Tag Archives: workshop

2018 Chinese New Year Woodblock Exhibition At ‘Confucius Institute’, UNH (Durham, NH) — Part II.

by Anura Guruge

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

Please refer to ‘Part I‘ of this ‘post’ for details — especially about the 14-wood block, 14-step process required to create one of these full-color Chinese wood blocks.

Three of the four wood blocks used to create this 4-color print.


Pictures in Part I were taken with my Google Pixel 2 phone. These were with my full frame Sony a7 II.

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by Anura Guruge

2018 Chinese New Year Woodblock Exhibition At ‘Confucius Institute’, UNH (Durham, NH) — Part I.

by Anura Guruge

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

This extensive woodblock exhibition and workshop was the 2018 Chinese New Year event presented by my friends at the UNH ‘Confucius Institute‘.

UNH ‘Confucius Institute‘ always comes up with an original, EDUCATIONAL and entertaining event to celebrate the Chinese New Year and share their cultural treats and treasures with the rest of us.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was blown away by HOW MANY exquisite full-color (i.e., 14-color) woodblock prints they had.

I was lucky. I was given a number of personal, one-on-one tutorials in that these are indeed my friends and we collaborated, very successfully, for last year’s Concord Multicultural day. To produce a full-color print it takes 14 separate, delicately carved wood blocks. One for each color. Just think how long that takes.

The Chinese came up with such full-color printing way ahead of anybody else.

At the hands-on workshop they were doing 3- and 4-color prints. Still impressive.

It was GOOD. Very good. I enjoyed myself. Took a lot of pictures. These were with my Google Pixel 2. I have yet to download the pictures I took with full-frame Sony a7 II. That is next.

This woodblock show continues into tomorrow, Wednesday, February 14, 2018.

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by Anura Guruge

Chinese New Year 2017: UNH (Durham, NH) — Woodblock Exhibition & Workshop (FREE).

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.


For the last few years (to my knowledge), the ‘University of New Hampshire‘ (at Durham), under the able patronage of their ‘Confucius Institute‘ (led by the v. charismatic and capable Dr. Yige Wang), always does something special to mark the Chinese New Year.

In 2016 & 2014 it was a Miaohui (Temple Fair), with Dragon Dancing etc. They were a LOT of fun. See this post … and this.

chineseny2017111Then in 2013 it was mind-blowingly good ‘Gala Performance‘.

This year, for a change, it is this Woodblock Exhibition & Workshop — with a live Jazz band from the local Oyster River Middle School.

It should be good. UNH/Confucius Institute have a very good track record.

Happy Chinese New Year. Year of the Rooster.

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by Anura Guruge

Alton Central School (ACS) Board’s Confused & Confusing Vote Against ‘Common Core’ Makes The Headlines.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Common Core Vote … — Sep. 16, 2013.
>> How come no ACS teachers attended
>> … — Aug. 10, 2013.

>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop …
>>Aug. 9, 2013.

>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious
>>July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

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Click to access September 17, 2013 'Laconia Daily Sun'.

Click to access September 17, 2013 ‘Laconia Daily Sun’.

Michael Kitch, a very savvy, seasoned and astute reporter got it right on two counts: this was nothing MORE than a thumbing of noses and one whose impact is obscure to say the least.

This vote will have repercussions, good or bad.

Alton Central School (ACS) Board Votes 3 – 2 AGAINST ‘Common Core’ — Whatever The Vote Was Supposed To Mean!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> How come no ACS teachers attended … — Aug. 10, 2013.
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
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The ACS School Board vote at the September 16, 2013, meeting, however pathetic it might have been, duly confirmed my contention following the June Board Meeting that the ACS Administration and staff did NOT have the Board backing when it comes to Common Core.

This is why I have agitated, as the minutes from the Board meeting clearly show, to get a straight up-down vote from the Board on this.

It happened and it came out as I had expected — with the Board showing its contempt for ‘CC’.

I knew how Steve Miller was going to vote. He had already stated his support for CC for the record.

I was glad and impressed that Sandy Wyatt voted for CC. It is now official: Deanna and I think she is GOOD, VERY GOOD.

I had planned to get up at the first public input session and ask the Principal why teachers from ACS had not attended the Board meetings to present their side of the story.

Though I did bring it up, I did not have to. There were about 7 or 8 (maybe more) ACS teachers present, led by 6th grade teacher Mr. Richard Kirby, who I think represents the ACS teachers in some capacity. He stood up and spoke maybe four times. He did a good job of refuting the crazy claims about CC and also clearly stating the case of the teachers as to why they are in favor of CC. Thank you Mr. Kirby. Mr. Kirby, however, is not a lawyer nor a politician and as such was not as forceful as he should have been with the rebuttals. I see that a lot with teachers. They kind of get out of practice arguing with adults.

