Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Collage

Making a collage is really I learned last month. I like this style because of the importance that can be placed on a specific picture. Anyway, February ends with the threat of snow as it began with ice everywhere. Give me snow but let it be gone quickly. I am ready for spring.....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Reaction to Best in Fair Award

The look says it all. This young lady is AWESOME! She has a solid work ethic, cares about the quality of her work, and excels at everything. Plus, she thinks she hates science, but once she gets into it, she loves it....I am looking forward to working with her next year.

February 26th: Set Up Begins

The setup is science fair day. I have a love hate relationship with science fair. The hate part is all the paper work that has to be done and all the little details that I have to see are taken care of. I wonder what would happen if I just let part of these details go? Would someone pick up the slack? Would anyone notice but me? Do I have the courage to do it?

The love part of my science fair relationship is seeing it come together. Seeing the kids faces when they win prizes is a very rewarding experience. Then after the projects are completed it is just gravy watching them advance from one level to the next. A second rewarding experience is watching the students gain confidence in themselves and their abilities. This far out weighs the hate part and is the reason I continue to push the kids to do their best.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Soccer Anyone

This has been the view from my car every afternoon when I leave work. Today, it was girls' soccer practice.

Clean-up: February 24, 2009

The debris from the ice storm that occurred on January 27 did terrible damage throughout the northeastern portion of the state. The city hired a company or two to clean up the debris. The little guy and I saw this group picking up the mess on a street near ours today. Piles of like this are in front of every home within the city limits.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Leftover Hay

On my weekend drive and photo taking excurision, I discovered this field with lots of hay still in it. This is one of the fields that my dad farmed in his early farming days. We called it the Hill boys place. I had such a crush on one of those guys. I remember saying I would marry one of them one day but he was probably 20yrs older than me. Hehheheheh, that didn't happen.

I love living where I grew up surrounded by all these memories and I am happy to be able to share those with my son. I think roots are important and wish everyone in the world had happy childhoods and were able to remain close to those memories.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More Hints of Spring

I was out early this morning and found these crocuses just about to open. As I am posting about them I wonder if they have opened in all this glorious sunshine. I will plant some in my yard later and hopefully have my very own harbringer of spring in my yard next year.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hints of Spring

Hints of spring are everywhere as we move into late February. Crocuses will be open probably before Monday if it warms up as it is expected to do and I also discovered an old home place with old fashioned daffodils already in flower. This is my favorite flower and I found out recently it was my dad's too. I love it because it seems to be so tough in the way it perseveres through all weather conditions and returns year after year with a jolly display of bright cheer. I hope others see me that way, tough but cheerful.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Carefully Measure

This group of kids was so careful to measue exactly the amount of water needed for the activity. I have had the fewest problems ever with getting students to wear their goggles. Some creative cropping has taken the recognition out of the photo. I love labs!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hopper Lopper

This helicopter has been sitting out at the airport for several days now. Every afternoon this week little guy and I have stopped to check out the Hopper Lopper as he calls the helicopter....he says he wants to fly one when he gets big like Dad. Sweet huh?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Who would have thought the tools teachers use daily to teach their classes would have changed so much? This year I have begun reading tests for my Resource Students to listen to while being assessed. I record the test using Audacity and then move them over onto an Ipod shuffle. This has freed the resource teacher up so that she is able to teach her own students without having to stop to read to mine. Plus, I get the test back on the same day. And it takes only about 20 minutes of my time to do this. Technology ROCKS!

Februay 17, 2009

Huff 'n Puff I caught the little guy in action with this shot...he built a tower of Legos higher than my head and then tried to "blow them down." He is so much fun! I never imagined how much fun a child could be!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Electicity 101

For the next several days my students will be exploring electricity. They begin with the basic methods to light a bulb using a single wire and move all the way up through complex circuits and the related laws associated with electricity. Plus, they practice predict, test, explain...over and over again. I hope they continue to behave as well as they have been.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sheer Joy

The little guy has definitely recovered from his fear of the cat. She clawed him across the chest, face and ear one afternoon after taking torture for more than 1/2 hour. She is a really good cat about 6 years old now I suspect and she still likes to play attack the stick but on her terms of course. The boy has a look of sheer and utter joy on his face. I hope life is kind to him and he is able to maintain that expression his entire life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Silhouttes and Shadows

Silhouttes and shadows have always fascinated me. When my husband and I returned from our Valentine's outing, the little guy was just awaking from his nap. The afternoon sun was pouring through one of the upstairs windows casting his shadow onto the wall. Of course, the ornery outfit moved just enough that his head is not in the shot. But I still love the shadows....

