Saturday, December 22, 2007

Famous Last Words

I've been reading through the letters of C.S. Lewis and was encouraged by what Lewis wrote to his childhood friend Arhur Greeves in 1916: "You ask me my religious views: you know, I think, that I believe in no religion. There is absolutely no proof for any of them, and from a philosophical standpoint Christianity is not even the best. All religions, that is, all mythologies to give them their proper name, are merely man's own invention--Christ as much as Loki." Similar to the Apostle Paul, Lewis made an about face later in life, which goes to show that even the skeptic can become a believer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I look like that?

I competed in the Run Wild 5K a few weekends ago and Papa Razzi took some photos you can see here. I might have to give up running if I look that pained, even if I did get first in my age group. There are some good pictures of the kids right below the pictures of me.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Crain Camping

Last week we had a great time camping at Davidson River Campground in the Pisgah National Forest. I was so proud of the kids. They hiked up Looking Glass Rock, a round trip of 6.2 miles! I bribed them with ice cream.

The girls and I enjoyed one of the great wonders of NC: Sliding Rock. Sliding Rock, as the picture shows, is about 60 feet of slippery rock that then plunges you into a pool with 55 degree water.

Now I’ve often pondered, who was the first person in the world who decided it might be fun to slide down that rock? Was it a Native American from long ago? A European settler? Whoever it was had some real guts, it seems.

Camping with the kids is great because it is quiet, relaxing, brings us close to nature(I really enjoyed the skunk that came within five feet of our camp area!), and affordable.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I'm preparing some critical thinking exercises for returning teachers and ran across this quote and thought that it was pretty cool:

“Very few really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds – justification, explanations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To
really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the

Spoken by the Vampire Marius in
Ann Rice’s book The Vampire Lestat
Ballantine Books. New York, NY. 1985.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Big Cat

Nancy's dad, Ed, and I went out on Clark's Hill Lake Friday night and put out three trot lines . We put chicken gizzards on two and herring on the other one. The chicken gizzards didn't catch us anything except for this big 33 pound flathead catfish. I really couldn't believe it when I saw the fish on the line. It was just too big to be true. Ed and I were laughing like two schoolboy children. Nancy was in the boat too--looking a little squeamish and interested despite her misgivings (ha!).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Properly ordered love

“For bodily beauty is indeed created by God; but it is temporal and carnal, and therefore a lower, good; and if it is loved more than God is, Who is the eternal, inward and everlasting God, that love is as wrong as the miser’s when he forsakes justice out of his love for gold. The fault here, though, lies not with the gold, but with the man; and this is true of every created thing; though it is good, it can be loved well or ill; well when the proper order is observed, and ill when that order is disturbed,” Augustine, City of God, XV, Chapter 22.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What the best college teachers do

Don't let the title to this book fool you. If you teach--at whatever level or age--this would be a good book to read because it has many useful tips on what to do to be a good teacher. The author, Ken Bain, Director of the Center for Teaching at New York University, along with some colleagues, did a comprehensive study of teachers who significantly impact how students think, act, and feel.

In the introduction Bain lists six broad questions the study asked:

i. What do the best teachers know and understand? They know their subjects very well and can do whatever they ask their students to do. But, more importantly, Bain says, they have developed techniques and organizing principles so that students might begin to understand the subject well and start building their own understandings. They simplify things and use illustrations and insights to get to the core of the matter. They do not speak about transmitting knowledge or conveying facts but about helping students wrestle with ideas

ii. How do they prepare to teach? They begin by asking what the student learning objectives are not what the teacher will do.

iii. What do they expect of their students? They expect more not by piling enormous amounts of work on but by tying objectives to thinking and acting for life.

iv. What do they do when they teach? They try to create a “natural critical learning environment.”

v. How do they treat students? They trust students. They assume students want to learn and can learn. They discuss with students their awe over life.

vi. How do they check their progress and evaluate their efforts? They have systemic programs to assess their efforts and to make changes.

The rest of the book answers those six questions more in-depth.