Monthly Archives: April 2013

May Day in Bloom

The Netherlands in May

At first glance, it looks like a giant child armed with a box of crayons has been set loose upon the landscape. Vivid stripes of purple, yellow, red, pink, orange and green make up A glorious patchwork. Yet far from being a child’s sketchbook, this is, in fact, the northern Netherlands in the middle of tulip season. The Dutch landscape in May is a kaleidoscope of color as  the tulips burst into life. The bulbs are planted in late October and early November.  More than three billion tulips are grown each year and two-thirds of the vibrant blooms are exported, mostly to the U.S. and Germany.

It doesn’t even look real…

But here are the Tulips Up Close…..

Article from  stories-etc.com/Netherlands                           Pictures are compliments of Bing.com.

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Worldly Quotes

The following are quotes that may help you to reflect on the importance of Earth Day or the preservation of our future.  Leave it to our philosophers, poets, inventors, and scientists to lead us to understanding.

 

There is a great need for the introduction of new values in our society, where bigger is not necessarily better, where slower can be faster, and where less can be more.

Gaylord Nelson

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

Until a man duplicates a blade of grass, Nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favorable comparison with the products of Nature, the living cell of a plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life.

— Thomas Alva Edison

The earth is what we all have in common.

— Wendell Berry

To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.

— William Blake

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.

— George Gordon, Lord Byron

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

— William Shakespeare

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.

— Cree Indian Proverb

 

 

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Earth Day, Now and Forever

Sorry that I missed the celebration date, but I see Earth Day as being celebrated every day.

EARTH DAY

 by Jane Yolen

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.
And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
Naturally.
That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
I found the poem on the following site, The Center for Environmental Sustainability. (ces-ithaca.org)  Their mission which is listed below is to the point with a statement that all of us should take notice and consider for our future.

Mission Statement-The Center for Environmental Sustainability’s mission is to develop educational projects that will inspire communities in the transition towards environmental and economic balance.
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Cheating in Action

Unfortunately, cheating is happening in our schools.  Now we have to determine how to prevent, support and take action.

(Sorry for the long addresses, but I wanted you to just view one video at a time).

http://r1—ord12s13.c.youtube.com/videoplayback?fexp=932000%2C932004%2C906383%2C916911%2C916910%2C902000%2C901208%2C919512%2C929903%2C925714%2C929119%2C931202%2C900821%2C900823%2C909419%2C911416%2C908529%2C930807%2C919373%2C930803%2C906836%2C920201%2C929602%2C930101%2C930609%2C900824%2C910075&itag=36&begin=0&el=watch&ratebypass=yes&signature=C029E42CB1512479B87FB98014461C61B862E443.052017232B057D0EEDC08F3F2DAB9315E25EB3A9&id=d50f039d68a915c5&cp=U0hVS1hPUV9MS0NONV9QSVVIOnF0c2JIRVJZNTJO&len=85000&key=yt1&source=youtube&ipbits=8&yms=twtzFARZ07Q&sparams=begin%2Ccp%2Cid%2Cip%2Cipbits%2Citag%2Clen%2Cratebypass%2Csource%2Cexpire&app=youtube_mobile&expire=1366843771&ip=107.8.221.166&sver=3&ms=au&newshard=yes&mv=m&mt=1366821630&cms_redirect=yes&ir=1&rr=12

and then you have videos (one of many) like this for students to view and consider….   (check out how many people have viewed)

http://r9—sn-vgqeln76.c.youtube.com/videoplayback?itag=36&begin=0&source=youtube&sver=3&sparams=begin%2Ccp%2Cid%2Cip%2Cipbits%2Citag%2Clen%2Cratebypass%2Csource%2Cexpire&len=96000&expire=1366846913&ipbits=8&ratebypass=yes&fexp=932000%2C932004%2C906383%2C916911%2C916910%2C902000%2C901208%2C919512%2C929903%2C925714%2C929119%2C931202%2C900821%2C900823%2C909419%2C911416%2C908529%2C930807%2C919373%2C930803%2C906836%2C920201%2C929602%2C930101%2C930609%2C900824%2C910075&ip=107.8.221.166&yms=twtzFARZ07Q&signature=C89876671B61795CA9F38A9BE1A621E1A38987D7.B36C99CC2862CBA558009313700480F504FF95FF&id=f56f4d03cefa7eef&cp=U0hVS1hPVF9GTUNONV9QSVhKOnN0c2JIRVJCNzZQ&app=youtube_mobile&el=watch&key=yt1&ms=au&newshard=yes&mv=m&mt=1366824031&cms_redirect=yes

and actions that are taken when cheating occurs in a classroom….

