Entries Categorized as 'about'

Hat Tips (↬) and Vias (ᔥ): The Subtler Side of Citation on the Web

March 26, 2012

Curator’s Code On The Media

The Curator’s Code suggests symbols to help give credit for things on the web.

  • Vias () go to the link where you actually found the information you’re using,
  • Hat tips () credit the sites that pointed you in the right direction.

For example, I found out about the Curator’s Code on the On The Media program, so I should give them a hat tip like this:

I got the actual symbols off the Curator’s Code website so I could say the symbols come via them:

My standard form will be to stick these reference types at the bottom of each post or citation when they’re applicable. Like so:

Curator’s Code On The Media

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Hat Tips (↬) and Vias (ᔥ): The Subtler Side of Citation on the Web, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

OK, Comments are NOW Working

August 19, 2011

I thought I’d fixed the commenting system, but apparently not. It should be working now. Special thanks to Deb for letting me know, and testing it out.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. OK, Comments are NOW Working, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Moving on

May 28, 2011

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

–Tennyson (1842): Break, Break, Break via the Poetry Foundation.

I feel as if I’ve been posting more poetry than normal. I know I’ve been reading a lot more. It’s a habit I fall back into at major transitions. I’m leaving Lamplighter Montessori in Memphis and instead of doing everything in the Middle School, I will be taking a more Math and Science oriented position at the Fulton School at St. Albans near St. Louis. I’ve really enjoyed being the Middle School teacher at Lamplighter, so it is hard to leave, but the hardest part of moving on is that, in my multi-age, single-teacher classroom, there are seventh graders who I won’t be able to take through the full cycle.

It’s particularly hard because I’m leaving behind an exceptional group of students that any teacher would love to have in their classroom. They’re kids who love to learn, are serious about their work, and are well-balanced, “normalized” Montessori students; the epitome of constructivist education. For this reason, I know they’ll do well, which is some consolation (I also have a lot of confidence in their new teacher), but I will miss not being able to work with them.

Saying goodbye to the graduating students was also more difficult than I expected. There’s always some sadness in seeing them move on, but it is part of the normal progression of things, so it is a sweet sorrow. Now, however, my moving to another city introduces another element to a naturally traumatic change, especially for the kid who have had a harder time making the transition. Part of the safe anchor back to middle school, which some students need during that first year of high school, has become untethered.

At least, with the blog and email it is harder to loose all contact, but electronic communications cannot always satisfy the need to know that there is something, somewhere, safe behind you, somewhere that will provide a little unconditional positive regard we all need sometimes. Admittedly, this is often an illusion, institutions evolve, but I think it is a useful fiction we all need sometimes.

There is a lot to commend my new position, which I will undoubtedly be writing a lot about over the summer as I prepare classes, but after talking to my students individually today, I feel like I need to take a moment to reflect on what has been a few, wonderful years. Hence my need to resort to poetry.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Moving on, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Comments are NOT Closed

April 29, 2011

I discovered yesterday, that for some reason or the other, a number of my posts’ comments sections were closed. I’ve re-opened them all again, but I’m still not sure why they closed themselves.

Also, as I mentioned before, if you try to post a comment and it does not show up it was probably caught up in my spam-filter. I’ve caught a few like that, but it’s impossible to check them all. A direct email should suffice to solve that problem if it occurs (see contact me). I appreciate all the feedback.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Comments are NOT Closed, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Editing and Reviewing

March 26, 2011

Even if seven editors and seven reviewers, marked it up for half a year, I doubt they’d be able to completely clean up the mess I post to this blog every day (and they’d be full of bitter tears). However, in case they were willing to try, I thought it would be useful to be clear about what I mean by editing and reviewing.

Editing is catching all the grammatical errors, loose spelling, punctuation and so on that the author is liable to miss. Usually it is because he or she is reading what they thought they wrote, not what they actually typed. It might also involve checking citations to make sure they are right. In this case, it does not involve extensive fact checking, though at a real newspaper it would. Partly that’s because facts can be so malleable, but mostly it’s because I believe that making sure the facts are right are the responsibility of the author.

Reviewing is a lot harder, largely because, since it primarily deals with style, it is extremely subjective. I will admit that an awful lot of people are likely to consider my writing boring and atrocious, but I will often disagree. Good review is a process of negotiation. The reviewer tells the author what they like, and why, and what they don’t like, and why. Then, instead of yelling, the author carefully considers the comments and adjusts their piece accordingly. The reviewer then looks it over again and gives the same type of feedback as before. Ultimately, what’s published remains the responsibility of the author; they make the final choice about which comments to accommodate and which to ignore, but good reviewers are invaluable if used well.

So, if you see a tag at the bottom of a post saying “Reviewed by So and So”, or “Edited by So and So”, or even, “Reviewed and edited by So and So”, please spare them a moment’s thought because they’re not an easy or trivial jobs. This is especially true for a blog where the author sets themself the task of posting something every day, and finds it hard to stop writing once they’ve started. Even when they know they should. Like now.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Editing and Reviewing, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Geography of data

March 18, 2011

OK. For someone like me this map is just ridiculously addictive. Produced by Revolver Maps, it shows the locations of everyone who’s visited the Muddle since March 5th (2011). If you click on the map it will take you to their page where you can find out more about the locations of all those dots.

