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26 Jul 21:12

Why you should set soft goals for your classroom this year

by (Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher)

When you set your goals for the fall, don't forget your soft goals.

There are hard and fast things you must do in the classroom. There are tasks, standards, and objectives that must be met. However, it is easy to be so busy as a human doing and forget that you're teaching human beings.

This is why I like the Classroom Habitudes so much. (Read the book by Angela Maiers) It gives us a "to be" list before you hit the to do list. Students need to know what we want them to BE as we reach to do the things that they need to do. They need to see the purpose behind the plan.

Make a list of the things you want your students "to be"

Even more so, we, as teachers, need to be intentional about what we want to help our students be. Thankful. Passionate. Curious. Ethical. Perseverant. Creative... and the list goes on.

Intentionally think about your soft goals because these give you a canvas upon which you will paint your class activities. They should influence the posters you select, the projects you design, and the lessons you plan. You can teach math in a way that harnesses the power of passion. You can weave lessons in that will allow students to show thankfulness to others. You can have projects that foster curiosity.

Purposefully determine what these "to be's" are. Know them. Use the language. Discuss them.

These are things you can do, but important things never do themselves. They start with you.

I think it is best to look at these soft goals in the summer. Take some time and write down the important things you want to help students be.

Activity to get you started

Try this activity.

1. At the top of a page write... "this year, I want my students to be more..." then, answer the question. This will help you get started on your soft goals.

2. Brainstorm the books, music, projects, movies, and creative ways you can redesign the lessons you have to incorporate these to be's. Write these things next to each of the items you wrote in step 1.

TIP: State your "to be" in the positive

When you pick them be careful to state your "to be" in the positive. Instead of "don't bully" select "speak up when injustice happens." We inadvertently remove the negative - so when you say "don't bully" - you're really hearing "bully." (This is why most of us teachers are taught to say "be quiet" instead of "don't talk." "Don't talk" will typically have the opposite influence of what we desire.)

Do this now.

School is right around the corner. Educators, we have a huge responsibility to educate a generation. If we forget the human beings in our classrooms we will one day have those humans be so busy doing that they might just forget about being kind, respectful, helpful, and understanding towards our generation. Things have a way of going around. You will reap the results of the soft goals you set now as will society, so choose well.

Schools can set soft goals for their year.

You can also be assured, that schools who are intentional about the "to be's" they select will reap the benefits of emphasizing those to be's. Principals can do the activity above. This is part of having vision and when it starts with the principal and superintendent - it becomes unstoppable. You are casting vision for what you want to be. Just prepare to work hard to be that yourself. If you say you want everyone to be something and you glaringly don't try to be that yourself. (For example, if you emphasize work ethic but find a way to leave early every day, you'll cause a morale problem.)

Please share

What are the "to be's" you want to emphasize this year? I am using Angela's Classroom Habitudes book for mine and adding "Integrity" as one of the to-be's.

What are yours? Please feel free to share them or the links in the comments. Do you create "soft goals?" Why or why not?


07 Jul 03:22

Marion Bartoli faces barrage of misogynist abuse after Wimbledon win

by Philippa Willitts


[Content note: misogynist and abusive language]

Marion Bartoli won the Wimbledon women's singles trophy today, and the French woman's performance has been highly praised by commentators and fans. However, to many viewers her skill and talent was frankly unimportant due to her perceived lack of attractiveness.

Bartoli, despite an impressive performance, was judged by one man on Twitter to be a "fat slob", and another as an "ugly bitch". Others saw fit to describe her as "too ugly to be raped" and the rageful hatred went on and on and on.

Those who thought she was not pleasing enough to look at to deserve to win are symptomatic of the wider problem of women always being expected to not just look good, but to look good in a way that men approve of. And, of course, when different men have different tastes and preferences we get to a point where we can never win, even if we do bother to try. Bartoli's performance should be enough, and I daresay the winner of the men's single won't be subject to a barrage of abuse about his appearance.

Everyday Sexism took screenshots of just a sample of the abusive tweets: to get a closer look, click on the image below.

