Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015 Day 2

(This is part 2 of 4 posts about the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015)

I’m continuing this week to talk about my experience at the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. I hope you enjoy it!

Here are the pictures that I took during Day 2.

Here is the list of flora and fauna that we saw this year.

This morning we did our first hike, which was on Edible Mushrooms. We learned the do's and don'ts about recognizing edible mushrooms and their habitat preference with field and culinary mycologists Marisol Sanchez, and Brian Looney. They were students at the University of Tennessee and were very knowledgeable about their subject. We hiked along the Engine Creek Trail and were told there was an old railroad engine at the end of the trail. We also saw a lot of wildflowers on this hike! My favorite mushroom we came across was The Devil’s Urn.

Our afternoon hike was a Wildflower Walk along the Bullhead Trail. We hiked with Roger Hedge, who works for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. He was an awesome leader! There weren’t a lot of flowers in bloom but he was able to point out a lot of flowers that were blooming along with finding the foliage of some that weren’t blooming. He was full of interesting stories and when he stopped, he did a good job of getting in the middle of the group to talk so everyone could hear what he was saying.

We were supposed to meet up with friends, Dan and Sherrie, but my Verizon cell service was out all day. We had no way to contact each other so after we finished hiking we went back to our room to wait and see if my phone would work again. I also sent Sherrie a Facebook message in case she could get it. Luckily I told them where we were staying and they came to the Microtel to find us! We went to No Way Jose restaurant for lunch and when we were done, it was raining so Don went back to the motel to get the car for us. After we got back, we went to a wonderful program on Birds of Prey.

Things I Learned:
  1. Summer and fall is the best time to see mushrooms.
  2. Cup fungi is found in the spring and summer.
  3. Morels are also known as dry land fish or land sponges.
  4. You can legally collect up to 2 lbs. of edible mushrooms per person per day in the Smokies.
  5. Morels are found around tulip poplar, hickory, or elm trees.
  6. Oyster mushrooms are found in the spring, off logs, usually a lot of them.
  7. Dryad saddle – conch fungi that grows on side of trees; get really young in order to tast good.
  8. Lung Lichen is an indicator species.
  9. The Devil’s Urn is a cup mushroom.
  10. Turkey tail has color banding
  11. Lenzites betulina is the only polypor with gills.
  12. Common Split Gill (Schizophylum commune) is known worldwide.
  13. Showy orchis is one of the few that has an aroma and nectar in it.
  14. About 30 species of orchids in the Smokies.
  15. Rue Anemone is also known as windflower
  16. Mustards have 4 petals.
  17. Make back up plans with friends in case you have no cell service to call each other! 
Come back tomorrow to hear how Day 3 went!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015 Day 1

(This is part 1 of 4 posts about the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015)

Last week my husband and I attended the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg, TN. We go to this every year because I learn something new each time! The registration was $75 per person and we stayed at the Microtel Inn ($44.95/night). We arrived on Tuesday and left on Saturday afternoon.

Here are the pictures that I took during the week.

Here is the list of flora and fauna that we saw this year.

Since we got into town early, we did 3 short hikes. We went to Cataract Falls, did the Gatlinburg Trail and then the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. We also drove up to Newfound Gap and looked at the view.

Then around 5pm, we went to register. When I got my packet at Registration, there was only 1 registration packet so I had to go stand in the other line to get it straightened out. About 30 minutes later I got my husband’s packet. I’m so glad I brought my receipt showing that I paid!

Things I Learned:
  1. Bring your receipt to registration even if you think you won’t have a problem.
  2. Leave home early in case you run into traffic (there was a bad accident along the way.)
  3. Go to the Italian restaurant early to avoid lines. 
Come back tomorrow to hear how Day 2 went!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, April 24, 2015

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/24/15

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips – “Don’t miss an opportunity to transport your students into exciting places featuring fascinating people and careers.  Take a look below for some of our upcoming events, or browse our archived events by following the directions below.”  (L:M, H; SA:G)

In Pieces – “IN PIECES IS AN INTERACTIVE EXHIBITION TURNED STUDY INTO 30 OF THE WORLD’S MOST INTERESTING BUT UNFORTUNATELY ENDANGERED SPECIES — THEIR SURVIVALS LAYING LITERALLY, IN PIECES.Each species has a common struggle and is represented by one of 30 pieces which come together to form one another. The collection is a celebration of genic diversity and an attempting reminder of the beauty we are on the verge of losing as every moment passes. These 30 animals have been chosen for their differences, so that we can learn about species we didn't know about previously as well as the struggles they have surviving. Many of them evolved in a particular way which makes them evolutionarily distinct.” (L:G; SA:S)

