Week 19 2013: Public Speaking


For reasons I’m not going to go into, many of my plans for the classroom did not come to fruition. The one lesson I did manage to teach my students though, was just FABULOUS!

First, I must thank Andrew Dlugan at the Six Minutes site. This site is a great resource on public speaking and presentations for adults, but much of the material is accessible enough to use with older children (10+ years) with some modification. I wanted to prepare students to create and deliver persuasive speeches. To do this, I looked for resources on the three elements of persuasion; ethos, pathos, and logos. The article at Six Minutes seemed the best for my purposes. I asked some questions , and Mr. Dlugan contacted me via email when he heard about what I was planning to do. I found him to be quite helpful, and generous in his materials. I did end up re-writing a bit to make the language more accessible to my students, and to give them time for a response so I could check their understanding. Read the rest of this entry »



I have been hard at work getting together the Website for my union local, and ramping up our Facebook presence. I just haven’t had time to post, but lots is going on both in the classroom and out.I’ll try to fit in sharing that with you all in the next two weeks.

Power Corrupts…


Most of the news from the UC school to the west have been about, police power, tuition hikes, and executive pay. This story, on the sports page, would normally get a lot more discussion, but it’s likely to get lost in furor, and that’s a shame, because while it’s not as important as these other stories, the university is at the cusp of facing a choice about whether to “play like the big boys”– south state “neighbor” and frequently on probation USC, and who could resist comparisons to the corrupting influence of big-time college ball at Penn State? What is so lovely about this piece is how revealing many of the quotes from the report are about so-called amateur athletics. Here are some choice picks:

…(S)ome facets of UC Davis’ operating philosophy do not align with many top-tier Division I programs.

Among the audit’s more controversial points has been that several of the eight “core principles” established by UC Davis to guide its move to Division I may actually “represent an impediment to increased competitiveness in Division I.”

Apparently, in amateur athletics there is no room from niceties like “philosophy” and “principles”,  but they do recommend a business plan…

Most Division I programs, the audit states, operate under a “business model” in which revenue comes mostly from external resources and funding is directed to those sports – most often football and basketball – thought to have the best chance of generating revenue through competitive success.

Really, not even the fig-leaf of “love of the game” can remain after this report, but I’ll remember this the next time I hear some suit at the NCAA going on about the purity and beauty of college athletics because now we not only know that’s a lie, we know they know it’s a lie.

Ready, Set, Go…


I am through the first week of school, and just like the end of a really hard bike ride, or hike, I’m exhausted, and sore all-over. But…there is a big smile on my face.

This was the week where I would finally meet my students and all my plans and preparation would come to fruition. I was very curious about what my new students would be like.  There like most of the kids I’ve taught in that they are energetic, easily distracted, curious, and chatty.  What’s missing is not the ADD and ADHD kids, but the defiant ones. This is not surprising, as most of my defiant students were that way for a reason. In about every case it had to do with what adults were doing and not doing in their lives, and not what they had done. As expected, that seems to be less of a issue with the increase in income level at the school. Even though the low-income percentage the year before was 45% they don’t seem to be as desperately poor as some of my prior students’ families have been (Bruce Baker has some ideas on that as well that are worth reading), but I’m stilling getting to know students, and the neighborhood so this may change.

I’m happy with the kids not being “perfect” as I find that to be an over-rated quality. They’re kids, and they seem pretty happy to be in school, and in my class, so I’ll take that. I will not being “phoning it in” with this class, but then that’s not my job.

Some accomplishments from the week:

  • Getting into table groups and out of rows;
  • Going through our first class meeting and giving compliments to each other;
  • Finishing up a class survey and doing activities using the school mobile Macbook lab;
  • Holding two very enthusiastic class discussions. We’re still working on not shouting out of turn, but we’re all eager to share;

Was it perfect? No, there are things I need to work on, and they will need to work on, but on the whole, I’m pretty pleased.

The quote we wish we had all thought of…


via @ASCD on Twitter: NYT film critic calls Waiting for Superman “exemplary in its manipulative, superficial and dishonest piety”

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/01/the_vulture_critics_poll_the_c.html (A.O. Scott from NYT is 1/2 way down on WFS )

He also said it made him madder than any other film.

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »


Links of Interest


Creative Commons License
All of Ms. Mercer's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Skip to toolbar