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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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The Arts and Critical Thinking

Uploaded: Oct 5, 2015
I wrote a blog a few months ago about Teaching the Arts. That was my first time teaching a course on the Arts. I just completed my third Arts class and will be starting a forth one next week. So I have just enough time between classes to catch up on my blogs.

I used to teach Critical Thinking classes, but I like teaching these Arts classes better. Since I've been teaching Arts classes I realized that learning about Art is a better way to learn Critical Thinking than learning about Critical Thinking. Several students even commented on that in the wrap up discussion of the course.

"As I started reading this the first thing to pop out at me was the statement about enhancing our critical thinking skills. I took a class not long ago that was a critical thinking class. I believe that arts definitely enhance our critical thinking skills. I first realized this when we had to examine paintings and sculptures in this class. It definitely takes a 'thinking outside of the box' attitude when we approach the arts."

I replied, "I'm glad you wrote this. I used to teach Critical Thinking and I consider thinking critically very important. But I find this class is even better for teaching critical thinking than the Critical Thinking class. In the first place, some students resist critical thinking because they do not want their existing beliefs challenged. They are comfortable believing what they have been convinced is the right or only way to see something. Challenging their certainty can be very frightening."

With Art there isn't any real stake in believing one painting is better than another or learning to see or hear more elements in a play or symphony. This doesn't threaten the belief systems of most people; so it is safer from a psychological and social point of view to be open minded about art and music and movies.

Once a person opens his or her mind to rethink their beliefs and tastes, it gradually opens their mind to other ways of thinking. Several students answered that they are now able to see shades of grey in things that were previously black and white.

One of the exercises in the class is a discussion on how knowledge of the Arts helps in job interviews. This is discussed in Week 1 and again in Week 5. In Week 1 most of the students did not see much benefit from knowing about the Arts in a job interview. By Week 5 they realized how valuable the Arts are for many jobs. Learning about the Arts helps develop creative thinking and creative thinking can lead to critical thinking.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Experiencing the arts requires using one's senses...looking, listening, feeling, etc.

If I'm at the SF Opera, I eat lightly before I go, always purchase a standing room ticket and sit on the carpet and relax and listen...what a wonderful experience and it costs less that a burger, fries, soft drink! Few folks in the standing room section wear scents and they're generally more informed and enjoying discussing the opera during intermission.

I only attend a few dance performance annually and I prefer more contemporary dance forms. Folks dance recitals are also a favorite! The music, the color, the costumes, scenery, instruments, can be magical and transport take me away.

My Favorite is to listen to Basque poets sing/improvise.

Painting: One of my all time favorite activities! Sometimes I have something in mind and I allow myself to stray, not be tied to plan as I enjoy finding my way as I move along. It's a gratifying emotional experience.

Hopefully, American children will develop a love of the arts to enrich their lives.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of another community,
on Oct 5, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Ms. Lujanbio: Web Link

These are best in the Basque Country! They are singing poets. They are given a topic, given a few moments to improvise a poem, and they sing it!

Ms. Lujanbio is the FIRST WOMAN to ever win!

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Thanks for the posts and the links. The Arts are important for well-rounded development. It's a shame so many public schools are cutting the Arts to save money.

I'll send the link to the Basque competition to my Brother-in-Law. He's very into the Basque region. I'm not sure why but I know when he and my sister travel they always go to Spain and the Basque region.

In the video they sound like they are speaking Spanish. I thought the Basque have their own language. Is the poetry competition in Basque or Spanish?


Posted by peter, a resident of Avignon,
on Oct 6, 2015 at 2:42 am

I know that art is a nice subject to learn but as a art student many time i had felt the class is so boring. Making a class active is the job of a teacher i think. I have met a professor as [url=Web Link resources degree online[/url] site and i just loved the way he take the class, impressive man, really impressive

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

ps Jewish cemetery in Bilbao: Web Link

The Basque language is an ancient language. It has changed over the years.
The University of Nevada, Reno has a Basque Studies program with an extensive library. When Franco was alive, the language was banned. A very frightening time. My family ended up in England before finding a home in the USA! GORA!

Lots of young girls are now participating in regional competitions.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 6, 2015 at 9:19 am

BASQUE STUDIES, University of Nevada, Reno:

Web Link Your brother will enjoy exploring the web page!


ps I prefer Donostia/San Sebastian and hiking the countryside with a group.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Roz...This info will make your brother very happy! Web Link

Posted by Dormie, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:07 am

Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. BandarQ Online Web Link

Posted by geru, a resident of Canyon Oaks,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:15 am

The elements are thus distinguished: Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc. These produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Rat occurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart. http://BOYAQQ.ML

Posted by hifrg, a resident of Birdland,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:17 am

For example, the 1989 year of the Snake began on 6 February 1989. The year 1990 is generally aligned with the year of the Horse. However, the 1989 year of the Snake officially ended on 8 February 1990. http://BOYAQQ.GQ