Project Noah“Project Noah was created to provide people of all ages with a simple, easy-to-use way to share their experiences with wildlife. By encouraging your students to share their observations and contribute to Project Noah missions, you not only help students to reconnect with nature, you provide them with real opportunities to make a difference.
(L:G; SA:S)

Math Playground – “Give your brain a workout with our fun math games and puzzles.” (L:G; SA:M)

Common Core Lesson Plans – I was sent an email from Jamie Smith, “ I am a part of the FormSwift team, a project dedicated to creating personal and legal templates that are customizable, easy to use, and highly professional, and I wanted to let you know about our new, fillable Common Core-aligned lesson plan templates, which we have made completely free… With our three lesson plan templates, educators can create and fill out a lesson plan with a professional design for their math, science and language arts courses, and download them in PDF or MS Word format with a single click. In addition, although our lesson plans are optimized for the Common Core State Standards, they have been used by teachers in states that do not subscribe to the Common Core. Why free? We are a small team, trying to get our name out, and are providing our services free to teachers and educational professionals across the country.” (L:T; SA:M, S, LA)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Students Feel About Memorization

Recently Mr. Hoffman, a 6th grade math teacher at a middle school in Port Washington, New York, contacted me about an assignment that he gave his students. They read my article on Is Memorization Important? and wrote their feelings about it.  He then sent his students’ comments to me and I thought it would be fun to share them with you. I think it is truly amazing that the students not only read my article but took the time to comment about it too. I hope you enjoy them!

Aphrodite: “Wow. That is......wow. The person who wrote this has a point that many students think but never say. I think she wrote it out perfectly. Memorization sometimes can benefit and sometimes it can just annoy and frustrate you WITHOUT any benefits. If I was a teacher, I would do the same thing this person does. I would think to myself " Is this information going to be relevant in the future? Are the students every going to use this information again by memory?" This article makes me think how many things I have been forced to memorize that I will never need to know either by memory or at all. Not only that, but, in the time I used to memorize all those things, what could have I been doing? Great article.”

Shayne: “I fully agree with this article, and think that critical thinking is a vital part of education. Once in elementary school, I didnt get full credit for a MULTIPLE CHOICE question on a test, because I didnt "show my work well enough". I did write, however, that there was a related previous question, and I used process of elimination to find the right answer. Sometimes critical thinking doesn't have to be showing your work in the way relevant to the present topic, its just finding the right answer using the information given in the most efficient way, and implementing past skills. It shouldn't be punished.”

Max: “I agree with this author in thinking that momorizing everything isn't useful. You have to memorize some stuff you learn in school though. Just not as much as we do now. If I were a teacher and I could do things differently then I would make it so that the students wouldn't necessarily stop making students memorize, but make them memorize less. You have to memorize many things so you succeed in life BUT you don\'t have to memorize so many things that happened in Ancient Greece.”

Jonathan: “I personaly feel memorizing facts doesnt help with anything. Here's why. If you forget the facts even though you memorized them (it happens to me all the time) you will have no idea what to do. But if you actually know how to do the problem using critical thinking you could anwser it instead of just memorizing every thing.”

Javiera: “First off this WAS a GREAT ARTICAL !! I that memeroizing things is important but i also think that its important to memorize things that will actually help us in life as said by the person who made this artical. if i was a teacher and i wanted my students to memorize something i would explain to them why and how it will help them. Just like Mr. hoffman does.”

Julia: “I think that is important to memorize certain things, such as multiplication tables, personal info, etc. but there are a lot of things that are pointless to memorize (unless you are pursuing a very specific career) like the periodic table. If you were planning on becoming a scientist, then it would be important for success. If I was a teacher I would make sure there was a good reason to make kids memorize something before I forced them to memorize it.”

Check out Mr. Hoffman’s site: Hoffkids

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Furman Engaged!

Last week I attended an event at Furman University called Furman Engaged and the website describes it as:

“Furman Engaged! celebrates the wide variety of undergraduate research, scholarship and creativity of our undergraduates. Launched by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships in 2009, this annual event brings our campus community and visitors together for a day of presentations, posters and performances across Furman's campus. Our students present topics from a range of disciplines, from research in the sciences and humanities to creative works in the fine arts.”

I attended the Education department session in the morning and heard some wonderful presentations! They included diversity topics such as Identity Issues, Child Abuse, Students with Incarcerated Parents, Foster Care, and Bilingual families. It was interesting to talk with the presenters and hear what their research found and how this information could help them in the classroom. I also learned about some interesting resources that I want read.  It was extra special because some of the presenters were former students.

Next I went to the Physical Activities Center which was a gym filled with poster exhibits from each department. I really enjoyed going to several of them and hearing the presenters. I really enjoyed the presentation on the 3D printer. I have heard of them but never really seen one in action. It was also interesting to get in a discussion about how and why someone would want to have one.

I look forward to this event next year!