Blaine for County Executive

BY COLUMNISTS

| Steven R. Berryman | Chris Cavey | Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Patricia A. Kelly | Jill King | Earl 'Rocky' Mackintosh | Tom McLaughlin | Roy Meachum | Zachary Peters | Cindy A. Rose | John W. Ashbury | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Blaine R. Young |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


Nick Diaz

January 10, 2012
Growing-up Cuban and Other Prejudices – Part 2
Nick Diaz

In Part I of this discourse, I mentioned how a good number of natural-born Americans are basically unaware of the nationality-based differences among “Hispanics.” In addition, so many well-meaning Americans have little or no idea of what events have been taking place in Cuba and the rest of Latin America in the past 50 years.


December 27, 2011
Growing-up Cuban and other prejudices – Part 1
Nick Diaz

January 1st, 1959. On this date, at 2 A.M., Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista boarded a plane that took him, his family, and close associates from Havana to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


November 29, 2011
Holiday Weekend “Efficiencies”
Nick Diaz

So, Thanksgiving break is over. Thursday was one of those outstanding family days, when our grown children, grandchildren, in-laws, and out-laws got together. We talked too much, ate too much, watched football too much (actually, there ain’t no such thing as too much of any of those.)


October 18, 2011
Miami Ideology: A Short History
Nick Diaz

Those of us who are Americans of Cuban descent or birth are often passionate about the situation in Cuba. Because it is personal, natural-born U.S. citizens should not expect us to tolerate a typically positive and lofty view on a revolution that has made it intolerable to live in the country they still love.


October 4, 2011
Different Hispanics, Different Heritage – Part One
Nick Diaz

I have purposely waited until the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, 2011, to get down to writing this piece. Since I’m Cuban by birth, I have some observations about Hispanics in general and about Cuban exiles in particular.


September 20, 2011
Music and Math – Lessons Learned
Nick Diaz

The following are not my words, but they could well be. They belong to Gary Rupert, long-time acquaintance of mine and band director per excellence at a nearby public high school. Here’s what Mr. Rupert wrote on his blog, “Today’s Task.”


August 30, 2011
Repressive Public Policy
Nick Diaz

As a native of a Spanish-speaking country, I’m often asked by natural-born Americans whether Spanish-speaking people living in the USA today are getting too comfortable with having translation readily accessible to them.


August 2, 2011
Who’s Responsible?
Nick Diaz

Fortunately for me, I have outstanding students in my math classes. During class time, most of them work very hard and will do just about anything I ask of them. Over the years, however, I haven’t been too successful in teaching them the importance of preparing, practicing, and thoroughly studying outside the classroom.


July 19, 2011
Mathematically Speaking – Good to Great
Nick Diaz

In upper elementary and middle school mathematics, despite any of the fluff that may have been added to the curriculum in past years, the hard-core topics of instruction revolve (or should revolve) around fractions, decimal, and percents.


July 5, 2011
Who’s Responsible?
Nick Diaz

A typical dining room chair has four legs placed in a position to offer optimum balance and support. Sitting on this chair requires little effort from the user.


June 21, 2011
It’s not about the math!
Nick Diaz

Hours and days and months we spend in math class, working on numbers, equations, operations, transformations, number systems and a bunch of other skills. Yet, it’s not about the math.


June 7, 2011
Ride Like Plácido Sings
Nick Diaz

I sing. Music is in my mind and heart almost every moment of my day. I’ve sung practically all my life, interrupted here and there by concentrating on this or that recreational venture or professional interest.


May 10, 2011
Content is the Engine
Nick Diaz

The problem begins in elementary school. What I have found in 40-plus years of teaching upper elementary and middle school math is that students’ difficulties in high school and college math stem from their failure to understand the most basic mathematical concepts.


April 26, 2011
Onward and Upward – Another 5 Years
Nick Diaz

Finally, the long-expected letter arrived. The chairman of the Maryland Senate Executive Nominations Committee wrote that I will be reappointed to a second five-year term on the Board of Trustees at Frederick Community College. Gov. Martin O’Malley will be ratifying the appointment soon.