Just a tiny selection of the #Bartoli comments #EverydaySexism

— EverydaySexism (@EverydaySexism) July 6, 2013

[The image is a photograph of Marion Bartoli playing tennis in 2011. It was taken by Carine06 and is used under a Creative Commons Licence]

07 Jul 02:51

Holy Smoke!

by Radhika Seth

C-Thru is a helmet that is designed to help firefighter walk through dense smoke during smoke diving search and rescue missions. Time constrains of six minutes per mission, makes it imperative that the gear is optimal. C-thru gives them the edge thanks to the wire-frame vision of the interior geometry, surrounding the smoke diver. Using technological enhancements, the helmet provides a visual map of the interiors so that it becomes easy for the firefighter to locate the victims.

This is how it works:

  • C-Thru’s vision system integrates many technologies to aid firefighters, such as a head-mounted projection display, optical thermal camera, cloud computing, selective active noise cancellation and target acquisition.
  • The optical thermal camera captures the imaging of the surrounding area and sends the data to the smoke diver leader’s handheld device.
  • The data is calculated there and sent back to the helmet.
  • Newly generated 3D wire-frame data is projected by the head-mounted projectors through the retro-reflective front visor of the helmet.
  • This wire-frame outline of their surroundings helps firefighters find a path through the building and locate victims.

Designer: Omer Haciomeroglu

Yanko Design
Timeless Designs - Explore wonderful concepts from around the world!
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(Holy Smoke! was originally posted on Yanko Design)

Related posts:

  1. Holy Driver
  2. UPDATE: Holy Cup of Doubleness
  3. A Holy Lamp for Lovers of Illusion

06 Jul 22:39

Rhubarb on Rhubarb on Rhubarb | CHUM’s 9th annual Rhubarb Festival

by Alex Leone

You missed out if you weren’t able to make it out  to the 9th annual CHUM Rhubarb Festival this past Saturday. From rhubarb pies to rhubarb brats, the food pyramid was covered. Musician Charlie Parr headlined the festival with a performance in the afternoon. Here’s a sample of that tasty day!

PHOTOS: Alex Leone

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06 Jul 22:37

Why Is The Fox Nation Rooting For George Zimmerman?

by Mark

For the past week a murder trial in Florida has fixated the nation and the media. This sort of thing is not unusual as the past trials of Jodie Arias, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, and all the way back to O.J. Simpson have proved. What is unusual is the lengths to which Fox News has gone to cheerlead for the defendant.

From the very beginning Fox has sought to portray George Zimmerman as the victim who was only acting in his own defense. At the same time, they cast Trayvon Martin as a violent thug who must have been up to no good. Take a look at the graphic editorializing Fox engaged in early on:

Fox News Racism

In reporting on the court proceedings this week, Fox continued to demonstrate their overt prejudice in favor of Zimmerman. Nearly every commentator Fox put on the air found fault with the prosecution and managed to spin the witness testimony as beneficial to the defense. And the headlines at the Fox Nation Lie Factory tell the story that Fox is desperately trying to implant in the weak minds of their viewers:

  • Zimmerman Blockbuster: Witness Saw Man With ‘Lighter Skin Color’ Getting Pummeled ‘Ground And Pound’ Style
  • Zimmerman ‘Elated’ at Prospect That Trayvon Fight Was Recorded
  • Prosecutors ‘Must Have Had a Stroke’ Over Detective’s Testimony
  • AP: Trayvon Martin’s Legal Troubles Reportedly Covered Up By Police
  • Travyon Martin’s Friend Grilled By Defense

This parade of pro-Zimmerman analysis is reminiscent of last year’s election analysis on Fox, where every discussion leaned heavily in favor of a Romney victory. Fox irresponsibly led their audience to believe that President Obama was irredeemably unpopular and bound for defeat. Fox would only present disreputable polls that showed Romney ahead, while ignoring all the other surveys (including their own) that forecast an Obama victory. When reality set in on election day, Team Fox and the gullible dupes who watch the network, were dumbfounded at a result for which they were entirely unprepared.

