Friday, November 27, 2015

#136/365 Good bye, friend. I didn't know when I moved to Main Street just how much I would learn from you and become your friend. Our houses sit side-by-side, and for the first year or so we just had a casual friendship. Mike and I just waved to you, your wife, and little Chi Chi. We talked in the driveway every once in a while, but our lives were so busy, and we didn't spend nearly enough time talking. We would see you and your wife sitting on the front porch chatting and watching traffic. When your wife passed away, we started to cross paths even more. You would drop your little dog over the fence to play with our Shadow. You started to bring our garbage cans around for us every garbage day. The conversations grew longer, and we would sit on the boat trailer listening to your quiet voice. When the lawnmower wouldn't work, you walked over and helped get it started. When we took the mulberry tree down in the backyard, you were the director and made sure that we didn't kill ourselves doing it. I loved your stories about squirrel hunting. I had to laugh when you shared all the current news. You gave all the details. And, I was amazed when you told me about the motorcycle in World War II. I was shocked when you told me that you didn't like pizza! I felt so blessed when you brought over birthday cards for my kids. I was grateful when you just chuckled about the basketball thrown through the window (many times). I loved seeing you hug my children and watch them get safely on the bus. When you started having Andrew mow your lawn, I thought "God bless you, Clynis!" At one point, when you were still climbing up the tree in the back to trim it, I thought you were invincible. I thought you would be my neighbor forever. I thought that talking by the fire pit each summer would never stop. Silly, I know. But, I want to tell you that you mean a lot to me. I've learned from your quiet patience, your hard work, your kind heart. I didn't know 16 years would go so fast. I didn't know that you would be one of the best reasons to move to Main Street. Good bye, Clynis. You will be missed deeply by the LaCrosse family. #friendship #grateful #love


via IFTTT

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#133/365 Know your audience! The day before a five day Thanksgiving Break...I had some plans for class that were less exciting than most days to say the least. We were doing a quick check on weathering versus erosion, reviewing our station work with topography, and completing a blog post. Booorrrrrriiiiinnnnngggggg! At least that's the look that I got very quickly in first period. So, adjust! I decided to streamline the quick check and review of topography. Then, the bulk of the class could be used for exploring two really good apps, Tinkerbox and Windtunnel. The TinkerBox app is a really cool app that simulates the Rube Goldberg type project. It allows students to work through various challenges that require critical thinking skills. It also allows for a free build situation where kids can design the physics board. Using springs, bouncing boards, gears, chains, ropes, balls, and more, students plan out amazing scenarios. It is truly an engaging app...for free! The wind tunnel app does exactly what it sounds like. It simulates a wind tunnel. Students are able to change the variables with in the wind tunnel. They are also able to calculate the lift thrust and drag of an airfoil. Most students start off in this app playing with shapes and watching the streams go over and around. Then, they grow into using the app at a higher level. It definitely pays to think of your audience. Today was not a day for my initial lesson. Today was a day for engaging apps! #apps #science #daybeforebreak


via IFTTT

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#130/365 No internet? Oh no! This morning we were without Internet. My daughter who is really immobile right now with her knee panicked. In her words, "Now what? There is nothing to do! Nothing!" I had to laugh as my husband shared the amazing bit of trivia that some people actually grew up WITHOUT INTERNET. She rolled her eyes around so much, I worried for her sight! 😉 However, it made me think of my childhood growing up. If I wasn't outside on my bike or climbing trees and running around the neighborhood, I was reading, drawing, or crocheting. My grandma on my step moms side had taught me to crochet, and I loved it. I made little blankets, scarves, and clothes for my dolls. I loved the mechanics and the patterns in the process. It was definitely a way to create. So, I asked Jay if she wanted to learn to crochet. For the first couple hours of the day, that's what we did. Trial and error, she eventually got it. She had a scarf project going by end of it. Her gaze was intent. Her attention was focused. This probably won't last. I don't know if the attention will be sustained. I'm sure once service is restored, Jay will be engaged in that again. But, it was nice to share a bit of my history and learning. I'll never forget the comfortable sittings with my Grandma Sweeney learning to crochet. #nowifi #oldschool


