Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

Top Ten Tuesday – A Word from Your Mother

This is from the front page of the blog “A Word from Your Mother:”

“The world is a dangerous place to live;
not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
~ Albert Einstein

Very powerful words to introduce an extremely powerful blog about our planet. Normally I have ten different things, but this time I want to introduce you to A Word from Your Mother and ten different entries that you should read if you are at all concerned about our planet. There is some very troubling stuff on this blog, but I firmly believe that we need to understand as much as possible about the potential fate of our planet and the sentient organisms inhabiting it. Our history has been woefully uninformed on many of these issues. Be prepared to be worried, upset, and more knowledgeable. With knowledge comes action.

First up, Indigenous People: Not Only Plants and Animals Face Extinction. “According to the latest estimates, there are only approximately 370 million indigenous people, spread across 70 countries, left on earth.” There are loads of great links to human rights and the UN Declaration of Indigenous People’s Rights.

Chief Seattle sums it up well:

“Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”

~ Chief Seattle

Next, a video from TED, Ideas Worth Sharing: America’s Native Prisoners of War.

OMG – One More Generation – Saving endangered animals for the next generation, an organization started by children. This is just one of the many interesting and important organizations you can get to on the sidebar of the blog.

Monsanto – a company most of us have never heard of, or if we have, we connect it to rugs. Unless you read Michael Pollen (Omnivore’s Dilemma), Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle), and watched Food Inc. Then you’re aware of what’s happening with our food sources, and potentially our farmer’s markets. This entry, Do You Know What You Are Eating and Breathing? takes on Monsanto. This is part 1 of 10. Again, be prepared to be troubled.

Mother Earth Still Has a Few New Things to Show Us is more uplifting.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind is an entry looking at the Gulf oil spill. Take a close look at the issue of plastic in our environment.

Protected Area of the Week from ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) –  world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. Take a look at what’s disappearing from the planet.

And finally, (I know, it’s only 8…) a reminder from Randy Newman…It’s a Jungle Out There.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

If I had written this last night because I couldn’t shut my mind down from educational incompetence, this would have been titled “#(*^!@&^%!@$*&%@$.” Moving into teaching math was not an easy decision for me. I was not a good math student once material moved into the abstract – a combination of bad teachers, “new math,” and not being in formal operations, as Piaget would have it. And it limited my options. I chose a college major based on the least amount of math I would need to take – history. Granted, it led me into teaching (nothing else out there), but there could have been a lot more options for me as a career.

Which is what I want for my students. Options. Loads of them. And research has shown that mathematics is the gatekeeper to all else economically. Now, I don’t expect my kids to love math – I want them to know they can do it – way more important. Especially where I am now – I have never worked in a school with such a strong poverty level, where kids have to worry about school lunch being their only meal of the day. So math becomes even more important – their ticket out to something better for them economically.

But it all depends on them building a foundation that is strong – not just the little pig’s house of twigs that collapses from lack of understanding. A strong house – they may not like the decor, but the house provides all the shelter they need – and their friends, and stands the test of time. That’s called mathematical understanding, and it doesn’t come from practicing test taking so you can do well on stupid local and state tests.

Alright, I’ve said it, that’s where I’m really going with this. Learning to do something for a test will not build understanding, and it makes me NUTS when I am being forced into that role. Not what I signed up for this year in making the move to a new school. And I am being told if I don’t like the way things are going, to look for a new school. This for one of their most talented teachers (and I am being incredibly humble) who has learned oodles of new stuff to do with management and student engagement this year. So – I guess that’s the decision I will need to make – for my sanity.

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