Harvard University punishes  students caught in cheating scandal; more than half of the accused forced to  temporarily withdraw

By  David Knowles    / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

After months of  trying to ferret out cheaters at one of the country’s most prestigious  universities, Harvard officials say they have concluded the punishment phase of  their investigation. More than half of the students implicated in the cheating  scandal were asked to leave the university for varying amounts of time, Michael  D. Smith, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean, said in an email.

Members of Harvard University’s basketball, football, baseball and hockey  teams were ensnared in a cheating investigation. Some were forced to temporarily  withdraw from the school after being confronted in the fall.  Harvard University hopes that veritas has finally been restored.  The nation’s oldest college announced that it had finished doling out punishment in its months-long investigation in a highly-publicized cheating  scandal.  Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith sent out a campus-wide  email Friday saying that more than half of the 125 students implicated in the  investigation into cheating had been asked to leave the school for for a period  of time.  The allegations of cheating stemmed from a spring semester government  course titled “Introduction to Congress” after a teaching assistant noticed that  some students had given identical answers on a take-home test.  While some of the students received their punishment in the fall, others  were notified in late December, the school said. “This is a time for communal reflection and action,” Smith wrote. “We are  responsible for creating the community in which our students study and we all  thrive as scholars.”  The cheating scandal was a constant topic of conversation and anxiety  among students, and members of the basketball, football, baseball and hockey  teams were ensnared in the investigation.  “The students who are implicated in this scandal from last spring still  need to be recognized as members of our community . They shouldn’t feel  alienated from Harvard,” said Harvard Undergraduate Council President Tara  Raghuveer. “This was an unfortunate incident. Students are being punished  accordingly.”  Smith said that the college would now concentrate on new ways to help the  college live up to its famous motto: honesty.

Article from New York Daily News; article by David Knowles on Feb. 1, 2013; The videos were taken from Youtube.com.

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All Aboard for Spring!

Waiting for warmer weather
Uploaded by: Northlook— Sunday March 31, 2013 — Spała, Poland.

Springtime Will Come

by Mary Beth Magee, Yahoo!

As hard as winter’s touch has been,

I know the spring will come again.

I’ve seen the promise in a leaf

Just peeking out from underneath

The fallen leaves and brown debris

That winter’s winds have tossed at me.

One tiny shoot of joyous green

The precious vow of Spring has given.

One morning soon, more shoots will show

Themselves and everyone will know

The secret I now hold so dear:

Spring is coming! It’s almost here!

However harsh the world may look

Or difficult the path I took,

The sun will come to shine once more.

I’ll enter Springtime’s open door

To find a place so bright and fair

I’ll wonder why I had a care.

The ice will thaw, the snow will melt

And every sad thing that I felt

Will fade away in springtime’s light.

Springtime makes all the world feel right.

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Why cheat?

When we look at cheating, should we first be looking at the underlying causes vs. what do we do when someone cheats?  Study skill articles and self help information is frequently published for students and staff to benefit a healthy school system.  Due to being fully immersed in the culture, you may find it rare to be able to spend time reading important information to help your classroom or your own study skills. I found this article came from Carnegie Mellon University from the Student Affairs Center where it outlines the student and staff responsibilities and possible causes of cheating.  Even though it is written by university writers, I think that each of the areas can be easily translated into lower grade levels. I applaud how this article is organized by showing that we need to understand each others perspectives or reasoning before working together to meet mutual goals in the classroom.

Why do students cheat?

It is a rare  individual who actively chooses to be dishonest. But why do a few students make  compromising choices? What can lead people to act in ways that they aren’t  proud of? Below are some underlying beliefs and confusions which students at Carnegie  Mellon give as explanations for slipping standards of integrity.

A Victimless Crime?

Students generally are familiar with the  disciplinary actions and penalties for getting caught. However, they may fail  to understand that one of the personal consequences of cheating and/or  plagiarism is that they aren’t actually learning or practicing the material.  They may not realize that they will actually need and be accountable for  certain knowledge and skills.

Instructors may not explain the personal  consequences and loss of trust that accompany academic dishonesty if they are  focused mainly on stating the procedures and punishments related to academic  disciplinary actions. They may not tell students how dishonesty damages their  trust in a student and his or her work which can affect a student’s ability to  get a strong recommendation for employment or graduate school.

It’s a “Dog-Eat-Dog” University

Students and their families often have very high  expectations about grade achievements because they are accustomed to getting  As. More pressure comes from the emphasis on grades in hiring and graduate  admissions. Some students may feel pressured to develop unorthodox means to get  competitive and marketable credentials.

Instructors sometimes evaluate the performance of  one student against the performance of others instead of measuring each  student’s achievement with respect to specified criteria. If students must  compete with other students to get one of a limited number of As, they begin to  look for ways to “get ahead.”

If Everyone Else Jumped in a Lake  . . .