April 12, 2011
Pointing Out The Problems
Nick Diaz

Myths tend to perpetuate themselves. One such legend is the one about how every child in the United States has a right to a good public education. Perhaps that one is particularly stubborn because it once was true, or at least mostly true. Not so much anymore, it seems.


March 29, 2011
The Best Education Tool
Nick Diaz

If you’ve ever taken your car to a garage to be serviced, you know there are good mechanics and there are…well, bad ones. The good ones demonstrate great knowledge and skill along with great concern for the job at hand.


March 15, 2011
Memorization, Christie & Shifting Politics
Nick Diaz

This push toward so-called “21st Century Skills” – as if educators, of all people, knew in 1910 what skills would be required of students for the next 90 years – would be relatively harmless, outside the immense expenditure of time and money, if certain advocates didn't minimize actual content knowledge.


March 1, 2011
A New Path for Teachers?
Nick Diaz

Amid the debates about bargaining rights for public employees’ and teachers’ unions, this question remains: What is the best way to improve teacher quality?


February 15, 2011
Surviving Your Children’s Education
Nick Diaz

Now is a good time to give our local community colleges another look. No longer are they the equivalent of “13th grade,” or the sole life raft of marginal students.


February 1, 2011
What’s that racket…?
Nick Diaz

A couple of years ago I wrote two columns on the merits (or lack thereof), of Harley Davidson motorcycles and some of the people who ride them, (or view them, or keep them in their garages as oversized paperweights).


January 18, 2011
An Ode To 2-Wheel Freedom
Nick Diaz

Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots – a bone-bruising cold. The wind's big hands squeeze the heat out of the body and whisk it away. Caught in a cold winter rain, the drops don't even feel like water. They feel like shards of bone falling from the skies of Hell to ping my fogging face shield.


December 21, 2010
The Road to Successful Learning
Nick Diaz

Having inhabited the teaching trenches for 41 years and thousands of students, I’ve grown tired of educationists telling teachers not to use the “drill and kill” method for fear of boring our students.


December 7, 2010
Solving Math Difficulties
Nick Diaz

Mathematics tends to make parents nervous, more so than most other school subjects. If you struggled with it as a child, it’s understandable that you might be uneasy when your child asks for help on math assignments.


November 23, 2010
Problem Solving – A Primer
Nick Diaz

Recently I met the parent of a student of mine, who introduced himself and proceeded to engage me in pleasant conversation about the scope and sequence of my mathematics classes. His child’s class is now learning to write and solve some complicated equations; so he wondered what topic was next in the program.


November 9, 2010
Proud To Be An American
Nick Diaz

As I walked into Middletown Elementary to cast my vote last week, I took a long breath and reflected on a national election many years ago – Kennedy v. Nixon – December 8, 1960.


October 26, 2010
Passion for Work and Motorcycling
Nick Diaz

One question I have asked many times in my professional teaching career: “What do you want to do when you get out of high school?”


October 12, 2010
Fads and Meeting Challenges
Nick Diaz

The world is changing at the speed of thought, yet the United States consistently ranks at or near the bottom among developed nations in every quantifiable category that measures achievement and preparedness in school-age students.


September 28, 2010
Improving Your Math Skills
Nick Diaz

As the school year begins to settle into its second month, many parents are already worrying about their (and their children’s) least favorite subject – mathematics. This is true across the board in the K-12 sequence, whether elementary, middle, or high school.


September 14, 2010
Constructivist math in our society
Nick Diaz

I learned math under a solid, old-fashioned, time-honored, traditional program taught by the dear good Jesuit priests and brothers in charge of my elementary education in my native Cuba. It didn’t matter whether the math curriculum was from a textbook, or from Moses and the Ten Commandments; my teachers taught it and taught it well.


August 31, 2010
Ethnicity, Racism and Math…
Nick Diaz

In early 2009, I was coaching the MATHCOUNTS competition team at The Barnesville School, then my place of employment. MATHCOUNTS is a nationwide system of mathematics competitions, open to middle schools students in the USA.


