A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Monday, August 30, 2010

YouTube - justthirdway's Channel

YouTube - justthirdway's Channel
Here's a protest video that focuses on role of the Federal Reserve and offers solutions.  Check out the Abraham Lincoln's in this video.


Who knew that economics could be taught through rap?  Click on the link for a surprisingly entertaining rap about economics.

An idea that I hope might go viral

After adding music to a read-aloud I recorded, I was pondering about how I might post the mp3 I created.  I got an inspiration.  I’m sure the band is always getting people to “give them ideas” – gag  me with a spoon – but I was thinking about a new way they might grow their business – adding music to read-alouds, like what I had done … except, without violating any copyright laws, because the band and I might make a 50-50 agreement on copyrights before going forward with the project.

Just as I included a music track to my read-aloud of a children’s book, I was wondering if they might add a music track to a poem that I had written, hoping the song might go viral and make us all rich!

August 30, 2010

Dreams were made of nights like these:
Stale tobacco blowing in the breeze;
Beer spills left from the night before;
Giggling faces flowing out the door,

Cigarettes, whiskey, and wild crazy women
Through the purple haze ever dancing and singing,
Singing “sex, and drugs, and rock and roll",
They kept on dancing so they’d never grow old.

They were dancing shadows against the wall:
Dark shadows in a flashing hall
Where crimson and horizon blue
Pressed against a starker view.

They were pulsing beats that shook the floor
And rattled the windows evermore;
The ceiling ached from their refrain
Shrieking echoes of a primal brain.

They were disembodied troglodytes,
Walking fish, stromatolites,
Carbonated fire and ice
Permutated from the roll of the dice.

Whole cities burned in flames like these.
Cold ashes long scattered in the breeze.

© Daniel Kurland, August 30, 2010

Note:  there are numerous literary and other allusions in this poem.  Here are a few: “blowing in the breeze” – a reference to the epigram of T. S. Eliot's Waste Land, written in Latin about the Cumaean Sybil, who was writing all the knowledge of the world on leaves, preparing to bind it up in a book, when the door opened and all the knowledge of the world blew out the door; “purple haze” – duh, Jimmy Hendrix; "sex and drugs and rock and roll" refers to the unfortunate battle cry of my generation, the Baby Boomers; "dancing shadows" refers to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; "evermore" refers to the Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe; "whole cities have burned in flames like these" refers to the fall of the Trojan Empire -- my son and I recently watched Brad Pitt's portrayal of Achilles, and it was amazing when my son snuggled up to me with his old Greek mythology book, totally unexpectedly.  My vision is to add layers of music and commentary to expand the context of what children are reading, which might add value to their experience if they were using some kind of audio-enhanced e-reader … obviously this poem wouldn’t be appropriate for children, but it might appeal to an adult listening audience and go viral!

Teds Take

Teds Take
As a sports fan, I love the the way Ted Leonsis is building our Washington Capitals.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I recently finished using Audacity to record a read-aloud of Charlie Parker played be bop to share during an interview for a long-term sub position as a Kindergarten teacher .  Over my read-aloud, I overlaid a track from Jazz at Massey Hall, featuring Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and Charlie Mingus.  I was inspired to model fluency for my prospective Kindergarten students based on something I read today.

Last week, out of the blue, I was called by someone at a Title I School who had worked with me last year and liked the way I teach.  Her school requires a licensed teacher.  Thankfully, I have the credentials, a PK-6 License.  So here I go.  Today, I read Yardsticks, by Chip Wood.  Mr. Wood confirmed what has been frustrating me about my experiences trying to teach in Title I Schools:
"[S]chedules in today's American schools don't always pay attention to the pace of childhood or children's changing developmental needs from age to age...Children have almost no time in their school day to reflect on their learning, to make calm, organized transitions between classes or subjects, or to delve deeply into learning that they love.  Sadly, school resembles more and more a miniature adult world of packed schedules, multitasking, and exhaustion.  Not only are we modeling this world for children by our own adult behavior, we are moving these practices into the world of school with the belief that they are necessary for children's academic success." (Wood, pp.18-19)
As I continue to read Yardsticks, I feel better about my natural inclination to want to slow things down for children, and avoid over-whelming them.  With Yardstick Charts, I'll have a better idea what to expect from children in terms of developmental factors.