Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

What Does this Mean to You?

With every rising of the sun, think of your life as just begun.
- Anonymous
What does this mean to you?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

To James, On His Last Day

Dear James,

Don't worry about what other people think. Most people are too busy worrying about others think of them. With your intelligence it's natural for insecure people to worry that you may be thinking you're better than they are, because it's so obvious you are so much smarter than they are. You can't hide it. And you don't have to.

Understand others have been picking on you and bullying you in other schools because you scare them, and trying to put you down makes them feel better. If you've missed the deadline again to get in a gifted class, love the bullies in the "regular" class anyway.

But feel strong for them, not sorry. And instead of being insecure yourself and putting them down for their emphasis on being cool, athletic, popular, etc. to gain a sense of importance, share your strength. Share your knowledge that everyone of them has gifts too. Recognize and appreciate this in others and they will learn to do the same for you. Make Minnesota a better place by your presence and attitude.

Don't shrink from this challenge. Expand in it. Be more by becoming more. Get in shape yourself. Don't be one dimensional. Don't limit yourself to incredible intelligence. You CAN be gifted in more than one way. A man can be both sensitive AND strong, intelligent AND physical, a poet AND a warrior.

As a species we have survived massive extinctions over the last 4.5 billion years. As a species we are unnaturally making extinct other species in our effort to unnaturally control nature and our environment. As an "intelligent" species we are killing off our own kind because of our perceived "differences". Just as sad, we become what our medias say we should be in order to be accepted, so we do and say things to impress others and gain acceptance by the outside world. Even worse, we stop living and evolving at all, because we feel so disconnected from and unlike this "outside" world.

It's OK for you to be you. It's OK for you to be better than others in certain areas, just as it is for others to be better than you. Teach and share your knowledge and wisdom. Learn from and grow from others knowledge and wisdom. Be patient in this process. Be courageous in the challenge.

Be more in this world, not by trying to be better than others, but by trying to be your very best self. Be your biggest self James. Be your greatest and happiest self.

Be real, and you will be happy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Mathlete' Smashes Human Calculation Record

Tue Dec 11, 12:21 PM ET

LONDON (AFP) - The world's fastest human calculator on Tuesday broke his own record for working out a 200-digit number using nothing but brain power to produce the answer in just over 70 seconds.

Alexis Lemaire, a 27-year-old Frenchman, correctly calculated the 13th root of a random 200-digit number from a possible 393 trillion answers.

The so-called 'mathlete' produced the answer of 2,407,899,893,032,210 in 70.2 seconds, beating his previous record of 72.4 seconds, at London's Science Museum.

A computer was used to produce a random 200-digit number before he sat down to calculate the answer in his head.

The museum's curator of mathematics, Jane Wess, said: "He sat down and it was all very quiet -- and all of a sudden he amazingly just cracked it.

"I believe that it is the highest sum calculated mentally.

"He seems to have a large memory and he's made this his life's ambition. It's quite remarkable to see it happen. A very small number of people have this extraordinary ability; nowadays there is only a handful."

Lemaire, who attends the University of Reims in northern France, began demonstrating his prowess by finding the 13th root of a random 100-digit number but gave up trying to improve his performance when he calculated an answer in under four seconds in 2004.

Like an athlete, he trains his brain daily for the far harder task of finding the 13th root of 200-digit numbers.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Did You Know? - Great Video!

I told you that the world needs real thinkers, real problems solvers, and real, fully alive people.

You ARE being prepared for that every time I get you to

- stop waiting for me to give you assignments and start telling me what your own data says you need to work on today

- stop trying to memorize answers and start thinking for yourselves,

- stop waiting for me to tell you the answers and start with what you do know about the problem and build from there

- stop asking me if you are right and start telling me why YOU THINK you are right

- stop giving up after a failure and start getting excited about knowing you are another step closer to finding the solution

- stop seeing school as a boring necessary evil to get good grades, get in a good college, and get a good job....

....and start seeing every school day as a decision YOU MAKE to individualize YOUR OWN learning, discover what subjects and concepts BLOW YOUR MIND and THRILL YOUR SOUL, and LEARN TO LIVE FULLY ALIVE and GIVING IT YOUR ALL...

....NOW! THIS DAY...and not wait for some day way off in the future after all this schooling is done.

You HAVE started doing this!

You ARE being well-prepared for the challenges ahead!


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Asteroid Shower this Friday

Asteroid Shower
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Dec. 03, 2007: Mark your calendar: The best meteor shower of 2007 peaks on Friday, December 14th.

