Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Reading Meme

Picked this meme up from Coach Brown at A Passion For Teaching and Opinions and Ms. Cornelius at Shrewdness of Apes.

*Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read.
*Italicize the ones you want to read.
*Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
– ah yes High school lit during the days of feminism I got more girls angry at me over this book than anything else that I’ve ever done. Which is saying a lot.
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)- Frodo lives
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)- I try to read this series at least once a year
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) – I even own the Simillarion and Farmer Giles of Ham
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)- If I didn’t read it the students in my class would have burned me at the stake.
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
– See 11.
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling) See 11
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King) – I must confess I don’t like Stephen King ( Yes I heard those gasps)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)- see 11
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien) Hated the spiders in the wood loved the trolls
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Marte)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) –
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) – Great Series although I don’t like the ones by the son as much. I loved his White Death
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) -
34. 1984 (Orwell) Classic from school
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)-
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay) Had a lot of trouble dozing off through most of this one.
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible -. I like the newer translations better than the King James
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) Could not put it down was fascinated with the extra details.
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) –50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)- See 11
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)-
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) –
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving) the second strangest book I’ve ever read.
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) -
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) –
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) –
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
is there a junior high that doesn’t teach this book?
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
101. Jurassic Park –
102. Learn Me Good

Two authors that I wish were here somewhere Chris Stasheff – I consider his Wizard in Spite of Himself a true classic of fantasy fiction, and Rick Cook, mainly pulp type fantasy fiction but I love his blend of computers and magic.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Deal with the Savages

I've been thinking a lot lately about the problems I have with my 8th graders, who are a somewhat unique group when it comes to technology. They've grown up with technology and they all really like to use it, which is par for the course. But when it comes to learning something new or using a new tool they are very resistant. If they haven't done it before they really do not want to do anything new. What this means is they love to listen to music and take pictures with the camera, but they don't like having to organize pictures into a video or write out a script. They also have no clue towards most technology vocabulary, even stuff I know they've been using since 6th grade in my class. There are a few kids that have web access of their own at home who are classic digital natives, but the rest are basically clueless about most web technologies, and they don't want to learn how to use it.
I guess its more a sub-culture thing because they can't interact (web wise) except at school. They tend to be more like people who were not born into technology. When I taught classes 10 years ago to other teachers on how to use Office or the Web they would act a lot like this. If they had never done it they would resist trying to learn it and need step by step help, but the second time we did something they would take to it really well with a minimum of help needed, even though it was a new task.
I've taken to following a three step procedure with my 8th graders whenever we try something new:
1st I show them a PowerPoint and explain how to use the program.
2nd We show them previously done examples and "play" with the program/tool.
3rd We give them a quickie assignment that is simple and easy to succeed with. This "quickie" will probably take two to three days while they become comfortable with the program. After doing those three things, then and only then, will they be ready to proceed with the task I really wanted for them to learn/perform. Of course it takes a lot of time to get them through these steps. But I have found I can't take any shortcuts with them without a huge amount of whining and giving up.
Do other people find they have to do this with people that are not 'comfortable' with learning the new technologies? I wonder what steps other trainers have found to succeed.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ranting on the Perils of NCLB

Talk about left hand and right hand not knowing what they are doing. Three years ago I had to fill out a survey questionairre to determine if I was "highly qualified" in the subject that I teach. One week after filling it out and sending it in I was told I had not sent it and I had to do it again. This time I walked it downtown and was shuttled from one board office to another until finally I got to the one lady who was keeping the questionairres to find out: "Oh, I have the other questionairre I just haven't processed it because Technology teachers can't be "highly qualified" in Kansas. There are no state standards in Technology." Apparently that is a requirement before you can be highly qualified.
Now three years later, my principal gets a memo that I have "failed to fill out the paperwork to be "highly qualified" and I must attend a mandatory meeting at 7:15 downtown to be shown how to complete the paperwork correctly. Meanwhile the state still has no standards and most of the other teachers on the "Corrective Non-compliance List" are in the same boat I am. They are the other Technology teachers.
What is the deal? Do these administrators not understand why "highly qualified" can't be reached? Why do they react like we are slime trying to crawl under the radar?(I was offended by the tone of the memo) Nothing has changed or my subject coordinator would have been all over it having us fill out the paperwork. (He's great about doing that stuff). I'm going to have to write up lesson plans for 1st hour (there is no way the meeting will get done and I'll be back before class starts)and fill out a bunch of paperwork that will end up being put on a shelf because it can't be processed because the state doesnt' have standards for the area I teach. If these administrators don't know this when they are "in charge" of this matter then why are they in charge?
I know I'm raging against the machine, but It's been an exhausting week and next week is even more of the same. I just hosted my school's chess tournament, (which went very well because I had wonderful help). Special ed and ESOL started testing this week for the KSCA's (state level tests) using my room during my planning period. Next week the rest of the school starts the KSCA's and I'm teaching technology in a regular classroom while they use my lab for testing. I'm dealing with it! But this memo is a flashpoint moment. I don't need some administrator acting like I haven't done my job and setting up a meeting to tell me to do it right when its already been done and it's all for nothing because there are no standards to be highly qualified in! (more raving)