picture or make/take/create your own that captures what YOU are most passionate for kids to learn about.

Give your picture a short title.

Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt.”

Link back to this blog entry.

Include links to 5 (or more) folks in your professional learning network.

So without further ado, here is my picture:

This is Hope, by Gustav Klimt. I thought about "wonder" as the theme for my patch on the quilt, because I find that to be the underlying passion for science. But Hope is there, too, in every answer we seek and every problem we solve. More than that, Hope is what sustains us through our trials and dances with us in our tribulations. I see so many children each day who are living in poverty or dealing with other significant issues. And still others who are losing hope. We have to give them the tools to make their own dreams come true. We need them to keep that small flame of hope going.

Hope can also be playful and full of whimsy. It can dazzle us with promise. The Cigarette Girl charged us to "Start from hope. Live dangerously." It is a motto that I often use---a reminder that every day brings new opportunities and life is meant to be experienced. Whether you ascribe to Annie's schmaltzy "Tomorrow" or Scarlett O'Hara's petulant observation that "Tomorrow is another day." you can't deny that we are always afforded second chances. No one can take away your hope (although some pathetic souls will no doubt try).

Regardless of where you are in your own life, hope reminds us that there is always more. Even if the past is staring over your shoulder as it is with the woman in the painting, hope grows within. It is abundant in nature and is the precious container of our future. Put flowers in your hair and stare life in the face. Be alive with hope.

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular for this meme---but if you would like to play along, leave a note in the comments so I can see what you've added to the quilt.


Christmas Meme

22 December 2007

Someone sent this to me on e-mail---and although the idea is to pass it along in that format, I thought I'd post mine here. If anyone else wants to steal it, go on ahead.

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.
  2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial
  3. When do you put up the tree? About once every three years...right after Thanksgiving.
  4. When do you take down the tree? Christmas Day (hey, there's nothing else to do but eat)
  5. Do you like eggnog? I don't know...I've never tried any.
  6. Favourite gift received as a child? Don't remember. LOL
  7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope.
  8. Hardest person to buy for? My adad, when he was alive. Now, I struggle with bmom's hubby because I don't know him very well.
  9. Easiest person to buy for? Amom
  10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? A metal sculpture of a frog playing the trumpet.
  11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail, natch.
  12. Favourite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? All year long. I like to pick things up when I see a good gift for someone, then I just store it away.
  14. Have you ever regifted a Christmas present? You bet.
  15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? My grandfather's fudge
  16. Clear lights or coloured on the tree? Coloured
  17. Favourite Christmas song? White Christmas by The Drifters
  18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? Stay at home :)
  19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Absolutely
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel this year, but all manner of things have occupied the niche.
  21. Open the presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Morning, these days.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Students on a constant sugar rush.
  23. What I love most about Christmas? Catching up with friends and enjoying some time off to do a few things that make others and myself smile.
Best wishes to you---whatever your traditions!

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Memelicious Wednesday

12 December 2007

Sandra is a true multi-tasker. She is a self-described "microbiologist and molecular biologist turned tenured biotech faculty turned bioinformatics scientist turned entrepreneur. My passion is developing instructional materials for 21st century biology." She makes me feel downright dull by comparison; however, her blog (Discovering Biology in a Digital World) is a must-read for me. It scratches two of my itches at once: hardcore biology and classroom education.

An aside: If the biology stuff isn't how you roll, then click on over to this week's Carnival of Education, hosted by The Colussus of Rhodey.

Ms. Porter has tagged me with a meme that I think I may have done before, but surely there are seven more things I can think of to reveal...

The rules are:

  1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

  2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.

  3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

  4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Without further ado...
  1. I'm a morning person. Yes, one of those people you love to hate. I don't know how it happened. I would much rather be a night owl---there's so many more cool things to do. As it is now, I wake up early and full of energy to get going on the day. It sucks as much as one might imagine.
  2. I don't like to gamble...not even play the nickel slots...not even with other people's money. ("Can I quit now?") I do like card games, but rarely get to play.
  3. I've never changed a baby's diaper nor touched the belly of a Buddha-ish pregnant woman.
  4. I make a damned good margarita. Y'all should come over sometime and I'll knock you nekkid with one. The secret is in the sweet and sour. I boil lots of sugar, water, and fresh squeezed lime juice with a couple of cinnamon sticks. That gets mixed with tequila, grand marnier, and a splash of orange juice. They're sneaky, but ohsosatisfying.
  5. I am a firm believer and supporter of open records for adoptees. I think it's shameful that they are the one class of citizens who are not entitled to their own (original) birth certificates---even moreso that the US won't ratify an international human rights agreement because the agreement specifically describes open records. If you need another place to give charitable contributions, please provide help at Bastard Nation.
  6. Is there a cooler job on the planet than being a Mythbuster? I think not.
  7. I have a polka dot fetish. I don't know why I'm so drawn to the pattern, but I can hardly resist it. When I have my blog template overhauled---it must have dots.
So, there you have it. And now, it's your turn...
If there are others who want to play, join in! The "rules" are a bit squishy as it is---how am I supposed to tag "random" people, fer cryin' out loud. :) Share with us.

