Saturday, February 7, 2015


Have you ever wondered who you can trust in the news? Dan Rather and Brian Williams let us down So many reporters seem so biased, we stopped going to them. We complain about the "liberal media" and the fact that our news is controlled by a few organizations run by wealthy conservatives. Certainly many news sites confuse front page news reporting with the editorial. Here is a succinct answer. by Archie D'CruZ

Learning Hack of the Day: Raise Your Arms for Better Posture and Mood

Arms up or out for a better attitude and mood.

Feeling resistance? Winter cold and snow drifts seem insurmountable. Spread your arms out so the arms are shoulder height and the fingers on both hands point in opposite directions. Let your body form a capital “T”. This will improve posture and attitude. When I spread my arms out, I feel invincible.

Just this morning, I stood in the middle of a Michigan winter The temp was near the zero mark, and despite wearing layers of clothing, I felt the coldness seep into me.

My car doors wouldn’t open. I clumped in the house for WD 40. I sprayed the car doors liberally. Still they wouldn’t budge.

I started walking down the road to where I could get a bus. Many of our neighbors are elderly people and their sidewalks are not shoveled. Good thing I had big Boc boots that reached to my knees. I made it to the bus stop and waited and waited.

I spread my arms like I was suspended on a cross. I felt better. My mood lifted.

A bus finally came, but it wasn’t the one I waited for. I caught it and rode it at least little ways down the road. I got off at a bus stop further down the road. At least there was a Panera Bread shop there if I needed to go inside for awhile. Instead I waited for a bus that would take me where I needed to be.

Finally the correct bus came. I got on, and it deliver me a few blocks from my workplace. More snow piles to climb over. When I came to a particularly large pile, I was sure I could not climb over this one, and I didn’t have the energy to go back. I spread my arms again. Again my mood lifted, and I traveled onward.

Coming home from work, the bus dropped me off a few blocks from home. I started trudging toward home. Why me, Lord.

I wasn’t cold, but I was exhausted. I stretched my arms out. Immediately I felt better. I noticed how pretty the world looked. All that snow looked like a giant marshmallow cake. I traveled on home.

Spreading your arms out improves posture. The head goes up. One just feels more in control.

As I was doing this, I thought about something I read somewhere a long time ago. The simple act of raising arms above the head improves mood. I used to have my students do that. I had a 20 minute rule. I had to stop every 20 minutes, so students could rest and refocus. Of course, I needed something for students to do in those few seconds while I stopped lecturing. I often had everyone raise their arms above their heads. They would look at me like was crazy, and then after putting their arms up, everyone would smile.

To improve mood and to feel more in control: Raise your arms. Then either stretch them out like a scarecrow's arms or raise them straight above your head.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day: Daydream

If Walter Mitty was a student, where would his daydreams take him? What kind of a student would he have been?

If you have not read the “Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a short story by James Thurber, you should do so. The short story is a classic and a short, fun read. Mitty daydreams about performing surgery, commanding a ship in wartime and even facing a firing squad.p> A student might daydream about becoming a “Jeopardy” champion or winning the national memory championship. Perhaps he daydreams about his future job as a college professor.

Dare to dream; it will make you a better student.

Photo Art is from my playing card collection.

King and queen playing cards are from "Project Portland." Each card was created by a different artist and donated. Cards were sold to benefit non-profits in the Portland Area.

The cowboy picture is from Rodeo Playing cards.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day: Pegging Lists

What do the Lone Ranger, The Three Stooges and Mary Poppins have to do with learning faster, easier, better? Read on.
Numbers are best memorized by using associations. There are numerous (no pun intended) ways for creating a numbers pegging list. You could do it by sound.

1 is a bun

2 is a shoe

3 is a bee

4 is a door

5 is dive

6 is a trick

7 is a heaven

8 is a skate

9 is a sign


1 is a tree;

2 is a swan

3 is Mickey Mouse ears (rotated )

4 is a sailboat

5 is a sea horse

6 is a is a musical note

7 is a gold club

8 is a pair of eye glasses (ratated)

9 is a balloon.

There are other methods. My favorite is by association.

1 is the Lone Ranger

2 is dancers

3 is the Three Stooges.

