Category Archives: personal

Stubbed Out

Wisconsin is battling America’s worst coronavirus outbreak, and the state’s broken politics are partly to blame (Yahoo! News) I managed to go my first two autumns here in Wisconsin without having to deal with a ladybug infestation, but I wasn’t so lucky this year. Even with me making a point of staying in my apartment except when it’s absolutely necessary for me to go out, ladybugs started creeping into my apartment about a week ago, and the problems get worse every time I have to…

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Déjà Leap

I was probably more fascinated with leap years when I was younger than other children my age, but something about the idea of having that extra day at the end of February just clicked in my young brain. Given my natural curiosity, the whole concept of the leap year just triggered a lot of questions in my head: How did people figure out a leap day was needed? Why every four years? Why in the years that have them, instead of the ones before or…

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Passing of Time

Back in my old neighbourhood in Toledo, there was a house down the street from ours that had one tree in its front yard. I remember that tree because the leaves on its southern side would always start changing to more fall-like colours in the early weeks of summer, and then start falling off in August, while the north-facing side of the tree wouldn’t go through that transition until early October, with the rest of the trees in the area. I know next to nothing…

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The Quickening

Airborne Covid-19: Updated CDC guidance acknowledges virus can spread through the air (CNN via MSN)Wisconsin surpasses 100,000 all-time cases of coronavirus (fox47.com) One of the things I missed out on this summer was the release of the yearly “Mindset List,” first produced at Beloit College but now a product of Marist College, which enumerates the cultural experiences that incoming first-year college students each year are likely to have been the first to experience, or not experience, or take for granted. This is something I always…

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Teaching to a Virtual Wall

As with all other activities that involve some form of public speaking, one of the most common tips that new teachers receive is to practice spoken instruction out loud to an empty room, which is sometimes called “teaching to a wall.” This is a technique that I still sometimes employ, more than fifteen years into my teaching career, but only when it comes to those rare instances where I’m delivering more of a monologue to students. That kind of thing is necessary for the first…

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