Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is a re-post from January

and I kept thinking of it as I watched Obama and the crowd.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Eating in the state dining room

This was Shoshie's poetry choice yesterday.
I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

This is the picture that came to my mind when she was reading it. Langston Hughes died in 1967. It took 40 more years for this. I know black candidates have had primary success in the past, from Shirley Chisholm to, most successfully, Jesse Jackson. But this time, there just may be a black first family.

At that time I was supporting someone else and Obama's still not as progressive as I like. But for now, he is my candidate. And I am proud to support him. PRM

What I did yesterday

Shoshie and I, with a friend and her daughter, stood for hours, sometimes in the rain. Yakov had to work so he missed it. I made a 2 minute video and the best part is the crowd noise around me. I grew up listening to preaching in small southern churches or tent meetings and sometimes there would be a similar crowd response to his comments with "amen" or "you know it" or "yes, sir". PRM

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fun, Week 1

It has been a bit rushed today and maybe not as fun as I hoped. We started the day by shopping for Rosh Hashanah clothes. Someone has grown a bit taller since last year. Some one has grown wider. No names will be mentioned.

Noach is going on a scout camping trip later today so we had to pack for that. Poetry Friday was brief as a result. He did find a poem which he shared. He is a great fan of Poetry Friday and will keep me on task if I just write it down on the weekly planner.

The best new thing today was the Think! challenge. I stumbled on this last week in my blog wanderings. Noach took the challenge and made this He raised the apple 6 inches above the table and it stayed there for about 3 minutes before falling. He only used a little pinch of the marshmallows, three straws, three toothpicks, three bottle caps, and the apple.

We had fun with this and will be adding it to our Friday Fun activities. PRM

What about trickle up economics?

I don't understand why we can't address this bailout to the homeowners who are facing foreclosure. And I think the NY Times is with me from this editorial today,
It’s unacceptable that lawmakers have yet to come out squarely in favor of bold homeowner relief in the bailout bill...
We could make a strong moral argument that the government has a greater responsibility to help homeowners than it does to bail out Wall Street. But we don’t have to. Basic economics argues for a robust plan to stanch foreclosures and thereby protect the taxpayers’ $700 billion investment.
I don't trust Paulson myself. He is one of them, those who brought us to this place. And I don't think, despite what he says, that he has the best interest of the taxpayer at heart.

I know I am out of my league in this issue but whenever Bush declares a crisis, I flinch and start looking for the lie. Maybe this one is the wolf, I don't know. And it seems that Bush can't pay attention until there is a crisis, or someone tells him there is a crisis.

All in all, I'm ready for a new president. And I want Obama to show some leadership here so I can feel that he will be better. But I find myself missing Hilary right now. PRM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Brown-headed Nuthatch, Sitta pusilla

This has been one of my favorite birds to watch this summer but also one of the most difficult to photograph. I finally got a picture that is not blurry a few days ago. I wish I could show him hanging upside down to feed or hopping along a tree limb. They are quite small. And cute. PRM

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Science labs, Week 3

Monday's labs were some of the best ever. The kids were all engaged in the material.

The younger kids did the Six Cent Top lab from Teaching Physics with Toys. They made tops and then timed the spins with changes in mass to the tops. We explored rotational motion and inertia.

The teens worked from the TOPS module, Analysis. This is organized in task cards that the pairs work through at their own pace. I made three copies of the cards, one for each group, and laminated them. On some I put the answers on the back of the card and some I left blank to assure that I talked with them about their results.

I love the tone of the cards, gently urging the students to conserve their resources, to reuse materials. Household materials are usually all that is required, for example, we analyzed alum, corn starch, baking soda, salt and sugar. I like the clothespin/paper clip tongs.

We will use more sophisticated equipment later on but I think the TOPS modules are quite good at demonstrating essential chemical lab principles in straightforward ways. They are deceptively simple. PRM

Just do what I say

Have I EVER led you astray?
"President Bush urged Congress on Monday to act fast."

And then in the package is this statement,
"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
I don't think so.

You just know somebody is getting screwed and it is likely you and me. PRM

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Poetry Friday

I forgot all about Poetry Friday until some blog/article maze I was going through this morning led me to this article and I had one of those "Duh" moments. We have always loved Poetry Friday.

It is part of my effort to make Friday different from other schooldays. I try to do math games, puzzles and other fun stuff. I'll have to remember to add PF back into the schedule next Friday. PRM

Friday, September 19, 2008

Living in a swing state

This is the first time since we moved here that NC has been considered a swing state in a national election. And what a difference it makes.

Michelle Obama was in Greensboro yesterday. I did not go but if the teens had been available to go with me, I would have gone.

I hope Obama will come sometime before the election.

