Kiddo’s school is contracting with a company called Booster to raise $78,000 for new technology for the school. U.S. schools are, of course, underfunded, and I’m generally in favor of getting more money into their bank accounts. I have a number of concerns about this fundraiser, though, and it’s making me grumpy.
what “technology”? I have a PhD in educational technology, which means two things in this context. First, I’m very aware of the fundamental—and often useful—role that technology plays in learning, so I’m not opposed to updating the tech in kiddo’s school.
I grew up not drinking tea or coffee because of religious convictions—a habit that ultimately stayed with me longer than those convictions! Over the course of the two years I spent as a Mormon missionary, I taught a number of people that (among other things) they should adopt the same convictions and also give up tea and coffee. One of the most interesting lessons on this subject I had was with Jonathan.
Last day of kiddo’s summer, so no matter how behind I am on course prep, we are unapologetically going to the zoo.
Does anyone have experience arranging for language lessons for kids? I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m reasonably competent as a French teacher and as a dad, but not the combination of the two.
Ma fille aime bien les crêpes au Nutella, et ça fait un petit moment qu’on n’en a pas fait. Comme elle est malade depuis quelques jours, c’était le bon moment ce soir de reprendre cette petite tradition. En mangeant ma première crêpe, j’ai été rempli d’un tas de souvenirs, comme si c’était la madeleine de Proust. Je n’ai pas envie d’écrire sept tomes sur le sujet, mais pourquoi pas un petit blog ?
I don’t like the card game War as a game, but I’m increasingly appreciative of it as a way to spend time with kiddo.
We decided to stuff this weekend full (early anniversary dinner and movie, then visit to friends across the state, then family visit to water park) so naturally kiddo tested positive for COVID-19 tonight.
I don’t want to contribute to the misconception that professors don’t work during the summer (which is hilariously false), but I’m really glad I took advantage of my nine month contract by prioritizing time with kiddo these last few months.
Quand ma fille demande du pain grillé pour le petit-déjeuner, je pense souvent à une affiche publicitaire Migros des années 2000 où un papa un peu crétin fait des courses en se demandant « Des toasts et quoi encore ? »
This summer, I’ve taken advantage of my 9-month contract with the University of Kentucky to have lots of adventures with kiddo while my spouse (who has a 12-month contract) continues at her job. It’s been a real delight! A couple of Fridays ago, we drove to Danville, a town in Central Kentucky where I spent a summer as a high schooler but haven’t been back to since. We bought her a book, me some amazing chocolate mint tea, and had a great time exploring fun shops and public art in adorable downtown Danville.
I don’t remember how I first discovered Jason Shiga, but I do remember working my way through his interactive puzzle comic Meanwhile one summer, some of it while purportedly completing an internship. Meanwhile is one of the first comics I added to my collection and one of the few of my early acquisitions that I still have. Anyway, all of that is to say that when I saw this comic in the new children’s books area at a local library, I immediately grabbed it.
In further proof that stereotypical plots in children’s media often have some truth to them, kiddo was dreading going to summer camp this morning but wished this afternoon that she didn’t have to leave.
Grateful to have a spouse who thinks I like ginger way more than a person should but still buys dark chocolate ginger cookies because she knows I’ll like them. She and kiddo tried them, but I’m the only one who appreciates the burn.
Kiddo: “I just want to teach cavemen to make pepperoni pizza.”
Big family bike ride today, and spouse and I were trying to figure out why kiddo was struggling so much on a mostly flat rail trail. Get back and learn that her brake pads were broken and slowing her rear tire the whole time.
I work hard not to be a sitcom dad, but it just occurred to me that after spouse left for airport, we’ve basically done nothing but order pizza and play video games, so…
Kiddo, just now: “Are Pokémon even marsupials?”
I was a big fan of Homestar Runner in the early-to-mid 2000s, but I’m still baffled by how into it kiddo has gotten over the past few months.
When I was kiddo’s age, Pokémon didn’t exist yet, so there’s something that breaks my brain about her current enthusiasm for the franchise.
Kiddo last night: “please let me sleep in on Saturday!” Kiddo this morning: wakes up earlier than she does on a school day.
I don’t know what it is about particular volumes of this series that makes them rise above the rest, but this was one of them. Maybe it was adorable Ghüs becoming a badass when needed or a father-daughter reunion or something else. Whatever it was, this series continues to deliver.
Kiddo has EXTREMELY low standards for a pronouncement of “Best Daddy Ever,” but I’m grateful for it nonetheless.
