At the beginning of Week 7!!

I can’t believe 6 weeks have gone by already!  Can it be real?!  We’ve made it through 3 units so far and today we started on our last unit before the midterm: Unit 4 – structure of the atom & the periodic table!  I’m excited to start this unit because I feel like we’re finally getting into the chemistry of it all! 

My *personal* big goal for my students is to begin to help them understand WHY I’m having them do the things they’re doing.  I mean I have a reason for why my students do everything but I rarely articulate to them WHY they are doing it!  I think they would retain a lot more information if they understood the why behind it!

I’ll keep you all posted on how that all goes…

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Political Vomit for the Blogosphere

Alright, this is my own personal political vomit for the blogosphere. Here’s my thesis statement:

“Christians want to force others to follow God’s policies, but in reality, we don’t want to follow them either.”

There was an article posted on WorldNetDaily.com that is now circulating the Christian weblogs as a rally cry for the political evangelical. Take the time to read the article so you can properly follow along and draw your own conclusions. When you get back, we’ll take a look at the problems the church has with our country and politics. Then I’ll hypothesize why it’s all our fault in the first place.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=77557#

I’d like to discuss the inevitabilities that this article touches on: death and taxes.

Our fixed inevitability: death.

Given what I’ve seen from the church, the only thing that decides who is capable of running a country is their opinion on abortion (and homosexuality, but that’s a different pile of vomit). I had a conversation with an abortion voter who told me, “When I die, I will stand alone before God and explain why I voted for who I did. I cannot in good conscience vote against the innocent lives of babies.” That is fine. I’m not going to tell you what your convictions should be. I applaud you for actually having some and sticking to them. I’m only curious if you think God will ask you to answer for the harm that elected official also caused in other arenas.

The issue of abortion is often boiled down in concept so that everyone can pick either the home or away team. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. I’m not talking about situational cases like rape, mortal danger to the mother, or retardation, that’s out of my pay-grade. Choosing to address the legality of abortion is a band-aid for a gaping wound, yet here we are, debating what type of useless band-aid to use. Rather than concern ourselves with the wound, we should first remove the knife (or attacker) and only once it’s dealt with can we properly heal the wound.

Who thought up abortion? Why do Americans think there is a need for abortion? The answer to these and other questions is as complicated as the solution to stopping genocidic abortion. Before abortion was legalized, married men used coat hangers and second-hand knowledge on their mistresses in an attempt to hide the evidence of their sins from their wives. When something, inevitably, went wrong, they panicked and left the helpless woman to bleed out on a $12 tarp in a $40 motel room. Alone, with her lifeblood gushing out from between her legs, she was resigned to her death unknowing of a better option. So far as she knew, no one could help her because no one loved her enough. Who is going to answer to God for those two deaths?

I am. You are. The Bridegroom of Christ is, but not because we didn’t do anything about the act specifically. Were I living out Jesus’ command to love people as he does, we certainly wouldn’t have this problem. So next time you are standing outside the abortion clinic, I hope your sign reads, “I will care for you and your baby in my home,” or “Let me know how I can help,” or “I will adopt your baby”. If it doesn’t, you aren’t helping, you’re just adding to the noise.

*Intermission*

Here’s the message I’m getting from the political evangelical sect. “Do not vote for Obama because if you do, life as we know it will cease to exist.”

…wow.

Anyone still wonder how everyone got the idea that Christians suck because we’re just trying to scare everyone into thinking (or voting) the way we do? On one hand, I think it’s great that our modern Body of Christ still hears so clearly through the Holy Spirit that we managed to receive the TPS memo that things would spiral out of God’s control if Obama gets elected….

On the other hand, it bothers me more than a little that a half-black man could so easily wrest control from my creator. If that’s the case, why do I even bother to worship him anymore? We should switch to the more powerful and worship Obama! …except that he isn’t more powerful, so I won’t….and if Obama isn’t more powerful then I’m not worried about life as we know it ceasing to exist.

I took quite a lot of liberty with my interpretation, but I don’t feel guilty. I think the author should be ashamed of their propaganda. The Nazi’s used fear to control the people and turn them against the Jews and Blacks too. That was less than 100 years ago. We haven’t come very far since then apparently…

In reality, the statement was in relation to taxes.

Our fluctuating inevitability, taxes.

Barack Obama wants to increase taxes in order to provide better care and circumstances for people who are unable to provide for themselves. Lots of people are very unhappy about this because they think the government taking their money and giving it to people who they feel don’t deserve it isn’t right. This is the “end of life as we know it” they were referring to.

