Tiny House Find

While on a staff outing today, I noticed a tiny house between two buildings. Look carefully or expand the image on your screen to find it at the bottom of the green column.

I'm not sure if it belongs to Stewart Little or a country cousin, but the humble abode was a delightful find on a city street. If you happen to be in Fountain Square, stay on the lookout for this home's tiny resident.

Defining Educational Purpose

According to a recent WFYI article by Eric Weddle, Indiana's ESSA Plan has been approved by the US Department of Education. As is usual with these sorts of announcements, a laundry list of proposed improvements are provided, such as improved test scores among minority groups and increased enrollment in higher educational institutions.

But the real purpose is listed farther down in the article: federal funds. Thirty-five states have already submitted plans that meet federal requirements and thus qualify for additional funding. Even if as a state we thought another pathway was better for our students, the need for (or desire of) money outweighs it.

the furious longing of God: genesis

The phrase "furious longing of God" evokes emotions of insatiable desire and an ache deep within the soul. I'm often drawn, not to those who seemingly have it all together, but to those who are unwilling to remain content in their relationship with God.

a relentless quest to comprehend faith

The "Faith Hall of Fame" in Hebrews 11, is full of people who act, not out of a sense of devotion or complicit obedience, but a compelling need to know God better. And as verse 13 points out, they did not have or receive all the answers!

Book Review: Burn My Heart

Burn My Heart Burn My Heart by Beverley Naidoo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As historical fiction, Beverley Naidoo's story serves as a vehicle for bringing to light a poorly documented period of history leading up to Kenya's independence. The story juxtaposes two boys' experiences, one as the colonial land owner's son and the other as son to a native laborer. Each boy's choices have unintended consequences, spiraling out of control within the larger Mau Mau independence movement. But even though it is rooted in history, the message is clearly aimed at themes of nationalism, self determination and forgiveness.

Intended for upper elementary, the book reads quick. There are several dialectic terms and names used but a glossary is available in the back of the book. The colonial father also uses "damn" eight times. I'm sure the author intended it to emphasize the stress felt by the adults, but is unnecessary as the story telling presents the tension well enough without the expletive.

Because the book spirals into tragedy, the level of violence increases throughout the book. Initial tension involves a angered elephant but eventually escalates through bullying, killing and eating a wild bird and ultimately into interrogation and torture. As the native families are uprooted and torn apart, the native son endures forced near drowning and sees his dying father's body. While the colonial son also endures bullying and difficult adversities, his struggles are largely internal with little external hardships or permanent loss.

I would recommend this book to boys around ages 11-13, the same ages as the boys portrayed. Themes of colonialism, apartheid, segregation and racism should be addressed with young readers. While the violence is not overly disturbing, it is compelling and demands a response from the reader.

I would also caution readers not to try and equate the story with the civil rights movement in the United States, though the story occurs during the same time. Some of the themes (such as oppression an racism) may have similarities but the circumstances presented are deeply rooted within an African historical context and more closely resemble the Japanese-American internment camps.

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Passionate Purpose

Yesterday I was brainstorming with a coworker on writing projects for gifted students. At first she was looking for creative ideas of topics that students could write on. But then I redirected her thinking towards the purpose of the writing.

By allowing students to choose their topic of writing, it gives them the freedom to explore and question the world around them. Directing them away from fiction writing, we give real purpose to research - the exploration for an answer. Suddenly the focus shifts away from completing a grade or meeting a standard to inquiry and search for understanding.

For students to write meaningful content, they need to be passionate about it. 

As teachers, we know it's important for students to (fill in the blank), but we don't always express the purpose well. Too often I hear that students will need these skills when they reach the next level. Elementary prepares for middle school which prepares them for high school where they are prepared for college because everyone needs to go to college.

We are developing persons. 

But when we shift our focus beyond the next level of education, we understand that we are participants in a child's growth and development. It's the idea of life long learning. "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Many Christian schools have used Luke 2:52 as a key concept. The goal is to have better students tomorrow than they were today.

Can a robot tie its shoes?

Today's programming lesson explored the limitations imposed on robots by their design. My favorite exercise was having the student tie their shoes with pliers.

Not only does it help students recognize that tools have limitations but it can build empathy for those with disabilities.

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Keeping the Context Meaningful

Patriarch Abraham Finding balance can be difficult. Research can help us find the personal application from someone else's situation. When studying a topic, I want to know how it will impact or change me. When visiting somewhere, I enjoy understanding how the location is connected to my own history and circumstances. In other words,

I like to put things into context.

For me, the context provides a connection or a relationship that adds meaning or value to something. I tend to distrust extremism, for example if the context is made to familiar or too remote. The relationship between location, circumstance and purpose should make sense and be believable without becoming pompous or grandiose. Sometimes in an effort to communicate a point, we exaggerate to one extreme or the other.

In An Instant

It can be challenging to manage a facility with multiple buildings but I'm very grateful the maintenance staff keeps the sidewalks clear. It reminds me that clear lines of communication are critical to a successful operation. Now if I could only remember where I left my gloves... #dailycommute - via Instagram http://ift.tt/2CFvd77