• 0

Basic Education – DeLorean Style

m Basic Education – DeLorean Style

Basic Education – DeLorean Style


  • 0

On the ledge

on-a-ledge On the ledge

Overcoming our fears - on the ledge


  • 0

Dear Volunteer!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAaHAAAAJDY3ZjlhODM4LTJiMDItNDliNC1iNDA3LTc2ZjE1NjRiMTkwYw Dear Volunteer!

Dear Volunteer!

Coming up in October is the Other Half Marathon here in Moab Utah.  Not as large as the ½ Marathon held in the spring, but still a busy fun adventure for the like-minded.  

https://youtu.be/oAnEH6Dvb4g

Thelma and Louise 2015

I love those emails that come out and say “Hey Volunteer – you want to help out this year”?  That’s enough said, it's short, sweet and to the point.   If you are like me and the 100’s of other local volunteers - you can’t say the magic word “NO”.   Here is what is really behind that one line question:

“Hey Volunteer – you want to help out this year”? 

Dear Volunteer!

 Up at 5:00 am and loaded with nothing but a steamy mug of coffee, an over-sized sweat shirt to keep the morning chill away –please drive yourself the required 13 miles down the curvy river road to your location.  Soon other volunteers will be showing up to help you load  the 1000’s of bags from the runners onto the waiting trucks that will haul them back to town to the next  volunteer crew. 

Volunteers wipe the sleep from your eyes  and get busy helping to park buses
and utility vehicles, or help at the start of the race.  Many  of you volunteers will be busy the day before setting up the start and finish lines;  handing out packets;  running unending errands - only to turn around and  be back out into the elementsAAEAAQAAAAAAAAXIAAAAJDkzYjYzOWU0LWM2N2YtNGNjNi04ZjQyLTkwZDE2ZWQwMmU1MA-300x123 Dear Volunteer!
the next morning.  Come rain or shine the day is before us! 

Volunteers will line the 13 mile course as marshal’s, trackers, water station aids,  and even a Tiako drummer group will be available to  help encourage the runners to continue the pace.  The view along the route is spectacular, and there is  personal satisfaction in knowing  that  there is a river bank location  with your name on it after you're done.  Now, get yourself a breakfast burrito and coffee at the Volunteer booth - let's get going! 

Crossing that finish line is golden!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAASaAAAAJDk1MDEyZmEzLTM1NDAtNDI2ZS1iODZmLWU3YzExODRmNGViYg-300x227 Dear Volunteer! The finish line is filled with more volunteers happily  greeting runners and  quickly  assessing  run times.  Runners are herded to  aid stations which will help  the tired but exuberant finishers.  Need a massage? The volunteers got you covered.  How about  food to replenish those muscles and nurture hammered bones?  Volunteers again. 

The brew crew has a bubbly beer  in the beer garden to help wash down the sweat and tears and ease those victory woes.  Don't Judge! AAEAAQAAAAAAAAXQAAAAJGY1ODFjMTJjLWI3MDMtNDhkYS05MWQxLWU2YjJjNTljZTc0Ng-300x225 Dear Volunteer!

Don’t forget all those folks who are walking the  river roadway cleaning up debris, and those who help to tear down after the race.  Those on  emergency call and the organizers on the radios, to those  carrying flags - they know the value of what they do.  It's all for the  REWARD.  The real reward is  self-satisfaction in knowing you’ve done  something to contribute to a  community event!  An event that brings prominence to our little piece of property  on this small planet called earth.  Or better yet, that speck of red dirt called Moab Utah!  

Volunteers from every walk of life show up to help.  You have teachers, doctors, lawyers, honor society members, brewery folk, youth garden kids, and construction workers, democrats and republicans,  and more.  Why?  Because they can. Because they care.  It isn’t one person, but many. Each deserving and caring enough to “show up”.  Have fun!

 AAEAAQAAAAAAAAThAAAAJGNiNzJjYTQ3LTZjZTUtNDZkMC04MzUyLWE2ZjM3OWY2Y2Y3Ng-300x225 Dear Volunteer!

 Just show up!  Say YES!  .. 

Best part... the volunteer party!  