Posted by tujta, a resident of Birdland,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:25 am

One scheme of continuously numbered Chinese-calendar years assigns 4709 to the year beginning, 2011, but this is not universally accepted; the calendar is traditionally cyclical, not continuously numbered. http://BANDARQ.CF

Posted by goyamd, a resident of Birdland,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:33 am

Pickles such as Laba garlic, which turns green from vinegar, are also made on this day. For those that believe in Buddhism, the Laba holiday is also considered Bodhi Day. http://BANDARQ.GA

Posted by joudfrey, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:39 am

The porridge was prepared by the women of the household at first light, with the first bowl offered to the family's ancestors and the household deities. http://DOMINOQQ.CF

Posted by gercv, a resident of Birdland,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 4:41 am

The concept of the "La month" is similar to Advent in Christianity. Many families eat vegetarian on Chinese New Year eve, the garlic and preserved meat are eaten on Chinese New Year day. http://DOMINOQQ.GQ

Posted by vojuf, a resident of Mohr Elementary School,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 5:17 am

It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. http://DOMINOQQ.TK

Posted by gertd, a resident of Hart Middle School,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Purchasing new clothing and shoes also symbolize a new start. Domino 99 Terbaik

Posted by firecracker, a resident of Pleasanton Village,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm

This day is the god of Wealth's birthday. In northern China, people eat jiaozi, or dumplings, on the morning of powu (Chinese: ç ´äº"; pinyin: pòwÇ"). In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on the next day (the sixth day), accompanied by firecrackers. http://DOMINO-QIU.GQ

Posted by older, a resident of Spotorno Ranch,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:54 pm

The seventh day, traditionally known as Renri (the common person's birthday), is the day when everyone grows one year older. In some overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore, it is also the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten for continued wealth and prosperity. http://DOMINO-QIU.TK

Posted by 拜天公, a resident of Pleasanton Village,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Another family dinner is held to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven. People normally return to work by the eighth day, therefore the Store owners will host a lunch/dinner with their employees, thanking their employees for the work they have done for the whole year. http://POKER-ONLINE.GA

Posted by å…­æ–‹, a resident of The Knolls,
on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Some people will hold a ritual prayer after midnight on the eighth day. In Malaysia, especially, people light fireworks, often more than on the first day.
This practice of Bai Ti Gong can also be seen in Singapore.

Posted by fgjdthf, a resident of Beratlis Place,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:17 am

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as "Yuanxiao Festival" (simplified Chinese: å...�'宵节; traditional Chinese: å...�'宵節; pinyin: Yuán xiāo jié), also known as "Shangyuan Festival" (simplified Chinese: 上å...�'节; traditional Chinese: 上å...�'節; pinyin: Shàng yuán jié) or the Lantern Festival (otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei Chinese: 十äº"暝; pinyin: ShíwÇ"míng; literally: "the fifteen night" in Fujian dialect). Rice dumplings tangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤å�"†; traditional Chinese: 湯å�"“; pinyin: tang yuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, are eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.

Posted by edjkers, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:22 am

Traditionally, red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai sze or lai see; 利是, 利市 or 利事; Pinyin: lìshì; Mandarin: hóngbāo 红å�'...; Hokkien: ang pow; POJ: âng-pau; Hakka: fung bao) are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children. Web Link

Posted by sffhifsgo, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:23 am

Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金: báijÄ«n). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. The number six (å...­, liù) is also very lucky as it sounds like "smooth" (流, liú), in the sense of having a smooth year. The number four (å››) is the worst because its homophone is "death" (æ­»). Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets. Web Link

Posted by buiter, a resident of Sycamore Place,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:29 am

In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from older people to younger people, small gifts (usually food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, and never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and candies. Web Link

Posted by vieru, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:29 am

Certain items should not be given, as they are considered taboo. Taboo gifts include: Web Link

Posted by buirtwee, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:30 am

sharp objects that symbolize cutting a tie (i.e. scissors and knives)
items that symbolize that you want to walk away from a relationship (examples: shoes and sandals) Web Link

Posted by sdigyiuioa, a resident of Canyon Meadows,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:33 am

Hong Kong filmmakers also release "New Year celebration films" (賀歲片), mostly comedies, at this time of year.
Web Link
Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season.

Posted by vuierktwrfabh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:56 am

Red is the predominant color used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this color also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

There's backup software that stores all of your data on CDs or thumb drives. I use something called Rebit that saves any changes you make to documents or spreadsheets along with the earlier versions. There's also "cloud" storage from Microsoft and other big name companies, but I don't really trust them.


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jul 26, 2016 at 5:24 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


Other than Cholo and myself, every other comment on this post has been from a spammer. The weblink gives it away.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jul 26, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


It's really hard to keep these spammers off. Gina spends a lot of time hiding the Spam. I've had to suspend comments on some blogs to keep them off. I just changed permission on this blog to "Must be logged in to comment." I shall set that on all my blogs in the future.


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