Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 15-12-2014

It is again Cowbell Game week and while preparing for the event I was thinking out the wonderful history of this great contest.  Let us put the history of this rivalry in perspective.

The UND / NDSU rivalry has been around since the late 1800’s with the actual Nickel being contested since 1938 (76 yrs).  The Little Brown Jug that has bounced between Michigan and the U of Minnesota dates back to 1892 (122 yrs). The Cowbell trophy was started in 1946 making it, 69 yrs old this season.  The NDSU/ SDSU Dakota Marker has only been around since 2004, so it is a pup in comparison to all of these.

In 1946 the first meeting of the United Nations took place in London.  The U.S. President was Mr. Harry S. Truman and first class stamp cost three cents.  The St. Louis Cardinals (picked this one on purpose) won the World Series and “It’s a Wonderful Life” came out in the movie theater.  Not listed on many of the common history web sites is the creation of the cowbell game.  But, it was an event of historical significance.  How many things do we do in our lives that have such lasting impact, aside from our children?  How many of us will ever create anything that is talked about and still treasured seventy years later, as is the cowbell?

Supt’s Quam and Ingvalson along with Coaches Cummings and Pickens must be applauded yet today for leading their men into such a long standing engagement as this.  I wonder what the captains thought so many years ago.  Do you image they were ready and eager to be part of this or did they think their leaders were kind off their rockers?  I wonder if Supt. Ingvalson was open to the idea back in 1946 or was he thinking this was just a crazy adventure?  No matter, because they all took to the idea and must have thought it was something that could stand the test of time.  If they wouldn’t have they would not have stated that the game would go on till “the world and its inhabitants have been reduced to dust”.

I want to thank all those then and now that make this contest something special.  It has changed over time from its early innocence, to the unbridled rivalry in the mid years, to now a respected tradition in both schools.  I want to wish both teams the best of luck this week.  May each of us take time to reflect upon the history of this great tradition and just soak it all in on Friday night.

Go Cards!
Mr. Jeff Fastnacht



Let me ask you to take this short quiz.

1.  If you were asked to identify the staring roles in “Gone with the Wind” how would you find them?

2. If you had a serious problem what would be the first thing you did?

3. There is a serial number that you need to remember, what do you do to remember it for later use?

( Answers to these questions are in the post marked with **)

Education is a human endeavor, and technology will never replace a good teacher.  In fact a good teacher is an absolutely necessary ingredient when schools use technology successfully.  Ellendale is in year two of a 1:1 initiative that has brought forth many changes to how we educate our students.  Some of the positive changes have been:
– We are asking students to take a leadership role in their learning since they can now easily access information inside and outside the walls of the school.
– Teachers that simply asked knowledge based questions are being out smarted by students with Google.  It is driving us to ask deeper questions, gaining deeper understanding.
–  Students are now given more opportunities to share their knowledge and creativity.  Students empowered with a camera, video camera, presentation tools, music, and broad resources can now compose their knowledge in dynamic ways.  Much better than simply asking for a poster or diorama.
– Accessing help on any topic is now quicker and easier.  A student is not left alone to simply dig in a text.  Now they can ask a broader group for help.  This group can be their classroom of students or it could be others from anywhere in the world.

Yet, while we are seeing some impressive changes I am still surprised to hear some comments stating, students should only be using a paper bound encyclopedia to access information.  Some have stated that having students work together to solve problems is just cheating for some in the group.  Then just recently I had someone share a concern about students taking pictures of notes… they indicated they should “write them out, just like we had to do”.  These comments surprise and amaze me.  If you were given the three tasks from the questions above, “What would you do”?

**For the questions above I am guessing most adults would answer these as follows: a. Google it   b. Text or email my friends to get their advice  and c. Take a picture of it with my phone.

THEN.. Why won’t we let our kids do it?  We are in a modern world that has given our students, and us, access to tools that not only make learning easier but also our daily lives.  In 1985 I may have been asked to memorize the lead roles in “Gone with the Wind”, but why would we do that today?  Why would we do this when they can be Googled in .60 seconds (actual time from my desk).  Google and having 1:1 for our students has made teachers better by getting them to focus less on the facts and more on the why and how.   Secondly, in our modern jobs we are asked to work extensively as teams.  We don’t ever consider this cheating.  It is the wise practice resulting in better products, better service, and more engaged employees.  Then why not at school?  The problem is that we often focus on the completely arbitrary and meaningless grade!  Yes I said it…meaningless grade.  What should matter most is what did the student learn.  Lastly, the last comment I think is pure jealousy as they only wished they could taken a picture of their teachers notes back in 1985.  I know it would have definitely saved me from having a sore wrist, if I would not have had to copy all of Mr. Fonder’s notes.  Seriously, though if you had to keep track of a special note or message, wouldn’t you just take a picture of it?

The world and education are changing.  Schools and education are still important.  Teachers are still critically important to the success of ones education.  Books will be around for centuries to come.  But, teaching and learning in the same ways we used to in 1985, some of these things do have to change.