Fish Tales

Can you believe it?!?!  I got 2 New Yorkers in the mail on Wednesday!  I was beside myself.  Where to begin?  Which first?  How to read it all?

So I settled on chronological order.

March 7, 2011: Fish Tales by Kelefa Sanneh

These are the stories I love the most.  It’s about a real bar/art gallery, in a real place, with real people (owner, Ulli Rimku).  I live in my own corner of California.  But through articles like this, I glimpse tenement neighborhoods, artist uprisings, bar/art culture and class changes.  My little neighborhood is so benign in comparison.  It’s these glimpses into other folks’ worlds that I love and feel so broadened by.

It’s amazing to me that rest of the world.  The people, the locations, the ways of being.  I love the eye opening perspective.  I like my little world to be challenged and say, “Wait, there’s more out there.”

Not to say that I’m wanting to go see it or in any way change my own little world, but I like to KNOW.  I never want to assume that my way, my life, my habits are how all people think/live/feel.  It’s stories and writers that help me ‘visit’ what I otherwise wouldn’t know.

Thanks, Kelefa.  Great piece.

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Reading Student Blogs Tonight

Did I mention I teach?

And my students blog?

Tonight I had the pleasure of reading their homework–a free choice blog post.  Fairly routine.

But I’ve decided to jazz things up with Blog Badges.  Yes, I designed them–simple, to-the-point.

“Awesome Post”

“Catchy Title”

“Notable Comment”

I made some decisions and awarded some badges.  Then, the epiphany!

What if the next step were to allow students to award Blog Badges.  Ok, it’s still an idea in infancy, but how creative and empowering.

Question: What do you value in a peer blog?  How do you know it when you see it?

Coach them toward criteria.  Then allow the award to be given.

I think I like it.

It’s the Anniversary Issue!

The New Yorker arrived today.  It’s the Anniversary Issue.

Here’s my way:

1) Turn each page to admire the ads until I arrive at the table of contents.

2) Read the table of contents for favorite contributors, titles that grab my attention or subjects I’m into

3) Flip through the rest of the pages, one by one, reading the cartoons–making a mental note of the ones appropriate for the bulletin board outside my classroom (see step #6)

4) Check the Cartoon Caption Contest for folks from California (not sure why that matters)

5) Return to the articles I want to read first, second, and so on

6) After a few weeks of ‘visiting’ the issue (it sits on the coffee table in clear view), go back through the cartoons and rip out the ones to share with students

7) Check the mail for next issue.  Repeat.

Food Allergies

February 7, 2011 The New Yorker

The Peanut Puzzle by Jerome Groopman

What a great article! I have often wondered about the rise in food allergies and how this can be.  I personally subscribe to the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ in all things parenting.  This says that our cleanliness has lessened our body’s ability to fight off infection, germs, reactions, etc.  More dirt is better for kids.  Step away from the Purell.

So this article gets into the nitty-gritty on how the allergic reaction occurs, how cooked dairy has a different profile than raw and what is being done currently to get a handle on the situation.

I especially enjoyed reading about the on-set of warnings to pregnant women about foods to stay away from and likewise, foods to keep infants and toddlers away from.  Why?  Do not eating something keep your body from reacting?  The honest comments that at this point, we don’t know what to recommend about food really were refreshing.