The basis of our free enterprise system is the fact that if you work hard, you can improve your circumstances and provide a better life for yourself and your family. If you are not a Christian and you’re pissed about the government giving your hard earned money away, you are absolutely right. However, if you profess to love Jesus and desire to be like him, getting upset about being taxed to pay the poor is not a Godly attitude, nor Biblically justified by verses traditionally taken out of context in defense of pocketbooks.

Cries of “socialism” are running rampant through the land, a fact that I find very humorous given the recent actions of our intercessory-prayer-appointed president. The “economic stimulus act” and “bail out bill” are pulled right from the manifestos of Karl Marx. Our republican government has just spent $250,000,000,000.00 to purchase the stock of privately owned banking organizations. This was on the heels of a $700,000,000,000.00 package for individual households. Sounds like “one large step for mankind” in the direction of a socialist nation-state to me. Tell me why we’re crying “socialism” at forced giving money to the poor but not forced giving money to the rich?

In Summation

There are only two tasks Jesus gave us. Love God as hard as we can (everyone on the planet too), and care for the widows and orphans (which in Bible-speak means poor and needy). It’s kind of a funny logic circle because if you’re doing number one really well, shouldn’t number two happen naturally? The American body part of Jesus hasn’t really been keeping up their end of the deal with that covenant. Fortunately, Jesus has his Indian, Sudanese, and Chinese bodies working double overtime to compensate.

As Christians, it isn’t our job to decide which poor people we help. We aren’t told to help the poor people who can’t help being poor. We aren’t told to help the poor people who are poor for reasons outside of their power. If they ask for help, you give it. The oft- quoted verse is 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: ‘Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.'” It’s a wonderful verse that I whole heartedly agree with. Especially when I realize what Paul is talking about. Not ALL mankind, just lazy Christians. In verse six the topic is started with, “And now dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers [the original Greek reads ‘from ever brother’] who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us.” Ah! Christians shouldn’t be on welfare, but that has nothing to do with caring and loving on non-believers. Why are we so confused?

Ah yes…the pocketbook twisted my logic again…

A house divided against itself cannot stand. The problem really isn’t that Christians are against abortion, we should be. The problem isn’t that Christians shouldn’t want to be forced to take care of poor people, we shouldn’t have to be. We should be caring for the people who “need” abortions and loving them in the way Christ would. We should be caring for the poor ourselves so the government doesn’t have to. These things are not the presidents job because, frankly, there are other things he should be concerned with. That this is even on his radar is a testament to what a poor job we are doing as Christians. They are the church’s responsibility. The government only stepped in when the ball got dropped so hard for so long that they had to.

We need to take it back!

So, brothers and sisters, we need to stop trying to force legislation that forces others to follow God’s principles on abortion and we need to stop needing to be forced to take care of the poor and underprivileged. There’s nothing to be upset at except our own lack of faith in action.

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What follows are thoughts I had whilst pounding out this article. I wasn’t able to logically work them in but didn’t want you to miss out on them either. Most of them are fragmented ideas and concepts because I didn’t take time to explore them and solidify my thoughts. Please treat them as such. Enjoy.

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I’m not saying I’m voting for Barack Obama, but I’m not saying I’m voting for John McCain either. If our founding fathers saw we have to choose from, they would start a new country and a new revolution. My ideals don’t mesh with either candidate.

Fortunately, performing my duties as a Christian has absolutely nothing to do with who is running the country. I can show everyone that I come into contact with exactly what my God looks like regardless of my nations political climate.

My innards are frequently conflicted between my upbringing in a pentecostal church, my experience as a Scout/Sniper in combat, and the Holy Spirit quietly tugging at my conscience in a way separate from the other two.

Perhaps I’ll do what every good pirate does and vote for myself! Or I’ll do what every good ninja does and wait for the pivotal moment to strike and actually make a difference with a decision and act. Most likely, I’ll do what I do best and not decide until I’m on my knees in the booth begging for God to help me make a decision…at which point he will and I’ll leave the booth with ballot unused.

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By the way, Chuck Norris is a Monday columnist for WorldNetDaily.com…They maintain a very eclectic rotating list of columnists. Some whom I deeply respect, and others not so much. http://worldnetdaily.com/WND%20Columnists

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I am commanded by my savior to love everyone just as he loves them; to view them through the eyes of Christ. Does Jesus love Barack Obama? Only as much as he loves Ellen DeGeneres…

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Speaking of life “as we know it”, it’s pretty much a state of suck anyway. What’s wrong with changing it? There is a whole sect of Christians that have locked themselves in the prayer closet to pray for the state of our country. They are an impressive spiritual body to reckon with and believe they will accomplish amazing things with their efforts. I am only hoping they are praying for God’s will to happen and not for what they think is God’s will to happen.

