Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Icing on the Holiday Cake

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Happy cold, icy, snowy, sleepy Friday afternoon. It’s been an interesting December, as the weather has been surprisingly generous in precipitation. After the dry summer and fall conditions, it’s nearly shocking to feel such moisture in the air. Many of you have had several days away from school due to all of this winter weather. Our son is thrilled about this. I am certain that this break has allowed you some extra time to get ready for the holidays. It’s nice to have a jump start on relaxation, and I hope you have taken full advantage.

Since my last post, I have almost caught up with the rest of you. I only have two gifts to buy. The snow doused me into the spirit of the season. There is one thing, however, that I haven’t yet accomplished. I still have to decide on my New Year’s resolution. There are many things I want to change, so pinpointing which aspect I want to focus on for 2011 is proving to be difficult. It has to be a realistic goal. I have actually been surprisingly successful in sticking to my past three resolutions. I am a slow learner. I really don’t want break this cycle, so this decision is very tricky.

The Winter Solstice will take place this Tuesday, December 21st, at 6:38 p.m. EST. I plan to have my resolution in place by then. It will be interesting because this year’s Solstice will be accompanied by a lunar eclipse. If you would like more information, see NASA’s article, Solstice Lunar Eclipse. For the east coast, the lunar eclipse will begin Tuesday at 1:33 a.m. EST, reaching totality at 2:41 a.m. EST. I hope to be able to stay awake long enough to experience it. It’s times like these that make me wish I was still teaching. I would love to have the opportunity to study the Solstice and lunar eclipse with students. I didn’t teach science, but there is always a way to incorporate topics into drama and creative writing assignments (which I did teach). Ah, but being a parent fills that void. Our son is knowledgeable of the astronomical phenomena that drive our seasons, but there is always something new to discover with him.

I also wanted to remind you of some energy saving/green holiday practices. In the rush of the events, we sometimes forget.

1. When you are away from your home, lower the temperature in your house by a couple of degrees. Your energy bill will be a bit less.

2. Shut off your holiday lights. This prevents fire and saves money. Also, if you are thinking of replacing your holiday lights next year, consider buying LED sets. They usually go on sale after Christmas.

3. Recycle your gift wrappings and boxes. Leaving them by the curb allows opportunists to easily see what you received that they would like to have. It’s very good for our trees, too.

As we wrap up 2010, I want to wish each of you the most precious, memorable, peaceful, and bountiful Christmas. May the New Year bring reality to all of your dreams.

Taking a Deep Breath

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Finally, I am back from a rather lengthy hiatus. We’ve all been super busy presenting workshops, developing projects, and diving into our new resources. It’s been a delightful challenge to keep up with it all. I know that teachers out there fully understand what I mean. Travel has been heavy the past few months, but it has been pleasurable and gratifying to visit and share with media specialists and teachers in my region of this gorgeous state.

And here’s why:


MISSION US has taken off like a Maglev. It has been an adventure sharing this role-playing game. “For Crown or Colony,” targeted for grades 6-8, takes the participants back in time to 1770 Boston as Nathaniel Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice for the Boston Gazette. Students guide Nat’s path and decisions throughout the game as he runs errands in Boston for his mentor, Mr. Eads. Nat meets both historical and fictional characters while delivering messages, selling ads, and collecting period artifacts. He even has a love interest. Ooohhh.

Nat witnesses the Boston Massacre. Since students are witnessing the event from individual perspectives, the game makes for some powerful classroom discussions. In the end, students determine Nat’s fate. Will he become a Patriot, a Loyalist to the Crown, or will he take a job at sea?

There are many rich resources for teachers to use during instruction with the game, including primary source materials, activities, lessons, and more. The pilot study reveals very successful results in student comprehension, retention, and vocabulary. Test scores rose and students were much more engaged. This is the first of five planned missions. You can’t miss out on Pennywhistle Hero. I am absolutely no good at it, but I am getting better. I’m still trying to master “Greensleeves.”

See previous post for a narrated mini-PD PowerPoint presentation.

KET Teacher's Domain

KET Teacher’s Domain is our most recent multimedia asset repository, and it is making a lot of educators and learners very happy. Teachers, parents, and students are finding an extensive library of free resources produced by KET and other public television member stations to use for instruction, for research, and for the simple pleasure of learning.  You should definitely check out the Transforming Education in Kentucky PD modules. Take a look into the KET STEM Collection and KET Everyday Science. KET Teacher’s Domain is growing daily and includes segments from popular series, such as: NOVA, Between the Lions, and Frontline. This latest repository falls under the KET EncycloMedia umbrella with Discovery Education and KET ED On Demand.

As November 25th draws near, keep in mind that you can look to KET EncycloMedia for valuable tools to use in teaching about the First Thanksgiving in 1621 Plymouth. I find the history of the first pilgrim harvest to be so intriguing, and believe that the helpful guidance from our wise Native Americans is what I prize the most. I use what I can of their techniques and advice in my own garden. This time of year is mysterious, beautiful, and bountiful. The world has changed dramatically since 1621. Harvest is just a fragment of yesterday’s practice, but the knowledge and skill will always be necessary for survival. Many of you have school gardens. I hope the student gardeners can relate to how I feel.

I wish I could pause time for a bit so that this earlier part of the season could last a little longer, because I am nowhere near ready for the fast-approaching Holidays. It just hit me over the weekend that it’s the middle of November and I still have to get caught up in the spirit of it all. Just not quite there, yet. I hope it’s not such a long stretch between now and the next time I post to my blog. I have missed these quiet moments. Maybe in December I will be able to write a more reflective entry. Gotta reflect. The New Year is lurking on our doorsteps.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Go Out and Play

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Last spring, Kit Carson Elementary Ecology Club students produced PSA’s about conserving electricity in our homes and schools. It was a fun experience for all involved, and I think the students did a fine job in relaying their message to the public. This is the second of a series of four posts to exhibit their work.  Keep checking back for more.

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