from the PTO newsletter
from the PTO newsletter
Schools closed; it's too cold. I'll update this page as I find stuff to keep me warm.
We're back from a summer vacation on Cape Cod, and now it's time for back to school. Ann Arbor makes a very rapid transition from summer town to college town in the span of about 72 hours, and it's just about time for everything to change.
You know it's time for school to start when the next projects on your fun list are the new Link Bus schedule, the football parking prices map, the 3d grade start of school picnic and the daycare potluck.
I'm still writing the Superpatron weblog, and working on an article on mobile versions of library catalogs, so that when you're on the go you can look up a book or when you're in the library you can remember what you were there for.
Really new for me this year is a fresh interest in law school - Deb starts at Wayne State Law today, and so there will be a lot more law related stuff to be aware of. I have a sneaking suspicion that means a new blog, just to pull that stuff all to one place, since I'll bet there will be two posts a day to write about that experience if I choose to.
(Note: links to come for these when they turn into actual posts!)
I recently sent out an email query to the a2b3 mailing list about backpacks suitable for laptops. In the interests of not keeping useful information in my inbox, here's a summary of sorts.
The list, in no particular order, with some amount of incomplete information:
Land's End: the pack I have has a label, don't know the name of it in their catalog. It's nice. The Land's End backpack page has more.
North Face: the Yavapai, "carries not only my laptop but a change of clothes when I get to work by bike."
Brooklyn Industries: "really like it. However, when I graduated from a MacBook to a Pro, the notebook was a bit too large, so definitely try inserting the notebook before purchasing."
Patagonia: Lightwire backpack "a great deal" right now at least on sale now
Tom Bihn: "As someone who has carried my laptop in it everywhere for the last 10 years, I highly recommend" the Brain Bag.
Spire USA: "I've been carrying a messenger vert bag from Spire USA for 9 years. Others in my family use the backpacks and love them as much as I love my bag. Their bags have had good attention to detail for people connected to their laptops."
Office Depot / Staples: "For the budget minded I found the laptop backpacks at Office Depot/Staples to be very sufficient"
BBP: "It's innovative, big, and while it's always in backpack mode - it still kinda looks like a messenger bag - which to my way of thinking makes it a 1/2 step more acceptable in the rare more formal meeting."
Timbuk 2: "I am using a Timbuk2 Messenger Bag that I got from Bivouac a few years ago. Great bag, and I think it will outlive ME!"
Timbuk2 again: I have the Timbuk2 Underground. It's incredible spacious - I carry my MBP, DSLR + 2 lenses, several books in the main compartment. And then there are the 2 side pockets that carry numerous other gadgets, GPS, power cord, etc.
Franklin Covey: Victorinox: "This spring I finally found a backpack I am happy with. It is the world's greatest compter backpack. It can easily allow you to travel with two computers and accessories, or with just one computer and all your travel needs for a night or two. It shows no signs of wear after four months, but whenever it does fall apart, it will be the first time I ever happily buy the same model twice in a row. Oh, and did I mention that it costs less than $80?"
Deuter: "I have a Deuter that I bought at Bivouac several years ago. I bought the one that was called something like "mega office" or "giga office". It's less daypack-y and more laptop-and-pens-n-stuff-hold-y than most of what Bivouac sells. It's been great - nice features, has aged well."
LL Bean: "I love my LL Bean backpack. My mom got it for me when I was a senior in college (1993-94). It
lived through that year, law school, marriage, our honeymoon (it was my carry-on), teacher certification classes, two teaching jobs, and it is still happy to ride on my back when I ride my bike. I love that bag"
Brenthaven: "I couldn't be a bigger fan of Brenthaven backpacks. I've had one of their models for probably 8 years and it still looks brand new and is amazingly well laid out. They are a bit spendy but I see no signs that this thing will ever wear out."
Thanks to Tom Brandt, Ron Suarez, Joel Dalton, Susan Harris, Mike Monan, Becki Kain, Bill Merrill, Helene Gidley, Chris Poterala, Matt Souden, Brian Cors, Nathaniel Borenstein, Dunrie Greiling, Andrew Turner, Patti Smith, Sean Convery and others.
