New Direction

I haven’t done much with this blog for a while, but for the past several months I’ve been working on a new blog which I just upgraded to a more substantial website.

I’ll continue using this blog occasionally for creative writing ventures — but all my education-related and homeschooling adventure posts will be on the new website. Here’s the post I wrote today with more information about the move:

Quick note to everyone following this blog — I’ve moved over to a new website: http://realworldlearners.com. I’ve imported my list of followers from this blog, (note: I only imported my list of followers from my funschoolingadventures blog — so please feel free to subscribe if you’d like to continue following) so you should continue receiving notifications of new posts over there.

pic of new website

A few reasons for my move:

  • I wanted my website to be more organized :). I set up the new site with pages for Math, Reading & Writing, and My bookshelf (an annotated list of books I recommend related to improving education). I will be adding pages for Science, Arts and Crafts, History, and excerpts of a book I’m writing — these pages will have links to all the posts I write on these topics so that they don’t disappear into the long list of blog posts.
  • I want to change my focus a little bit and make my website not just a blog about our family’s learning adventures but a source of recommended resources, inspiration, and digital products (free and paid) to help all students rediscover the joy of learning.
  • In line with this new direction, I will create and include more free printable pages in my posts. While I can’t individually teach or tutor on a large scale, I hope that the resources I share can foster happy math times in homes around the world :).
  • I want to help change the culture of Math Anxiety that our educational system produces. Learning is an integral and wonderful part of human experience and shouldn’t be used against students as a fear-inducing mechanism for promoting a one-size-fits-all, efficiency-based, tied-to-a-timeline agenda. We are all born with an unquenchable thirst for learning and understanding the world around us and how we relate to it — I want to foster that desire to ask questions and find answers in my own children and all students.
  • My blog (on the new website) will continue to be a record of my thoughts, research, and experience along these lines, and my website will be a homebase for resources I create along the way.
  • A self-hosted website just feels better than a “.wordpress.com” free blog as I continue forward. 🙂
  • Note: I’m leaving this blog as it is. I decided not to import it into the new website because I didn’t know if all the redirects would work, including all my pinterest pins that linked to this site — or if I would end up with slower page loading times from the redirects and a host of broken links since every internal link would have a new url. So instead I moved every post over by hand and changed every link individually. Not sure that was the best life choice … but it’s done and ready for you! 🙂 I may write occasional posts about lessons I’ve learned about blogging and running a small business from home … stay tuned!

Thank you all for following along! Feel free to take a look at the new site — it’s been a work in progress for a few weeks over here :).

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All the Questions

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[Note: I’ve been working for several months now on writing a book about my thoughts on the world of teaching and learning. This is a short story I wrote last night that I may or may not use in my book, but it was fun to write and I wanted to share it. It’s a completely different writing style than the rest of my book. Any thoughts/reactions are welcome!]

 

All The Questions 

   Our most recent assignment to the foreign, Impoverished Regions turned up surprising results this year. The Euraisican Ministers of Education had conducted their annual analysis of the year’s Progress Reports from the Universal Test of Numbers and Letters and determined which districts needed the most restructuring assistance. Our team was selected to do the work of assigning new Curriculum Dispensers for the 4 through 9 year old Cohorts in District 431, which housed several of the lowest-performing schools. We gathered a team of recent graduates from the Class of 2057 who had specialized in the Study of Indoctrination and we delivered them to the designated drop-spot. Then we gathered the former Curriculum Dispensers and returned them to the Central Division to be re-programmed. Several of the School Units themselves needed to be razed and rebuilt, but no money remained for these lower-level tasks after the recent rounds of campaigns for Superintendent re-elections. We delivered electronic documents for the new team detailing subject-specific teaching objectives by class number and minute of each hour, rules for each citizen-student to adhere to and menus of rotating frozen meals to reheat and serve at 6 hour intervals. Everything had been set in motion for a successful year of new failures and we were ready to close the file on 431 when something unusual came to our attention.

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Ooga Chaka

This is the first in a series of short stories called

The Adventures of Nana-bean and his Grown-ups.

…and his Brother-bean … and his best friend, Pooh Bean.

 

Ooga Chaka

OOGA CHAKA

Nana bean was a very smart little bean.

And sometimes he knew things that nobody else even knew.

                Like Ooga Chaka.

He knew what Ooga Chaka was right away when he saw it, and it took the grown up beans sooo long to figure it out.

Nana-bean loved to dance. When he was just a little baby bean, (maybe a little bigger than zero), his favorite dancing song was “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede. Except he didn’t know that it was a word song (the kind with words). He just knew that the first 40 seconds of the youtube video went “Ooga Chaka, ooga ooga, ooga chaka, ooga ooga.” When the word part started he always stopped dancing and started demanding, “No, no! Ooga chaka!” So his Grown-ups would play the 40 second intro on repeat until the first Grown-up caved and said, “No, no! No more ooga chaka!”

The real youtube video, of course, with the real singers and dancers, was not age-appropriate viewing material for little beans, so his momma and daddy Bean used the blue-screen version with lyrics only. (That will be an important detail later in the story.)

One day, Nana-bean was sitting in his car seat in the back of the car when, all of a sudden, he saw it!

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Destiny

You came into my classroom,

                beautiful, bold, defiant,

                                like it was your stage.

                                                Every boy – your toy

                                                Every girl – your competition

                                                Every adult – your enemy.

Your school records – a mile thick

                Your attitude – permanently defensive

                                Your self-respect, I suspect, negligible.

Class, when you came, turned into your game:

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The Stuffed Men

stuffed men

While new content is brewing, I am re-posting this from my previous blog (sandiessofties.blogspot.com). This is my satirical parody of T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Hollow Men.

It is meant to be read side-by-side with Eliot’s poem, but formatting details eluded me, so I am posting his poem below mine and letting the reader decide how to digest this.

This is part of a much larger collection of thoughts/writings I’ve been working my way through, which may be posted here as they coalesce into share-able narrations.

The Stuffed Men

Sandra Balisky

2014

I.

We are the stuffed men

We are the hollow men

Standing apart

Headpiece filled with 4G waves. Alas!

Our cyber voices, when

We update our statuses

Are silent and meaningless

As bubbles bursting as they land

Or echoes in a canyon from a million lonely voiceless people

In our enclosed, virtual worlds.

Communication without talking,

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Was That Wisdom?

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This is a poem I wrote about 10 years ago. It is a loose parody of the soliloquy from Julius Ceasar by Shakespeare that begins:  “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears….” (The full text can be found here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/247644)

Friends, students, seekers, lend me your eyes:

Behold this Jesus who was crucified;

Above his head the sign: King of the Jews

And yet he died a roman criminal.

If He were God could not the angels save him?

I seek to understand this foolishness:

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10 Reasons my 1 year old is better at life than I am

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1) He is genuine.

     … so very, brutally, non-politically, honest. When you offer him a banana and it’s not a Tuesday, or whatever his day is where he actually likes bananas (I haven’t quite figured it out yet but I know there’s a pattern here somewhere) he looks at it for a split second then pushes it away saying “Na-no” — which I can only assume means “Nana says no thank you.” When he does want something, he is just as definite about it – whether it’s mommy’s Oreo cookie or daddy’s coffee or the banana on his own plate (if it’s a Tuesday). His eyes get big and he reaches out for it with one hand while hitting his chest with the other hand, palm open. (This is a loose translation of “please” in sign language and means, more or less, “give me what you have because I’m saying the magic word and also because I want it.)

2) He talks to the birds.

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