Category Archives: Challenges

W^2 – wonder

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How in the world did the balloon get inside that flask? Wonder. Scullen Middle School, Naperville, IL May 24, 2022 10:45 AM

This week for my W^2 post, wonder.

I snapped this photo yesterday in class after four straight demos of the scientific principle,

As temperature increases, the volume of gas increases. As temperature decreases, the volume of gas decreases.

And while my students watched the demonstration, some understood, but some are still wondering what happened and how that balloon got inside the glass. Is it magic? No, it’s science.

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and there are as I sit and type FIVE more days of school this year and then it is summer. I can’t wait, they can’t wait. But we are going to make those five days count.

I know it is going to be going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and trying to compress learning just like air particles can be compressed.

What makes you wonder these days?

W^2 –moon, calm

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 18, 2022

sunset on the lake, waxing moon, calm. Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI Saturday, May 14, 2022 8:59 PM EDT

This week for my W^2 post, the calm after the storm.

This past weekend I asked my wife I made a quick trip to the lake and back. Up late Friday afternoon and home late Sunday night.

We had chores to do, and I was looking for a bit of calm as the school year winds (and grinds) to a finish. As in my previous post, W^2 – beauty and the beast, weather intervened. The skies opened and a thunderstorm rolled across the lake bringing hail and almost an inch and half of rain in about thirty minutes.

Once the storm passes, the skies cleared and there was calm. Calm enough to sit at the end of the dock and admire the sunset or flip the other way and admire the moon rise.

It was an excellent weekend, and I got a taste of summer, early. We also got the calm we needed and craved.

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and there are as I sit and type ten more days of school this year and then it is summer. Today and I going to try and convince my 6th graders that there is a lot of space in the atmosphere for air particles (aka atoms and molecules) to move and I hope it provides the calm they need to weather the final days of the year. I know it is going to be going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and trying to compress learning just like air particles can be compressed.

What brings you a little calm these days?

W^2 – beauty and the beast

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 4, 2022

This week for my W^2 post, I have more more from mother nature – beauty and the beast.

Beauty, tulips in the mall, after the first storm (and tornado to the south) – Oakbrook, IL. Saturday, April 30, 2022 6:08 PM

This past weekend I asked my wife if she wanted to go shopping. It’s often the other way around. But I needed new glasses and frames. So off we went. I did get the frames and much more.

Spring weather in the Midwest can run the range of faux spring (as in my last W^2 post) to real spring and mild to violent. Saturday, we got the latter – two bouts of it in the span of a late April afternoon.  Our shopping was interrupted by two waves of severe weather including a tornado that set off severe weather alerts.

That was Saturday and today is Wednesday and it is going to be an amazing day!

It is spring, again and the birds are singing, the sun is shining after a couple of days of rain. And this morning, my kiddos are going to melt and vaporize menthol. I am excited. It is going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and squeezing in a little learning when you least expect it.

How are doing this lovely May day?

Eerie storm clouds, the second wave passing our neighborhood to the south – Wheaton, IL Saturday, April 30, 2022 7:43 PM

 

W^2 – cruel

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Our mailbox the day after Easter Sunday – Wheaton, IL. Monday, April 18, 2022 6:48 AM

This week for my W^2 post, I have mother nature’s cruelest joke, April snow.

Sunday was Easter and it was a beautiful day. Sunny bright and clear. As we all have experienced weather changes quickly. Monday morning, I awoke to April snow showers. It wasn’t enough to shovel, but enough to highlight the beauty of the world and remind me of who really is in charge.

That was Monday and today is Wednesday and it is going to be an amazing day!

It is spring and the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and I am off to teach kids about all sorts of things including a little chemistry this morning. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day, all the time, or at least trying.

How is the weather in your part of the world this spring?

W^2 – old and new

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, April 6, 2022

US 1 to Key West on the left, the old bridge on the right formerly Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West on the right – Marathon, Florida. Wednesday, March 30, 2022 10:14 AM

US 1 to Key West on the left, the old bridge on the right formerly Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West on the right – Marathon, Florida. Wednesday, March 30, 2022 10:14 AM

This week for my W^2 post, I have the old, the new and fishing in between.

A week ago today, I was took a walk from a big island to a very small and back. A trip of four miles. The path took me over the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico on Henry Flagler’s original Key West extension. It hasn’t had a train cross it since the Labor Day hurricane in 1935, but it still stands, a testament to the will and vision of man.

We are home from our trip and I am back at work. Memories of sun, warmth, and sand will have to sustain me here in the Midwest as it is a “April showers that bring May flowers” kind of day.

I had been wanting to walk bridge for several trips, but it had been closed for restoration since 2017. I crossed one more thing off the bucket list last week and it was an amazing day and I know today is gonna today is going to follow in its footsteps. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day, all the time, or at least trying.

