Headlines for Friday:

Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@0900-1200 Willowdale Public School - Women in Technology workshop : E-Mail from Humie Leung
AX@1300-1500 Be at IBM
BX@1715 Old Vic - Get into costume, run through dances : E-Mail from emily winerock
BX@1830 Old Vic - performance : E-Mail from emily winerock
C_Reply : E-Mail from Douglas Johnston (TaskPool)

1. Mending my costume: 11:56

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I stayed up late last night mending my costume for the Renaissance dance performance later. I had a lot of fun re-hemming the hoop skirt and reattaching ribbons and lace.

Funny. The more I procrastinate working on my reading paper, the more domestic I get...

Random Japanese sentence:

ジャックは家で猫とオウムを飼っている。 Jack keeps a cat and a parrot at home.

2. Women in technology: 15:40

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I volunteered at the Women in Technology workshop on webpage authoring this morning. Overall, it was a great event. The girls had a lot of fun using Netscape Composer to make webpages about animals, movies, fashion, and other topics. A few things particularly stood out to me, though, and I wish I could've done something to fix them.

I saw one of the volunteers practically walking students through the short quiz. He didn't dictate the answers, but by nodding or eliminating other options, he gave the answer away. He didn't even give them time to think, to ponder. That gave them perfect points, but I really don't think that helped build their confidence. If anything, it probably made them feel more uncertain and more dependent.

As much as I like rewarding people and making them feel good about something, I think the students really would've been better off wrong. I think they would've been better off knowing that they should listen and read instead of waiting for someone to spoonfeed them. I think it would've been better if the test distinguished between the people who paid attention and the people who didn't.

I knew there might be trouble. True enough, when the girls were supposed to be making the webpage, he was the one at the computer. When I saw him use the little eraser mouse to select clipart when the kids were perfectly capable of doing it themselves, I couldn't help but ask a pointed question: "Have you girls used this kind of mouse before?" That reminded him that he had brought a regular mouse which the students could use to do the work themselves.

They were okay for a while, but then I saw him in charge again. It was near the end of the period. He said that they had agreed to let him do the work because there were a lot of images and not enough time.

I still feel that's wrong, you know. They could've made a simpler webpage themselves and still felt proud of their accomplishment. As it stood, they had a fancy webpage, but it wasn't _theirs._ I think that's broken. If I were to improve this workshop, I'd be more focused on helping everyone gain confidence in it and teaching other people how to do things rather than making at least two webpages with at least one picture and at least one link. I'd also try to tie it in with school material so that they understand the reason why people publish. Ah, well. Things to remember for whatever camps we'll organize in the future...

The other thing that broke my heart was the sight of a painfully shy girl shunted aside by her more outgoing classmates. She sat at the edge of the table, bangs and thick glasses hiding her eyes. When the two girls seated beside her moved to the computer to make their webpage, she remained at the edge of the desk, not even watching the screen.

I took the empty seat and started talking to her. I asked her what her favorite movie was. No response. I asked her what the last movie she watched was. I saw her struggling to respond. Aha! I pulled a piece of paper over and wrote down, "The last movie I watched was:". After some nudging, she wrote down, "Scream." I asked her if she liked it, and she nodded. I asked her why she liked it, and she said that she liked it because it was scary. I coaxed her to write it down so that we could make a webpage about it.

Her friend came over and helped her spell "scary." Hearing them converse in a foreign language, I asked them where they were from. Korea, the second girl said. Ah, well, no chance to use a little bit of Japanese to help them relax, but that's okay. The second girl was a little bit more confident, but still a quiet sort of girl. We introduced ourselves and waited for the computer to be free.

When the other students left the computer for their recess, I coached the girls on how to add text and images using Netscape Composer. The second girl explained everything in swift Korean while helping the first use the mouse. We had the beginnings of a webpage on the screen.

Unfortunately, our time was over too soon. The facilitator asked me if I could get the girl to wrap up as the other students wanted to edit their nearly-finished pages and add links. I bit my tongue, smiled, and helped the two girls save their webpage - one line of text and one image.

The other girls resumed working, boisterous and cheerful. The second girl went back to working with her group, and this little shy girl went back to hiding behind her bangs and her glasses.

I wrote an encouraging note in as simple words as I could. I told her that computers are nice because she can learn about them on her own. I told her that if she watches people, she can learn from them to. I told her to ask questions, to learn as much as she wants, to never give up... Ay! If only I knew the words that would help her discover confidence. If only I could patiently teach and reteach things until she discovered their joys. If only I could listen until she overflowed with stories. (And if only I knew enough Korean to help! What would I have said: aja?)

She smiled and waved at me on my way out. That was just the most beautiful smile I've ever seen.

On Technorati:

Random Japanese sentence:

「それがいい」おじいさんは言いってねこたちに聞きました。「おまえ達の中で誰が一番きれいなねこだね?」 "Oh yes," said the very old man, and he called to the cats, "Which one of you is the prettiest?"

3. Renaissance dance: 23:34

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Whee! We performed the Branles Pinagay, Washerwoman and Charlotte at a Renaissance conference. Wearing a hoop skirt was _so_ much fun. Seriously, those should go back in fashion. ;)

We headed out to the Duke of York pub afterwards. Plenty of fun conversation. Whee!

Casualty: One beautiful pink crystal earring possibly dropped in Victoria College when I was busy ripping thigs of. Still worth it. I'd do it again - sans earrings, next time. Sigh. I seem to be unable to hang on to pretty pink earrings... WAAAAH!

And I _liked_ that set! I liked that set enough to want to pass by Claire and get myself another pair of them. Emily said she never buys her own earrings, but as people here aren't in the habit of giving me earrings, I have to buy myself earrings. It's kinda like buying myself flowers.

Random Japanese sentence:

その少年たちはかわいい猫と一緒に2人きりで暮らしていた。 The two boys lived alone with a lovely cat.