Archive for September, 2011

So in the ethics class, we watched The Matrix to set up the problem of skepticism. (Side note: I remember teaching my first Philosophy class in fall ’99. As I lectured on Descartes, a bunch of students told me about this new movie that was totally an example of what Descartes was talking about. I […]

20 Years of R.E.M. Fandom – Part 1

Posted September 25, 2011 By Dave Thomer

This story of R.E.M. begins in 1988. Sure, the band had formed in Athens, GA more than eight years earlier. Absolutely, by 1988 they had already helped to usher in the age of college rock, built a large fan base through years of near-constant touring, and even had a Top 40 hit with “The One […]

Between an NCLB Rock and a Waiver Hard Place

Posted September 24, 2011 By Dave Thomer

President Obama announced the long-anticipated waiver policy for No Child Left Behind on Friday. If you’re not an education policy wonk/geek: The No Child Left Behind law requires that all schools demonstrate that 100% of their students are meeting state standards by 2014, or else the schools will be considered to be failing. Besides the […]

Photographs on the Dashboard

Posted September 21, 2011 By Dave Thomer

R.E.M. announced today that they are no longer a band. This bums me out, and it’s hard to explain why. No one’s coming into my house to take my copy of Automatic for the People, after all. I think that what makes me wistful is that, as we grow older, we change. And sometimes we […]

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Posted September 20, 2011 By Dave Thomer

Got home from work and grocery shopping, conked out, and before I knew it Tuesday had become Wednesday and my streak of daily posting had ended. Don’t let the date stamp fool you – this is being written on Thursday and retroactively posted through the magic of date stamp editing. Why? So if anyone clicks […]

Making the Story, Not Covering the Story

Posted September 19, 2011 By Dave Thomer

Interesting side note from Sunday night’s Eagles-Falcons game: The major reason why the Eagles did not challenge a key interception play is that NBC, which broadcast the game, didn’t show any replays that suggested the play was not, in fact, an interception. Coaches don’t have their own camera feeds, so they are dependent on whatever […]

Feedback Loops

Posted September 18, 2011 By Dave Thomer

Trying to figure out the best way to give feedback to students after their first shot at an assignment. We go over and talk about subjects in class, but I know that can be tough to absorb. I could write comments on everyone’s work, but I’m not sure how much I can fit in the […]

Trying Not to Get Used to This

Posted September 17, 2011 By Dave Thomer

On the way home from a walk the other night, I made sure to remind Alex that the fact that the Phillies have won the National League East in half of the baseball seasons that she has been alive should not, in any way, be taken as normal. I explained to her that I started […]

Hey, I Know That Place!

Posted September 16, 2011 By Dave Thomer

Another off night tonight, but while I was looking on for details on the latest contract snafus in Philadelphia schools, I found this item that mentions my own school a couple of times: Students face long odds at many popular schools Parkway Center City, where I teach, admits the smallest percentage of its applicants, […]

Always in Four Down Territory

Posted September 15, 2011 By Dave Thomer

I’m pretty much taking the day off from blogging, but here’s a link to a story on CNN about a high school football team that rarely punts and usually attempts an onside kick after every score. The coach’s logic is that doing everything you can to increase your chances to keep possession of the ball […]