"It's the Geminid meteor shower," says NASA astronomer Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center. "Start watching on Thursday evening, Dec. 13th, around 10 pm local time," he advises. "At first you might not see very many meteors—but be patient. The show really heats up after midnight and by dawn on Friday, Dec. 14th, there could be dozens of bright meteors per hour streaking across the sky."
Right: A Geminid meteor in 2006 photographed by Christopher Colley of Lombard, Illinois. [Larger image]
The Geminids are not ordinary meteors. While most meteor showers come from comets, Geminids come from an asteroid—a near-Earth object named 3200 Phaethon.
"It's very strange," says Cooke. How does an asteroid make a meteor shower?
Comets do it by evaporating. When a comet flies close to the sun, intense heat vaporizes the comet’s "dirty ice" resulting in high-speed jets of comet dust that spew into interplanetary space. When a speck of this comet dust hits Earth's atmosphere traveling ~100,000 mph, it disintegrates in a bright flash of light—a meteor!
Asteroids, on the other hand, don't normally spew dust into space—and therein lies the mystery. Where did Phaethon's meteoroids come from?
Sign up for EXPRESS SCIENCE NEWS delivery One possibility is a collision. Maybe it bumped against another asteroid. A collision could have created a cloud of dust and rock that follows Phaethon around in its orbit. Such collisions, however, are not very likely.
Cooke favors another possibility: "I think 3200 Phaethon used to be a comet."
Exhibit #1 in favor of this idea is Phaethon's orbit: it is highly elliptical, like the orbit of a typical comet, and brings Phaethon extremely close to the sun, twice as close as Mercury itself. Every 1.4 years, Phaethon swoops through the inner solar system where repeated blasts of solar heat could easily reduce a flamboyant comet to the rocky skeleton we see today.
If this scenario is correct, Phaethon-the-comet may have produced many rich streams of dust that spent hundreds or thousands of years drifting toward Earth until the first Geminid meteors appeared during the US Civil War. Since then, Geminids have been a regular shower peaking every year in mid-December.
3200 Phaethon is now catalogued as a "PHA"—a potentially hazardous asteroid whose path misses Earth's orbit by only 2 million miles. It measures 5 km wide, about half the size of the asteroid or comet that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and can be seen through backyard telescopes—in fact, now is a good time to look:

"3200 Phaethon is flying past Earth just a few days before this year’s Geminid meteor shower," notes Cooke. On Dec. 10th, Phaethon will be about 11 million miles away shining like a 14th magnitude star in the constellation Virgo: ephemeris. That's too dim for the naked eye, he says, but a good target for amateur telescopes equipped with CCD cameras.
Cooke doesn't expect the flyby to boost the Geminids—"11 million miles is too distant to affect meteor rates"—but the Geminids don't really need boosting. "It's always a great shower," he says. "Don't miss it."
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips Production Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips Credit:
More information
NASA Meteoroid Environment Office -- home page
NASA's Future: The Vision for Space Exploration

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Window of Laughter

The good thing about pushing yourself to your limits, and then going past them, is that you're so tired that the kinda-funny becomes funny, and the funny-funny becomes hilarious.

And who doesn't like to laugh out loud uncontrollably, even if it means your dog thinks he might have to start taking YOU out for walks?

Comedic genius can be a real form of high intelligence. I hope all my students go on to a happy life that's filled with laughter, and at least one of them a comedy skit writer. I have given them complete freedom to imitate me to the funniest extreme.

Another picture I wished hadn't been erased was one of me trying to motivate a Number 2 pencil he could be a Number 1 pencil in a Knute Rockne / Mike Meyers voice.

Life is better with laughter, and the world seems so much better when you're holding your belly and wiping your eyes.

At the very least, we're going to be able to say we couldn't have had a better time learning.

At the very most, these kids will learn they don't need drugs because they're bored or trying to escape from their problems...........Not when their own hearts are filled with such confidence, laughter and love.

As teachers and parents we can be another brick in the wall, standing in front of kids saying, "Don't you see? Don't you get it?"

Or we can be a window in that wall, allowing them to see for themselves.

Love, toughness, and laughter...Some great things for anyone to see in themselves........along with healthy doses of Will Ferrell.

I think I laugh so hard watching this because I can see myself doing this...I really hope I don't. At least not in front of anyone. Enjoy :-)


Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Sad Goodbye

Two members of our class are leaving us, Daiquan and James.

Both sets of parents are moving, and I couldn't convince them to allow the guys to commute.

James has some excuse about it being too long.

Since when is going back and forth from Minnesota each day too long?

While going through my email to download pictures of these two, I came across one I had sent titled, "You're a good man Mr. Stuart".

It was what Daiquan had said to me one day as he put his hand on my shoulder.

The picture has been erased because it was taken three months ago and I hadn't found time to download it. I regret that.

But the meaning of that moment still lasts.

He had decided I was for real, and was choosing to trust me, believing that I truly believed in him.

No matter how hard we try as adults (teachers, parents, etc.), it won't have any real affect unless they see us as a trusted ally.

Lianbo (James) has been in nine schools in six years (his father is a sought-after scientific engineer).

James' mother told me he is devastated because he has never felt so happy and accepted until this year.....................Arghhhhh..............I feel too sad to write more.

It took me ten minutes to write that last line.

On the one hand these two diverse kids and their strong feelings are verifiable testimony to what is possible with the right environment.

It's also been proven that this "right environment" can include ALL of its members, when ALL are truly cared for, believed in, and led in the way that is most effective for them.

On the other hand, leaving this environment and having its members leave us hurts.......It just does.

Teaching can be a very risky business. So many people say teaching stinks. No, no....teaching is amazing.....if your willing to risk opening your heart and develop your mind, and then ask the students to do the same.

So to our two young friends, here are a few pictures and quotes to send you on your way.

I can't remember what I say in class, it just comes out, but from what former students tell me I sound something like this (thank you Jess and Ryan):

Our first teacher is our own heart.

A single disturbed thought creates ten thousand distractions.

Consider life as a sequence of cause and effect, and never rely upon luck.

Luck seeks its person.

Do not waste an entire life in the pursuit of a few golden moments.

Be full of life. Full of energy. Full of vivid aspiration.

We don't have to be the best, only do our best.

Do the right deed, and do it for the right reason.

We gain strength from the temptation we resist.

Live with intent.

We must learn who we are and the things we can do.

A little bit of worry each day adds up to years over a lifetime.

This life is for you.

A peaceful life is ours when we find work that we love to do.
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