Monday, August 10, 2015

Australia 2015 Day 1

July 3, 2015

While waiting for our flight we visited with a cowboy and a cowboy clown (they were visiting Australia for a bull riding event). Our seat mate for the long 14 hour flight was an exchange student who was on her way to new Zealand. We made it to Brisbane after 14 hours of movies and sleep. I spent time watching a bull riding movie, The Longest Ride and an Australian movie called Paper Planes (cute) and slept for a while. When we arrived, my Samsonite luggage had one wheel missing. It had been completely broken off. Virgin Australia gave me a new piece of luggage to make up for it. It wasn't as good as the Samsonite, but it had the same features. I thought it was nice of Virgin Australia to just give me new luggage on the spot.

After that we had to figure out how to get to Atlas Rent-A-Car. While waiting, 17 Straw-necked Ibis flew over. We misidentified them at first since our binoculars were still in our backpacks (they were black-and-white in-flight and we thought they might be magpie goose) but we figured it out as soon as we managed to rip our binoculars out of our backpacks.

Andrew, at Atlas rental car, helped us set up the car for tolls. That way when we went through Sydney and Brisbane bridges, tunnels, and faster highways, we wouldn't have any problems dealing with it. Then we started getting used to the car.

Bob was declared the official driver. Driving on the left is very interesting. The windshield wipers were used a lot in place of the turn signals until he got it down. The windshield wiper and turn signal controls are on the opposite sides of the steering wheel from those in the United States.

We found Boondall Wetlands and immediately saw Australian White Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, and Willie Wagtail. As we tried to figure out how to tour the area, we enlisted help from one of the people who work at the Visitor Center. She explained the various paths we could take and asked if we had seen the Tawny Frogmouth. We hadn't and of course we wanted to! So we got great looks at a Tawny Frogmouth on our first day in Australia!

We had fun figuring the birds out, watching their behavior, and trying to get a handle on being "new birders" all over again. Around 1 PM, we stopped for lunch at Nudgee beach and had close up looks at Butcher Bird, Australian Magpie, White Ibis, and Blue-faced Honeyeater. Bob had a burger and chips and I had fish and chips. (Ketchup does not come with chips there, it's called tomato sauce and costs a dollar to $1.50 depending on where you go.) Bob noticed that there was a beet in his burger. Apparently beets are a big deal on sandwiches over here. Since Bob likes beets it was no big deal, and he gave me a bite and it tasted good to me.

After lunch we birded a boardwalk and the beach before searching for a location called the Dowse Lagoon. Once we figured out how to park!!!, we enjoyed the Purple Swamphens, Dusky Moorhens, and tons of Ibis mixed in with Little Black Cormorants, Intermediate Egret, Pacific Black Duck, and Hardhead which is also known as a White-eyed Duck.

It was getting dark as we headed for Lytton to find our hotel, Waterloo Bay Hotel. After some confusion, we got a room with key controlled lighting. You have to put the plastic part of the key chain in a slot on the wall or the lights don't work. We unpacked from the car (a blue Nissan pulsar) with license TVT-total vulture tours. That would help me remember the license plate. We had pizza and salad and a hot chocolate at the Fig Restaurant at the Hotel. A lot of the hotels have things called Pokies, which are casino-like games that are very popular here.

As we were crashing from our adrenaline filled day, we did the bird list, 41 species for our first day in Australia.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 - 13 Goals

1)  Learn to use Twitter.  Presently I'm pretty clueless about how it works and haven't spent much time trying to figure it out.

2) Post on my blog at a minimum of once each month.  It doesn't matter if it is bird, craft, or education, just do it!

3) Use the three act math lessons from Dan Meyer.  I like them, I am just having trouble figuring out how to grab interest for everything I teach.

4) Create a GLAD Unit about the brain.  My students need to know how their brain works.

5) Create and maintain a CFG group at work.  Now that I'm official, I've got to get this off the ground.

6) Make time to be with friends and family.  Game night, book groups, family gatherings are all things I manage to be "too tired" for once the school year gets going.

7) Go birding once a month.  It's in writing now, let's see what happens.  I go so much in the summer and STOP when school starts.

8) Work out at least 20 minutes a day four times a week.  Hour long sessions at the gym don't count.  This isn't an averaging goal.  This is a "do it more than you are right now" goal!

9) No blogging, web-surfing, or online gaming after 10 PM.  Since I need more sleep than the average teacher, this has got to stop.  I get totally distracted by Facebook updates, Scrabble with someone in Pakistan, or the various blogs I would like to read more often and end up in bed later than I had planned.

10) Talk less in class.  Develop lessons where the students are talking and I'm walking around listening.  This means no repeating what students have just said.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Last minute thoughts...

Posters are up, projector is connected, paper is in place and I'm ready to hit the ground running with some simple algebra for my 6th graders on the first day.  I've always spent a few periods setting up guidelines and expectations, but I'm debating with myself about that this year.  I think it might be better to get to work and address facilitation issues as they arise.

I'm also debating on how I want the warm-ups to work.  I pulled out my AIMS books and copied a few What's Next pages and am thinking that this will be the Monday and Tuesday warm up. Or the Monday Warm Up/Homework.  If students talk to their parents, siblings, and friends about solving the problems, at least they are having a discussion about patterns that may rub off in the classroom.  It's all about learning.

I still need to talk to my colleagues about how they feel about intermittent math homework.  I want to avoid assigning homework on those days where I feel I didn't finish the lesson, or the students didn't understand the concept enough to work on it independently.  I can always assign mangahigh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Roaming into the Classroom

Well, summer is over and it's time to get back into the classroom and start practicing my craft once again.  I've reread a few books and read some new ones and now I'll get to see how I apply the ideas to this new batch of students who were mostly born in the year of the Twin Tower destruction. 

Some of the revisited books include:
Connecting Mathematical Ideas: Middle School Video Cases to Support Teaching and Learning
Jo Boaler, Stanford University, Cathlee Humphreys, Fremont High School

Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
Catherine Twomey Fosnot, City College of New York, Maarten Dolk, Freudenthal Institute, The Netherlands

Thinking Mathematically: Integrating Arithmetic & Algebra in Elementary School
Thomas Carpenter, University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Megan L Franke, University of California, Los Angeles, Linda Levi, Teachers Development Group

Going into the actual classroom today was a bit overwhelming!  I was ostensibly there to help find a book for a new teacher friend of mine.  I couldn't find the book, Marcy Cook's Math Starters and Stumpers.  I use some of the ideas to make posters and she wanted to do this in her classroom.  I put posters around the room and students can solve them when they are wondering what to do.  I have the students put answers on a sticky note and if no other student challenges an answer, the solver gets credited with the solution.  I ended up reordering the book, which I had originally tabbed quite nicely, and ordering the More Math Starters and Stumpers as well.   At $15.00 a pop, they are a great resource.  I hope they arrive soon.

So, if you are wondering what I got done today in the actual classroom, it wasn't much.  I searched a lot, rearranged books, put up one interactive poster for Krypto and contemplated what will go on all the walls.  I'm not sure I want to put my degrees, certificates, and awards up this year.  Should I?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Monday Mailers

Thanks to the participants on Monday Mailers, I had a mailbox full of treasure this week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Neuroma, what fun

Well, more foot pain in my left foot finally urged me to see the podiatrist before school starts. I was diagnosed with Morton's Neuroma. You can read all about it if you are really bored. It looks like a snake bit me though! Today it's sore from the shot, but I was told I could hike, bike, and generally cause mayhem.