Self-Referential, Part 6

As it turns out, I’ve got more than one Youtube channel, both of which are devoid of subscribers, thus however do I have more stuff to post here. Some of these are blasts from the past, but as a history teacher, I make no apologies. Looking back always helps us look forward! (Still gotta figger out YT.)

Charlie on fiddle, from one of Mary Lynn’s concerts at La Honda Elementary School…

Simple Gifts

Veronica vocals, at Louanne’s & Sharon’s wedding in Florida back in 2013…

Someone Like You

I made this Bon Voyage slideshow for Elayna, my cousin Susan’s daughter, when she embarked on a semester at sea a couple of years ago. Sadly, Susan, born one day after me, died of cancer, and the father has not been around. Happily, Elayna is a buoyant, upbeat, and life-loving young lady. The first half are pix from Susan’s family, the last half from ours, with an emphasis on traveling the world…

For Elayna…

Kind of a sequel to our world trip in ’15-’16, since we had not visited South America then, was a summer trip to Peru & Bolivia in 2019. As in Morocco, we went with Intrepid and had a great time. It was a particularly fun group of people who our kids connected with. This trip was well documented at the time, but here’s a summary slideshow I made not too long ago. (Sorry for the generic music.)

Peru & Bolivia with Intrepid

You’d think I’d make more videos, but I sorta feel like others do a better job, so I am more of curator than a producer. However, during the Covid-infected 20-21 school year we were asked to make bilingual videos for Back-to-School-Night. I’m including this because I was employing a kind of scrapboard look and in the background it shows the slideshow I made for the Pescadero Middle/High School website which I’d created (now replaced, much to my consternation). And it shows one of Google Classrooms, my blog, and the free online textbook I’ve been using for the last couple years (serendipitously featuring the Supreme Court chapter). Apologies for my Spanish…

Back-to-School Night 2020

This last video was too long for the actual Outride Bikes grant proposal (being over 3 minutes), so I put some of these clips on a slideshow. However, it does not show the clips from Greg Virgallito (jumping and riding a wheelie) and myself (see the slideshow). We got the grant and now there are 25 Specialized mountain bikes on campus for our students to use. No soundtrack, just the basics…

Outride Bikes – Riding for Focus

Catch up ‘22.2

There’s more! As Recreation Director, I’m supposed to help put on a couple of annual events. For the last two years, the CLHG Easter Egg Hunt had been canceled due to Covid. Thanks to super-volunteer Corinne Poulson, the event was back and dozens of families showed up to enjoy the fun…

In my previous post, I featured some student art work. This batch shows the process in both the art room and the tin shed, and it features some supplements – Puente-sponsored art therapy, Dan Geraci’s metal arts, and some ceramics aided by local potter Tom Shuman. And there’s some shenanigans too…

A very random batch: First up, an event at Pie Ranch which features their new ranch house being rebuilt after the fires. There’s also part of a property that was purchased, a Scrabble game, more pix of the Daniel’s Nature Center, and Charlie looking scary (but happy?)…

Here’s an art batch: First up, Beauty and the Beast featuring Tristan Deacon. Then, some of Delma Soult’s artwork, the cool octopus sculpture on the Santa Cruz pier, and one by Lynette Vega. Then, a group of art pix from Kaiser hospital, some therapeutic. Finally, the ceramics shelves at school, kids exploring, and the results of our first commission, redoing the signs for the La Honda Fair! Enjoy…

Randomized: Hanging out with Mom, Kind Peoples, the rebuilt shelves in the PHS library, the visiting Mountain Lion at the end of the school year, the reorganized CLHG storage shed, and the San Mateo County recycling center…

More art: Redwood city, a poster by Alicia Ortiz, and some nature art – the last project for art therapy…

Amazingly, I kept these paintings from Françoise Gilot’s painting class during the summer of 1977. These were hers and I kept them thinking they might be worth something – and they might! Especially, now that I’ve learned she is still alive and over 100 years old. I might ask her to confirm that she painted them…

For this largest batch, our trip to Tahoe for a few days with Aunties Louanne & Sharon. I was able to kayak from Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay and around little Fannette Island and the tearoom on top…

For this last batch, another CLHG event – the 4th of July Picnic. Again, we were coming out of Covid, and again, Corinne led the charge. Most pix are of the game winners and the tug of war, but I threw in a great blue heron at the pond, a striking flower, the cabin at our house, and a chart of the Wilder-McCrary Loop trail which I’ve been enjoying recently. Enough for now…

Thanks for your patience!

