Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is 'School Reach' The Real GLEE?


My kid the singer is smart.

And proud of it.

Way moreso than I was back in my own highschool days when I went out of my way to hide any and all signs of such a ridiculous thing from most of my friends.

Anyway, it turns out that when you're proud of being a smart kid it gives you the gumption to do crazy stuff like join your school's 'Reach For The Top' Team.


Yesterday evening I was in the lab late working on another stupid grant when I got a call from Bigger E. (the singer).

She wanted to tell me all about her Reach practice that day.

And she especially wanted to tell me about a question she didn't quite answer because she could only bring herself to mutter it under her breath instead of hitting her buzzer and shouting it out.

The answer to the question was 'The Babinski Reflex'

What is the Babinski Reflex?

Well, it's this weird thing that happens to babies where their toes splay out after you rub the bottom of their feet.

It's gone by the time a kid is about 18 months old when the corticospinal tracts descending from the brain more fully myelinate and exert inhibitory control of the reflex interneurons within the spinal cord. Thus, if it reappears later in life it is cause for considerable concern.


Why did my kid almost know that?

Was it her intensive studying of neuroantomy texts*?


Was it caused by her compulsive desire to learn everything humanly possible about the lives and times of obscure Polish neurologists?


Was it due to an I-Pad hidden under the table on her lap?

Of course not - that would be cheating!

And School-Reachers never cheat, or use performance enhancing agents of any kind whatsoever.

Not even 55,000 hour 'energy' drinks.

I think.


So here's the real thing.....

Ever since they were tiny, Bigger E. and littler e. have both been coming to the last lecture of the big class I teach every year which is filled to bursting with students that want to make a career out of taking care of sick folks.

And when they were babies I would hold one of the two E.'s up for the whole class to see and and then I would run my index finger along the soles of their feet so the students could watch their toes move and see one of their midterm questions in action.

Imagine that!

*While she was not forced, at least not by me (ha!) to memorize textbooks as a young child, by the time she was eight Bigger E. did know most, if not all, of the cranial nerves......
And now that both E's are no longer so tiny, what, you may be asking yourself, do we do during those last lectures?....Well, for now at least, you'll just have to guess.....(but the answer isn't too hard to figure out)



West End Bob said...

Very cool story, RossK . . . .

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I especially like it when my friends groove to their kid's behaviour after their kids are not really even kids any more.

The kids who were not that smart but were not dumb sat close enough to me in school to see my paper when it was exam time. You had to have street cred to go along with decent marks back when Nancy Greene was still cute and not a Liberal.

RossK said...

Ya Bob, it is.

Since found out the real reason why E. didn't shout it out....Silly Reach Commandante said that it was a 'French' neurologist in the question so E. thought she didn't have the right answer with the Pole Babinski who did spend most of his life in Paris because his parents fled Warsaw to escape the Russian reign of terror in the mid 19th Century...


RossK said...


It is a cool, but tough sometimes because you've gotta be able to let go a little, to groove on what your no-longer-a-kid kid is up to.

Regarding Ms. Greene....Who and/or what is she, really, these days?...After all, she apparently has very recently been making FedCon Olympic-pitch-for-vote videos with Mike Duffy....Sheesh....I mean, truth be told, ever since she stopped selling Mars bars I just can't figure out where she's coming from (and I'm not entirly sure she can either)


paul said...

My experience is that the grooving with the no-longer-kid years is very pleasant. Sadly, you still worry - I guess you always still worry - but it's great to see them as resilient people leading interesting lives.
I wonder if girls/young women have become more comfortable with being smart? What's the RFTT team gender breakdown?

RossK said...

'tis interesting Paul--Lots of girls...When I was E.'s age, were all fact, all the old Youtube footage demonstrates that.

(sorry we're going to miss the benefit tomorrow - I'm still working on the grant)


paul said...

Grants, I realize as my daughter moves into research land, come first.
The boy/girl divide is interesting. At various times in the '90s, we had kids coming and going on exchanges and heading off on trips and adventures. Generally, participants were about 85 per cent girls. They were braver about new experiences or more confident that they could cope. I don't know why, or what that means. It's interesting though.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

In my exchange student days I met a lot of fellow exchange students. They were just about all girls. I think girls are more attracted to being exchange students because they think it will increase the odds of them meeting Mr. Right. Some of them thought I might even be Mr. Right but I was just a cousin of his named Mr. Grope. A lot of girls take one look around the man-pool in town, every last one of them with their underwear hanging out and a hat on backwards, and figure they better get out of this place.

RossK said...


To be really honest, I actually like the front end of the grant writing process, because it gives me the excuse to set aside big chunks of time to actually read and discuss new things....It's the back-end crunch time, a time that is now less than 60 hrs away, that I hate because it's all about what folks in your busines have to do pretty much every day I guess, which is edit, edit, edit, worry (is this really what we want?), edit some more, fiddle, suddenly decide to change something major, edit in a final frenzy in which you don't have time to read everything over again to see if it actually makes sense.....and then, finally, you hold your breath, push the button (it's all electronic now)...and.....ship the damn thing.

(sheesh, did I just describe a scientific Bolero?)


Regarding the gender thing wrt to exchanges....we've only seen girls at our house and the situation has been very similar to what you describe, but that sample may be skewed....I'll have to ask Em what she thinks about that.

RossK said...

Awwww Beer, stop gettin' all sentimental would'ya.