Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I would like to call your attention to a link down in my fun links section that is particular good, imho.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is essentially a fictional journal / blog of a 7th grader. It is hilarious and makes lots of good points.

For example, if you read next week's entries, you can get a classic example of a bad teacher. His English teacher reminds me of my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Moody. She is just about the only teacher in my whole K-12 career that made me mad. Every year she read Little House on the Prairie Books to her classes. Instead of reading to us, she usually just complained to us about how bad we were so that she never had time to read us. Excuse me, we're third graders - that's your classroom management problem and telling us about it does nothing to solve it. Then, one day a parent came to talk to her during class. So she left the class area into the hallway. I can't say she left the classroom, because we were an open concept school and we didn't have classrooms. All third grade classes were in one large open area divided only by cubby shelves. Same for every other grade except Kindergarten, which actually had two separate rooms. But kindergarten had some overlapping space - namely the centers (fun!) and the pit - a literal pit in the ground where we met for story time, etc. The library also had a pit. How I loved the pit - it was just cool! In kindergarten, the pit was associated with the filly milly box, a box that if we were good we got to reach into and pull out a prize to take home - like pink plastic butterfly magnets or spider rings!
I guess people think the open concept is weird, but having grown up in it we never found a problem with it and liked it. We were not distracted by the other classes but we did know when they had specials like art or music and when their lunch and recess times were and if they got in really big trouble. But other than that, we were too busy in our classes to know what they were doing. It did kind of unite us - we thought of ourselves as a grade as a whole instead of a bunch of separate classes exclusively. I'm a person who likes to see the big picture - so I liked knowing what was going on in the other classes yet it never distracted me. At the same time, that is why I like living in Colorado - you look outside and you can actually SEE WHERE YOU ARE and where you are going - not like those annoying places out east where you'd need to burn down a forest to get a lay of the land. I feel claustrophobic driving on those highways out there where there is nothing to look at but the road and even then you can't see but 400 yards of road in front of you because it turns every few seconds.

Back to Ms. Moody and the parent. While she left, we had nothing to do. So, we talked. We were not way out of hand, we were not throwing things, we were not out of our seats. Well, when she came back she threw a hissy fit and went on a tirade about how awful we were for talking while she was talking to the parent. Then she did the dumbest thing imaginable. She asked third graders to tattle on each other and tell her who were the main culprits. Well, duh, we were all talking. But, no, she let people raise their hands, she picked some of them to call on, and then that kid got to tell one someone and say they were talking. And once your name was given up by someone, you were not allowed to give any names to her because that would be retaliation. Obviously, my name was given or I probably wouldn't remember this at the age of 30. There were kids who had been talking more loudly or whatever who did not get called. Those of us who were given up had to stay after school, where she went on about how bad we were and how we would lose centers and recess for a week and how we needed to write letters to our parents about what we did. Then she looked right at me, singled me out, and said how she knew my mother and knew how disappointed my mother would be. I was probably in tears by this point. When I met my mom later, I told her what happened and she thought exactly what I thought, that it was ridiculous. I didn't get angry until later because up to that point in my life teachers could do no wrong. I had always practically worshipped my teachers and been a really good student. I stayed that way, but she became an exception to the rule in my book. The statement she said to me about my mother was totally false. She didn't really know my mother and I knew my mother would not think it was that big of a deal and be disappointed in me, and she wasn't.

So go read Diary of a Wimpy Kid starting here Day 86
to read about a Ms. Moody - like teacher, then if you like it you may find yourself going back to read from the first day of the journal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

If NCLB were applied to football...

Football Season - "No Child Left Behind"

The Federal government has announced that all high school football teams
must meet "No Child Left Behind" legislation beginning next season. The
following summation outlines the plan:

1. No team will be declared a winner, as that will leave 50% of other
participants behind.

2. All high schools will be divided into districts with eight teams per
district. Every team must finish in at least third place to be proficient.

3. No tournaments will be held as this would result in one champion. (The BCS experimented with this concept in NCAA D-1 football.)

4. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the
championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on
probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held
accountable. (In a recent experiment, the University of Nebraska football
program modeled this theory.)

5. All teams must score at least 21 points, but no defense can allow more
than 7 points.

6. All participants will be expected to have the same football skills at
the same time and in the same conditions; no exceptions for interest in
football, desire in athletics, genetic abilities or disabilities... ALL

7. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without
instruction, because the coaches will be busy using all their instructional
time with the athletes that aren't interested in football, having limited
athletic ability, and whose parents don't like football.

8. Games will be played year-around, but statistics and records will only
be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games.

9. This will create a NEW AGE of sports where every school is expected
to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal
goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child will be left behind.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Third of Three

Last post for Sunday.

My friend's daughter:


Yesterday I had IMP training in Denver. It was a small group but good training as always. I have AP Statistics training next Saturday in Denver as well. Maybe I won't carpool to that one so that I could try to go to the meat store to get some halal meat - it has been quite a while since I've had meat. But we'll see. If it is still the month of Ramadan Saturday, that will put me up to 8 days I'll need to make up. Maybe this year I'll actually do it right after Eid. Well, I always say that but don't often do it. I am disappointed with myself over how I did on Laylatul Qadr amaals. I just conked out. I've also had trouble focusing this year. Astaghfirullah.

from the book "A Divine Perspective On Rights"  Imam Sajjad Ali Ibn al-Hussein(as)

On your tongue (strange looking word):

And the right of the tongue is that you consider it too noble for obscenity, accustom it to good, direct it to politeness, do not use it except in situations of needs and benefits of the religion and this world, and refrain from any meddling in which there is little to be gained; and there is no security from its harm that accompanies its small benefits. It is the witness to and the evidence of the existence of the intellect. The demonstration of a intelligent person's intellect is through his reputation of good speech. And there is no power but in God the High, the Great.

 "A man is hidden behind his tongue"

The tongue will unveil the curtain and display our real character.