The same thing is happening now with this trial. The obvious zeal that Fox is expressing for a Zimmerman acquittal is not incidental. It fits into their mission to demonize minorities. Try to imagine what Fox’s (or the rest of the media) reaction to this case would have been if the races were reversed. Do you think Fox would be defending a black man who had shot and killed an unarmed white kid walking home with Skittles and iced tea?


The consequences of Fox’s disinformation could be troublesome. If Zimmerman is convicted, the response by the racially biased viewers of Fox will be shock and awe. Just like after the election, they will be unable to grasp how a jury had concluded that Zimmerman was guilty when everything they had seen on Fox News convinced them that he was innocent and that there was no chance of a conviction. Fox appears to be priming their viewers to rise up in outrage at a verdict they never saw as even a remote possibility.

On CNN and MSNBC there has been a much more balanced presentation of the court proceedings. When the prosecution flubbed an argument, it was reported as such, even on Al Sharpton’s show, despite the clear bias of the host. When a witness contradicted a defense assertion, that was reported as well. The reason for this is that unbiased journalists do not have a stake in the outcome. Liberals, from the outset, have only wanted justice to be done. They were appropriately disturbed at the start of this affair when Zimmerman was let off without an arrest or investigation. The protests that erupted were focused on those ends, not on railroading Zimmerman into jail.

Now that the people are getting their trial, the judgment of the jury ought to be respected. But That is not the tone that Fox is advancing. The hunger for absolution on Fox is palpable. They are convinced that a black youth with no record of violence or criminal activity initiated an unprovoked attack on a conscientious neighborhood watch captain. And until the jury rules, that is the position Fox is sticking with. If that isn’t racism, then what the hell is it?

06 Jul 21:22

You are how you eat.

by Jessica Hagy

What's for lunch?

Share and Enjoy:DiggStumbleUpondel.icio.usFacebookTwitterGoogle Bookmarks

06 Jul 21:10

Shreds of Privacy #chrome #firefox #browser

by (Miguel Guhlin)
Image Source:
Reading LifeHacker these days, it's easy to appreciate how little privacy we have when we go out on the web. Some of the key points:

  • Writing at AppSpot, Dave Winer discovered that Facebook's tracking cookies-which never expire, are only altered instead of deleted when a user logs out. This means that the tracking cookies still have your account number embedded in them and still know which user you are after you've logged out. Read More
  • In a blog post today, Twitter announced that they're "experimenting with new ways of targeting ads," which is their way of saying they're planning to track you around the web—even when you leave Twitter—and relay that information to advertisers to craft better ads.  Read More

Browser add-ons to install to "protect" what shreds of privacy remain:

  1. AdBlock for Firefox/Chrome - Blocks banners, pop-ups and video ads - even on Facebook and YouTube and Protects your online privacy
  2. Facebook Privacy List for Adblock Plus - Enhances AdBlock Plus.
  3. Facebook Disconnect for Chrome and Firefox - Facebook is notified whenever you visit one of the more than one million sites on the web that use Facebook Connect and has a history of leaking personally-identifiable information to third parties. This turns off data flow.
  4. Disconnect.Me - Blocks ad-trackers, social widgets, etc. Although free, you will be asked to donate. Your choice.
  5. Priv3 for Firefox - The Priv3 Firefox extension lets you remain logged in to the social networking sites you use and still browse the web, knowing that those third-party sites only learn where you go on the web when you want them to. All this happens transparently, without the need to maintain any filters. Priv3 is free to use for anyone.
  6. Ghostery - Ghostery looks for third-party page elements (or "trackers") on the web pages you visit and notifies you that these things are present, and which companies operate them. If you wish, choose to block the trackers they operate.
  7. Do Not Track Plus, and for fun,
  8. HTTPS Everywhere
If you really want to protect yourself, use The TOR Browser Bundle.

In truth, how many end users will actually take advantage of all these add-ons?

Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

06 Jul 21:05

All young people should do maths to age 18 yo prepare for today's workplace

All young people should continue to study maths at least until they are 18, even if they have already gained a good GCSE in the subject, the Sutton Trust said today, because the GCSE curriculum fails to give them the practical skills they need in the modern workplace.