Friday, October 21, 2011

Questions from the Creative Learners at the Assets School

Hi - Dear Friends from Ms **** Classroom.

I wish I has a the time to answer all your questions by mail - individually – I have created a list of answers to many of the questions that you have sent in your letters -
Please free to share them with others in your school as you wish.

When did you first know you were dyslexic?
What grade where you when you found out your dyslexic?

When I was in 2nd grade I had fallen so far behind the other students that the school system told my parents they wanted to place me in special education classroom.  My mother who was a Professor of education pulled strings in the school system to keep me in a public school classroom.  My parents had me tested and defined as “dyslexic” by a reading tutor.

How hard was it for you?

Very hard – in 3rd grade I was only kid in my classroom that could not read.

What Grade did you learn to read?

4th Grade I begun to read with some ability.

What level were you reading in 6th and 7th grade?

In 6th grade I was reading the hardy boys and I read a copy of the hobbit in 7th grade.  I had reading comprehension and processing scores at the college level by 9th grade.

Did you not like completing an essay or could you read by then?

I did not write my first essay till 8th grade – I did not write a well written one till 10th grade.  My first term paper – 10 pages was in 11th grade.  Even today I think essays are waste of time and I don’t like writing them.  Having aid that I do believe in writing letters to the editor and letters to politicians.

How was it like being different then the other kids?

Denial is an important part of the human experience.  Denial allows us to pretend that everything is fine when it is not.  It also gets us in trouble because we try to do things that we can’t possibly complete with out tutors or writing consolers.

How old is your sister now?

She is 4 years younger then me – still.   I am 41 – she is 37

What was her favorite birthday party?

No idea…

Did the Birthday Party story really happen?

Yep and one of your legs is longer then the other because I have been pulling your leg.

What did the Cake taste like?

Sorry I didn’t eat it.

What type of Cake was it suppose to be?

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate store bought frosting – lots of store bought frosting.

How do you make such realistic stories?

To make a good tall tale you must start with the truth and build into fantasy.  Have fun with your audience believe that your story helps them and share the joy of the story with them.

Great talking to you.

Eric James Wolf

Telling Tall Tales of Dyslexic New Yorker and When Cats Could Fly...
A link to sample funny video...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Changing the Game

Sometimes technology changes slowly and you can barely see it.  Then there are moments when the tech is seen anew and we realize that the whole world has changed.  The wheel or the printing press.  Today I had one of those moments.  Soon you will to.

American schools have been slow to provide the tools for supporting people with disabilities - but many schools have been quick to supply computers to there classrooms.  Trying to look modern without changing the fundamentals of there internal structure.  Now a group of people have placed all the various programs that make computers tools of access for students.  Basically free open source programs that fundamentally change the rules of the game.  Of course they are cutting at the tree of money that Microsoft and Apple are counting for there supplies.

This is an amazing leap forward - parents acting in there own self interest for the good of there students with out institutional permission or support.  Don't trust me read about it yourself at

If this had existed when I was in high school - how my world might have been different.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Law of Unintended Consequences

There are many books about the law of Unintended Consequences.  My favorite is the follow up book too - Time and Again – From Time to Time.  For the dedicated 19th century enthusiast I would recommend both – but for the rest of us here is the plot point of the book that intrudes me.

Man travels back in time to stop WWI by saving the Titanic.  Man sinks said ship by changing the course of the ship.  Hence the Law of unintended consequence in action.  I have many more from real life… 

What about United States Trains Islamic Extremists to battle evil Soviet Empire… not good ending there either….

Rabbits released in Australia as game animal leads to rabbit invasion…

I could go on and on – humans have been living this story for thousands of years so I am nor surprised to read recently that asking students to lineup in line alphabetically has had unintended consequences that last a whole life time.

I remember fondly they day my 4th grade teacher had us lineup by last name first – I think it was only once.  Ahh the glory to have a W in your last name!   The authors of this study have discovered that people with letter late in the alphabet were more likely to be quick to seize the first opportunities and people with a, b, c’s are more likely to wait and search for the best opportunity.

I find that I am the fastest eater I know – mostly because in grade school I had 12 minutes to eat my lunch.  I had 12 minutes because it took us 10 minutes to get served and I was always at the end of the line.  Lunch was 50 minutes long – but I wanted to catch the 25 minute group walk out to the recess yard.  Remember when we had recess in grade school? – ahh the good old days?
So today I eat to fast – I really try to eat slowly – but it’s I the bones you know?  Just another reminder of the important and influential role that teachers can have on students with the smallest of decisions.  Choices that last a lifetime.

Read the original report on the paper here...