Kiddo is excited to be signed up for soccer, so we’ve spent time kicking her new ball around the past two nights. I’m surprised by how much is coming back to me, given that I haven’t played in ~15 years and that I’ve never been good.
Kiddo is complicating our errand to buy her soccer stuff by insisting on hugging all the mannequins in the sports store.
One of our newest family traditions is kiddo watching a Homestar Runner video during her bedtime snack while I do some dishes and see how many of the lines I still remember verbatim.
One of kiddo’s library books right now is part comic and part choose your own adventure, all wrapped up in a solo TTRPG adventure. It’s a bit too old for her, but we’re both loving it.
Jon Sciezka and Julia Rothman’s “The Real Dada Mother Goose” is a real delight. It’s not often that kiddo checks out books that are homages to Dada, Oulipo, and other things I studied as a French major.
My sister-in-law recently gifted me a copy of R. Sikoryak’s weird but wonderful comic Terms and Conditions, which “adapts” the 2015 iTunes terms and conditions into a comic format. I was as delighted by the gift, which I’m sure only contributed to her bewilderment (she knew I wanted the book, but I can’t blame anyone for not understanding why I wanted it).
One of the gags of the comic is, obviously, the idea that a comic adaptation would get you to actually read through the whole document instead of just pretending that you have.
The pure joy kiddo showed when getting her first library card was exactly what I needed just now.
I have never needed to write a recursive function in any of my (admittedly quite limited) professional programming, but when messing with kiddo’s robot today, I remembered the concept from a Java class in college and pulled it off in block programming. Pretty happy with that.
Today, kiddo is rediscovering her set of Story Cubes. I had forgotten her insistence that the comedy and tragedy masks on one cube face are actually Grey-style aliens.
I’ve mentioned before that I support the Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land podcast on Patreon, one of the perks of which is that I get access to the Tribune’s Mormon coverage without having to subscribe to the whole paper (which would be a lot of money for someone who doesn’t care about Jazz coverage or Utah politics).
Thanks to this Patreon perk, I read a lot of news about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and between that and over three decades that I spent as an active member of that church, you’d think that nothing would surprise me anymore.
Kiddo’s uncle is teaching her the Pokémon TCG, which is pretty delightful.
I am skeptical about heavy emphasis on STEM as educational policy, but watching my kid learn to program with her new robot today was a real treat.
Skipping my congregation’s candelight service today. Can’t go in person because of family sickness, and they’ve made it clear that they aren’t going to make huge efforts to make it Zoom accessible. Bummed to miss it, but playing Mario Party with kiddo instead is pretty fun.
In the Greenhalgh home, Mommy’s been sick for over a week, which means Daddy’s not gotten a lot of work done recently. Final grades are due tomorrow, though, so kiddo might get a lot of screen time today.
Boosted kiddo’s motivation to help put away the dishes by convincing her to think of it as a magic trick (making the dishwasher’s contents ‘disappear’). Boosted my own by remembering it’s now legal to play Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music around the house.
In recent years, my faith has become less literal, my marriage has become mixed-faith, and we’ve both committed to letting kiddo choose her own future as she gets older. This has meant revisiting family ritual and tradition for end of year holidays, but it’s kind of fun!
‘Kiddo, I’m glad you’re a part of our family.’ ‘… the weirdest family?’ I will never tire of her developing sense of humor.
J’aime quasiment toutes les pistes sur le nouvel album de Stromae, mais j’apprécie surtout « C’est que du bonheur », où il parle en toute franchise des hauts et des bas de l’expérience d’être parent d’un jeune enfant.
Kiddo is coming with me to class this afternoon, which is fun—but complicated by the fact that my lecture today is the most controversial and ‘adult’ of the semester for this class. Still, maybe a kid will have important insight on controversies surrounding content moderation?
Kiddo after waiting and watching patiently while I filled out ballot at early voting: ‘I have to admit, that was pretty fun!’
Since the beginning of COVID-19, I’ve been dismantling a lot of my productivity and organization systems, trying to put less pressure on myself to get things done and be more mindful in how I spend my time. Several months ago—I cannot remember exactly when—this culminated in taking email off my phone and pivoting away from the excellent Things 3 task management app to a more paper notebook-driven approach to keeping track of what I need to get done.
Using the Stardew Valley soundtrack as a chores anthem seems to get kiddo more excited (or at least less resentful) about helping out around the house.
