Saturday, March 20, 2021

Educatonal Links 3/21/21

“How I Learned to Appreciate the Magical Brains I Teach.”

What is Proficiency-Based Learning?


CDC Eases Social Distancing Guidelines Seen as a Hurdle to School Reopening

California adopts CDC’s recommendation to reduce social distancing in school to 3 feet

 Michigan reading law improving student literacy

How to Help Students Improve Executive Functioning During Hybrid Learning

Executive functioning is a set of skills that comprise working memory, organization, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use executive functioning skills daily to learn, work, organize, manage schedules, and complete tasks. Many students have executive functioning challenges that can make it extremely difficult to focus, follow directions, organize learning spaces, complete tasks, and control emotions. These challenges can negatively impact learning and school experiences.

Women's History Month: Mother Teresa India's Mother भारत मा


Women's History Month: Mother Teresa India's Mother भारत मा

Mother Teresa
"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"
Mother Teresa 1971 Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I could put up Mother Teresa for Women's History Month and she would be enough, actually. She gave up a cushy life to follow her heart and soul. She stood up to the world, toe to toe, to represent for those she loved, the lowest of the low, the caste beneath all castes. Just like Jesus did (and does.)

I especially admire how she stood up to abortion advocates, Bill Clinton, et al, in particular.
National Prayer Breakfast Speech Against Abortion - 1994
 When asked by a reporter how he felt about what Mother Teresa had to say on abortion, Bill Clinton said the following: “How can anyone argue with a life so well-lived?”

Mother Teresa quotes 

Books about Mother Teresa that may be of interest

Learn more about Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa 

Friday, March 19, 2021

dearest freshness deep down things

In my little garden this week. A wee bit of grandeur.


God's Grandeur

By Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

This poem is considered the first on ecology.

Educational Links 3/20/2021

‘There Is No Playbook’ for How to Do Hybrid Teaching

Addressing Race and Racism Head-On in the Classroom

CDC: 3 feet social distancing OK for students, with some exceptions

The LD Checklist: Recognize and Respond

What California teachers want policymakers to know

Igniting Student Success Through Culturally Responsive Teaching

Breaking the Behavior Code

Here Comes the Sun (Eventually) Harrison and Monet

Fields in Spring, Claude Monet

Here Comes the Sun

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It's all right, it's all right

Women's History Month: The Original Glee Girls

The Marvelettes in a 1963 promotional photo.Clockwise form top left, Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, and Wanda Young

These girls were in their high school glee club when they were signed by Motown. They were the first successful girl group for Motown. 

I like the integrated audience way back in 1961. BTW the Beatles did a cover of this song (what an amazing compliment for the girls from Detroit; the Beatles very much appreciated black artists--young women artists, too.)

So we celebrate Women's History Month with encouragement to teens everywhere to sing, sing, sing. 

The Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman 

And the Beatles homage to the Marvelettes, with John Lennon requesting to 'delivah da lettah, the sooner the bettah.' And a little British humor.

 Please Mr. Postman - The Beatles

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Educational Links 3/19/2021


Why Black Parents Aren’t Joining the Push to Reopen Schools

Ed Dept: Use American Relief Plan funds for quick, safe school reopenings

Schools chief uses influence to shape policy during pandemic, but lacks power to make big decisions

Suburban Public Schools Are Now Majority-Nonwhite. The Backlash Has Already Begun

As Many Parents Fret Over Remote Learning, Some Find Their Kids Are Thriving

The U.S. needs billions to close the digital divide

Essay Assignments That Actually Engage High School Writers

Cookie-cutter essays may reflect students’ attitude toward the assignment, not their writing ability. Here’s a way to make that stack of grading more rewarding.

Women's History Month: Marie Curie


Pierre and Marie
married 47 years.
Nobel Prize portrait 1903
Madame Curie--won two Nobel Prizes in science. That is what most folks think of when her name comes up. Born in Poland, studying in France, she married a fellow scientist, Pierre Curie.

Marie Curie

They were collaborators in the laboratory, and the parents of two daughters,  Eve and Irene.

Madame Curie and her girls.

Irene also won the Nobel Prize, in 1935.  Kudos to Pierre and Marie not only for their careers, but for their family. Eve wrote a biography of her mother in 1937. You can buy it on Amazon. 

Marie Curie: A Biography by E. Curie

But did you know Marie Curie was fearless, brave and dared the horrors of WWI to bring her scientific inventions to the notorious Western Front?

During World War I, the scientist invented a mobile x-ray unit, called a “Little Curie,” and trained 150 women to operate it.

How Marie Curie Brought X-Ray Machines To the Battlefield Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! 

The recent episode of the television series 'Timeless' references the Petit Curie, Season 2, Episode 1 'The War to End All Wars.'

Quotes from Marie Curie

Have no fear of perfection; you'll never reach it.
Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.

I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.

I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy.

Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring

Claude Monet Tulip Field with the Rijnsburg Windmill


Here is the first cousin of Monet's tulips in my garden.
I was hoping to give you just a little blast of Spring--the brilliant blue sky after a spring shower, the shocking, vibrant red, yellow, purple of bulb flowers blaring through the winter's end grey, the enthusiastic chirp and twitter of the birds now activated for the season like an army just getting out of boot camp. I can just about do it with Monet and Vivaldi--but I can't send you the still-chilly-but-not-freezing breeze on a finally sunny day or the scent of earth unfreezing. You'll have to go outside for that.

