Previous month:
October 2010
Next month:
December 2010

32 posts from November 2010

Check how Facebook is being used to help first-graders learn

It’s like any other classroom until 7-year-old Kent Hyde, the teacher’s helper of the day, is asked to use the reading session to provide a status update for the classroom’s Facebook page. He slowly types in “In Language Workshop, we learned characters, problems and solutions.”


Parents: How do you feel about first-graders using Facebook in the classroom as a learning tool?

Click the above link for one first-grade classroom in Council Bluffs Iowa and how they are using it to help students learn.

What do you think? Good idea?

Are Michigan public school teachers overpaid?

More than 300 teachers in the region make more than $100,000 — double the median household income — and the average top wage for a teacher with a master's degree and roughly a decade of experience is nearly $82,000, according to a survey of districts in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties.


In my opinion, this story from the Detroit News about teacher pay in the metro Detroit area deserves some statewide discussion. This is especially true with the very struggling economy in Michigan.

The story talks about how teachers in the southeast Michigan region are among the highest paid in the nation. Check how many public school teachers get paid more than $100,000 per year.

Do these stats hold statewide? How does teacher pay in the Detroit-area compare with pay in the Upper Peninsula?

How about fringe benefits? How do teacher health care benefits compare to everybody else?

The perception is that the MEA's insurance is the Cadilac of health insurance policies.

Does the Michigan Legislature's two education committees provide any oversight to these issues? Is teacher pay bypassing examination and discussion?

Just curious.

Let's compare notes on "blepharitis", an inflammation of the eyelids

I first noticed the problem when my eyes started feeling scratchy, occassionally felt like they had sand in them, felt itchy and turned a bright shade of red every morning.  My ophthalmologist diagnosed me as having blepharitis.

A brochure he gave me says, "Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids.  The membrane covering the inside of the eyelid and the white of eye may also become inflamed."  The brochure is published by Krames.

To treat it, right now, my doctor has me going through a daily regime using the components of the Alodox Covenience Kit by OCuSoft which includes:

I have lots of questions:  How long does it take to manage this condition?  I've been at this for several months and it seems to be getting better very slowly.  Are there any long-term side effects of taking doxycycline? 

I bet there are many out there who have been treated for this blepharitis.  Can you share your notes?

I'm not looking for medical advice.  But I'm trying to become self-educated.  I want to learn more about this.  My eyes feel miserable when it flares up.


A letter to my grandson Xavier about his baptism

Dear Xavier,

I've really enjoyed spending time this weekend with you and your mom and dad. Your baptism will go down on my personal list of all time important events. I feel honored to be part of it.

It's a major life event for you and, as you grow, I hope that you are often reminded of your baptism at Christ Our Shepherd Church in Greenwood, Indiana by Pastor Mark Powell.  When he sprinkled the water on your forehead and said that he baptized you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you officially became a member of the family of God.

Your Grandma Thorp and I stood with your mom and your dad during the special service.  Pastor Powell's daughter, Megan, also assisted.  After the service, we all celebrated by having supper at Buca di Beppo in Greenwood. 

A couple of other things you need to know, include the special gown you wore for the baptism.  It was made from a parachute that helped bring my Uncle Paul's plane down safely during World War II.  I will write more about that.  Your mom, your Uncle Justin and I were all baptized in it.

This is just a short note to let you know how proud grandma and I are of you and your parents. You are a special guy and you are a winner.  I love you.

Grandpa Thorp

My grandson Xavier's baptism from Wes Thorp on Vimeo.

Some quick pics of my grandson Xavier on his baptismal weekend

It's a big weekend in our family because of our grandson Xavier's baptism.  It's a big deal for our almost five-month old first grandchild and for our family.  

Xavier We come from a faith tradition where infant baptism has eternal significance and, as a result, we feel it's something to be celebrated.  

There's also a big family tradition too because of the baptismal gown he will wear.  It was made from the parachute that brought down my uncle's bomber during World War II.  The plane had been hit and the parachute stabilized the aircraft until they were able to land it.  

I was baptized in it, my daughter, Krista was baptized in it and now her son will be brought into the family of God wearing the same gown. In addition, more than 30 of my cousins and their kids were christened in it.