Every year the Flat Rock Speedway does a race series that includes figure eight bus races. This year's schedule includes:
June 14: Marco's Pizza School Bus Figure 8, legends cars, factory stock, 4-cylinder.
Sept. 13: Pepsi Cola School Bus Figure 8, street stock.
This year there's also school bus figure 8s at the Toledo Speedway:
May 23: Night of Destruction, school bus figure 8, figure 8 train, factory stock, 4-cylinder, backup race, rollover contest.
Sept. 5: Burge Wrecking Night of Destruction, school bus figure 8, boat and train figure 8, factory stock, rollover contest, race car bowling.
The Monroe Evening News has the complete schedule.
"Approximately 2 million metric tons of fun" - George Hotelling
"needless to say, once you smell the smoke and feel the roar of the engines, you're eitehr hooked or your not. i, it should be obvious, am hooked." - Jose Nazario
One of the job titles you expect to see in the future.
Right now I'm looking out my office window, perched above the large, grassy, Frisbee-playing, picnicking, and sunbathing area that stretches through Berkeley's campus. I'm looking straight out at the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a view that I marvel at every dayI wonder why the chancellor hasn't confiscated such offices and rented them out to hedge funds to improve the university's finances. I walk out my door and look around: at the offices of professors who know more about topics like the history of the international monetary system or the evolution of income distribution than any other human beings alive, and at graduate students hanging out in the lounge. It's a brilliant intellectual community, this little slice of the world that is our visible college. You run into people in the hall and the lounge, and you learn interesting things. Paradise. For an academic, at least.
But I am greedy. I want more. I would like a larger college, an invisible college, of more people to talk to, pointing me to more interesting things. People whose views and opinions I can react to, and who will react to my reasoned and well-thought-out opinions, and to my unreasoned and off-the-cuff ones as well. It would be really nice to have Paul Krugman three doors down, so I could bump into him occasionally and ask, "Hey, Paul, what do you think of .. ." Aggressive younger people interested in public policy and public finance would be excellent. Berkeley is deficient in not having enough right-wingers; a healthy college has a well-diversified intellectual portfolio. The political scientists are too far away to run into by accident — somebody like Dan Drezner would be nice to have around (even if he does get incidence wrong sometimes).
Naturally, such an invisible college would offer invisible college aid.
For more invisible fun see the invisible section of I Can Has Cheezburger.
Posting in its entirety a letter from Kathy Morhous, principal of Burns Park Elementary School.
Dear Burns Park Families and Staff,
We were informed late this afternoon by the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health that students who are excluded from attending classes at Burns Park and Wines elementary schools may return to school effective Monday, October 22. According to the Public Health Department the decision affects five students—one here at Burns Park and four at Wines—who were told to stay home until the threat of measles infection had passed at the two elementary schools. Two students are still excluded at Angell Elementary, where a confirmed case of measles was reported on October 11. The CDC is currently retesting serum samples that a local, commercial lab said tested positive for measles.
Below are portions of the press release sent to the media today, Friday, October 19, by the Department of Public Health.
“The preponderance of evidence suggests that the threat of measles has passed at Burns Park and Wines elementary schools,” said Dr. Stan Reedy, Medical Director at the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health. “While the CDC has not completed testing all of its samples from Burns Park and Wines, our analysis indicates that the evidence for excluding students from these two schools is no longer present. Unless the CDC testing indicates otherwise, there is very little chance we could see another measles case at either of these two schools anytime soon,” he said. “We’ve discussed our decision with our counterparts at the Michigan Department of Community Health, and they support our conclusion.”
Laura Bauman, Epidemiologist for the Washtenaw County Health Department, released the following rationale for lifting the exclusion order:
* Samples from the former index case of measles at Burns Park have retested negative at the CDC.
