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December 2007

Georgia School Melds a World of Differences - New York Times

I started reading this article and thought -- and what is different about what they are doing and what my school was doing for years.  We still have a lot of those kids, but most of them ended up at the new school that uncrowded us starting two years ago.  At one point we had 57 different home languages.


It is VERY rewarding working with those students though.  Though difficult. I had a group of them in a portable, teaching them Algebra.  They would go through phases -- one day cussing at each other, anothing day stealing packs, just lots of little nonsense.  I've got two in my computer science class, one who is doing extremely well. 


The bad part, and I grew up with this sort of problem -- is that whatever cultural bias existed that cause their problems were not resolved automatically upon landing in the US.  If they hated another group back in their home country, they still hated them here, and we got refugees from BOTH sides.  And let's face it, the "Irish" problem still existed in this country until very recently and was alive and well in the small town my parents grew up in (meaning the Protestant/Catholic problems).


I used to tell that to my fellow teachers and I don't think they still got it.  But I was NOT allowed to wear Green on St. Patrick's day.  We didn't have to wear orange but we were NOT allowed green.


Quoted from


Georgia School Melds a World of Differences - New York Times

More than half the 380 students at this unusual school outside Atlanta are refugees from some 40 countries, many torn by war.

Thanks Alfred!

I really like Alfred Thompson's blog at

Lately I've really made out like a bandit...

A few weeks ago he posted about a couple of workshops sponsored by Microsoft. Well, I decided to try the one in Vegas this summer.

And this week he posted about a game conference on a cruise in February. I'm registered and am getting ready to go.

Both are excellent deals -- go read about them!

Special ED and Web Mastering

Special Ed usually isn't an issue for CS.  In fact, I have a special ed child in Computer Science that the Special ED department chair offered to take out, and he's doing fine.

However, Web Mastering and Special Ed is something else.

I have a child in Web Mastering that refuses to read web pages.  I don't know if she can't read and won't.  I honestly don't care.  If a child is enrolled in Web Mastering they better be able to read before they get there because a) I don't have to time read every single web page to a child, and b) what's the point of being in a Web Mastering class if you can't read.  Get the child to a reading specialist and fix it, especially since we are talking 10-12.

There are certain things I require a web mastering student to do before they can pass.  They are:

  1. Send an email that is at least equal to my mother's writing ability (not a very high standard, by the way).
  2. Shop on the internet.  I would really like them to be able to comparison shop, but just finding something they can buy will do it this year.
  3. Set up a power point with at least one slide telling me why they want to buy the object.
  4. Set up a simple web page using HTML tags
  5. Reduce the size of a digital photograph so it can be used on the web, crop that photograph, and combine images in one photograph with another.
  6. Produce a simple web page using Dreamweaver.
  7. Produce a simple navigation using Fireworks.
  8. Produce a simple animation using Flash.

Vastly easier than what a regular student is required to do.

I really don't think I am expecting too much.  They should at least try everything.  The fun part, is that most of the time, I find something in the above the child not only can do, but enjoys doing and does well.  Usually it's shopping but oh well.

Right now, I'm going around and around with a Special Ed Coordinator who can't wrap her head around the above requirements.  And hasn't spent one moment in my room helping the child.  She wants ME to send the student with work to another room.  Sorry, that is not happening.  Software isn't there, coordinator hasn't gotten a clue, and we're all better off in my room, as occasionally I can get the child to actually do something. 

Fun stuff from the STEM award

I'm finally getting some of the things for my classroom from the STEM award.  Today I got Abode Create Suite 3 Web Premium which includes the latest versions of Dreamweaver, which I use ALL the time, and Contribute which I am testing now.


Yesterday, my NAS came.  Buffalo Terabyte and came with 700 gig.  It's very nice and very easy to set up and use.


Getting all the new toys has been fun.

Commodore 64 still loved after all these years -

Well, I never "loved" the Commodore 64, but it did use them to teach Computer Math most of my first year of teaching computer science.  Interesting article.

In act, I've never really loved any piece of equipment and was happy to go to the next.

"There was something magical about the C64," says Andreas Wallstrom of Stockholm, Sweden.

Commodore 64 still loved after all these years -

I love Microsoft Live Search

Last night, I was finished with my dog agility classes and needed gas.  I also knew that gas was $2.85 in Farmers Branch.  So I fired up my GPS receiver, went into Live Search and told it to find my GPS position and then went to gas prices.

The program wanted me to go north, but I wanted to go south, different county and the prices ARE cheaper because less tax, but wasn't worth the drive.

So finally, I got a south station -- a Kroger's and followed the route. 

Ended up passing a Tom Thumb, remembered they told me I had a $.10 per gallon discount so I ended up snagging gas at $2.69 a gallon.

Neat use of technology!