Saturday, June 9, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
There is a new study that claims to predict ability in the key areas of numeracy and literacy. I am not sure how true this is, but apparently there is quite a bit of research backing up this theoretical prediction.
So here is how it goes: Take a look at your ring finger and index (pointer) finger. Those with longer ring fingers (than their index finger) are said to more likely excel in numeracy, while those with shorter ring fingers (than their index finger) tend to be more adept at literacy.
I may take a look at my students' hands in the fall--just for fun and curiosity's sake--to see how much authenticity this research bears in my classroom.
By the way... my ring finger is shorter than my index finger... which according to this study means that I am more literate than numerate. This is definitely true!
UK Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, has said that, "web publishers have a moral obligation to cut offensive videos of teachers being attacked, harassed or ridiculed."
Some examples of these online attacks, harassment, and ridicule that teachers have faced were outlined in the article:
- One teacher gave the example of pupils who had created a web page on which abuse, intimidation and even death threats were made about school staff.
- Another shared information about a "We Hate Mrs XXX" website created by a pupil after the teacher in question reported them for an incident.
- One teacher claimed she had received 68 malicious mobile phone calls over a three-week period in which she was threatened with rape and murder.
It's a real touchy subject yet again because many of the "bullies"--for lack of a better term--say that they are just expressing their freedom of expression when they make these websites and videos. But again... sometimes it just gets mean, and sometimes it even gets frightening and/or harmful.
The article reads, "The pupils who do this are afforded anonymity. The teachers are named, exposed to ridicule and subjected to false and malicious allegations. Teachers' self-esteem and sometimes their health is seriously affected."
If you are interested, here is the story.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Looking in the distance
I saw something move
Coming a little closer
I saw an animal
Coming a little closer still
I saw a man
Coming up real close
I saw my brother
Friday, May 18, 2007
Their health, their lives, and their childhoods are sacrificed.
Many female child soldiers are forced to serve as sex slaves of military commanders.
Albeit numerous child soldiers are in non-governmental armed opposition groups… governments in TEN (of these 20 countries) are implicated in child soldier use. “The U.S. government provides military assistance to nine of them… U.S. tax dollars should not be used to support the exploitation of children as soldiers. Moreover, US weapons should not end up in the hands of children.”
There is a very touching video about Ishmael Beah who was one of thousands of children forced to serve as a child soldier in the Sierra Leone Army.
This video calls for the U.S. to use their influence to cut military aid to countries using child soldiers. You can view it at: http://hrw.org/campaigns/crp/child_soldiers/index.htm
To see the countries that child soldiers are currently serving in, visit: http://hrw.org/children/child_soldiers_map.html
The proposed Child Soldier Prevention Act (S1175) is:
"bipartisan legislation… the bill would restrict five categories of US military assistance (International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales, and Excess Defense Articles) to governments… until they end any involvement in the recruitment or use of child soldiers. The bill would not automatically cut off these military assistance programs; governments taking concrete steps to end child recruitment and demobilize child soldiers would remain eligible for assistance directed solely towards the professionalization of their forces for up to two years before any prohibition on assistance would be imposed. This bill will provide clear incentives for governments currently implicated in the recruitment and use of child soldiers to end this practice and demobilize children from their forces. It also encourages the United States to expand funding to rehabilitate former child soldiers and work with the international community to bring to justice rebel armed groups that kidnap children for use as soldiers.”
If you are inspired to take action, you can write or phone government representatives, write your local newspaper, educate yourself, and spread the word to family, friends, classmates, colleagues, etc.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Mothers Day is a very important day, and I think it has lost meaning over the years...
"Mother's Day was originally suggested by poet and social activist Julia Ward Howe. In 1870, after witnessing the carnage of the American Civil War and the start of the Franco-Prussian War, she wrote the original Mother's Day Proclamation calling upon the women of the world to unite for peace. This "Mother's Day Proclamation" would plant the seed for what would eventually become a national holiday." (Mothersdayforpeace.com)
Check out this video for a modern version of the Proclamation, which features Felicity Huffman, Vanessa Williams, Christine Lahti, Fatma Saleh, Ashraf Salimian, Gloria Steinem, and Alfre Woodard.
"It is important for each of us to take the time to celebrate and thank our mothers for all that they do." (Mothersdayforpeace.com)
We can add that "meaning" back into Mothers Day by honouring and loving our mothers, promoting peace, and healing the victims of war and injustice.
At http://mothersdayforpeace.com/, you can send an e-cards to your mother, with a donation in her name going to No More Victims, whose aim is to help heal victims of the Iraq War.
FYI: Julia Ward Howe was a poet, writer and activist who fought vigilantly for peace, the abolition of slavery, and women's rights.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
We are living on a plant that has a genocide occurring right now.
Hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings are being systematically targeted for extermination. Their only “crime” is that they are of non-Arab ethnicity and deemed to be sympathetic to rebel groups in Darfur.