About a month ago, I blogged about the approach we take to playing video games around here, which is to check out old games from a local library and play them on the Nintendo Wii we liberated from my parents’ basement a couple of years ago. Earlier this week, that approach bore some fruit: After repeated cycles of keeping the game out as long as we could, returning it for a couple of weeks, and then checking it back out, kiddo and I beat Super Mario Galaxy 2—a game several years older than she is for a console that’s been around for nearly as long as her parents have known each other.
Especially proud of kiddo’s growing sense of humor when it involves successful wordplay. Tonight, she went from ‘my legs are wobbly’ to ‘my legs are wallabies,’ and it was great.
Kiddo’s response to our complaining that we’re also tired: 🎶’When you’re a kid you get to sleep, but now you don’t, now you don’t!’ 🎶
This morning, kiddo was pretending to be a robot, so when I needed her to switch her attention from, say, getting dressed to brushing her teeth, I’d have to pretend to “reprogram” her before she’d cooperate. This got me wondering if she was maybe old enough to try some basic programming activities—something like LEGO Mindstorms. I think that she’s probably still a bit young for that sort of thing, but it made me excited about doing this sort of thing in the future.
As kiddo’s school year has gotten into full swing and mine has gotten busier, I’ve spent less time griping about her school’s use of ClassDojo. However, I’ve also become increasingly annoyed at the fact that the weekly update email I get from the company always has the subject line “What did your child accomplish this week?” The body of the email is divided into two sections: The number of “points” that my child was assigned, and the number of “stories” that my child appeared in.
Just wrote in an email that the worst part of academia is when my breaks from school don’t line up with my kid’s. I wrote it flippantly, but I don’t think I’m too far off.
There’s a great xkcd strip (see below) about someone who always plays video games on a five-year lag because you get to enjoy all the good games with less of a hassle:
I love this strip for a few different reasons. First of all, I’ve never been a hardcore videogamer, so if I do ever play a big title, it usually is about five years after the fact. Second, I think there’s something about it that gets funnier (or else makes me feel older) over time: It’s funny to think of someone only discovering Portal in early 2013, but now that “five years late” is almost “ten years ago,” there’s something kind of absurd about the strip.
It’s September, and we’re on our second cold of the school year. 😩
Kiddo’s classmate thinks our ridealong setup (which attaches a third wheel and second seat for kiddo to my normal bike) should be called a tricycle. I love it, but it enrages kiddo for reasons I don’t get.
This afternoon, kiddo tried to walk out of the library to the car without stopping her book, which makes me optimistic about her development as a reader.
‘If there was a dimension where they didn’t brush teeth, I would want to live there.’
Early in the school year, I signed up to be a parent representative on one of the Site-Based Decision Making (SBDM) committees for kiddo’s school. I had already started being a rabble-rouser about ClassDojo and some of my other edtech concerns, and I wanted to show that I could put in work where my whining was: That is, that I wasn’t just going to complain about things, but that I was going to show support for the school by helping out where I could.
In addition to all the irritating ClassDojo stuff going on at kiddo’s school, I’ve also spent some time banging my head against the wall made up of two forms: One to opt out of FERPA directory information sharing, and the other to opt out of kiddo’s information being shared with media outlets. I’m too tired tonight to get into all the details of what’s been going on, but the short version is that there’s no (clear, easy) way for spouse and I to request that kiddo’s name and image not be shared on school social media without also insisting that kiddo’s name and image not appear in innocuous things like… a school yearbook.
When I was in school, I’d frequently get stressed about whether I was sick enough to warrant staying home. The idea of making a “wrong” choice in either direction was frightening. Anyway, it turns out that anxiety extends to making that same decision for my kid.
I’ve thought a lot about “community” in online spaces over the course of my (still-short) academic career. Early drafts of my dissertation had a lengthy discussion about the benefits and disadvantages of Étienne Wenger’s community of practice framework (which emerged from Wenger’s work with Jean Lave) as compared to James Paul Gee’s affinity space framework. From a research perspective, I tend to prefer Gee’s space-focused perspective and agree with many of his arguments for why it makes more sense to use that language in an online setting.
The parent of one of my (college) students this semester was previously the (early childhood) teacher for my kid. Funny how these things happen!
Besides explaining Star Wars stuff, one of the greatest perks of parenting is pulling out board games I haven’t played in years because kiddo wants to try them.
‘What’s going on in the movie when this [the Imperial March] is playing? Are the Stormtroopers trooping?’
I’ve been blogging about ClassDojo enough over the past few weeks that I think it’s time for a quick recap before sharing some of the latest developments. I heard about ClassDojo being used schoolwide back in late July and started wondering what approach I should take as both a student’s parent and an edtech researcher. On Monday of this week, I talked to kiddo’s teacher about it and wrote up some thoughts the next day about teachers’ diminished agency in the realm of edtech.
