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Musings on innovations in teaching and other topics

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:00 am

The bird world around here is rather out of kilter. A pair of robins has shown up in the back yard, and I saw a new bird out front — at least one I’ve not seen before. It was about the size of a grosbeak and was a beautiful steel gray with dark wings. It had a slender head with a fairly long sharp beak. Anyone know what it is? I also thought I saw a hummingbird with a white breast and a white ring around its throat, but this all turned out to be the angle at which I was seeing my ruby-throated friend.


 I’m glad to welcome Jerome Kinderman to the ranks of local Lodi News-Sentinel columnists. I have always enjoyed his comments and Letters to the Editor as well-thought out and right to the point.

And it was great to read a while back about my old friend Jim Turner, whom I’ve always considered a great poet. I’m glad he’s reading at the local poetry group and wish he would compile his poems into a book. Jim was education editor when I went to work at the News-Sentinel at night (part time) when I first came to Lodi, and he was always ready to liven up the newsroom with a pithy comment or two. I got some anonymous such written comments about my columns now and again which could only have come from Jim.

Like the late Leonard Lachendro, city librarian, who also wrote his own obit because he always said he would have the last word, Jim says he is writing his. I’ve written mine, too, only it needs rewriting because it is so formal and right now it needs updating. I don’t find this kind of thing reprehensible or ghoulish. It’s just practical, saving survivors a lot of trouble. Besides, you make sure what you wanted said is said!


This Friday, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church is inviting anyone who wants to come to a mid-summer night’s barbecue — and that means anyone. This community meal is free, although donations of any size will be helpful. The church is located at 1055 S. Lower Sacramento Road. The dinner is part of a program called Soul Kitchen, following in the footsteps of a Jon Bon Jovi project, and a free meal will be offered every fourth Friday night. This dinner may be a godsend to anyone who is hungry — single people, families, whomever.

Speaking of St. John’s, its rector, Father Harold Clinehens, will be retiring on Aug. 12. There will be one service that day at 10 a.m., followed by a reception in Father Harold’s honor. Anyone planning to attend should call 209-368-8382 to make a reservation. Photos or notes to go into a commemorative book will be welcome. Father Harold and his wife, Beverly, will be moving to their new home in the town of Mt. Shasta. We wish them well.


Another reminder: the well-known and well-attended annual Ice Cream Social put on by the Lodi Historical Society will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Saturday on the grounds of Hill House on Church Street. In addition to luscious ice cream and cookies, guests will have a chance to win about 27 or so prizes, some of them quite sizeable. All proceeds go to the upkeep of Hill House, one of Lodi’s most historical institutions.


Very interesting article in the July 9 issue of Time Magazine. A young man named Salman Khan has come up with an idea which might just turn traditional instructional methods upside down. Instead of a teacher presenting new material in class, with students going home to struggle over questions and applications about the material, Khan’s method would have students getting new material at home via teaching videos on their computers, and then going into the next day’s class with questions and problems discussed and made clear.

Khan sees this as a way each student can learn at his/her own pace. Personally, I think it’s a darned good idea, and I’d like to see Lodi Unified try it. It’s already being used in some classrooms all over the world.


I’d also like to see ROTC in the high schools. No, it’s not to militarize our young ones, but to install a sense of discipline that is sadly lacking in today’s world, including the most important ingredient — self-discipline. If there were more of this being practiced, our country would not be in the mess it’s in.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire


For those who repeatedly ask me for grammar items, etc., here are some words often misspelled. God willing, they are correct here!

Fluorescent, available, Caesar, Reuben, yield, until, freshman (used as an adjective — freshman class), criterion — single principle or standard by which something may be judged. The plural is criteria.

And one to laugh about: New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers, must be registered by January 2036.

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