Friday, June 30, 2017

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/30/17

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

Dictate – “Dictate is an add-in for Microsoft Outlook, Word and PowerPoint. Use state of the art speech recognition behind Cortana to convert speech to text.” (L:G; SA:A)

How Things Fly – “What makes an airplane fly? How does a spacecraft stay in orbit? Why does a balloon float in the air? What are you waiting for? Come and find out!” (L:G; SA:s)

Post-It Plus – free iPhone or iPad app; turn your physical sticky notes into digitized notes. (L:G; SA:A)

Triventy – “Collaborative Classroom Quizzes” (L:G; SA:A)

The Getty – “Currently, there are over 100,000 images from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute available through the Open Content Program, including more than 72,000 from the Research Institute's Foto Arte Minore archive, which features photographs of the art and architecture of Italy over 30 years by German photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1913–1988). Other images include paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, sculpture, decorative arts, artists' sketchbooks, watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, and 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks. We are adding more images as high-quality digital files become available.” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer Learning Place 2017

Next week I will begin my 10th year as the “principal” of Summer Learning Place. It is actually a practicum course for teachers getting their Master’s Degree in Special Education. So, I will have 7 students (who are the teachers) and I will have 28 children who have difficulty in learning. Some are classified as needing special education services, some are in the process of being tested to determine if they need these services, and some are just struggling learners who haven’t been tested yet.

We will meet for 16 days throughout July. Children will come every Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30. They will learn reading, math, writing, and social skills. Every week, parents will be given a report about their child’s progress.

Every year, it is different just as it is in regular school. The teachers are different with different personalities and the children are different too. Teaching strategies vary and children’s learning styles are also varied. The mixture of children in a class make the atmosphere different in every room.

Yet many things are the same. Teachers have a hard time thinking they will make a difference in 16 days. Then on the last day we talk about how different their views are concerning the difference they have made.

Every year, this experience warms my heart and I hope it does the same for the teachers. I hope this is a successful experience for them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2017 Trip to the Midwest Part 3

Day 15 6/18/17:

This day started out a little rough. I got up around 5:30 and while I was in the bathroom, the campground host woke Don up in the tent around 5:45. He asked Don if he paid for the night because there was no paper on the clip post. Don showed him that the clip was falling apart and probably didn’t hold the paper securely. We paid the day before and even put our car tag number on it.  I thought it was interesting that quiet hours are until 6am but the man didn’t mind waking people up at 5:45! After we packed up the tent, we stopped at the campground host site to show the man Don’s ID and senior park pass. We were afraid that is someone stole our money and there was no record of us paying, we needed to show some ID. The man said it was okay but when I asked why he just couldn’t match the paid car tags on his list to our site, he said he didn’t have a list of who paid because they didn’t trust him with that! 

Then we drove to Wall, SD and decided to get a hotel room. I found a room online for America’s Best Value for $109 and booked it. When we got there around noon, it was too early to check in so we did laundry next door. After lunch at Subway we checked in, only to find out, there was a mix up and our reservation was for tomorrow! Luckily, Wild Bill (the desk clerk) could fix it for tonight. We got room 131 which was newly renovated and the owner asked us to give him feedback about the room. After a shower and relaxation, we went back to Subway for dinner and Dairy Queen for dessert. We ended up going to bed early.

The mattress was so soft and comfortable and the TV screen was nice and big! The bathroom door was a sliding door which I liked too! There was a fridge and a microwave in the room. The internet wasn’t so great though.

Day 15 6/19/17:

We headed to Cedar Pass Campground and got our tent set up on Site #46. We didn’t care for this site as much as #34 but we survived. We stopped for lunch but we didn’t really care for the lunch menu at the lodge. Then we did some hiking after lunch. We went to the notch but after seeing the ladder, we decided not to complete the hike. I went up halfway for Don to take a photo but then we left. In the afternoon we sat around the camp and relaxed. Later a mother and her two sons arrived and we helped them put up their tent. They were super nice! We went back to the Lodge for dinner which opened at 5pm. After that we relaxed at the campsite until bedtime.

