I looked at my calendar last week and was stupefied that May was so close. It felt like the wording on the passenger-side side-view mirror: OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. I suppose it is a lesson, which I need to heed more often. I have a habit of letting things creep up on me; it is along the same lines as not reading the fine print or asking for directions. I asked myself how it happened, but I already knew the answer. Ferris Beuller said it best, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop look around once in a while you could miss it.” Life does move fast and sometimes the only thing you can do is look around.
I’ve been looking around a lot lately. My seventh grade ELA students finished their Mask and Identity unit and we are now on The Road to Perseverance unit to finish the year. There are four units – one for each quarter. The bad weather days in January messed up the schedule and we finished the third unit in the fourth quarter and started the final unit a few days late, hence my ‘closer than they appear’ observation. It has been a good year. The students have been great and I will miss them, but I won’t miss all of them because I found out after Easter that I’ll be moving with them to eighth grade. After fourteen years in seventh grade, I finally was promoted!
The year is three quarters finished or at least it is for me. I am a teacher. A seventh grade language arts teacher and the third quarter finished Friday. We have one week before Spring Break begins and then the long march through April and May to finish the year. This year, we’ll be marching, probably more like stumbling, into the first full week of June.
Spring arrived this week on Thursday at 11:57 AM CDT local time. My students have been measuring sunrise, sunset, and the amount of daylight for locations across the globe – ranging from Tromso, Norway at 70°N to Stanley, Falkland Islands at 52°S and places in between. We began measuring last September on the occasion of the autumnal equinox and have been checking every month on the 22nd ever since. The students have gathered a lot of data. However, the lesson they learned was that Earth’s tilt is changing constantly and Thursday they realized that no matter where a person was on Earth Thursday the sun shone a tad bit more than twelve hours – the variance among the 32 locations we checked was ten minutes: from 12 hours and 16 minutes at the northern and southern extremes to 12 hours and 6 minutes nearest the equator. WOW. Spring is here, finally. Continue reading The equinox and Spring, bring it on….→
It’s that time of the year when my geography class gets to study Latin America. I say GET TO study, because learning should be fun, eye opening, and an opportunity to see things for the first time or see something from a different point of view. My students would have you believe they HAVE TO study Latin America, but really they GET TO. To add to the fun of learning about a place they have never seen, I ask my students to collect banana stickers . We sort them by country, brand, and organic vs. traditional. When were finished collecting, I ask them to think about what our sticker collection tells us about bananas. With the shift to Common Core – it is a good thing, trust me – I am asking my students to think deeper, to make connections to the world around them and to wonder where the food we eat comes from, and if it a good thing, or not. Living in the middle of Illinois farm country where corn, soy beans, and wheat are grown as well as cattle, pigs, and poultry are raised my kids, my students – suburban children of middle class Americans think little of where the food they eat comes from or how it gets here.
I’ve tried to re-blog the article and it seems the process is stuck….. so I am re-posting the link here it is….
I heard about this article while listening to Market Place on NPR Thursday evening on my way home. I knew about the situation and had read the book mentioned in the article, but I was looking for something I could share with my seventh graders. Rather than refer to the article with an embedded link, I felt it was better to reblog it. I’ll be writing more later, but give it a read, it’s worthwhile. Thanks for stopping by, Making the Days Count, one day at a time, and one banana a day, too.
I missed writing last weekend. Truly. We went away for the weekend – we went north to the cottage. I had a lot to say, or so I thought. Somehow, time got away from me and I didn’t write. In fact, I didn’t even open my laptop. I existed solely on my iPad and phone; and did precious little on them. It was time to restore – a time to rest and relax.
It was our last long weekend of winter and we wanted to head up north for one last snowy weekend. The kids could ski, snowboard, and play in the snow. I know we had a lot of snow here, but it is different up north. B and I could relax and just breathe. We did all that, but the kids didn’t ski or snowboard: they did play in the snow and had fun outside, even Ivy got into the mix playing in the snow. We had a fire Saturday night and I cooked. Just as dinner was ready, we sat down to play cards. Then, some of our lake friends joined us; and we played a very spirited card game. The rules are somewhat confusing, but it is a favorite of our friends and we’ve enjoyed playing it at their cottage. I am not sure what it is called, it probably has several names, but it is a lot of fun. The card game involves a separate deck for each player but there is a place to play on everyone’s hand. Each player plays on their hand but the goal is to get rid of your cards and play them in the middle on the group’s cards. You get points for playing in the middle and the winner is declared when they have cleared their own cards. The game moves quickly and players have to be paying attention. Regardless, it was a lot of fun and when it was over, and we had a winner, we sat down to dinner and the Winter Olympics.
It’s another cold winter day. It has been over a month since my students have been at school on a Monday morning. It is our third bad weather day this year, and it means summer vacation will start three days later, maybe four if the schools call off tomorrow, which is highly likely. I think moms are at their whit’s end. I am, too. Last week it was cold, though not as cold or windy as it is today, or will be today. I had morning bus duty last week and it was cold. A few kids climbed off the buses wearing shorts, or a light jacket. I have no idea how they got out of the house dressed like that, but they did. It was cold. But, today is even colder and the temperatures are going to drop even more throughout the day.
Today is W’s birthday, he’s 16 today, and actually, he’ll be officially 16 sometime around 10:30 PM. I remember the day well, though B probably remembers it differently. It seems like the other day, and some days it seems a million years ago. Saturday we watched him wrestle and take second place in the conference for his weight class. He has come a long way, we all have. Continue reading Another summer day, sort of→
This week or rather the last week has been a whirlwind. The time since Thanksgiving whisked by and disappeared. Last weekend we had guests join us from out of town for the weekend and it was time well spent. They came for a youth hockey tournament and we had dinner together Friday and Saturday nights. It was good to connect with them. We see them at the cottage where our children are friends and they play together in the lake and on the slopes, depending on the season. Ironically, Paul was our pilot when we returned from Spring Break 2013 and we spent the night at their home celebrating a Swedish Easter Eve, before driving home on Easter Sunday. While we ate dinner and talked the kids played games in the family room. It really was time well spent.
Nevertheless, as usual, I digress. The lateness of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday means there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year there were twenty days, but this year there are fifteen. And, the kids know it, the teachers do too. There is always a frenzy in school, as we get ready for Winter Break and then end of the quarter, which comes the week after winter break. Just like the print on the passenger side mirror, OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.
At school we’ve been reading, writing, thinking, and learning. ELA, or English Language Arts, has me bogged down. We’ve been doing a lot of writing and I am overloaded in grading. I am looking forward to the break in hopes that I might get some down time to grade and plan. In geography we’ve been studying human geography and we were finishing the unit last week. We’d come to a concept that students consistently struggle with – issues related to population growth, specifically, scarcity and carrying capacity. Continue reading Scarcity→