Why I Dropped Everything And Started Teaching Kendrick Lamar’s New Album

gnovember:

Haven’t listened to the album or in all honesty read the book BUT, I love it when teachers use contemporary sources to spur thinking in their students. Kudos!

Originally posted on Brian Mooney:

When Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), I was in the middle of teaching a unit on Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye (1970). My freshmen students were grappling with some big ideas and some really complex language. Framing the unit as an “Anti-Oppression” study, we took special efforts to define and explore the kinds of institutional and internalized racism that manifest in the lives of Morrison’s African-American characters, particularly the 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline. We posed questions about oppression and the media – and after looking at the Dick & Jane primers that serve as precursors to each chapter, considered the influence of a “master narrative” that always privileges whiteness.

Set in the 1940s, the Breedlove family lives in poverty. Their only escape is the silver screen, a place where they idolize the glamorous stars of the film industry. Given the historical context…

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Throwback Thursday

Nifanyeje na roho ishapenda? (What do I do when I have already fallen so hard?)

This song takes me back to high school days … But,look at how the ladies are so fully dressed compared to, ahem, today.

Spare a thought (and tears) for the Children

On Saturday I wept as I stood in front of a group of 15 high school students ranging in age from 15 to 18 (Grade 10 – 12).

For the past five weeks, I have been volunteering my time to tutor a class of Grade 10-12s at a school in Soweto to assist children from under-equipped schools with their school work in order to boost overall performance. There is an education crisis in South Africa and as a privileged member of the society; I have decided to take some time to give back.

 What is Maths Literacy?

 The competencies developed through Mathematical Literacy allow individuals to make sense of, participate in and contribute to the twenty-first century world — a world characterised by numbers, numerically based arguments and data represented and misrepresented in a number of different ways. Such competencies include the ability to reason, make decisions, solve problems, manage resources, interpret information, schedule events and use and apply technology. Learners must be exposed to both mathematical content and real-life contexts to develop these competencies. Mathematical content is needed to make sense of real-life contexts; on the other hand, contexts determine the content that is needed.

 There are five elements to it, Maths Literacy involves:

  1. the use of elementary mathematical content.
  2. authentic real-life contexts
  3. solving familiar and unfamiliar problem
  4. decision making and communication.
  5. the use of integrated content and/or skills in solving problems

 Source

 A bit of context here is the fact that until three or four years ago, Mathematics was not a compulsory subject for high school students and in fact many of them elected not to do it at all. I, who studied in Kenya until first degree level, found this extremely odd as Mathematics is compulsory for all until the twelfth year of high school. Further, that some of the outcomes being measured at Grade 10-12 level I did between Grades 4 and 8 to varying complexity.

So why did I cry?

A key skill they have to learn in Maths Literacy is ratios and proportions. For the past five weeks, I have been trying to teach them about cross multiplying in order to equate two relationships. On Saturday, we had a price list for vegetables and had to qualify cost; weights bought and undertake other related calculations.

The problem

If the price of strawberries is R29.99/400g:

  1. What is the price of 1 kg of strawberries?
  2. If he bought 0.4kg of strawberries, how much did he pay?

Each of these questions took us over 15 minutes to solve and I could tell that they just didn’t get what was required of them and tended to guess the final outcome. For instance, I got answers to (ii) above in grammes.

To test whether they understood this price-weight relationship, I would ask whether in (i) they expected an answer that’s greater than or larger than R29.99 and again, they had no clue. Here I was checking whether they understood the relationship and to introduce the idea of sense checking an answer rather than diving in to answer without understanding the question.

After the blank stares, I actually lost my head. For five weeks, we have applied cross multiplying to so many different circumstances and still they can’t apply it or even recognise when it’s the best way to arrive at a solution. What’s worse, even when I reminded them that we have looked at it repeatedly each Saturday without fail, in a bid to refresh their memory, there was no concern or even sense of urgency on their part. In fact, this was my issue to deal with as frankly it had no bearing on them.

