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 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.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I Want Candy!

Besides making beautiful music together, we have a lot of fun at the Anabaptist Orchestra Camp.  Violist Beth Lamicela had a lucky ticket and won one of the three daily drawings for prizes.  Poor harpist Sarah Dale Mills was unsuccessful in her attempts at begging for gummy bear alms.   Violist Susanna Bradford didn't get any either.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Seventy-three Anabaptist Musicians, Forty-two License Plates, and a Timpanist

Mary, oboe; Jeff, French horn; Deana, flute; Joseph, piano, and Levi, bassoon

Musicians.  Anabaptists.  Orchestra instruments.  Weird.  Timpani. Interesting people. 
We miss them already.  
We enjoyed a fabulous weekend playing and enjoying music written by Beethoven, Holst, and Handel, to name a few.  On the way home we found license plates from forty-two different states and made plans for next year's orchestra camp.   We are already looking forward to that.  
If you missed the concert, the recording is available here.  
And yes, Douglas, timpanists are indeed musicians.  Jeff just thought that was a sweet-sounding title.  

photo courtesy of Tricia Miller

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Anabaptist Orchestra Concert Will Be Live Streamed Next Sunday, Sept. 4th

The Anabaptist Orchestra concert will be live streamed next Sunday, Sept. 4th from the Elnora Bible Institute in Elnora, Indiana.  Elnora is in the Eastern time zone.   Featured works include Holst, Beethoven, Elgar, and Handel.

Click on EBI's  U-stream  page to connect to the live stream.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hey Guys, I'm Moving My Yard! Hey!

And here is another funny sign sent in by Reuben and Lois Hege from south-central Pennsylvania.   Although the spelling is correct, there is definitely a problem here.  The sign makers are moving their yard and having a sale at the same time.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

It's a BeAuTyiFuLL Day in the Neighborhood

This was a good find sent to me by Myron Eby from New York.  There are actually three mistakes on this sign, and another one which I blurred out to protect the sign-maker.  
1.  Change the "y" to "i" and then add the suffix, or if you aren't sure, just throw them both in for fun.  
2.  The suffix "ful" has only one "l".
3.  The quilts do not possess anything, so the apostrophe is not supposed to be there.  And . . . . 
4.  Why are only certain letters capitalized?  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Students Deserve This

It was time to decorate the high school music room . . . . 

When Jeff was a young budding symphony musician, he took auditions for major orchestras all over the United States.  One audition that he remembers vividly was for the Philadelphia Orchestra (which he won, by the way), held at the Curtis Institute of Music in downtown Philadelphia.   He remembers seeing beautiful artwork in gold frames, upholstered antique furniture, and pretty walls with woodwork.  The whole atmosphere seemed to be most honorable.  It made quite an impression on him, and when he decided to become a full-time teacher after nine years of being a full-time orchestra musician, he wanted his classrooms to look like Curtis.  He said that the students there must have felt very special -- and that is the way he wants his students to feel now.  

The melting clock was inspired by Picasso's Persistence of Memory, a print of which hangs behind his desk.  

                      Where we got the stuff: 
wooden furniture (except the piano) --from our collection                                                  (family antiques, garage sales, auctions)
fabric -- Goodville Fabric for $1 a yard 
poles -- $3 conduit painted black 
pictures -- garage sales, thrift stores
art print -- (Picasso)  purchased online 
plants and rugs -- Lowe's (we disciplined ourselves to stay in the sale section)  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Husband Wonders if We Can Play with Porcupines in Heaven

First of all, I was not the one who corrected this sign -- or most of the others I saw in many bathrooms in Denali National Park in Alaska.  I would view that as defacing property, which I have strong convictions against.  But, it did show me that I am not the only one who notices these things.  Perhaps the National Park Service should hire a grammarian?  Or would that be a punctuarian?  

For the correction, as it is written, it is only for one animal's safety.  If it were meant for all of the animals, it should be written "Animals' Safety", though I'm not sure why they threw in all those capital letters. 

My students can say the rule:

If there is not an "s", add apostrophe "s".

If there is an "s", just add an apostrophe.


1 cat               the cat's dish               2 cats          the cats' dishes 

1 mouse         the mouse's cheese     2 mice         the mice's cheese

To read about more of these, click here.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Staff Orientation and the Vomit Kit

After the staff orientation meetings today I feel completely ready for school to start.  I know where everything is, and I know how to handle any situation from a concussion to a tornado and everything in between, and I know where to find the vomit kit (check out that puke scraper!)   All I need now is to finish decorating my room (since I spent days helping my hubby with his room -- pictures coming soon--), and to have a room full of students.  If you are interested in reading a story about a real student and real vomit, click here.