August 1, 2008

expelled for a B-minus GPA

TJ is home to geniuses, the merely brilliant, and yes, a fair number of kids who are bright but not wildly so, or who somehow manage to find things other than academics about which to be passionate in their middle teen years.

The Shame And Horror Of The B-Minus Student - Raw Fisher

February 29, 2008

'Radical "unschooling" moms are changing the stay-at-home landscape'

My parents homeschooled me so that I could get more experience in the world, not so that I could shelter myself from it.

Learning Curve, Bitch Magazine

October 5, 2007

English 115F Worlds of Warcraft

English 115F: Worlds of Wordcraft Fall 2007

Are online games generating new interactive modes of narrative? How do multimedia environments transform the age-old patterns of quest romances that structure much game play? Is the line between virtual and real experience erased by the fusion of online communities, role playing, and escapist fictions? Can computer games be pedagogical tools, as some academics maintain, or are they only addictive, sedentary, and antisocial activities? These questions will animate our consideration of digital narrative forms.

You can audit this AWESOME course as a podcast through iTunesU.

September 22, 2006

The Tortoise and the Bean

small vanilla cone
small vanilla cup
small ultra chocolate cone
small ultra chocolate cup
small lychee cone
small lychee cup
small rum raisin cone
small rum raisin cup
small ginger cone
small ginger cup
medium vanilla cone
medium vanilla cup
medium ultra chocolate cone
medium ultra chocolate cup
medium lychee cone
medium lychee cup
medium rum raisin cone
medium rum raisin cup
medium ginger cone
medium ginger cup
large vanilla cone
large vanilla cup
large ultra chocolate cone
large ultra chocolate cup
large lychee cone
large lychee cup
large rum raisin cone
large rum raisin cup
large ginger cone
large ginger cup

Let’s see you do that in four lines of Java!

Go Logo! Kick Java’s ass!

Download UC Berkeley’s Logo for X11
Download a prettier Logo for Mac OS X

September 19, 2006

My tushy feel good

randomWalks’ greatest hits: One Evening When She Was Two

One day I told my students (freshmen at a prominent east-coast university) to pull out a piece of paper. They all did. I told them to print their names in the upper right-hand corner. They all did. I told them to tile the paper “A Syllabus of Syllables,” and then underline the title. They all did. I told them to write the following syllables next to the numbers: “ge, sha, la, urb, orb, go, vin, sko, sti, cer.” They all did. I told them to form a word from each of the syllables. They asked me a few questions - they wanted to be sure exactly what it was I wanted from them - and then they all hunched over their papers and did it. I told them to fold the paper in half. Deborah asked which way. I said lengthwise. Then I told them to hand in their papers. They all did. I stood there with a handful of 15 papers folded lengthwise. Everybody was looking at me.

Not one of them asked me why we were doing this. Not one of them told me to go screw myself. Not one of them — not one — even looked at me strange.

Why should they? Nothing strange had happened. this was school. School is where you give up your power, you do what you’re told, and you don’t ask questions. In school, we all learn not to care anymore, not even to care that we’re being humiliated, because everybody keeps telling us that we’re being educated.

more good news about what's wrong with school

If we sat around and deliberately tried to come up with a way to further enlarge the achievement gap, we might just invent homework.

Elementary-school students shouldn’t do homework. By Emily Bazelon - Slate Magazine It’s being referred to as “the homework debate,” but I haven’t seen anybody argue that homework is good pedagogy.

Hey, check this out:

The word comes from the ancient Greek paidagogos, the slave who supervised the education of slave children in whatever given trade they were forced into. Children who lived in under the supervision of Paidagogos were always slaves as no free person took orders from a slave. It was the Paidagogos job to act as a “Drill Sergeant”, and insure that the slaves performed their daily routines as expected by their Master.

Wikipedia: Pedagogy

December 19, 2005

come on guys

Reading groups, readings, breakdowns of book sales all tell the same story: when women stop reading, the novel will be dead.

Novelist Ian McEwan in The Guardian.

November 16, 2005

schooled to blog

Tremendous! Fantastic! Erica Jacobs has her 108 high school English students blogging!

July 17, 2005

New Freedom Initiative.

Nancy Levant: Mental Health Screening in Schools Signals the End of Parental Rights
The fact is that our president has mandated that every American child, age 3 through 18, is federally ordered to be evaluated for mental health issues and to receive "enforced" treatment. Welcome to President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative and New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Welcome to life-long profiling and drug addictions, New Freedom-style.

April 25, 2005

tossing salad

Casting Off Cookies?

Elmo and Zoe are on an exercise routine. Singing vegetables and talking fruit have invaded the neighborhood. Miles has a new song. It is about broccoli. And, darkest of all, Cookie Monster has been stripped of his piles of quickly and loudly consumed chocolate-chip cookies.

