Weekly Meanderings, 30 September 2017

Great to see this about one of our DMin students, Kristen Marble:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— Many people have heard about Little Free Libraries, the bird house-like cabinets popping up across the country asking people to take, borrow or donate books. But have people heard of Little Free Pantries?

A Little Free Pantry is typically a wooden cabinet with unlocked doors, only a few feet in diameter, and stocked with non-perishable food items, toiletries and other donations.

They pop up in front of churches, in neighborhoods and even in people’s driveways. Creators say they’re designed to meet the last-minute needs of others, and oftentimes fall within food deserts where access to grocery stores and public transportation is limited.

West Morris Street Free Methodist Church on the southwest side of Indianapolis, installed one such “Little Free Pantry” this month, with plans to install a second in the near future.

“There are some real, significant needs in this neighborhood,” said Kristen Marble, Senior Pastor at West Morris Street Free Methodist Church, “so in some small way we can make a difference in that, then that’s what we want to be about.”

Marble launched a Little Free Pantry at Mars Hill Free Methodist Church, where she previously served as pastor, the response there from the congregation and the surrounding community was immediate.

“Much to my surprise, great surprise, probably within several weeks the neighborhood itself kind of adopted the pantry and made sure it was full,” Marble said people would pick up extra groceries just to stock the pantry which would see 20-30 guests a day.

The West Morris Free Methodist’s Little Free Pantry sits right out front of the church’s entrance. After announcing its installation, Marble said her office was stocked with nonperishable items from her congregation.

Computers in the classroom:

Laptop computers have become commonplace in K–12 and college classrooms. With that, educators now face a critical decision. Should they embrace computers and put technology at the center of their instruction? Should they allow students to decide for themselves whether to use computers during class? Or should they ban screens altogether and embrace an unplugged approach?

The right way forward is unclear, especially at colleges that pride themselves on connectivity. The vast majority of students carry laptops or tablets from class to class to take notes, consult references, collaborate with professors and classmates—and to update social-media sites, order takeout, and watch YouTube videos during lectures. The personal computer is a powerful tool. It can efficiently store and enhance student work; it can also effectively transport a student’s attention away from that work.

Not surprisingly, some professors have banned computers from class. But research shows many remain conflicted about their value: in a 2014 survey by Richard Patterson  and Robert Patterson of 90 professors at a liberal-arts school, 57 percent agreed that laptops enhanced learning, but 42 percent thought laptops decreased participation. Two-thirds of professors in a slightly larger survey from the same school had laptop-optional policies, and one in five required them for class.

Although students overwhelmingly like to use their devices, a growing research base finds little evidence of positive effects and plenty of indications of potential harm. To determine the impact of laptop usage on student performance, we conducted a randomized controlled trial among undergraduate students at the United States Military Academy, widely known by the name of its location in West Point, New York. In the study, we designated who was allowed to use and who was prohibited from using laptops or tablets to take notes in class.

We find that allowing any computer usage in the classroom—even with strict limitations—reduces students’ average final-exam performance by roughly one-fifth of a standard deviation. This effect is as large as the average difference in exam scores for two students whose cumulative GPAs at the start of the semester differ by 0.17 grade points on a standard 0–4.0 scale. Importantly, these results are from a highly competitive institution where student grades directly influence employment opportunities at graduation—in other words, a school where the incentives to pay attention in class are especially high.

We believe our findings raise important questions for colleges and college students about the impact of using Internet-enabled devices during class and may have implications for K–12 educators as well. [HT: JS]

Germany’s recent vote: Angela Merkel won, but

Damaged by her decision two years ago to allow one million migrants into Germany, Merkel’s conservative bloc secured 33 percent of the vote, losing 8.5 points — its lowest level since 1949. Her coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democrats, also slumped and said they would go into opposition.

Voters flocked to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), the first far-right party to enter the German parliament in more than half a century. However, the AfD hardly had time to savor its third-place showing before it fell into internal bickering.

Many Germans see the rise of the AfD as a similar rejection of the status quo as votes for Brexit and Donald Trump last year. But Germany’s political center held up better than in Britain and the United States as more voters have benefited from globalisation and most shun the country’s extremist past.

Merkel’s party remained the biggest parliamentary bloc and Europe’s most powerful leader said her conservatives would set about building the next government. She said she was sure a coalition would be agreed by Christmas.