The national pass mark is 30% and even with that, some 15.9% of Matric students failed Maths Literacy. The bar is so low and it broke my heart that even with such a low bar, these kids still had little fighting chance and that despite being sufficiently grown up to understand this, they still didn’t an I almost had the sensation of how hopeless my efforts were, almost like I was repairing a fast bleeding wound with the tiniest of plasters.

But that was one sad moment, today I am hopeful and looking at different ways to help them understand this principle as well as make Maths Literacy a practical subject for them and to empower them to have the confidence to do succeed and advance in their studies.

 

 

Sunday Reads

Happy Sunday and here are some reads to get into your morning coffee.

  1. On childlessness and more importantly why we never track the number of mean that elect not to have babies.
  2. How many of these have you read? Me only four!
  3. Always fascinating to read about the glorified world of interns or assistants.
  4. Yellow Fever is making quite the waves. Watch and Read
  5. On Dating and Apps in the African context
  6. Monica has paid her dues and needs to be released.

The positive voices, when there are enough of them, keep abusive ones from spreading, just as a mostly vaccinated population protects those few people who are not. Together, we have the power to protect the most vulnerable among us

My Crazy Happy List

I was challenged to do this post by a friend (snarky things these private blogs) so I will cite the initial source Karen.

“Grab a pen and paper, and list everything you love to do that fills you with joy and/or grace.  It can be shooting photographs, or cooking, or taking a shower, or running a mile, or singing or whatever.  Write deeply profound things, or silly little things, like organizing the junk drawer in your kitchen.  Write until it exhausts you.  Just write whatever fills you with joy or grace.”

In no particular order here are my favourites:

  1. Listening to Talk Radio and Podcasts.
  2. Reading. A good book, a great article, a lovely post. Even bad stuff, I will read as long as people write. I like the fact that reading allows a third dimension to come in and you can start to hear, smell or imagine stuff beyond what’s actually on the paper.
  3. Sitting with family to have easily six conversations running concurrently and speaking a mish-mash of all the different languages we speak or appropriating words to mean something new altogether.
  4. Chatting – whether on Gmail or on Whatsapp. I love the connection it gives me and the fact that it helps pass time.
  5. Getting a good work out and pushing my body really hard.
  6. Road trips with my Mr – gives us a chance to really talk and connect as well as listen to each others Music (his mainly).
  7. Cooking for family and seeing their appreciation S/O to my nephew who is so complimentary when you hit the happy spot. Also, getting a new cookbook and trying a new recipe and having it come out tasty and adding it to my repertoire of meals.
  8. Browsing in a bookstore or being in a Library. BOOKS, YUM!!!
  9. Journaling and my journals. I have journaled more on than off since I was 11 years old and have kept each of them.
  10. Writing lists. Anyone that knows me knows that I list everything for private and professional stuff. To-do lists, shopping lists, meeting notes, books to read, places to go, stuff I like – LISTS are my thang
  11. Reading an applied Economics paper that answers a really practical and useful question and actually getting it.
  12. I make a mean cup of tea.
  13. Friendship – catching up with a pal and connecting whether on silly or deep things. Just connecting.
  14. Getting my hair done. Ok, I will say that again, getting my hair done.
  15. Going to Church and being in a room with other believers.

What about you, what’s on your crazy happy list?

Christ is risen today!

Jesus is the reason for this season and his death and Resurrection the reason for our faith. Let us not forget!