Cookie Monster's gluttonous binges mirrored the insatiable furball inside each of us young viewers and eventually elicited an innate recognition of "too much" — an understanding much more powerful when arrived at personally. If Cookie Monster is now learning lessons of moderation in our stead, we'll have to learn our own lessons elsewhere.

No doubt I'm but one among many former children mourning Cookie Monster's diminished id, but the most frustrating part of this moderately tragic turn of events is that the Children's Television Workshop already had a perfectly righteous Captain Vegetable with his very own catchy theme song.

April 19, 2005

you can't bite your own teeth

What to Tell Children About God by Alan Watts.

God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, He has no one but himself to play with. But He gets over this difficulty by pretending that He is not Himself. This is His way of hiding from Himself. He pretends that He is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way He has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when He wakes up they will disappear.

April 4, 2005


Having lived this long, there is so much that is miraculous to me. It's like the first time I ever went to a A's baseball game at the Oakland Coliseum. I had only ever seen an A's game on a small black and white television. As I walked through the breezeway, I saw the players in green and yellow uniforms and caps, playing on the lush green grass, and I gasped in wonder.

I feel like the same wonder all the time, at being a mother, or when I cook, or in my garden, at the miracle of DVDs or the internet.

. . .

I wouldn't exactly say that 40 is the new 30, but 40 is excellent and I recommend it to everyone who hasn't reached it yet.

April 2, 2005


One day the Sixth Patriarch was visiting a temple. The temple flag was flapping in the wind. As the Sixth Patriarch approached the temple he came upon two monks arguing. One monk said, "The flag is moving." The other monk said, "No, no -- the wind is moving!" They argued back and forth. Then the Sixth Patriarch said, "It is not the flag; it is not the wind. It is your minds that are moving." Then the monks said, "Ahh, you are correct -- our minds are moving! Thank you very much."

March 29, 2005

visual programming

Processing is a programming language and environment built for the electronic arts and visual design communities. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, and researchers for learning, prototyping, and production.”

February 4, 2005

Hear, hear!

Tagwebs, Flickr, and the Human Brain (by Jakob Lodwick)

Tagging, as seen on Flickr and other sites, allows you to organize things in a way that makes sense to your brain. You may also notice that tagging photos on Flickr is the first time that organizing something has made perfect sense.

This is fantastic and reminds me of the eternal golden braid, but I'm a little bit worried that this guy's mind is about to turn inside out like Robert Pirsig's did.

January 30, 2005

Pencils Like Daggers

Infoshop News - Pencils like Daggers

I have never been into the punk scene, I am not white, I became a father at 20 and had to think about changing diapers, not just about changing social structures. I remember being chastised by someone trying to get us to go up one summer to the logging protests and when I reminded him of my responsibilities, he snapped back: 'what was more important.' I wanted to punch him, to make him see his ignorance, the elitism of privilege, the typical dismissal of people with children, with jobs to pay for food and rent. Yet, this has happened over and over. Meetings at 6 p.m. or reading my child a bed time story? How to choose? It felt as if I could never fully commit, never be as dedicated as the people I met -- mostly younger, white, students, who were mobile, who could survive on a fluctuating income. Now there is nothing wrong with this, but this was not me, not my experience, not my culture. But I knew that the anarchist views more closely resembled my views about how life could be lived than anything else, so I tried as much as I could to find that community. I brought my kids to meetings; I swapped childcare with other parents on my block (a nice way of realizing it truly does take a neighborhood to raise a child). I tried to figure out how to balance riding bikes with my kids around the block versus riding in critical mass, which is right at dinner time.

I realized I needed the anarchist community after years of trying to compartmentalize the seemingly disparate aspects of my life -- the non-monogamist, the self-schooling parent, the activist, the Chicano academic, the fuck-the-police poet. But how I got to this point is another story. Is in fact many stories.

December 8, 2004

habits, rituals, and methods

rodcorp: How we work

December 3, 2004

just doot

Do It Now by Steve Pavlina

It is absolutely imperative that you develop the habit of making decisions as soon as possible. I use a 60-second rule for almost every decision I have to make, no matter how big or important. Once I have all the data to make a decision, I start a timer and give myself only 60 seconds to make a firm decision. I think people too often delay making decisions when there is no advantage to putting them off. Many people probably spend more than 60 seconds just deciding what they'll eat for dinner.

September 13, 2004

the newest Smithsonian institution

History's New Look (

For years [the National Museum of Natural History] displayed artifacts in old-fashioned dioramas with mannequins of Indians in sparse hunting gear. As part of its renovation, it has been tearing up those exhibitions. This summer it dismantled the hall in which they resided. It has also returned to tribes many items that had been collected and donated by scientists. One of the most famous was the brain of Ishi, who for years was believed to be the last Yahi-Yana of Northern California. His brain was sent to the Smithsonian by an anthropologist and remained in museum storage for 83 years. It was returned to his kin from other tribes in 2000.

