Category Archives: Social Sciences

That time I wrote my entire 25 page Thesis in a single evening.

Post inspired by reading: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins.

My last semester as an undergrad, I was in my history degree’s mandatory Thesis course. Well, mandatory as in we all had to write a 25 page Thesis to get the degree, but each 10-15 person class had a separate main theme, to best match content to interest rather than being entirely open ended (I LOVE UVA!).

The one I chose was “Gender in the US Civil War Era” though my paper ended up being only marginally gender oriented. While I tried to draw up the female angle in my sources, mainly I was writing about the difference between what was really going on in Washington vs. how local people (SE VA and NE NC) viewed what was happening/laws that were passed.

Remember the fainting ladies of Portsmouth!

Anyway, the whole course was centered around guiding us down the path of writing our paper, teaching us how to find and vet sources, coming up with our topics, actually finding sources; all of our assignments were to keep up on track (while we actually did learn about gender issues during the CW Era.

Anyway, in early April (Graduation was May 22) our homework was to have 5-6 pages of rough draft to go over in class. I misunderstood and thought we had to have the whole rough draft. 

I’m also a procrastinator, though I’d spend weeks letting my paper “perculate” in my head, drafting and redrafting paragraphs and arguments, but never actually writing much down.

So, the night before class, I had all my sources read and had notes from them (because of the work we’d been doing the past 3 months in class), I just had to buckle down and write. 

Which I proceeded to do.

All 25 pages (double spaced, thank god).

Actually, it may have only been 23, but that 25 wasn’t  set in stone and I did know that out was just a draft that was due. Drafts can be shorter than the final project.

I wrote all through the night. I think it took me a good 15 hours (including some distractions) total.

This was the only all nighter I did in college and I have no regrets. Rather than be embarrassed when I walked into class and learned that I’d screwed up, I was happy. The paper that I had been dreading all semester was done! Sure, it’d need some tweaks, but as every scholar knows, you can’t write a proper introduction until you’ve written the paper and came to your real conclusions (instead of just what you think you will be talking about). Research is fun because you don’t know where you’re going until you get there (if you are doing it right, of course).

I’m writing about this today in part because of the story I’m reading and also because the semester started this week for school (I’m getting a MSED in Elementary Education online) and between my two classes (Human Development and Public Speaking), I will be writing 5-10 research papers (though P.S. forbids reading off a manuscript and all speeches must be given with just notes; it’s still all the work of a paper). Given the time frame, I expect they’ll all be 3-5 pages (double spaced), which is less than many of my ranty blog posts (which yes, if possible for P.S., I will be using my blog posts for inspiration).

Honestly, I’m just worried that P.S. is going to be super boring to learn because it has to be generic. It’s one class that everyone must take, but it’s taught en masse rather than in small sections where each topic is different so you can study in the context of what interests you (like my thesis course and the undergrad writing requirement at UVA). I’d much prefer to study Public Speaking in the context of the Civil War Era, or the Guilde Age, American Presidents, 20th c. World Leaders, the Civil Rights Movement, scientists begging for funding…

‘Cuz, we ALL know that this generic class is going to focus on the most famous speeches known to mankind ( the ones studied to death). The Gettysburg Address is important, but what about comparing it to the counter speeches given by Jefferson Davis? Or the “I have a dream” speech vs. a speech by Malcolm X?

Hmm. I think I just found another good topic for that class!

AnyHoo. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for this month! I can’t link to it from my tablet, but you can find it at the top of the page 😊. There are some really fun card challenges that I’m hoping to enter this weekend, if I don’t have too much trouble with school work.

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Klansville U.S.A. | American Experience | Official Site | PBS

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/klansville/

It’s way too easy to draw connections to what was going on in 1960s North Carolina and 2017 in Charlottesville and other places where the Alt-Right has been causing trouble.

