Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Randall Ching

Randall Ching is believed to be the only Asian American of Chinese descent who fought as a ranger in World War II. He was a ranger in the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion. This battalion landed on Omaha Beach during the Battle of Normandy. General Omar Bradley was thinking of abandoning the beach and then General Norman Cota gave the order, “Rangers, Lead the Way!”

He was born in San Francisco in 1924. His family moved back to China in te 1930s because of the Great Depression. He left China during the second Sino-Japanese War and returned to America before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Not too long after that, he was drafted into the army and he planned on joining the infantry. Since his marksmanship was so good, he signed up to be a ranger. After the Battle of Normandy, he was awarded the Bronze Star for using his knife-fighting skills to defeat a German Patrol in 1944. He fought with the rangers until the end of the war.

His supporters petitioned the French government to induct him into the Legion of Honor (Fran’s top award for military and civil merit). Ching believed that those who died in the battle deserved the award more than he did.

Ching received the Congressional Gold Medal in December 2020 along with his fellow Chinese American World War II Veterans.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Reindeer Career

“The NVIV (Next Vista Inspiring Video) series of posts are written by Rushton Hurley and designed to provide students and teachers with fascinating discussion prompts.”

In A Reindeer Career, Rushton features Davaajav, a reindeer herder who lives in Mongolia.

He gives the following prompts to accompany this video:

“Try to imagine at least five possible futures for Davaajav and his family. What is in the video, or in other research you do on reindeer (also called caribou) that supports each idea for a possible future path?

Are there jobs in your community that seem to have fewer and fewer people doing them? Do jobs have life spans?”


I found this video interesting because I’ve never heard of a reindeer herder. Students would find this intriguing also. I didn’t know there was anyone who did that kind of work. I wonder if some of their future jobs could be to sell reindeer fiber and reindeer milk (what healthy qualities does reindeer milk have?).

Since I like to knit and spin yarn, I am very interested in animal fiber. I know that people spin muskox and bison fiber and I’ve spun yarn from yak and camel but I wasn’t sure about reindeer so I did some research. I found an etsy shop that sells reindeer yarn: Alaska Natural Fibers. 

Here is their description of reindeer fiber and yarn: 

“But, you say, isn’t reindeer hair thick and stiff? Not all of it.

The down is fine and soft but difficult to extract and delicate to handle. We separate the hollow hair from the fine down and what is left is beautiful.

Reindeer are 90% covered with hollow, stiff, white hairs. Snuggled in-between that floatation and heat-trapping layer is a very fine springy and short down fiber. In a similar way that the muskoxen grow and shed a winter undercoat of qivuit, the reindeer grow an entire winter protection layer and shed it in the spring. Reindeer shed everything down to the skin - naked! Muskoxen don’t shed their long protective fibers.

Since reindeer shed their coat entirely every spring, this makes gathering the fiber from a herd quite arduous as handlers are picking it up off the ground and out of fields.

By micron count, the reindeer undercoat is as fine as qivuit but grows in kinky inch long spirals and is an extremely soft down. Magnified the fibers resemble a tightly coiled spring nestled between long, rigid toothpicks.

Reindeer processes into a lighter and airier fiber, yet, at 100% it’s sticky like Velcro so needs blending to calm it down and get it through our milling machines.

We consider carefully when adding another animal wool to smooth the reindeer for processing. This blend has merino from Unalaska, Alaska on the Aleutian chain.

With handling and wear a reindeer garment just gets lovelier for it keeps its integrity and with time and handling, it blooms a halo of fine mist.”


Please check out the video and think of other prompts you might come up with. Please share.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Green Gradient Mini Skeins

I want to knit a shawl that calls for a gradient and I decided to dye my own yarn for it. After watching several YouTube videos, I decided what I would do and I wanted to share my process. 




  1. I used 6 mason jars, Jacquard Acid Dye (Emerald), a 100 ml measuring cup, measuring spoons, a scale, and 6 disposable cups. 

  2. Soak mini skeins in water for at least 30 minutes. 

  3. In each of the 5 disposable cups, I added ¼ cup of water. 

  4. I measured out 2g of dye powder to 100 ml of water to make my 2% dye solution and mixed it well in a disposable cup. 

  5. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 1 and added it to cup 2 and mixed well. 

  6. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 2 and added it to cup 3 and mixed well.

  7. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 3 and added it to cup 4 and mixed well.

  8. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 4 and added it to cup 5 and mixed well.

  9. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 5 and rid of it. 

  10. I then poured each cup into a mason jar and added water up to half the jar and mixed well. 

  11. Then I squeezed out the excess water from each mini skein and put them in each jar. 

  12. I let them sit overnight. 

  13. The next day, I put the jars in a steamer basket into a big pot of water and brought the water to a boil. Water should be just below the top of the water level in each jar. I lowered the heat once it was boiling so the jars wouldn’t boil and let it steam for 10 min. 

  14. I had to do this procedure several times because only 2 jars would fit in at a time. 

  15. I put all the jars outside to cool. 

  16. Once the jars were cool, I took the yarn out and squeezed the excess water, and let them cool. 

  17. I washed them well separately to make sure all the dye was out. 

  18. Hung to dry. 


Things I learned: 

I think I would start with a 1% solution next time. 

Take out a ½ c. of solution from each jar. 

I like the 5th darkest skein the best and wouldn’t mind making a full skein in that color. 


Original photos by Pat Hensley

Friday, May 20, 2022

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 05/20/22

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

Flowers and their Pollinators - “Mister Brown and Squeaks take a look at some flowers and their pollinators, and learn about special structures that help them work together perfectly!” (L:E; SA:S)

Onomatopoeia - "Onomatopoeia" Crash! Bash! Boom! Pow! In this song, learn about special words that imitate sounds. What's that??? It's Onomatopoeia!’ (L:E; SA:LA)

Inflation - Instagram post; “I got to make a series of stop-motion animations for a @washingtonpost interactive feature about what’s been happening with inflation and the economy over the past couple of years.” (L:G; SA:M, SS)

Open National Field Day - “We have revised our set of traditional field day activities for you to use with your students. These activities were created by the OPEN members and contributors listed in the Field Day Overview. You’ll also find the collection of field day events that were created and revised between 2020 and 2021. Partner logos are displayed to recognized and thank the many organizations who joined our efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please enjoy all the resources provided. Happy Field Day Season!” (L:E; SA:A)

Life on Minimum Wage - “(link opens a Google Doc) is an activity that I developed almost thirteen years ago to help my civics students recognize how difficult it is to save money when your only job(s) pay minimum wage without benefits. To win at Life on Minimum Wage the students have to reach five financial goals that they select. To earn money the students have to complete the tasks of their assigned jobs. The students then have to pay required bills before using money for their selected financial goals. As the game progresses students will be issued "surprise" cards which require them to spend money on things like speeding tickets, trips to a health clinic, and increases in rent. All of the jobs in Life on Minimum Wage are connected so that if one business slows production or closes, the workers of another business are also impacted. The goal here is to demonstrate the effects of a business closing on a small town's economy.” (L:H; SA:SS,M)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Care Package


Here is another resource to use during AAPI month!

Care Package

“Poems, meditations, films, and other cultural nutrients for times like this.
Curated with love by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center”