Long weekend reads

It’s the Easter weekend, four long glorious days to reflect on what Christ did for us and to rejuvenate with our family and loved ones. Be safe and enjoy the links below:

  1. How to boost your baking experience
  2. Taking stock of your spices
  3. I can’t imagine this level of isolation or unquestioning belief. Not good or bad, just different.
  4. I love that me and the Mr are a trend
  5. On the idiocy of copying a foreign education system, just for the sake
  6. Asking your salary has become the new black. But it shouldn’t
  7. Preach on Chris Blattman
  8. African School of Economics – based in Cotonou, Benin and offering a Master in Mathematics, Economics and Statistics (MMES) and Master in Business Administration (MBA)
  9. How well do you know your neighbours?
  10. This is us/ our near future
  11. The only piece of advice I would give to people planning a wedding (oh! and thank God I never felt the post-wedding blues or the crash)
  12. I know of Sasha Grey from Entourage. You?
  13. So true! Foreign blacks are always prepared to indigenous Blacks
  14. Advice before you get started on your PhD
  15. Women in Kenya and the need for safe spaces (I totally have an intellectual crush on the writer!)
  16. On being a woman in Tehran (and staying)

Preach Seth Godin

There’s no more important criticism than self criticism.

There’s no amount of external validation that can undo the constant drone of internal criticism.

And negative self talk is hungry for external corroboration. One little voice in the ether that agrees with your internal critic is enough to put you in a tailspin.

The remedy for negative self talk, then, is not the search for unanimous praise from the outside world. It’s a hopeless journey, and one that destroys the work, because you will water it down in fear of that outside critic that amplifies your internal one.

The remedy is accurate and positive self talk. Endless amounts of it.

Not delusional affirmations or silly metaphysical pronouncements about the universe. No, merely the reassertion of obvious truths, a mantra that drives away the nonsense the lizard brain is selling as truth. 

You cannot reason with negative self talk or somehow persuade it that the world disagrees. All you can do is surround it with positive self talk, drown it out and overwhelm it with concrete building blocks of great work, the combination of expectation, obligation and possibility.

When in doubt, tell yourself the truth. 

Adapted entirely from Seth Godin’s blog – the 29th of March 2015 post.

A week in pics

A few weeks back, I decided to try and take pics to showcase my week so here goes!

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Tuesday– messy desk at the end of the week. My staples, earphones and a cuppa tea Smile

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Wednesday – I had training in this room that had beautiful art work all around.

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Thursday – I read through four books in those three weeks so I went to the Library for four more. Tihiii, it helps that they were heavily Chick Lit Smile with tongue out

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Friday: I got some beautiful scented candles from Mr P home. They are set against a khanga I received as a gift when my sister got married. It now dabbles as a table cloth in the kitchen as a touch of home!

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Saturday: I took my nephew to the Ditsong National Museum of National History in Pretoria CBD. We walked for almost 2.5h and he had such a blast. He is ten years old, loves animals and is learning about some of them at school and so it helped for him to see them in their natural habitat.

Enjoy!

Sunday reads

  1. What would a similar experiment reveal for various African states?
  2. The benefits of being an ally to a working mom
  3. If you love beautiful pics and who doesn’t?
  4. If you ever wondered about the Porn industry in Japan. It’s a dog’s job but the article reveals so much of their society so do read.
  5. I actually thought that Pinterest was too cool for me. Good explanation of the changes.
  6. All I can do is wish these two a quick and speedy recovery, SMH!
  7. Cauliflower Barley Risotto
  8. Moroccan Carrot & Quinoa salad
  9. 20 beautiful pasta recipes
  10. For next time someone asks me about kids
  11. Babies in a Birkin Bag?? Yep! Seems its a thing!
  12. If you like weddings, or specifically, Nigerian Weddings that are a category in themself

Enjoy!

If you are in the 254 this weekend and looking for something to do

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A memo on giving

I listened to a lovely sermon this week on giving and I felt it necessary to share it here.

  1. Giving is a Bible teaching. We are all called to give, of our bodies and first fruits, tithes and offerings.
  2. 2 Corinthians 8 talks of the grace of giving. We give because God has given first to us.
  3. It must cost us to give. King David (1 Chronicles 21:24) refuses to make an offering unto God if he could not buy the land on which to place the altar. This says to me that we can’t give something we did not work for or give our tithes despite feeling that we need that money for other needs. There must be a slight pinch to us.
  4. (Deuteronomy 16:16) Do not appear before the Lord empty handed.
  5. God cares about the other 90% that we keep. He is also interested in how we spend that. We need to be careful that we also honour God with that expenditure.
  6. With our finances, we either Give (to God), Save or Live. In what order do we apportion each of these?
  7. It is our calling to use our wealth to provide an inheritance for our children’s children (Proverbs 13:22).
  8. Sometimes God gives us for our (and others) sustenance but at times He gives us to plant a seed that many and others can also benefit from that ( 2 Corinthians 9:10 –11).

