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Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 22:06

I tucked my 13 year old daughter into bed, then she asked me if planet Earth - and humans - would survive much longer.

The question floored – and saddened me that she would feel such fear at that age. Then I thought about it and it made sense.

Monday, September 21, 2015 - 21:13

To the creative mind, a flower is not just a flower. It is a marvel of design, color, mathematical elegance, embedded pattern and harmonious contrast. It is functional, beautiful and an integral part of our ecosystem.

An insect is not just a pest to be feared or crushed. It is a marvel of bio-mechanical engineering, a miracle of adaptation and specialization in an impossibly beautiful marriage of function with form.

A cloudy sky is not just a portent of rain. It is an infinite alien landscape, a thousand exotic worlds ripe with possibility, a magical menagerie of enchanted creatures, mythological beasts and rainbows.

Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 16:52

I love metaphors. The merging of two seemingly incompatible ideas to beautify a literary passage or to create symbolic value or memorable conversational hyperbole, is a powerful thing. Not only are metaphors effective literary constructs, they are effective conceptual processes that help people understand and categorize their world in a powerful, memorable and meaningful way.

“Conscience is a man’s compass.” - Vincent Van Gogh.

Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 21:51

Election time is coming. My inspiration for this was Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter.

THE PREMIER AND THE MINISTER

His hair was slick, his image groomed, his teeth were ultra-white.
He did his very best to hold his abdomen in tight –
But this was in the context of a political fight.

The polls were up then down again, the race was not yet won.
Reporters had him shaken, stirred and always on the run.
'It's very rude of them,' he said, 'to dare to spoil my fun!'

The voters were fed up to here. Their wells had all run dry.
Savings were at all-time lows, debt at an all-time high.
With infrastructure crumbling – they felt hung out to dry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 23:15

I like to build things. Robots, space guns, go-carts, anything cool and fun. I like fixing things, too.

Building, fixing and tinkering. BFT. It's a form of literacy, isn't it?

Other types of literacy include digital literacy, computer literacy, technological literacy, political literacy, cultural literacy, visual literacy, quantitative literacy, prose literacy, document literacy, scientific literacy, academic literacy, emotional literacy, and probably several others. So why not BFT?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 23:13

When I was a kid my parents used to tell me two things quite often.

The first was, “Work hard!”

The second was, “Go play.”

I remember at various times resenting both those commands but with the benefit of hindsight, I realize just how important they both are.

I’ve had jobs where the singular mandate was to work hard. Ironically, the people who I have seen doing those jobs struggle to maintain their energy day in and day out, and as we all know, energy is required to work hard.

Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 10:04

World Building

Kids take their fantasies seriously. They want to build imaginary worlds where they are the hero. They want their imaginary worlds to make sense, to be detailed, rich, cool, fun and exciting. They often want to share their imaginary world with friends or siblings and they are more than willing to tweak their world building to include them – sometimes as a co-hero, sometimes as a rival, sometimes as a sidekick, and sometimes as a fellow traveler. Watching kids build worlds is a pleasure. It seems effortless how they incorporate new ideas into their process.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 23:47

A lot has been written about young boys and literacy. Here’s what I have heard:

 

Boys do not perform as well as girls in reading and writing.

Boys score lower than girls on standardized tests in language arts.

Boys are less likely to go to university than girls.

Boys drop out more than girls.

Boys are more likely to be placed in special education programs.

Boys often can read, but don’t. They make excuses, like, “I’m too busy.” “I’ll read later.” “I don’t like reading.” “I’m too tired.”

As boys get older and move from primary to secondary school, they increasingly identify as non-readers.

Boys take longer to read than girls.

Boys are less interested in leisure reading than girls.

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 22:55

I just picked up a copy of Joe Haldeman's, "Forever Peace". I read "Forever War" when I was in public school back in 1976 and it blew my mind a little. I was 12 and the picture Mister Haldeman painted of warfare was memorable, detailed and gritty. The concept of time travel and relativity was new to me as was the concept of evolving human sexuality and trans-genderism. These were big concepts for a twelve year old, but they were the kind of ideas that stuck with me for decades. I still marvel at how prescient Joe was. The book is just as relevant now as it was then. I'm looking forward to reading Forever Peace.

Friday, August 7, 2015 - 23:58

I just returned from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in Los Angeles.

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