August 17, 2010
Doing the “Math” – Part 2
Nick Diaz

Many of us in Frederick County have had our fill of the failures of TERC Investigations and other such “constructivist” programs that de-emphasize the teaching of traditional algorithms. I finished my last TheTentacle.com article by asking the following question:


August 3, 2010
Doing the “Math!”
Nick Diaz

Typically it is the “lattice” method of multiplication that pushes parents over the edge. This method taught to elementary school students under the Everyday Mathematics program, one of several national programs collectively labeled “constructivist” or “Chicago” math, is so jarring to those raised in a traditional math program that it ends up being the last straw.


July 20, 2010
A Cuban History Lesson – Part 4
Nick Diaz

In this last installment on the story of “Operation Peter Pan,” I’ll be summarizing and putting this little-known event in the context of the times. It was almost fifty years ago, in late 1960 and early 1961, that the Irish-American Jesuit priest, Father Bryan Walsh, realized the need for housing and caring for the hundreds of unaccompanied children who were arriving at Miami International Airport on a daily basis.


July 6, 2010
A Cuban History Lesson – Part 3
Nick Diaz

In my last installment, I mentioned how James Baker, the head of an American school in Havana, had allied himself with Father Brian Walsh for the purpose of providing for the thousands of unaccompanied Cuban children arriving in Miami.


June 22, 2010
A Cuban History Lesson – Part 2
Nick Diaz

In my last installment, I mentioned how this November I’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of my arrival in the U.S.A. from my native Cuba. My mother and I flew out of Michael Moore’s paradise on Election Day, 1960; my father joined us on the day of John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration, January 20, 1961.


June 8, 2010
A Cuban History Lesson
Nick Diaz

As the 50th anniversary of my arrival on these American shores approaches, I feel compelled to relate some of the stories of my half-century as an exile of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Many of these personal, family, and political experiences have been surfacing in my mind recently, as I’m going deeper into a nostalgic mood.


May 25, 2010
The Right to Travel – Not
Nick Diaz

Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon was once asked whether Cubans should be entitled the right to travel freely. This prominent member of the island’s political elite responded in the finest style of standup comedy, saying that if this right existed, the sky would become so filled with airplanes that some would collide with others, causing a great disaster.


May 11, 2010
There are labels, and then there are labels
Nick Diaz

One of my history professors at the University of Dayton, back in the late 60’s, repeatedly stated that “race is a pigment of our imagination.”


April 27, 2010
Raising the Ire of the Left
Nick Diaz

A reactionary enterprise – politics. It is outrage — outrage about the existing order of things, or outrage about whatever threatens the existing order of things — that provokes politically interested people to pay attention. Witness the Tea Party movement.


April 13, 2010
The Assault on Americanism
Nick Diaz

I often amaze my motorcycle-riding friends with my memory for facts, and my ability to put recent events in chronological order, and assign a certain event an approximate date.


March 30, 2010
A New Approach for Frederick County
Nick Diaz

Imagine that you could send your child to a school that reflected your aspirations for your child's education. Imagine not worrying whether your child was adequately challenged in the classroom, and feeling confident that he or she was truly prepared for college and beyond. Now imagine not going into debt to pay for this, since you are already paying taxes to fund this.


March 16, 2010
Life’s Successes
Nick Diaz

To educate children and adolescents, good schools know that they must also spend time educating parents. When parents are not on the same page with educators, children move through the conflicts of misaligned home and school life, receiving opposite messages rather than similarly focused ones from both sides. Accordingly, here are some observations that parents and educators can contemplate together.


March 2, 2010
A Great Divide Vanquished
Nick Diaz

Enough with this “bipartisan” nonsense. Enough about “divisiveness.” Let’s go back to 2004, an election year.