I was delighted to see Carol Locke, the Principal of Gilmanton School, at the meeting to defend and promote CC and also to unequivocally refute some crazy statements related to teachers resigning from Gilmanton because of CC that had been made at the August Workshop. That is the first time I had seen her, let alone met her. When she got up and stated her address (which she didn’t have to do) I realized that we were neighbors and that I even walk past her house on occasion. In addition to speaking as the Principal she also spoke as an Alton resident and grandparent. She has my thanks. She was impressive.

Mr. William Lander, the Superintendent, made a VERY GOOD forceful statement on behalf of the administration and staff as to their belief and commitment in CC.

But that was all in vain.

Politics prevailed. They were not voting on CC. They were voting on ideological political beliefs and their profound fear of anything that is other than their cherished ‘local control’.

But, here is the irony and I knew that this would be the case ever since I asked for the vote.

The vote meant nothing.

It changed nothing, it changes nothing!

Yes, to be fair some of the members did point this out before the vote — viz. that they were not sure what they were voting for or against.

But, they voted against their support of ‘CC’.

However, ACS is already committed and on track with a CC-based curriculum, books and testing for the 2013 – 2014 school year. That die is cast. Rotate has been reached and exceeded.

To change course they will have to take some other votes.

Mrs. Locke (first) and I (second) BOTH stood up in the second public input and asked for clarification as to what the voted meant, its ramification.

Mr. Lander, to his credit again, pointed out that the vote didn’t change anything. He was on the ball today. I was impressed.

I chased after Mr. Kirby, who left (no doubt in disgust) after the vote and asked him if he understood what the vote meant. He didn’t.

What a Board.

Of, there was healthy applause from the public gallery, but not the teachers, when the vote failed. Sad.

But, I want to applaud and thank four individuals that truly impressed me today:
Richard Kirby, Carol Locke, Sandy Wyatt & William Lander.

Alton Central School (ACS) School Board Meeting, August 12, 2013 — DISSOLVED Due To Lack Of Quorum! W.T.F.!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> NOT a single teacher from ACS … — Aug. 10, 2013.
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.

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This was beyond the pale.

This was unacceptable.

This was unprofessional.

This was rude.

None of the three even bothered to call, e-mail (or even text) the Superintendent or the Chair to say that they would not be making it (or at least that is what they implied). We (Deanna, I and Steve Parker from the Public) all sat and waited … till 6.15.
<< See BELOW >>

If it was an emergency one would hope that these folks have a family member that could have called.

I felt genuinely sorry for the Chair Sandy Wyatt. She tries. She deserves better respect than THIS from her own Board Members. She looked slightly bemused seated there …

This was very uncharacteristic for Steve Miller. That was commented upon by the few that were there.

Yes, I better than most understand that things come up and that everybody has a personal life in addition to their civic and professional duties.

The Principal Sydney Leggett wasn’t there either, but her absence was expected as I was led to believe.

But, not to let anyone know ahead of time was rude ….  And we are talking about 3 people here. Yes, if one didn’t bother to notify, I could handle that.

Third School Board meeting, counting last Thursday’s workshop, that Krista Argiropolis has missed. I think, and I could be wrong, that she missed another earlier in the year.

Contrary to what many may believe this is not a strictly volunteer position. The board members do get a stipend — though I think Steve Miller gives it back (or does something similar). The stipend is $1,000 a year I think. Yes, they do much more than attend the meetings, but …

I get a feeling that there is some gameplay involved here.

But this was a bad and dangerous game to play.

Yes, as ever, there was hardly any public. Apathy reigns. Parents only appear to care about renovating the building. Sad. A building does not a school make. But, obviously that is the thinking in town.

Well, a bid had to be granted today. It could not because there was no meeting.

I am, as is my wont of late, going to stand up, if nothing else but for the record, and demand that the Board adopt a set of rules as to their conduct.

I found out today that School Board members are NOT obligated to attend any of the meetings. Once elected they could miss every meeting.

That has to change.

This was bad.

I have since found out that TWO (2) Board Members (and yes, I know who they are but won’t mention their names to avoid embarrassing the third) quite correctly, per SAU policy, e-mailed the Superintendent, William ‘Bill’ Lander earlier that day. Mr. Lander got the e-mails and was aware that they would NOT be attending.

