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The Stone ManThe Stone Man by Luke Smitherd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Found this title through the Amazon Lending Library. The premise was interesting, so I gave it a shot. Well written and suspenseful, it hooked me in from the very beginning. I like how the author switches narratives throughout the story, going from first person accounts of what happened to third person towards the end. It had me guessing how it would turn out, and I admit the solution wasn't what I was expecting, which helped make me enjoy this book A LOT!

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The Common Core demands students think critically while staying connected and diving into text, yet employers desire workers who can think creatively, connect with people, and dive into their work. David Coleman has made it clear that students are expected to read like a detective while most employers expect their workers to read with perspective.

There is a significant difference between critical thinking and creative thinking…

Creative thinking is divergent, critical thinking is convergent; whereas creative thinking tries to create something new, critical thinking seeks to assess worth or validity in something that exists; whereas creative thinking is carried on by violating accepted principles, critical thinking is carried on by applying accepted principles. Although creative and critical thinking may very well be different sides of the same coin they are not identical (Beyer, 1987, p.35).

The Common Core’s emphasis on text-based learning is misguided and ignores the multimedia realities of media-rich 21st century working…

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For our last full day on Oahu, we had booked a full-day tour of the island. Friends had told us to be sure we visited Pearl Harbor, Dole Plantation, and Polynesian Cultural Center. Rather than spend time each day doing each of these activities, Leah found a tour that included all three attractions in a single day.

We set our alarm for 4:45 and were scheduled to be picked up in the tour van at 5:50 a.m. Our drive, Jorge, was from Ecuador. His accent took a little getting used to, but eventually I was able to follow what he was saying. Our tour was scheduled to include three major attractions and a few stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and take pictures.

First stop was Pearl Harbor. We got there at 6:45 a.m. and had to wait in line until 7:00 a.m. to be let inside. It was a powerful place. They did a really good job of playing on visitors’ emotions for maximum impact. I also learned a lot of history about the bombing and why it happened. The whole thing was designed to make you FEEL something, and most of the time it worked. DSC 5713 rom “Contemplation Circle” to the three buildings that had artifacts and exhibits about each phase of the war, leading up to WWII, to the film presentation before being driven by boat to the Arizona Memorial, it all felt very staged. I felt a bit manipulated into feeling something, instead of allowing me to feel it for myself. A few questions came to mind while there:

  • What must it feel like for Japanese tourists who visit the memorial? Do they feel shame or guilt about what happened? And how many Japanese tourists visit Pearl Harbor in a day, week, month, or year?
  • What kinds of conversations do Japanese people have when they visit Pearl Harbor? Do they feel any kind of responsibility or ownership of what happened?
  • Since we in this country are so good at remembering tragic events in our nation’s history, and making sure we never forgot, what must it feel iike to go to another country’s memorial, like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, as an American and see how we are portrayed in other country’s tragedies? Would I feel the same guilt and shame for being from a nation that killed millions of people from another country?

After Pearl Harbor we drove for a while to the middle of the island to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. DSC 5767We only had 30 minutes because we were on a tight schedule, so we only had time to visit the gift shop and buy some pineapple ice cream. Very touristy.

From there it was off to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We had heard this place we a must-see, so we were looking forward to see what it’s all about. We learned that it was built right across the street from the Mormon Church, and the MLS is responsible for building the Polynesian Cultural Center in 1963. Knowing that the Mormon Church is responsible for building the PCC kinda changed my perspective on the whole experience. Several times it was mentioned by our guides that the PCC is a non-profit organization and all proceeds go the the “university” across the street. They never mentioned the word Mormon or Church of Latter Day Saints, but their influence was apparent. At least, it was to me.

The whole place is split up in to each of the Polynesian Islands: Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, and Fiji. In each area are native huts and presentations. Knowing the Mormon Church was responsible for building this place really changed my perspective. I can’t explain how, exactly, but it did. It felt like I was visiting Epcot Center or something. It all seemed a little too “sterile” and clean. We watched a show featuring each island’s native dance, and saw a special movie about the islands that had rumbling chairs and water spraying at certain parts. Fun, but kitschy, if you ask me.

From there it was more driving around the island. We stopped at some beaches and lookout points, but didn’t stay longer than 10-20 minutes in any one place. That’s the problem with a tour, you don’t get to set your own timetable. Instead, you’re forced to spend a lot less time in some places, and a lot more time in other places. There we saw some really beautiful places, and enjoyed our guide, Jorge, a lot. It just felt like a LONG day. We were glad when it was over. Here’s a link to the photos we took during the day: CLICK HERE.

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Decades of research and studies have documented the impact of stress on cognitive performance such as critical thinking, judgment, and decision-making skills.

The ability to concentrate, follow directions, process new information, and make good decisions are all greatly diminished and impaired by stress.

The high level of stress induced by the high stakes consequences of standardized tests has in effect “poisoned the well” and directly undermines the reliability and validity of the Common Core assessments.

The new Computer Adaptive Tests (CAT) are supposedly superior to paper tests because they can measure a student’s ability and achievement level in a shorter amount of time using fewer questions.

This is possible because test questions are generated in real time based on how the student responded to the previous question and the difficulty of subsequent test items are adjusted to the student’s “perceived” ability level.

The impact of student stress will greatly…

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Very interesting…

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