Am I a geek or a nerd?

I’ve missed you!
May 5, 2010, 9:01 am
Filed under: Geek, Nerd

Its been awhile, but I’ve been busy:

1. Lonestar 70.3: I took 5 days off from work for what I call a race-cation, but what Jake calls an excuse for me to race and try to convince him it will be fun like a vacation. Anyway, I very much enjoyed Galveston and the almost shockingly friendly and supportive people I ran into. Often when I travel to race locations the locals seem to have no idea what’s happening despite the fact that 1500-2500 people have descended on their community with families and bicycles and enormous traffic signs that tell them “race this weekend, road closed.” We get yelled at for clogging traffic, stared at for wearing spandex, and picked on because we limp the next day. Of course, we also spend money in hotels, restaurants, bars and grocery stores. Galveston was the opposite: the rental car clerk wished me luck, the condo manager helped me with my bike, the Walmart cashier told me she was excited for me, a guy in his car yelled congratulations when I was walking my bike back to the condo. I could stay in Galveston a long time…a great place to run and ride with their miles of seawall, beaches that may not be white sand but are free and very accessible, a historic district to rival any city, and some bartenders and waiters who can’t be beat. The race was great too–90 second improvement over my previous best despite a longer than normal swim course, wind, and heat. My run was 10/90 for my division and I’m looking forward to racing this again.

2. Close Up Macomb County Youth Commission: I had no choice but to schedule this the same day as the AP Government exam and was worried for months that kids wouldn’t show up, or would forget, or would just have failed to see the conflicted dates. We did have fewer students than previous years, but the 50 who attended were outstanding!  They spent the morning hearing from the county sheriff’s office, the chairman of the county board of commissioners, the head of public transit, and the head of planning and economic development. Once they had gathered evidence from these presenters the Student Commissioners went to committee meetings to evaluate plans for improving Macomb County’s economic position and create a proposal for retaining and attracting young residents. Once the committees had completed their work, spokespeople for each group presented to several members of the county board and had an outstanding question and answer session.  I’m so pleased with their ideas and the quality of their work that I can’t wait to do this again next year. What I need to figure out is how to make this more than one day.

3. Third Grade Network: It ended last night. Teachers report being very pleased with the curriculum and wishful that more of their colleagues were involved, but also are very frustrated by the amount of material, the lack of support from admin for social studies, lack of a supply budget, the unknown of next year’s assignments, and the sense that the state legislature doesn’t understand why schools need to know NOW about the budget and staffing for next year.  All of this colors teacher interaction during the networks and I wish I had more to offer them than a curriculum.

4. Not something I did, but rather something I read: Why Education Research Gets an F…I know people will argue that you can’t do research on kids, that you can’t deny a control group some education reform, or that the variables are too many, but that doesn’ t mean we should use shoddy methodology and take the word of the publisher that something works. It reminds me of the Gatorade sponsored study that ‘proves’ Gatorade improve performance… 

The school year in Michigan is almost done, I’ve got one more workshop, some sessions with teachers creating assessments and then our summer programs begin.  Where did the year go?


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