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Things That Make Me Go Hmmm

It’s been a really long time since I did one of these posts.  It’s highly overdue, I think.  Plus, I’ve got nothing else to talk about right now.

~I found, via Ravelry, a link to a really cool blog post on how to calculate button hole placement.  It’s awesome and really saved my ass when I knit the button hole bands for Twist.  The blog is The Knitting Fiend and the link is here.

~If you’re paying attention then you should realize that Twist must be done if I’ve been figuring out button hole placement.  It is and I love it and I hope to get some photos up next week.

~I found another really helpful link via Ravelry.  This one is on how to evenly space increases and I used it for calculating the eyelet row increases on the February Lady Sweater.  You can find it here.

~I made Roasted Eggplant and Sausage Soup for dinner last night.  It was just as good as the one other time I made it.  Do you remember?  Recipe.

~Here in Massachusetts we have a standardized test called MCAS.  It’s supposed to measure academic success and must be passed by students in 10th grade in order for them to graduate.  It’s a lousy way of measuring a student’s progress and yesterday the scores for the most recent rounds of tests were made public.  There has been a decline in reading scores of elementary school students for the second year in a row.  Coincidentally, there has been a decline in staffing at school libraries in recent years.  Does anyone else make a connection between declining reading scores and declining school librarians?  Sheesh.

That’s all I’ve got.  What’s making you go hmmm today?

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. First of all thank you for the info on the increases as I will be knitting the February Lady’s sweater this year (my first sweater) and I am sure that the link you provided will help. The thing that makes me hmmm is coffee this morning. It is quite early on the west coast and a large latte is in order.

  2. Ergh. Don’t get me started on MCAS.

    The knitting fiend is a great blog! Wish it were mine, but despite occasional confusion, it’s not. I already plugged it last week, but I like the brioche stitch site
    and for the knitting equivalent of a double back flip with a half twist on the balance beam, there’s
    and then there’s politics… but I shouldn’t get started on that either.

  3. Yeah, and how about this state ballot question to eliminate state taxes “without any decrease in essential services”? Yeah, like local aid for education, for example. Argh.

  4. The school library was always one of my favorite place to hang out when I was a kid. I can’t imagine why they would want to decrease staffing, librarians are the best.

  5. I could have definitely used the button link on teach as I did the placements different than what was called for.

    Yep…….kids don’t read enough anymore, which is sad.

  6. Yes, I can make that connection, too…(as a former educator).
    Thanks for the eyelet increase site for Feb Lady Sweater. It’s on my queue and I even have the yarn for it!
    (I really must try that soup!)

  7. Here in RI libraries are pathetic. You have to go to Providence to find a decent one. It really aggravates me. Growing up in NY we had a beautiful library in walking distance from our house and spent lots of time there. They just don’t get it around here – make the libraries a place where the kids WANT to go and maybe you will turn them on to reading…… Just a thought???

  8. We lost our school librarian too. Guess what one of my “jobs” is this year? Know what makes me go hmmmmmm – you!

  9. The Knitting Fiend is one of those undiscovered treasures – she’s been in my bookmarks for years!

    MCAS sucks – I started to type a whole diatribe against it but I’m going to leave it at that. ;o)

  10. I’m hmmmming right along with you. Those state tests are a bunch of hooey, IMHO. More influenced by lobbyists than anything else, methinks.

  11. I think that standardized tests in general are pretty poor. The whole phenomena of “teaching to the test” is a huge problem.

    Naturally, I get the library=reading connection. I wish more people did.

  12. As a matter of fact, my children just got their results yesterday. I was pleased with their individual results….but not so much with the overall results of our town. I think the MCAS test is very stressful (pressure to do well with a threat of not graduating from high school) and wonder if the pressure is what gets to these otherwise smart kids. I have a son in 10th grade this year. He is already feeling the stress and the tests don’t even start until the spring! He also doesn’t perform well under pressure….so we might have an “issue” on our hands. I agree about the library staffing in town and at the schools. Why is it that these, the most important services, are the first to go? It’s infuriating to say the least. I am thankful that all of my children (4…ages 16, 13, 10 and 4) are all avid readers and utilize the town library. My children even save their own money to purchase books they love so they can read them again and again (we have an impressive personal library). I could go on and on and on…… I have book marked the sites you recommended, thanks for the info (and just in time…button holes give me the hives!)

