Month: March 2012

With Apologies to Dr Seuss

Someone sent me this recently.  It hit just the right spot because I was struggling with computer related issues at the time. So I am sharing it with apologies to Dr. Seuss.

Why Computers Sometimes Crash!

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,

and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort,

and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,

then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

 

If  your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,

and the double-clicking  icon puts your window in the trash,

and your data is corrupted cause the  index doesn’t hash,

then your situation’s hopeless and your system’s gonna  crash!

 

If  the label on the cable on the table at your house,

says the network is  connected to the button on your mouse,

but your packets want to tunnel to  another protocol,

that’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the  hall……

 

And  your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,

so your icons in  the window are as wavy as a souse;

then you may as well reboot and go out  with a bang,

‘cuz sure as I’m a poet, the sucker’s gonna  hang.

 

When  the copy on your floppy’s getting sloppy in the disk,

and the macro code instructions cause unwanted risk,

then you’ll have to flash the  BIOS and you’ll want to RAM your ROM,

just quickly turn the darn thing off and run to tell your Mom!

 

 

 

Well,  that certainly clears things up for me.. How about  you?


Marvellous Dr Seuss

I love Dr Seuss.  My children loved Dr Seuss stories when they were little and still quote them today at appropriate moments.  

‘The light is green. Go, dogs, go!’

With the release of ‘The Lorax’ movie comes a wonderful opportunity for parents to engage with their kids and reading.  Whether you see the movie first and then read the book or read first and then view, this tale will provide you with many ‘I wonder’ moments to discuss and laugh about.  

To add to the fun you can visit www.theloraxmovie.com/index.php where you will find games and activities based on the movie.

Then there is www.seussville.com  which has everything Seuss from information about the author through to games and activities on some of your favourite Dr Seuss books.

These are great tools for parents.  ‘The Lorax’, of course, carries a strong environmental message with which children can easily relate and I am quite sure that teachers will be using the movie and book as a resource in their environmental education lessons (I would have been).  

Another book with a similar theme is ‘The Sknuks’ by Colin Thiele`.  The Sknuks (skunks spelled backwards)destroy their beautiful planet, Htrae, with pollution until most of them are forced to leave.  This book is not as easy to get hold of as ‘The Lorax’ and, when you do find a copy, is quite expensive as it is only available in hardcover.  The use of the backward spelling for the characters and places in the book is an interesting device.  Wouldn’t it be easy to use this as a way of getting your kids to come up with their own stories?

But, back to Dr Seuss….what a wonderful wordsmith!  He managed to integrate wildly, entertaining, magical storylines with serious themes and on-going messages that have captivated millions of young (and not so young) readers.  Genius!

 

 

On the Subject of Imagination

Over my (many) years as a teacher, it seemed to me that the children were finding it more and more difficult to activate their imaginations.

There was absolutely no doubt that imaginations were present, but to have the students set those imaginations buzzing was becoming an evermore strenuous exercise.  They were able to retell any number of stories they had seen on television, in the movies or on a gaming site but were at pains to come up with an original storyline.

Now, I know that students have struggled with creative writing for as long as teachers have been expecting them to do it but it has been my experience that imaginations are being left idle.  A total waste of a valuable resource if you ask me.

The big question is, of course, why this is happening.  Is it simply that our kids are being exposed to so much visual stimulus via screens and monitors that the imagination ‘receptors’ have been dulled?  Probably not, but in my opinion, this certainly has some bearing on the problem.

We can’t hide our children from modern technology.  It is part of the modern world and they need to be able to function within that world.  But perhaps it comes down to how much of their days we allow to be ruled by technology. 

Old fashioned as it may be, I believe that kids need time to be kids.  I have seen, in recent years, the phenomenom of the “helicopter parent” (c0nstantly hovering) evolve.  These parents timetable every minute of their children’s days in the well intentioned belief that they are keeping the kids out of trouble and filling their lives with experiences.  The children are busy all the time.  They do not get to slow down, quieten their minds and let the world flow around them for a while.  It is in those quiet moments that the imagination can wander, explore and develop. 

People are time poor these days, either by circumstance or mismanagement, and this too has an effect on family interaction.  Many don’t have time for the family dinners, mentioned by Robert Dornan in his article on this blog, which so encourage discussion and provide the opportunity for ‘I wonder’ moments.  You know the ones I mean.  Mum says that the dog has a scratch on its belly from trying to climb up the fence to catch the neighbours’ cat.  So Dad can then say, ‘I wonder what he thinks when he sees that cat up there?’ and so the imagination receptors are prodded. 

But, of course, the very best way to fire up those receptors is to read….reading to our kids, reading with our kids, letting our kids see us reading, talking with our kids about reading.  It only takes a few minutes each day but the rewards are massive.

Imagination is one of the most valuable tools we have at our disposal.  It is the key which opens doors to other worlds both real and fantastic.  It is there in each of us to be utilised and enjoyed but needs to be nurtured and encouraged for it to flow freely and fluently.

Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!  ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

 

My Guest: Robert J Dornan author of ‘Jack City’

Imagine If You Had No Imagination

There are many surveys on whether or not today’s teens read and of course there are many different results.  The results vary based on the demographic and the company doing the study.

From my computer and the having security of knowing that everything I read on the Internet is true (sarcasm), I have researched that thirty-three percent read at least ten minutes five times a week (outside of school) as well as another survey that concludes that sixty-five percent of American teenagers are avid readers and they are buying more books than ever before.  Those are two very different conclusions, don’t you think?

So let’s skip the multitude of articles and/or opinions and listen to our own…or mine.

In this world of video games, horrible reality TV and even worse, a barrage of mindless TV teenage dramas, there seems to be little room for our children to read books of any kind.  It is so easy to believe that we are churning out a generation of non readers but in my opinion we would be wrong.  Whether I am on a train  going to work or watching my children at sporting events, I see teenagers reading.  If they’re with friends they are chatting, if they’re by themselves they are reading.  It could most definitely be the demographic but in my case the demographic is encompassing one huge area.

If our kids are not reading, then as parents, we have no one else to blame but ourselves. We cannot force someone else’s child to read but we can guide them. The following is an example of what I have told my own kids in the past that may have influenced them to pick up more books.

  1. Some of your favourite celebrities are avid readers. Natalie Portman, President Obama, Oprah Winfrey,  Madonna,  Robert Pattison, Bill Gates, Kate Beckinsale and a host of others are just a sampling of media personalities that read two to three books a month.
  2. We all have imaginations but not everyone has a heightened imagination.  If you do not read you will not have an above average imagination.  If you do not have a great imagination you cannot create and will never create anything worthwhile.  If you cannot create anything substantial then your future is dim. Make your choice.

Of course, like anything else, habits and personalities are hardwired from one generation to the next.  If Mom and Dad don’t read the chances are good that their offspring will never have the urge to pick up a book.  It’s hard to order your kids to make their bed if you haven’t made yours in six months (which coincidentally explains why I never tell my kids to make their beds). This is not a science of any kind, it is common sense that has been repeated over and over again.  Parents are role models for any child at any age.  If you are an avid reader then your child will most likely be one. The family that reads together…has some wicked wonderful dinner conversations.  I would bet my last cent (which again coincidentally, because of many bills this week, is in my right pocket) that readers are on average smarter and more successful than non readers.  I have no doubt about this simply because it would defy logic if it were not true and also because of my financial situation, I don’t stand to lose much if I’m wrong.

Visual is always better than audio.  Pick up a book and read, your children will be thankful without ever realizing what you have done.

There is no creativity without imagination.  The world’s most beautiful creation awaits one child…to open a book.