Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection : Subject Index : Science

This is an interesting resource for science: 2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection : Subject Index

Science is traditional divided in curriculum terms into Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Some of the science articles are long and complicated but "elementary" articles have been included where possible. A good starting point is the "portal" pages for subjects which are listed at the foot of this page together with some general science articles. The Chemistry section is large and includes reference articles on all the elements and common compounds. The Physics section includes Astronomy, the Planets and a lot of technical articles. Biology includes Health and Medicine as well as articles on plants, creatures and lab Biology. There are also several sections on important scientists in the "people" section, divided into "astronomers and physicists" "human scientists" and "chemists".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fw: Some things to know!!

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

From: "Frank Q. Blake"
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 08:30:07 -0500
To: (me)
Subject: FW: Some things to know!!

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 13:38:13 -0800

SOME GREAT THINGS TO KNOW (Just print and stick in your kitchen drawer)

1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair
Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any

6. Shiny Hair - use brewed
Lipton Tea
7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
8. Minor burn -
Colgate or Crest toothpaste
9 Burn your tongue? Put
sugar on it!
10. Arthritis?
WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too

11 Bee stings -
meat tenderizer
12. Chigger bite - Preparation H
13. Puffy eyes - Preparation H
14. Paper cut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)
15. Stinky feet -

16. Athletes feet -
17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub
18. Kool aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)
Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!
Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper

21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby
Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with
corn starch and watch them slide on
25. Heavy dandruff - pour on the

26. Body paint -
Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!
27 Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of
Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
28. Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of
club soda and cup of milk of magnesia, soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!
29. A
Slinky will hold toast and CD's!
30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with
Colgate toothpaste

31. Wine stains, pour on the
Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.
32. To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.
33. Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with
Peanut butter!
34. Baked on food - fill container with water, get a
Bounce paper softener and the static from the towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets, soak overnight!
35. Crayon on the wall -
Colgate toothpaste and brush it!

36. Dirty grout - Listerine
37. Stains on clothes - Colgate
38. Grass stains - Karo Syrup
39. Grease Stains - Coca Cola, it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!
40. Fleas in your carpet?
20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.
41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little
Clorox, or 2 Bayer aspirin, or just use 7-up instead of water.

42. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you "squeeze" for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie. They are: Monday
= Blue, Tuesday = Green, Thursday = Red Friday = White and Saturday = Yellow. So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Laptop Update

I have not taken time to post on the blog in a long time.

Should I delete this blog.

I am considering it. Just not enough time in the day to do everything.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

NECC 2008 Through Distance Learning

And yet another summer passes sans attending the mega ed tech conference NECC.

No, I will not be bummed out by not have the seeming unlimited funds of districts around the our nation. Districts that sent hordes of eager participants to this years bash at San Antonio. I will not get any cheese with my whine. On the positive side, I have been lapping up the scraps and crumbs of leftovers from NECC. I have found streaming video and the best part is that I could fast forward through the presenters crowd warm-ups, self-promos, shout-outs, and even parts without audio. Would I pay for this? No. Would I recommend it to others. Absolutely! The chat feature is wonderful. Send you fellow teachers a link to the site on Twitter or IM or Plurk, or Pownce and have them comment and give feedback while viewing a particular presentation. Now, I have been a fan of David Warlick for many years and always love to listen to his presentations. Here is how I see sharing these videos with my fellow teachers in my school.

Set up a Professional Development schedule. Maybe call it NECC via Distance Learning, or Converge, Connect, and Transform Learning. Then, using our email server, set up a group of teachers interested in earning credits in technology. From this group of names, have them create a Pownce account. The reason for using Pownce, is that users can setup Events. When the time for the training comes, send the group a link to one of the NECC webcasts and ask the participants to post their comments and questions in the chat room. I have been impressed with backdoor chat. Our teachers would be using MacBooks, so we could launch iChat with Bonjour to connect the laptops. Now, will our wifi handle the streaming or will we encounter buffering issues? That may be the "$24,000 Question".

Other cool "take-aways" that I have picked up include is a social bookmarking site for educators. Diigo and are great bookmarking site that I use all the time, but they are blocked by our content filter at school. is unblocked and is now high on my personal list of sites to use. I lacks lots of the numbers of users that the other great social bookmarking sites have, and that is fine. I have been busy adding my bookmarks in and marking them for use by my friends only. This way, I can add teachers in my school as users and add them as my friend so they can access my educational bookmarks and add another tool to our learning community. is really exciting. However, it does not make the cut of the content filter in our district. It is also flagged for inappropriate content.

I will not be so bold as to consider this to be a master list of tools for the classroom. Hopefully, I will be able to find time to post additional resources.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Schoooooool's--- Out For Summer!!!!

Where did all the time go? Why did I not use this great tool?