The third member rather than e-mailing Lander e-mailed the Chair instead. Not sure whether she got that e-mail prior to the meeting.

LANDER never disclosed to us, the public, that he had heard from two of the members.

There was NO REASON for him not to do so — other than maybe just plain bad manners.

This is why at the next School Board meeting I demanded that they add a permanent Agenda Item, right after the pledge, that says: ‘Regrets From Board Members’.

That should preclude Lander playing all coy and as usual by his own rules.

This was mainly Lander’s fault for not telling us.

How Come NOT A Single Teacher From Alton Central School (ACS) Or Prospect Attended School Board ‘Common Core’ Workshop?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
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So how come not a SINGLE TEACHER from Alton Central School (ACS) or Alton’s Prospect Mountain High School attended the much vaunted School Board workshop to discuss Common Core?

It is not like teachers don’t attend School Board meetings. They were there in droves earlier in the year when the $18M Bond was being discussed — all seated regimentally together. They attend when awards are being given out.

But, come this crucial, ‘KEY TO THE KIDS’ meeting on Common Core they are conspicuous by their absence.

It could not have been a coincidence or accident.

They were either telling us something or had been told by the Administration to stay away.

Their absence can be interpreted in multiple ways.

As I already said I was disappointed and amazed that the Administration did NOT stand up and defend their decision to pursue Common Core — at least in 2013 – 2014.

We had ancient folks from out-of-town standing up and talking about their teaching experiences from the 1970s — as if that had any bearing on CC.

There were all these non-educators that stood up and claimed that various teachers and unions were against CC.

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have some of OUR teachers there to give us THEIR impressions.

Because in the end, it is what they think that really matters?

I could be wrong but I have a sneaking feeling that the Administration told them to stay clear to avoid any flack!

That the Administration, to their dismay or otherwise, knows that they do not have a majority support by the Board is probably influencing their decisions.

Don’t we have an anointed, much-hailed ‘Champion of the Children’? How come he wasn’t there? Whether you support CC or not, somebody OTHER THAN the estimable School Board member, Steve Miller, the GUARDING of Alton’s school kids, needs to be there to represent the kids.

The Administration clearly demonstrated that they are not going to stand up.

I am doing my part. Don’t forget that it was I that got the ball rolling on CC — since I knew that we had an issue even more divisive than the $18M Bond. So I am doing my part — though I really am not passionate one way or another about CC. I am a great believer that you can take a child to a playground but you can’t get her to go on the monkey-bars.

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Summer ‘Workshop’, Thursday, August 8, 2013: Bar Common Core Segment The Rest Was A Non-Event.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
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I urge you to watch the video as soon as it is available.

I will update this post with a link to it — as soon as Deanna spots it online.

The Workshop from 1: 30 to 3:45 pm was devoid of a audience bar us and a substitute teacher taking notes for the local rag. That was IT!

The Workshop from 1: 30 to 3:45 pm was devoid of a audience bar us and a substitute teacher taking notes for the local rag. That was IT! One of the Board Members was also missing — for the 2nd meeting in a row. Must be taking the Summer off.

I got up and spoke at least 5 times -- I think. Got one major breakthrough. Motion passed, unanimously, that in future MOST public documents discussed by the Board will be displayed, via a 'magic lantern', on the big screen so we can all see what the heck they are talking about.

I got up and spoke at least 5 times — I think. Got one major breakthrough. Motion passed, unanimously, that in future MOST public documents discussed by the Board will be displayed, via a ‘magic lantern’, on the big screen so we can all see what the heck they are talking about. This picture was taken around 3:50 when the CROWDS poured in for the Common Core segment. Didn’t see many Alton parents. A lot of old folks — even older than ME!

It really was a Workshop in two parts: 3 hours of tedium and paper shuffling from 1 to 4 and then 1:20 minutes of rather amusing (if not for the fact that it was so sad) live entertainment along the lines of ‘no, I don’t believe you‘ rhetoric on Common Core.

When we got there just at 1pm my friends Raymond Howard and Steve Miller were there. I was glad. I actually went and sat with them leaving Deanna to sit in the front row. By 1:30 Ray and Steve had both left, albeit after Ray had given one of his pithy and always to the point remarks, in public input, that he always gets the feeling that the Board just loves to spend our money. Ray and Steve had work to do. I feared this with the timing of this Workshop.

So from 1:30 till 3:45 when busloads of ol’ folks turned up to contribute to the Common Core entertainment Deanna and I were the only bona fide PUBLIC at the meeting.

This is beyond the pale. It is diabolic.