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I'm "It"! Run!

29 October 2007

Ms. Cornelius, the sparkling hostess of A Shrewdness of Apes, has tagged me for the latest in meme-fashion---all started by Pharyngula (who is another daily "must read").

First, the rules:
There are a set of questions below that are all of the form, "The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is..." Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

  • You can leave them exactly as is.
  • You can delete any one question.
  • You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question.
  • For instance, you could change "The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is..." to "The best time travel novel in Westerns is...", or "The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is...", or "The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is...".
  • You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form "The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is...".
  • You must have at least one question in your set, or you've gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you're not viable.
  • Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions. Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.

So, without further ado:

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-great-grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-grandparent is Flying Trilobite.

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-
grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Primate Diaries

My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Thus Spake Zuska.

My great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is a k8, a cat, a mission.

My great-great-great-great-grandparent is Monkeygirl.

My great-great-great-grandparent is DancingFish.

My great-great-grandparent is Dr. Brazen Hussy.

My great-grandparent is Addy.

My grandparent is Mommy/prof.

My parent is A Shrewdness of Apes.

The best short story in SciFi/Fantasy is: "Kaleidoscope," by Ray Bradbury.
The best cult movie in comedy is: Airplane!
The best children’s novel in classic fiction is: Wizard of Oz
The best high-fat food in Southern cooking is: chicken fried steak
The best recent movie in comedy is: Idiocracy

Okay---be fruitful and multiply...don't let me go extinct:


Memes and Things

20 August 2007

Epic Adventures are Often Uncomfortable---a most apt name for an edublog, don't you think---has tagged me for the meme du jour. What's not to love about a meme for teachers? And who would I be to refuse the offer to play? I'm not dead yet. :)

So, here we go...
  • I am a good teacher because...I honestly believe that what happens in a classroom is about every kid, every day. I'm not there to pick up a paycheck or count off the days until retirement. I thrive on the creativity and the change.
  • If I weren't a teacher, I would be a...forensic anthropologist. Well, that's what I think I would do. :) The more I read about that career, the more it interests me.
  • My teaching style stay involved. I like to circulate and sit in with different groups. I like to tell stories during the times I lecture. I enjoy getting to know students as individuals.
  • My classroom is...organized. LOL Okay, so I'm a bit anal-retentive about things. I don't like clutter or mess. I do, however, believe in having student work up on the walls and easy access to important information for students.
  • My lesson plans are...fluid. I tend to look at whole units at a time and then work backwards to determine what the major targets of each day should be in order to pull things together. However, I often have to make revisions along the way as I get input from kids and adjust to any unscheduled events.
  • One of my teaching goals help see kids see science in their everyday world---to really connect and understand with this relevant topic.
  • The toughest part of teaching is...figuring out how to get a kid who has turned off from school and learning to reconnect. All too often, the reasons for their shutting down are more heartbreaking than the fact that they've abandoned engagement with the classroom.
  • The thing I love about teaching is...being with kids. I really do enjoy watching them develop over the year...and beyond. Their youthful enthusiasm and exuberance keeps me motivated (and exhausted, at times).
  • A common misconception about teaching's easy. You just open the book and follow the plan, right? I don't think the general public realizes just how much of a diagnostician an effective teacher must much knowledge and expertise must be applied to move students forward.
  • The most important thing I've learned since I started teaching be good to myself so that I can give the most I can to my students. Teachers must remember to be whole people in order to model that for kids. As a professional, of course I give the most to the classroom. But I am more than "just a teacher" and need to nurture that.
Do you want to play? It's still summer and there's lots of daylight left. Grab this meme and run with it!


Screaming Meme-ys

20 July 2007

The Exhausted Intern appears to be getting her second (blogging) wind. She just put out her "'Four Things" meme and tagged a few others of us to play. Let's see how I do.

Four jobs I’ve had

  • Librarian
  • Pseudo-Nanny (just afternoons)
  • Teacher
  • Herbarium Specialist/Greenhouse Tech

Four movies I can watch over and over

Four places I’ve lived

  • Burnaby, British Columbia (twice)
  • Austin, Texas
  • State College, Pennsylvania
  • western Washington

Four TV shows I love

  • Twin Peaks
  • The Tick (animated)
  • Mythbusters
  • darned near anything on Turner Classic Movies

Four places I’ve vacationed

  • Colorado
  • South Dakota
  • France
  • England

Four of my favorite dishes

  • Homemade flour tortillas (yes, lard and all)
  • Texas Brisket
  • Steamed snow crab
  • Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes (I like to add some mini-chocolate chips to the batter)

Four sites I visit daily

Four places I would rather be right now

Four People I Am Tagging
  • Four people who would love to play! It's summer---get your blog on and meme with us!


