Cold Reading In An Elementary Classroom

On Friday one of my students asked about “those people on TV that can talk to your dead relatives.” I explained that it isn’t true, that it is really just a guessing game, that the people on TV are liars, then spent the next 20 minutes giving a demonstration. I “contacted” several deceased grandparents and even some dead pets. Later, at recess, I saw one of my students giving her own demonstration for her friends. I hope that none of my students will ever be taken in by one of these swindlers.

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Interesting Vaccine Article

As an elementary school teacher, issues like public health and vaccinations have a strong personal connection to me.  I spend five days a week in a building with about 1,300 children giving any disease a chance to spread like wildfire.  As a scientific thinker I come down squarely on the side of “pro vaccine” and find the current crop of anti vaccine advocates a dangerous group.  I have been following the “debates” about the H1N1 vaccine and recently read a very interesting article.

The website on which the article is published is a bodybuilding website.  It has the things one would stereotypically expect (muscle men and women in bikinis), but I urge you not to turn it off right away.  The most successful and educated people in the world of strength and conditioning and nutrition write articles for the site.  The editor in chief, who wrote the vaccination article, has a degree in biochemistry and specializes in the roles hormones play in the body.

Here is the link to the article.  Read it and make of it what you will.

A Fine Swine

My First Post

Here I am with a home on the web.  I only hope that somewhere out there “dramatic gopher” and “numa numa guy” are watching with approval.

The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts.  I have no illusions that this humble little location in cyberspace will become anything spectacular, that I will one day be offered a book deal, or that I will ever be invited to be a guest on “Real Time With Bill Maher.”  Of course, if any of those things do happen…

So that my position is clear:

I believe the development of the scientific process is the greatest achievement of humanity.

There…I said it and I stand by it.  Whether it is the treatment and eradication of disease, the development of a cooler television set, a better understanding of the universe, the creating of new energy technologies, or an upgrade to my George Foreman Grill, it is the scientific process that guides it.  As much as I love art and music, it must be admitted that the greatest developments of modern times have come about because of science.

I make my living as a 4th grade math and science teacher in Houston, Texas.  As someone that works with the future of our world every day, I am concerned.  Not only do I see a lack of critical thinking and skepticism being instilled in our children, I see very little interest in improving the situation.  I work hard every day to teach my students to question things, be curious, and ask for evidence.  Sadly, it seems I am often the only one doing so.

I will post all things skeptical here.  Current events and issues, cool new science news, calls to action, and entertaining posts are all fair game.  I hope my passion for education and teaching will come through and that many of my posts will have a slant towards skepticism in education.  Please take a moment to follow my blog and follow me on twitter.  I am honored and excited to join the growing skeptical community on the internet, and look forward to interacting with the world.

Thank You,

The Skeptical Teacher