via IFTTT

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#128/365 The light and dark... My son and I walked along the Huron pier for a bit tonight watching a tug boat and river dredge close up for the night. The lights from both were moving beautifully across the water highlighting the small town river port. We both commented on how the river looks so different at night. The patches of light seemed to chase the shadows along the banks. It was quiet, mesmerizing, soothing, and just gorgeous. It made me think about the 3D printing project we are doing in class right now. We are designing and printing our community for a #streamtableengineeringchallenges coming up after Thanksgiving. As students are selecting places to print, they are getting more and more excited about the project. Students are popping in to see if their programs have been printed. We have everything from the piers and docks of Huron to the local stores and riverfront property. Students are even designing the boats, buoys, and lighthouse! They are really cool even though they aren't all perfectly to scale. With these 3D printing interactions, it's easy to see the love that we have for our little community. It's not terribly exciting here. We don't have all the opportunities and diversity of a larger community. We have the small town appeal...the know your neighbor and Donut Shop kind of place. We have the beautiful summer beach days complimenting the icy, frozen lake front winters. It's small. It's pretty quiet. It's home. The smaller communities like Huron have an interesting opportunity in front of us. We can provide all the amazing gifts that this close community atmosphere provides AND offer possibilities for our young. We can showcase what the world offers through our education program. Supporting students as they explore arts, science, humanities, trades... We can do this. Even with reduced funding from the state, this community can still provide excellent education. Not easily. Not without sacrifice. We can as a community decide to to chase the shadows with light. I'm disappointed that we didn't do this with the last levy, but I'm hopeful that we can in the next. Our children deserve all that we can offer. #equalfunding


via IFTTT

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#124/365 Numbers, numbers, numbers... 15th place 129, 189, 219 our table scores 2:30 minutes of bot time 18 Pit Number 6+ missions attempted Those are our stats. They don't tell the whole story. So, I'll begin back 3 years ago. It started with a grant that I was awarded by NASA for a project titled, "Design to Explore". The grant awarded me five Mindstorm Robots. The fifth graders had a blast learning how to program the little bots. They sent them into my favorite teachers' classrooms with Reese's on their head and singing toons. We even used the robots to return library books and send notes to the office. It was a great experience, and it showed me the power of programming and building with Legos. The next year, I started up an after school Lego Club and invested $350 to get the group to competition. Sadly, we didn't make it to competition, but we had a blast working with the Nature's Fury board. Last year was my first year in 8th grade, and I was just treading water. So, my Lego Club hopes were on hold. Then, over this summer, we were contacted about a possible sponsorship from NASA and EHOVE. I said yes! Students applied, and nine kids made it to the end! Our practices were held on Sunday from 1-4 pm, and later on Fridays from 3-5. Snacks, programming, building, learning, laughing, arguing, designing display boards, creating a website, reprogramming, YouTubing, arguing, checking rules, dropping bots, spilling juice, learning, moving boards, finding missing pieces, losing them again, laughing, presenting to the board of education, getting into a competition 3 days before the event, receiving t-shirts, many Remind texts later... we had great experiences! Ultimately, that's what Lego Clubs do. They make you laugh. They bring people together. Highlighting kids' talents and giving them moments to learn, to struggle, to persevere, and to be themselves...the great, genuine people that they are. And, for the record, the best number is 9. 9 boys that made me laugh...a lot! No matter our place, points, or anything else...9! #FLL2015


via IFTTT

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#121/365 This too shall pass! A late night run was at the end of a very long, stressful day. Between worrying about my daughter's knee, my Dad, my Lego Club, my stacks of papers to grade, and more...I'm exhausted. However, a run was definitely needed tonight. I needed to get out, work through the ideas in my mind. Just run! The funny part happened when I was just a block from home in my run, and a train went by halting my last sprint home. At first I was frustrated, and then I just started to enjoy the graffiti on the side of the train. Someone has taken the time to share a message there. So, I'm going to give that my attention. I'm sure not everyone appreciates their artwork, but tonight it was kind of cool! There was this really awesome octopus painted on the side of a train car. It was so detailed, it looked like it could just explode out the side. I started thinking of what would my train car look like if I had all the talent in the world...and opportunity. I thought of a cool science themed car with the cosmos displayed along the car. Then, I thought of a phrase like, "Kindness in your heart is the place to start." I used to always say that to my kids. Then, I thought it would be cool to have informational car...like, don't forget to vaccinate or the universal sign of choking is... I know. My mind was really wandering. Then, I thought about all that is weighing on me right now, and I decided my car would say, "This too shall pass..." It really will. There is so much good in the world. There is so much to be grateful for, and I can definitely focus on that! #motivation #strength