Our Valentine's plans didn't bear fruit as the movie we wanted to see was sold out. So, we went to Sam's and strolled around browsing with out the concerns one has when shopping with a three year old. Afterward we went to McCalister's and enjoyed a glass of tea and just talked. We haven't really been able to do that since the little guy has arrived in our lives. It was nice to do that. My husband is a good conversationalist when you get him talking. Somehow, the pressures of our work lives and parenting interfere with the ability to carry on a conversation. Remembering why we are a couple was really a nice Valentine's day. Much better than a movie where we wouldn't have been able to visit anyway. Bet that was part of the Master's plans all along. Huh?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Taking Time

I promised myself that I was going to take time to enjoy my 3 year old this year and not allow work to eat into "our time." Since my prep period is 7th (last of the day) period, this week I have been trying to leave as soon as I finish my work. Today, I picked the little guy up from his daycare and we went to the University Farm. Lambs are being born now. I guess sping really is on the way. The little guy wouldn't cooperate and allow me to photo him but these twin lambs did. I had an interesting conversation with my son about what the little ones were doing to their mommies....oh no ....I have a city kid on my hands. :0)

The momma sheep eating. Little guy was fascinated with her tongue and the entire process of this ewe eating the ground corn. The red pony always comes to the fence to beg for apple pieces. I need to find out if it would be okay to feed her a treat. I don't want to be banned from the farm. This is good cheap fun for me and the little guy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Recipes

I love to cook and I like trying new recipes. This recipe was a Chicken Kiev Rollup. Basically, you flatten 1/2 chicken breast, add a dollop of butter, roll it up and put in a muffin tin. Then you sprinkle it with seasoned bread crumbs and paprika. Bake at 375 degrees F till done. I served it with wild rice and whole kernel corn. Almost forgot to take the picture. It was delicious if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I have been making myself crazy for days searching for my keys. Sunday, I took some things to school and left them. I locked the building up, went to the grocery story and then I don't remember much until Sunday evening when I was grading papers and updated grades. This afternoon I was looking in the trash, had an AH HA moment went and looked on the dining room table where I left my mess from grading...and Viola there they were on top of the what makes me blackout like that? hormones?

February 10, 2009

When I first began teaching, I hated the unit on electrity. It was boring to teach and I know if I hated it then the kids did too. Several years ago I was fortunate to attend a professional development program on Modeling Physics. This PD changed my approach to many physics concepts but electricity most of all. The entire unit is taught entirely through constructivism. The first thing students did was predict which diagram would light, tested their predictions and then had to arrive at 4 different ways a bulb could be lit using only one wire, one battery, and one bulb. At the end students prepared their whiteboards and presented their lessons to their classmates and had to defend their responses.

The entire unit is based on just that process; the scientific method in practice. From experience, on the test for this unit 90% of students will score 75% or better on the exam and then 5 years from now if you were to ask them questions about this topic they can still answer them. Now, if only the government would get out of my classroom so that I could teach all concepts this way perhaps the world would change.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Promise Fulfilled

In January, I posted a photo of the buds of the honesuckle bush at the end of my house. In that post I shared with my readers that these blossoms come in February and true to my word they have opened nicely. I was concerned that the buds would be damaged by all the ice we had a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, the plant has a built in defense system against just such an event because as far as I can tell no buds were lost at all. The leaves look worse for wear on the periphery of the plant but on the inner branches where they would have been protected from the majority of the ice there is very little damage.
I cannot even begin to describe the smell of this flower. It is nothing like the sickly sweet smell of the Japanese honesuckle that is so invasive throughout the U.S. It is more spicy than sweet. I love this plant and it is a welcome addition to my garden.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Power Off??

