Friday, January 23, 2015

Some Science Specimens

Golden rod is still beautiful even when it isn’t golden anymore.
This is an intriguing spider’s web we found while we were playing disc golf.
And, if you can’t find your belt. . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

From CLE Speech to Old Man Eloquent

    I’ve heard of teachers who don’t require their students to do the speeches when they get to that part of the book.  I not only think that speeches can be a fun experience for the students where they get to learn more about something that interests them, but I also feel that we are doing them an injustice if we neglect these assignments.  These young men will, Lord willing, be standing up in front of the church giving devotions or preaching one day.  These young women will, Lord willing, be teaching Sunday school classes or leading ladies’ Bible studies one day.  We need to take advantage of these opportunities which are already right there for us in the text books, and not just require our students to do them, but to encourage them to do them, inspire them to do them, and then to sit and smile at them when they do a good job.  Especially if they show up in a coon skin cap, a leather-looking shirt, and have a map of the U.S. with the Oregon Trail marked on it.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Turkey Day Science

     In our elementary science class last semester we were studying bones, muscles and tendons.  How do you explain a tendon?  Well, as I carved up my Thanksgiving turkey, I found one, still attached to the bone.  I stuck it in the freezer and retrieved it when classes began again.  

     We passed around the thawed bone with the large, strong tendon attached.  The young men wanted to prove their prowess and actually pulled the tendon off of the turkey bone, but we all got the idea.  More learning accomplished.  Greasy hands washed.  Learning can be fun.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chicken Wire Art

     For our latest art project I decided to do something a little weird.  I asked the school board if I could buy a roll of chicken wire for an art project, and they said "yes".  Then I gave a section of chicken wire to each of my students, instructing them to use it in a way that would include weaving or hanging.  The results were all different, but creative, each in their own way.  (By the way, I told them they could do almost anything except hang pictures on it.  We’re saving that for the next art project.)
Here are a few of my favorites.  

Chicken wire can be turned into a fish tank,
a pizza, 
or an algebra clock display with music behind it.
You can weave things into it too, like men’s old ties,
pipe cleaners,
or old rusty chains and drill bits.
You can hang things on it like socks and gloves,
bows, jean pockets, God’s eyes and music notes.

If you put some burlap behind it, it looks more countrified.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Eagle and the Child--Watch Out!

       At the end of every quarter we have a little celebration.  Instead of our normal English classes, we have a writer’s circle.  Everyone grabs his journal and a donut, and then we sit down to listen to each other read selections from our journals.  Everyone reads something, and the rest of us get to listen, think, and laugh.

     This day we were challenged in our pursuit of godliness, entertained by stories of living in an Indian village and getting lost in the woods, and, well, I’m not sure how to explain this one, but I’ll try.  

     The three oldest high school gentlemen have begun writing incredible stories of how they get into impossible predicaments and then rescue each other.  One crashes a plane, but not before he parachutes out.  Then the other two get into their jeep and rush off to save him just before he is attacked by a bear.  In another version, the two students in the jeep have to be rescued by the pilot after they get their jeep stuck on a bridge for the umpteenth time.  Yet another story has the pilot cutting the wings off his plane, and being taken captive by Sasquatch, and it goes on and on.  The stories are very funny, but I was amazed at how much better their writing is getting, seriously.  They are even adding graphics to their story titles.  

      One of the elementary students wrote this about the father son campout.  

“I rode my bike so much my bottom hurt.  I forgot my pajamas so I had to sleep in my clothes.  It was uncomfortable.”

      Young men are writing, and enjoying it!  That is a very good thing.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Christmas Memories

      Our Christmas program went pretty well.  The ladies looked lovely in their classy gray plaid dresses, we remembered most of the sign language when we sang “The Lord’s Prayer” (credit for that idea goes to +Gwendolyn Good from Shenandoah Christian Music Camp Children’s Choir).
      Learning was going on after the program too with the class of 2025.
      Now we are back in the swing of things, spending time at the library researching topics for the junior and senior research papers, and anxiously awaiting February Fun Days.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Chunk of Wood and Some Creativity

      I appreciate, encourage, and acknowledge creativity when I see it in my students.  I observed a nice chunk of wood on one of my fourth grader’s desks.  As I looked closer to admire it, I saw that he had turned it into a pencil holder.  Creative.  Neat.  Ecological.  I like it!  Yay for young men who like to do projects, and for their dads who help them.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Assignment: Creatively Tear Your Journal

     This is another creative idea from Keri Smith’s book, Wreck This Journal.  I honestly don’t know what I would have done with this assignment, but I would not have been as creative as a few of my elementary students were.

This is a snowman.

This is a squid.

And one young lady actually tore the paper and then braided it.    Wonderfully creative!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Paint This Journal


     I have all my English students write something in their journals Monday through Thursday.  On Friday we do something fun.  Journals shouldn’t just be about writing, they should also be forms of expression-- works of art.  I got most of my Friday journal ideas for this year from the fabulous book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.  Here are a few of her ideas and pictures of my students’ results.  

     One Friday I put out a box of paint bottles.  Assignment on the board:  Drip paint and press pages together, then pull them apart to dry.

Here is another creative "paint your journal" project.

     One Friday I put a few M&Ms on their desks.  I told them they could lick the candies and smear them on their paper, or lick them and then lick their papers.  One student actually crushed them into his journal.  Here is a journal page actually "painted" with M & Ms.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mispelled Sine's

    I did that on purpose.

     Welcome to the third episode of the Plain Professor’s Misspelled Signs (and Grammatical Errors).
For the other two, click here.
Not the apostrophe again!  Does the bird house own the $5 ?  
Or one bird house is $5.00?  Will you run out if I buy the only one?  
Gas stations are notorious for these.  Maybe that is why I am a teacher and not a gas station attendant.   
So it is your “on camera”?  You own the “on camera”?  
I love thrift stores, but I often see misspelled signs in these places, too.  
Maybe that is why I am a teacher and not a thrift store worker. 
 I guess the hats own something?
And so do the masks?  
Or this is only one hat, and only one mask, and they each own something, 
and the person who made the sign forgot to put what it was that they owned?  

While I was at this store I purchased three costumes for an upcoming honor roll party, and the nice lady at the checkout told me that because these were being sold as costumes around the Oct. 31st holiday (sorry, I don’t like that word), that I could not return them.
“You mean people really buy costumes, wear them, and return them?”

“Yes, they do that.”  

Honestly, what is this world coming to?

And, the folks at this establishment got the first “N” correct, but I guess they got a little distracted near the end of the word.
To see the other "Misspelled Signs and Grammatical Errors" posts click here. 

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned for more, and please send me pictures if you see any spelling or grammatical atrocities.