  • 0

How to Overcome that Career Hiccup – One Hiccup at a time

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbwAAAAJDNiOGY5NTZkLTMyNzAtNGVhZi1iMTUzLTA0NjZhNTE4MTkwZA How to Overcome that Career Hiccup - One Hiccup at a time

How to Overcome that Career Hiccup - One Hiccup at a time

Everyone has one - that career hiccup.  The first thing I found out about myself after my career hiccup was that I had the ability to write whatever I wanted to, and not feel minimized by it.   I also no longer had to sit through those  painful Monday morning meetings that felt  like I was in a torture chamber.  It was a one man show in those meetings, and no one was allowed an original idea.   All creativity was dismissed until it was needed by someone else: but by that time they had already put someone else's name on the idea. It was stifling to say the least.  Sound familiar? 

All creativity was dismissed until it was needed by someone else: but by that time they had already put someone else's name on the idea.

In retrospect I have to say that my career hiccup was probably the best thing to ever happen to me.  Being able to go out into the general population and meet and greet people on my own terms has been so rewarding. I’m alive again.  It’s given me my sanity back, my compassion for others, and my awareness of just how short life is.  I've found my voice - and I will tell you what I think.  

Working under a dictator is not healthy for anyone.   At some point you have to break free – and live for you. Work should never be overly controlling of your life nor  continually depressing month end, year out.  Work is work, but there are limits to acceptability.  Sometimes you just have to walk away. 

In retrospect I have to say that my career hiccup was probably the best thing to ever happen to me.

Things to help you overcome your career hiccup:

  1. Write, and write a lot. Write that hiccup completely out of your system. Don’t post the negatives.  Leave them to wonder why
  2. Walk outside and smell the fresh air. Turn your face to the sunshine. Remove the rose colored glasses
  3. Do something that you have longed to do, but were too afraid you would be judged inadequate for. Go out there, ride a Harley, sing karaoke 
  4. Change your hair style, learn to ride a bike again, swim, go for walks – watch those late night movies, get a dog
  5. Ask for recommendations from the competitor, friend or foe
  6. Go to work for the competitor
  7. Don’t go seeking a vendetta however. Life is too short to waste it on people who really don’t deserve any space in your life. Fate will get them in the end. Just leave it alone
  8. Volunteer for things outside your comfort zone – meet and greet new people
  9. Learn a new trade or expand on the skills you already have. Do on job training to grow, or train others, teach
  10. Be happy that you get this opportunity to renew this part of your life  

Maybe a few items above sound trivial.  But until you have lost them in your loi-300x238 How to Overcome that Career Hiccup - One Hiccup at a timelife, you will never know how valuable they really are.  Maybe you do know.  Maybe you are walking that fine line between normal and not quite right.  Something has been eating at your insides.  Something "good" is missing.  

Working for a living is different than living for work.  Make the choice to be free of the squabbling and  arrogant types.  Set up an environment that fits your new happy-go-lucky life style, and breath.

Live life your way   

Cool Waves


  • 0

Giants and Monsters Everywhere – On My!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAWUAAAAJDA3ZDdmMzYxLTFhNzUtNDI4ZS05ZDczLWQ0MGE4YTgwNTM2Yw Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!

Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!

Keeping with an October theme for Halloween,  I thought I would address the Giants and Monsters in our lives.   Be that our personal lives, our working environments, or where ever your giant monsters live. 

Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!

It's not hard to image a time when  you are sitting at your desk and the world is wonderful.  You are on top of your game, coworkers respect you, your clients rely on you, and you get satisfaction from mostly everything you do. Life is good.  The next day your world is shattered and left in ruin.   Shaking your head you can’t believe what is happening around you, why it is happening to you, and who’s to blame.  Something, or most likely someone sinister has just dug claws into your backside.  

Being caught up in  maliciousness behavior from those in authority, or fellow co-workers – it all hurts the same.   The giant monster has just raised its ugly head, and it has a name; actually it has many names.  Names like:

  • Greed, gluttony, self-indulgence,  selfishness, indulgent, misleading
  •  deceiving,  dishonest, unreliable, deceitful, fraudulent, phony, sneaky
  • underhanded, insidious,  lying, mocking, scheming, shifty, treacherous
  • two-faced, and the list goes on. 

I assume you get the point all too well.  What you don’t generally get is a way out of the situation.  Especially when the situation presents  you without  any warning.  What you need in these situations is  a means to  escape from the giant monster now beating at your door.  Seriously who actually plans for sinister life changing events brought on by others?

Seriously who actually plans for sinister life changing events brought on by others?