* Since the index case retested negative, it could not have been the source of any transmission to additional suspect cases of measles at either Burns Park or Wines.
* Suspect measles cases at Burns Park and Wines have not been linked to any other known source of measles in southeast Michigan.
* Test results for suspect cases at Burns Park and Wines are still pending from the CDC. Based on clinical presentation and some preliminary results, it is less likely that these suspect cases will be confirmed as positive measles cases.
* There have been no reports from Burns Park or Wines of any additional suspect cases of measles.
* Children who have been excluded from Burns Park and Wines have exhibited no symptoms of a rash illness.
* The positive measles case at Angell cannot be associated with suspect cases at Burns Park or Wines because the incubation and transmission periods did not align.
“We have not been successful in constructing a plausible chain of transmission between any of the suspect cases,” Reedy said. “Most likely, because there isn’t one. Throughout this month we’ve concentrated on making decisions based on the best information available to us, while keeping the safety of our community’s children in mind. I am confident that excluding un- or under-vaccinated children from schools where suspect cases existed was the reasonable and prudent thing to do to protect and ensure the health of our community. Healthcare providers have done an excellent job of sorting out difficult diagnoses of rash illnesses. We’re pleased that additional transmission of the measles virus does not appear to have occurred.”
The Washtenaw County Public Health Department will continue to investigate the measles outbreak as additional testing information becomes available from the CDC late next week. Students excluded from attending Angell Elementary have been authorized to return on October 25, a timeframe in which the threat of measles transmission has passed. Angell is the last remaining school where children have been excluded from attending based on their immunization status. Suspect cases at Perry Child Development Center (Ypsilanti Public School District) and Bach have been investigated and cleared.
“By being vigilant and enforcing vaccination requirements for children attending its schools, the Ann Arbor Public School District has done an outstanding job of keeping its children protected from a disease that still sometimes appears, despite our best efforts to eradicate it,” Reedy concluded.
My thanks to the staff and families at Burns Park for your support during these past few weeks. Everyone has responded quickly and efficiently to the ever-changing situation surrounding this presumed outbreak.
If you have further questions about this decision please contact Department of Public Health at 544-6700.
From Saskatchewan, here's a page of "mental math strategies" - reasoning to help make elementary mathematics seem sensible to the student.
It is important that most students have mastery of basic facts. It is equally important that they make sense of number combinations as they are learning these facts. Here are some strategies to help with this understanding.
There are rules for add 0, 1, 2; the commutative property, aka "turn-around facts"; adding 10, 9, 8; doubling numbers, and "near doubles" (e.g 4+5). With all of those techniques firmly in hand, the addition grid that I had to memorize has only a handful of holes in it that you can't figure out.
What I remember being awesome for learning math facts was competitive dice games - Yahtzee in particular.
Time for back to school! Here's a roundup of the best posts I've found.
Our school year has started well, and we're adjusting to new routines. I went to the first day of school with Saul at Burns Park, met a bunch of parents at the PTO coffee, and am eagerly awaiting the new school directory so we can know who our new neighbors and schoolmates are. Days have changed, wake up time has changed, pretty much everything says school and not summer.
I went through a bunch of back-to-school stuff on the net - mostly not the back-to-school shopping things, but the first week of school stuff - and pulled out a bunch of highlights relevant to this year.
When you’re putting together the perfect family schedule, you have to do more than just tack up a Puppy Of The Month calendar on the wall.
The Regular Schedule
Book clubs. Soccer practices. Or, if you’re like us, physical therapy appointments. Some appointments are regularly scheduled, and the times don’t change week-to-week, but rather month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter. Rather than write down the same information every week, have one whiteboard or poster board with everybody’s regular schedule Mon – Sun.
Let us know your thoughts. Send us your organizational questions to answer. Yourlife@getbuttonedup.com
Deb and I maintain our calendars two different ways - hers is paper, mine is mostly electronic - and there are enough standing dates on the calendar that this sounds like a great idea.
