Thursday, August 31, 2006

More on John Hodgeman

I'm sitting on the floor in Halle Library waiting for various teachers from Livonia middle and high schools, folks/friends with whom I have collaborated in a teacher-research group for six years. They will invariably get lost trying to find our meeting room after they have doubtless gotten lost trying to find parking.

What I should be doing:
writing an AQIP report Gisela Ahlbrandt, fabulous co-chair, and I have to finish by September 7 (it's short)
working on my presentation for the Bedford-St. Martin's workshop I have to do in Pittsburgh a week from tomorrow
making up my mind about whether I should drive or fly to Pittsburgh, something I am obsessing over in grossly unhealthy and odd ways that say to me that I am kind of overwhelmed, and because I'm processing the big things pretty well, I'm going to spin on this small thing endlessly

What I am doing:
looking at John Hodgeman's web site and John Hodgeman's blog - cool! Amber Cobb Vasquez, fabulous former EMU ga, just sent me this. Amber is smart. John Hodgeman is smart. Fabulous sites. I don't think I posted the link of Hodgeman's very, very, very funny Daily Show monologue about the US News (or whomever) writing contest here - check it out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The wiki is back, and more

So the Steves - that's Steve Krause and Steve Benninghoff - rebuilt the wiki. It's sort of like the bionic man... we can build it better. It's not there yet, but it will be... eventually. And thanks to Amber Cobb Vazquez, a lot of the content is back. The FYWP home page is not yet back... but that will get there.

It's "intensive" time in ENGL 596, which has been great - a great group of GAs. In the not great department is the potential strike at EMU. Strike authorization vote was today, which passed overwhelmingly - no surprise there. And while I am not in favor of striking, I am also not in favor of a pay cut, which is about where we are on the administration's current offer. Seriously...

The good news is that I received the third season of Arrested Development as a gift. Exccceeelllleeent escape.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things that suck

You know what really sucks? Putting about a million hours (and not my hours, either - my hours, plus Emily Dillon's hours, plus Steve Krause's hours, plus Steve Benninghoff's hours) into a cool new server and wiki, and then having someone STEAL THE SERVER.

That sucks.

And don't go to anymore, either... because some jerk is carrying it around in our server. Same with


At least no one lost a limb.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spellings Report

Well, the final draft of the Spellings Commission report is out. Interestingly, when I tried to find the URL for it to link it here, no dice - the Department of Ed web site has a link to a page that explains that the site is down right now. (Conspiracy, no doubt... or maintenance on a Sunday in summer. Whatever.) Here, though, is a story from a blog called ePluribas Media that has what I think is a very reasonable summary of the draft, along with links to previous drafts and a description of the process. I'll add that blog to my roll, too, I think.

So the Commission's final report isn't calling for standardized tests per se, but some kind of standardized assessment.

Meanwhile, the WPA listserv has been abuzz both with talk about the Commission report and some ideas (from me and others) about possible responses. My idea: come up with an exandable database of assessment possibilities that institutions can adapt for their purposes so that we have some common foundations for assessment, and maybe that will keep the wolves at bay.

Another big subject on the WPA list, though, has been the new plagiarism policy at Syracuse, which Becky Howard worked to craft. Here (yay, yay, yay) is evidence that public work can have an effect. It's just that it takes such a stinking long time.

These aren't the easiest times, goodness knows. There's this. There's Israel-Lebanon, which makes this look like nothing. But we need to do what we can, right? Fight the good fight? Glass half full... even if, as one of my friends from the gym said this a.m., it's half full of Tang.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back from The Beav

Is it any wonder why we love Beaver Island? (sorry for the weird formatting, btw - if it is weird.) The photo with lots of blue water is from Donegal Bay, which is on the other side of the island from where we stay - a whole 3 miles away. The sunset photo is from the beach in front of our 4-plex, which we reach by crossing the lawn and going through the little gate in the last photo here... it's probably about 60 yards. I like the sunsets on "our" side (the east side) better than those on the Donegal side, even though that's where the sun goes down, because the light is much more interesting and dramatic. Ahhhh... Beaver.

This year, apart from a few medical issues with one of the kids (all fine, ultimately), was excellent as always. The excitement of the year was the new island map, which included (for the first time) trails through the woods. Our friend Maria and I did a great trail ride; I did one on my own, as well. As I was tearing through the woods on Nora's bike I thought, "this is why people like to bike!" Way fun.

And now, I'm back at it. Planning ENGL 596, which starts in a week - I'm teaching the two weeks chunk, but that's it for the year. If anyone knows how to easily post photos in a WordPress blog, e-mail me! Also if you know how to get photos in flickr on to the blog in flickr. Krause is in Europe, the weasel, so I'm figuring some of this out myself (though Benninghoff has been a HUGE help and I don't want to burden him too much!).