I have learned to plan for these types of attacks on some scale, but not all.  We all have those giant monsters that we have  to face in our lifetimes.   These giants come in all shapes and sizes.  While they can look overpowering and can plague us until we see no hope in escaping them – we generally still have that inner
voice telling us to go on. Our giants often laugh in our faces, beating down at the walls we so carefully build up each day.  Yet,  that little voice can still be heard, ever so softly in the back ground saying, “keep going”.321 Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!

Our giants often mock us and challenge us to come and defeat them.  Shaken to the core we have to run for our lives, cower in fear, or meet the aggressor on their own terms.  A lot of times the giant monsters are the comedians in the AAEAAQAAAAAAAAXMAAAAJDQxYTBhMGU0LWFiZTctNGU3NS04YjM5LTRjMzZiNzFlZmE3Yg Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!crowd, the know it all’s, and the blow-hard.  But not always, sometimes they are the quiet individual who is cold and calculating – so know your monsters.

Once in a while life does throw us a bone and identifies a pathway out.  A pathway leading to triumph over adversity and challenge.  A pathway filled with a strategy which we use to bring about the defeat of the giant monsters we face.  If you see this pathway “TAKE IT”.  Stop making excuses it's time to take the giant monster down.

If you see this pathway “ TAKE IT”.  Stop making excuses it's time to take the giant monster down.

I am not one who believes in keeping your enemies (giants) close.  Rather,  ignoring them and keeping them at a distance is much more calculating and doesn’t produce additional stress.  Giving your enemy access to put their claws into you is a bad idea.  Some enemies have no filters for their aggressions. They simply strike out whenever they want.  There is no warning, no smoke signals – just volatile anger, and it can be over the simplest of things. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUPAAAAJDQzM2JmOTZmLWVlNGItNDIwNS1iZmZmLTdmOWFkOTQ5MjNmOQ Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!Something as simple such as an IDEA, can set them off in your direction.

 You may think you haven’t done anything wrong, and you probably are right.   But if you think your enemy will be convinced of that fact, you are wasting your words.  You can’t fix things either – that only antagonizes the enemy more.  What I have learned is that the more you try to fix things the more the enemy sees those attempts as a way to undermine their position or status,  and or it stirs up feelings of  bitterness and expands the insecurity your enemy already has.

Some people just don’t have a “fix it” meter.  They like controversy and if you feed into it – you give them power.   Does that sound  a little warped?  It is,   but that is how they operate.  You can’t fix them - their meter is broken, or the dipstick comes up empty.  All you can do is help yourself.  Build in escape routes so you can survive another day.

It is time to take your Giant Monster down. 

___________________________________________________

Walk away and leave them alone.

Once you leave the office have nothing to do with your giant monster.  Take a stance that you will become  unresponsiveness to  their bantering.  Become so firm in that stance, to the point they no longer have any control over your thoughts and actions on the job or off.   Don’t’ friend them on social media, volunteer at the same events, nor do luncheons for old time sake. 

Fight your giant monsters where they live – in your head, in your office, in your school, or event.  Plan for giant monster meetings if you have to go into one.  Quickly trivialize their attempts to gain power over you.  Just brush it off and ignore their challenges.    Make sure you take the high road and they will become just another giant monster under the bed, and once they are there, you will be able to gently sweep them away. 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbFAAAAJGQ3NzVlN2NmLTQwNGYtNGFhNy04NjhmLWU3YTM4ZTA2ZTc0ZA Giants and Monsters Everywhere - On My!

Monsters be gone.


  • 0

Bring on the Fall – Moab Utah Style!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAATHAAAAJGRmZTdlOTY3LTFiZWQtNDI1NS1hNzExLWYyODJiNTY2ZGJlMw Bring on the Fall - Moab Utah Style!

Bring on the Fall - Moab Utah Style!

 

Fall is always a favorite time of year for me.  I like the mildly cool mornings and warm afternoons.  Sunshine is generally in abundance in this part of Utah, Moab.  Autumn leaves occur normally on the high La Sal mountains in September, but in town they don't start to turn in all their glory until the end of October.   