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

Remember also that God loves a cheerful giver and that our giving does not depend on what our neighbour is doing or not doing. Or commonly, the question of what the Church is doing with our tithes or that they are not spending it well. Very often, there is a preconception that if we give our tithes and offerings (our money) that God must provide us with wealth, be it cars, houses, jobs and all that. Our God knows the number of hairs on our head and he looks after the birds in the sky. That is who we serve. His ways are not our ways and so we cannot expect that if we give we must receive like for like. And this is where I depart from prosperity gospel teachings. We are promised numerous blessings and we can call upon each of them before God and remind them of His promises to us but we cannot bribe him with our giving or hold him to ransom with that either. He is God and we are man. We can test Him (Malachi 3:10) by giving repeatedly but we dare not prescribe what we want in return like he is an ATM machine.

We give because of what He has given to us and He gives according to our needs and based on His love for us.

Very late Sunday reads

I had issues with my home network and so I can only get to this now. Please enjoy!

  1. We need to talk about emojis
  2. So creative. Loved this!
  3. I concluded this week that I don’t like Being Mary Jane. Read why she feels the same. Oh I don’t like it because I find it overacted and that Mary Jane is so highly strung all the darn time!
  4. Oh ok. Is this where rappers get their game from?
  5. Eat out: I checked out this restaurant following her recommendation. Very good, would definitely also recommend it.
  6. Never knew about this place. But very inspiring!
  7. Spinach pesto pasta with Roasted Red Peppers and Ricotta
  8. Don’t know what to make of this article on gender differences and bias in academic performance.
  9. Loving this tongue in cheek simplified explanation of the global financial crisis.
  10. I heart the subject content but I HEART how this girl writes!
  11.  

What’s the date today again?

Me: Dude, do you wanna just slow down?

Year: (Shouted back over her shoulder as she sped off) Naha! No can’t do!

M: Darn! Gotta try and keep up I suppose coz right now, I am struggling!

Sunday reads

Enjoy your afternoon of Sunday reads!

  1. What’s in a name?
  2. I hear you, but I still struggle with this
  3. There is always that one question that seems to be doing the rounds in interviews. Here is the latest one
  4. Yes these are stupid outbursts but what happens to their lives afterwards?
  5. I can only pray for these people. May God judge them ever so severely!
  6. Because I love Obama
  7. Cooking with wine? Here are a few tips
  8. Oh my heart, such a  cool dude. Please have a listen
  9. I might very well love to drink tea, as much as I love reading about it!

Cheers!

Cheers to the weekend

Since I got into work, I have been listening to the following tracks on repeat, one after the other.

Enjoy and cheers to the weekend!

Some Sunday Reads

Hope you are having a lovely day, here are some lovely reads for this afternoon.

  1. Going beyond the heading : malaria nets and depleting fish stock
  2. A decadent shrimp risotto recipe
  3. Beck > Beyonce 
  4. So excited for the new TLC Album
  5. This wedding had me catching some type of feelings!
  6. Because I totally love tea
  7. Booya! Reverse tourism

Week 6’s little pleasures

child-laughter

I had such a long and trying week and whenever that happens, I force myself to identify the little things and enjoy those.

