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Showing posts from November, 2010

Alternate Gift Ideas

If you haven't already spent your life savings on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, I have some ideas for you.  A lot of us have too much stuff - at least in this country.  Instead, it might be nice to do something good - something that is necessary and might not happen otherwise - in someone's honor.  Some ideas: Big Brothers Big Sisters - you can donate your time or money to help kids who really need it. Donors Choose - you can choose the type of project you want to fund, according to what your loved one would appreciate. (I greatly benefited from this site when I was a classroom teacher) Kiva - microloans, and you can give gift cards so your loved one can choose what to loan money to. Faith Network - an organization that helps public schools in Oakland and the surrounding area.  (It's a Christian organization but they don't proselytize.  They do teach reading and writing, which is a huge help.) I also have very close ties with an orphanage in Mexico tha

Some Reading

I'm in New York visiting my brother and sister-in-law, so here's some reading for all of you. An article about how black boys are doing in school (some very interesting points). Teacher credentialing programs should be totally changed around . Happy Black Friday!  Try not to buy too much stuff. Three years ago: No News and No Clothes Four years ago: Vacation is Over                          Rainy Day Routine

Illegal Immigration - Is ThereAny Other Kind?

I had a bit of a disturbing conversation with the teenager I tutor yesterday.  He asked me the definition of "immigration."  When I told him it was people moving to another country to live there, he disagreed.  He said, "You forgot the illegal part."  We talked about it and it turns out that he had only ever heard of illegal immigration.  Every time immigration was discussed on TV or in any other context he had heard, it was illegal.  He had NO IDEA that there was legal immigration.  Does that say anything about the tone of the discussion in this country? Three years ago: Dreaming of Teaching Four years ago: No Child Left Behind

Inside a Child's Mind... a very interesting place. Today my 10-year old tutoring client informed me that "High school is mating season." The teacher of the second grade class I volunteer with let the kids pick their own group names.  The names are: Giants Christmas Kindly Tigers Snakes I particularly like that one of the group names is an adverb. Three years ago: Purple Hair                           Gulliver in Hookerland

Why I Don't Want to See Harry Potter

First of all, I realize the title of the post will set some people off.  How's this: I promise not to judge you for seeing Harry Potter, or for getting excited about the movies.  I'm just not that interested. I first read Harry Potter  in 2000, right before book four came out.  Someone gave me book one for Christmas and I read it at some point during my first year of teaching and it was amazing.  Magical.  Wonderful.  I read two and three pretty quickly and then started becoming one of those people who counts down the days until the next Harry Potter book.  Even more exciting, so did many of my students.  I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to my third grade class and they absolutely loved it.  After I read it to them, many of them ordered it themselves from the book order, re-read it, bought book two, borrowed mine - they were hooked.  We didn't have a real reading curriculum that year, and one of the fifth grade teachers just photocopied chapters of t

Vampire White

I'm going to suggest that the makers of my face powder change the name to "Vampire White."  Those of you who know me know that I am on the white side of white.  If you've been reading my blog, you know that the neighborhood where I was teaching had a distinct lack of white people.  Many of the kids had never interacted with white people except for the teachers at the school.  This led to some interesting conversations. This is another Halloween story.  There was a girl, named "Mary," who was a tall African-American girl, beautiful, athletic, and smart.  I had never had Mary in my class but she came to visit me most days. Mary had beautiful dark brown skin and, on this particular Halloween, was dressed as a vampire.  I was helping several kids with their makeup.  Most of them wanted to be kitties so I was doing kitty noses and whiskers with my eyeliner.  It was a cheap eyeliner and they had no Halloween costumes, so it was a worthwhile sacrifice. I turn


I've recently seen this graphic around the web, and heard a few people say that it's a great example of how Oakland is a "rainbow of diversity."  I wish I could insert the graphic here, but it won't work, so please take a minute to look at it.  The different colors represent different ethnicities.  If you don't recognize Oakland, it's on the right side of the bay and has a blue section (African-American) at the northwest end and a blue section at the southeast end.  Green and orange (Asian and Latino) are in the middle and red (Caucasian) in the hills. I guess that it is a rainbow of diversity in that there are separate stripes of color.  But it's not integrated.  It's not diverse.  The city as a whole is diverse, but the neighborhoods are not.  It reminds me of a time that someone told me that one of the high schools was "really diverse."  Someone else looked at her strangely, and said "Um, all black isn't diverse.  It's


Everyone is talking about whether or not they agree with Obama and what the midterm elections show as far as if people like him or not... I just want to share again why it is so important that we now have a black president.  So here it is, from two years ago: Tuesday, November 04, 2008 A Black President I am so excited. First, let me say that I did not vote for Barack Obama because he is black. I voted for him because I thought he was the better candidate, and will make the better president. I think he will help how the rest of the world sees the United States. I don't think he is the Messiah and I'm sure I will be disappointed in him at times during the next 4 (or 8) years. However, I think this is the right direction for America to go in and I am thrilled because of the person we have elected, while still being unbelieving. However. While a lot of me wants to rant about how I can be a Christian and still be a Democrat, how liberal is not a bad word, how

I'm a Lizard

Quick Halloween story (a little late - I lost my beloved dog on Halloween). On Halloween, one of my colleagues was dressed up as a bee.  He wore a black and yellow striped rugby shirt, big bug sunglasses, antennae, and wings.  This kid, "Timmy," walked up to him and said, "Mr. M, what are you supposed to be?"  Mr. M just looked at him and decided to go for making fun of the gullible kid.  He said, "Timmy, I'm a lizard." Timmy looked at him carefully and said, "That's funny." He ran back to me and said, "Did you know Mr. M is dressed up as a lizard?  The weird thing is that he looks just like a bee!" Three years ago: They Can't Keep Employees? Really?  What a Surprise! Four years ago: Eating Lunch!  Or not.


My wonderful doggie passed away last night.  I'll have another school Halloween story soon, but for now I'm just missing the doggie. Two years ago: Random Political Thoughts Three years ago: A Brief Political Note