What is one thing you wanted to do on a vacation or trip that made your trip whole? (it’s a re-do, too)

W^2 – inspired

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Inside Fort Zachary Taylor – Key West, Florida. Tuesday, March 29, 2022 3:46 PM

This week for my W^2 post, I have Fort Zachary Taylor and a quick post inspired by an innkeeper in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

My wife and I are on spring break with another couple. It’s our first BIG trip (not counting a visit to the lake house) alone, without children, since my brother’s wedding in the summer of 1997. Yesterday we drove west to Key West or Cayo Hueso which means in Spanish ‘bone island.’ It was a good day.

We parked the car at 9:30 AM and left after the sunset in Mallory Square. In between we packed the day with all sorts of things. We had fun, we enjoyed the sun, and there were a few things we left undone. My friend Jansen (aka Patricia) pointed out there is never enough time. But, while time is finite, we do our best to make those moments count, every last one of them.

One of the things we fit into our day was a trip to Fort Zachary Taylor which guarded the entrance to the harbor. It was part of America’s coastal defense system of the nineteenth century and constructed of brick and mortar.  I find it an interesting parallel that brick and mortar was old technology for military fortifications by the late nineteenth century and today, we are watching brick and mortar being eased out of date in the twenty-first century.

Yesterday, I crossed one thing off my ‘bucket list’ and it was an a amazing day. I know today is gonna follow in its footsteps. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day, all the time, or at least trying.

What is one thing you wanted to do on a vacation or trip that made your trip whole?

W^2 – shell

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 2, 2022

a shell and the Gulf of Mexico – Galveston, Texas. Monday, February 28, 2022 5:07 PM

This week for my W^2 post, I have a shell from Gulf coast of Texas. My brother and his wife and I took a quick trip to Galveston, Texas while I was visiting this past weekend. The trip quick three days and its purpose was visiting an aunt in hospice, visiting and some business with my stepmother, and remembering my mom, who left us on this day three years ago.

I don’t know the name of the shell or the shellfish that once called this shell home, but I call Texas home even though I have lived most of my life in northern Illinois, Texas is home and always will be.

I have been out of my classroom for the past two days, but I have had a skilled educator and friend in my room with my kiddos. I am sure they have all sorts of questions and are even fuller of wonder than they were on Friday. But that’s the way life should be.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And also, press publish. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking for wonder and sometimes finding it.

What has filled you with a sense of wonder recently? (yes, I know this is a reprise, but how can you go wrong with this one?)

W^2 – snow moon

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 16, 2022

looking west into the setting snow moon – Wheaton, IL. Wednesday, February 16, 2022 5:09 AM

This week for my W^2 post, I have a snow moon. Every moon has a name and February’s is snow. The moon this morning was 98.2% of the full moon phase with the true full phase occurring later this morning at 10:56 AM. By that time the sun will make observing the moon impossible or the clouds will obscure it, regardless it won’t be visible to the naked eye so, I am thankful to have seen the moon each of the past two mornings when I let the dogs out at 5 AM.

We have snow in the forecast for tomorrow, and I believe my students will be a little excited with the prospect of a snow day on Thursday along with the effects of the ‘snow moon.’ So today’s will likely be an interesting day of learning.

We are still learning about light and every day there is a new reveal, that’s life as it should be. Something marvelous and full of wonder each day, like present.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And also, press publish. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking for wonder and sometimes finding it.

What has filled you with a sense of wonder recently?

W^2 – two for the price of one

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, January 19, 2022

This week for my W^2 post, I am offering two for the price of one. Sunday afternoon Fern and I took a hike at a favorite hiking spot. It was sunny and bright, but all that changed. By the time fern and I had finished, clouds had rolled in, and it was a typical January day in the Midwest. A tale of a winter walk.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” Anton Chekhov

We had a fabulous hike, and it was good to move cautiously along the snowy and icy path.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, working on moving forward, always.

How is your January going?

W^2 – crossing

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cairo Bridge, I-57 N, crossing the mighty Mississippi River, approaching the Missouri-Illinois state line, December 31, 2021, 12:26 PM

I spent the entire week, last week,  in northern Mississippi with my brother and his wife sorting through my stepmother’s home and her belongings. It was a tough week.

I drove south over the Cairo Bridge on Sunday, the day after Christmas, and returned New Year’s Eve. Its over 600 miles to her home. The Cairo Bridge marks 382 of those miles from my home in northern Illinois. The trip took through me five states – Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. I crossed the mighty Mississippi River four times on my trip, and I had a lot to think about on the way south and even more on the return.

The river keeps moving and I suppose that is good advice.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, crossing bridges all the time.

What was the last BIG bridge you crossed?