Students sometimes view cheating as a necessary,  not totally unacceptable method for academic survival. If they believe that  “everyone cheats sometimes,” they may not seriously ask themselves,  “Why shouldn’t I?”

Professors and teaching assistants do not always confront suspected  breaches of academic integrity. If they perceive that others do not pursue the  formal process or that it is difficult to prove a breach has occurred,  instructors may decide not to talk directly with students about potential  problems. Instructors may no report an incident from their course believing  that the student has “learned their lesson” but with no official record of the  incident there is no way of knowing whether the student had cheated before or  cheats again.

Too Much Work, Too Little Time?

Students often have multiple assignments due on  the same day and in some courses may have only a few opportunities to  demonstrate what they know. Cheating can be a tempting path when they have  difficulty managing their time. Some may have little remorse because they  rationalize “doing what it takes” to get all of their work done. One  poor performance on a high-stakes assignment or feeling “shafted out of an  A” by a curve may increase the perceived pressure to switch from honest  work to questionable “shortcuts.”

Instructors often underestimate students’ need for  multiple assignments to get feedback, to receive a fair grade, and to stay  motivated to learn. Sometimes in an effort to reduce the workload, they may not  think about the intense pressure on students when a course grade is based only  on a midterm and a final. Or, in an effort to provide lots of timely practice  and feedback, others may lose track of how much pressure students feel to meet  deadlines.

The Past is Passed On

Students are accustomed to sharing their work  from past semesters with others and using friends’ old exams to study, and they  are often encouraged to do so. But the limits of a good learning strategy can  be stretched too far if students “borrow” from papers, homework sets  or lab reports done by other students.

Instructors often do a good job of varying exam  questions and assignments from semester to semester. But they may begin to  resent the time and suspicion involved in altering effective materials just to  take precautions against potential cheating or plagiarism. Even if specific  instructions are given for students not to access past materials, students  report that past materials are very easy to come by and often too alluring to  pass up.

Do We Have to Spell Everything Out?

Students recognize the obvious examples of  academic dishonesty such as copying during an exam or quoting extensively  without a citation. They can be much less clear on how much collaboration is  allowed, what kind of paraphrasing is appropriate to summarize a source or  whether one assignment can be turned in for two different classes. If students  are not accustomed to thinking about the ownership of ideas, they tend to  underreport their sources.

Instructors often state their expectations for  tests and about quoting, footnoting, and paraphrasing in papers and they  outline the consequences of being dishonest. However, they may not state  precisely what they consider to be appropriate collaboration (if any) and what  they recommend as guidelines for teamwork.

Playing the Odds

Students sometimes feel that receiving a zero  for an exam or a paper is a justified penalty for cheating, but they may also  convince themselves that they won’t get caught. And they can be reinforced in  this thinking if grading procedures aren’t planned carefully or if instructors  don’t follow up on suspicious incidents.

Instructors may have difficulty discovering that  students copied or inappropriately collaborated on assignments when a large  number of exams and papers must be graded. Grading procedures which include  comparison among students and across multiple sections take extra time so  instructors sometimes bet on their ability to spot students’ papers which are  strikingly similar.

Don’t Rock the Boat

Students often feel they need to stick together  and watch out for each other; thus, they feel extremely reluctant to report a  peer’s academic dishonesty, even when they suspect someone they don’t like.  They think, “Would I want them to report me if they thought I was  cheating?” The answer usually is no, so they often let it slide. To avoid  confrontation, they may not even talk to a friend.

Instructors sometimes avoid discussions of  questionable behaviors with individual students. Some are honestly confused about  whether an initial discussion has to lead to a charge of dishonesty and a  potentially long procedure (it doesn’t). Instructors may also be reluctant to  approach a student about questionable work without solid evidence because they  don’t want to make unwarranted accusations.

 Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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Rainy Days

Leave it to Longfellow to give hope to us through the dark and dreary rainy days.

The Rainy Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

 

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Cheating with Technology

Compliments of Calvin and Hobbs… on Bing.com

The following article was written by Grace Fleming from About.com Guide.  In reviewing articles about cheating, I like how this article points out the common practices that are happening in high schools and how this practice transfers into colleges.  I think that the more teachers show students specific examples of cheating and are clear about what is or is not acceptable, the more knowledgeable students will become in meeting expectations and being true in their work.  We do not want to make assumptions of what our students know and do not know. 

Cheating with Technology

By Grace Fleming,   About.com Guide

Educators are showing serious concern about cheating in high schools, and for good reason. Cheating has become commonplace in high schools, largely because students are using technology to gather and share information in rather innovative ways. Since students are a little more tech-savvy than many adults, grownups are always playing catch-up when it comes to finding out what students are up to.