I hate myself for creating a ClassDojo account, but kiddo’s school is going all-in, so not sure I have the choice. First observation is how confident the app is that it can make me pay extra for free software I don’t want to use in the first place.
I really will get back to blogging on other subjects sometime soon, but here’s an email I just sent to kiddo’s principal raising some concerns I have going into the school year. I’m not sure what will come of this—and I’m not at all sure this was the right email to write—but in the off-chance it’s helpful for someone, I thought I’d post about it here.
Dear Principal [so-and-so],
Kiddo starts at a new school on Wednesday, and I’ve been putting off signing the Acceptable Use Policy and Chromebook Policy because I want to read them carefully. I don’t know how much I can do about anything that I’m really concerned with, but I’m a tech researcher when I’m not being kiddo’s dad, so I feel an obligation to be informed and raise a fuss when something is fussworthy.
Kiddo is encountering face cards for the first time and is incensed that Kings rank higher than Queens. “Why can’t they be equal?!” Proud that she recognizes sexism at her age.
Kiddo starts at a new school this year, so we got the chance to all go as a family today and get introduced to everything. Kiddo got to meet teachers and other kids while we filed into a meeting to fill out a ton of paperwork and learn about how this school does things. For years, I’ve been wondering when my research in educational technology (and, increasingly, critical research on social technologies more broadly) were going to become relevant as a parent with a kid in school, and it looks like it’s going to be this year.
Trouble is a dumb game, and I will never own a copy, but if it kills some time with kiddo at Grandma and Grandpa’s when I’m too tired to play anything more imaginative, I guess that’s fine.
I will never grow tired of hearing kiddo say “sand hanitizer.”
I have been making efforts to introduce kiddo to both Mario Kart and ABBA, so I am very proud that she now makes the Koopa Troopa / Super Trouper joke on her own.
When I was growing up, our family had a three-VHS set of the original Wallace and Gromit shorts, and while “Wallace and Gromit fan” was never at the forefront of my identity, I have always loved The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. Naturally, things that I loved as a kid are near the top of my list of things to introduce to kiddo. I showed them to her a couple of years ago—probably near the beginning of the pandemic—but she had no memory of them, so this weekend, I had the pleasure of reintroducing her to the series.
Saturday morning dad biathlon: Solo walk and run for latest couch to 5k session then 7 mile roundtrip on bike (kiddo on ridealong) to play at local playground.
One of the most prominent joys in recent parenting has been discovering that the same Jon Agee who was writing palindrome and wordplay books when I was a kid is still at it—and watching kiddo enjoy them even more.
Je suis deçu de ne jamais avoir réussi à enseigner le français à ma fille, mais je suis quand-même content que cette langue reste un moyen de communication secrète entre mon épouse et moi.
The biggest upside to my failed efforts to teach kiddo French is that I can still use it to communicate secretly with my spouse.
Kiddo and I are getting back into the “Magical Kitties Save the Day” TTRPG, and she keeps asking me when we can play next. Feels like a win!
A couple of weekends ago, I had my first experience with a Community of Christ Reunion camp. Kiddo and I only stayed for a long weekend rather than the whole week, but it was still a great experience. By far the best experience I had at Reunion was a Monday morning class for young adults and “90s kids” (which is not a label I’ve ever actively applied to myself, but it fit just fine.
The title of this post is a bit misleading. My wife and I aren’t really big on “Parent’s Day” celebrations: Years of Latter-day Saint “all women are mothers” (read: motherhood is the most important part of womanhood) Sunday services grated on us during our years of infertility, and even now that we are parents (and aren’t practicing Latter-day Saints—though my current denomination certainly isn’t immune from a cringeworthy celebration of parents either), it’s just not a thing we do.
Yesterday, we picked up a ridealong bike someone was giving away, so a daddy-kiddo ride is absolutely on the agenda for Father’s Day 2022.
I have some regrets about being a week late on this article review because I took my kid camping—but not a lot, to be honest.
Tomorrow morning, I’m leaving for 3ish days of camping with kiddo. This is the first time that I’ve gone camping for well over a decade, and I’m a bit nervous, even though I’ve got lots of (rusty) Scouting experience to draw on and even though we’re also going to be staying in a cabin at a semi-structured church camp. Probably not too much to worry about in terms of camping.
Kiddo catches a glimpse of the ref list for the research statement I’m preparing for tenure: “Why does it say Greenhalgh so many times?”