Catch up ’22

It’s been seven months since my last post and it is time to catch up, but there’s a catch: wherever you went, there you were, and you can catch that moment with some pix. For this first batch of random pix, we’ll start with a full moon (there have been at least seven!). Then, our house, some mushrooms strangely growing on the garage door, a little rusty red wagon in the woods, a kayak trip in the Pescadero Marsh, some animal tracks in the mud, and a heart at the Skylonda Trading Post. Enjoy…

The annual “Corazones” project in Pescadero during February (in honor of Valentine’s Day) was started by the art collective “Arte Motu” and continues to be an event. We held up our end on the phone poles in front of Pescadero High School with the following highlights from my spring semester art class (the last one, by Cinthia Vazquez was on display in hallway)…

A few months ago, I got my first ebike at Epicenter in Santa Cruz after doing the Wilder-McCrary loop which goes all the way around the UCSC campus. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I’ve been doing that and other trails thereabouts ever since. In this batch, I visit the kids on campus, explore ruins, the Baskin Engineering School, the Painted Barrels, and Pogonip. I threw in a few of local La Honda trails, including the planetarium with deer, and an interesting look at columbine flowers…

One fun find among the labyrinthine bike trails of the UCSC upper campus is the Buddha Shrine. Had to take more than one photo of this spot. Hope you can explore it in person…

This batch starts out with another challenge for the intrepid explorer: the abandoned airstrip on a ridge above Butano Canyon (lots of fire damage thereabouts). There are some tree, flowers, a koi pond at UCSC, and the old fashioned train up at Henry Cowell State Park…

ML & I did happen to swing up to Heavenly for President’s Week. In addition to the slopes, a Tahoe gallery…

I called this art project (the last public effort for the school year) the “Butterfly Effect.” The emphasis on Monarch butterflies was purposeful and perhaps political. Not unlike some of my students, they migrate from Mexico to the US annually. While we strived to create some scientifically accurate artwork, I encouraged some creativity as well. (Note: Chalo painting with two hands.) Flutter on…

In this last batch, we start with a project that both my Social Studies classes did in identifying bike riding issues around our campus (we just walked around and uploaded pix to this app made for the purpose). In addition to old wood, I took my old Mom to visit the kids at college. More pix of Wilder bike trails, etc., Santa Cruz, fairy house art, more flowers, the Daniels Nature Center pond, and another full supermoon. More coming in ‘22.2…

’21 to ’22!

No pix since the summertime nostalgia tour (22 in ’21). Updating now!

Since this is randomvail.com, this first batch is very random. Some beautiful poison oak, my vax card, Alan Burr amongst the driftwood, Charlie returning to the AT, DB at AJ’s, the Apple store in Palo Alto and thereabouts, sites in Santa Cruz, including Mom and Lucas playing a gig, Snoop wine on sale, etc. Enjoy…

Next up, just an incomplete taste of the South Coast Artists Alliance show at Harley Farms in lieu of the Pescadero Arts & Fun Festival, canceled again because of Covid…

…and there was the La Honda Community Garden art show…

Of course, some hikin’ & bikin’ have transpired over the past several months. Here’s a bit of nature…

I get to teach art this year! First efforts in the hallway display, then the calaveras (El dia de los muertos) project, and sciency art for the California Coastal Commission art contest (and the neighborhood)…

Let’s wrap it up with some randomness…

Self-Referential, Part 5

For this last batch, I’m mixing it up. Well, that’s what’s left, unless of course I make more – and from all my pix, there’s more to make! Just as there are not slideshows from parts of Asia, parts of Europe are also missing. Likely however, I will not dwell on the past, however fun, but hopefully go a-wandering elsewhere. In any case, let’s start here, where we finished our circumnavigation: Australia (before flying home across the Pacific). Then, our foray in Morocco, our start in England, and a couple of transitions…

Australia

Morocco

England

Across the Channel to Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, etc…

Our trip started in the summer of 2015, California to New York to Europe via the QM2…

Self-Referential, Part 4

Even though we only spent a few weeks in France & Italy, there were a lot of photos to take, and again, this ain’t of ’em. Get ready, we’re going heavy on the art museums…

The Vatican (Pope David?)

