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gdc 2009: friday

My notes from the talks that I went to on Friday at GDC: 9:00am: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Design Lessons Learned from Rock Band. Which began with the question: what do you do about the fact that everybody wants to have input into the design of your game? If a designer has tight control, […]

letter order in words

From Pragmatic Thinking & Learning, p. 102: Cna yuo raed tihs? Aoccdrnig to rscheearch, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are; the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses, and you can sitll raed it […]

ken robinson on schools and creativity

Ken Robinson’s TED talk on “Do schools kill creativity?” You can also watch it at its web page; I like the chapter markings on the full-screen version of the video player on their page. (Not the embedded one here.) I heard about this talk via two separate routes: Presentation Zen and Evolving Excellence. Two blogs […]

mistakes, measurements

Some things that have passed through my earphones recently: In a recent lean blog podcast episode, Norman Bodek talked about how great mistakes are, because making a mistake is the best way to learn something. In an episode of The Cranky Middle Manager that I just listened to, Patrick Lencioni talked about how one of […]

life-long learners my ass

I got a look at my school district’s new report card. Most of the items are now grouped under the heading “Lifelong Learning Skills”; specifically, the group contains the following entries: Listens in class Follows directions Works independently Works neatly Completes work on time Accept [sic] responsibility Respects classmates Respects authority Uses time wisely Communicates […]


Background: Miranda’s school recently changed its chorus time from lunch to after school. This means that Miranda won’t be able to participate in chorus this year, which makes all of us sad. I was going to rant about this on the PACT mailing list, but I’ve gotten chastized recently for complaining there near the start […]

the shame of the nation

In Jonathan Kozol’s earlier books, I’d already been appalled by the horrible physical condition of schools serving nonwhite populations. And, in The Shame of the Nation, we see that too: In the years before I met Elizabeth, I had visited many elementary schools in the South Bronx and in one northern district of the Bronx […]

feeling quiet

I would seem to be in a quiet mood these days. Not feeling much like blogging, not feeling much like programming at home. Maybe because I’ve been programming a fair amount at work; I was worried that, with the new larger group, I’d have almost no programming time, but now that things have settled down […]

patty cake

I saw four kids playing patty cake on the playground at school last week. I hadn’t realized that you could do that with more than two people: basically, whenever you would clap the other person’s left hand, you instead clap the left hand of the person to your right, and whenever you would clap the […]

playground scene

During recess at school today, I saw three kids playing together. One of them was a kindergarten girl from Miranda’s class; another was a first-grade boy from Miranda’s class. The third was an older boy (fourth-grade, maybe?) whom I didn’t know; I kind of think I might have seen him at a PACT function, but […]


Last year, Miranda had a couple of pieces of homework each weekend: the red bookbag, where we were supposed to read some books to her and she was supposed to draw and write about them, and the yellow folder, where she was supposed to read to us. This year, the red bookbag continued, but the […]

end of school year

Yesterday was the last day of Kindergarten. Very sad (well, not very sad, but certainly poignant): no more Wednesday mornings in classrooms, I won’t see the other kids and parents for a few months, and even once next year starts, I won’t see the current first-graders much at all. And Sue Lampkin, Miranda’s fabulous teacher, […]

alfie kohn on john holt

I heard back from Alfie Kohn in response to my question about John Holt and homeschooling. His anwser was that he likes a lot of what Holt said, especially in his earlier works, but he wouldn’t go as far as Holt and recommend homeschooling for two reasons: Public schools are an important democratic institution, one […]

alfie kohn

I went to a couple of talks by Alfie Kohn this week. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I ran into an article of his in the Emacs distribution back when I was in college. His book No Contest was a big influence on my teaching when I was a grad student […]

miranda cooking

For the last month or so, Miranda’s been really into helping out with cooking dinner. I’m not quite sure what triggered it; part of it, I suspect, is that with her current bed time, she doesn’t get to spend much time with us in the evenings, and the best way to maximize that time is […]

school closure: one more year

The board finally voted last night. Actually, they voted on two things: they changed their vote of a month ago, and agreed to not close any school this year. And they voted on which school they would close next year: they’ll close Slater (my daughter’s school), PACT will move to Castro, but the rest of […]

school closure: second castro meeting

Another meeting at Castro last night. Not too much excitement in the community comments. I did admire (?) the chutzpah of a certain group of parents in the dual immersion program who talked about how horrible it was to close a school in that community, and then floated a plan which would turn the school […]

school closure: castro community forum

At the last school board meeting about school closure, they put forward a plan where the school to be closed would be Castro instead of Slater. (The latter being the school that Miranda goes to.) They wanted to give Castro parents time to complain about this, so they’re holding a couple of community forums at […]

school closure: not done yet

I was sure that the school board was going to make a final vote on the school closure issue last Wednesday. The school board, however, has managed to surprise me at every other meeting on the issue; I don’t know why I expected anything different this time. They did vote to close a school. Which, […]

school closure, continued

The school closure saga continues, and it gets stranger every week. Two weeks ago, I liked the school board but was mad at the superintendent. Last week, I was mad at everybody: the school board was just letting the superindentent and her staff talk, without (largely) seriously questioning any aspect of the report and its […]