Day 16 6/20/17:

We had breakfast at the lodge around 7am and then went to the Minuteman Missile Visitor Center. We drove to site D-09 for the ranger talk which was excellent. Then we went to Wall and killed time until our 1:15 tour at site D-01 which was the Launch Control Center. It was a fabulous tour! Even though we paid for another night in the campground, we decided we would move on so we drove to Mitchell, SD and stayed at the same motel we were in on 6/5. They gave us the same rate instead of the higher summer rate.

Day 17 6/21/17:

We headed to Minnesota for my Zombie Knitpocalypse (knitting retreat). On the way we stopped to visit the Jolly Green Giant. I will write about that in a separate post in case some people aren’t interested in it.

Things I Learned:
1.     Not all campground hosts are nice.
2.     When the wind is blowing hard, it takes 2 people to put up a tent.
3.     It is nice to help others (especially if they have never put up a tent before!)
4.     We really enjoyed learning about the Minuteman Missiles.
5.     It pays to get to a tour early. Everyone showed up early and our 30 min. tour lasted an hour!
6.     There is a tour of the Titan Missile in Tucson, AZ.
7.     People on duty in the Launch Command Center read and studied for advance degrees.
8.     Their job was extremely stressful every time a meal was delivered. They had to be prepared that this was an attack every time.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Trip to the Midwest Part 2

Day 8 6/11/17:

We drove from Deadwood, SD to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND. On the way we stopped in Belle Fourche, SD to see the Center of the Nation Monument. We got to the park around noon and found campsite #2 which was one of the last open sites. The next site had a pit toilet behind it which was disgusting! After setting up our tent, we went into Medora and had lunch at the Cowboy Café. We stopped at the Ticket Junction and bought tickets for the Steak Fondue ($29 pp) and the Medora Musical ($39 pp), an outdoor musical. Then we drove around the loop road and checked out the bison, mule deer, wild horses, and prairie dogs. Around 5pm, we went to the Steak Fondue which was very interesting. They put about 10 raw steaks on a pitchfork and then cook them in a vat of oil for 4 minutes. Along with the steak we had baked beans, baked potato, raw carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, coleslaw and bread. There was lemonade, coffee, or water to drink plus you could buy soda or beer. After dinner, we walked along the cliff trail and saw the beautiful view. Around 6:30, we headed across the parking lot to the musical. We had to take an escalator down two flights on the side of the mountain to get to the amphitheater. The musical was delightful but I’m glad we brought jackets and a blanket. Don put the blanket over his legs the whole time. After the show was over, they changed the direction of the escalator and everyone went back up to the parking lot. I was surprised that it was still daylight around 9:15pm. We got back to the campsite around 10:30, just as it was getting dark.

Day 9 6/12/17:

When I got up at 4:30am, it was really cold. I sat outside and tried to read and knit but I was too cold even with a blanket over my legs. I put my hat, fingerless gloves on, fleece jacket over my hoodie and I was still cold. I ended up putting some long pants on. Don got up around 6:30 and we packed up the tent. Then we went into Medora to have breakfast at the Cowboy Café. After that we headed to the Old East Gate trailhead and took a walk with the “ranger” who was an SCA seasonal guide. We learned about the prairie dogs and the old East Gate. After that we went back to the campground and set up our tent on site 67 which we had reserved for 2 nights. By the time we got ice in town, it was time for lunch so we had a hamburger and fries at the Cowboy Café. Then we decided to do all the short hikes along the 38-mile loop road that were listed in the newspaper. The ridgeline trail was pretty and so was the Coal View trail. Around 5pm we went to the Badlands pizza and had a 12” pizza which was huge along with a pitcher of diet coke. After dinner, we came back to the campsite to relax for the night. While we were relaxing, there was an awesome lightning show in the sky that we watched.

