Logic and Sense

Spending most days surrounded by teenagers, I wonder if logic and sense still exist. . . I am convinced it does.

My Photo
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lightning Bugs

I was just wondering...

Where are lightning bugs during the day? You see them at dusk, but at no other time during the day.

Do you call them "lightning bugs" or "fireflies"?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Last Tuesday I had such a good time. For my birthday a good friend of mine got me tickets to see RENT. This is the third time that I have seen the show on stage. Generally when I get tickets for any Broadway show, I get orchestra seats as early as the tickets go on sale so that I can get the ones closest to the front as possible. I've seen many shows from as close as the second row (although, I wouldn't recommend the second row). Sitting close allows me to see the actors expressions and catch nuances that you can't see from farther back. When I saw RENT last week, I sat on the front row of the mezzanine section. I couldn't believe how much I had missed by always getting close seats! There was some good choreography that I had missed before, and with this particular touring group it was better to be farther away so as to not see how much chemistry they lacked. (I saw this particular group perform RENT just last October, and it really seemed a lot better this time.)

I'm home for Spring Break this week visiting my family. Last night my mom and I were talking about education and I was telling her that this year I don't have many worries about the state test that my students have to take since the score they have to receive on it is comparably lower than what I require in my classroom. She remarked that standards are just being lowered and lowered even more. I had to argue this. My students must take three years of math in high school at an Algebra 1 level or higher. When my mom was in school, she only needed one math credit. How is this a lowering of standards? What is the media and government feeding citizens to get them to believe that standards are being lowered? Starting next year all of my students are going to have to pass an Algebra test at the end of the year just to qualify for a high school diploma. How many Americans can say that they have done this? Maybe my perspective as a high school teacher, one who works with the average-joe student, is different than that of one from the outside looking into the world of public education. America, be assured that not all teachers are lowering standards. America's students are capable of learning and they do learn.

People, including myself, are so self-focused and closed-minded. It's easy to view life through your own eyes; maturity helps you to look at life from a different perspective. We only have one life to live. Living with understanding of other people's thoughts, opinions, and actions will give each of us more satisfaction. When you know someone struggling with their health, it makes you appreciate each breath you take and every mundane task you perform as a true gift from God.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

NCLB for graduate school

I know it has been quite some time since my last post. The seeming monotony of my life does not warrant too many new posts, though.

I am taking only one graduate class this semester and by May I should have finished 24 hours of my program in school administration. I have had two classes that I felt were worthy of my time and another one in which the books were good even though the class was a joke. A joke. . . yes, that is the word that I'd have to use to describe my program. I've remained optimistic up to this semester, but. . . I've had it! Let me explain how ridiculous things have gotten in grad school.

First, I have had three classes with this one particular professor. He is an older guy who knows his three lectures that he gives each semester and who recycles his midterms and finals from class to class. This means that I have taken (and aced) a similar test SIX different times! My question is why is this guy not creating tests for each of his classes? How is taking this same test teaching me anything new? It's not, which is why I didn't take another class with him this semester.

Then there was the class where I went and looked at all of these dome gyms, listened to an architect talk about dome gyms, and besides showing up to class I did nothing else for this class. No midterm. No final exam. No research paper. No summary of anything.

This semester I am taking a class called Advanced Educational Measurements. I thought this one might be a little challenging, but by week 2 of the class I knew otherwise. Let me summarize what I've done in this class: I have read aloud a PowerPoint slide after having the professor pull a stick with my name on it out of a cup and I have made a "graphic organizer" of a portion of a chapter out of the text book (with a group of classmates) and then presented the material to the rest of the class. The book has been talking about validity and reliability of tests and assessments and proper construction of such instruments. So, tonight I thought I'd work on my take-home midterm. To be honest, I don't think I have EVER had a take home test before. This test, in this class about proper test construction and procedures, is the absolute worst test I have ever taken. Some are multiple choice questions, however their construction is all different. Some are a, b, c, d. Some are i, ii, iii, iv. Some are just blanks where I am supposed to put checkmarks. The questions are poorly worded, and I don't even always know what I am being asked. Don't even getting me going about how this test is formatted!!!