The new National Museum of the American Indian avoids the anthropological approach in an effort to correct past museum practices by reflecting "authentic voices of native peoples themselves". (bugmenot,

September 11, 2004

43 Folders

Merlin Mann's 43 Folders is brilliant, full of lifehacks for geeks.

Ultimately about learning how you work, where you get bogged down, and how your brain wants to operate. Once you develop the tweaks for your own contexts and special situation, you’re golden.

August 25, 2004

Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival Call for Entries

The Fourth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival : News : Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival Call for Entries
Have you made a short film that inspires debate and action? Submit your work to the fifth annual Media That Matters Film Festival and reach an audience of millions. MediaRights will bring your social-issue short or new media piece to activists and teachers around the country through online streaming, national broadcasts, community screenings and DVD distribution. And you might even win a $1,000!
Seems like we just finished the fourth one.

July 9, 2004

Free Speech?

Atrocities (Susan Ohanian Speaks Out)
The valedictorian of a Brooklyn high school was escorted out of the building and denied her diploma yesterday because she trashed the school in a scorching graduation speech. The school says it won't give Tiffany Schley her sheepskin until she says she's sorry - but the 17-year-old is unrepentant. "I was speaking for my peers," Tiffany told the Daily News. "We've been living with this for four years." A top student who's going to Smith College on a full scholarship this fall, Schley was brutally honest about the High School of Legal Studies during Thursday's graduation ceremonies in Bushwick.

Regional Homeschool Laws

Regional and World Wide Homeschooling - A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling: a clickable guide to homeschool laws in every state, as well as international.

July 8, 2004

Cool Tools

Reviewer: Stewart Brand
Subject: Better than Whole Earth Catalog...
...because 1) it's current, 2) it focuses on real tools rather than books, 3) it's completely Web-active.

Compulsive reading, eager shopping for real value, better living as a result. Cool Tools 2003

June 27, 2004

A rebel AND a poet

New York Daily News - News & Views - Daily News Exclusive: Valedictorian who ripped school denied diploma

The valedictorian of a Brooklyn high school was escorted out of the building and denied her diploma yesterday because she trashed the school in a scorching graduation speech.

The school says it won't give Tiffany Schley her sheepskin until she says she's sorry - but the 17-year-old is unrepentant.

"I was speaking for my peers," Tiffany told the Daily News. "We've been living with this for four years."

May 22, 2004

No child left uncensored

The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Editorials

In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being "un-American" because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its "No child left behind" education policy.

The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.

Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal.

After firing Nevins and terminating the teaching and reading of poetry in the school, the principal and the military liaison read a poem of their own as they raised the flag outside the school. When the principal had the flag at full staff, he applauded the action he'd taken in concert with the military liaison.

Then to all students and faculty who did not share his political opinions, the principal shouted: "Shut your faces."

May 21, 2004

rocks in the garden

Macworld: Shoot Action Like a Pro by Derrick Story. Because a little bit of video technique is a dangerous thing.

The key to recording good action footage lies in learning how to hold the shot. The subject should be moving, not the video camera.

May 17, 2004

Semiograds, by Paul Greenberg / News / Boston Globe / Ideas / The semio-grads

Semiotics is about how we derive meaning from context. In the context of this article, those who like "This American Life" may have been drawn in because "Ira Glass" signifies a certain quirky intelligence. Meanwhile, those of you who never heard of Ira Glass but who recognized the words "public radio" have probably already abandoned this article, because you associate public radio with being all alone on a Sunday afternoon and have concluded semiotics might be similarly isolating.

May 5, 2004

Virtual Quidditch and Automatically Programmed Software Agents

Hampshire College Student Uses J.K. Rowling's Quidditch as Basis for Artificial Intelligence Experiment: "Crawford-Marks now calls his earliest work 'kiddy Quidditch,' as it evolved teams that played like he thinks six-year-olds might. But, now well past the 50th generation it starts to look a little more like Rowling's game, with a practically uncatchable Snitch."

April 27, 2004

Clearing the Murky Waters of High School History - Casey: TAKS' attack on U.S. history

Here's one way to teach U.S. history.

It comes from a typed TAKS review sheet found sitting on a classroom teacher's desk recently by a substitute teacher in a Houston-area school.

Teachers throughout Texas are drilling their students in desperate hopes that this week they will score well on the TAKS, the only test by which teachers and principals are officially measured.

Here's how the review sheet begins:

"1. If it is a question about a person from the Revolutionary Era, the answer is George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

"2. If it is a question about a women's rights leader, the answer has to be Susan B. Anthony.

"3. If it is a question about a civil rights leader, the answer will likely be Martin Luther King."

It goes on for two single-spaced pages, drilling dates and definitions, presenting a reflecting pool of U.S. history a centimeter deep and 200 years wide, filled with murky water.

Another way of teaching history is that promoted by Will Fitzhugh [...]