As with other collections, here’s an alternative version with the same pix but different music and theme…

The Uffizi, Florence

Venice

The Louvre

Musée d’Orsay

Just one small aspect of Vezelay…

Compare & Contrast…

Self-Referential, Part 3

Just as we spent a lot of time in India, so did pay considerable attention to Spain. However, there are many more pix & vids in the many posts there, especially our wonder stay in Cadiz…

The Alhambra

The Alhambra again! Same pix, different theme, different music…

The Alcazar

Mineral Museum, Madrid

Royal Botanical Garden, Madrid

Plaza de España, Sevilla

Cadiz Museum

Monuments in Cadiz

What about the Prado, San Sebastian, Barcelona, and of course the time lapse of Cadiz…?

Self-Referential, Part 2

Next up, video slideshows from India. Please know, there are more still shots on more posts from there…

Bengalaru, our first stop…

Kerala

Goa

Punjab

Delhi

Agra

Jaipur

Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission (GSAM = Strong Farm)

GSAM Art Photography

Please refer back, not just to my pictures of India, but to Nepal, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

That’s enough for this post (reverse chronologically delivered). Stay tuned…

Self-Referential, Part 1

If the folks at WordPress are monitoring their users, please know that I’m not satisfied with the playback on myriad video clips I’m put in my posts. Youtube links is a solution, but retrofitting is tedious. So, I’ve been doing it only for slideshows, and perhaps fixing the past is better done by updating the present? That is, rather than editing my old posts, I’ll just batch some links in fresh posts. In some cases, the original posts have more there, so for the curious, find them – if you can – on the Content tab.

In this first batch, some holiday fun, etc…

‘Tis the Season…

First, I posted this, happy to be home in La Honda. Then, I made this lil’ slideshow…

Heavenly Valley

Mammoth Mountain

Practice for my Sistine Chapel…?

Very Self-Referential

School Board Letters, Part 1

As the 21-22 school year started, I saw a couple of things that could improve our high school. In addition to adding the honorary addendum to a high school diploma of the California Seal of Civic Engagement, renovating the Community Service and Senior Project graduation requirements seeming like the right thing to do. I sent the following three letters on the same day in late September…

Capstone Project Proposal

Pescadero High School has had a Senior Project graduation requirement since before I started working here in 2007. As a 12th grade English teacher, I sponsored the Senior Project for a couple of years before handing it off to Jennifer Freeman, who did a great job for many years. Recently, and due to the challenges of Covid, the Senior Project is not what it was – and maybe it is time for a change? Thus, I’m proposing we reform the practice, revitalize the requirement, and re-envision the student outcomes.

The Senior Project was an opportunity for students to showcase their best work, but often, much good work had already been done earlier in their high school career. Further, for students who pursue Concurrent Enrollment as seniors, such a project can be hard to juggle with their new college classes. Here’s an alternative to what we have been doing…