Teaching Everything Using the Scientific Method

Mmkay. So, I had this epiphany (it’s like the last thing I wrote) a few weeks ago about how pretty much everything is learned through the Scientific Method:

  1. Background Information/Observation,
  2. Hypothesis,
  3. Design and Conduct the Experiment,
  4. Evaluate the Data,
  5. Draw a Conclusion

In other words, think up a question (Why is the sky blue? What year was the Declaration of Independence signed?), offer a hypothesis (Because it is. 1776.), Design and Conduct the Experiment (I will look in my textbook(s)), Evaluate the data (do I agree with my textbook? Can I verify this information using another source?), and Draw a conclusion (The sky is blue due to the angle of sunlight hitting water molecules in the atmosphere, 1776 because I saw a real copy of the Declaration in the UVA library).

I wish I had realized this earlier while I was reading through the Language Acquisition and Reading (Creating Literacy Instruction; Pearson 2016) textbook. Even though they have used various different terms, pretty much every strategy for teachers to use has boiled down to the Scientific Method as described above.

Here’s the latest example:

Mini-lessons used as a part of a Reading Workshop for lessons using Independent Reading. These mini-lessons have 5 basic parts (I have block quoted them to make them easier to read, but the analysis is mine alone):

1. Connection (Background information and Hypothesis)

2/3. Teaching and Active Involvement (Conducting the Experiment)

4. Link (Evaluate)

5. Follow up (Conclusion)

I have to create 3 different lesson plans for the class, due Dec. 3rd. My hope is to have them comply with my theory of universally utilizing the Scientific Method, but honestly my first goal will be ensuring that they meet any and all requirements that my professor has for the assignment (because I’d prefer to pass the class since I don’t have real students to test my lesson plans on). However, once the class is over, I’m thinking about creating some of these lesson plans over winter break. Of course I’ll post them here unless and until I decide to use them for a future class and aren’t allowed to plagiarize myself.

Letterpress

My dad is the letterpressman at the shop we work at. His press is a 1962(?) Heidelberg Windmill, though we used to have a C&P hand-feed press.

heidelberg_oht_platen_10x13_windmill_537
It’s so shiny! This is not his press, but a photo borrowed from this website.

A few weeks ago, we were offered a ticket to see the new film about letterpress: Pressing On and he went to see it. Ooh–the first press shown in the trailer looks like the hand press that the shop got rid of (and the press that I most want for my own).

Anywho. My dad is not a graphic designer. He’s not artsy at all. He likes chatting with old pressmen, but mostly he went to the movie to see the presses. It was a bit too people-centered for his taste, but he enjoyed it.

What really annoyed him was the letterpress printed drink ticket they gave him! Yes, I’m laughing as I write this because he ranted to me the next day about how crappy a job they’d done printing it!

“The ink is too light! It’s a weird color and the ink isn’t even.” (It’s a seafoam-ish green color and yes, it’s heavier and lighter in places.)

“They beat the ever loving shit out of the paper!” (Okay, he actually said they beat the crap out of the paper, but I’m exaggerating his words because of how huge a deal this is for him.)

You see, my dad entered the printing industry back when offset printing was just starting out and just about everything was printed letterpress. Type was real type and a typesetter was literally pulling upper and lower case letters out of upper and lower cases. As they competed with offset printing, the sign of a good letterpressman was that the printed material looked indistinguishable from offset. If the paper looks even slightly embossed, the paper is hitting the type too hard and you’re going to wear out your type too fast. Since type does wear out, it’s critical for the typesetter to build up the low characters to match the higher ones so that the ink hits flat and smooth.

Pretty much everything that makes modern artists squeal about letterpress is everything that my dad would have been yelled at for as an entry level pressman. Of course, I am on the artsy-side and I while I don’t need the paper to be beat to crap to know it’s letterpress, I do love it when the ink isn’t perfectly placed on the paper either because the type isn’t perfect or because it’s not lined up 100% correctly.

My dad has a new favorite museum in Colonial Heights, VA and they have some old printing presses and stuff to play with  show off to visitors. At a special event a few weeks ago my dad was very confused by the way they were creating “original letterpress printings” by letting two colors of ink mix on the pallet of a handpress each time someone created a print. Like I said, he doesn’t really get letterpress as art, haha.

