Monday, July 27, 2009

An Hour Lost...


Okay, I have long ago accepted that I am an English geek or book geek. I started reading book geek novels in grade school and it only increased in high school and college. Yes, there have been a few deviations from that path (Harry Potter) but by and large I've always loved the classics of American and British literature. I even passed my dismal junior high grammar class by reading and writing reports about Jane Eyre. Early novels that I loved included tales from The Odyssey and Arthurian Legends. Okay, now that you've been given this preface, I hope you understand my irritation as explained below.

I decided to watch a new NBC show "Merlin" as my morning break in reading. At first I found the deviations from the legends okay, but by the end of the episode I was irked! (Sigh) Prince Arthur has a same age servant Merlin who is just learning magic from Gius the castle physician. Lady Morgana is a lovely young ward of the King and doesn't know she is supposed to be an evil sorceress; her serving lady is Gwen (yup, she doesn't even get her full name). It's become a Middle Ages version of 90210 starring Merlin...Arthur is more of a side kick! However, all this I could handle until they reached the end of the episode. They had saved a young Druid boy from being executed and just as Arthur sets him free he asks the boy his name. Mordred. Oh please, I'm done! I love the legends more than NBC...I just lost an hour.

One more thought. I called Joy to tell her of this travesty and we began to think of how we could miscast all of Harry Potter...What if we needed more young handsome folk to sell the series? What if....Dumbledore was Colin Firth and Voldemort was Hugh Grant? What if...they needed a young Minerva McGonagall such as Kira Knightley? He, He, He, He....We envisioned the battles between Dumbledore and Voldemort occurring over tea with much apologizing and mumbling over crumpets. It made us both chuckle. Just a thought...

Any thoughts on who else we should miss-cast into the show? Remember, they would need to be British or at least European for the cast.


PS...Have a great day of Chapter Meetings Sisters!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monastery Retreat

Greetings Sisters,

I hope that the Community Retreat at the Monastery has started well! I checked my calendar this morning and was reminded that you were all beginning the retreat at home! While I hope for all the best for each of you, I am sad that I won't be home to join you. So, I will keep the house in prayer as you gather this week.

This week my classmate and I will be beginning the field research at a nearby Catholic high school. We will be observing a recovery math course; there are three different sections of 8-12 students each...we will watch the last course which were the greatest strugglers during the school year. I am hoping that after observing and interviewing students for this mini-study I will be able to return to the school for my second (longer) study in the fall.

We have to write-up a possible organization to prepare for our study this Fall. I'm going to piggy-back reading I've done in my Spring class on my continuing work in the Fall. Hopefully, the school will allow me to look into the first-year teachers' expectations in the induction process. Please pray that my write-up gets accepted so I may carry it out in the Fall!


Monday, July 13, 2009

The Vatican & I Agree


I have long been an advocate for the Harry Potter series, and not just because I'm an English teacher who likes to see books with worn pages in the kids hands. They also carry some wonderfully well developed themes over the seven books of the series. She emphasizes the struggle for good to triumph over evil, the importance of friendship and guidance, the difficultly in choosing to do right, and the pain and sorrow of loss. They are interesting stories for all ages. Today, I found a statement from the Associated Press by the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican lauded the latest Harry Potter film on Monday, saying "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" made the age-old debate over good vs. evil crystal clear.
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano even gave two thumbs up to the film's treatment of adolescent love, saying it achieved the "correct balance" and made the stars more credible to the general audience.
The newspaper said the film, which opens Wednesday, was the best adaptation yet of the J.K. Rowling series about the adventures of the bespectacled child wizard Harry Potter and his Hogwarts chums as they battle Harry's nemesis, the evil sorcerer Voldemort.
While criticizing Rowling for omitting any explicit "reference to the transcendent" in her books, L'Osservatore said the latest installment nevertheless makes clear that good should overcome evil "and that sometimes this requires costs and sacrifice."
"In addition, the spastic search for immortality epitomized by Voldemort is stigmatized," the review said.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Celebrate The Feast of St. Benedict!


Happy Feastday to all the Benedictines at home and abroad! The day is celebrating with me here in the East. There was a small rain (Scholastica) and now the sun is shinning bright with a gorgeous blue sky. It was a wonderful morning for a walk about the neighborhood.

Later, I will treat the Franciscans to dinner out on this Feastday. We will most likely go to the Cheesecake Factory that is just down the road. It won't quite compare to the steak and peacan pie that was served at the Monatery last night, but it'll do. We'll have wine and cheese to start with a toast to absent Sisters.

I also prepared some prayer using our Vespers booklet for the Feast of Benedict. Glen (copier helper) at Kinkos was very good natured about my questions and requests in making the short liturgy aide. He had a few questions of his own as he help me...apparently they don't get many nuns copying prayer booklets at his store.

Once I made the copies, I realized I needed to add notes for responses and such because their prayer style greatly differs from ours in some ways. However, the Franciscans are good sports and want me to make our prayer tonight as "Benedictine" as possible...So, I have arranged some liturgical environment for our prayer. It's quite a nice arrangement of plant, gold cloth, and an icon of Benedict if I do say so myself. A candle and my copy of the Rule will finish it off very neatly. I won't make them chant the psalms tonight, but we may have to try the Magnificat.

School works its way into the Feastday as well. While I'm working on my IRB (online research approval quiz), I'm listening to the prayer podcasts from the Benedictine Sisters of P.A. at Clyde. When I finally finsih this online reading and quiz to show I am an ethical and responsible researcher at the University, I get to read more about structuring qualitative research and write a rough draft of a proposal for research I'll share with another student in the class. The course is getting better, but I just feel like I'm always a day late and a dollar short even though I'm working ahead as much as I can. There is just so much "new" in this area.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009



Well folks, I always saw myself as a fairly straight forward personality. It isn't always the best track to be so up front, but it's me. However, the teacher has posed a question that has brought me to decide to do what so many other students have done before me...I'm gonna blow smoke. She wants to know how we will use the skills learned in this research class outside of our University courses. Honestly, I put this learning in the "what doesn't drive ya crazy makes you a better person" catagory. Or even better...the line I've used on kids," it helps you think outside your own understanding and see things differently". The smoke I'll blow will have something to do with evaluating my own approach to education and teaching or something.

Keep Praying,

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Quantitative English Teacher?


The intermediate research methods course may be getting the best of me. I must admit; I always thought I could attack any reading you set before me. Give me the context of the course and I'd find that strain of thought within the reading. Nope. I give up. I give in! After almost 450 pages of reading in the first week, I still have no idea of what I'm supposed to be reading for in the articles. Do you read the 1968 study for how it was conducted or the outdated information? How do find the process of qualitative work in a 40 page account of some kid when it is just the researcher's retelling of the story?

I never thought I'd say it, but give me the structure of a nice little quantitative study and at least I know what I'm looking for there. The problem is the teacher (she isn't a professor yet) is the disciple of another professor here at university and he believes that qualitative is the end all and be all and doesn't lower himself to the quantitative research format. So far all the reading has been on qualitative research or qualitative research itself. Can you be an English teacher and have a quantitative research heart at the same time?

Seriously folk, pray...I am quite confused at how to approach this course and I've tried to express my conundrum to the teacher. Sigh... She says I'll be fine. So, I turn to all ya'll...any helpful tips on how to read research for learning how to do research? How do you give your soul over to qualitative research when you've heard the next research professor is all quantitative? I find myself asking my freshmen's favorite question. "Why do I have to take this anyhow? When will I use it in real life?"