Meme Attack

04 July 2007

Frumteacher and 100 Farmers both tagged me with the meme du jour while I was away last week and I'm just now getting caught up on things.

The rules are 1. Let others know who tagged you. 2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves. 3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts. 4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

It's summer and time to play, right?

  1. The name on my original birth certificate is "Christine Frances." My birthfather was a Catholic and thought naming me after Christ and St. Francis would confer some sort of protection as they sent me off into the world. Mind you, my middle name was first spelled "Francis," but because that was a "boy" name, the government wouldn't allow it. My birthmother had a difficult enough time getting my birthfather to sign the birth certificate the first time...and wasn't sure she could get him to do it a second time. But she did.
  2. I'm allergic to strawberries. There is an enormous patch of them at my house and I happily allow the birds to consume the pretty red berries that emerge in the summer.
  3. If I had my path in life to chart all over again from age 17, I would have worked toward becoming a forensic anthropologist. Not that I don't feel comfortable and successful in my career...and I suppose that I'm not too old to start over...but having had some time out in the world has opened up my mind to more possibilities than I would have ever known about growing up in a small town. Maybe I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. :)
  4. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books...nor seen any of the films. I think I may be the one person on the planet who has not contributed to the wealth of J.K. Rowling. Ditto for J.R.R. Tolkien('s estate).
  5. When I moved to Washington 11 years ago, I really considered myself Hispanic, by culture. After spending most of my life in a Tex-Mex speaking town with traditions strongly influenced by "border culture" (including food, holidays, etc.), I more strongly identified with that ethnicity than anything. However, the longer I have been away, the more that part of me slips into the background. I am really half Russian, and a quarter each British and French.
  6. I collect small hearts (the shape, not the organ) carved out of different kinds of stone.
  7. I get a lot of satisfaction out of working with my hands. I think it's because I don't have a career where there is much in the way of tangible products. There are so many things I'd like to learn to do: woodworking, metal work/welding, creating mosaics, etc. For now, I do whatever projects are within my skill set; but I look forward to expanding on that.
  8. Making biscuits eludes me. I can successfully prepare nearly anything in the kitchen, but every time I make biscuits (even under the watchful gaze of an expert), they turn out like rocks.
As this meme has burned its way through a good deal of the edusphere at this point, I tag anyone who would like to play, too! You're it!

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Tag, You're It!

19 February 2007

Mrs. Bluebird was kind enough to point to me as a thinking blogger. She perhaps has more (misguided?) faith in my brain than I do. :)

Yesterday, I was doing some research for an upcoming paper and stumbled across this quote:
In order to know what you know or think, you need to engage not only in debate with others, but also in reflective practice in terms of how you derived your views and how your views are being received by others. Writing is a key way in which to explore what you truly know or indeed the gaps within your knowings. ---P. Green, 2005, Spaces of Influence

Blogging fills this need for many people. It is a space to reflect, to debate, and to think. Yes, it also is the area where some of us rant and shake our tiny fists...even a prison where we put the ideas we just can't carry around in our heads anymore. For many of the people I work with, blogs are a novelty and not to be taken seriously. The same goes for people in my degree program. It could be that some of them are not willing to be so public with their thinking about life as a teacher or student; but my hunch is that most of them don't feel like they have the time to think or that doing so wouldn't be worthwhile. At the same time most of them are dying for some attention and for someone to listen and engage, they shut off one outlet that could get them where they'd like to go.

The rules of this meme are that I should write about five blogs that make me think. Many of the blogs I read have already been tagged.
  • Jenny D. has amazing questions...deep questions. Her posts often cause me to ponder things for a few days and is one of the few spots where I feel absolutely driven to comment. The conversation is just too interesting not to jump in. I just wish there was a bottle of wine involved
  • Melinama over at Pratie Place makes me think about cultivating my own sense of intellectual curiosity. She is the embodiment of lifelong learning. Painting, music, telenovelas, and more are all stimuli in her world...and lucky us, she shares.
  • Perhaps not a traditional blog, indexed is a place I go to find new representations of ideas and connections among them. The inspiration here has been of great help at meetings recently. People in my office have had some fun with it. One of my favourite comments has been "I feel a Venn coming on!" during the middle of a discussion. We think we need t-shirts with "Veni, Vidi, Venni" on them. (I came, I saw, I Venned.)
  • I enjoy the writing over at Get Lost, Mr. Chips and Öğretmen. Although it might appear that there isn't much in common, they both have to navigate foreign classrooms each day...although one of them has to do it in Turkish. They make me think about my own world---what I do and don't like...make me value what I have...and long for something different.
It is difficult to pick five blogs. I enjoy everything I have on my sidebar---and some others that I'm not ready to list there yet. The Peeping Tom in me appreciates that people provide these windows into their personal and professional lives. It's good food for thought.