What have we been doing as we get ready?  This morning, I held Xavier for more than an hour as we talked and explored. Super-wife and I enjoy our new roles as grandparents.  I love being part of a family.  Here's some still pics from my Flip video camera.

A link to the "Daily Prayer" from John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries

I've struggled with my prayer life.  I grew up in a conservative Lutheran background where pastors seemed to be tasked with the serious praying.  They had all the right words and the seminary training or so I thought.

My views have transitioned to the point where I see prayer as a conversation with God.  Don't misunderstand me that I view God as a next door neighbor or somebody in the cublicle next to me at work.  Not at all.

For me, it's sometimes hard to comprehend that I'm talking to and listening for the creator of the universe and the one who holds all the power and the one who has adopted me into his family.

Check out this prayer from author John Eldredge of Ransomed Heart Ministries.  I am using it frequently as a template that I can modify and expand on when I pray.  It's helping me open up more when I talk to God.

Has anybody used this in their daily prayers?

It's too easy to let Veterans Day pass without notice

Maybe, it's because this country seems like it's constantly at war, but it's easy to forget Veterans Day. 

This story and video from today's Detroit Free Press is a great profile of a young Marine from Mason who served in Iraq and who might be called up.  It's a reminder of the tremendous sacrifice they all make. I appreciate and I salute what they've done and continue to do.

Check out this video and let yourself be impressed:


Watch this video if you've been touched by "fatherlessness"

Regardless of where you live, fathers are pushing their kids to the sidelines and many are abandoning them completely.  Have you been affected by "fatherlessness" or do you know somebody who has?

It's a common problem that most people try to ignore.  But for those shoved back or cast to the curb by their dads, it's an experience that's been burned into their soul and the very core of their identity.

If you fall into one of these categories, check out this video by Hugh Clark, an Australian film producer, who shares his experience of finding his father after 39 years.  This is a powerful story that can help lead to one understanding him or herself and it can help others understand.


My Father's Voice: The Impossible Dream cut from Hugh Clark on Vimeo.

Should you feel better now that the GOP controls the Michigan House?

"Part of it is redefining and restructuring government to make it more efficient," said Rep. Peter Lund, R-Shelby Township, who chaired the House GOP's campaign. "But for the most part, you're going to have to make some serious budget cuts. It's not fun, it's painful, but that's what the state needs."


What can Michigan residents expect now that the Republican party controls the State House of Representatives, as well as the State Senate?

Peterlund Will there now be a higher level of transparency about how our money is being spent in Lansing? Will we finally get state lawmakers who lay their cards face up on the table?

Look at the above statement in today's Detroit Free Press by State Rep. Peter Lund from Macomb County who talks about redefining and restructuring state government.

He more than likely will be a leader in the new Michigan House majority.

Then look at how he brags about openness in sharing how he spends taxpayer money for his legislative office. Then look at what he shares.

How many employees does he have? How much do they get paid? How much does he take for his state provided expense account for traveling to and from his district?

How much does he spend from his campaign fund for officeholder expenses, like buying gifts? The questions could go on and on.

How many free meals does he accept from lobbyists? How many trips? How many tickets to sporting events?

Will Rick Snyder's office be a clone of John Engler's?

Leading the Snyder transition will be three Lansing veterans (all of whom worked for former Gov. John Engler): Doug Rothwell, head of Business Leaders for Michigan and former chief of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; his wife, Sharon Rothwell, vice president at Masco and chief of staff to Engler for eight years, and Mark Murray, president of Meijer stores, who served in state government under three governors, including Engler.


Check the above quote from today's Detroit Free Press about the three main leaders of Rick Snyder's transition team as he get's ready to become Michigan governor on Jan. 1.

They are three top staff leaders from the days of former Gov. John Engler who was regarded as being one of the more polarizing figures in recent state political history.

There seemed to be a culture of arrogance in the governor's office during that time which didn't include listening to either taxpayers or to state legislators.

Is Snyder assuming that the new term-limited state lawmakers are going to rollover and become his rubber stamps?

Maybe they will, but it shouldn't work that way. They are there to provide accountability and to be the eyes, ears and mouth of their constituents back home.

Anybody remember the Engler days? Any comments about the Rothwells? Will they bring the change that Snyder talked about during the campaign?