Archive for March, 2016

The latest from the classroom

Another Gray Comp ClassI have some great composition students this semester. One class is a bit slower but steady…another is more awake and doing better. I like them all.  We are in the last leg of the course and they are all invested in a topic of their choice. There were those that I had eliminated because *I* do not want to read about abortion, death penalty, GMOs, legalization of drugs, global warming, etc.  They have a wide array of things to choose from and some will be very interesting.

One Korean gal is going to write about the Veri-chip which I know nothing about.  Another will write about the Green Revolution, again, I’ll learn from my student on that.  I always have my college athletes who write about how college football players should be paid.  I might have another who will want to persuade others that college tuition should be free. Someone did that last year and found out that they was quite a reaction amongst her peers.  I always have them look at each other’s chosen topics and give feedback anonymously about each one.  So, they could end up with other views or thoughts from 25 of their classmates.  This proves helpful when they are writing on the other side for their persuasive essay. I want to make sure that they allow for another opinion instead of launching off about how they are right, the sources they found are accurate and if you don’t believe it, you are an idiot sort of persuasion.

These students will be giving their papers in powerpoint form to their classmates and I usually invite outsiders to come and critique and give their opinion about what they have come up with.  It is a win-win because it prepares the students to be more formal and not so casual as if they are only doing this presentation just for their peers. They have to keep in mind that there are outsiders who come in and don’t know everything on the topic they are reporting on.  I have someone talking about bee-keeping and someone else about hunting of wolves.  They have to find at least 5-6 sources from academic journals that can back them up. They are NOT allowed to use first person pronouns.  I tell them they need to find experts that can cover their back.  This means they are not in high school anymore where they can spout off whatever they find from doing a google search, they have to discover the research databases that our university provides.

Yes, we are ALL ready for summer and the end of this school year. We have had unseasonably warm days already which fools us into thinking that spring is really, really here.  Maybe it is, we have all the birds gathered around our bird feeder and also drinking and bathing in the water of our bird bath.  I’ve lived in Minnesota long enough to know that we could STILL have a winter like blizzard, even up to May.  So we are all bracing ourselves for that inevitable event…for now we are enjoying the warm spring temps.

Gray Comp Class

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Saw first robin yesterday – spring is officially here!


western horizon with wet fields from melt

I was doing the usual yard work that one does when the snow is gone and the temps are in the 60s.  Yesterday evening in the shelter belt of trees where we have wild raspberries growing, I was raking out the extra dead branches and other old leaves.  I could hear birds chirping and that was a welcome sound.  Then as I was bringing bigger limbs of trees that I had cut last fall to the burn pile, I saw a skinny robin.  That IS a welcome sight because that can mean only one thing, spring is officially here!  There have been vast V-formations of geese flying north so that is another sign of spring.

We did the “Seven Last Words” by Theodore Dubois on Sunday and there were about 35 of us singers with the four soloists, an organist and pianist.  That too is another sign of spring and I am NOW ready for Easter after having practiced those words set to music.  I captured some recent sunsets and during the spring when the air is clear is a good time to do that.  So, without much else to write about…I am attaching some photos.


shelter belt trees close to the wild raspberries

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Another sunrise shot with Jack Frost at the window


Sunrise with Jack Frost peering in

We survived the caucuses the other night and now we are on for eight more months of political talk and (lies).  I think the American public is fed up with this and so that is why looking at sunrises, skyscapes and sunsets seem to be a nice break from it all.  I think too there is someone from Canada who really liked looking at my blog yesterday, there were almost 300 hits and I’m used to have just 75 to 100 hits per day even though I don’t write much any more about Kazakhstan.  All very interesting.


Shelter belt shot

A GOP debate tonight will be missed again by us, purposefully.  We did watch the 20 minute spiel by Mitt Romney this morning when he was looking very statesman like and talked about the con man who is running a charade.  We had a governor in Minnesota who was obviously not a politician but rather a show man, he knew how to con the votes out of Republicans and Democrats and ran as an independent.  Well, the state of Minnesota had enough of Jesse V. and so we will not stomach another with Donny T.  We voted on Super Tuesday for Rubio instead. He was not my choice but then the guy who won Texas and Oklahoma was.  We shall see on March 15th what happens with the remaining delegates…all very interesting.  We are at a crossroads.


Looking into the prairie horizon

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