Archive for November, 2011

My Father’s Reassuring Atheism

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

November is the month in which both my parents were born and both passed away, so it’s peppered through with dates that make me think about them and about Life and Mortality.

My dad spent his last days in a beautiful hospice. One of us stood with him at the window, looking out at the gorgeous autumn leaves, and asked him: Are you sad that this is the last Fall you will see?

He replied:

I’ve had a wonderful life, and now it’s over, and that’s OK.


Learning to See Both Sides

Monday, November 28th, 2011

[I'm devoting my Monday blog posts to the topic of Learners with Special Needs, which, I find, describes us all in some way or another.] 

I work part-time at a school for students with all kinds of special needs. In addition to the usual academic subjects, kids also take classes in such topics as executive function, sensory integration and behavior therapy.

So much of the instruction is simple and useful and applicable to all of us!

When kids at the school have some conflict, they are required to fill out a Conflict Resolution Sheet:


Is There a Goal to the Psychoanalytic Process?

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

[I'm devoting my Sunday blog posts to the topic of Learning Through Experience. This will very often mean Learning From Mistakes, and talking about mistakes and errors in general, including my own. It will also include the reflecting upon and valuing of all sorts of experiences.]

When I think “psychoanalysis,” my mind conjures a Woody-Allenesque caricature of a “neurotic” patient spending decades of his life lying on his analyst’s couch, endlessly rehashing every real or imagined detail of his childhood, in a fruitless internal quest for The Answer to his psychological distress.


Ambivalent Feelings Towards Loved Ones Are Normal

Friday, November 25th, 2011

[I've been devoting my Friday blog posts to the topic of Learning What We Already Know. There's a ton of wisdom out there in the world, and lots of it has been known for quite a long time but it needs to be passed along.]

The wisdom of Dr. Haim Ginott has had a huge impact on my life, ever since I read his classics: Between Parent and Child and Between Parent and Teenager.


Some Learning for Dessert

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

[I've been devoting my Thursday blog posts to the topic of All Things Academic: reading, writing, 'rithmetic and the other school subjects.]

Here’s a Thanksgiving feast for your brain, a few of my favorite websites for educational games and videos:

Sporcle has quizzes on all sorts of subject matter. How well do you know the countries of Africa, or the periodic table, or sports teams? What countries have the highest populations of turkeys?

On Quizlet you can make your own flash cards (online or printed), or use sets in their extensive collection. Brush up on your vocabulary (excellent for test prep!) or your times tables or your French verbs. I really like their “Scatter” game, one of several flashcard-flipping options you can try.


Empathy vs. Understanding

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I’m going to devote my Tuesday blog posts to the topic of Psychology, Human Behavior and Relationships. What makes people tick?

When I have the time, I like to do book reviews. For one thing, yay! I get a free book! And I get to read about and learn something I wouldn’t have necessarily found on my own.

This last go-round I was feeling especially adventurous, so I told the book-sending folks to Surprise Me!…and here’s what arrived in my mailbox:


Anger Management Made Super-Simple

Monday, November 21st, 2011

[I'm devoting my Monday blog posts to the topic of Learners with Special Needs, which, I find, describes us all in some way or another.] 

I work part time at a school for students with all kinds of special needs. In addition to the usual academic subjects, kids also take classes in such topics as executive function, sensory integration and behavior therapy.

I’ve been fascinated by how simple and useful a lot of the instruction is, and how applicable it is to all of us!


Want What You Have

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

I’m going to devote my Saturday blog posts to the topic of A Small, Good Thing, after my favorite Raymond Carver story by that title (you can find the story in Raymond Carver: Collected Stories). I plan on sharing with you some of the small, good things that I come across as I live my days and weeks…and to invite you to do the same.

My offering to you for this week are these words from the late Forrest Church.


Understanding Before Advice

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I’m going to devote my Friday blog posts to the topic of Learning What We Already Know. There’s a ton of wisdom out there in the world, and lots of it has been known for quite a long time but it needs to be passed along.

November is a special month for me, because both of my parents happened to have been born in, and passed away in, the month of November.

My mom and I loved each other very much. We also had a very stormy relationship which was especially turbulent and painful when I was a teenager.


Wonderful Word Problems

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

[I'm going to devote my Thursday blog posts to the topic of All Things Academic: reading, writing, 'rithmetic and the other school subjects.]

Last week I said that I see value in having kids (and all learners) memorize a certain amount of factual information.

I also said that I’m not a fan of rote memorization of multiplication “facts.” Kids should also be learning when and how to apply all of the four operations to various situations.


 

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