Last Saturday, I canvassed for Kay Hagan, the Democratic candidate running against Liddy Dole, our worthless Republican senator. This Saturday I will spend a few hours registering voters. Shoshie is going with me. PRM

**I must have been receiving my email subliminally because there was a message at 7:15am that Barak Obama would be in Charlotte on Sunday.

Don't forget

it's Talk like a Pirate Day, mateys. Arrgh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I don't think we really qualify

as a geek family BUT this post at GeekDad mentions some of our favorite actors. Bruce Campbell and Ron Perlman especially. And several of us have read Bruce's book, If Chins Could Kill. It looks like he has another book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way. I'll have to see if the library has it. PRM

Wordless Wednesday

Off to work as a food sample guy at Costco. PRM

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Look what the dog carried in

I heard a CLUNK in the laundry room. Jasper had come in the dog door, carrying this fellow (or gal?). Just what we need, another rescued reptile. After an hour, he is beginning to peek out. I think he is pining for the cool, wet outdoors. And he'll be back there soon.PRM
edited for spelling mistake, hoping there's not another one

Thursday, September 11, 2008

He's a mensch

and he's my firstborn. Today is his birthday. He's a doting father and a loving, thoughtful husband. And I am proud to be his mom. PRM

Look, a chicken

If you don't have any good ideas, don't want to take responsibility for your actions, then yell fire, or in this case, sexism.

John McCain is a man who calls his wife a c**t in public, thinks it's okay to tell an ugly joke about the then teenaged Chelsea Clinton and NOW he has the chutzpah to cry sexism.

Give me a break! PRM

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If you could see me now

you could probably detect the smile that I cannot fully hide. You see, I am sitting across the table from a young fellow who is doing math, math he has chosen to do.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought Your Business Math, Pet Store from Simply Charlotte Mason. Yesterday he picked a logo for his store and we decorated his business notebook. Today he began to set up the business. While I am doing other important things, like blogging and reading blogs, he is setting up his inventory and making price tags, which requires figuring a markup of 100 or 150%. This is not hard math for him but it does require him to both read and do mental math and these are not tasks he seeks to do. And he is excited and having fun. Jasper is hoping not to be part of the inventory.

This year we are doing math in a more gentle way, Life of Fred Fractions and probably Decimals, before the year is out. I am adding in the Pet Shop and some puzzles and games. I also have lesson plans from Julie at Living Math that I plan to start gradually as part of our history. We are reading math daily, Murderous Maths, The Essential Arithmetricks right now.

I am reading math myself, The Joy of Mathematics by Theoni Pappas. PRM

Back to work

Yesterday was the first day of lab with my old and some new kids. This year I took on a younger group as well as the teen group. I spent hours this weekend getting everything together. That was added to the hours I spent months ago picking curricula. And ordering lab equipment.

First I spent an hour with 6 kids, 10 - 14, doing lab activities in Teaching Physics with Toys. I planned to work through the book in order but scrapped that plan Friday when it just seemed illogical to do the first experiment which investigated rotational inertia before doing the second which explored inertia, in general.

They built cars out of K'nex, watched the movement of a marble placed on the car as it resisted a change in its state of motion when a force was applied to the car. I need to remember to take more pictures.

Finally they put a doll on the car and ran it into a wall. Well, except for the creation of foul odors or explosions, not much is more fun than ramming dolls and cars into the wall. Then they simulated seat belts and shoulder belts and rammed the cars a few more times.

Here the doll has been enclosed in a safety cage with wheels to roll down the slide in the playground. One final experiment. An extracurricular activity.

The second hour was spent with 4 teens who were beginning chemistry. We began with the concept of density. I used the TOPS unit #9, Floating and Sinking. Next week I will go over the scientific method, how to formulate a hypothesis, test it and write up the report formally.

I enjoyed getting back in the routine. But two separate labs is a lot of work. At least for now. PRM

Friday, September 5, 2008

Michelle Obama Has a Rabbi in Her Family

Enough said!


Who knew I would agree with John McCain?

"We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children."
He's right there. We need to change. Those people who have been in charge for the last 8 years - outta here! Elizabeth Dole, go home, which, of course, is no longer North Carolina! Howard Coble, find a job! And John McCain, you are NOT the change, you are the past. And Sarah Palin, more anti-science ignorance, fear and anger. Great!, a warrior president and an oil (wo)man VP. Again.
"In America, we change things that need to be changed."
Yes! Vote for Obama! PRM

** I'll get off politics soon. Lab starts on Monday. And we are doing some interesting things with math this year. I'm just depressed and sad.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Short political statement

If you are tempted to vote for herRemember herAnd themAnd DON'T. PRM

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Family trip to the mountains editionOur home thereWe listened to the stream and looked out over the beautiful yard.Played with fire.This was the best view.PRM