Monday, July 29, 2013

Aghast, I Say!

Last week during the last day of summer term, I was giving a lecture on Performance Feedback Systems (also known as Public Posting). 

I gave a few examples about how public posting is used in society, such as when workplaces post those "44 Days Without An Accident" signs;

organizations use huge, fake, wooden thermometers to track and display funds raised for something; and police departments place electronic speed monitoring and display devices in target enforcement zones to slow down drivers.

As a fun segue to how public posting should be used in the classroom, I was going to point out that Hogwarts had a public posting system. Whenever a Hogwarts teacher gave or took points from a House based on the appropriate or inappropriate behavior of a student in that house, that same number of marbles appeared in or disappeared from large jars in a common space in the school.

I cannot for the life of me recall if this was in just the books, just the movies, or both. So, before I began using this fabulous example, I asked who in the class had read the Harry Potter books.

Only one student raised her hand.

I'm still aghast. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Careful What You Wish For!

Way past time for a new post!

I think blogging has lost its allure for me. Maybe. Or maybe it's just a lack of topics. My life is boring.

Last week had an interesting occurrence, though.

I picked BB up from half-day summer camp to take her to her reading tutoring session, and when she got in the car, she looked at me all sad-and-puppy-dog-eyed and told me she didn't want to go to tutoring. Usually she likes it, so I was surprised to hear that. I acknowledged her comment, but I think she wanted to push the point and said something to effect of "I wish I didn't have to go to tutoring."

But on we went. Got on the expressway to travel across town, and took a (long curving mile-long) ramp to exit one freeway to get on another.

Just ahead I saw billowing smoke. A semi-truck was on fire, and traffic had slowed to a crawl to get around him. We were just 8 cars away when a squad car pull in front of traffic to halt the attempt of cars to pull around the truck. All in all, a smart move. One should not try to pass a semi-truck on fire. But the downside? We were stuck.

And it looked like this.

And then it looked like this:

And then the smoke got thicker:

At this point I began to worry that the truck might explode. I had no idea what was burning, and I began to worry if we were breathing toxic fumes.

Seven years ago it would have been an annoying adventure. With a 6.5YO in the car, it was more like a "should-I-abandon-my-car-on-the-freeway-ramp-to-get-as-far-away-as-possible-in-order-to-protect-my child?" adventure.

We were stuck there on the ramp for about 30 minutes when it became apparent that the police had also been thinking along the lines of "get as far away as possible" because they did something I had never seen before on a highway: They had closed off the ramp at the entrance point and began turning us all around to go the wrong way back to the entrance to get on the other freeway.

At some point during our "adventure," I turned to BB and told her it looked like were weren't going to make it to tutoring. I asked her if she knew why. Of course, she knew it was the burning truck, but I reminded her that she had wished not to go to tutoring. Her eyes got big as she realized what I was saying.

I (mockingly) sternly told her that she had to be careful what she wished for. And then I smiled at her. She thought a minute and smiled back.

Yesterday, when I picked her up from her half-day summer camp to go to tutoring, she got into the car, looked at me, and said, "I wish I didn't have to tutoring" and giggled.

It's moments like these that I love being a mom.