Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Notes: Week of 10/21

1. Photos this week show a variety of doors that Judy and I have encountered in our travels… What people passed through these doors? Where were they going? Where have they been? What do they talk about?

Northern Spain - Farm house

2.OCCUPY MOVEMENT: The most recent National Journal poll finds 59% of Americans either "completely agree or mostly agree" with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the "occupy" movement, I urge you to read and understand why this movement has come about. Many Americans are frustrated with our unresponsive Congress, with financial interests run amok, with our industries maximizing profits by shipping operations ( and jobs ) offshore, by a government bought and sold through lobbyists, by 401k plans "sold" to us an the solution for retirement - and now its clear the excessive fees are extracted to give huge profits for Wall Street firms!.

Twenty First Century Gasoline Station

I am frustrated with a congress that has consistently responded to the requests of the "one percent" and paid little attention to the needs of the "99 percent". ( 81% of Americans currently disapprove of the actions of the current Congress.) I am frustrated with self serving state governments that enact new laws to block voters (of the opposite political party) from exercising their right to vote...particularily older voters, minorities, and young voters. This is not how a government of the people, by the people, for the people should function. The Occupy movement is still amorphous – the goals indefinite – I am watching carefully to see what form it will take.

Tool Shed - Bodie - California

Predictably the right wing press is using derogatory name-calling in an effort to demonize and delegitimize the "occupy movement"… It is not a "mob"… It is not "anarchy"… ( look up these words in your dictionary). It is a widely varied group - young and old, workers, professionals, unemployed, male and female... united in the practice of peaceful demonstration of our American right to "peacefully assembly" and "express grievances"..

Bodie - Bank Door

Quite a good short video cartoon on the “occupy movement”.

Recommended video – get past the intro. to the Marine Sergeant speaking:

Country House - Delaware USA

3. INTERNS AND STUDENT TEACHERS: My life is blessed this fall – I am “field supervisor” for ten “Teach-For-America” interns (they teach 5 classes a day) and three Mills College student teachers. (1 class a day, but carry a full load of college classes as well). It is my task to observe their teaching practice – take notes of what I see – to comment on what is creative and effective and to ask questions about those areas that I don’t understand or where changes are appropriate.

Street entrance to a home compound - E. Turkey

If appropriate, I offer teaching materials or management ideas. I travel at far north as central Berkeley and as far south as Union City … most of my teachers are in various parts of Oakland. When possible, I attempt to schedule two or three visits on a day… (I am spending a lot on time on the free-ways these days.)

Central Turkey - Kapadocia

There is a predictable sequence that many new teachers pass through in the first weeks of teaching- First there is the alarming awareness of how much work and how many details are involved in teaching! How to meet the variety of student needs? How to make time to plan and evaluate and administer for "all those students".

Now by the end of the first quarter most teachers are feeling like it is "coming together". Most of the new teachers have developed positive class cultures, and most have found a way to balance their planning, evaluation, and administration responsibilities– and perhaps save some time for their own life outside of school.

Massai Hut - Tanzania

When I visit a teacher I ask if, by the end of the day, they are generally feeling OK about their practice… by now most of them say they love their teaching, love their students, but still feel challenged by the demands. Most students have moved beyond thinking about teaching "the whole class" to recognizing and dealing with the many individual student needs.

Swaziland Farm House

New teachers come to realize that each student comes to their class with different experiences and past learning. They come from different cultures, and different family attitudes toward learning, they come with different erroneous beliefs and ideas, some come with negative emotional baggage that impedes their ability to learn. One size of teacher response does not fit all!

Public House - Bodie

What an amazing thing – to teach young people to think – to empower them to become problem solving! (I think this is why some groups favor teaching students to memorize facts – problem solvers are “dangerous”.

Shop - Czech Republic

4. CARBON IN OUR WORLD: This earth of ours is not making any new carbon – we have a fixed amount. Carbon is special because it can form so many kinds of compounds. It can combine with Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and a few other elements to make an amazing variety of molecules.

Wealthy Home - Bodie

The DNA in my cells (which I inherited from my parents and my long ago ancestors) is itself based on carbon. But DNA molecules carry instructions for making my many different kinds of proteins…just exactly so. Some of my proteins make up my structure, but others make up my control chemicals - my enzymes and hormones... All made mostly of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen atoms.

Church Yard - Central Turkey

Now the great curiosity of it all is that I build my proteins from the carbon I eat in plant and animal products. I get my hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen from wheat and corn, from Norwegian sardines and African peanuts, from Beef, Lamb and Chicken…

Parsonage - Bodie

Each of these sources got their carbon from somewhere else… Plants get their carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air, and animals eat other animals or plants. So I must conclude that the carbon in my cells has been recycled again and again from every sort of plant and animal since life on earth began…

Village Hut - NE of Arusha Tanzania

from dinosaurs, and woolly mammoth, from spiders and butterflies, from the people living during the time of the Roman empire, from African tribesmen, from the legions of Genghis Khan… I have shared Carbon with them all. Every single atom of carbon in my body has been used countless times before – and now it is my turn to use these atoms – but when I am through with them they will continue to be used by other organisms.

Shuttered Business - Prague - CZ

Every time I exhale I release carbon dioxide back into the air … When I get a hair cut some of my carbon ends up on the barber room floor.… I just have temporary loan of all these carbon atoms. In fact most of the carbon that is part of my body today has been replaced more than once in my life time!

I remember the first time I realized the truth of the Carbon cycle - I was still in school - it left me feeling a bit of disquiet... I thought of the protein in my arm muscles to be "special"- to be part of "me"... the very idea of sharing my carbon with the whole world seemed strange indeed!

5. Recipe of the week: I have used this multiple times - and I love the result!