Friday, June 06, 2008

The rosary on u-tube

For those who pray the rosary and because today is Saturday here I am posting a link for you to pray the joyful mysteries with a u-tube video as an aid to meditation and devotion.Why pray the rosary? Jenny gives a good explanation on what the rosary has come to mean to her and her family.And Mrs Pea shares what Mary means to their family.

Of vegemite and tulips!

Since the day after Mr Eleven's birthday we have had a week of gastro! Both Mr7 and 11 sucumbed, the later getting sick the worst. During the recovery they are fans of vegemite toast and I have become an enthusiastic sprayer of Glen20! Now dd16 and ds18 are showing signs of weakening, looks like I might be lucky last!! Anyway I thought rather than dwell on the negative I would post these beautiful spring pictures from our Capuchin son in Wisconsin where it would appear "spring has sprung"! Apparently Duncan says they are particularly fond of Tulips around Burlington.

The St. Francis Friary and Retreat Center in Burlington was founded in 1929 as a seminary by Polish Franciscans from Pulaski, WI, on a 170 acre farm bordered on two sides by the Fox River. Shrines on the site to Our Lady of Chestochowa and Our Lady of Ostrobama became a major pilgrimage destination especially for Polish-Americans from Chicago and Milwaukee.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

with a fork in her hand

I received an e-mail recently from a priest who attended the funeral of a fellow priest who had only been ordained in 2002. In the e-mail he talked about how we can see earthly gifts as signs of God’s love for his children.

These earthly pleasures, when we recognize them as gifts of God, are simply a foretaste of the eternal gifts to come! Therefore, we cannot misuse or abuse these gifts, but see in these gifts God’s presence. For instance doesn’t it make sense for people to say a prayer before they eat, lest they see food as a “right” rather than a “gift?”

A Priest who knew this well before he was called home told the story about a woman who wanted to be buried with a fork in her hand. When her priest asked the reason for the strange request, the woman reminded him of what waiters would say to her at church banquets, dinners, and parties, “Please keep the fork, the best is yet to come!”

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Telling Mathematical Tales

In English a car can circle a building but it can’t do any rectangling or pentangling; at least not without a switch to another language. But there are other languages says Associate Professor Bill Barton, Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Auckland where shapes do behave as verbs, and it is possible to speak of pentangling, and a rectangle is seen as something that rectangulates. One is the Navaho people of North America.,
If we imagine then, as Bill does, what sort of geometry might emerge from a language where shape is seen as an action, we are likely to concede that it could be quite different from the geometry we learned at school. The chances are it would be more dynamic, perhaps with the basic unit as a moving circle rather than a straight line.
If maths is a creative human activity rather than a set of finite rules waiting to be discovered, this has pedagogical implication. An important one in Bill’s view, is that “play” and exploration need to be more highly valued at all levels.
Play is encouraged at the elementary level of arithmetic in primary grades, then vanishes to be replaced throughout high school and through undergraduate studies with an unremitting focus on acquiring knowledge and skills. It emerges only at postgraduate level and beyond, where for mathematical researchers, it becomes the centre of the creative part of their work.
“Mathematics is a created world, a world of the imagination a kind of academic Middle earth,” says Bill. “Research mathematicians play with abstractions. They make things up. And then they manipulate things in their made-up world to see what happens. It’s much more creative than making up a game. Often they’re making up the playing field as well.”
“Mathematical thinking is about relationships between abstractions. Teachers aim to help learners manipulate abstract concepts. But what do we do when children have trouble with maths,” says Bill “we go back to the concrete.” A much more useful approach Bill believes would be to give learners more practice with the abstract, perhaps by drawing maps, or plans of houses, or playing games with sequences of numbers, to see what happens and find patterns but without any expectation of a “correct” result.
“Learners need to get used to numbers being things to play with, because that’s what mathematicians do.”

(extracts from an article by Judy Wilford in "Ingenio et Labore: the University of Auckland Alumini Magazine")

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A birthday on the feast of the Visitation

Master T. had a great day of celebration 2 days after his younger brother. He is now eleven; where did all those years go but seriously having a baby at 40 was a wonderful privilage. From the moment he was placed in her arms he became his oldest sister's "darling". His oldest brother has sucessfully taught him to name and describe all things ornothological. His second oldest brother modeled a love of books which Master T. is now handing on to the youngest in the family. His 3rd oldest brother taught him well how to serve reverently at Mass and how to play a mean game of light sabres. His youngest sister taught him that laughter is an essential quality for survival in a family and his little brother gave him someone to pass all this wonderful knowledge down to. And the pictures of the day speak for themselves!