On tests and extra credit in APUSH

APUSHers, two things:

There was some confusion on the take-home test, so I hope to make it clearer.

The secret word for hours 1, 2, 3 is almond. For 7th hour, it is cashew.

You have two chances to take the test; Quia will report the higher score. Do not waste your first chance in case the second one fails. Open book is allowed since I can’t enforce a non-opened-book test anyway.

I discovered an extra credit opportunity. If you go to one of the two remaining events in the Presidential Lecture Series at the Dole Institute of Politics about World War I, then you can write about the experience for up to 20-out-of-1 points of extra credit.

You’ll need to go, prove you went (selfie at the site), and write ~750 words that summarize the lecture, tells what you knew, what you learned, and what differed from what you learned in class. THe write-up is due on the Monday or Tuesday after the lecture.

On dining

One of my favorite comments about the high school lunch room was told to me by a high school teacher over two decades ago. Don’t call the school lunch room a dining room. Teenagers don’t dine, they feed.”

Heh. I’ve made the same mildly amusing observation. So then, one of my favorite modern social philosophers John Cuddlebuck writes on the matter today.


Reclaiming Manners at Table
February 1, 2017 By John Cuddeback

“At table let mirth be with thee, let ribaldry be exiled…for at table it becometh not to be sad nor to make others sad. … Nothing should be blirted out at table that might diminish mirth. It is wrong to defame the character of those not present; nor should one’s personal sorrow be unburdened to another on such an occasion. …It is impolite to sit at table rapt in thought.”
Erasmus, On Good Manners for Boys

There is so much at stake in how we eat. Daily.

Table manners are at the heart of every day civility. We are inducted into them almost from our first days. From the start we learn that we are all in this together–having daily needs that we fulfill, always with an eye to the presence and needs of others. At table we are at one with our fellow men–first of all with our own household, but also with any who happen to join us.

In attending to the most pressing of human desires, we are brought through our appetite into relation with others. Yeah, when disciplined, this appetite blossoms into the occasion of communion with others. And so it is with other bodily appetites.

There are so many aspects of good manners at table. Where else are the multiple levels of human life, from lower to higher, from bodily to spiritual, so interwoven?

Erasmus focuses our attention on conversation, on what we say or don’t say. The table is a place to be present to one another, in and through our eating. And if manners are well observed, it is an unparalleled daily context for conversation. As Leon Kass notes, “Without conversation the belly rules the mouth, and the table becomes no different from a trough.”

Here we first learn to listen: others have something to say, to which I must hearken. We also learn that we have something to say, to which others will listen, and we learn how to say it. [Emphasis: mine—W]

It is always about presence. Eating together is the most obvious activity that constitutes who we are as a household, daily. How we do it is the recurring expression and cultivation of our self-understanding, of who we seek to be.

Not just feeding, as a rule we eat together, according to certain forms, gratefully celebrating what it is to be human. [Emphasis: mine—W]

So here’s to the parents and teachers and others who make heroic efforts in instilling and practicing manners. You enhance our mirth, at the table and in all corners of life.

This is the seventh and final piece in the series: Reclaiming Manners.

Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) was one of the great Renaissance humanists. According to Kass his On Good Manners for Boys was an immediate success and was used throughout Europe in the formation of youth.

Image: P.S. Kroyer (1851-1909, Danish)

So put down your water bottle and refrain from the incessant flipping of early adolescence. Actually talk to someone, or at least get the conversation started. “How did your chemistry test go?” “What did you think of that game last night?” “How is your prayer life?” (bonus points for that one).

Conversation is one of the things that separates man from beast! Go be fully alive, and be the person that God made you to be, in communion with the people around you!

Savor the delicate taste of your Treat America hamburger (or, as much as is possible anyway). Did you order the special today? Take a moment and enjoy the complexity of your salami sandwich—or is there any complexity? Does your food choice reflect your attitude to lunch—that it is simply empty calories? Do you bring a meal, or do you pack fuel?

On life skills and the high school graduate.

What are the skills that everyone 18-year-old needs? As an erstwhile Drivers Ed instructor, #2 is my favorite.

