Presence Podcast – Atomic #18 – Christ Through Argon

Christ Through Argon

Click on the link above to open another tab and hear the episode.

Argon, a noble gas is inert and inactive and thus is useful in various ways. Some think that God is inactive and uninvolved in the world. But Christ shows us that God is here and now.

A glowing set of the noble gases. Argon is the one in the middle.

Five Major Uses of Argon

Chemistry Explained: Argon

Argon: General Info and Uses

Click for More Information

USCCB Declares January 2017 as “Poverty Awareness Month”

If I don’t frequently visit the excellent and continually expanding United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website I’m likely to miss an important announcement. The other day I discovered that January 2017 is “Poverty Awareness Month” for the U.S. Catholic Church

There are some excellent resources, including the calendar (pictured above) which includes daily information and weblinks. An expanded version of the resources linked on the calendar is found here.

I’m planning on an activity with my classes tomorrow using the “quiz” found at this link listed for January 2nd:


And also has resources for National Migration Week, beginning on Monday, January 8th. More on this later….


10 1st Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class

Today was the first in-service for where Rachel, Tera and I teach.  It was a valuable, focused session on key classroom technology that all of use.  Tomorrow is our full day, full faculty in-service on The Big Picture for the year. Monday has the faculty/staff business meetings.  I see my freshmen briefly on Tuesday and Wed is the first full day of school.

So, I need to get focused on the technology I plan to use in my classes this year.  I’ve gathered lots of links which will help me with this.  As I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well, I’ll make a number of posts today.

For the Religion teachers out there, here’s a great list courtesy of Jared Dees and his excellent The Religion Teacher blog.

10 First Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class:

  1. Not sharing why you became a teacher/catechist
  2. Teaching on the first day
  3. Only talking about what you will teach and how they will be graded (In other words, just sharing your syllabus)
  4. Explaining how a class will run (rules & procedures), but not why they are there.
  5. Not praying
  6. Ignoring what the students want out of your class
  7. Forgetting the students’ names
  8. Not smiling
  9. Not reaching out to parents
  10. Teaching your lessons without a purpose

A good list, I must say.  Compare it to the other “don’t” list I posted recently and you’ll see some clear similarities.

If you’re still getting ready for 2015-2016 – Blessings on your preparation!

If you’re already rolling with students in 2015-2016 – Blessings on today and every day of this school year!

Introducing … uncommoncommunion

Like Fraiser from Cheers or Mork and Mindy and Laverne and Shirley from Happy Days, this blog now has a spin-offuncommon communion.

After looking back through this history of posts on Ed Tech Emergent, I realized that more than a few crossed from the stated mission of the site to wider territory.  While I hope readers have enjoyed exploring that wider territory, it has taken us afield from the core goals of this blog.  And this is a professional, team blog with a fundamentally educational focus.

So please visit (and follow) uncommoncommunion.  Learn more about me and the vision of that blog.

Thus far my topics (in order) have included:

Introducing…An Uncommon Perspective on Life, the Universe and Everything

Why “uncommoncommunion?”

The Fitbit and Confession

15 Promises All Couples Should Be Able to Make to Each Other

The Greater Glory of God via Soccer and Baseball

So, please come and visit me over at uncommoncommunion. I promise it will be interesting, thought-provoking and worth the trip.

Thanks!  Rick


Pentecost in Two Minutes

In case you’re like me and you didn’t talk with your classes about Pentecost before this past Sunday, here’s another great Busted Halo video to show tomorrow:


It feels somewhat abrupt to me that the Catholic church year moves from Pentecost right back into Ordinary Time. I like how the ELCA (Lutherans) now count the weeks until Advent as Time After Pentecost.  I like the Roman Catholic use of Ordinary Time, but maybe we could also have a few Weeks of Pentecost to reflect for more than one day on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of The Church.

Great, Free MOOC on Dante’s “Purgatorio” – Underway Now!

Earlier, I posted about MOOC’s and the increasing value of them.  I’ve dabbled in a few so far – registered, watched a video or two and then became too busy to give much attention to learning through it.

I’ve just started a truly amazing one from which I am going to learn much.  It is offered by Georgetown U. through an innovative, highly interactive portal.  The topic is Dante’s “Purgatorio” – the second book of the highly influential “The Divine Comedy.” 

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It began last week, so register quickly to not be too far behind.  Go to the edX portal, create an account and then register.  You’ll then have access to Georgetown’s “My Dante” portal.

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Can you receive CEU’s (Continuing Education Units) for this MOOC, like you can with other on-line courses?  Our diocese, already grants credit for paid classes through Dayton U.  The coordinator and her committee are currently considering whether to grant units for MOOC courses which may not have the same form of verification as similar, paid-registration courses.

Are you registering for and participating in this Dante course?  If so, let me know to look for you there!

Chag Purim Sameach or Happy Purim! Videos for Teaching about the Holiday

Sundown tonight begins the Jewish festival of Purim.  This joyous celebration, remembering the salvation of the Jewish people by God through Queen Esther, is filled with religious meaning and many traditions.

I like to teach my freshman and sophomore Religion students about the Jewish holidays as understanding these is crucial to knowing the culture and traditions out of which Christianity developed.

Here’s a few YouTube videos I’m using today in class:

Purim Animated – an engaging 4:46 overview of the story of Esther and her people.

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The Book of Esther Goes Western – a very creative 4:40 re-telling of the same story, but with a “spaghetti western” motif.

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And for a Sesame Street (actually “Shalom Sesame”) inspired version there’s the 2:29 Purim Story.

To learn about how one young boy celebrates Purim there the 2:32 Eli Celebrates Purim. And for muppet fans, there’s the 2:47 “Be Happy! It’s Purim.”

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Finally for a humorous, but factually accurate look at how some Jewish adults celebrate Purim, view the 3:51 parody Move Like Graggers.

For more videos and other information about Purim, visit the American Jewish site AISH.


“The Conversation” Website

I stumbled across a website which I’d like to share.  As mentioned in a previous post, I believe educators should keep on top of what’s being posted about the events and ideas in the world. Obviously, this can take up much valuable time in an already busy educator’s life.  Thus, it’s important to find those quality sites which aggregate solid information.

The Conversation is an excellent site for this.  Their masthead states: “The Conversation is a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to read and republish.”

I receive their email every morning (along with many other less useful news/info updates) and consistently The Conversation has the most interesting, insightful, topical and useful articles.  The diversity of articles that are featured currently include:

A Melting Arctic and Weird Weather: The Plot Thickens

What Historic Megadroughts in the Western US Tell Us About Our Climate Future

How Russia is Building a Psychological Firewall Against the West

Why We Should Get Rid of Tipping (not a favorite article of mine as I work Saturdays in a wine tasting room)

Tackk on Lent 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been exploring the Tackk platform.  So far I really like it. So, I’m thinking of soon making a video “tour” of it to post here.

Until then, I’d like to share a Tackk I’m updating every day with Lenten reflections.  I’m inviting my students to visit it regularly and perhaps you’d like to as well.

If you’d like to link directly to the sites that I’m compiling, here are the links:



Igniting our Values (Jesuit site) 

Pray, Fast, Give (Paulist site)

And don’t forget the link to the illuminated weekly gospel.