The Red Rock and Sand Stone cliffs that border Moab Utah offer lots of extra months of fun and activities for the  like-minded recreationist.  Hiking, jeeping, biking - rock climbing - it's in full swing this time of year.  The temps don't dip down until mid to late December.  Living the dream?  You bet. 

dd Bring on the Fall - Moab Utah Style!There is a glow in the evenings that seems to have a calming effect on the senses here in the valley.  You have to live here to appreciate the desert seasons.  Not your typical winter, spring, summer, fall.  The seasons in Moab are more like winter (really short), then spring, hot spring, summer, hot summer, hot fall, mild fall, and back to short winter.   We are still in hot fall.   I had roses growing outside my office window one year in January.  It's just an amazing desert. 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQXAAAAJDhkOWQ5ZDQxLWZlOTMtNGYxYS1iMTVmLTA5ZGEyOGNmOTMwNw Bring on the Fall - Moab Utah Style!We Moabites do live in a pretty place.  Tourists come  to visit us regularly and are from all  walks of life, rich and poor.  Some even know the local dialect "RELAXED".  

I'm going to enjoy the fall for a little while this year.  The rains will knock the leaves off the mountain brush in a hurry.  But in town I plan on kicking back and enjoying the last big hooray of  the dog days of summer (mild fall). 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAARTAAAAJGY4OTVkNTY3LWEyZTEtNDQ5Ny1hMTA2LTUzOWY0YThjYWJjNA Bring on the Fall - Moab Utah Style!For sure there are other things I should be doing - but life only goes around once, so it is good to make the best of it.  Nature gazing is one of my favorite hobbies. 

With five natural parks in the area and several state parks - there is no limit to the fun one can have here.  But for me, sitting on porch, and enjoying the afternoon fall sunset - it's priceless.  

 

Happy Fall!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVpAAAAJGVkMzQ4NWNlLWU0NjctNGE4Ny04MjEwLThkODA5MzRmMTBhMg Bring on the Fall - Moab Utah Style!


  • 0

A Beautiful Distraction

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcWAAAAJDJjYzE1ZjRhLTdiOGYtNGI4NC1hOWM2LTlkZTVlZTA4ZGQ5OA A Beautiful Distraction

A Beautiful Distraction

Teaching learning. How do you  teach someone to learn?  It’s a beautiful distraction.

Learning to teach isn’t quite the same when you realize you have to train others on what you’ve just learned.  You must offer the simplest and traditional training first.  It is here, that you make the decision of what not to do as well.

A Vision of Dance.  It’s a Beautiful Distraction.

New approaches are only incorporated when you understand that some change or actions can work, and work well.  New approaches should be looked at,  as beautiful distractions.  But, not everyone will adapt to new approaches, or accept outside assistance.  Some will fight off change no matter what – even if that change is the substance necessary to make things better in their studios, or their own personal performance, etc.

Good teachers research their subject.  But how do you teach research?  With tutorials?  How do you write the tutorial without the research? Or without the teacher?  Or even without the student to learn?

Somewhere in time,  someone (maybe you)  took on, or will take on,  the task of inventing  a dance process by which others will benefit.  When  a process is finally viewed for the first time by others, many begin to understand the pain- staking hours that it takes to learn,  teach, research and write out,  an explanation of a  vision.  A vision of Dance.  It’s a beautiful distraction.

Dance Choreography is “A Beautiful Distraction”.  You take the very raw elements of dance technique and music and you incorporate your own personal vision.  You can add pieces of emotion, and suspense.  You learn to talk and express a story using your body, and facial features, even the use of your hair flowing as you turn and move.  You feel the movements of dance in your soul.

Dance, like with all the arts,  is perceived differently from one individual to the next.  It takes time, energy, and patience,  to make your dream a reality.  It is the lucky artist however, who is able to reach a vast audience.

ballet A Beautiful Distraction

Follow your dreams – look into your own “beautiful distractions” that come your way.  One of those distractions may be that rainbow that you have been waiting for.

To all those I’ve ever taught, or will teach,  I just want you to know, that having you in my life is a “Beautiful Distraction”.  You make up a very colorful rainbow.  Thanks for the  Skittles! Dance on, there are a lot more rainbows to come.

http://cricketsdance.com/stagedoor/archives/2738


  • 0

Making The Grade- It’s Crunch Time!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZ7AAAAJGFhZjg3NjE0LWM2YWMtNDIzOS05NWZjLWRiYTc1NTNjODk3YQ Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!

Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!