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Case in point, Mr. George W. Bush. There was a little reminiscing thrown into the article. If you missed it, look for the part that mentions where they prayed Mr. Bush into office. After balking at the realization people still think he was a good president, I further realized this situation we’re in now politically and economically is our (the Bride of Christ) fault.

I don’t pretend to be a wise and educated person when it comes to warfare and politics on the macro level. I realize there are more than two sides of the fence when we look at the Iraq war. Personally, I choose not to have a side. I’ve been to combat and seen the elephant and my thoughts on the benefits of Iraq are book in itself. Suffice it to say, I believe God has been able to work some good out of a situation he didn’t want to happen.

Before Mr. Bush was prayed into office, twice, there was a system called “Checks and Balances”. This political system was erected by our founding fathers to ensure that the country remains in the control of it’s people, the citizens. However, as the caliber of it’s citizens has begun to degrade, so has the effectiveness of our “Check and Balances” style system.

Who’s fault is it that American’s suck? Why, it’s my fault! It’s your fault. It’s the fault of Christians. Our church needs to start being missionaries in our every day lives so that the quality of our citizens can improve. We are called to be a royal priesthood for our God. People look to priests and religious leaders of every religion as a window to what the God of that religion looks like. Show people what your God looks like!

…by the way, passively handing them a tract doesn’t count and is a flaccid gesture.

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Links to whatever: click at your own risk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerri_Santoro

http://mattschiefelbein.blogspot.com/2007/11/welfare-reward-for-nothing.html

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/About%20WND

http://jacobsonhoppers.blogspot.com/

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Oh yeah, I’d like to thank both sets of my parents who labor tirelessly for the underpriviledged without letting their own underpriviledged status be an excuse! May you continue to inspire us all.

A bit of an upswing…

*I’m still awful at planning ahead, but I’m getting better at it.  Today I actually had my powerpoint done before I got to school*

*My students did awful on their tests – blame should probably be equally placed on both parties – however, I have them time to analyze their test results and make an appointment with me to come and make up their test to improve thier grade…they seemed open to it*

*For my part in the bad test scores I spent some time researching cornell notes to decide how well it would work in my class and how i would have to modify it for things like figures and charts.  I put it together to introduce to my students today as our new strategy for mastering our unit 3 objectives.  When they discovered that the answer to every question was right next to the question they got so excited! (ok…as excited as seniors in high school get over taking notes)  Truthfully though, their faces lit up and it seemed like it was something that they would actually use to prepare for thier test.  As a side note…none of them had ever heard of Cornell notes OR taken notes in a format like that before*

*I actually motivated my students today by telling them, “Life is made up of time.  When you waste your time, you waste your life.”*

On that note…I’m “wasting” time on the computer when I should be organizing and planning ahead.  Warning notices for my failing students are due tomorrow so I better figure those out!

it’s monday

and I had a lot of plans to get a lot of things done this weekend.  I did get a few things done, but mostly I just worked at a slow pace while I enjoyed my weekend…and I like it that way.  This week has been ordinary so far…still trying to get seniors to understand what silent actually means while continually reinforcing that my class is a class that they need to graduate.  I’m sure they’ll get the idea at some point…I just hope it’s soon.  We’re having our second unit exam on wednesday and the warning notices for grades go out to parents on Friday…

It’s Friday…

…and I honestly couldn’t be happier.  I’m struggling with planning and preparation and as a result I’m feeling underprepared and like I’m rushing my students through the material.  It’s a crappy feeling.  As a result, what I should do is stay and work late, get ahead on planning, blah blah blah, but what I’m going to do is pack up and leave my classroom ASAP after school today, go home and make a fantastic dinner, drink a glass of wine, actually have time to enjoy both and then I’m taking my paycheck and going to ikea…my house needs some help.  This week has been pretty rough but things are looking up.  I have big plans on planning over the weekend, and I need to come up with some better systems for keeping myself organized…it’s only 4 weeks into the school year and I am SICK.AND.TIRED of students needed extra copies, being absent, not knowing what they need to turn in.  I mean seriously, most of them are 18 years old.  I’m about to pull the “in the real world” speech on them because of they don’t get organized and quick, the real world is going to be rough on them.  In the meantime, for my own sanity, I need to figure out some better organization so that at least they stop askine me!

