England–Day Four–The Day

I did not eat the black pudding or baked beans

I did not eat the black pudding or baked beans’

I’m a day late posting because it was such a big day yesterday. We started off having a traditional English breakfast, just a bit modernized to be healthier. I had bacon, more like smoked ham, with veggie sausage, a poached egg, cooked tomatoes, mushrooms and a pastry. Yum!

Next was a solo trip to Trafalger Square and the fabulous National Gallery of Art where I saw artwork by Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, DaVinci–the British masters, like Turner, Gainsbourgh, Stubbs–and my favorites–the Impressionists–Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas and Van Gogh. One of my favorites was Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. I also liked Geoge Stubbs famous horse paintings. One of my favorite paintings was by an artist I did’t know of a tall, thin knight who had a wounded foot and knee, so he couldn’t fight anymore. Just the look on his face and all the details. It was magnificent.

Wounded Knight by Meroni

Wounded Knight by Meroni

I saw too much to write it all here, but the eras that the gallery spans makes this a great place to visit for just about any book in the English canon that my students might want to make the subject of their travel project. And entrance is free! After I wandered the halls with my trusty audio guide (very helpful and easy to use–only a few pounds), I went down to the gallery cafe and had a pastry pie, a traditional favorite. Then bought a few gifts in the gallery store.Then I wandered around the square a little while, taking in all the sights. I especially enjoyed the musicians playing in the squares and the character actors–Yoda, the wicked witch and tin man.

After I made my way back on the Underground, we rested a while, and it was off for the big night! We took a cab to the Barbican, which is a modern entertainment complex, away from the main theater district. Our seats were fantastic, about five rows back.

When the curtain came up, there was Benedict Cumberbatch, right in front of us, and he was strong the whole way through. The whole cast was good, but my favorites,other than Cumberbatch, were Horatio, Ophelia, and Polonius. The gravedigger always brings some needed comic relief.

Stage early in the first act

Stage early in the first act

The staging was also fantastic. Everything was stylistic, ranging from Victorian Era through the 60’s. The main set was like an Old Victorian Mansion that continued to decline during the first act. At the end of the third act when Hamlet is banished and Cladius is alone on stage, all this sooty material blows through the doors. When the second act begins, there are just piles of rubble allover. It was impressive–one of the best night’s at the theater. I’ve ever had.

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VOL. #97: NC Budget & Education Update [INFOGRAPHIC]

I am busy with school work and writing, so I reblog Erica Speaks and her terrific blog “Teaching Speaks Volumes.” This time she writes about the NC Budget. Sad.

As soon as I’m out from under this load, I want to write about what the new film “The Martian” means to me as an educator. Great film.

Teaching Speaks Volumes

So, a budget finally passed.

The North Carolina General Assembly voted to pull funds away from the already bled-dry public schools. Charter schools got instructional per pupil funding, but now also get a portion of everything: A portion of transportation funding even if they don’t provide busing. A portion of child nutritional services funding even if they don’t have a cafeteria. How is this not a misappropriation of funds? HOW is this now LEGAL? My guess is more tax payers’ funds will be used to fight this in court.

Meanwhile, the Wallet Hub’s annual study of 13 key metrics for the best and worst states for teachers now ranks NC #50, up from #51 previously. Cue The Jefferson’s Theme here.

It’s worth noting that not all legislators agree with the approved budget. For her part, Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County said the funding for public education was barely adequate…

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Vol.#84: “Is This A Grade?” [Infographic]

I haven’t had time to write on my blog, so I’m going to post this one–so good and so true: Is This a Grade? is almost as bad as “Did we do anything important in class yesterday? Yuck!

Teaching Speaks Volumes

They say there is no such this as a bad question, but, “Is this a grade?” makes me think otherwise. This is one of my least favorite questions of all time, and teachers are asked this by students often.

It reveals a student’s thought process on if a learning experience is important and worth their time or not.

I have tried several approaches to this question. I have tried to ban  the question from the classroom without success. I have tried consistently using the vague response, “All things in life are assessed.” They have been undeterred.  My students have even gotten savvy enough to know to ask, “Is this formative or summative”?

I decided I do not want to answer this question again. To that end, I have created a flow chart to post on my wall:

Is this a GRADE-

PS: I love you Piktochart.

If you would like it for your classroom…

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Got to Post This–Satire from The Onion

Busy with catching up after the Ice Storm of 2015, so I’m going to pass on this satire from “The Onion” as my blog post for today. Although it refers to K-12, it relates to higher education too. One thing I’ve noticed is that fewer and fewer of my students are planning to be teachers. They tell me it’s less the low pay and more the lack of respect and the increasing amount of bull that teachers have to put up with that is keeping them away from the profession, especially in North Carolina.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-education-initiative-replaces-k12-curriculum-w,38048/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:1:Default

Why Devaluing Teachers Hurts Everyone

This article by Peggy Wuenstel of Marquette University certainly expresses my feelings

The Marquette Educator

price-is-what-you-payBy Peggy Wuenstel — I have been spending many angst filled evenings over the last two years, trying to get a sense of when things went off the rails.

I have been in this business for 30 years. There are some things that I knew back at the beginning that are still true today. Teaching is hard work. Educating children is a team sport. You will never get rich working in public education if your bank account is the measure of your success. The days will be long and the summers will be short. The intangibles will always trump the measurable in making you feel like you earn your paycheck, and even though it’s not all about the kids, it is certainly mostly about the kids.

Some things have changed radically, at least here in Wisconsin.

Showing up every day, doing the best you can, keeping your skills current, and…

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