Anyone who has spent much time at all in education might understand the termDeath Bed Repentance.  I had another teacher spell that  statement out for me this week  as we were trying to motivate our one shared student to get his work done.  Death bed repentance, or simply stated:

  • - those last minute adjustments to assignments
  • -picking up on any  late work
  • -actually showing up to class instead of just leaving your recorder there
  • -cramming information into our brains for quick purging

Loans and scholarships are all on the line now, and for a fraction of  time, all life stops in the fast lane.  It’s death bed repentance time – we are making the  grade baby!  

Making the  grade baby!  

I’m just as guilty as the next student, at least in my undergrad days I was; not so much through my masters.  Taking  our bodies and minds to the level of non-functioning, just  for a little alphabetic character on a piece of paper - it's insanity. 

a Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!What makes us do that to ourselves?   Unconsciously or consciously  we fought sleep - up until  2:00 a.m. or later - if  we slept at all.  We then drug our unhappy selves to class at the butt crack of dawn.  We lived for that college life-  Right?

We lived for college life!

I’m a distracted learner through and through.  I can sit in  the middle of a room with nothing to do, and I will still be able to distract myself.   I don’t need any outside help to do that either.   If I have assignments in front of me, I will toss and turn any number of  concepts around in my mind, making great strides – at least until I see something shiny on the floor.   Focus? What focus? For a few moment's I am in mental bliss, at least until  I return to the task at hand - namely homework.

Something shiny on the floor

I am in the mindset of believing that maybe I am normal after all.  I watch my 9th and 10th- grade students struggling with the same issues I had (and still do).  Sitting in a hard chair with nothing in front of you but a cold table is really not anyone’s idea of a  warm and fuzzy experience.  I am the one with the soft chair, not them.  My experience is different of course. 

The best advice I could give to any teacher new or old -  is to build in distractions.  Don’t wait for your students to find distractive measures themselves, build those key distractive breaks into your curriculum.   Twenty minutes of study equals 5 to 10 minutes of light to mild distraction.  It could still be a learning distraction – just something different, or on a related topic.     

Some would ask how I would assess this distractive learning paradigm.  I look at this way.  If students who do not normally turn in assignments or have at least a passing GPA- all of a sudden start looking like the average student - guess what?  You get to go to the front of the class!  

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAWPAAAAJGI0NDgwZTJmLWRlNDgtNDFkMS04MTI1LTU4NzNmNzA5OTk1ZQ Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!Then comes the question, what about those students who can’t refocus?  Or those students who are already self-lead learners and like peace and quiet.  What I have done with my students is to switch out the quiet time with bird sounds, ocean and/or anything peaceful found in nature.  I have obtained good reaction from both pairs of students.   Any group is going to be dynamically different.  You just have to find the right built-in distractions without losing the motivational aspects of learning.  

Sounds are a good distraction, but so are those upbeat  pieces of information that help students readjust, recenter, and perform better.  Types of distractive information might include: 

  • -Word of the Day
  • -Piecewise brain twister
  • -Notice of an upcoming celebration on how well they have performed
  • -Or just something fun that is about them, and something they take to heart.

The human mind can learn more than one thing at a time.  If you allow your brain short breaks from the tedious routines of study, it tends to reflect better on items it has just learned.  Use pre-designed breaks as a scaffolding tool for learning.   This following statement is a no brainer statement – I understand.   But, you retain more when you aren’t stressing out  over a problem. 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAATzAAAAJDNmODUxMTM2LTMyZTMtNDQ3Yy1iOWFiLTVjOGYzNTE0ODc2Yg Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!

Experiment with this distractive styles of learning.  If you are already in a quagmire wondering how to motivate your students – this might be a helpful resource.  Back away from the idea that you have to stain and look like a zombie to be successful in your studies.  Look at something shiny on the floor, and then come back to your primary focus.  Come back gently.   The problem isn’t going to go away, but if you allow your brain a short power break, you might find you come back with a solution.   Solutions are always much better than problems anyways.

Good luck.  I wish all  educators success as they venture into the “new”.

Making the Grade Baby! 


  • 0

When The Past Becomes The Guide

AAEAAQAAAAAAAATtAAAAJGViOTU1NDhlLTAyNjMtNDc2NC1iY2Q3LThhNzBmNTQwYzdjYg When The Past Becomes The Guide

When The Past Becomes The Guide

People tend to rely on the past as a means to prepare for the future.  While it is true we need to learn from our mistakes, are we allowing the past to control our future? 

Picking a time in my past that  was riddled with mistakes and completely  altered  my life course, I ponder on how things could have gone differently.  We tend to focus only on the negative and often times allow that negativity to guide our present and future decisions.  Unfortunately, this way of thinking doesn't help us resolve the conflicts or problems that haunt our memories.  

