Mourning a Great Teacher: Robin Williams

Kiersten Marek:

Rest in peace, Robin Williams. Prayers for his family.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

We have become accustomed in recent years to seeing films in which teachers are shown as lazy, greedy slugs. This fits nicely with the corporate reform narrative that seeks to strip all honor, dignity, and rights from teachers. Teachers don’t deserve those mean-spirited caricatures, nor the treatment they receive from legislatures.

Remembering Robin Williams’ portrayal of English teacher John Keating in “The Dead Poets’ Society” takes us back to another era, a time when the teacher might be seen as a source of wisdom and inspiration, a rebel and a non-conformist. Here is the trailer. Robin Williams represented the teacher as the best that one could hope to be: not just a man who taught language and literature but a man who changed lives.

My favorite scene in the movie occurs when Mr. Keating invites the class to read the introduction to the poetry anthology. The introduction describes a…

View original 183 more words

August Harvest at Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market

News from the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market:

The first August market will bring us a bonanza of fresh produce: greens, nime chow and eggs from Pak Express: tomatoes and peppers from PV Farmstand,; herbs, lettuce and flowers from Blue Skys Farm; corn and squash from gCFarms, eggplant, jams and cukes from LongEntry Farm; blueberries and broccoli from Rocky Ledge Farm. And just MAYBE Barden Family Orchard will appear this Saturday… we’ll have to wait until market day to see.

And don’t forget the vendors with locally produced or harvested foods: meat from Baffoni Poultry and PV Farmstand, freshly caught seafood from the Local Catch, breads and pastries from LeFavorite Bakery and Long Entry Farm, goat cheeses and yogurt from Beltane Farm, honey from Bernie B’s Bees, plants and eggs from Wedgewood Flowers, and from our Market Table: pepper jams from Terry’s Tasty Treasures, peanut butter, nuts and popcorn from the Virginia and Spanish Peanut Company, olive oils and balsamic vinegars from the Olive Tap, and cheese and butter from Rhody Fresh (made with milk and cream from Rhode Island cows untreated with hormones). Did we mention the many delicious beverages served up by the Presto Strange O coffee truck, along with locally-roasted coffee to take home?

Two of our farmers will be offering tastes of their goods this weekend:

PV Farmstand will be sampling farmer Frank Martinelli’s Marinara Sauce, which is being processed by FarmFresh RI’s Harvest Kitchen facility through the Open Kitchen initiative. This is a great project which will enable more farmers to preserve their harvest and to make more local goodness available year round.

Blue Skys Farm’s fresh herbs will be incorporated in recipes prepared by Little Falls Cafe’s Jess Watts. On the menu for tasting: Holy Tomato Basil soup, caprese salad, and herbalicious smoothies. Recipes for these and other dishes using Blue Skys herbs will be available.

Speaking of herbs and Blue Skys, farmer Christina Dedora is looking for fans for her drying loft. If you have any box or floor fans that you are no longer using, please consider “recycling” them to a fragrant new home.

See you at the market.

Microsoft Lays Off 18,000 Workers While Seeking Visas for Foreign Workers

Kiersten Marek:

All this pressure from Bill Gates and his education reform to make more test-proficient students, and then he goes off and hires foreign workers instead of the Americans he is supposedly so worried about…

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Unbelievable. Microsoft lays off 18,000 workers while pressing Congress to expand the number of visas for engineers, mathematicians, scientists, and other workers. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and casino operator Sheldon Adelson wrote an article calling for Congressional action to increase H-1B visas.
.

Senator Jeff Sessions responded with rage, directed mainly at Gates and at the the tech industry as a whole. He said: “”What did we see in the newspaper today?” said Sessions, “News from Microsoft. Was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good, quality engineers to do the work? Are they expanding or are they hiring? No, that is not what the news was, unfortunately. Not at all.”

Sessions said:

.
“What is the situation today for American graduates of STEM degrees and technology degrees?” said Session. “Do we have enough? And do we need to have people come to…

View original 222 more words

Chair Game

Kiersten Marek:

Good idea!

Originally posted on Just!Us!:

Chair Game(HIIP p.190)

Goal: To demonstrate the widening economic gap in our society.