Day 10 6/13/17:

It started raining right after we got in the tent last night. Then around 4am, the wind was gusting so bad that the tent would collapse down to my face and then pop back up again. It was so bad that I didn’t even want to go outside and sit in the wind. Around 5am, it calmed down so I got up. Don got up around 7am and we headed to Dickinson where we had breakfast, got gas, and more supplies at Walmart. Then we drove towards the North Unit and stopped in Watford City for lunch at Burgerittos. We continued to the park which was absolutely beautiful. It was very different from the South Unit. We drove the 14-mile scenic road to the end and back. Next, we drove almost two hours to Fort Union which was a trading post in 1821. It was in the middle of nowhere and really wasn’t much to see. It also was reconstructed to what they think the fort looked like.  I don’t think I would recommend anyone going there. It took 2 ½ hours back to the South Unit. We sat and relaxed for an hour before attending the evening program where the ranger talked about “Managing Megafauna” which was interesting. He talked about the bison, feral horses, deer (mule and white tailed), and pronghorn.

Day 11 6/14/17:

We headed to Rapid City, SD and found a room at the Foothills Inn ($89). After checking in, we went to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. When we got there, we could buy tickets for the tour of Ellsworth Air Force Base and the Minuteman Missile Training Silo for $9 each. There were only 6 of us and we had a great time! Then we went had dinner at Denny’s before going back to the room to clean up and relax.

Day 12 6/15/17:
We had a wonderful morning at Mt. Rushmore. Parking was only $5/year for seniors over 62.  Luckily, we picked the one day of the year that they hold a naturalization ceremony there. Without the ceremony, I can see us spending about 2 hours there before moving on. It was truly moving and exciting. After that we drove to Hill City and met some friends of friends who own a B&B there. Then we went back to Rapid City to an antique store (St. Joe Antique Store) where my hubby spent hours finding treasures. After that we drove to Dinosaur Park (free) which was cute before ending up at Texas Roadhouse for dinner.

Day 13 6/16/17:

We headed to Wind Cave and got campsite C13 at Elk Mountain Campground ($9 per night). Then we went to the visitor’s center and bought tickets for 2 cave tours. The Fairgrounds Tour ($6 for Don and $12 for me) was at 10:20 and lasted until noon. Then the Garden of Eden tour ($5 for Don and $10 for me) was at 12:40 and was an hour long. We had to make reservations for the candlelight tour for Sunday and hopefully we will do the Natural Entrance tour then too After that we headed into Hot Springs and saw a yard sale on the way where Don found a Duck print and stamp. We had a late lunch at Dale’s Restaurant and then drove into downtown. I stopped at a yarn store and Don found some antique stores. After that we returned to the visitor’s center where we bought souvenirs and I used their wifi. We came back to the campsite to relax before going to Ranger Earl’s evening program on Elk.

Day 14 6/17/17:

We got up early and had breakfast at Dale’s Family Restaurant in Hot Springs. Their steak and eggs was only $8.99! Then we went straight to Jewel Cave National Monument  (about 45 min. away) and got there when the ticket booth opened. We bought the Scenic Tour for $12 each. There was no senior pass discount here. The tour lasted about an hour and a half. Then we went to the historic cabin made by the CCC. After that we drove around Custer City before going back to Dale’s for lunch. We went back to the campground and Don took a little nap. The wind was blowing really hard so Don put 2 more stakes down with the tent. The wind was blowing so hard that I watched a huge pine tree behind the bathroom snap and then fall to the ground with a loud boom! When he got up, we went to the Visitor Center and watched the movie about the park. Then we drove around and watched the bison. For dinner, we went back to Hot Springs and ate at JP’s Diner.

Things I’ve Learned:
1.     The real center of the nation is 22 miles away from the monument on private land.
2.     I don’t like pit toilets.
3.     Bison wander through the campground.
4.     I like musicals and outdoor theaters.
5.     The steak fondue and the musical were worth the money.
6.     It is cold in the mornings at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
7.     Buffalo is found Africa and Bison is found in North America.
8.     Wild horses (never domesticated) are found in Europe.
9.     Feral horses mean they are descendants of domesticated horses.
10.  2 hours is enough time to spend at Mt. Rushmore.
11.  The trail around Mt. Rushmore was worth going on.
12.  Dinosaur Park was completed by the WPA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  
13.  The bison in Wind Cave are pure bred but the bison in Custer State Park are Beefalo.
14.  95% of the all of boxwood formations in the caves are in Wind Cave.
15.  Low pressure in the atmosphere is an indication of rain.
16.  Jewel Cave and Wind Cave have very different caves.
17.  Be careful in high winds and watch for falling trees.