But this technology-centered cat-and-mouse activity can be fatal to your educational future. Students start to blur the ethical boundaries and think it’s OK to do many things, simply because they’ve gotten away with them in the past. While parents and high school teachers might be less savvy than their students about using cell phones and calculators to share work, and too overworked to catch cheaters, college professors are a little different. They have graduate assistants, college honor courts, and cheat-detecting software that they can tap into.

Unintentional Cheating

Since students use tools and techniques that have not been used before, they might not always know what really constitutes cheating. For your information, the following activities constitute cheating. They can get you kicked out of college.

  • Buying a paper from an Internet site
  • Sharing homework answers via IMs, email, text messaging, or any other device
  • Using a whiteboard to share answers
  • Having another student write a paper for you
  • Cutting and pasting text from the Internet without citing it
  • Using sample essays from the Internet
  • Using text messaging to tell somebody else an answer
  • Programming notes into your calculator
  • Taking and/or sending a cell phone picture of test material or notes
  • Video recording lectures with cell phones and replaying during test
  • Surfing web for answers during a test
  • Using a pager to receive information during a test
  • Viewing notes on your PDA, electronic calendar, cell phone, or other device during a test
  • Storing definitions in a graphing calculator or cell phone
  • Using a watch to hold notes

If you’ve been transmitting answers to homework or test questions, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been cheating—even though it might have been unintentional. The bottom line is that students can develop habits in high school that will get them expelled when they use them in college, and sometimes students won’t even realize their “habits” are illegal.

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Animals get in on the fun!

What a great prank! I know, it isn’t real weights!

 The Cunning Fox…

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It’s not too late for April Fool Fun..

 

April Fools’ Pranks

  • If your little ones are sound sleepers, wait until they are fast asleep to pull the old switcheroo! Switch them to different beds while they are sleeping.  Imagine their surprise when they wake up in their brother’s or sister’s bed on April Fool’s day!
  • Bug Off – Purchase some realistic insects prior to April 1st and place the creepy crawlers in ice cubes, socks, shoes, food, etc.
  • Get the ugliest most disgusting temporary tattoo and wear it proudly to work.
  • Spray It – Put a rubber band around the kitchen sink’s sprayer and wait until someone turns the water on.
  • Crank it – Turn up the volume as high as it can go on someone’s computer or radio before they turn it on.
  • Stick It – Attach magnets to a large cup, place the cup on the hood or roof of the car and take off.
  • Fill someone’s car with balloons.
  • What a Doll! – If you happen to have a blow-up doll hanging around, put it in a pal’s vehicle. Or dress her up, strap her in the passenger seat and go for a spin!
  • Switcheroo Shoes – Take a good hard look at the family’s shoes.  If a loved one happens to have shoes that look similar in style but are different colors, switch them.  For instance, if they have a pair of black shoes and a pair of blue shoes that are similar in style, take the left blue shoe and replace it with the left black shoe.  Be sure to hide the matching shoes.  They’ll go to work or school with 2 shoes that don’t match.
  • Put some powder on top of the ceiling fan blades and wait for someone to turn it on!
  • In a Stitch – Grab a few pair of hubby’s or the kids’ undies and sew them together.  Next time they go to grab a clean pair, they’ll get more than they bargained for!
  • Translation Please – Change a family member’s cell phone language from English to another language. Just make sure you are able to change it back to the proper setting!
  • Put a sheet or two of plastic-wrap over the toilet seat.
  • Put some vaseline on a few door handles.
  • Sticky Mouse – Use double-sided tape under someone’s computer mouse or on the telephone receiver.
  • Computer users will be pulling their hair out with this prank.  Purchase the Phantom Keystroker for under $10, plug it into someone’s USB port and watch the fun begin!  Random mouse movements and gibberish are just a few of the tricks this handy device can do.  Please do not use this device if the user is working on an important assignment, project or upcoming deadline.

April Food Pranks

  • Make a sponge cake for that special someone by frosting honest-to-goodness real sponges in a cake pan! Just don’t bake it!
  • Just in time for Easter, hard-boil all the eggs in the refrigerator and place them back into the carton.
  • If you know someone who loves Oreo cookies, scrape out the white creamy filling and replace with white toothpaste.
  • Switch the sugar and/or creamer for salt.  Just don’t forget to switch it back!
  • If you have non-see-through bottles for ketchup and one for mustard, pour mustard in the ketchup bottle and ketchup in the mustard bottle.
  • If you have salt and pepper shakers, switch the salt for pepper and vice versa.
  • Sour Milk – Before you go to bed, add some green or blue food coloring to your carton of milk. The kids will get quite the surprise when they pour their glass of milk in the morning.

***Please before you plan and carryout your practical joke, make sure it doesn’t harm, humiliate or embarrass the intended target or damage anything in the process.  Remember you intention is to be funny, clever and creative, not mean-spirited or harmful!   Your “foolee” also has to have a good sense of humor.

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