I pass this marquis daily on the drive to work. Whomever is in charge of the sign is very clever. Last week while the power was off for some 90% of the city, this message was posted. I wish I had been driving to work those days so that my mood would have been lifted. In times of struggle I really need to remember this message.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gummy Bears

One of my favorite labs to do with students is the gummy bear lab. I love to see the expressions on the students' faces when they see what happened to their bears after the bears sit in water overnight. They nearly triple in size due to water gain and very little color leaches out. This year we tried various liquids; kool-aid, saltwater, vinegar and Sprite. They had about the same reaction in Kool-Aid as they did in the water. No change at all in saltwater or vinegar and very little change in Sprite. Cool Lab!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Science Fair

February begins the science fair season here in Arkansas. I start my students off in October with numerous deadlines along the way. I give detailed instructions, as this student noted, and I provide all sorts of assistance; staying after school, making phone calls, placing orders, and many other things. I encourage, badger, and plain harass students to do their best. Witnessing their faces when they win prizes is so worth all the headache. At least I think so most of the time.

February 5th, 2009

Waxing Gibbous, others in my PLN have photographed the moon and posted their pictures of the day. Today I finally took one that suits me. This post is published late because, I left my computer at school so that I would get caught up on recording grades as midquarters go out next week. I did and was in the bed by 8:30 p.m. I slept all night and awakened feeling refreshed. Now, I wonder what kind of hit my karma took over at Plurk.??????

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Science Coaches

Today, we had the next to the last meeting of the science coaches class that I have been taking for the last two years. Normally, we have pedagogy material in the morning and content in the afternoon. Today, however, we did content in both the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session was on static electricity and the afternoon session on energy from the biochemical vantage point. I enjoyed the static electricity session ended with a turn at the Van De Graff generator. I was foolish and not thinking when I reached my freehand out to the instructor and got quite a shock. Lesson Learned!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


As I was selecting the photo for the day, I began to feel philosophical.

After suffering through the recent ice storm with the loss of power, and losing parts of the trees we fought so hard to save during the time of construction, I have been thinking about the kind of scars that will be left upon the citizens on northern Arkansas.

Within myself each time I noticed other street lights on around me, I felt less and less significant to those making the decisions. I felt as though I was living in a second rate neighborhood that didn't matter to anyone but me and the 30 or so other people living in my neighborhood. Those making the decisions said they were making decisions based on need. The rank was hospitals, nursing homes, police, fire and the high risk people; the ones with life threatening medical needs. Then simple tasks were done because they could be completed quickly. Next came the repairing of lines and finally replacing poles. But as they moved into the neighborhoods it became obvious to me that power was being restored to the "country club" set before others. This seems counter to population density and thus my reasoning that we (me and the neighbors) are not as important to those making the decisions.

Let's return to the title of the post "Scars" and the reason I have a picture of a tree. You can tell that this tree has been through @%$$ but yet it contiues to stretch its arms heavenward and its roots reach deep into the soil. Despite the many traumas it has seen, it contiues to perservere. As time passes we Arkansans will heal; we will continue to maintain our roots and our faith in the Lord. Our scars will not be visible but we will remember them and hopefully those decision makers will reevaluate their doling out of the work force.

Monday, February 2, 2009

1st Dentist Visit

Today was my little guy's first visit to the dentist. I can't even begin to tell how proud I was of the little guy. He let the dental hygienist clean and floss his teeth followed by this shot of the dentist checking him over good. No cavities. Advice given was floss the back teeth and limit starchy snacks. I was also very impressed with the way both the hygienist and dentist worked with my little guy. I think this is going to be a good fit.

Oh and even more awesome...we have power!!!!!!! I know I should have made the bed before I took the picture but I was too happy to think about it. And I don't make my bed most of the time anyway.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

January's Collage

Pictures posted during the month of January. It was fun compiling the collage and yes I blantantly copied the idea from members of my PLN. Great idea guys. Thanks.
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Clean UP

Let the clean up begin! From the trees in my front yard we have about 10 branches to cut and remove. Unfortunately, there are still several broken and hanging from their respective trees. One set of branches fell into the azalea bed, but it looks as though only one azalea will be a loss. That is a small blessing considering the amount of work we put into the bed. The pines on the neighboring vacant lot seem to have taken the biggest hit as one would expect. No great loss there. We have wanted to cut them for several years now, because their pollen gives hubby and son fits in the spring.
Other pictures include the azalea bed mess and some of the limbs from the pines. I haven't had the heart to walk through the back of the property yet. I can see numerous limbs down from the deck and it is sickening. I certainly hope that groundhog forecasts an early spring tomorrow!