Have 10 youth each sit in a chair. Each chair represents one tenth of the US population. Ask how they would feel if the wealth was distributed evenly with each of them.

Explain that the that is not how the wealth is actually distributed. To demonstrate wealth distribution in 1976, ask 1 person to occupy five chairs and the remaining nine to share the other 5 chairs.

Then, demonstrate distribution for wealth today: one person has seven chairs, one person has two chairs, two people share one chair, and the remaining six people sit on the floor.

income inequality pie chart

Debrief:

  • Ask everyone how they feel about this distribution?
  • How does this play out in our society?

View original

Beans and More at the Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market this Week

News from the Market:

This Saturday marks the much-anticipated return of Long Entry Farm. Mike and Allison write:

“We’ll be there with Michael & Samuel, of course, along with peppers, eggplant, squash/zucchini, pickling cucumbers, greens, jams & bread. We also have a very large batch of very large zucchini – perfect for stuffing, frying, pickling, belting a neighbor, or making zucchini bread.”

A very large welcome back to them!

LeFavorite Bakery returns from vacation. We hope they are well rested and ready to fire up the ovens. Thank you to Jessica from Little Falls Cafe for filling the pastry void in the face of daunting obstacles.

Bob Fratantuono will be bringing blueberries again this week, and all our farmers will have a bounty of beans. Blue Skys Farm will be bringing Gold of Bacau Roma Pole Beans. “A description from a seed seller:
This is a rare and wonderful bean. Gold of Bacau is a Romano-type bean that grows 6-10″ long. The flat, greenish-yellow pods are very tender, cooking quickly. They have a sweet and somewhat starchy flavor.

Bean ‘Gold of Bacau’ is best used fresh or frozen, not canned. The dried beans make delicious soups or baked beans.

Gold of Bacau beans originally came from Bacau, Romania. The tall vines require a trellis. Very productive. Latin name: Phaseolus vulgaris.

Blue Skys will also have purple kohlrabi and purple ruffle basil, great accent colors with all the yellow and green produce.

Check out the meat, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, jellies, honey, nime chow, coffee, oil and vinegars our market offers as well as the foods featured above.

Finally, a study being published this week in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that “a comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains compared with conventionally grown produce.” (New York Times, July 12, 2014). Read the article and decide for yourself. Please note that most of our farmers grow chemical-free.

See you at the market.

Book Sale and E-Waste Collection at Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market

From the Farmer’s Market:

June 21st has the most daylight of the year, and you’ll need every hour of it at the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market.

As we return from our Gaspee Day exile to our home at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, we’ll be hosting an e-waste collection by Goodwill Industries. They will be set up in the upper parking lot, and will gladly help you unload your vehicle. Computer components, electronics, small appliances and “anything with a plug” will be accepted.

It’s also the annual Green Used Book Sale; donated books, CDs and DVDs will be for sale starting at 9 AM (no early birds, please!).
HARDCOVER, $2 each or three for $5
PAPERBACK, $1 each or three for $2
CHILDREN’S, three for $1 or ten for $3
Last half hour (11:30-12), fill a bag for $5
Funds raised from the book sale will enable us to bring Cranston public school children for some farm visits.

In the evening, come enjoy the fireflies in the meadow near Fay Field. Meet at 8:45 PM at the lower Rhodes on the Pawtuxet parking lot. A half-hour walk to see the firefly mating ritual. Bug repellent, long sleeves and long pants recommended. Please do not bring jars, nets, dogs or noisy electronics.
Chris Mezak of gC Farms says: “I will have some squash for this weekend. I’m not sure how much but I will bring some. I’m hoping with this week’s heat will help them along. I will also have more broccoli.’
Sounds good to me!
And all our other vendors will be there as well: Presto Strange O coffee truck, Pak Express, PV Farmstand, LeFavorite Bakery, Blue Skys Farm, Bernie B’s Honey, The Local Catch, the Market Table, Beltane Farm, Baffoni Poultry, Wedgewood Flowers and Rocky Ledge Farm. The Market Table carries products from the Virginia and Spanish Peanut Co, Rhody Fresh, Terry’s Tasty Treasures and the Olive Tap.

See you at the market.