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          My new novel has a publisher

          I am happy to announce that I have signed a book contract with Tiny Fox Press. My novel THE GREAT AMERICAN DECEPTION will be published in 2020. A bit more information about the book is here. I’ll be announcing book-related stuff at When Falls the Coliseum when I remember, but the most frequent updates will be at Twitter and my author Facebook page.

          Oh, Mrs. (and you too, Mr.) Maisel, do you know where your children are?

          We blew through The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It was a good spousal bonding experience, if for no other reasons than that she liked it enough to a) watch it all and b) stay awake through (most) of it. I thought the first two seasons were great, big-theater-on-TV that it is. Mrs. Maisel herself is, well, talented and marvelous, and I loved the anatomy of stand-up edy. [Read more →]

          Shiny objects and loud noises and Super Bowls

          Sorry, haters, but I enjoyed Super Bowl 53. To me, it was anything but a snooze-fest, and I’d say I was surprised that so many people saw it that way except I kept getting jolted with a reminder by almost every Super Bowl ad about what people want: Explosions and crashes and cliched one-liners. Shiny objects and loud noises. [Read more →]

          Girls wrestling–and it’s about time

          There was a big moment in South Jersey wrestling last week: Kingsway High School and Rancocas Valley High School squared off in a match. Both teams were prised of girls.

          It’s about time. [Read more →]

          No PARCC, no problem–if we get creative

          At the very end of 2018, a New Jersey appeals court struck down the use of the PARCC test (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) as a graduation requirement for public high school students. That’s great news for the many people, including me, frustrated by the excesses of standardized testing. [Read more →]

          Stupid for holiday music

          I stumbled across something last year and tucked it away: Studies show Christmas songs can be bad for your stress and mental state. [Read more →]

          Things we coulda, shoulda done

          I was watching the Vikings-Patriots game Sunday, and the announcers were talking (I mean, they’re always talking) about Viking Sheldon Richardson. Unlike most announcer blather, this ended up being an interesting story about a player who had gone through some self-imposed rough times to be where he is today. In a Minneapolis Star Tribune piece, Richardson discussed what he would say to his younger self: [Read more →]

          This blog has bee difficult to write

          This blog has bee difficult to write! [Read more →]

          Really? Rain?

          I have always thought that our votes for those who would lead our nation would e with expectations we, the people, have about how they would strive to respect the trust we place in them, through their words and their actions.

          Perhaps we should expect less of them?

          [Read more →]

          Can we, should we, introduce adversity, even pain?

          Each day that I head over to my job at Drexel, I think about how I get to be around amazing, motivated students. That’s one of the main benefits of the career I chose. [Read more →]

          Casino Night raises $15,500 for Palmyra High School science programs

          PALMYRA, NJ – Science programming at Palmyra High School (PHS) will receive a $15,500 donation as a result of a Casino Night fundraiser conducted by the Palmyra High School Foundation for Educational Excellence (PHSFEE). [Read more →]

          Hacking the educational narrative with good old D&D

          Well, it’s about time. We’re playing some D&D. In school. For the good of all. [Read more →]

          3 Guys, 3 Generations, 3 Missions

          A little bit of family, a little bit of history, and my own, personal experience of how – as Bob Dylan once observed – the times they are a’changin’ … I am recently returned from a trip to the nation of Cuba … just 90 miles away from the United States … but worlds away in other respects. The relationship between our two nations has seen a lot of changes over the past 150 years-or-so … and there may be more changes ahead. [Read more →]

          Making bad sideline behavior public

          Summer’s getting darn near over for many (as I’ve said before, though, not for me, so direct your sad thoughts elsewhere). Children will be taking to the fields again. Parents will be preparing for time on the sidelines and bleachers. For an unfortunately sizable portion of the latter group, their time will be spent… yelling at the officials! [Read more →]

          Just when you thought it was safe to talk digital literacy…

          I stuck up for the kids. And I stuck up for their devices. I did it right here. I wrote, “This summer, our kids will be a writing a ton.” I said, “We might if not encourage then at least recognize what they are doing.”