  13. In third or fourth grade (I forget), the school librarian picked me to help shelf books during our library time. I felt extremely special and thought I might like to be a librarian one day. I’m wondering if schools still schedule time for their classes in the library like they used to?

  14. ok, i’m going to play devil’s advocate here. while i don’t think the MCAS should be required for graduation, i don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to get kids used to being tested. they have to to take the SAT and achievement tests to get into college. and then there’s college. taking tests is a skill and the sooner they learn how to take tests, the better off they’ll be. what i think is unfortunate though is that i bet there’s a lot of pressure on teachers to teach just the material that’s being covered on the test.

    anyway, maybe i’m being a bit of a pollyanna here, but at least with the MCAS, someone might notice that correlation of lower reading scores with fewer librarians and will want to do something about it. without the tests, you wouldn’t have that kind of data in the first place.

  15. Interesting and informative list. Well done, Carole.

    I am currently hmmmmming over the old guy who can’t multi-task but wants to run the country, anyway.

    Happy Thursday!

  16. The Knitting Fiend has wonderful things on her site. I could have sworn that was the site I was using to make the hat I just started, but I can’t find it there now. That makes me go hmmm.

  17. The TAKS tests in Texas were actually pretty good. The testing was integrated into the curriculum in the Eanes District/Austin and the kids were supported well.

    STAR testing in California isn’t nearly as good, but still better than others we’ve seen in our travels. The testing tends to be more distruptive than integrated, and at DD’s current high school they also have the PSAT and many AP exams in 10th. These kids push hard (too hard?).

    You know that we have lots of books and not a TV in our house?

  18. Thanks for the links!

    I’m against those tests, especially at the younger grade levels. Some folks are good test takers (I’m one) and others aren’t. Children learn at different rates and in different ways, just give them the chance to learn and develop before you start testing, and ranking and pigeon-holing them

  19. The FCAT in Florida has been very controversial. As a post-Bush state we lost so much funding for education… it has been hard to come back, even under the self-named “people’s governor” and one time v.p. prospect, Charlie Christ… we need a real change of air in this state and it isn’t going to happen any time soon. I’d move back to Mass but the weather is too nice down here!

  20. I won’t stand on my soap box long, BUT… it’s that darn NCLB that has everyone and their dead grandma nervous about testing. When study after study demonstrates that standardized test scores are NOT the best assessment tool, we continue to cling to it.

    I’m a teacher at a junior high school, and I work exclusively with the students identified as “highly gifted.” If it weren’t for my school librarian, I would be in a world of hurt as I have very little curriculum material that is issued by the district. He helps me flush out my lessons each week. God Bless him and all those under appreciated librarians!

  21. geez – I wonder if they’ll EVER learn…
    I have so many teachers as clients – and the understaffing/overpopulated classes issue is off the charts.

    Perhaps the entire system needs a revamp. I wonder if we can accomplish it within our lifetime.

  22. Love your blog, thank you for all the time and effort you put into it, I do enjoy reading.

    I truly think I am the only on in Massachusetts that does not think MCAS in evil. IT IS NOT PERFECT. But at least we know the kids have some knowledge. Stress, I am so sick about hearing how the test is so stressful for kids. Guess What? Life is stressful and our children better learn how to cope with it now. I believe the lack of parental discipline and the breakdown of morals and families is the problem with schools not MCAS.

  23. I hate to see that kids aren’t reading – and that the reading scores are low. I wish there was a realization around our country – that libraries and librarians are important. And, that parents would realize that those “sit-in-front-of-the-tv” times (whether watching cartoons or playing video games) would be much better spent with a book in hand.

    I have a great love for books, libraries and librarians. Librarians were my best friends when I was growing up. We didn’t have a lot of money – but, we had a library that was close enough to walk to – and my mother took us there every week.

    The first thing I did when I moved to Tennessee and then again to New Hampshire was go get my library card (even before I got my drivers license!)

  24. MCAS. More boxes for a bureaucrat to check to point that everything is fine when it is not.

    I so wish there was something to push kids to read, and away from IM and the Internets.

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