Reprinted from http://www.businessinsider.com/former-stanford-dean-shares-the-8-skills-everyone-should-have-by-age-18-2016-4

1. An 18-year-old must be able to talk to strangers
Faculty, deans, advisers, landlords, store clerks, human resource managers, coworkers, bank tellers, health care providers, bus drivers, mechanics — in the real world.

The crutch: We teach kids not to talk to strangers instead of teaching the more nuanced skill of how to discern the few bad strangers from the mostly good ones. Thus, kids end up not knowing how to approach strangers — respectfully and with eye contact — for the help, guidance, and direction they will need out in the world.

2. An 18-year-old must be able to find his way around
A campus, the town in which her summer internship is located, or the city where he is working or studying abroad.

The crutch: We drive or accompany our children everywhere, even when a bus, their bicycle, or their own feet could get them there; thus, kids don’t know the route for getting from here to there, how to cope with transportation options and snafus, when and how to fill the car with gas, or how to make and execute transportation plans.

3. An 18-year-old must be able to manage his assignments, workload, and deadlines
The crutch: We remind kids when their homework is due and when to do it — sometimes helping them do it, sometimes doing it for them; thus, kids don’t know how to prioritize tasks, manage workload, or meet deadlines, without regular reminders.

4. An 18-year-old must be able to contribute to the running of a household
The crutch: We don’t ask them to help much around the house because the checklisted childhood leaves little time in the day for anything aside from academic and extracurricular work; thus, kids don’t know how to look after their own needs, respect the needs of others, or do their fair share for the good of the whole.

5. An 18-year-old must be able to handle interpersonal problems
The crutch: We step in to solve misunderstandings and soothe hurt feelings for them; thus, kids don’t know how to cope with and resolve conflicts without our intervention.

6. An 18-year-old must be able to cope with ups and downs
Courses and workloads, college- level work, competition, tough teachers, bosses, and others.

The crutch: We step in when things get hard, finish the task, extend the deadline, and talk to the adults; thus, kids don’t know that in the normal course of life things won’t always go their way, and that they’ll be okay regardless.

7. An 18-year-old must be able to earn and manage money
The crutch: They don’t hold part-time jobs; they receive money from us for what ever they want or need; thus, kids don’t develop a sense of responsibility for completing job tasks, accountability to a boss who doesn’t inherently love them, or an appreciation for the cost of things and how to manage money.

8. An 18-year-old must be able to take risks
The crutch: We’ve laid out their entire path for them and have avoided all pitfalls or prevented all stumbles for them; thus, kids don’t develop the wise understanding that success comes only after trying and failing and trying again (a.k.a. “grit”) or the thick skin (a.k.a. “resilience”) that comes from coping when things have gone wrong.

Remember: our kids must be able to do all of these things without resorting to calling a parent on the phone. If they’re calling us to ask how, they do not have the life skill.

So, how do you measure up?

APUSH Extra Credit opportunity

APUSHers, the Scholars Bowl team needs your help again on this Thursday, December 1. We have spots for 24 students, filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you’re available to help us run our tournament, we need your help from 3:30 until ~6:30 (though the meet may finish sooner than that).

The work entails time keeping (usually 10 seconds at a time) and score keeping (adding by 10 and sometimes subtracting 5).

On Police Dogs and Current Events class

The SJA Current Events class is learning about Policing and the Justice System. We asked our SRO Office Betsy Peterson to talk about police procedures. She also brought Corporal Ryan Sumner and MPO Tim King the Lenexa Police Department K-9 unit for a discussion and demonstration of their work.

It was pretty neat! Thanks Lenexa Police Department, for this and for all you do! We learned a lot!

On the Fall 2016 Blood Drive

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the terrible news. My donation was rejected because I had a heartrate ONE SINGLE BEAT HIGHER than the accepted range. :(

Everyone who gave a good faith attempt to donate blood earned 5 points, and that means that everyone who successfully donated beat my time and earned a total of 10 points.

This is one of the lowest moments of my teaching career, and thank you for your kind consolation.

On the SJA JV SchoBo at Eudora

St. James Academy’s JV Scholars Bowl team took first at the Eudora High School Junior Varsity meet on Wednesday. The team went undefeated through 11 rounds of play to take first place. Sophomore Mark S. and Freshman Macy S. combined to put up 645 points.

L-R Mark S., Macy S., Junior L. Mies, Freshman J. Grube.