Saturday, August 25, 2012

I crack me up

I am trying to emphasise the lengths to which a bowls club goes to save electricity, do you reckon this will get past the censors, "We roll our grass by hand."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Not a Badger

We were down the back paddock walking the dogs when Spook found something very exciting. Kirk & I wandered over expecting it to be a snake but it was the echidna - again! Both dogs thought they would  have a nip but a snout full of spines changed their minds.

We have a lot of termite mounds on this property and I have noted over the last few years the echidna is gradually pulling them apart and vacating their residents. During a Wildcare course many years ago I heard of a bloke who was looking after an echidna.  Naturally it burrowed out of its box but then it pushed the fridge out of the way to rip a hole through the floor to get out.

It could almost be a Goodies sketch: Bill dressed as pest control man turns up at a suburban home and unloads a box of echidnas which set to work eliminating all the termites. He nods confidently to the bemused family and they appreciate the method, until the echidnas start to pull the place apart. His confidence turns to panic as he realises how strong and determined they are. Final frame is the family in the shredded house looking like the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy.

If I am reincarnated...I want to come back as an echidna with road sense. Do what I want, go where I want and no one capable of bothering me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Purge Time Again

Caraselle Silicone Egg Chair Egg Cup in Orange

We have some major expenses coming up so it's time to pull out the Sweet F.A. Budget and stash some cash.  So for the next month we'll be purging the pantry. The menu is already looking pretty weird as I look for ways to use up the infrequent ingredients. The odder things this week will be; roast chickpeas, dahl, fried polenta cake, quinoa pudding, honey bran cookies, zaru soba and udon.

Thinking of've heard of couch potatoes but what about Egg Chairs? Michelle kindly bought a set of these for our family. Skye is very amused and is demanding we use them NOW.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Worrying trend...

As you know a National School Syllabus is being implemented. This is great because now we can travel between states and know the same content is being taught each year.

As each syllabus subject is published it is accompanied (eventually) by a set of lessons which are optional for use in the classroom. The distance education schools have also published their version of these lessons and because it is so comprehensible the Bundaberg schools have decided to use this as their teaching manual for every day.  I find these lessons all disappointingly "vanilla flavoured" (where as I like to include LOTS of nuts) but if that suits them, so be it.

Today I was talking with my friend, Sam, who teaches grade 4. This effort to teach exactly the same thing in exactly the same way to all the kids in each grade has been very successful.  When a child comes from another school she can check the their notebooks and find THAT lesson on THAT day (give or take a day I suppose). And it has been great for those kids who are suited for school - they are rising to the challenge and their English & maths levels have markedly improved (don't ask what happens to the unsuited kids).

So what is the worry?  In order to keep up with the demands of the syllabus subjects they have sacrificed art. Luckily a few teachers, like Sam, are kindly doing art before school because it is one of the truly pleasurable subjects.

In Gin Gin primary the obsession with outcomes has intensified. They have not chosen to implement the model class programs but instead have removed music from targeted grades so the kids can take practice NAPLAN tests. Music teachers are directed to administer a test to their students every week.

This IS a temporary situation because by 2014 both of those subjects will be mandatory...but it still worries me because we have assessment driven education pulling one way and the imperative to deliver a high standard comprehensive education pulling the other.

 I give you two countries' education systems to ponder; Korea and Finland. These diametrically opposed systems are competing for top place in the OECD. They both turn out excellent students but one is competitive and the other cooperative. One exam-based, in the other kids don't even see a standardised exam paper until they hit 15.  Korea has some of the longest study hours in the world - Finland the shortest.

"Education in South Korea Overview
It's hard to find any article with a positive viewpoint about how Korea manages to be on top, much like Japan was until 10 years ago "Hypercompetitive Education SystemAlthough Obama seems to like it..."Obama says S. Korea's education, Internet outperforming US"

"Education in Finland"  Overview.
"Finland's Education System is Top; Here's Why"
"Why do Finland's  Schools Get the Best Results?"