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Showing posts from June, 2007

Going out for the Summer

This may be the last post until mid-August.  On the other hand I may get bored and do loads of blogging over the Summer holidays.  Either way, we break up on Friday, and I've really enjoyed my first year of blogging - thanks for reading, commenting and being there :)

A Wonderful Lesson

Every once in a while, a lesson just comes together beautifully.  I had such a lesson today.  The learning intentions were that we master multiplying and dividing by powers of 10.

The S2 class has only been together for a week, and is quite mixed in ability.  We started the lesson with 10 quick questions, and this showed that about half the class could already do these problems pretty accurately.

At this point, I threw caution to the wind and said "In 10 minutes from now, we'll do another set of 10 - work together however you want until then to see if we can all get at least 7 out of 10.  If anyone doesn't manage, we share responsibility - especially those people who did well the first time!"  I didn't give them any resources, or specify how they should work.  To my delight, they organized themselves into groups around folk who were confident and spent 10 minutes trying to explain to each other the methods.

The next 10 quick questions were answered much more accurat…

Glow goes Web 2.0

Someone has been listening :)

 I've just been into the phase 3 version of the Glow portal, and they have included instructions to insert rss feeds into pages.  The way to do it is rather circuitous, but at least it is now doable.  I've tested it with a couple of feeds, and it seems to work fine.

The "glowing potential" bit has a page showing how to insert external web sites into pages, and they have use our scotedublogs.org.uk as one of the examples.  Very flattering ;)

What happened to the anti-war movement?

A couple of things have led me to writing this post.  Firstly, I spent an evening with some soldiers on the Friday night before the kids arrived at Rothiemurchus Lodge, and secondly I watched "why we fight" last night.

My evening with the army guys reminded me that the men and women out in Afghanistan and Iraq getting shot at and blown up on a daily basis in our names are just regular folk.  They are not imperialist fiends.  They are regular folks, many of them from relatively deprived backgrounds, who saw the army as a way of making a decent living.  They are being killed and maimed in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we don't really seem to care.

I marched before the war began, and I wrote to my MP to complain, but once the bombs started falling on Baghdad I went pretty quiet.  And I have remained so.

I read Robert Fisk before the assault on Iraq started, and trusted his judgement that winning the war would be easy but that the real problems would then begin, and be protracted a…

Unplugged

This morning we were supposed to turn off our computers, as the school link to Haddington was getting switched to a broader pipe - "you'll get to the bottleneck quicker" Alan C joked!  I ignored this request, but unplugged by machine from the network.  Call me arrogant if you will, but it made no sense to me that I had to have my desktop machine switched off even if it wasn't connected to the network in any way, so I kept it on.

This meant that I found myself working on a computer without access to the Internet.  I rarely travel with a laptop, so Internet-free computing is something I have not experienced for years.  It was very strange!  The inner dialogue was something like: dum dee dum - OK, I'll just - Oh, no, I can't check that.  Right, I'll do this instead - this is going fine. Ah - I wonder if - oh no, I can't check that.  Hmm - OK, here's something I can do without the Internet.  The work I did on some Geogebra files was productive in the e…

Facebook not good shock! horror!

I enjoyed this tirade against Facebook:
I hope you’re beginning to see the light. This is your life, and it’s ending one click at a time. Facebook brings out the worst in people. You put so much time and energy into something that makes you a worse person. Do you WANT this? I’m surprised you’ve made it this far into the article without changing tabs to check if someone wrote on your wall…
Reading things like this makes me feel immensely glad to be past the intensely social years of my youth.  Not that I'm a recluse exactly, nor do I have one foot in the grave, but folk in long-term relationships in their forties don't really have the same frenetic drive to socialise as single folk in their twenties!  I have plenty of good friends, and not enough time to see them all regularly enough, so the expansion of my social circle is not a high priority for me (not that I am averse to making new friends!).  Nor do I care so much about what people think about me.

The construction of a soci…

Weird Blog Behaviour

This blog is misbehaving.  If you click on the link for a page or a post or a comment, you get shown the feed for the site.

Has anyone else experienced this?  I thought it might be evidence of hacking, but can find nothing to suggest that my server has ben compromised.

[UPDATE] The creation of this post seems to have fixed it.  Some kind of cacheing problem?

Heretical Thoughts.

Via Doug Belshaw and del.icio.us/popular I read this fascinating article about British youth. It does not make for cheery reading. There's one aspect I'd like to pick up on:
On the whole, British children were more disconnected from their families, with nearly half of 15-year-old boys spending most nights out with friends, compared to just 17 percent of their French counterparts.
Our kids are also spending more and more time on computers talking to each other rather than with their parents. In the light of this statistic, would it be heretical of me to suggest that this is not such a great thing? I know that Bebo sometimes looks to me like a virtual Lord of the Flies.

As a society we lose the plot when we lose sight of the simplicity of our needs. In order to flourish, children need a secure, loving home environment and the time and attention of adults that care about them. These needs may not be sufficient, but they are certainly necessary. Web 2.0 does not provide anyth…

Things to do in North Berwick

I love where I live :)

Yesterday I spent the morning teaching, then sailed with school pupils in the afternoon, and went out again at the Sailing Club "Fun Friday" event in the evening. There was a thick sea fog over North Berwick in the morning, but it cleared to sunshine about lunchtime. Being out in the Firth of Forth in a sailing boat is just wonderful.

This morning, I strolled up to school to do a bit of last-minute preparation for the new timetable on Monday, then wandered down to the high street and along the beach to the harbour, where dozens of boats were lined up for the Sailing Club regatta.

After lunch on the beach watching the sailing, I headed home over the golf course.

The sun is shining and life feels very mellow.

Misery: the secret to happiness

There's an interesting story on the BBC news site today:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6711071.stm
The key to a happy relationship could be to accepting that some miserable times are unavoidable, experts say.
"Pure Buddhism", I thought, and lo  and behold, the article goes on to describe how the therapists are recommending Buddhist mindfullness meditation as a technique to help to cope with family suffering.

"Life is suffering" is the first Noble Truth of Buddhism, and people often see this as a very pessimistic starting point for a philosophy of life, but in fact it's not at all.  It's just true :)

It amuses me that we think we have advanced so much as a species since 250BC, whilst in fact we are ailed by exactly the same afflictions as we were back then, and the path towards wholeness described by Buddha is just as relevant.