On a positive note…spent an extra day doing “GUIDED PRACTICE” after both classes failed a quiz.  Gave the kids a quiz again yesterday.  They did great.  The moral of the story…I need to spend less time “teaching” (interpret: talking at the) and more time letting them practice with the material.  That should be an obvious thing to understand but you have no idea how difficult it is to put into practice.  There’s this fine balance of explaining the material slow enough and well enough that they can actual do the practice without calling your name to come and help them 500 times and just talking to them about the information for the entire block and never given them a chance to work with it.  I’m figuring out what that is…

You can find me at a local panera tomorrow.  I’ll be spending the day using the free wireless and planning, planning, planning while my husband puts together our new desk from ikea.

Today it’s raining…

…and as a result no one comes to school.

Apparently there was an assembly scheduled this morning too.  I don’t teach first block so I didn’t have a class to take to the assembly.  I also don’t have an intercom in my room and when I heard some sort of announcement in the hall I didn’t really pay attention.  Apparently I was supposed to go.  Instead of going, I got all of my grading done, my progress reports written and analyzed and got myself prepared for class.  My organization is slowly coming along.  My inclusion teacher tells me I’m doing great with it, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it.  Getting up at 3:45AM to grade papers and make progress reports doesn’t exactly sound organized to me.  I also fell asleep at 5:30 yesterday afternoon and work up at 9:30 last night.  I guess I was tired.  The nap gave me a boost of energy to work, but only for a couple of hours so I ended up awake in the wee hours of the morning finishing up everything that needed to be done today. 

And then I came to school in the pouring rain and had 80% of my classtime taken away from me for an assembly.  (Also, most students don’t come to school when it rains) I guess it’s nice to feel like I had everything prepared had they come to class today.  Oh well.  I’ll get a second chance in my fourth block class and I’ll have a fun time on Monday giving my second block the make-up quiz!  Some of them were dissapointed with their progress reports and I had to explain to them that in order to pass they actually have to TURN ASSIGNMENTS IN!  One of my students got a 92% on his unit 1 exam but is failing my class because he didn’t turn any classwork or homework in.  Hopefully the progress report was a wake up call for them…

Hopefully I can write more about what/whre I’m actually teaching, where I’m living, and how life is actually going here over the weekend.  I’m hoping to get ahead a little bit but I found out that I have my certification class on Saturday for 8hours that I conveniently forgot about until Wednesday so we’ll see how far ahead I get!  Until next time…

When all your students are fully engaged…

…does that mean they’re actually learning something?  I wonder sometimes.  I was observed today by a couple of people who work for TFA nationally and somehow that got me energized.  I’d been telling myself for awhile that I need to teach with more energy but that was defnintely some motivation for me!  When they were here I was all about doing my checks for understanding, walking around the room making sure every student was engaged, and picking my battles that I would ordinarily get into with students very wisely.  Amazingly enough, without my nit picking, students came right in, got right to work, stayed mostly fully engaged, and we didn’t run out of time for what I had planned for the first time in a long time.  I am perpetually feeling behind.  I know it’s only week three, but have already noticed so many things I’ve done wrong, could have done better, and I’m really hoping to organize all of that stuff before the spring semester comes and I have two different preps to worry about.

Anyway, back to the point of this post.  I’m still not sure if they “get it”.  Yesterday they seemed to “get it” on their exits slips so I did a quick review and moved on, but today they weren’t able to respond quickly to my questions and during their exits slips I realized many of them are simply copying from their notes.  That’s not exactly what the point of an exit ticket is.  I need to do some better time management things so that I give them enough time to pack up their stuff AND to finish their exit slip without the crutch of the notes so that I can see how much they are actually retaining.

I was up late late…like I slept about 4 hours…last night because I was motivated to get some sort of vision for where it is I need to go with this class before the mid-term.  As I said earlier I am already feeling perpetually behind but I do feel like I have a better vision now and at least some sort of continuity between my units and objectives that I can teach more fluidly.  I’m hoping to get a better handle on the overal purpose and the long term plan over the weekend.  We’ll see how that goes. 

Tomorrow I have progress reports to give out.  My students who didn’t do so well on their exams and who haven’t come to class or done any of their homework might be a little shocked.  Maybe it will motivate them to do some work for me…

better get to class, the bell just rang