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Everything posted by EleCivil

  1. Just wait until the National Lego Association hears about this. "Legos don't kill people. People...well, I guess Legos could be a choking hazard, actually. And they hurt like hell when you step on them in bare feet. I suppose you could melt them down, mold them into a plastic bullet, and shoot it out of a gun. But, really, who does that? Besides, the pressure and heat involved would melt the...wait, what were we talking about, again?"
  2. I had to suspend a kid for a toy gun, once. Only once. It was a pellet gun that was so realistic that the other kids were scared, and his teacher had to call the cops. The cop held the pellet gun up to his own sidearm. They looked identical. The cop told us that if he saw someone with that pellet gun on the street, he would be forced to draw on them, and might end up shooting. However, I have no problem with, say, guns made of folded notebook paper that are quite clearly two dimensional. Or big, orange and green cartoony toy guns. Or finger-guns. In fact, on the last day of school, I've been known to pack some water pistols, myself. Why? Unspoken male telepathy. Observe:
  3. If I disarm a kid, that's not the end of the conversation - that's the beginning. I always ask them why they felt it necessary to carry a weapon in the first place. Nine times out of ten, it's a knucklehead trying to show off. There have been cases where kids have told me that they were carrying because they thought they were going to get jumped on the way home. In these cases, I call their parents/guardians to have them picked up, and if they're not available, I'll drive them home myself. We also make a report to the police, of course, not that it helps. It doesn't solve the problem, but it's all I can do. Took the words out of my mouth, Cole. If you're interested in the subject, here's some good books on teaching kids in poverty: "How Children Succeed": http://www.amazon.com/dp/0547564651 "A Framework for Understanding Poverty": http://www.amazon.com/Framework-Understanding-Poverty-Ruby-Payne/dp/1929229488 "Whatever It Takes": http://www.amazon.com/Whatever-Takes-Geoffrey-Canadas-America/dp/0547247966 This may surprise some people, but I'm with you, James. I may be a lefty, but I'm not on the gun banning bandwagon. I just don't think it would make any difference. It wouldn't stop the gangs from carrying guns - they're already carrying illegal weapons. I think we've learned from alcohol prohibition and the drug war that banning something that people want will only create a violent underground economy. And sadly, people want murder weapons. If the question is "How do we stop murder?", I don't think we'll ever have a good answer. As long as there have been humans, there have been murderers. And even though I'm in the city, I understand the necessity of hunting. I'm in an area with a lot of deer. We've killed and driven off all the wolves, so there aren't any natural predators. If we don't cull the herd, they'll overpopulate, possibly to dangerous levels. Personally, I don't own a gun. I don't want to own a gun. But if someone else wants to own a gun, or five guns, or a giant gun that shoots smaller guns that shoot knives (patent pending), that's their right, and I'll stand up for it. I won't let murderers dictate the rights of the law-abiding.
  4. I read the topic title and audibly said "Not in my damn school, they're not." (I've taken two pellet guns from kids this year, and one knife. Nothing big, yet.)
  5. This reminds me of this interview, where Bill Maher asks a priest (in reference to the Vatican) if this looks like what Jesus had in mind.
  6. From the article: There. Oh, okay, I won't leave it at that. Haha. There are a few single-gender public schools in my area. They're not really different from the co-ed schools. That is to say, the state has labeled them all as being in "Academic Emergency" (The lowest of six possible categories). Now, this isn't surprising - these are city schools, and all the city schools are dropout factories. The rich suburban schools across the street from the city schools are rated "Excellent" and "Excellent with Distinction", again, regardless of whether they're single-gendered or co-ed. Single-gendered schools are another attempt at finding a magic bullet to fix education - something we can implement that won't cost anything but will somehow fix everything. It doesn't exist. The problem is systemic, and it goes much deeper than what goes on in a school building. Just for fun, here's some more magic bullets that sound good, but change nothing: "Open Classrooms" Multi-sensory education Scripted curriculum Student-driven curriculum Data-driven curriculum Constructivism Anti-Constructivism Post-Constructivism Anti-Post-Constructivism (And so forth - I could keep doing this for another three generations) Service learning Blended learning Charter schools School vouchers
  7. That's crazy talk. Everyone knows that gays reproduce by budding, like yeast cells. Although, I personally sprung fully formed from the forehead of Zeus after it had been cleaved by the Minoan Axe, the Labrys.
  8. Could not agree more. First, forcing them to hold hands in order to embarass them sends a message to the rest of the students that two guys holding hands should be embarassed to do so. That principal just lost the trust and respect of every LGBT or LGBT-friendly kid at that school. Second, publically humiliating children does not turn them into better people. Do we really think bullshit like this will make them NOT want to fight? If you spent all day being laughed at by classmates, aren't you more likely to get up from that chair looking to pop somebody? I've had to deal with fights, before. One of my favorites is to enlist the kids to do grunt work around the school to cool down and burn off excess energy. As in, "Hey, I've got two dozen boxes of art supplies on the third floor that need to make it to the basement. No, we don't have an elevator. Oh, and make sure you work together and help each other on the big ones, or you'll fall down three flights of stairs, break your bones, split your faces open, knock your teeth out, and be horribly disfigured for life. See ya later!" That, of course, is followed up with a de-escalation meeting when they're done, where we sit down, discuss what led to the fight, and talk about what we can do next time to avoid it. But then again, I'm one of those crazy people who thinks that schools should be about teaching kids how to act right, rather than just beating on them when they act wrong.