  1. A comprehensive portfolio of academic work
    1. Thanks to Google Drive, students can archive all their academic work easily. Eventually, that work can be curated as they present the best examples of their work in high school.
    2. Examples from various subjects at each grade level. Eventually, this work, these portfolio items, could represent longitudinal interdisciplinary class projects? Service Learning projects?
  2. A project begins in 10th grade, concludes in 11th grade.
    1. Rather than starting a big project as seniors, students should start sooner. Rather than pursuing some random albeit interesting topic, they could research topics or careers that would benefit them after graduation.
    2. The Capstone project could be a customized theme or individualized academic focus that students explore as they move through subjects and grade levels. By concluding at the end of their junior year, they are free to do Concurrent Enrollment.
    3. Of course, students could choose to continue their Capstone project as seniors, not do Concurrent, and maximize their high school experience here at Pescadero.
  3. A paper is posted on a dedicated website, or the district’s.
    1. Just like before, students are responsible for writing a comprehensive and substantive research paper. Such a posting documents their work, but allows others, besides the teacher, to make some comments. Crowd sourced grading?
    2. In the past, 20 pages and 10 sources were the requirements. These can be open to modifications, upgrades, or changes in several ways. “Bibliography,” really?
  4. A presentation is posted on a dedicated website, or the district’s.
    1. Just like before, students are responsible for presenting their Capstone project to the public. While we could continue the tradition of live performances, students could also make their own videos, slideshows, or other presentations to post publicly.
    2. In the past, a 20 minute presentation (usually a narrated or explicated slideshow) was required. Even if that format continues, students can post their presentations for others to learn from.
  5. A “Q&A” or “dissertation defense”?
    1. What about the audience reading the paper or viewing the presentation ahead of time, then having a Q&A, Socratic Seminar, or TED talk exchange in which the student demonstrates their acquired knowledge in real time, in a dynamic discussion?

Perhaps the process could even begin in Middle School where students learn the importance of research and building their own knowledge base? Perhaps the process could be part of the Advisory program, or an aspect of college & career planning? Perhaps there could be interdisciplinary threads running through diverse subjects woven into the fabric of each student’s personal education?

Ultimately, the Senior Project has been a formidable graduation requirement, and a new Capstone project still could be that, and/or a “Curriculum Vitae” of a student’s high school experience. In any case, I encourage the board to revisit this topic and consider a new, more relevant, but equally meaningful milestone for our Pescadero High School graduates. 

Respectfully submitted, Randall Vail, 9/22/21

Service Learning Proposal

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine, the Community Service graduation requirement of 100 hours was reduced to 75 hours. This amount is still much more than the HMBHS graduation requirement and is always a challenge to meet in our small town. 

Further, quantifying community service in hours has been rather antiquated, having been replaced by the notion of “Service Learning.” Please check these links to learn more about Service Learning.

I would like to propose a substantive change to our Community Service Learning graduation requirement by disaggregating the hours into three components as follows…

  1. School Service – 10 hours per year
    1. This involves helping with sports and club activities, lunch service, bulletin announcements, recycling, campus clean ups, and other work in support of our school.
  2. Class Projects – 1 per year
    1. This would be a project in an academic subject or elective class in which students show their learning about something that helps our school, community, or world. (Credit plus a grade.)
  3. Community Service – 20 hours by January of graduation year
    1. This could be optional, but honors and perpetuates the system we have had in the past. Organizations in town still need help from our students and here’s the opportunity. 

As indicated previously, students can also work toward achieving the  California State Seal of Civic Engagement as an honorary addendum to their high school diploma. 

Additionally, some quantitative designation can be administered to identify the student most deserving of our on-going Community Service scholarship. 

Respectfully submitted, Randall Vail, 9/22/21

Civic Engagement Award Proposal

The California State Seal of Civic Engagement is an honorary addendum to a high school diploma that students can earn through various activities. Read about it here

I propose that we offer this opportunity to all the students who meet the following criteria (please edit as needed)…

  1. 100 hours of community service (or a “Service Learning” equivalent).
    1. Including 20 hours of service with one or more government agencies, work in a political campaign, or other documented civic engagement.
  2. A written report (or Capstone Project) on a service activity documenting their civic engagement or work with a particular government agency, or for a political campaign.
  3. Documented leadership in one or more clubs on campus, student government, or other student leadership activities.
  4. 3.0 GPA (or merit-worthy SAT/ACT scores) or a satisfactory score on a Government, Civics, or Naturalization test.
  5. Some other replacement criteria to use in lieu of the above…?

Students who achieve these criteria will have the California State Seal of Civic Engagement affixed to their diploma or will receive the appropriate certificate. Ideally, it will become a prized resume item for our graduates.

Respectfully submitted, Randall Vail, 9/22/21

Unfortunately, none of those letter