February 16, 2010
A Tough Row to Hoe…
Nick Diaz

Adam Avery, host of “Senior Talk Radio,” a weekly show that airs on WFMD at noon on Saturdays, is one of those people who is constantly questioning, prodding, inquiring, as to the “why” of things. A few days ago, he observed that Fox News commentator Juan Williams, a moderate black person, must be under intense pressure by his peers to tow the left-wing Democratic Party line.


February 2, 2010
Why Cuban Exiles Are Conservative
Nick Diaz

"I saw communism with my own eyes," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Republican National Convention in 2004. "I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector. I was a little boy, I wasn't an action hero back then, and I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I'd never see him again. My family and so many others lived in fear...."


January 19, 2010
Politics, Motorcycles, Basketball and FCC
Nick Diaz

Oh, what fun it is to ride the waves of local and state news these days. There’s never a dull moment. Something will happen.


January 5, 2010
It gets old. It really, REALLY gets old
Nick Diaz

The headline refers to all the moralizing and humbug by U.S. political and business hucksters when they visit Cuba. Take the delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus, which visited Castroland last April.


December 22, 2009
And with good reason …. Part 2
Nick Diaz

In my last column, I confessed of being one of those radical Cuban exiles who strongly oppose the resumption of trade with the repressive regime that has enslaved my native land for well over half a century. Those well-meaning people who continue to chant the left-wing mantra that “the embargo has not worked” are the same ones who continue to be laughed at by the Castro brothers and their minions, in Roadrunner “Beep-beep” fashion.


December 8, 2009
And with good reason….
Nick Diaz

I generally don’t advertise that I’m a Cuban exile, one who arrived on these shores 49 years ago, seeking freedom. When a friend or acquaintance finds out my refugee status, the question that usually comes up is, “What do you think of the embargo and travel ban to Cuba? Don‘t you think it‘s time for the USA to lift it and resume diplomatic and economic relations?”


November 24, 2009
Math-Test Taking: A Study Guide
Nick Diaz

 

Two weeks ago I listed the causes of math-test anxiety and the ways a student should deal with such a condition. In this column I’ll list some strategies that may lead a student to improve his math-test-taking skills.


November 10, 2009
Math Anxiety: Causes and Cures
Nick Diaz

Test anxiety is a common problem for many students, regardless of level – middle, high, or college. At the college level, this is an especially difficult problem for those who are in “developmental” courses. Unfortunately, it is also common to experience test anxiety only in math, and not in other courses.


October 27, 2009
Sanity: The Key to Self-Esteem
Nick Diaz

In my last article on developing sound math study habits, I referred to “procrastination” as ‘the thief of time.” I concluded that the issue of procrastination by students is not a simple one. Procrastination is a defense mechanism that protects students’ self-esteem.


October 13, 2009
Procrastination is the Thief of Time
Nick Diaz

In my last installment, I mentioned the “19-millimeter socket wrench” a mathematics student needs to bring success into his mathematical learning habits. Keep in mind that these observations and recommendations apply to mathematics students at all levels – middle and high school as well as college. Math is math, regardless of what course or level; good academic habits are universal.


September 29, 2009
Math Skills 101 – Bad Habits
Nick Diaz

“What do you do for a living?” asks someone in casual conversation.

 

“I’m a middle school math teacher,” I reply.

 


September 15, 2009
Addressing the Algebra Crisis
Nick Diaz

In recent years, many jurisdictions throughout our country have experienced their share of educational crises – such as “whole language“ and “fuzzy math“ in general – and “TERC” in particular. Even now, the state is still in the grips of an “algebra crisis.”


September 1, 2009
What to Expect in 6th Grade Math
Nick Diaz

Yesterday you were counting pennies, leaves, and gold stars with your first grader. Now he or she is ready, you hope, to tackle sixth grade math. It's a shock to lots of parents – and children, too.


August 18, 2009
A Brave New World – Sixth Grade Math
Nick Diaz

The job of the typical middle and high school mathematics teacher is a challenging one, as evidenced by the kinds of questions and statements made by students, parents, and school administrators; these are the people who comprise our “constituency,” if I may.