If we use the past as a guide and look for the things that went right instead of focusing on the negative,  we have a valuable tool at our disposal.  Using what we know today and incorporating the positive things of the past helps us make better future decisions. 

Past reflections:  

I recall a matter between an individual who was very close in the business sense as well as being a close friend.  I trusted this person with my back in every sense.  I knew he was going through an extreme amount of turmoil in his professional and family life.  I too was caught up in my own personal life struggles.  While we were very close,  we really didn't know each other like we thought. If we could have looked at the struggles each of us  was facing,  together, we might have avoided a head-on clash of wills.  A clash that would last for years.  An unfortunate error called "being human". 

 We each had our own set of values for life, complete with  it's checks and balances.  But were those checks and balances flawed?  Could either of us today remember the real story the way it really happened or did we just reflect the story as it  related to our own concept of reality?    The pictures we have of life  are  often murky when we are facing difficulties.  Truth too often gets in the way.  Our anger and our feelings of being wounded cloud our better judgment. 

Letting the Past Guide the Way

The upside  to many of our  past problems  is knowing that  the past is also  filled with things that went right. Things that are good and bring light and happiness to the faces of those who care to remember.  If we use the things that went right we can help make the present much more relaxing, and the future peaceful.  Letting go of our  flawed memories is a good start. 

I acknowledge that some things in the past need to stay there.  But for the honest mistakes and misunderstandings the old saying Let It Go  applies.   When the past becomes the guide  you are on the path to regaining those valued relationships.   Trust can be re-established and friendships renewed, but it's a focus on what went right that will get you there. 


  • 0

Mad and Weird Science

scott Mad and Weird Science

The Way Forward Starts Here - What Went Right

 

Let's face it, unless you add some type of entertainment into your science lesson, students are going to wane on you. Dr. Fly's Reviews offers some unique science related games and sims .   You can find more on Edtechteacher .  They have a great list of programs and informative content to keep the busiest of students motivated and engaged.

Adults too.

Trying to stay on top of the latest trends in science and mathematics is never ending.   MIT  has a great listing of courses to help keep the old brain frisky to learn.  There are other free online science courses being offered at a lot of different universities across the country.  I was surprised to see my own stomping grounds  Utah State University,  on the list. Go Aggies!   

Terminology  - say what? 

I was split-teaching between  the high school  and the middle school science departments last week.   I am not a science major by no means - but I like science.  So filling in for that department is always fun for me.  Just picking up the books and observing the surroundings is fascinating.  I probably couldn't give you an on the spot review of meiosis vs. mitosis, but I get the concepts.   If you can get your students to understand the concepts, you are halfway there.  By the end of the week, I had the terms down to a science (pun intended). 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPfAAAAJGI2Y2RkODAxLTA0NzAtNDI4YS1hZWYyLTAyYmM0MGNlZTNlOQ-1-214x300 Mad and Weird ScienceSurprisingly there are still a lot of people who envision Science as some stale environment where everyone is wearing white lab coats, donning four inch thick rimmed glasses, while gawking into microscopes, and filling petri-dishes.   Nothing could be farther from the truth.   Believe it or not, learning about the elements can be an adventure all by itself.  Terminology must be taught.  In order to effectively teach science requires a teacher who can get into the hands-on-teaching aspects, and inspire students to pull up their sleeves and get their hands dirty!  

Science 101!  

The lesson we were involved with at the high school  had to deal with agriculture science, and the nutrients in domestic animal feed.  Yep, we were learning about all things "Cow". That included elements going into the cow, chewing the cud, and the final excrement process.  I can assure you those students will never forget the lesson on "Cows".  Nor shall I!  Luckily, for this lesson there were no hands on contact with any part of the "Cow".  AAEAAQAAAAAAAATDAAAAJDgxNWFhNGMzLTQ4ZjAtNDEzOS1iYWQxLTZjMTVhMTA3YmIwNA-300x225 Mad and Weird Science

Cleaning the guinea cage and feeding Mom.

 Somewhere between "Cow" intestines, and gut, there were other classroom duties that needed tending to.  In the back of the classroom  were three furry little guinea pigs.  Butter who is the fat one, and two others who were not hurting in the fat department.  Sorry I'm not  discriminating due to Butter's size, she was just the most lovable.  There was also an oversize fish tank with one slightly older goldfish named "Mom".  One of my duties for the week were to feed and tend the living quarters  of these highly sensitive and not so rare creatures.  

