Category Archives: Learning

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?

Be Curious, not Judgmental

It is the Saturday morning before Easter and I am up early, before anyone else. Normally, I’d be at Loaves and Fishes volunteering helping families in need of food get the food they need, but Loaves and Fishes is closed for the holiday. I did work Thursday after school as it was the last day that families could get food this week and it was terribly busy.

trees along the path, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL. April 10, 2022 5:29 PM

Yesterday I was reading my devotional, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy. I was reading the entry for July 21st. I know yesterday was April 15th, but I started reading the journal a couple of years ago and I started almost two years ago on April 25, 2020, by starting with the January 1st entry. The intent was to read each day and finish a year later on April 24, 2021, with the December 31st entry, but that didn’t happen. Things happen and life gets in the way of good intentions. But each time I have read an entry; I have felt as though the passage is speaking directly to me. Yesterday’s title was “Discernment instead of Judgement.” As I read the entry, I reflected on its meaning, and I immediately thought of the TV comedy series Ted Lasso. Last week, a colleague and I had been talking about teaching science and the topic of Ted Lasso wisdom had come up. He mentioned a Ted Lasso quote, “Be Curious, not judgmental,” and we chuckled because I encourage my students to be curious and full of wonder in science. Continue reading Be Curious, not Judgmental

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)

Friday and wonder

It is Friday of spring break. Our last full day on break, tomorrow morning we’ll pack up, clean up, and begin the journey home. It had to end; all, good and bad, things do. It is the nature of things.

My wife and I are enjoying our break in the Florida Keys with another couple we know. He was a childhood friend of my wife, and he was in our wedding 30 years ago. We have lot in common and we’ve enjoyed our time together on vacation away from the cares and responsibilities of adulthood. We’ve had an enjoyable time together; we’ve had excellent food along with the time to enjoy it, adventure, and we have relaxed along the beach listening to the rhythm of the surf and the breeze rustle through the palm trees. It’s been fun, but tomorrow we are back to our life and how we live it. And that is good.

last night’s dinner, a grilled fish sandwich, and the last photo I took in March.

There has been a little bit of ‘normal life’ from me here on vacation, there’s been the morning devotion time, a walk to move purposefully, coffee to begin each day, and a newfound challenge the Wordle.

I’ll admit I was not an early adopter of the challenge, but I’ve become fond of it. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl at Wordle @ New York Times. Each day, the NY Times offers a new five-letter as a challenge, and you have six tries to get the word. This morning I tried a new starter word – STARS. I have used all sorts of starter words among them are ADIEU, MEATY, TEASE, and MOUSY. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. My blogger friend Mary at Wilderness of Words was a persistent user until she reached fifty completed puzzles, then she stopped. I wonder if she misses the daily challenge. I’ll admit I miss her daily encouragement and gentle reminder to stretch my mind, even just a little.

This morning, I correctly guessed the Wordle in three guesses or words. I consider this a fluke I have only accomplished this 6/29 times and I usually take five and sometimes six guesses to get it right. I don’t want to give today’s word away, but STARS came back with the confirmation I had two letters correct and one, the letter S was the first word in the day’s Wordle. My next guess, inspired by the direction I was facing, was a guess to check for additional vowels, ‘A’ was a miss and there were four remaining possibilities – ‘E-I-O-U.’ The last, and correct, guess was inspired by our dogs and how I miss them.

Tomorrow it’s back to life and I am ready for it.

Yesterday, I finished my fifth book of the year, The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom. I am a little ahead in this year’s reading challenge. Each year I set a goal to read twelve books. I should read more, but I haven’t the past few years. Regardless, The Stranger in the Lifeboat tells the story of a group of people who are shipwrecked and find themselves adrift when one announces he is the Lord, and He is there to save them if only all the occupants of the life raft can accept Him as the Lord.

the night sky featuring Orion, Tuesday, March 28, 2022

Continue reading Friday and wonder

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?

W^2 – waxing moon

Venus and a waxing moon, DuPage Forest Preserve Headquarters, Wheaton, IL November 7, 2021, 5:26 PM

We’ve been watching the skies in my science classes this past week. We have been watching Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in the early evening sky. It has been fun to watch the planets as well as my students when I begin class by asking,

“Did anyone go outside last night?”

Their eyes light up and some even produce photographs of the night sky they took on their phones. It’s exciting to see the wonder and enthusiasm for discovering something new. I found the video below and I was excited to learn about a partial lunar eclipse on the evening of November 18-19. You can check it out below. I will set my alarm to see partial lunar and I hope that it is a clear night. Watching and listening to my students makes me realize I am doing what I am supposed to be doing as I begin my seventh decade today. Yes, it is my birthday, and I am 60. I still feel like a young man full of curiosity and wonder. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, thinking like a young person keeps me young and full of excitement about what’s coming next.

What keeps you going?

W^2 – path

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Fern, the woods, and the fall sun, Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve Oakbrook, IL October 16, 2021, 2:06 PM

It was a beautiful fall afternoon with temperatures in the upper 50s (14-15C) and a clear blue sky. Fern and I were giving a new forest preserve a try. It was an excellent choice. Much of the path was along a creek with woods to the east. We came across a momma white-tailed deer and her three fawns crossing the path in front of us moving from the creek side into the woods. It was an excellent walk in the fall sun. We also ran into a Brittany puppy on our walk and it brought back memories of sharp teeth and house training. Make the Days Count, one day at a time, never knowing what will cross my path.

What has crossed your path lately?

Tommy – 11 weeks old, Fern – 2 and one half years old meet in the woods along a limestone path Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve Oakbrook, IL October 16, 2021, 2:21 PM

 

three things for an early fall afternoon

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write or even craft a Wordless Wednesday post. I’ve thought about it, but also thought about all the other things that are on my plate and in line on front of writing and posting. I even had a photograph selected for the 9/15 – W^2 post, but skipped it to accomplish something more important and more urgent.

the tree and the sun line up

I’ve been overwhelmed with school and life and just haven’t made time to simply reply to the comments readers have left for me. So, this morning I made time to go back to reply and be thankful. Honestly, I am thankful that many people read what I write here at MtDC. I know that when I look at my priorities when school is in session MtDC is falls into the important, but not urgent category. Continue reading three things for an early fall afternoon

Sunday and resilience


It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting at my summer office, knowing full well ‘summer’ is another nine months away. The days are numbered on the summer office with a few more days left in August. Soon it will be too cold, too wet, or both to sit outside and work. But,

I’ll make hay while the sun shines. Farmer’s wisdom

The birds are flocking to the feeders, and I watched three hummingbirds hash it out over at the hummingbird feeder. Sorry, no photo, those birds are just too quick.

School restarted Thursday with students sitting in my classroom albeit masked (all of us were masked) but sitting in my classroom; AND, happy to be there. Last fall, I created a menagerie of ‘students’ to keep me company while I taught using a camera and microphone. This year, ALL of my students are in the room. I am keeping those five students to remind me of our resilience and persistence.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl Austrian neurologist, Holocaust survivor

There has been a lot of talk in the media about learning loss. The pundits love to point out deficiencies in public education because it’s easy to point out what’s wrong. It’s much more challenging to find what is good and that is what Making the Days COUNT dot org is all about. Always has been. There is far more good in the world than the media is apt to share. So, that’s why I have tuned it out. The loudest sound in the room isn’t always right, it’s just loud.

Getting back to school was easy. Continue reading Sunday and resilience