  1. Listening to Barbara Kingsolver at the Rosebank Exclusive Books. I kept saying to myself under my breath Tata Jesus is Bangala!
  2. Iced bubble tea at Happy.Me Rosebank
  3. New work out gear
  4. Fish curry with friends
  5. Two great gym classes
  6. Loving my Pilates instructor and class. So tough on the core but so good.
  7. Reading Gone Girl. LOVING IT!
  8. Finished Jonny Steinberg’s Little Liberia and I loved it so much.
  9. Getting started on tonight’s dinner – we are hosting friends from our Honours class and with the numbers (and so I can also chill and enjoy the evening) this is best.
  10. Dinner with my sister and nephew because I had no power at home.

Life is about all the small moments and I hope that I remain conscious enough never to forget that.

What to read in 2015

gnovember:

I like the idea of the theme: pick a few books from a Nobel Laureate or authors whose first book made a major splash. Sounds exciting and I definitely can’t wait to do this this year! Happy reading!!

Originally posted on BookerTalk:

You’ve read everything on your ‘to read’ shelf (ok, I’m joking) And got through everything you were given as a Christmas gift. So now you’re in the mood to look ahead and start planning what to read over coming months. Naturally the authors and publishers know that no matter how many books lying unopened on your shelves avid readers always want more.

This year will see new issues from some of the foremost writers of our times (work from at least three Nobel Laureates) and a few second books from people whose debuts got them noticed.

The selection below is just a fraction of course of what will be published (they don’t include science fiction, YA or fantasy since none of those genres have appeal for me).  If you think I’ve missed something new and notable, do let me know.

And of course tell me what you’re most looking forward…

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Shout out to Podcasts

So I have waxed lyric about my love for podcasts but I have never really said what I listen to and why I love it so much. Please note, I have subscribed to each of them on iTunes but if you go to the website I am sure you can play it directly or off another Media player.

State of the Re:Union logoI recently got into this podcast and so far I.LOVE.IT because the thing I love about podcasts are the stories they tell and the human angle to them. Best episodes so far: The Sorting of America, Trans Families and American Justice. The web pages of each episode also provide additional reading and listening material which is further educative.

image This podcast is hosted weekly by a husband and wife team and they speak about all sorts of random stuff. We are only at week three for now, so it would be easy for anyone to catch up. The reason I am so clued up (thank me later) is because I follow Chesca’s Tumblr and she made the announcement there. Listen and lemme know what you think.

image This might be of interest if you have read the books or if you like to explore data in unconventionally. There are quite a few episodes on various topics. I recently listened to the episode “Tell me something I don’t know” which is basically a game show of ideas. So hilarious but informative.

 image    This series touches on a wide variety of topics. For instance this week I listened to a podcast on the teenage brain, heroine treatment in Kentucky and just understanding an addicts’ brain, crime reporting and modern day parenting. Also, listening to this podcast really got me excited to watch Boyhood. I also think that the presenter, Terry Goss, also displays great sensitivity when speaking to her different guests and that’s quite appealing to me.

image  Because everyone was talking about this podcast in the second half of last year. Everybody. I finally got to it during the December break and listened to all 12 episodes. It basically retells the story of the disappearance and murder of a high school senior (Hae Min Lee) by her then boyfriend (Adnan Syed) and his subsequent mistrial and finally conviction. The host goes through some of the evidence and takes the viewer through each of them. It’s quite engrossing but it made me a bit sad that the focus is on Adnan and not so much on Hae’s family that must still be angry and/or grieving. Season two is bound to return soon and I wonder what it will be on. Must say, I liked the recommendation for it to to focus on another topic – like a chef starting up in a few weeks or a fashion designer or something like that.

I love the BBC and so it is no surprise that there are two podcast series on here.

 image The show’s by line talks of looking at the world through the feminist perspective. And that’s exactly what they do covering both serious and frivolous topics.

BBC Documentaries that covers all sorts of global stories in an in depth analytical way.

I also really like Focus on the Family and again here are two shows from that broadcasting family.

Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast– they cover more wholesome topics that are family friendly and that build the individual up as well. The show is also broadcast daily.

Focus on the Family: Focus on Marriage – because I believe it helps to get all the help one can when married.

So this is what I play in my ears during the work day, what podcasts do you likeFre