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Showing posts from February, 2010

Back to the Future

An article appeared in the New York Times last week that has stirred up a lot of interest and discussion in education and political circles. The article "High Schools to Offer Plan to Graduate 2 Years Early" is about proposals in eight states to graduate students who can successfully pass a series of tests at the end of tenth grade. Students who do not pass the exam in tenth grade would have opportunities to retake the exam in eleventh and twelfth grades. The rationale behind the plan is to have students prepare more seriously for college. Students would know exactly what they have to study to pass the exams and would be considered ready for college, thus reducing the number of remedial courses that high school graduates currently have to take in college. States like the idea because it might reduce the number of years students are in high school and thereby reduce the number of teachers needed. Plus, if students do not need as many remedial level college courses, less colle…

Motivation

Do you know who J.R. Celski is? I had never heard of him until I watched a feature on him during the coverage of short track speed skating at the Vancouver Olympic Games. The feature showed him at the U.S. Olympic time trials with a huge gash in his thigh, the result of a crash on the ice where his own right skate blade gashed open his left thigh all the way to the bone, just missing his femoral artery. Even though he qualified for the U.S. Olympic team that day, his injury looked like it would keep him from competing. After getting 60 stitches to sew up three layers of muscle and his skin, J.R. consulted former Olympian, Dr. Eric Heiden, and was told that he could rehabilitate his thigh and possibly be ready to race if he was willing to undergo therapy six hours a day, six days a week. In his online journal, Celski said that he was thankful for his injury, that he viewed it as a test of his dedication to his sport, and that, although he knew the odds were stacked against him, he was …

Loving + Kindness = My Shepherd

I like some of the less-used compound words that are part of the English language: notwithstanding, nevertheless, wherewithal, whosoever come to mind. I just like their multiple syllables and how the words have been mashed together to create one word with its own unique meaning. One of my favorite words that came up in our church service yesterday was the word lovingkindness - not just kindness, not just love, but lovingkindness, and in the verse we read yesterday we saw there could be more than one - lovingkindnesses (Isaiah 63:7).

There are days when I don't think I can function without knowing that God's lovingkindness was there for me, days when I would rather stayed cocooned in my bed with the shades drawn, trying to sleep away my life, days when I feel like nobody should have to be exposed to who I am. But then from somewhere, the memory of God's lovingkindness seeps past the weeds and the cobwebs darkening my heart to give me hope that such as I am, God has chosen me…

Mark Four Students

I was reading Mark chapter 4 this morning and I had a thought relating this passage to the classroom. The four kinds of soils are four kinds of hearers and teachers have all four kinds of students in their classrooms on any given day.

The first student is the hard ground hearer. This student sits in the classroom and though his ears may hear the teacher's words, the teaching goes no further than his eardrums, because he has an unresolved problem with the teacher and has set his heart not to receive anything the teacher says. The student learns nothing.

The second student is the stony ground hearer. This student hears the lesson and is excited by what he hears until he attempts to implement what he has heard, because his initial efforts fail. When the learning does not come easily, he shuts down and his enthusiasm turns to pessimism; he convinces himself either that the teacher cannot teach or that he cannot possibly learn. The student learns nothing.

The third student is the weedy gr…

Up To My Loins In Snow!

As I sat here in my office contemplating what to write about today, of course the recent snowfall and today's impending sequel came to mind, and by some odd twist of mind, the passage from Ezekiel 47 popped into my head too. I thought of Ezekiel being led out, not into deeper and deeper waters, but into deeper and deeper snow - up to his ankles, then his knees, then to his loins (waist), and, finally, over his head! When I was a little guy growing up in Maine, I remember Mom bundling me in layers of winter clothing - wool socks, ski pants, snowmobile boots with felt liners, hand knit cap, mittens, and scarf, and snow parka - before sending me out to play in the snow. My friend Danny Pizzo from next door would accompany me on great adventures across snow covered fields and icy streams up into the woods, and we often found ourselves wading through white drifts up to our waists. Ahhh...those were the days. I also remember the day our mothers came out and found us up in the woods to b…

I Have a Dream School

I remember hearing a recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech for the first time and being swept up in the powerful poetry of his words and being able to envision what he spoke about. Well, I am no Dr. King, but I, too, have a dream, a dream for our school, and I am going to try to write it here for all to read.

In my dream school, there would be a pastor on the staff of GGCA whose job would be to teach Bible throughout the day and serve as a counselor.

In my dream school, the elementary classrooms would all be as large as the kindergarten classroom and each class would be equipped with its own well-stocked library and the best furniture and technology to make the learning environment both comfortable and adaptable for students' and teachers' needs.

In my dream school, there would be beautiful art, music, and band classrooms and a magnificent library overseen by a kindly librarian where teachers could bring their entire class for lessons; maybe…