Though nothing of IMPORT transpired the agenda for this Workshop included ‘Building Discussion’ and ‘Strategic Plan’, in addition to ‘Common Core’.

So in February – March we had all those fireworks about ACS building renovation and the $18 M bond, now come August no other parents can spare 2 hours to attend this Workshop?

I got up and had my say about this. I claimed that this Board in general, though there are two notable exceptions, make the public feel unwelcome and redundant. Their habit of glibly discussing documents that the public does not get to see is a classical example of this. Yesterday they spend 50 minutes talking about two documents and we (i.e., Deanna and I) had no idea what they were talking about. Bloody waste of our time — but that is how this Board views us. Mere taxpaying chattel — because we are not as rich and famous as they are!

Well, at least, with the help of Carlos Martinez and Steve Miller, I did get a motion passed — unanimously. In future we, the public, will get to see, on the big screen, via a ‘magic lantern’, the documents being discussed by this august board — though, of course, they retained the right, to arbitrarily override this provision when it is not convenient to them or the Administration. Well, we will see how this transpires. Dying to see the minutes.

That there have only been 4 members at this and the last board meeting was beneficial. These 4 members kind of balance each other out. I wonder how many board meetings you can miss before your conscience tells you that you need to quit?

In reality, other than this ‘public display’ motion that I forced them to adopt, the only real action that came out of this Workshop was the formation of a 22 member Strategic Team to look at EVERYTHING pertaining to the future of ACS — including buildings and grounds.

Deanna volunteered to be one of the team members — representing the parents. [To be fair, I was also asked, but I declined because I have never been a committee person. I am broadband.]

Steve Miller will also be on the team representing the Board. That is wonderful. I am glad. So in some ways I know that I am well represented on this Strategic Team: Deanna and Steve. What more can I wish for.

The Common Core was something else — as I knew it would be.

The Administration, to their shame, punted the ball. Neither the Principal nor the Superintendent, William Lander, Esq., had the gumption to stand up and defend what they claim that they believe in.

Instead they got a young lady, quite impressive, from the Dept. of Education, in Concord, to be their proxy. She was politic and didn’t know as much as she should have. She was outsmarted and out-researched by the Common Core detractors.

I know folks will scream at ME but I really have no skin in the game when it comes to Common Core.

Though I have a Master’s and have taught (adults) extensively, I am not a great believer in formal education! So to me Common Core, Apple Core, Metal Core are all the same. Yes, it is also true that I will make sure that my kids know the basics of what they need to know — by hook or by crooks. Once you know the basics, the rest is up to the individual. At least that is how it worked for me.

What cracks me up about Common Core is that our current principal Sydney Leggett has been talking about CC ad nauseum ever since she became Principal. She has told me, on the record, that ACS is committed to CC for 2013 – 2014,

I tried to get a vote — and vote of confidence — on CC yesterday. Check the tape. Sandy Wyatt, the Chair, who I have learnt to respect immensely, and have found is far more savvy than she lets on, very glibly brushed my request aside. By I will try again at the next board meeting which I think is this coming Monday. I want a vote by this Board — for the record.

I think, if Mrs. Wyatt allows me, that the vote will indicate that THIS board is not in support of CC! We know that Carlos Martinez will vote against it. He has to. He has no choice. I know that Steve (my friend) does support CC and did, BRAVELY, go on the record the last time we spoke about it. As ever kudos to Steve. So they cancel out each other. Let me take a stab at this. I think the vote will be 4 – 1 AGAINST CC! So where does that leave Mrs. Leggett?

I did hear something interesting yesterday. Though I had also heard a statement to the contrary at an earlier meeting, there was a muttering that Mrs. Leggett may never have got a VOTE from the Board to proceed with CC. Oh dear!

IF I had a say, I will stand with Mrs. Leggett. We need SOME standards and CC is a standard. That I am a UNESCO-brat may or may not have anything to do with it. But since I am a foreigner I don’t count anyway.

But, let me please urge all ACS parents to WATCH THE TAPE.

make up your own mind. Come to the meetings. They sure beat TV.

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Summer ‘Workshop’ — Thursday, August 8, 2013, 1 pm – 5 pm. It Should Be Hilarious.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
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entertainmentmaskAt this ‘workshop’, originally billed, erroneously, by the Superintendent, William Lander, as ‘the retreat’, will address, in public, ‘Common Core‘ and the new charter for the ‘Buildings & Grounds Committee‘.

There is also a session on the future vision of the board, but I think there is nothing that cannot be easily and inexpensively fixed there with some pairs of Dollar Store reading glasses.