          Then along came Apple “Tapback.” You may have encountered this app. You sent someone a text message, labored through the effort of writing. Then back at you came your exact message, in quotes, with a few tiny introductory, qualifying words in the beginning, such as “Liked,” Disliked,” “Laughed at.”

          I was at the fine Council of Writing Program Administrators conference in Sacramento last week. It’s attended by people like me who have dedicated their lives to teaching writing, reading, literacy. One morning, I was talking with a friend, and, while kvetching about this Tapback function, I mentioned that post I had written.

          Let’s cut over to a travel practice of mine. For years, for every work trip, I would create a little travelogue of the experience to share with my kids. First, I used PowerPoint, creating one slide per day describing my trip while adding facts about the place. I’d include pictures, sometimes a little quiz.

          They seemed to enjoy it, often asking me on the phone when I was going to email the “slideshow.”

          But time passed. It got to the point that no one read my PowerPoints, certainly not in a timely fashion. I was annoyed, because it wasn’t an easy thing to create them. I’m busy at these conferences. Sometimes, I would end up posing them on the plane, all bleary-eyed.

          So, I switched technologies, going for the easier-to-access Google slides. This worked for a while, but even then I could see their readerly interest diminishing. After all, the kids can drive now! What do they want with slide show about Dad’s journeys?

          So, I changed technologies again. I came to them. In a family group text, I’d pepper them with info and the occasional picture. They’re always interested in seeing my hotel room and the view, and they seem perpetually fascinated by the various sandwiches and people I encounter. I also still tell them about the place I’m visiting, at times dropping a little reality on them.

          So there’s your context.

          At CWPA, I had been sending these texts, but now I was getting stupid “Tapbacks.” It was this I was lamenting to my friend.

          In the midst of my barrage of sandwich- and view-related texts, I also sent them a more somber note about Sacramento’s large homeless population. “On the downside, there are millions of homeless people here.” I want them to think about these things, these tough social justice issues!

          I had sent that text the night before, and just as I was talking to my friend about digital literacy, I got a Tapback from my lovely daughter. She quoted the above and began it with “Laughed at…”! Mind you, my daughter may be many things, but she’s not insensitive to the plight of others. In fact, sticking up for the downtrodden has long been one of her best traits. My friend, who knows some of the exciting stories about my daughter, and I looked at this Tapback and, considering our conversation about digital literacy, just had to laugh.

          Later, when I asked my daughter about this choice of Tapback, she simply said, “I didn’t know what you were going for.” To her, I was the problem!

          Okay, digital literacy, you’re making it tough for me to have your back.

          A team Honor Roll recognition

          I am proud of my youngest, Zachary, for concluding his elementary school years (that’s it for us!) by achieving Honor Roll for the year and High Honor Roll for the last marking period. He did well and worked hard. But this is a total team win. [Read more →]

          Injury

          As I trailed the ambulance that transported Nate, my 16-year-old middle child, to the hospital last weekend, it struck me: In all their years playing sports, none of my kids had ever been seriously hurt. [Read more →]

          Digitalk and the surprise of summer literacy

          Summer’s here, and the battle against literacy apathy and attrition can be renewed. Now the enemy forces of Screen have added Fortnite to their mix. Also, it’s a World Cup year. [Read more →]

          Is this a good product/service?

          Sometimes, you can find warning signs about that thing you’re about to acquire/do — maybe not-so-little indicators that what you want may not be all that great or healthy. [Read more →]

          A world where Memorial Day only es once a year

          It’s been more than forty years since I made my last, final and permanent move out into the civilian world … leaving behind the life of a military brat, which had been mine since the day I was born … and making a new life ‘out there’ …

          Life is different off-base … and, so are the people … not better, not worse … just different …
          [Read more →]