I quickly delegated the task of guinea pig cage cleaner to one particular student.  He promptly re-delegated the guinea pig cage clean up duties to two other students, who expressed their concern with him dealing with the animals.  He was forthright in his duties of feeding Mom.  However, it did require that we strain the excess goldfish flakes  from the tank.  He dumped a 1/4 of the bottle into the tank.  We moved on from there.  

When in doubt stick in a movie!  

The Lecture

While I don't mind ditto sheets for teaching, there is a lot to be said for leaving the answers for one to be able to teach on the topic.  With a 47 question and answer session in front of me, I spent the better part of three hours researching and preparing for a life science  lecture to help student with an introductory chapter.  Mind you, I'm no science major, so they only got what I was able to research.  There was another science teacher in the room adjacent to me, so I was able to get some of the simpler concepts out of the way, thanks to her help.  

Yes I opted for the movie option.  But not completely.  I only did a 12 minute movie, and then I took the challenge - I taught science.  Students who didn't have a clue about science, nor were they willing to sit still in class for 10 minutes,  were writing for me!  They were writing and taking notes, they were asking questions.  The kid who over fed Mom, was my main bright and shining star!   His grade just hit a D- I am sure.  He was proud to turn in the 47 questionnaire with all the answers. He exclaimed, I know what "CHONS" stands for!

  Together, I took those students  on a science journey - one that gave them a glimpse of what real MAD COW science really looks like.  It was WEIRD.  They liked WEIRD.  But they learnt that science has value, and that their thoughts matter, no matter how MAD or WEIRD those thoughts may be.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj6AAAAJGQyNzZjNzA2LTM4ZDMtNGU4My1hZDhjLWEyNmRmNGM1YjEyZQ-300x156 Mad and Weird Science

If you don't remember  the elements of CHONS from your science years, go look them up.  It's a challenge!  Better yet, create your own puzzle and give it out to your staff  or students to solve.  CHONS has  to do with "Cow", and the nutrients "Cow's" need. 

 

 Middle School

If you can image 25 to 30 students all between the ages of 12 and 13, each  given a laptop, and told to write about an animal of their choice; hope to God that the choice is not a "Cow". 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQcAAAAJGVkZWYxMTdlLTJjYmUtNGJjMS04ZDM1LWIxZDdjMTk1YjJlMg-300x195 Mad and Weird ScienceThere are animals I didn't know existed.  But these kids found them.  Just to keep it interesting here is a list of 22 strange animals you probably didn't know existed.   One student chose an animal that was akin to a jack rabbit, because it was her real life name.  For the life of me I can't remember the students name, so I just call her jack rabbit and she laughs.   What parent names their child after a rabbit?  Hers! 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj6AAAAJGMwMDk3NTdlLTAwYWMtNGUwOC05NmM2LTk5MmYwMzNkMTEwNw-300x200 Mad and Weird ScienceComputer technology has come a long ways in the halls of education.  These 7th grade students were easily navigating online power point  programming, and linking web addresses for citings and other research materials.  Embedding images in my day weren't taught until I was in college!  Students today are so digitally savvy it is almost bionically creepy.  WEIRD MAD science. 

Pre-test - whose the real scientists in the group?

I did give a pretest quiz to the 7th graders.  It was one of those quizzes where you had to look up the answers in the book.  That was a sleeper assignment.  I decided to make it a winner take all event, and hand out treats to those who could answer the questions verbally.  But first they had to do the following:

1.  Research the topic

2. They had to spell the word to the class

3. Read the definition to the class

Since it was all open book, it allowed those students who weren't hard core academic's to get involved!  They were!   Students after my own heart. I will do anything for chocolate.  Well, almost anything within reason. 

Science technology has grown over the years.   So have students, in how they learn and acquire science knowledge.  They aren't going to just answer  ditto sheets  and have that  become the building blocks of knowledge.  Who teaches that way anymore?    Actually I would personally like to burn all ditto sheets as a rebellious protest!  Let them learn "Cow".   Hands on! 

 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAARuAAAAJGMxZDIxMzJlLTNkOWUtNDk3YS1hMzRjLWUyMDk2ZmJiMTIzYg-300x169 Mad and Weird Science