August 4, 2009
Motorcycle Touring – Part 3
Nick Diaz

Everyone needs to eat. On the road you, the touring motorcyclist, have two choices. You could buy food in a grocery store and prepare it yourself, or you can pay someone else to prepare the food. You cannot just go to the refrigerator and grab something, or drive to your favorite restaurant. While touring by motorcycle, you'll have to get food wherever you can.


July 21, 2009
Motorcycle Touring – Part 3
Nick Diaz

As I promised in my last installment on motorcycle touring, I intend to deal with the topics of security, food, and shelter while on the road.


July 7, 2009
Motorcycle Touring – Part 2
Nick Diaz

Summertime is motorcycle touring time. This year I’m headed for West Virginia, (heaven, not “almost…”), in late July, to meet with a bunch of friends from far and wide. Two weeks later I’m headed for northwestern Ohio for a high school reunion.


June 23, 2009
Motorcycle Touring – Part 1
Nick Diaz

In my many years of traveling by motorcycle, I’ve encountered many people who ask me questions like, “Did you ride that thing all the way out here from Maryland?” The standard reply from this smart aleck is: “It’s better than pushing it all the way from Maryland…”


June 9, 2009
'Work To Ride, Ride To Work.'
Nick Diaz

Next Monday, June 15, American roadways will see up to triple the normal number of riders, as beginner-to-expert motorcycle enthusiasts become motorcycle commuters. These commuters will be doing us all a favor by not only commuting via an efficient personal form of transportation, but by doing so on a vehicle with a much smaller footprint than our cars and trucks.


May 26, 2009
Why They Hate Us
Nick Diaz

Well, okay, not all the non-motorcycle people hate us – it just seems that way some of the time, and has for the 40 years of my experience. So, why is that?


May 12, 2009
Advice from The Voice of Experience – Part 4
Nick Diaz

This is the conclusion of my series on buying a used motorcycle. In my 39 years in the sport of motorcycling, I’ve bought only two new motorcycles, and that was back in the early 70’s. Buying a used motorcycle is one of the most challenging, yet satisfying activities a person can engage in.


April 28, 2009
Advice from The Voice of Experience – Part 3
Nick Diaz

Alas, my third installment on buying a used motorcycle, one of my favorite activities. Buying a used motorcycle, as I’ve mentioned before, is much more fun than selling one.


April 14, 2009
Advice from The Voice of Experience – Part 2
Nick Diaz

In my last installment on www.thetentacle.com, I started giving readers, potential motorcyclists all, some advice on buying good, used, cheap motorcycles. I stressed the importance of doing one’s “homework,” which means thinking things over as one finds out about the various types, models, and brands of motorcycles available.


March 31, 2009
Advice From The Voice of Experience
Nick Diaz

I rode my Venture on four of the five workdays this past week. It felt great! Goodness, what a great runner that 21-year-old motorcycle, (which I’ve named “Moby Dick” after the great white whale), has turned out to be. Smooth, fast, comfortable, powerful, reliable, and beautiful – what a bike!


March 17, 2009
Exhibiting America’s Traits
Nick Diaz

There was a time when one, in the world of machines, could hardly hear two dirtier words than “Planned Obsolescence.” The very idea that a complex mechanical object should have a deliberately abbreviated life expectancy was nothing less than a kind of mortal sin against proper engineering.


March 3, 2009
Common Sense Solution; Rejection Likely
Nick Diaz

Just as I enjoy riding my Yamaha Venture touring motorcycle on invisible roads in our four-state area, I also like driving a car for pleasure on these same pathways. Three years ago, for example, I persuaded my wife, (who insists on more comfort than even my two-wheel Venture barcalounger can provide), to take the scenic route home from Asheville, NC.


February 17, 2009
Reform Indeed; Improvement Missing
Nick Diaz

Millions and billions have been poured into thousands of school systems around the country in the last 20 years; even so, much of it has essentially failed to make a difference in the quality of mathematics education. Programs had become so bogged down by politics and bureaucracy that they have failed to create any significant change.


