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Coaches and Teachers

The men and women who coach high school sports are often some of the most dedicated and effective people that students are ever likely to encounter. It seems like great coaches have some kind of edge when it comes to inspiring young people, perhaps because so many young people look forward to joining and being part of a team.

Educators have long wondered how they can get their students to show the same level of enthusiasm for their schoolwork as they show for football, basketball, track and field, and other high school sports. It may not be possible, until people can start showing the same enthusiasm for fractions, Shakespeare and conference committees that they show for sports.

It may not be possible. To a professional, the study of history, for example, shows that the development of countries and political systems is messy and complex, and its study heavily influenced by national interests and priorities. History is written by the winners, after all. A funny thing, though: while there don't appear to be any statistics to quantify it, it seems that many high school history teachers also coach one or another of their school's athletic teams. No less an organization than the American Historical Association has a coach preparation playbook to teach history.

Gareth Pooleon is an administrator in the Oregon Connections Academy, an online public school. He earned a Master’s in Education from Western Oregon University in 1997. He also holds a degree in history, was an NCAA All-American in Track and Field in 1987, and the Track and Field Coach of the Year in the Valley League.

Collectible Music

Downloadable digital music is the current state of the art delivery system for recorded music, and is the obvious wave of the future – until some as yet unforeseen, superior technology comes along.

But vinyl is not entirely dead. Some audiophiles insist that music presented on vinyl can never be beaten by any digital recording technology, and it still has its enthusiasts. Many of the enthusiasts are devotees of music that was never available on any other platform, and many more just prefer it and are dedicated collectors.

Like any other collectible, there are records that are more prized and valued, and the better condition they are in, the more money they are worth. But some titles are all but impossible to find, simply because they are so rare. Experts seem to have disagreements on what constitutes the rarest and most valuable vinyl LP, but some of the candidates are a 1992 picture disc by Madonna called "Erotica." The record was only on the market very briefly because its cover was too hot to handle. Another candidate is known only as "Promotional album," a 19690 Rolling Stones LP, of which just two hundred copies were pressed and sent to radio stations in the UK and the United States.

A single of "God Save the Queen," a 1977 punk anthem by the Sex Pistols, has been valued at twenty thousand dollars, probably because it, too, was controversial and withdrawn from the marketplace. But as in so many other areas of popular music, it is the Beatles who have some of the rarest and most sought-after vinyl. These include their "Yesterday and Today" album from 1966, a mint condition copy of which sold for $38,000 in 1996. It's another case of an album withdrawn from sale: in this case because of its cover, which showed the Liverpool mop tops posing in butcher smocks with pieces of meat and plastic dolls.

Gareth Pooleon is an administrator at the Oregon Connections Academy and a record collector with a passion for the music of the 1970s.


Gareth Pooleon - The Benefits of Gardening

There are many benefits to planting a vegetable garden of your own, from the obvious benefit of having plenty of fresh and great tasting vegetables, and the satisfaction of having grown and harvested them yourself, to the less obvious benefit of the relaxation most gardeners report having just from being out in the sun, pulling weeds and breathing in fresh air.

Gareth Pooleon

There may be no simpler pleasure in life than stepping into your very own garden on a warm summer morning, and listening to the birds sing, the insects buzzing, and smelling the fragrant aroma of flowers in bloom. And then there's the feel of the earth, all dewy and musky, and the primal feeling of turning the soil and sifting it in your hands and fingers.

Those sensory sensations are just one part of the experience. Kids love to watch things grow, and observing a garden from the start of the season through its finish, from planting seeds to pulling weeds, observing buds turn into vegetables, and then harvesting in the fall, is an elemental sampling of the cycle of life. It has the added bonus of teaching them about decision making and learning patience.

Kids who take part in a garden also gain a deeper appreciation for the basic needs of plants and other growing things. All plants need water, light and air, and kids get a good idea of how they need these elements in different amounts: some plants need more water than others, and some grow better in shady places.

Gareth Pooleon is an education professional who lives and works in Oregon, where he also enjoys the benefits of gardening.

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