Thursday, March 30, 2017

Saving the Important Things

Recently at church, my pastor talked about how the words of the bible are like putting food in a colander. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a colander is a perforated utensil for washing or draining food. Your pour the food in the colander and the liquid drains out but the food stays in. The important words (Jesus’s words) stay in the colander and the words we don’t need to save drain out.

This had me thinking about the information that we learn in school. Hopefully our brains work like the colander and the important things stay in while the unnecessary stuff flows out. This keeps our brains from getting filled with too much information that we don’t need which give us room that need for the important stuff.

But what about students with disabilities. Maybe their “colander” has holes that are too big. Maybe too much information flows away and is unable to hold the important things in. That might be why they have trouble remembering things or sorting through what is important or what is not. If this was a colander in my kitchen, I might put another colander with smaller holes on top of it to help. These students need to learn coping skills that help them figure out how to hold on to the important things. I might need to help them find the other tool that will work for them. Maybe eventually, they won’t need the extra tools or maybe the coping skills become so natural that they don’t notice any problem anymore.

Then, there is the student where the holes are too small and too much information stays in their brain. This could be so overwhelming and hard to distinguish between what is important and what is not. I will need to help the students learn skills that will sort through this information and help them learn to cope with this problem. Maybe students will learn this skill and it will become intuitive.

I think the hardest thing for me is to learn which students have which type of “colander.” I need to pay closer attention to how they are learning information. Rather than just focusing on giving the information, I need to know if my students are having any processing problems.

Do you look at your students’ processing problems? How do you do this? Please share.

I think the hardest thing for me is to learn which students have which type of “colander.” I need to pay closer attention to how they are learning information. Rather than just focusing on giving the information, I need to know if my students are having any processing problems. 

Do you look at your students’ processing problems? How do you do this? Please share.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Accept But Don’t Settle

For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to lose pounds. I have been exercising a lot but I haven’t been eating that well. The long and short of it (or should I say the heavy and light of it), is that even though my weight has gone up or down a pound over this time, I still weigh the same that I did in January. This is discouraging to me. I keep telling myself that I need to have better will power when eating but I have increased my exercise to kind of balance out my bad eating.

Last week I listened to a podcast from The Trim Healthy Mamas and they actually made a lot of sense to me. I have increased my exercise and I do feel better. My clothes are feeling loser too so I need to stop making myself feel guilty all the time. This stress and guilt is fighting anything I might be doing to lose weight.

They said if you hate the workout and are stressing about it, you are defeating the purpose. So, I’ve decided to accept that I might not lose weight but I am going to tone up and feel better because it makes me feel good.

They also said to accept who you are. Let’s face it, I will probably never have the body that I did at 25 years old no matter how hard I work out. Who am I kidding! So, my goal is going to be healthy and fit instead of working towards an unrealistic goal. I think if I work on healthy and fit, I may lose a few pounds in the process but I won’t focus on that.

I like walking on the treadmill every morning because I feel like it gives me energy. But I want to focus on doing this at least 5 days a week so if I miss 2 days, I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I have also started doing this 5 min. walking workout routine I found on YouTube by Leslie Sansone. I do this routine several times throughout the day and I really believe it is helping me tone up.

All of this is to say, I need to accept the body that I have and work to get it in the best shape possible. I will not settle for less than my best whatever I do. By coming up with excuses and false rationales, I am settling for less that what I can actually be.

Like all things in life, there has to be balance. I need to know what are false rationales and what are realistic goals.

The same thing applies to my students and my classroom. If my students have a disability, I need to help them accept that they have one. But that doesn’t mean they should settle for less than the best that they can be. They need to try different things and attempt harder things or they never will learn what their real capabilities actually are. They can’t live in a bubble and protect themselves from failure or they aren’t truly living. To me, that is play acting. Through failures, all people learn things about themselves and their abilities. But only trying something once and failing is not true learning. That is giving up.

What things have you tried and learned to accept without settiling? Please share.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Feral hogs (Sus Scrofa)

Last week I attended a Master Naturalist Meeting where we learned about Feral Hogs. Our speaker was Dr. Cory Heaton, State Wildlife Specialist.  It was really interesting and I learned so much about them. I never realized what a pest they were becoming and that I didn’t need to be as frightened of them when hiking as I thought I was. I liked to share with you some things that I learned. 

Not everything about feral pigs are negative. Some plant communities benefit from feral hogs.

Reading suggestions:


1.     Most widely distributed mammals around the world
2.     Natural predators: black Bears, coyotes, panthers, cougars, alligators, crocodiles, hawks
3.     1st state to introduce feral hogs: Hawaii
4.     1539 Desoto brought to FL
5.     Current population 7 million
6.     1st permanent European settlers Purchased from Native Americans
7.     1st documented intro of swine 1566 at the Santa Elena settlement in Beaufort
8.     Russian Boar 1890 German imports released into 20000-acre enclosure in NH. They escaped.
9.     In all 46 counties of SC
10.  1988 - 462 US counties
11.  2004 -  1042 US counties
12.  Sexual maturity: 6 months 1st litter at 13 months
13.  Gestation 114 days
14.  Litter size 6  average  litter 1.5 litters/year
15.  Weaned by 3 month
16.  Heat cycle every 21 days
17.  Lifespan 4-8 years
18.  Home range 6 sq. Mi.
19.  Size males 200 lbs. females 275 lbs
20.  Diet mainly green foliage and roots.
21.  Diseases:
a.     Swine brucellosis
b.     Pseudorabies
c.     Classic swine fever
d.     African swine fever
e.     Foot and mouth disease
f.      Trichinosis
g.     Toxoplasmosis
22.  Acute sense of smell
23.  Hogs hate electricity
a.     1 wire 6 in off ground
b.     2nd wire 12-14 in off ground
c.     Can use polytape.
24.  Hogs sleep in places so thick that rabbits are afraid to go there.
25.  Legalities
a.     Hunted on private property year round during day. No firearm restrictions
b.     May be hunted at night with any caliber firearm and sighting device. Must be 10 ft elevated stand. March to June
c.     Depredation permits available to alter night take techniques
d.     Trapping year round on private property
e.     Must use legal trap; no snares, no toxicants
26.  Keys to successful trapping:
a.     Site selection: hogs are using the area, hogs feel safe, suitable for distance monitoring, not in public/common areas
b.     Scent control: #1 defense is smell, rubber boots, rubber gloves, distance monitoring
c.     Photo surveillance: combined with pre-baiting is deadly, after trapping provides good estimate for hunters, if you aren't using trail cans you should not be trapping
d.     Pre-baiting: sour corn, sour grains, grape jello, corn, sweet feed, molasses, commercial hog baits
e.     Trap design: single catch (drop doors, slammer doors); continuous traps
f.      Stay away from Guillotine Box traps, corral trap with drop door (need wide door); Corral trap with slammer trap, saloon doors, rooter gate; funnel entry (confusion trap) Jager Pro remote tripping systems (dependent on cell phone service $3000); boar buster trap system (very heavy)
27.  Trap baiting:
a.     Trip wires and root sticks ( majority of bait is placed before the trip wire or root stick)
b.     Reduce feed prior to setting
c.     Never bait outside trap
28.  Hunting-
a.     Still hunting:
                                                        i.     Stand and stalk hunting: usually during deer hunting seasons, year round on private property with your choice of firearms, always work with the wind
                                                      ii.     Dog hunting
                                                     iii.     night vision digging ag fields,
b.     Sharp-shooting:
                                                        i.     Night hunting (night vision, thermal imaging), aerial gunning, drones
29.  Judas pigs: tracking collar on them leads to other groups of pigs