February 3, 2009
Dumbing Down Mathematics – Part III
Nick Diaz

Across the country, the way mathematics is taught in the classroom and in textbooks has been changing notably in the past 20 years. Classrooms are often organized in small groups where students ask each other questions and the teacher is discouraged from providing information. Students may even take tests in groups, if they have tests at all.


January 20, 2009
Dumbing Down Mathematics – Part II
Nick Diaz

In my last article for www.thetentacle.com, I described the goals and strategies used by so-called “reform” educators in their pursuit of mediocrity in American mathematical education.


January 6, 2009
Dumbing Down Mathematics – Part 1
Nick Diaz

Since the 1980's, there have been substantial efforts nation wide to weaken mathematics education in America, and, unfortunately, these efforts have largely been successful.


December 2, 2008
It’s Good to Be a Teacher … Part 2
Nick Diaz

“Ten Reasons Why I Envy Teachers” is the title of an article by a New England psychologist, Dr. Michael G. Thompson. In my last installment, I referred to this piece as the basis to my assertion that teachers are, indeed, people who should be envied.


November 11, 2008
“It’s Good To Be A Teacher…”
Nick Diaz

Work-to-rule, teachers’ contract, planning time, Board of Education, FCTA, negotiated agreement – these topics, and more, have surfaced recently in Frederick concerning local education issues.


October 14, 2008
Memory: The Forgotten Art
Nick Diaz

Ah, Mnemosyne, daughter of Gaia and Uranus, and mother, by Zeus, of all the Muses! Poets and kings reputedly receive their gifts and powers of authoritative speech from their personal relationship with Mnemosyne. How precious is the gift of memory – yet how maligned it has become over the past 30 years, especially by trendy math educationists.


September 30, 2008
The Rites of Autumn on Two Wheels
Nick Diaz

Readers of TheTentacle.com may remember one of my earlier columns, written late last Fall, in which I listed the 10 dumb questions people ask of motorcycle riders. Since it’s the last day of September, several days past the equinox, one of the 10 dumb questions deserves reiteration, to wit:

 


September 16, 2008
The Dream Realized
Nick Diaz

A young man, (let’s say “George”), a former middle school student of mine, was doing fine in high school until the spring of his senior year at a Frederick County public high school, many years ago. He was near the top of his senior class, and his list of activities – curricular, extra-curricular, and service-oriented – was impressive. It appeared to all at the time that he would go to a great college and do important work.

 


September 2, 2008
The Joy of Selling
Nick Diaz

          Not long ago I described to TheTentacle.com readers my adventures and thoughts on traveling to Maine to purchase and ride home a “new” 1988 Yamaha Venture.

 

 

 

 


July 22, 2008
Ireland or Bust
Nick Diaz

          My wife and I are leaving for Dublin tomorrow. No, not Dublin, Virginia, nor Dublin, Ohio. Not even Dublin, California.

 


July 8, 2008
Christmas in the Summertime
Nick Diaz

          I just rode home from Lewiston, Maine, on my new Yamaha Venture. Rode Amtrak to Portland and met the seller at the station. A half hour later we were at the seller’s place, where the Venture was waiting for me.

 

 


June 24, 2008
Enjoying What Life Brings on Two Wheels
Nick Diaz

You’ve seen them on the road – all those guys on motorcycles, parading down the boulevard, on Saturdays or Sundays. Where are they going? I’m sure many of you have wondered the same thing.

 


June 10, 2008
Great Rides, Great Roads
Nick Diaz

          In my last installment, I brought up the idea of “invisible roads,” and the fun involved in discovering and riding (or driving) them.

 


May 27, 2008
The “Invisible” Road Not Taken…
Nick Diaz

          The annual “Ride to the Wall” just took place yesterday, and judging from the amount of publicity about this annual event, you have probably heard about it.

 


May 13, 2008
Same-Ol’-Same-Ol’
Nick Diaz

In my last column I devoted some time to present you with a minority opinion about the “made-in-the-USA” motorcycle, the Harley Davidson. I concluded with the statement that Harley Davidson is not really an American motorcycle, inasmuch as the spirit of American creativity, ingenuity, and innovation are nowhere to be found in motorcycles made by “The Motor Company.”