Wish you could smell these narcissus!



Oh those spring showers!

Vivaldi Spring




Book Review: Song of the Swallows

"Song of the Swallows," las golondrinas, is a picture book which won the Caldecott Award in 1949.  Written and illustrated by Leo Politi, the story highlights Hispanic customs in San Juan Capistrano, California, that blend nature, Catholicism, and the history of California from a child's perspective.

Juan is the main character, a boy of about seven or eight years old. He attends the school by the Mission, and is a friend of the bell ringer/gardener, grandfatherly Julian. Julian is the only adult mentioned in the book, the Mission is the only setting. The story occurs in the timelessness of childhood, so we don't really know if the illustrations depict the 1940's or not. There is no clue by the clothing, activities, or countryside. The Mission and garden are not dated. There are no automobiles, but even today in coastal California, you might go miles without seeing a motorized vehicle. And there is no clue from the birds; swallows don't follow fashion dictates. One of the main attractions of "The Song of the Swallows" is this untainted marvel-of-childhood quality.

Julian tells Juan about the settling of California by Father Serra and the Franciscan friars. Every fourth grader in this state (myself included) studied this period of California history, and created model missions, maybe even visiting a Mission. There are over twenty missions up and down the California coast, with many cities named after the nearby Mission, i.e., San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and, of course, San Francisco.  I've seen a few and the facilities are well maintained and beautiful.

There is no controversy in this book about the treatment of the Indians by the Franciscans.
A 1985 stamp immortalizing Father Junipero Serra

The following link is a balanced biography of Father Serra. 

Father Junipero Serra also has a statue in the United States Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C.

Politi's portrayal of Mission San Juan Capistrano.

You can purchase this model of San Juan Capistrano for a Grade Four project.

Julian, the St. Francis look-a-like.
Julian, in little Juan's eyes,  is portrayed almost St. Francis-like with the beautiful garden and hummingbirds, pigeons, sparrows and other birds being comfortable around the gentle soul.

Juan learns of the mystery of the swallows. How do they know to arrive on St. Joseph's Day? (March 19.)  It has nothing to do with Joseph, the stepfather of the Savior  (of Jesus, Mary and Joseph fame.) It just coincides with the season the swallows migrate to their familiar habitat.

Happy birdie family, happy boy.
Juan wonders about the nests
Why is there a St. Joseph's Day? In the worship schedule for Catholics, each day has one or more saints honored throughout the year at daily Mass with a feast day, or worship service. For example, many communities have the blessing of the animals on October 4, the feast of Francis of Assisi, to honor his saintly lifestyle that was so peaceful that it is said that even wild animals were gentle with him and birds would perch on him. Francis also propagated peace, forgiveness, and taking care of the poor.  Francis lived in twelfth century Italy, and wrote some lovely prayers.

Happy kids enjoying the beautiful Mission and the birds.
 As the birds get comfortable, the child personifies the male and female birds as the nest is built, the female incubates the eggs, and the male serenades her with sweet, twittering song. Then both the parents diligently feed the hatchlings, like a happy family.

 The children thoroughly enjoy the presence of the birds, the  spring season, and the safety and contentment of the belief system supplied by the Mission. It is interesting, though, in  the story that parents, priests, nuns, teachers or any other adult besides Julian, the grandfatherly gardener, do not make an appearance. Not even an older brother or sister.

In due time, the swallows migrate to a mysterious island for the winter. The human inhabitants of Capistrano will wait for their return. Juan and the other happy kids are very excited when the birds return. The birds actually fly to Goya, Argentina.

The swallows leave Capistrano on their mission to a mysterious island.

Leo Politi
 Leo Politi, although an Italian-America, wrote warmly of the Hispanic culture in Southern California. He authored several children's books. I met him when I was in college in Los Angeles. He was very encouraging to a young English student.

This year in San Juan Capistrano, the swallows are sort of hiding from the big to-do that the residents of Capistrano throw on March 19, St. Joseph's Day.  Now the occasion is kind of a mixed metaphor, with a large variety of traditions celebrated, but still a beautiful day out in a remarkably lovely part of the world.

When thr Swallows Return to Capistrano
This is a wonderful, cheesy song about the swallows returning to Capistrano by Pat Boone recorded in the 1950's, with great pictures of the little birds.
Singing with Pat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Educational Links 3/18/2021

Teaching Social Justice: 25 Books To Encourage Students To Change The World

A New Look for Presenting With Google Slides

5 ways to integrate ELL instruction into teaching and learning


Choice in school assessments can relieve student stress

Male Teachers Share Advice for Getting More Men Into the Profession

California could allow school districts to choose their own standardized tests this year

How to Manage an Online Book Club

A fan of book clubs shares tips for running them online with students or colleagues—both now and after the pandemic.

Irish Prayers and Blessings

I understand this sentiment, but I wouldn't ever pray it.

This is my favorite!