The scheduled 1 hour segment for discussing ‘Common Core’ should prove to be the BEST public forum entertainment that has been available in Alton all Summer. Forget the July 3rd fireworks. The fireworks during this session should be spectacular. Jane Cormier, Alton’s indefatigable State Rep, Jane Cormier, per her husband, School Board member Carlos Martinez, will attend and speak on this issue. Per a request I had made in May, Carlos asked whether she could be on the agenda. That was denied. She will have to speak during ‘public input’ so to speak. This should be a very entertaining hour.

Now that the Board, made an about-turn, and decided that they are not going to move the 4th Grade modulars, we should also have some fun discussions during the ‘Buildings & Grounds’ segment.

I am assuming that the SAU, will per custom, tape all of this and put it on YouTube. My guess is that parts of this will go viral. Now if we could only monetize that through YouTube. That will pay for a $36 M school.

Destination Imagination (DI) New Hampshire, Appraiser Conflicts of Interest Bothers Me

I have a long, and until now very positive, history with New Hampshire Destination Imagination (NH-DI). All 4 of my kids have taken part in DI. Consequently, I have been involved one way or another with NH-DI since 1996. My son, who did NH-DI for four-years, won State twice, in 1999 and 2001, and went onto DI Global Finals in Knoxville, TN.

Last year I was an Assistant Team Manager. This year my wife and I were both Team Managers. I was also an Appraiser and appraised at the Sanborn Regionals (Kingston) on March 17, 2012. My wife and I both attended DI Team Manager training workshops this year, and I, in addition, did the online Team Manager and DI Appraiser training offered by the ‘DI University’. [That our 11-year old ended up as the Gnome at Kingston was a bonus.]

So, I have no axe to grind with NH-DI. I have been a great proponent of NH-DI and have enjoyed being a part of NH-DI.

So what is my gripe?

When my elementary team competed on March 10, 2012, at the Kearsarge (N. Sutton) Regional Meet, in the ‘Coming Attractions’ challenge, I was shocked to see that two of the appraisers were from our school! One of them had even attended our last dress rehearsal the week before and had spoken at length with the kids about their performance.

Until that point it had never crossed my mind that NH-DI permitted such Conflicts of Interest.

Right after their performance the kids (ranging in age from 8 to 11) asked me how it was possible that they were judged by two of their teachers! They found it incongruous.

We did not do well in the challenge, mainly due to stage fright. But, we came 4th out of 10. Here are the results. Given the blatant Conflict of Interest we feel that there should be an asterisk next to our placing! We don’t feel good about it because we know of the Conflict.

So there is my issue. Plain and simple. NH-DI should let all concerned know, from the get go, that it is possible to have Conflicts of Interest when it comes to appraising. That is it. Period.

I just want transparency. NH-DI should publish a list of all the appraisers and their affiliations. That way everything is all above board.

Yes, many sports employ ‘partial’ judges and Olympic ice skating and free style skiing comes to mind. But, the affiliations of the judges are always disclosed.

To me, having these secret conflicts of interest totally undermine the integrity and credibility of NH-DI.

In my opinion, it is not fair on the kids. They put a lot of effort into the competition. Let them have a perfectly level playing field — SANS suspicions of Conflicts of Interest.

What have I done?

Right after the competition, on March 14, 2012, I e-mailed Jim Heedles the Regional Master for that event. I also contacted, via e-mail, Kara Swedlow, the NH-DI the Affiliate Director. They, for obvious reasons, want to play down this issue. I also tried AskDI@dihq.org but they just referred me back to NH-DI!

I have also spoken, by e-mail and in person when I attended the March 17 event, with a number of NH-DI officials. All of them expressed ‘surprise’ at what I had to say and ‘promised’ to look into it. But, nothing has happened — and I can fully appreciate that NH-DI does not want their results and reputation to be compromised.

The young lady coordinating my appraising on March 17 had asked me via e-mails whether I had any conflicts of interests. I informed her that I had none at the meet that I was officiating — but told her what had happened at the March 10 meet. She assured me that they try very had to avoid such conflicts.

So imagine my shock when one of the appraisers I was judging with, on March 17, informed us that he was a teacher at the school that had just performed — and he had appraised!

I spoke with the coordinator. She was aware of it, but said that the teacher had assured her that he did not know any of the kids in that team.

Come on! All I am asking for is transparency. With DI there should never be any doubts or suspicions that the kids did not get a fair shake of the stick.

Thanks for reading this. I feel much better now that I have got this off my chest.

Anura Guruge