Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God, and the Firmament His Handiwork

Sunday evening found our family in the middle of the baseball field at the park behind our house.  And we weren't playing baseball. We were staring at the sky watching fourteen different meteors from Halley's Comet streak across the sky.  It was spectacular.  They turned bright yellow and orange, curved their paths, and eventually burned out.  Upon researching this, we discovered that this was just a preview.  The 2016 Orionoid Meteor Shower peaks on Thursday night.  For more information including the best times to see it and the direction from which the meteors will appear, click below.                        Happy star (or meteor) gazing!  

School Cat

The.  Best.  Cat.   As I was leaving school late one evening in the dark, I heard a loud, pitiful meowing.  I expected to find a skinny, pathetic kitten, but instead I found a healthy, sleek, almost-grown cat.  I figured he was lost, petted him, and left.  The next morning as I walked up to school, I heard the wailing again.  He was obviously abandoned, and not very happy about it.  I picked him up so that he could avoid the plethora of cars and buses which would soon be arriving at school.  Safely inside my classroom, he ate half of my lunch.  The poor guy was ravenous.  He purred and snuggled on my lap, then took a nap on my desk.  He was so cuddly and loving, I about couldn't part with him.  The students loved having him in the classroom, but I wasn't so sure about having him in there all day.  He went in and out a couple of times, and at the end of the day he had won my heart and came home with us.  This weekend he has taken naps on my lap while I worked, and happily hung around my neck like a scarf while I walked around-- seriously.  This is the best cat.  So, thank you to whomever raised him; you did a great job.  If he truly ran off and was lost, you are welcome to reclaim him.  But, to whomever dropped him off at school (if that is indeed what happened), your loss is my gain.  

Proverbs 12:10

 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: 

but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Large, Medium, or Small?

The Anabaptist Orchestra's French horn section

Friday, October 14, 2016

This Is What Happens When You Make Your Husband Star in Your History Videos

We made a video for my history class, and these are the bloopers which didn't end up in the final cut.  We were studying how non-resistant Mennonites and other neutral colonists were sometimes treated during the American Revolution.  Abraham Beam was a real person, and he was arrested and had his property confiscated because of his non-resistant stance during the Revolutionary War.  I doubt he was this funny, though.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Be Sweet to Bugs

The students in my 8th grade homeroom at Shalom Mennonite School are finding all sorts of interesting bugs.  We believe this praying mantis is a female.  We do know that she eats lots of crickets and stink bugs.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Grim Reaper Wears a Man Dress -- Franklin?

     Jeff, who is the music teacher at our school, comes to my eighth grade homeroom during first period everyday and teaches the Bible class.  As the students were preparing for a test, they kept forgetting the answer to the question, "What do we gain from Christ's resurrection?"  The answer:  victory over death.  Jeff asked me to draw the grim reaper on the board.  I am not a great artist (obviously).  After I wrote the word, "victory" over the grim reaper (get it, victory OVER death), I couldn't resist writing "man dress" on the grim reaper's, well, man dress.  ("What's the longest kinda jacket that you have . . .  that's more like, kinda, a man dress?")  
      Every single one of the students got the answer correct on their tests, and several of them drew their own versions of the grim reaper on their tests, with the word "victory" written over him, wearing his man dress.  Their art was better than mine, though.  Maybe it is because Jeff is also their art teacher.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen Storm Fort Ticonderoga

Left to right:  Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen and a British fort guard

After we watched all seven video clips of King George passing his various acts upon the colonies, we decided we would try a few videos of our own.  This is definitely a project in its infancy, but we are having fun.  We shall see what the students think of it this week.  (This is a short blooper taken at the fort.)


Sunday, October 9, 2016

I Wanna Be a Butterfly, Flying in the Sky

One of my eighth grade students brought this monarch butterfly chrysalis to school about two weeks ago.  On Friday during our lunch period, it crawled out and stretched its wings.  On the way home from school it was about ready to take off, and after we pulled into our driveway, off it flew.  Although I have witnessed this miraculous event several times, I marvel every time I see it again.  Our Creator is wonderful.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Menno Bigfoot and His Mom Go to West Chester University

Our son Joseph is taking a required speech class at West Chester University.  He decided to do his speech on Bigfoot.  He found a witness to a Bigfoot sighting, called and interviewed her, and researched the topic extensively-- even though he has been studying it for six years.  

He thought it would be a great attention-getter if someone dressed up in a Bigfoot costume came running in during his speech.  After looking at $200-$700 costumes online, I decided that I could sew one. We headed off to the fabric store, spent a total of $24, and in about one hour I finished the costume.  

I was so excited that I put it on and then spent nearly an hour hiding in the bushes in the front of our house in the rain waiting for my husband and children to come home in the car.  I planned to run across the yard in the costume.   I was wet, cold, and sore from squatting down behind the bushes every time a car, buggy, or police car drove by.  I was afraid maybe someone had called the cops on me. I was rehearsing my speech to them-- "I live here, and I sewed this costume for my son's speech class, and I'm waiting for them to come home so . . . . "  I went back inside. 

So anyway, here is his younger brother dressed up in the Bigfoot costume (okay, I know I need to work on the hood so it looks more like Bigfoot and not a bear or an Ewok) standing outside the speech room at West Chester University.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

HOTC Volume II Available Soon!

Hymns of the Church, Volume II sung by the Oasis Chorale will be available for digital download on October 1st.  The actual CD will be available for purchase on October 14th.  Visit the Oasis Chorale website at www.oasischorale.com for more information . 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

High Grades in Algebra = Slam Down Donuts

My diligent students all scored honor roll grades on their algebra and pre-algebra assignments yesterday, so I rewarded them with donuts this morning.  Good grades are well worth an early morning trip to the Shady Maple bakery, especially since I got a donut, too.   Way to go, SMS 8th graders! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thank You for the Flowers! Love, Mrs. Swanson

I was at home, working late, going over tomorrow's algebra lesson when one of my students knocked at my door and gave me a lovely bouquet of fall flowers.  That made me smile.  The other bouquet was placed on my desk by another student last week.    Thank you to my amazing students; you made my day!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Come Away to the Skies

Jeff wanted a sky theme this year, so we tediously stuck hundreds of rolled-up pieces of masking tape all over the walls, cut the bulletin board paper to size, and stuck it on the walls.  We acquired the blue fabric for about twenty-five cents a yard and hung it from the ceiling, then we hung planes, birds, pterodactyls, a flying squirrel, and a few other animals (that don't actually fly) from the ceiling as well.  This elicits lots of interesting questions from parents and students alike.  Out-of-the-box thinking is always encouraged in our classrooms. 

We borrowed the title from this great song.  Click here to listen to it.  
bulletin board paper - Ken's Joys
fabric - Zook's Fabrics
toys hanging on ceiling - Ken's Joys, Michael's, etc. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things

I didn't really have a theme for my classroom this year; I just wanted a few of my favorite things.   The corner cabinet was purchased at a used furniture store and filled with my science and history stuff.  I hung the jellyfish from old bicycles wheels I found in someone's trash and purchased all the supplies to make them at thrift stores.  

The super intelligent students aren't the ones who get the good grades.  The ones who work hardest do.

 Above, American history stuff and below, a ribbon valance on my one window.  (My classroom is in the basement.)

The salmon mobile I purchased in Alaska.