And, he really doesn’t understand how anyone makes money off letterpress. He likes to talk about how they’d print business cards at 5¢ a piece in quantities of 20-30. Business cards were really generic back then and they mostly just threw a new name into an already set base. He can’t understand why anyone would pay $5 for one letterpress greeting card.

Of course, he as fond memories of making $2.50/hour when the minimum wage was $1.25.

 

Hubby Got Mansplained…

…by his son, haha.

Remember my post about the mansplaining I witnessed at work? 

Well, Hubby got to experience getting mansplained today after he had a busy afternoon. First, he had to go change the water heater at his dad’s house and then shortly after he got home, his phone rang for a police call. From my perspective, he was telling me about the water heater and then he left for the call and when he came back, he was bitching about his son.

What had apparently happened is that while he was changing the water heater, he texted his son about it, but didn’t get much of a reply because his son was working. During the police call, hubby got a text back from his son that listed all the rules and regulations of changing out a water heater (his son is a plumber’s helper).

Hubby pretty much grew up in the plumbing industry since his mentor was a plumber and he got dragged into working on plumbing early. His son knows this, which is why hubby was so annoyed to get a text that essentially lectured him on the proper way to change a water heater hours after the job was done.

Once I figured out what had annoyed hubby so much, I could only laugh.

I explained to hubby all about mansplaining including what happened at work with the pressman mansplaining how ink works to the GM.

Ironically (not really), hubby ended up mansplaining the whole thing to me as he bitched about being mansplained to, hahaha! When he was done, I pointed out that he’d just mansplained to me and that this was why I tune him out half the time, but that he was exempt from hard feelings about it because of his blue screen of death 😊. I got flipped off for my trouble, but I could only smile at that, haha.

I think it was a very productive conversation because now if he starts mansplaining something for real (not just a blue screen moment), I can reference the time he got mansplained to in order to head him off! Woohoo!

Texas Church Shooting Video Shows Gunman’s Methodical Attack, Official Says – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/us/texas-shooting-video-devin-kelley.html

If there are no criminal negligence charges filed against those people in the Air Force who didn’t do their job and report his assault convictions to the federal background check system…I don’t even know.

Will Republicans who have been bitching for years about how perfect the background check system is (“there can’t possibly be a way for someone who shouldn’t get a gun to get through the system! We don’t need more gun laws!”) finally understand what we (moderate) gun control folks want?!?!

1) A comprehensive background check (extreme vetting? Sure, IF we’re going to be assholes to refugees, too.) And a life sentence in prison if your negligence leads to someone purchasing/using a weapon that they use to do harm.

2) Comprehensive and regular gun safety training. No one should be stupid enough to leave ANY gun where a child can find it! Regular reminders of how badly gun ownership can go IS A GOOD THING! And, yes, I’m cool with having similar retraining for a driver’s license!

3) A limit on the number of guns a person can buy in a month (ideally in a lifetime). A gun is a WEAPON, not a toy! It should NEVER be an impulse purchase. If you start crying like a three year old because you can’t get a toy RIGHT NOW!! you are part of the problem. Grow up!

Guns become illegal when a person with no (recorded) criminal past purchases guns to sell to people who can’t purchase guns themselves. Period. Limiting the supply (with limits on purchases) not only increases the price on the black market (which will cause purchasers to need more money, leading to more non-gun using crimes (because they can’t afford one yet) that will make it easier to catch them before they buy the gun), but will obviously reduce the total number of illegal guns on the streets… eventually. TL;DR: Make it harder for criminals to buy guns on the black market=more slip ups=more arrests=ultimately less crime.

No, these 3 demands AREN’T perfect! Probably nothing would have stopped Paddock in Las Vegas. But I live in a place where between the 7 cities where is usually a gun related murder (or 2) every night. The status quo doesn’t work. There is a hole in the system that can be closed IF we quit pretending it doesn’t exist or worse care so much about our own ability to purchase guns like candy that we feel no guilt when someone’s death is directly related to our own greed and entitlement.