  9. Unlike public schools, private schools (like the religious schools mentioned) do not have the federal hiring regulations. Public schools require teachers to be rated "Highly Qualified Teachers" (HQT) - minimum requirement is a BA in education, a year of student teaching, four years of residency (yes, like a doctor), and certification earned through testing in pedagogical theory, educational psychology, child development, and the subject area we want to be certified in. My certification tests alone took a combined total of 9 hours. And if I want to KEEP my teaching license past five years, I've got to get a Master's degree (currently working on that one). Private schools have none of those regulations, and can hire someone with the qualifications of "Deacon Smith sure does know how to read that Bible." That's not to say that all teachers at private religious schools are morons, mind you. One of the best Math teachers I've ever worked with (actually, one of the best teachers, period) is currently working at a Catholic school. 'Course, Catholic schools tend to teach evolution. Haha.
  10. Oh, wow. I'll have to check this out. I loved Sanderson's "Mistborn" trilogy.
  11. Don't watch The Last Airbender. Do, however, take a look at the original cartoon series that it was based on, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I ended up watching it on a recommendation from a student, and got completely hooked. I think it's one of the most well-written kids shows I've seen. As for The Happening, I think it's worth watching just for the laughs. To this day, impressions of Mark Wahlberg from The Happening are a constant source of entertainment. "Whaaat? Nooooo."
  12. From what I've seen, that's correct. In the case of smaller schools, they often lack the facilities. My school doesn't have showers or even a locker room - the kids don't change for gym, they just run around in their uniforms. My high school had a shower, but no one ever used it.
  13. Haha. My students are making fun of each other for having Obama-phones. They call them "O-Beezies". As in, "Look at this guy over here with his O-Beezy."
  14. All right, guys - which of you did it? I can sometimes summon a small blizzard to close school for a day, but I can't even come close to creating a hurricane. I think it's because I put most of my talent points in "Snark" rather than "Tempestry."
  15. The third debate showed this better than the others. The topic was Foreign Policy. Most of the debate sounded like this: Obama: I killed a LOT of Muslims. Romney: Hooray! I'll kill a lot of Muslims, too! Obama: Boo, China! Romney: Yes, boo! China is bad; I feel bad when I do business with them! Obama: Me, too! Iran is also bad! Romney: Agreed! Boo, Iran! Let's blow them up! Obama: I want to blow up the Middle East with robot drones. Romney: Hooray for killer robots! Just like in Transformers! Obama: I killed Bin Laden. Romney: Hooray for killing! Boo for spending money! Obama: To be fair, I only spent money to pay for all the killing! Romney: I'm conflicted. I love money, but ALSO love killing...which costs money to taxpayers, but MAKES money for big business. And I love big business! Especially big businesses that use accounting tricks to classify themselves as "Small Businesses"! Obama: Me, too! Politics is hard. ...At least, that's how it sounded to me. There was some lip service to education in there, but mostly about how it could save or make money.
  16. Interesting article. I've heard all of those used EXCEPT for "Chav" (I've seen it used online, but always assume there's a Brit typing it), "Numpty" (Never heard that one in my life), and "Skint" (Again, never heard of that one until this article). Some of them have been so common that I didn't even know they were British imports (Sussed, Wonky, Pop Over, Queue, Autumn).
  17. I thought the new Dredd movie was pretty good. If you're into ridiculous violence, it's a lot of fun. And there's no Rob Schneider. I've been following Garth Ennis's The Boys for a while, but I think it ends next month. I think Neil Gaiman's Sandman is amazing. Every now and then I'll look at a Batman run, but if I'm reading a comic, it's usually a self-contained story like Black Hole, Watchmen, or V for Vendetta. I hear there's a comic adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand out there - I may have to take a look at that, since I always liked that story.
  18. When I was a kid, my mom would use "Bloody" as an intensifier, and occasionally "Zounds!" when she was mad. Being a rather sheltered kid, imagine my surprise when I used those words at school and everyone started looking at me strangely. (Do Englishmen even say "Zounds", anymore?) I think it's an effect of the shrinking of the world through multimedia. We all hear each other on television, radio, youtube, voice chat, etc, so we absorb each other's dialects and vernacular without realizing it. Americans watch English films and vice-versa. Harry Potter alone led to kids sitting through a good 16 hours of English immersion. This will only get more common as our daily environments expand beyond our physical borders.
  19. I've heard that you can ferment maple syrup into some form of mead. I suppose that's one way to launder the stolen syrup - turn it into moonshine. The plot thickens!
  20. Thinking on it, perhaps I was wrong with my title - we do not know for sure that the thieves were Canadian. This might have been an international ring of thieves, perhaps specializing in stealing large quantities of foodstuffs. Or perhaps a gang of radical nutrition enthusiasts/health-food terrorists?
  21. Indeed - but I'd give him half credit, since he followed his answer with "When are we finally going to bomb those South Koreans?"
  22. Source: http://www.theglobea...article4510740/ Someone stole over $30 million worth of syrup from Quebec. From the article: There's a global strategic maple syrup reserve. As well as what sounds like a syrup version of OPEC. And someone robbed them. This someone now has 10 million pounds of hot syrup on their hands! Where the hell do you fence stolen syrup? Does he have to go to a condiment launderer? Is the syrup racket affiliated with a syrup mafia? Do the police have a specialized unit for things like this? This needs to be made into a story. Or a movie. Or a Law and Order episode. SOMETHING.
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