4 is The Beatles

5 is the Dave Clark Five

6 is Number Six from “Battlestar Galactica” actress Tricia Helfer

7 is “The Magnificent Seven” or just one actor from the series. I use Yule Brenner

8 is Dick Van Patton (“Eight Is Enough”)

9 is a Muse

I don't have to stop at nine. I could continue

10 is the British Prime Minister who lives at Number 10 Downing Street or a ten gallon hat.

11 is George Clooney (“Oceans 11')

12 is Brad Pitt (“Twelve Monkeys)

13 Huck Finn who was 13 years old in the book.

14 Woodrow Wilson for his 14 Points or William Shakespeare for his 14 line sonnets.

15 Bart Starr, Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer who was number 15 Use any sports star you wish.

16 a teen age girl who is blowing out the 16 candles on her birthday cake.

17 Mary Poppins who worked at 17 Cherry Tree Lane.

18 a truck driver

19 a golfer

20 Abe Lincoln (a score is 20 years.)

It is not enough to memorize a pegging list; think briefly about the associations and peg them in your mind.When you need a longer number. Put images in your mind and chain them together.

To memorize pi (3.1415926535), I might think about the three Stooges (3) who are goofing around when along comes William Shakespeare (14) who wants to write a sonnet about the Three Stooges. Imagine these men interacting for awhile. Along comes Bart Starr or any foot ball player (15) who wants to show off tossing the ball or kicking field goals. But his muse (9) is holding him back. She is wearing a red gown and a gold chain and she is struggling to keep Bart Starr from playing football. She says he should be writing his memoirs. Shop Amazon - Valentine's Day Savings - Fire HD 6 Tablet Shop Amazon - Textbook Trade-In - Get Up to 80% Back

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day - Recognize all the Teachers your Life

My winter sojourn instructor is a bee keeper, and she has a bee teacher. How many different kinds of teachers do we meet in our lives? We all have many teachers. Mp> the trees outside my home show me how to stand up to winter wind and snow piles.

There is always something new to learn, and many standing by to be our guides.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day: Tweak

Find a system that works for you. When I studied writing, all the books and teachers said a journal should be hand written. It was the best way of getting in touch with feelings. One could sit on the bed, legs swinging, and pretend to be a child again as one scribbled down one's thoughts. Thoughts flowed more smoothly from hand to pen to paper. But computers and on-line journals quickly became popular. As a writing instructor, I taught as I had been taught. Write your journal in a notebook. But I quickly discovered, it is more efficient to type the material directly into the computer. It can be cut and pasted into the stories where fits.

In time planning, I would set aside special hours for cleaning house, exercising and writing. But cleaning and exercising are boring. Writing is hard work. I learned to take fifteen minute cleaning, eating or exercise breaks.

Longhand journals and blocks of time make sense to some people and to lots of writers. I still journal and plan my time, but I tweak it. I make the adjustments that are right for me. You can do the same thing. Shop Amazon - Textbook Trade-In - Get Up to 80% Back Shop Amazon - Find the Value of Your Video Games

Monday, February 2, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day: Use Playing Cards Like Flash Cards

Look for unusual items that can be turned into teaching aids and, therefore, learning aids. While it is unlikely that any deck of cards will exactly match the material for your class, playing cards do have trivia and other useful information on them.

You can use these cards like flash cards for home schooling and lifetime learning. Playing cards might have pictures and information either on their backs or fronts. Some decks show examples of great art; other decks might have pictures and trivia about U.S. Presidents, Indian Chiefs, wild west outlaws or famous pirates, One set of cards has musical notes and explanations. Another has pictures of different wines of the world and information on those wines. Some have art designs. Others have information on famous generals or battles. Some gave pictures of different flags or tourist attractions. Some have maps of places and even the night sky. Other decks of cards and swap cards have trivia, movie stars or sports stars.

See what decks of playing cards you can find in various stores and online and use them in your learning. Here are just a few examples.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Learning Hack of the Day: Ginkgo Biloba

In “The Dog Who Came in from the Cold,” Dee one of the characters is marketing a vitamin pill to increase ability to do Sudoku puzzles. It’s really Ginkgo Biloba, a popular dietary supplement that increases blood flow to the brain. It does indeed increase mental ability, It helps students too. Ginkgo is available in most grocery stores and pharmacies.