The points on the map are a fascinating result of a combination of population distribution, language, technologic infrastructure (and wealth), and the miscellaneous topics on which I post.

Hits on the Muddle (blue circles) after two days, overlayed on a population density map of the U.S.. (Population density map from the USDA).

Overlaying at the location of hits after two days, on a population density map of the U.S. shows the obvious: the more people there are, the more likely it is that someone would stumble upon my blog. The eastern half of the U.S. with its higher populations are well represented, as is the west coast, while the hits in between come from the major population centers.

The pattern of hits from Australia shows very precisely that the major population centers are along the coast and not in the arid interior.

Map showing the hits on the Muddle (March 5-7) from Africa versus population density.

Africa, however, tells a much different story. The large population centers are along the equatorial belt of sub-Saharan Africa. But even now, there are very few if any hits from that region. I suspect that’s largely because of language and lack of access to the internet. The Muddle is not exactly the most popular on the internet, so it probably takes a lot of people on computers for a few to find their way to it. Contrast sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa, which is relatively wealthy, uses English as its lingua franca (working language), and has seen at least a few people hit the Muddle.

Members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Most of these countries were once part of the British Empire. (Image from Wikimedia Commons User:Applysense.)

Language also plays in big role in the pattern of hits from Europe and Asia. There are many English speakers in western Europe, a very high population density, and so a lot of hits, but the British Isles, as might be expected, are particularly well represented. Similarly in Asia, the members of the Commonwealth are show up disproportionately.

From the middle east, there have been a several hits from the wealthy small states like Bahrain and Qatar, but also a number from Egypt. The Egyptian interest in particular seems to stem from my posts on the recent revolution. No-one from that part of the world has commented on any of it so far, so I have no idea if they find the posts positive, negative, indifferent or whatever. I’d be curious to find out, since even negative feedback is important.

On the note of current events, my post on the plate tectonics of the earthquake in Japan has engendered quite a number of hits, and some positive feedback in the comments section and via email (one from a Japanese reader). In the week since the earthquake more than half the hits to the Muddle have been to that post, largely because it’s been popping up on the front page of the Google search for “plate tectonics earthquake Japan”.

Recent visitors to the Muddle on March 15th, 5:00 AM.

It has been fascinating seeing people from so many different countries hitting my blog. Since most don’t comment, or drop me a note, blogging often feels quite lonely, like I’m just talking to myself. Self-reflection was the original purpose for this blog, and I find that combining writing and graphics really works for me as a way of expressing myself.

Yet, this blog would not be public if I did not have an insatiable urge to share. So thanks for reading, and don’t be afraid to comment. I am a Montessori middle school teacher after all, so I tend not to bite. Although, if you do try to post a comment and it doesn’t show up it may be because it got caught in my spam filter; there is a 1000:1 ratio of spam to legitimate comments so it’s hard for me to catch any mistakes. Sending me an email should fix that though.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Geography of data, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Reading levels?

December 20, 2010

One of Google’s new search options lets you assess sites based on reading levels.

The purpose of this blog keeps evolving in my mind. It is a place for me to keep all the notes and pedagogic reflections that I should be recording, but have not, and would not, be keeping otherwise. It’s also a bit like my writer’s notebook in that I use it to experiment my writing style.

I also hope the site can be useful to other Montessori (or any really) teachers because I have a real, fervent belief that everyone gains when we share as much information as possible.

This blog, being in a public space, should also be friendly to parents who might look in once in a while; this way they can get a fair, if perhaps too revealing, glimpse of my educational philosophy, see where I’m going, and get a bit of an explanation of why I do the things I do.

Finally, I occasionally show certain blog posts to my middle school students. It’s an easy place to link videos like the one about the Northwest Passage. Almost inevitably after I do that though, I’ll find some student perusing through the rest of the blog, usually with the exclamation, “Hey that’s not what actually happened!”

So I try to write posts that are accessible to all these different groups. I try not to shy too much away from using longer words, layered meanings, references, and subtexts, because, after all, if students don’t already get them, this is as good a place as any for them to learn.

Barry Schwartz has an interesting post at the Search Engine Roundtable about the new Google option, as does Adrian Chen at Gawker. Both articles post the graphs for a number of different sites. I’ve not yet seen an actual definition of the what the different levels on the graphs mean, but the Muddle sits almost entirely in the intermediate section of the graph, much like the New York Times’ site. This does not seem like bad company to keep, though I do think I’d like to try for more variety. We’ll see.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Reading levels?, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

A few changes

November 17, 2010

FYI: I’ve changed the Muddle’s website address from http://earthsciweb.org/MontessoriMuddle/ to the much simpler, http://MontessoriMuddle.org/. Links to the old url should automatically redirect, but let me know if I missed something (the comments section of this post would be great, or even by email).

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. A few changes, Retrieved October 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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