Archive for the ‘ School ’ Category

Re-thinking Critical Thinking


Yesterday I was reading comments posted online about a news paper article.  It was amazing to see how negative people were.  Not just to the author but to the other people making comments.  They were vicious and nasty and insulting. Continue reading

Scary Questions


My colleague Todd Lile and I have started a new Blog at teenedge-ucation.com I wrote the following post for that blog but thought it fit well here too.  Check out our other blog and sign up for an email subscription.  That blog should get pretty good in the near future.  Here is the post: Continue reading

Choosing Happiness


My former students can tell you that I am a sucker for inspiration.  I collect inspirational stories, videos, quotes, and pictures to remind myself of the positive things in life.  Some of them are a bit abstract, but if they contain even a little nugget of truth, or if they make me think about something in a different light, then I add them to my collection. Continue reading

The Time Of Our Lives


I have always been fascinated with the concept of time.  The amount of time we spend doing odd things adds up to be a pretty impressive sum over the years.  The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to one of my senior classes a few years ago.  Do you have time to read it?

Here is a list that I came up with, about the amount of time you will spend doing certain activities by the time you graduate: For example, sleeping.  If one sleeps 8 hours a day, that is 2,920 hours a year or 121.6 days.  By the time you graduate you will have slept 52,560 hours or 2190 days for exactly 6 years of your life.
I think about that one a lot but what about other activities that we take for granted like say brushing your teeth?  If the average person brushes his/her teeth twice a day for an average of 2:30 each time, that makes 5 minutes a day.  Times 365 days that is 1825 minutes a year, or 30.42 hours.  So by the times you graduate from high school you will have spent over 540 hours or 22.8 days of your life just brushing your teeth.
Why do we need to brush so much?  Because we spend an incredible amount of time eating and getting them dirty!  Let’s break it down:  If we only consider the actual time you spend chewing swallowing and drinking and discount the time spent in conversation and waiting for desert, we could safely assume that the average person spends 8 minutes eating breakfast, and 12 minutes eating lunch and dinner.  This ends up being 32 minutes a day in the act if refueling your body.  Over the span of a year, that is 11,680 minutes or 194.7 hours.  Therefore by the time you graduate, you will have spent 3,504 hours eating or 146 days of your life chewing and swallowing.
All this eating and drinking of course leads to other activities; namely peeing and……well….you know.
If we assume that the average person pees, on average, six times a day for an average of 45 seconds each time, then each year we are in the process of emptying our bladders for approximately 1,642 minutes or 27.3 hours a year.  By the time you graduate, you will have spent over 492 hours or just over 20 and a half entire days of your life doing nothing more than returning fluids to the earth to be recycled, consumed, and peed out again.”

Make you think doesn’t it?

Lies We Tell Children Part 1


I am using this Blog as practice for a second Blog which I will be posting in the coming weeks with Todd Lile.  We will be blogging about our book, sharing insights, thoughts, and ideas related to the book, for those of you interested in following along.  This Blog will contain other ideas that go through my head.  Like this one.

There are a number of lies we adults tell children.  I will write about them one at a time.  The first lie is perhaps the most dangerous.  It is a staple of the motivational speaker diet.  Parents, teachers, celebrities, and athletes all know and spread this lie.  It goes something like this:

“If you have a dream and believe in yourself and never give up, then you can do anything!”

Really?  Seriously?  Is this a healthy message?  What if my dream when I was young, was to one day win the NBA Slam Dunk competition?  I knew it was possible because I heard the winner being interviewed.  He looked straight into the camera told the whole world the famous lie about this being his dream and he encouraged little kids like me to do the same.  So maybe  I believed in myself.  Maybe I trained everyday.  Maybe I learned how to dribble with my left hand!  Wait a minute….  My mom is 5’2″ and my Father is 5’6″.  Maybe the cards were stacked against me. But if I could just believe…….  But if I just never gave up……..

Is it possible this lie does more harm than good?  If “anything is possible” if we “never give up” then when we fail to achieve whatever dream (like me getting to play in the NBA let alone winning the slam dunk contest) then it is not because we lack the physical or genetic gifts, or what ever ingredients necessary.  It is because we lack the strength of character to follow our dream.  It must be because we gave up.

Is this really what we want to tell our children?   More on this in Part 2

The Reluctant Technophile


When I was younger I embraced technology!  I made the transition from cassette tapes to CDs rather smoothly and when I was introduced to email in 1990, I immediately hopped on board and started filling my friends in-boxes with pointless drivel.

Then I graduated from University and held a degree declaring me “educated”.  I was a finished product knowing all I needed to know to enter the real world and be successful.  I unconsciously accepted the idea that I was done and with that acceptance, I took a giant stride towards old age.  No new tricks for this old dog!  When cell phones and pagers became affordable to the masses, I rejected the notion that I would ever need one.  I had an answering machine at home instructing people to leave a message.  This was all I would ever need.

Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that being unavailable was not OK in my line of work so I walked into the phone store with my tail between my legs and bought my first phone.  The story was much the same when text messaging popped up.  Why would any one go through all the trouble of typing on a number keypad when they could just call?  Years later I mashed my first message into my cell with clumsy thumbs and joined the world of texting fools.

A student of mine drug me kicking and screaming into the Facebook world after months of refusing to join.  She offered to be my “Facebook manager” and for several months did all of my Facebook business for me and built up my network of friends.  Now, I am an avid user who wonders how we ever really knew anyone before we could snoop around on their profile!

So that brings me to this day.  I have faithfully and predictably been resisting the latest trends in technology and communications.  I still do not get twitter and this whole blog thing seems a little overwhelming, but today I take the leap.  This is my first blog and I have even set up a twitter account.

I expect that I will come to find these new ways of communicating just as useful and fun as texting and Facebook but that does not mean I have to be happy about it.