Devorah Heitner: 6 Truths about Parenting Tweens

1) They want you to think well of them. They want to know that you respect them and like them and are hurt if you think poorly of them. Even if they seem to be trying to provoke a low opinion of themselves. Use this to your advantage! Be careful about what you say about them on social media or out loud when you think they can’t hear you. You may need to vent about their behavior, but be really careful about doing it in ways that won’t get back to them. By this age, it is crucial to always ask permission before you share pictures of them, or updates about them on social media. This is a great way to build trust, honor their privacy and teach them healthy boundaries about posting on social media.

2) It is very typical for kids to sometimes complain about you. So if you read their texts…you may see some moaning and groaning. Be careful about not overreacting to this! This is one of the many hazards of digitally spying on kids, especially without their knowledge. Think carefully about your motivations.

3) On the other hand, by this age, many kids know enough about their friends’ families to appreciate their own. They talk about their parents with one another. Your kid may talk about how she envies some of her friends’ families, but she also probably knows enough about some of her peer’s families to be grateful she has you. The families that seem to have few or no rules for their kids’ behavior may seem less appealing to your child as she gets to know them. Differing rules about social media, curfews or other boundaries will provoke some important conversations with your tween.

4) They want their friends to really know and understand them, but they don’t always totally understand themselves. Friendship is really tough at this age. Many kids go through relationship turmoil. Small problems can become big problems, and texting can turn up the dial on misunderstandings. It is easy to focus on feeling left out and social media can make it painfully visible and public.  It is one thing to learn about something you missed after the fact; it is even more painful to watch photos posted in real time by kids who are at a party or get-together that is taking place without you.

5) Sometimes tweens wish they were still little kids–even though they are all about talking about how they don’t want to be treated like a little kid. And they don’t! Except when they do. Don’t remark on this, just accept those times they want to be close. This is a time in your kid’s life to accept that you may be their ‘B’ plan if they don’t get invited to something cooler. If you can embrace being the fallback plan without complaint, you might end up having a really fun afternoon or evening with a great kid that you know and love.

6) They need reasonable and consistent limits.  Your presence gives them an excuse to say no to stuff that freaks them out. For example: Stop sending me those pictures. My dad looks at my phone and I’ll be in BIG trouble. Your child will push back. That is his job. Your job is to stay consistent, and to look ahead to greater independence and different limits. Small areas of independence may be very important to your tween, so finding the places where you can give them space to increase independence and self-reliance is also important. You don’t have to read all of your child’s texts for him to use you as a guardrail with peers to set a boundary.

You probably didn’t see The Publishers Weekly, and I wouldn’t had not my editor at WaterBrook, Andrew Stoddard, pointed it out to me — good for The Heaven Promise:

iBooks US Bestseller List – 09/17/17 – Religion & Spirituality
1. Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado – 9780718096441 – (Thomas Nelson)
2. Jesus Christ: Source of Our Salvation by Michael Pennock – 9781594714009 – (Ave Maria Press, Inc.)
3. What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do by David Jeremiah – 9780781413312 – (David C. Cook)
4. The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition by Brian & Singer-Towns – 9781599826868 – (Saint Mary’s Press)

5. Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments by Ave Maria Press – 9781594713910 – (Ave Maria Press, Inc.)
6. Precepts for Living 2017-2018 by Adonijah Okechukwu Ogbonnaya – 9781630387808 – (UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.))
7. Catholic Social Teaching by Brian Singer-Towns – 9781599820774 – (Saint Mary’s Press)
8. Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World [First Edition 2010] by Michael Pennock – 9781594713989 – (Ave Maria Press, Inc.)
9. The Sacraments by Joanna Dailey – 9781599825816 – (Saint Mary’s Press)
10. The Heaven Promise by Scot McKnight – 9781601426307 – (The Crown Publishing Group)
11. Our Catholic Faith by Michael Pennock – 9781594714016 – (Ave Maria Press)
12. The Bible by Robert Rabe – 9781599824154 – (Saint Mary’s Press)
13. The History of the Church by Peter V. Armenio – 9781936045952 – (Midwest Theological Forum)
14. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist – 9780310343042 – (Zondervan)
15. Unshakeable Trust by Joyce Meyer – 9781455560059 – (FaithWords)
16. Written on Our Hearts Third Edition by Mary Reed Newland – 9781599826127 – (Saint Mary’s Press)
17. Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst – 9781400205882 – (Thomas Nelson)
18. World Religions by Jeffrey Brodd – 9781599823294 – (Saint Mary’s Press)
19. Vocations by Fr. Luke Sweeney, Jenna M. Cooper & Joanna Dailey – 9781599825762 – (Saint Mary’s Press)
20. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart – 9780718098438 – (Thomas Nelson)

 

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