big-bird

Caroll “Big Bird” Spinney was originally to be on NASA’s doomed Challenger flight

And he was even offered a seat as Big Bird on the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 in a bid to get children more interested in the NASA program when Star Wars was all the rage. | But there wasn’t enough room for the costume, which is more than eight feet tall, sparing Spinney from the tragedy that saw the Challenger break apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven people…

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Undergrad Danielle Sidoti Nails an Oral Interpretation/Analysis of “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy

In my online “American Literature” class, I recorded several video and audio lectures, which students listened to and responded to via their blogs. By the middle of the term, I started scaling back my audio lectures, in part because the students didn’t need to hear my voice anymore — they were interpreting the works on their blogs. I started asking them to post their own audio interpretation of poems and passages.…

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Creationism dismissed as ‘a kind of paganism’ by Vatican’s astronomer

Brother Consolmagno, who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy, said a “destructive myth” had developed in modern society that religion and science were competing ideologies. He described creationism, whose supporters want it taught in schools alongside evolution, as a “kind of paganism” because it harked back to the days of “nature gods” who were responsible for natural events. —The Scotsman…

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So, what do professors do all day, anyway?

Some days I am not Dennis. I am Marky McPaper Markerson. Or Meety McMeeter Meetingson. Days that I’m Ready McReader Readerson, it’s not so bad, but only part of that time am I reading for pleasure — I’m often reading to decide whether to teach a particular text, or wondering whether I should teach Flannery O’Connor again or swap her out for someone else, or reading someone else’s instructional materials…

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Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

Indeed, in the world beyond grade school, where adults must exercise their moral knowledge and reasoning to conduct themselves in the society, the stakes are greater. There, consistency demands that we acknowledge the existence of moral facts. If it’s not true that it’s wrong to murder a cartoonist with whom one disagrees, then how can we be outraged? If there are no truths about what is good or valuable or…

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The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

I quibble with The Chronicle headline writer’s notion that paper & pencil are “no-tech,” but hand-written notes are valuable. Students tested right after a lecture tended to answer factual questions equally well regardless of how they took notes, but students who handwrote their notes did consistently better on conceptual questions. What’s more, when students were tested again a week later, the longhand note takers performed consistently better on both factual…