Saturday, April 12, 2008

Condoleezza Rice: A Josef Korbel Prodigy

I was looking through some of my paperwork I use as a teaching tool for my high school students and thought I'd posted a reading comprehension quiz for today's posting. Here is an example of some of a tutor's arsenal:

A Short Biography on Condoleezza Rice

Born: 14 November 1954
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama
Best known as: U.S. Secretary of State, 2005-

Condoleezza Rice became U.S. Secretary of State in 2005. She had earlier served as National Security Advisor under President George W Bush from 2001-2005. As a child, Rice was a gifted student and a prodigy on the piano, and she entered college at the age of 15 with the intention of becoming a concert pianist. Along the way she was influenced by political scientist Josef Korbel, the father of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Rice changed her plans and studied international politics, and by the early 1980s she was teaching at Stanford University and becoming a prominent public voice on international affairs. She also worked with the Pentagon and with the administration of George Bush the elder as an expert on foreign affairs. She returned to Stanford during the Bill Clinton administration before being tapped as NSA by the younger President Bush. In January of 2005, after Bush was elected to a second term, Rice replaced Colin Powell as Secretary of State.

Extra credit: Rice remains a talented musician; in 2002 she performed a concert in Washington, D.C. with cellist Yo Yo Ma... Rice had an oil tanker named for her while she was a member of the Chevron Corporation board of directors during the 1990s. In 2001 the company changed the name of the ship to the Altair Voyager... Rice is the first African-American woman to hold the post of Secretary of State. The first woman to hold the post was Colin Powell's predecessor, Madeleine Albright.

Now, here's an example of what the accompanying quiz would look like:

True or False Questions:

1. She is the first woman Secretary of State in the U. S. history. True False
2. Ms. Rice was born in the state of Arizona. True False
3. Ms. Rice entered college at the age of 16. True False
4. In college Ms. Rice changed her studies to become a concert pianist. True False
5. She worked at the Pentagon during the administration of George W Bush. True False
6. She was influenced by political scientist Josef Korbel. True False
7. She is currently 55 years old. True False
8. In the early 80’s she was teaching at Stanford University. True False
9. In 2002 she gave a classical guitar concert with Yo Yo Ma. True False
10. She is the second African-American woman to be Secretary of State. True False

How did you score? Find out more about her at:

Research info gathered at:

Now, here's one of my poems with diplomatic muscle too:

More Blue Inflatable Muse

Then other times
things singe the sides
of a hazy notion
about miniature lungworth
fluttering in a trawler
of knock-out punches
organized at the grassroots
or homemade in a knit-wear
of treehouse professor-mentor
ski bum beads dressed
in mid-ranged silo sedans
to attract the germinal
mountainside fall or slippery
slide into a mixed or an
extended metaphor depicting
immutable hands that offer
the scythe the seed the pulley of
an orphan raise or brush of auric
light on maraschino cherries
that tattoo tiny mayflies
to life's indescribable wrist.

Poem first published at:
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and music blog:


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