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Journal example

I am working on folding in a “fitness journal” facet of the journal part of my gradebook. This is my answer to the question “What is your motivation in maintaining fitness?”

Running a treadmill indoors. I can understand this if you’re in a location of inclement weather or hostile territory, but other than that…
(If it works for you, well, keep on it.)
A lot of folks burn out on their fitness program because it feels like the psychological treadmill. They give up.

You full-of-piss-and-vinegar youngsters might scoff, but wait until you’ve run miles and miles over days and weeks and years and decades. You’re mid-career. You’ve got kids. You’re dragging at day’s end and the table needs to be set. You’ve slipped up and a few pounds are on. Or ten. Or twenty…

You gonna keep it up? What is your motivation?

At 50, my motivations:

The fitness of the body effects the fitness of the mind and spirit.
That lard you’re consuming chokes your arteries and blood flow.
The brain works on blood flow.
Cut the flow and the thinking suffers; it’s a no-brainer.

I want to be able to trek during retirement – which at present looks like no sooner than age sixty-five.

I need to be here for others.
Several others, at an intimate level, but depending on the day or hour, perhaps thirty, one of whom may be important to you.

I am a teacher, and although my primary mission is instruction of techniques of thinking, I am also the guardian of the physical safety of my charges: in the event of danger, I might need to assume command. To explain:

I work in an area in which there is the belief that living on the “mean streets” – a climate created by espousing that credo and contributing, often unconsciously, to that violence – gives one greater machismo and “credibility” than people raised in safe neighborhoods.
(Note: “machismo” now applies to young women, who are becoming increasingly likely to express femininity through violence, e.g., the title “bitch” becoming an honorific.) It can get pretty tense. A strong presence can stop the escalation.

I also work and live on the Hayward Fault, in a flood zone, and under the glidepath of several airports. Dangers more demanding.

If some nasty grief or drama unfolds, the teacher is the incident commander until the “higher payscale” arrives on scene. Unlikely occurrences, but entirely possible – it only takes once.

My specific training objectives:

To survive a disaster and escape it, if alone.
If in company, to carry out the wounded and be the last man to leave the room.
To run from one casualty to the next, keeping composure and the ability to respond and function.
To maintain this until properly relieved.

Honestly, I hope I’m just running the treadmill: excitement is overrated.

The Discovery of Poetry

The Discovery of Poetry

The google ebook preview of Mayes’ book that is cited in the previous posts.

(You might notice page number citations on my handwritten notes, but I believe the pagination is different in the edition of the class set we use.)

Understanding Poetry: Cornell note set-up





Understanding Poetry: rhyme

From the Oxford:

rhyme |rīm|
correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words, esp. when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry.
• a short poem in which the sound of the word or syllable at the end of each line corresponds with that at the end of another.
• poetry or verse marked by such correspondence of sound.
• a word that has the same sound as another.

To simplify:

rhyme, the correspondence of sounds between words or the ending of words.
rhythm is a regular, repeated pattern, from the Greek rhuthmos, ‘to flow.’

To review:
syllable, a vowel sound usually conjoined to a consonant.
vowel, an open vocal-tract sound.
consonant, a closed vocal-tract sound.

Now, some examples. (Note that rhyme at the end of the line is only one of many types):

triple, words with three rhyming syllables, e.g., quickening/thickening
head, i.e., alliteration: “And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.”
end, rhyme at the line’s end
apocopated, a “cut-off”rhyme, e.g., hot/potted, pain/gainless
internal, rhyme within the line
rising, an iamb (syllables unstressed and stressed) or single stressed syllable at line’s end (see image below)
slant/half/off/approximate/near, an “almost” rhyme, e.g, fear/care, gone/moan
homonym, a repeated rhyme with different spelling, e.g., sail/sale, preys/praise
identical, or repetition, the same word, reemphasized
pure, rhyme with differing initial consonant: bell/cell/dell/fell/hell
falling, a trochee (syllables stressed and unstressed)(see image below.)
unpatterned, randomly-placed rhymes
eye, slant rhymes that look alike: cough/rough, wind/find
linked, end syllable of one line beginning the next, e.g.,
Night weighs down on the rooftop
stops the flashlight of a scared cop

The list is an adaptation of from
Mayes, Frances. The Discovery of Poetry. Harcourt. 2001.

The stressed or accented syllable is indicated by the ictus′ and the unstressed or unaccented syllable by the breve˘


Poetry 180

Poetry 180

There are usually 180 days of instruction in American public schools.
The idea behind this site is to supply a poem a day, hopefully to be read over the loudspeaker along with the Pledge and announcements.

(The only poems I’ve ever heard read over the PA are the ones I’ve recited when I’ve commandeered the microphone on yearbook deadline nights.)

Critical Thinking: Basic terms

Let’s put the tools in the toolbox. Commit these to memory, start applying them, and you’ll start some keen thinking:

Fact: a statement that can be verified.

Opinion: what someone thinks, believes, or wishes.

When you state your opinion, there are four types:

Judgement evaluates, using evidence and reasoning.

Advice recommends, usually based on judgement.

Generalization is sometimes true, depending on degree: all, some, none, most, many.

Personal taste or sentiment is what you like.

(I suggest a sentence mnemonic: Japanese Animals Grazing Peacefully.)

Gladiator was a terrible movie for swordfighting aficionados” is judgement.

“You should go to college” is advice.

“Men have more upper body strength” is generalization.

“My favorite color is __________________” or “I’ll take the Pepsi” is personal taste.

The Sentence: The thought completes and ends.

Sentence: A complete thought, usually sayable in one breath.

When you say a sentence, it is of four purposes:

Declarative asserts truth or falsehood.

Interrogative asks for truth or falsehood.

Imperative commands or requests.

Optative wishes for the non-existent.

(Some argue that the exclamatory is a purpose, but note that you can speak any of the sentences plainly or with force.)

The sentence ends in three ways:

Period. Question mark? Exclamation mark!

(In this age of slapping down punctuations with no regard for rules, do not think this is an unnecessary review.)

The sentence is left incomplete in two ways:

The long dash interrupts thought.

The ellipses leaves the thought purposefully.

If you would like, you can teach this with two fists raised, and make one hand the sentence purpose/type, and the other hand the ways to end the sentence. Five and five. See it?

Merriam-Webster online

Merriam-Webster online

Another solid choice.
The editor videos can be quite interesting.

The Oxford, online

The Oxford, online

My dictionary of choice is the Oxford English Dictionary, but the official dictionary fills a bookcase — but is now out of print. This online version is ad-heavy, but handy.

(Apple users have a version of the dictionary in their dock.)