2. Lifehacker's Gina Trapani posts Top 10 Back to School Tools for the Organized Student
Top 10 Back to School Tools, #9: Perfect your note-taking skills this semester—get a primer on how to take study-worthy lecture notes using the Cornell method, and customize and print Cornell templates to get started.
I've written about Cornell Notes before, but somehow missed Ryan Stewart's Cornell-Notes.com. The template is nifty. Another nifty thing I've found recently in the print-your-own-pages world is Page Packer for making pocket-sized books from PDF files.
3. Cool Mom Picks Back to School Guide 2007 is a shopping guide. Saul ended up with a new used bike (garage sale plus brake work rehab at Ann Arbor Cyclery) and new backpack from Land's End. Cool Mom Picks found this source for book plates to put in your books from One Good Bumblebee:
Library card bookplates are so so cool, and help insure that the books your kids brings to school come home with them too.
4. Parent Dish's Angie Felton notes that here in Michigan schools start after Labor Day (to make sure that tourist dollars flow freely) and unearths this fun MasterCard commercial on the backpack theme:
Lisa Wever Koski, a Miami-Dade teacher, is surprised that more people don't use this simple tool -- a monthly calendar. She prints hers from the computer, attaches a magnetic strip and hangs it on the refrigerator where everyone will look at it several times a day. She puts all family members' activities, meetings, appointments and birthdays on it. ``I see that kids do not consult their parents about their schedules. They will sign up for an activity, pay the fee, then back out because they didn't know it was their grandmother's birthday.''
6. Techmama's Beth Blecherman wrote What Tech Gadgets do K-8 Grade School Students Need? this spring. She notes the technology standards in the classroom in Silicon Valley schools:
Starting in 1st grade, schools with computer labs allow children to spend time creating pictures on computers. In second grade students start to do research for projects using the school computer lab. Before third grade they are allowed to store files on the school's hard drive related to the work they are doing in a computer lab. In 4th grade, the school tech office creates private (password protected) folders for students to store their work. I have heard some students using word processing or spreadsheet software for school projects as early as 3rd grade but defintely by 4th.
Saul, who is starting 2d grade, has been using a computer for a while now - some of his drawings of Ann Arbor Fairy Doors are up on Flickr.
7. BlogHer '06 keynote speaker Jennifer Satterwhite posts The sigh heard 'round the world. Back to school time! with a roundup of first week of school mom experiences.
It's that time of year again. Back to school. Some Moms are thrilled. Some Moms unsure. Some are just in a state of shock over the hit the wallet takes. One thing consistent about it all: there are moans from kids heard around the country that their summer is ending. But the Moms? Ahhhh, the Moms have other ideas.
Personally, I always get a bit freaked out as if it was my first day of school when they start up. But that probably has more to do with the fact that they have not yet instituted a "start at noon" school day with our public school system. Now that would rock my socks off! Alas, my cries to let my kids (and when I say my kids, I of course mean me) sleep in late and then go to school.
8. ModernMom's Lolita Carrico Back to School Dos & Don'ts
DO plan a get together with other families before school starts. Get a class contact list from the school and invite the parents and kids over for a play date. My friend, Laurie, invited new classmates to her daughter's birthday party (which happened to fall two weeks before the first day of school) -- it presented the perfect opportunity for the parents to get to know one another and for the kids to get to know each other before the big day.
The Burns Park PTO organized a picnic at the playground for each of the incoming classes, and we all had a great time talking to the other 2d grade parents. I'm organizing our Math / Science Night this year - and the PTO has an event calendar that it looks like you can subscribe to with iCal.
I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.
The winning bid was $142.51 (with 53 bids), which just goes to show you how much writing well can help you.
10. It wouldn't be back to school without a discussion of how schools and school programs get funded. The Ann Arbor Public Schools Education Foundation gives grants system-wide for programs - the deadline for applications by teachers is October 5, 2007. - and is embarking on a major campaign to raise private funds to support public education. Ann Arbor Parents for Schools is group of AAPS parents who are worried about the funding problems our schools face and the consequences this has for our kids and our community.
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