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All is well, all is well

Frazzled morning - suddenly I had an overwhelming amount of work related stuff. I also had incredibly supportive and encouraging coworkers. Their outpouring of care and their reaction actually made me feel less overwhelmed. And I made what felt like a dent in it before the day ended, so that helped, too.

Nice students, helped, too.

The day ended on a really high note. High marks.

And I definitely need a Mr. Work Work icon.


Monkeys used the phrase Lazy Sunday today


Parents came up and we had Firehouse subs and watched an episode of Father Brown. Turns out the choir went to Firehouse, too, so we got to see them when Mom and I went in to pick up sandwiches!

Got a call from D.T. who also bumped into someone where she and her mom went for lunch after church.

Ate too much, rode a little bike. Monkeys helped me with an AFC project.

Watched Columbo and Criminal Intent. I love detectives. :D


I need a Mister Work Work icon.

I need to write posts if only because I have so many cool userpics that are going to waste.

Today -
Making Strides - my stint as co-chair for the registration table went really well. It feels weird working for a cause I question (we don't need awareness, we need a cure; corporate greed; save the women not the ta-tas) but I want to support my friend, and she definitely needed a co-chair.
Shopping with Mom - shopping while tired is strange! But we had fun anyway. :)
Sherlock - love JB's portrayal

Ate too much. Road a little bike. Vacuumed. Worked on prepping pictures from Strides for the AFC page. Very, very tired.



Nine Ways to Improve Class Discussions
By: Maryellen Weimer, PhD
© 2015 Faculty Focus

I once heard class discussions described as “transient instructional events.” They pass through the class, the course, and the educational experiences of students with few lingering effects. Ideas are batted around, often with forced participation; students don’t take notes; and then the discussion ends—it runs out of steam or the class runs out of time. If asked a few days later about the exchange, most students would be hard-pressed to remember anything beyond what they themselves might have said, if that. So this post offers some simple suggestions for increasing the impact of the discussions that occur in our courses.

Teaching Professor Blog

1. Be more focused and for less time – It’s easy to forget that students are newcomers to academic discourse. Academics can go on about a topic of interest for days; hours, if it’s a department meeting. Students aren’t used to exchanges that include points, counterpoints, and connections to previous points with references to research, related resources, and previous experience. Early on, students do better with short discussions—focused and specific. Think 10 minutes, maybe 15.

2. Use better hooks to launch the discussion – Usually discussion starts with a question. That works if it’s a powerful question—one immediately recognized as a “good question.” Prompts of that caliber require thoughtful preparation; they don’t usually pop into our minds the moment we need them. But questions aren’t the only option. A pithy quotation, a short scenario that requires content application, a hypothetical case or situation, a synopsis of a relevant current event—all of these can jump-start a discussion.

3. Pause – Stop the discussion and ask students to think about what’s been said so far, or ask them to write down what struck them as a key idea, a new insight, a question still unanswered, or maybe where they think the discussion should go next. Think short pauses, 30 seconds, maybe a minute.

4. Have note takers – Ask whether there are two or three students who’d be willing to take notes during the discussion. Then post their notes on the course website or otherwise distribute them. This should count as class participation! It gives introverts a way to contribute comfortably. You might encourage some extrovert who has tendency to over-participate to make your day by volunteering to quietly take copious notes, which he or she could use to summarize the discussion when it ends.

5. Talk less or not at all – Too many classroom discussions are still dominated by teacher talk. You will talk less if you assign yourself a recorder role. You’ll key in on the essence of comments, record the examples, and list the questions. You’ll be listening closely and will probably hear more than you usually do because you aren’t thinking about what to say next. Or you can function as the discussion facilitator. Recognize those who are volunteering. Encourage others to speak. Point out good comments that merit response. Ask what questions the conversation is raising. Challenge those with different views to share them. Do everything you can to make it a good student discussion.

6. End with something definitive – Return to the hook that launched the discussion. Ask some students to write a one-sentence summary of the discussion. Ask other students to list the questions the discussion has answered. And ask a third group to identify unanswered questions that emerged during the discussion. Finally, use what students have written to help them bring closure to the discussion.

7. Use the discussion – Keep referring to it! “Remember that discussion we had about X? What did we conclude?” Refer to individual comments made during the discussion. “Paula had an interesting insight about Y. Who remembers what she said? Does it relate to this topic?” And if you really want students to listen up and take discussions seriously, use a comment made in the discussion as the frame for a short essay question on the next exam or quiz.