via IFTTT

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#120/365 Tomorrow, and every other day! Spending time with my Dad at the Veterans Hospital in Cleveland, I had plenty of time to chat with various veterans. Many of the Vietnam Vets were happy to chat with me while waiting for time with the doc. They were wearing their hats and jackets that had war details, and the stories they shared were pretty amazing. One gentleman told me about being in one of the first helicopters to get dropped down for combat. He was holding something metal that was protecting him from gunfire. Then, he told me that he got his "ass shot off"...literally. He caught gunfire to his butt and foot. He also told me about getting immunized and falling onto mattresses that were at the end of the line. He also had me laughing about smelling steak, but then finding out that he would be eating liver and onions each Friday. This guy was an amazing storyteller! When they called him back, they mispronounced his name, and with a glimmer in his eye, we winked at me and said, "Close enough." I had to laugh! Even though the time was stressful, I have to admit that I really enjoyed chatting with the people around me. I wish for relief and the best of care for them. I hope that they find the respect and gratitude they deserve in their day tomorrow and every day. They are such heroes. Facing fears, staying strong, and answering a call to duty...I have such respect for them! #veteransday


via IFTTT

Monday, November 9, 2015

#119/365 The benefit of a second look! Today was a partner day in science. Students were able to join together to complete a short cycle science research and quick share project. The research and quick share project only requires two people working together. With three people there inevitably is one person that just doesn't have anything to do. So, this made my classes of uneven students an opportunity for me. I was able to partner up with the student and become their teammate for the period. There was an interesting side benefit to this process. It allowed me to get a closer view at what students are being expected to do in my room. It also gave me the opportunity to work directly with students and have good conversations with them. In one of my classes, I was thrilled to work with a young man that I have had the pleasure of getting to know better this year. I had this student in fifth grade, but my interactions with him were not ones that left a lasting memory. He was a good student, but I didn't really get to know him. This year, I've been so impressed at the level of his growth. He is a kind, reflective, hard-working young man. His actions always show care and thought. In the areas of academics, he works to do his absolute best work. In the social aspects of school, he makes it a point to be that kid that makes others smile. When he was open for a partner today, I was excited to be his learning partner! I think that's part of the beauty of "looping" with these kids. It's truly been an eye opener for me. It's given me a second chance to learn about the students that I teach. I get to see their development, their progress, and glimpses into their futures. My student today shows me snapshots of a really amazing future. I'm so grateful to see this and work with him! #humanexperience #learning #growing #NicR


via IFTTT

My learning today! #geology


via IFTTT

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#118/365 Through her eyes... The world...how does the world look through her eyes? I wonder how the world looks through my daughter's eyes. I wonder how the world looks though any young girl's eyes in this time. When I first met my daughter, she said that she loved my "blueberry" eyes. Without skipping a beat, I said that her "chocolate" eyes looked scrumptious. We still laugh when we talk out our eye color! Today, I was looking at my girl (and her chocolate eyes) as she was watching TV, and it made me think about how her eyes have such a different view of the world than I had. My view of the world at 13 had such different context. There were such different factors and influences at work to shape my understanding of people and the challenges ahead. I didn't have such instant access to judgement by others. I didn't have all the pressures that my daughter faces. I had such a different connection to the natural world around me. One of my greatest challenges as a parent... Understand that the world looks very different from my daughter's eyes. Appreciate that I don't have all the answers for her. I can't. My world view is different. Reach out to other mentors to help guide my understanding and parenting. Grow with my daughter to face the challenges of the world...bravely and with confidence. #parenting #ChocolateEyes #BlueberryEyes


via IFTTT