Kiddo believes that Star Wars stormtroopers are robots, so she started singing beeps and boops to the tune of the Imperial March (which she learned from a yoga video??).
Kiddo was worried about today’s medicine because box described them as “tablets,” and she thought that meant chewing up something shaped and sized roughly like an iPad.
Today’s dadding: hidden pictures during Zoom church, making homemade muesli while kiddo’s chicken fingers were in the oven, and introductions to Bananagrams and the 1951 Alice in Wonderland.
Kid’s elementary school principal claims COVID is over, but pretty clear that’s not the case. Glad we can get her boosted now.
link to ‘Kids 5 to 11 get FDA OK for COVID-19 booster doses | Ars Technica’
Would like to give teaching the kiddo French another try this summer and would be happy to receive advice. Have an app and some videos in mind—may also add some light TTRPG elements to efforts.
There are A LOT of perks to working in the same unit as a Library and Information Science program, but ‘we keep getting children’s books delivered, please take some home’ is high on the list.
Behind on grading, but today’s victories include a thank you note from a high school English teacher for a book I sent b/c it reminded me of him and my kid’s insistence we read through a D&D sourcebook together (complete with beholder impression).
Our school district is surveying parents about moving their spring break to align with my employer’s, and I am SO on board for this.
Compelling case for asking about the tech environment adults are creating instead of hand-wringing about what kids are doing in it.
link to ‘How Far Can You Go to Resist Being the Subject of a Viral Video? - The New York Times’
Big parenting milestone today: kid’s first tabletop RPG character. Glad that there are game designers with this young an audience in mind because it was already hard to wait for this age!
Small parenting victory of the day is kid’s reaction to watching The Magic School Bus: “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever watched!”
No paper could sell me on Vygotsky (and sociocultural theories of learning generally) as much as being a parent has.
Missing teaching French today for a few reasons. First, my first time teaching FREN 102 began ten years ago this month 😱. Second, my kid insisted this morning on pronouncing “sept, huit” as “sept, tweet,” and even though that’s not really liaison, it’s close enough that I could have used it in a lesson. Third, this is the time of year where I could have shown Gad Elmaleh’s great “Happy new year!
Lunchtime conversation: “Daddy, how long have we lived in this house?” “Well, we moved in right before the sickness, so over six months now.” “No, Daddy, it’s been nine billion months. I’m right.” “… Yeah, you are.”
Pandemic parenting is full of frustrating moments—but also gems like this morning’s inventing games using the pieces to Ticket to Ride while listening to Indochine.
The more tired I am, the more easily I cry, so maybe staying up late last night and running 10k this morning were not great choices prior to introducing my kid to Up.
Not sure what I expected less today: To explain the concept of death to my kid or for my kid to grasp the concept well enough to burst into tears.
Was there a moral panic about radio? My kid is enjoying podcasts, and while parent-me feels like that’s somehow better than TV, tech researcher me is wondering about history.
Despite a really intense week (important work meetings, closing on a house), the 30 minutes where we thought we’d lost the kid’s beloved stuffed animal easily takes 1st place for stress level.
Attention thinkpiece writers: My young kid is now requesting avocado toast for dinner. I am now taking bids for the right to interview us and complain about millennials and their kids in your column.
Today, my kid grabbed a TPB of Ms. Marvel I had checked out from the library, hugged it tight, and announced that she loved it, so I’m feeling pretty good in the parenting department right now.
When it comes to macaroni and cheese, the spoonfuls I snitch from the pot while serving my kid lunch taste better than any of my own childhood memories of it.
Question for more experienced parents: is it normal for young children to believe they can make obvious falsehoods true simply by asserting them (and whining if I don’t play along), or is that a consequence of growing up in the context of this presidency?
They need “pairs well with” recommendations for children’s clothes so that you know what food stains will go with the intended color scheme.
I tried to explain to my kid the premise of “Guantánamo Kid” (a comic about the innocent 14-year old Mohamed Al-Gharani’s incarceration in Gitmo). Her response: “A little boy shouldn’t be in jail!”
My kid can’t name our street and thinks our city is called “UK” but does know that we’re on Earth in the Milky Way galaxy.
My kid just suggested cleaning something around the house so we could put off something she knew she had to do but didn’t want to. Looks like she’s developing valuable skills for grad school.
The cutest part of my kid’s being old enough to make Valentines this year is her insistence on mailing one to herself.
If anything helps you appreciate Vygotsky (and sociocultural theories of learning in general) more than being the parent of a young kid, I have yet to experience it.