Many public educators cringe at the acronym NCLB--the infamous No Child Left Behind law. Personally, I don't. Do I see 100% success in my classroom? No. But I know someone is watching to make sure my kids are learning Algebra. I'm sorry, but I'm a realist and I know that the majority of my kids will never apply Algebra to their everyday lives. Yet, I still must make sure that they LEARN it well enough to pass a challenging state test. It's called accountability; it's a good thing. It pushes me to do my best as a teacher. My question is why do public universities not have such accountability? Supposedly my program is accredited, but I'm tempted to go to the accreditors myself and tell them about this ridiculous program. Grade school is more challenging!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Effect of Cell Phones on Little House

I enjoy watching Little House on the Prairie during my time off in the summer. Although I've seen most of the episodes many times over, I still am moved by the drama. (Don't make fun of me!) However, after watching the drama 30+ years after it originally aired, I've decided that many of the Ingalls family near tragedies could be prevented if they had a cell phone. Just imagine. . . when Laura runs away on the mountain and the stranger/angel Jonathan helps her reunite with her pa. Rather than building a large bonfire to get "God's" attention, he could sneak a call on her cell phone to Pa and tell him exactly where she is. Quickly Pa could call Ma and tell her not to worry because he now knows where Laura is and that they will all be home for dinner. Time and time again, the Ingalls family would benefit from having a cell phone. I could see this being some cell phone company's new line of commercials. :) I have to admit, Little House wold be much less interesting if they all had phones.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ever played Balderdash???

In college, a friend of mine introduced me to the board game "Beyond Balderdash." I loved the game from the start. Thanks to my friend Christie who taught me how to lie with a straight face (sorry, Jana), I actually found myself to be pretty good at the game. It's great because I get to exercise my imagination and creativity.

During a late night channel surfing, I came across a movie that will undoubtedly be a movie title for a new version of "Balderash" (someday). The movie is entitled "The Girl with Brains in Her Feet." The eloquent descirption as shared by DISH Network is:

A 13-year-old prepares for a large athletics meet while dealing with a browbeating mother and teen angst in 1972 Britain.

Unfortunately, I am too tired to stay up for some odd British movie.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Summer Break

Why is it that I wait all year for June and July? Summer break. Two full months without needy teenagers. Today is Day 1. I slept in. I lounged; went to the mall and a few other shops. Watched a movie. And, for the first time in weeks, I did not make a "To Do List" for the weekend. There is nothing pressing. It's wonderful.

It's also awful. I get bored. I waste time watching reruns of "Friends" and "Little House on the Prairie." I don't want to waste the time, but what is there to do for merely two months? Any ideas??? I have some busy weeks this month, but the pace of the summer is a shock to my system.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Maturity, Mr. Holland, and the Stock Market

My name is Becky. . . and I am a workaholic. I know this. I've always been this way. I love it when someone sees this in me and uses it to challenge me to do better. Very few people do this; they see the work that I do as being adequate, good enough, or even better than most others.

Today I learned that my supervisor of the last 3 years is being promoted to a district-level position. I know the typical American attitude is not one of respect and admiration for one's "boss," but that is exactly what I have for L. She's challenged me to think deeply about education and how it should be done. She has shown me how some of the "sacred cows" of education are not so sacred and even helped me develop a grading system less based percentages and more focused on learning and skill mastery. Since day one she has been planting seeds in me and my colleagues to help us grow.

I wonder what next year will hold for me now. Whenever I have a challenge or a concern, I always end up in L.'s office. Maybe next year is my year to become a "grown-up." I can't explain it, but I sometimes don't feel like an adult, like I'm not mature enough to be an adult. That's a bit ironic, since I've been told I was 30 since I was 7 years old. Next year I want to begin my journey to become an expert educator--knowing how kids learn and methods of effective instruction and leadership. Rarely have I had a role model, but she has truly had an impact on me.

Last weekend I caught the last half of Mr. Holland's Opus on tv. I love this movie, although I find it much more plausible for Mr. Holland, a music teacher, to have his ending than for me a math teacher. I can hardly imagine an auditorium of my former students coming to my retirement to show their appreciation. It is a rare occassion when even one former student comes to relay how inspirational that I as a teacher was to his life. Just to know that the extra time that I pour into one student as she develops persistence and tenacity--even more important than the Algebra skills--eventually will pay off with a responsible, wise, and successful adult.

I read in my School Finance book last semester about how education is an investment in human capital. I think it must be like investing in the stock market. Education is risky; what a teacher says and does in class does make a difference. Will I choose in this investment to teach haphazardly or wisely? Will I be like L.--respected and admired by everyone on my faculty for challenging the norm and doing the best thing for the kids?