It frustrates me and angers me that over 400,000 people have already been exterminated, and 2.5 million others displaced from their homes. So why—WHY—does this continue? Why isn’t our government doing more? We’ve surpassed the 200,000 deaths in Bosnia. Are we waiting until the count is 800,000 like that in Rwanda? Six million like the Holocaust?
Well… some of the reasons I think, are that people dismiss the entire continent of Africa as hopeless because all we hear about (in the off occasions when Africa is actually in the news) are the growing epidemics of AIDS, poverty, starvation, and killing. Indifference has swelled: out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps people do not want to get involved with a sovereign country’s matters.
But there is another very important element in this mix of inactivity:
"Sudanese government officials, who were close to Osama bin Laden when he lived in that country from 1991 until 1996, are now cooperating with American counterterrorism authorities. The regime in Khartoum rightly concluded that if they provided nuggets of information about al-Qaeda suspects and detainees to the Americans, the value of this information would outweigh outrage over their state-supported genocide. In other words, when U.S. counterterrorism objectives meet up with anti-genocide objectives, Sudanese officials had a hunch that counterterrorism would win every time. These officials have been right in their calculations so far. As of this writing, near the end of 2006, the United States had done little to seriously confront the Sudanese regime over its policies."
"In order to win the peace in Sudan, we must first win an ideological battle at home. We must show that combating crimes against humanity is as important as combating terrorism. Often, as in the case of Sudan, the pursuit of both objectives doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. History has demonstrated that Sudanese government officials change their behavior when they face genuine international diplomatic and economic pressure."
In their book, Don Cheadle and John Prendergast take about WHY we should be concerned about the genocide happening in Darfur right now:
- It’s a moral imperative
- We have made the promise of “Never Again”
- Eradicating genocide will make the rest of the world safer (including us in the western world): “History has taught us that regimes that target their own people rarely confine their murderous ambitions within their borders. The victims… tend not to go quietly into the night. Some radicalize, taking up arms… and, eventually, join criminal or even ‘terrorist' networks. The violence spreads; the innocents suffer.”
If “citizens can make enough noise to press their government to do what's right, then we will have saved literally tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives in Darfur." John Prendergast.
So, I try as best I can as only one human being on this earth among 6 billion others to do the following: educate myself, blog, raise awareness, raise funds, write letters, sign petitions, call for divestment, join organizations, lobby the government, etc. I would also love to vist this area sometime to offer humanitarian assitance and write.
Here are some good videos on YouTube that illustrate a only a fraction of the devastation that is happening in Darfur right now:
“Throughout American history, social movements have helped shape our government's policy on a variety of issues.”
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
In any case, with the atrocities that are occurring all over the world when it comes to organ markets and human rights (i.e. body brokers profiting off of human suffering, encouraging impoverished people to sell their organs, governments selling the organs of political prisoners, etc.), coupled with the reality that many people die before receiving the organs they need, definitely calls for some kind of reform of the organ-donor system.
This article is thought-provoking and discusses a variety of opinions.
Also, take a look at the current going prices for organs in different parts of the world:
$15,000-40,000 Pakistan $20,000 Iraq $25,000 Russia $35,000-85,000 Philippines $65,000 China $80,000 Colombia $120,000 South Africa $145,000 Turkey
$150,000-170,000 China $290,000 Singapore $290,000 South Africa $290,000 South Korea $290,000 Taiwan
$25,000 Egypt $25,000 Pakistan $60,000-130,000 China $100,000 Colombia $100,000 Philippines $290,000 Singapore $290,000 South Africa $290,000 South Korea $290,000 Taiwan
$110,000 China $140,000 Singapore $140,000 South Africa $140,000 South Korea $140,000 Taiwan
$90,000 Colombia $130,000-160,000 China $290,000 South Africa $290,000 South Korea $290,000 Taiwan $290,000 Singapore
(Prices taken from: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/start_page7.html)
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
This is definitely a must-see.
Puts things into perspective (visually) about the current happenings overseas right now... Make sure you check this link out:
Monday, May 7, 2007
Sunday, May 6, 2007
"[The] total cost of the Iraq war may reach $456 billion in September."
Friday, May 4, 2007
"A sixth-grader who was denied permission to use the restroom while taking a state achievement test this week had an accident in class."
Okay, granted the teacher should have had an adult supervisor escort the student to the restroom... but are you serious? This story deserves national attention over the other (what I would argue to be) bigger atrocities taking place in the world? Like my posting below and other newsworthy issues in the world are being shafted because a kid peed their pants.
Like Cheadle said in the posting below, "It's disturbing the mainstream media gives so little attention to the killings in Darfur, while crime stories [and apparently peeing your pants... among other things, like hollywood gossip] in the United States will be reported on ad nauseam."
One question that wasn't raised (maybe fellow educators want to take a stab at this)... What part did the state achievement test play in this incident?
State achievement tests determine school rankings, funding, and the state's annual report cards.