Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day

Today I helped out at my daughter's Valentine's party. Wow, I could not teach that age. I am wiped out from just spending the afternoon with all that energy! She has great teachers -- I don't know how they manage. What feels like 50 million kids asking questions all the time. Phew!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Weather geek

I'm a weather geek, and as such I belong to several different weather related communities, and I read and comment on a local weather site blog.

What an interesting cross section of humanity you find on the internet. Everything's so anonymous, and I'm no exception --I'm mostly a lurker on the local weather blog, just adding a comment here or there, and of course not under my own name. My profile isn't any more specific there than it is here.

The other weather geeks are interesting, and some of them are much more geeky than I am. A couple are teenage boys (based on their profiles), and they contribute a lot of comments. Lots. They appear to be in high school (based on comments they make about hoping for snow days so school will be closed) and although they are very interested in the weather, they don't seem to have picked up much actual information. Still, you have to admire their enthusiasm --maybe they'll grow up to be meteorologists.

Then there are the people who are constantly questioning the forecast. As if the forecasters are going to update it every ten minutes. "Hey, are you still calling for 3 - 6 inches of snow? Or has that changed?" in the last 15 minutes. I think it might just be an urge to comment, without really having anything to say.

There's one guy who posts comments in all caps. He's shouting at the weather forecasters. HEY GUYS, HOW COME WE DIDN'T GET EXACTLY THE AMOUNT OF SNOW YOU FORECASTED? One of them wrote back "Patience." The guy doesn't need patience, he needs a brain. Or maybe he just needs to learn how to type.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thinking spring

Today our high temp was in the negative numbers.  I didn't have to step outside all day, thank god.  It's strange out here on the prairie --all that wind, all that cold.  

The birch garden still looks nice, though, half buried in the snow.  There are some tall grasses that look so pretty blowing around out there, and sedum seed heads standing up strong and dark.
The birds are pretty amazing right now too --you can see them so much more with the white snow as a background --cardinals, juncos, and our huge community of goldfinches who are fed so well here they never leave.  I was looking at the long shadows of the white pines today.  It always amazes me how much the shadows change between winter and summer.  

Today is my mom's birthday, and she always says spring should start now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pissy students

This is going to be a bad semester --I can tell.  How is it that students who can figure out how to chat, do email, and send pictures, all on a cell phone, can't figure out how to navigate a very straight forward course management system?  Did they really miss the neon navigation bar on the left of the page?!  Or did they just not care?  Why are they paying for this class?

Did they really think they could just casually read a chapter and then pass a test on that material?  Have they never had a serious class in their lives?

Sorry, ranting.  But really, why are students taking this class?  It's not required.  Did they think it would be easy?  And of course, it's only the bad ones that stick out.  I certainly have some good students as well --they just don't bother me. 

All right:  a good one.  There is one student who has read and followed all instructions, posts things correctly and on time, reads the announcements and does a good job on the exams.  It's actually students like that who help me to realize that the class is navigable, that I'm not asking students to do something impossible.  Come to think of it, there are two of them, and one even asked about the discussion question before it was posted so he'd be able to manage his time.  See, I just have to keep thinking about them.