April 29, 2008
Hardly Ablesons
Nick Diaz

I’m an ardent admirer of the United States of America, my adopted country, which welcomed me to these shores a half century ago. This great country has provided me with opportunities I wouldn’t have faced, had I remained in Communist Cuba.


April 15, 2008
A Change in Direction Needed
Nick Diaz

As your son or daughter and their friends were moving from elementary school to middle school, you may have noticed that a number of them did not want to be identified as “smart kids” – even though they had always done rather well during their elementary years. Some of them were afraid that they would be picked on by other students if it were known that they were bright. Others just wanted to fit in.


April 1, 2008
Roadmaps to Success
Nick Diaz

What is happening to American institutions requires both art and science. From its churches to its educational system, from the government and political party system to the military, an invasive form of totalitarian groupthink has been artfully and successfully applied to those institutions.

 


March 18, 2008
Understanding the Problem
Nick Diaz

“Make sure you take Algebra II!” So goes the typical admonishment by teachers, counselors, parents, directed at middle-school students in the act of planning their future high school program.


March 4, 2008
In The “Now”
Nick Diaz

Why do I ride motorcycles? Many who have been riders for a while often ask themselves that question, and every time what seems to be the same old answer reappears in their minds.


February 19, 2008
The Passion of a Lifetime
Nick Diaz
Enough math education for a while, folks. If you’ve been reading my recent contributions to thetentacle.com, you may well conclude that education in general, and mathematics education in particular, is the focus of my existence.

February 5, 2008
The Power of Weenie Numbers
Nick Diaz
In all my years of teaching middle school mathematics, I’ve been exposed to many an “impossible” problem which can be solved by studying the pattern involved. Some people have been endowed by our Creator with the ability to notice, recognize, and apply such patterns to solve given problems. Most people, however, must be taught these skills.

January 22, 2008
Teaching is Not Telling
Nick Diaz
“Teaching is not telling.” Wise words spoken many years ago by a well-known Frederick County Public Schools administrator. This man is still working in the trenches, down at the school level, where he continues to make things happen.

January 8, 2008
Understanding Middle School Math
Nick Diaz
The job of the typical middle and high school mathematics teacher is a challenging one, as evidenced by the kinds of questions and statements made by students, parents, and school administrators; these are the people who comprise our “constituency”, if I may.

December 11, 2007
10 Dumb Questions I Get – Part 3
Nick Diaz
Readers may be glad to know that this is the last segment of the series on the 10 dumb questions asked of a motorcyclist; the first six of these questions appeared in the first two parts. Today we’ll round the set with the last four.

November 27, 2007
10 Dumb Questions I Get – Part 2
Nick Diaz
In this space two weeks ago, I referred readers to three of the 10 dumbest questions that we of the motorcycling fraternity regularly field. In my 37 years on motorized two wheel contraptions, I’ve been asked all of these questions. So much so that I’ve developed some “smart-allecky” replies to them. We paused after Question #3, so now I’m continuing.

November 13, 2007
10 Dumb Questions I Get
Nick Diaz
I am a motorcyclist. For 37 of my 60 years I’ve been riding motorcycles. It all goes back to my youth in my native Cuba, where I spent summers riding horses at my godfather’s cattle ranch.

October 30, 2007
An Engineer of Engineers
Nick Diaz
In recent years I've been doing some thinking, (an inherently dangerous activity), about my role as a veteran middle-school mathematics teacher. Most of my years with Frederick County Public Schools I spent in the classroom, in the act of attempting to teach kids from 10 to 14 years of age something about numbers and number relationships.

It’s Good to Be a Teacher … Part 2
Nick Diaz

“Ten Reasons Why I Envy Teachers” is the title of an article by a New England psychologist, Dr. Michael G. Thompson. In my last installment, I referred to this piece as the basis to my assertion that teachers are, indeed, people who should be envied.



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