Go Index Yourself

14 January 2007

What would you put on a catalog card for your blog? Go here and make one of your own.

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What Kind Are You Packing?

29 December 2006

The BBC has a fun little quiz you can take to see if you think more like a man or a woman. Some of my answers surprised me. There's a test where you're provided a pair of eyes and four possible emotions to go with them. You have to pick the matching emotion. I got 10 out of 12 right. Ditto for the spatial reasoning where you have to choose which pictures show a rotation of the original graphic. I screwed up on the first part of the word matching portion because I didn't read the directions correctly and neglected to use commas to separate words.

The hardest part? I couldn't find my metric ruler (and you need one to measure your fingers). So, if you just have a standard ruler or tape measure in your house, here's a handy place to go to get it converted to millimeters.

Go play and see what sort of brain you're packing!


Been There...Done That

11 November 2006

This is shamelessly stolen from Ms. Cornelius, but it's a rather fun little meme. Looks like Graycie enjoyed it, too! The items in bold are things that I've done. (I changed a couple of words from Corny's version.) What about you? What have you done?

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Rio Grande River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a radio show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life



02 February 2006

No matter where you roam among the blogs these days, you're going to run across a meme. What the heck is that? Well, it comes from an idea that pieces of culture can be passed---similar to how genes are passed---but without all the biochemistry. Maybe more like a cold? :)

Doc Porter over in Seattle "tagged" me with a recent meme. The instructions are
  1. Go into your archives.
  2. Find your 23rd post.
  3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
  5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

My 23rd post was on the 9th of February, 2005...just five short days after having my gallbladder removed and acquiring a nasty infection in the incision that was made at my navel. On the 9th, I had been in to see the surgeon, who lanced my bellybutton and started a drain that would last for weeks. (TMI yet?) So my fifth sentence was "Save that particular curse for only the worst of your enemies."

Trust me, a year later and I'm still thinking that having someone de-pus your navel is a bad thing.

I'm supposed to tag five others. I'm going to tag two who are new(er) edubloggers. Perhaps this might get you to stop by their place and encourage them. Who knows what they'll be blogging about in a year. If anyone else would like to be tagged, just let me know. Queen of the Cottage and Not Quite Grown Up, you're It!


Help! Police! I've been memed!!

25 May 2005 first meme. I almost feel like I should take a picture of my blog. :)

Coach Brown was kind enough to send this one along: Choose any five of these: "If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure..."

If I could be a bonnie pirate...I'd set sail for all manner of imaginary places: Utopia, Pepperland, Wonderland, Narnia and all points in between. My Tall Ship would be very fleet and yare. I’d call her "In Search of Seamen." (Ahem.) I wouldn't be interested in plunder, but rather knowledge. What an opportunity to be able to see the know what others do not. I want an outfit like Captain Morgan (but no mustache). And high-heeled black boots so I could kick some Blue Meanie butt.

If I could be a doctor...I would take time to talk with and get to know my patients. I would listen to what was happening in their lives and ask what was on their minds. I'd hope they'd feel comfortable enough to ask me anything they might be concerned with. While I would certainly keep their best interests in mind, I would do my best to never lecture nor scold. I'd like to work in a rural area that needed me and be part of the community.

If I could be an inn-keeper...I'd have a "Bed and Breakfast." The house would be big, but not intimidating or frou-frou. I'd want my guests to feel welcome---they could peruse my library or sit by the fire in the livingroom. I'd like to hear about their travels: where they'd been and where they were going next. I'd look forward to trying out all sorts of new recipes for their breakfasts (as I enjoy cooking) There would be wine and treats in the afternoons. Everyone needs to feel good about coming home at the end of the day. Even if it is a borrowed home for a weary traveler.

If I could be a writer...I would write novels. I like the idea of doing some historically oriented science story. I love to do research and would really enjoy getting involved in chasing down all sorts of details related to what it was like to live during a certain period. I have often thought of doing a Typhoid Mary type story set in Seattle at the beginning of the 20th century. A female doctor would make for an interesting protagonist.

If I could be a scientist...(okay, so I already sorta am) I would be a forensic anthropologist. This is the one job where "if I could do it all over again" I would pursue without fail. I have always enjoyed doing puzzles. This area of crime-solving fascinates me due to its precision (in the form of measurement and tools) and inference (in the form of deductive reasoning).

Do you want to be "it"? Let me know and I'll tag you.