8. Invite students to suggest discussion topics – If the suggestion is good, reward the student with a few bonus points and ask him or her to launch the discussion by explaining why it’s a topic that merits discussion.

9. Discuss discussions – Briefly is fine. “Why do teachers use them? What keeps everyone listening? How do they help us learn?” Or do a debriefing of a discussion that just occurred. “So, the discussion we just had, say we’d like to improve it. What would you recommend?”


PBS News Hour

Your holiday cheat sheet to Yom Kippur

BY WENDY THOMAS RUSSELL September 22, 2015 at 12:48 PM EDT

... Excerpt ...

Coolest thing about Yom Kippur: During their ever-so-long day of synagogue services, participants take part in a “group confession.” They confess to being aggressive, slanderous, acting callously, and a number of other things — usually involving behaving badly toward others in speech or deed. The cool thing is that the sins are confessed in the plural — “we” have done this, “we” have done that — emphasizing “communal responsibility for sins.” Now, I don’t personally believe in “sins” AT ALL. But it does make sense that if more of us could adopt even a little of this attitude of communal responsibility, then “we” might be better off — at the very least, more compassionate — as people, as neighbors and as human beings.

Conveying meaning to kids: Yom Kippur is about saying you’re sorry. And that’s a skill kids need to know! I suggest taking a bit of time as a family to think of three things you are sorry for — big things, tiny things, it doesn’t matter. And then talk about the importance of saying you’re sorry when you hurt people’s feelings. “Sorry” is such a small word, and yet it’s one of the most powerful words we can say. Think of all the little hurts you’ve suffered and carried around with you that could have been completely wiped away had the offending person simply said “I’m sorry.” You might also check out “Martha doesn’t say sorry!” a children’s book by Samantha Berger. And don’t forget “Celebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays” by Judi Gross and Bari Weissman.

Appropriate greeting: “Have an easy fast.” (“Happy Yom Kippur” is not considered appropriate, as Yom Kippur is not a “happy” holiday.)

Icon Set - Mr. & Mrs. Murder

And my new favorite show - Mr. and Mrs. Murder

 photo MMR4.jpg  photo MMM11.jpg  photo MMM14.jpg  photo MMM8.jpg
 photo MMM9.jpg  photo MMM13.jpg  photo MMM12.jpg  photo MMM10.jpg
 photo MMM6.jpg  photo MMM2.jpg  photo MMM7.jpg  photo MMM1.jpg  photo MMM3.jpg

Icon Set - Thin Man and one Columbo

I don't know if I even remember how to do this. I tried making some icons today - Thin Man and one Columbo

 photo Colombo1.jpg  photo ThinManPhone.jpg  photo ThinManLovingTouch.jpg  photo MyrnaLoyPaper.jpg  photo MyrnaLoyChristmas.jpg
 photo MyrnaLoyPhone.jpg  photo ThinManLovingTough.jpg  photo MyrnaLoyBahHumbug.jpg  photo MyrnaLoyRedTheNews.jpg  photo Myrna_Scrunch_Face.jpg
Inspiration from outside one's self is like the heat in an oven. It makes passable Bath buns. But inspirational from within is like a volcano: It changes the face of the world.

page 203

the weed that strings the hangman's bag
Alan Bradley
Good point here:

To be honest, I can't think of another Avenger whose story Natasha could have swapped with who wouldn't, in some way, raise questions of whether the story was influenced by gender stereotypes. If she had Tony's story, she'd be the one who messed up and wouldn't listen, who created the need for a rescue. If she had Cap's story, she'd be the one who tries to keep everyone from being vulgar – the behavior cop. If she had the Hulk's story, she'd be the one whose superpower is being carried away by her uncontrollable emotions. If she had Thor's story, she'd be the one who doesn't have very much to do and is omitted from a large stretch of the movie. If she had Hawkeye's story, she'd be the one who just wanted to go home and be with the kids.

Any of these things could look like a stereotype. This is a very, very hard piece of ground to walk without tripping over something: Whedon fans tend to be disappointed because they had their expectations set by Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it is the rankest of cultural amnesia to forget how frequently people took issue with elements of that show's treatment of issues around sexual violence and sexuality.


Black Widow, Scarce Resources And High-Stakes Stories
MAY 12, 201512:14 PM ET
Linda Holmes

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