I nag, my tween complains — how do we end the struggle over chores? – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/help-my-12-year-old-wont-complete-chores/2017/02/21/582a1992-f553-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.00fb79b0ac9d

On tying chores to allowance, here is how I would do it:

Once the kid grasps the concept of money (needing money to buy things), they are old enough for their chores to be linked to their allowance. Since they should have already been doing age appropriate chores°, they will love getting paid to do what they’re already doing and will probably not realize over the years that an increase in the number and type of chores they’re doing is related to their age and development not an increase in allowance.

Let me explain. At 5 years old, the kid learns about the importance of money. They want money, so you say, “okay, if you complete all your chores this week, I’ll give you X dollars on Friday”. The kid thinks, “Sweet! I already do all my chores every week, so this is easy money!!”

As the kid gets older, they will want more money and you know they need to do more chores. They will gladly consent to doing more chores for more money. But, you were already planning to increase their allowance because you know a 10 year old probably can’t survive on $5/week. They think they’re getting the payraise for doing more work, when in reality, the payraise and work is unrelated… sort of.

You see, there’s a big problem that can arise with tying chores to allowance: what do you do when the kid doesn’t do their work? The simplest strategy I’ve thought of is that the kid loses money for every chore not done. $1/chore, depending on how the numbers crunch?

Since I believe that kids should be given reasonable choice as much as possible, I think that they should be allowed to choose their chores as much as possible.For younger kids, they may pick their daily chores for a given block of time* while older kids, have a master chore list^ for them to check off that let’s them choose the chores that fits their mood on a given day.

Any overlap between younger and older kids chore charts should be hashed out at the ~monthly meeting when the younger kids pick their chores for the month. Younger kids should be given first dibs on chores that are age appropriate, but be allowed to take on more responsibility if appropriate (like, they want to scrub the shower every week or help cook dinner).
°Note: There is a difference between chores and good habits.Chores are things that need to be done regardless of whose doing it. Habits are personal responsibilities that everyone has to do to be considered a responsible adult (brushing teeth, picking up their toys, etc). Chores can be mixed and matched depending on one’s roommates, spouse, or children. When a person lives alone, all the chores fall onto their shoulders. When living in a group, chores can be spread around (you don’t need 3 people washing dishes every night), but everyone, no matter their living situation, needs to automatically take care of their personal hygiene and pick up after themselves; teaching good habits is different from teaching how and when to do chores!
*So, every month or so, the younger kids decide on what they’re chore list is for every day: feed the dog, set the table, wipe up the bathroom, etc. When they get bored with these chores, they can choose a new set of chores. Younger kids take longer for their interests to change and they do better with a strict daily list of tasks.

^Older kids are capable of doing just about everything moms and dads can, which means they, like moms and dads, can decide what needs to be done and when. Someone needs to figure out dinner every night; who’s in the mood to cook? I’d suggest making the agreement = the total number of chores per week×/the number of people covered by that chore list @the amount of allowance that is appropriate. The teen is going to look at the list of everything that needs to get done in a week (7 dinners, 7 dish washings, etc, etc, etc) and pick the things they like best, based on their ever changing mood. If there’s more than one older kid, there will be competition over the choiciest chores, which seems like a good problem to have! Moms and dads, as members of the household, should also be included in the chores equation. School=Work, so none of this “I have a job and you don’t” argument (truthfully, school is more work than most jobs because of homework).

×However, it’s important to remember that not all chores are created equal. I’d suggest ranking chores by difficulty and making a hard chore like washing clothes count for more than an easy chore like feeding the dog. To adjust the equation, simply add together the rankings rather than the base number.

Here’s an example of a partial master chore list:

Family members: 2 parents, 2 teens = 4 participants

Dinner (7×2 (ranking)) = 14 points

Feeding dog (7×1) = 7 points

Washing clothes (includes washing, drying, folding, sorting/putting away) (3 or 4 (or however often as necessary) ×4) = 12 or 16 points

Dishes (7×2 (4 in my real house because we don’t have a dishwasher) = 14 or 28 points

Take the number of points (47 or 61) and divide it by the number of people responsible (4) so, each person is responsible for about 11 or 15 points worth of work. The ranking score above is how many points you earn for doing a chore once. A person who primarily feeds the dog will have to cook or wash dishes a couple days while that cook/dishwasher gets the day off.

Of course, your milage will vary.