A Day For Some Minerals, Part 1.

I woke up this morning and thought about minerals, quartz in particular.  Why quartz?  For one thing, about two out of every three steps we take will be on silicon dioxide, or quartz.  Although quite common, it occurs in many colors and forms.  Quartz sometimes appears in striking crystal formations that have the grandeur of fairy tale kingdoms and palaces.  As for color, quartz runs the gamut–from smoky quartz to sparkling amethyst.  Just a simple change in the chemical formula for quartz will do the trick to turn rose quartz into citrine.  Heat also plays a role as does the interaction of different elements.  And suddenly, the most common mineral becomes an object of wonder.

Towering spires of quartz crystals.

Towering spires of quartz crystals with the blade of a Japanese twin sticking out on the right. 

A magnificent array of majestic quartz crystals

A magnificent array of majestic quartz crystals.

Amethyst arises from impurities of iron and manganese.

Amethyst arises from impurities of iron and manganese.

An impressive array of amethyst crystals.

An impressive cluster of amethyst crystals.

Amethyst in botryoidal form.

Amethyst in botryoidal form.

Sukhomlinsky And His Children

The famous Ukrainian educator, Vasilii Sukhomlinsky, had a special relationship with the children with whom he worked.  He had the ability to immerse himself into the child’s awe-struck world of wonder and discovery.  Sukhomlinsky knew how to instruct without being didactic.  He was ever sensitive to a child’s desire to learn and ask questions.

In China, virtually all of his works have been translated and he is considered one of the greatest of the world’s educators.  In the West, alas, such is not the case.  However, through the efforts of Australian Sukhomlinsky scholar, Alan Cockerill, Sukhomlinsky’s name is gaining prominence.  Alan has established a site and a newsletter to promote Sukhomlinsky’s multi-faceted pedagogy.  He has translated several of Sukhomlinsky’s works and has been a tireless supporter of the Ukrainian educator’s work.  Most importantly, he has put together a video showing Sukomlinsky interacting with his children.  The video is in Russian with English subtitles.  To watch this brief video, please go to my facebook page at:  facebook.com/robertmkweiss.