Well, first of all, I have no real excuse. But looking back at the school year, many factors contributed to not using blogs. One key difference this past year was Twitter. Instead of spending time thinking and writing, I constantly found myself glued to mini blog posts. I have never enjoyed writing. I am a horrible craftsman of language. My writing teachers always told me I wrote like I talk. This was nice way of telling me that in their opinion, anyone from eastern North Carolina is dumb. I feel confident that all my formal writing teachers are either dead, or tucked away in a nursing home by now.

I have also spend considerable time with my students learning to use Google Sites. I set up an account for my classroom which required students over the age of 13 to use their school email account. I had several students over 18 years old and they used their personal accounts from Yahoo or AOL. I did not use it at all with my under 13 y.o. students.

I liked using Google Sites for one major reason- Google Docs. The Google Site Google Docs feature is really nice with high school students. I was able to post PowerPoint, Word Docs, and spreadsheets. If we were studying cell processes, and I found a document I wanted them to read, I uploaded it the the Google Doc site and "shared" them with the students. They could work in teams or individually on projects.

When it came time for students to write their term paper, I had a hard time convincing my students to use Google Docs. They did not like having to log in to Google and uploading and then when they needed their doc, logging in downloading their document and remembering to upload it again. My students did not like the way Google Doc reformatted their documents. So, I will not try that again for term papers. The best tip I learned from this experience- tell the students to buy a cheap thumb drive and story their term paper on it. I loaned two of my thumb drives and the students never returned them. I should have gotten them to leave their cell phone with me until they returned my thumb drives. Oh well, maybe it was worth it.

It is summer time, time to recharge my batteries. Time to turn off the computer and take some walks outside. Gas is too high to ride around...have a good summer!

Here is a video created by one of my students in our Photography in Science class.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Plant Growth and Skills

Students in my middle school classroom are participating in an activity were they are growing Wisconsin Fast plants. During the seed germination part of this activity, students made daily sketches of the seeds. They labeled the radicle and cotyledons. They also labeled the seed coat and hypocotyl. Students used magnifying lens to enlarge the small cabbage seeds.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

First Sunday of May

Temperatures in the 80s and partly cloudy. Just finished watching a baseball game on TV. I have been looking for some fun activities for my science classes for this coming week online. Spring time has always been a difficult time to keep students on task.

I have a lab activity that is based on Wisconsin Fast-Grow plants. I am just not sure my students will enjoy this. The activity starts with students observing germination and characteristics of seeds. Monday will be a great time to start this project. It is important that my students learn how to setup a controlled experiment. They have no idea what is meant by terms like dependent-independent variable, control group-experimental group. So, I plan to have them use this activity to learn by doing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Preparing for the EOC/EOG again

So much to cover, so little time to do it.

It is that time of the year again and our students are ready to play. They do not take EOG/EOC serious. I listen to them laughing and say stuff like, they can't hold me back, I have already repeated 8th grade. Some mumble a threat that they are going to drop out when they turn 16.

What can a teacher do? We are in grade 8. These students have been behind since they started school or before. I am not whining, but I am not a magician.

Both boys made it clear that they prefer doing activities to doing book work. Even though both boys wanted to avoid book work and would prefer doing things with their hands, that did not mean that they didn't want to do any book work. In Shop, for instance, Andy didn't mind taking notes about different kinds of batteries. I wrote in my field notes: "Why are they so well behaved in Shop?... Do they not mind doing the book work and notes because they get to do projects and activities, too?" I noticed too, that the Science and Social Studies teachers, who do a lot of projects and activities, don't do so exclusively. Again from my field notes: "'Activity-based' teachers don't always do activities. They still deliver content, and review, and take tests.

Motivating Learning: The Underachieving Learner's Perspective, Summary Report
of a Pilot Study by Mike Muir

We have trying this approach, but there comes a time that in order to pass the tests, specific content has to be reviewed and assessed. It is the law.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Phishing Attempts Via Google Calendar

Over this past month, I have gotten two random appointment requests on
my Google Calendar. I reported the first one to Google, but did not
even get an email from Google over it. Word of warning: do not use
Google Calendar. There are shifty shady characters trying their best
to lure you into giving them money.

I am deleting Google Calendar. You might should consider doing the
same. You sure will not hear from Google- they could care less about
the little guy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Night Out with my Father

It has been a long time since I have taken the time to attend an event like last night. I have been invited to this annual wild game cooking party, but something has always kept me from attending. When my father, 83, visited our family doctor this week he got invited again. The doctor is one of the main hosts of the event. He extended an invitation to me as well.

The weather was absolutely perfect. Cool enough so that the charcoal grilled venison steaks, grilled air-dried country sausage, (real) buffalo chilly, fried catfish, herb broiled quail, Eastern North Carolina chopped pork barbecue, baked yams, and my favorite- original recipe seafood gumbo. It was truly a feast to behold. The food was prepared by local businesses that sell products to farmers and landowners in our area. For example, the seafood gumbo was provided by a famous cabinet and construction company from Whiteville. I have know the owners since high school some 34 or so years. Mike, one of the owners of the cabinet shop, flew out to the mid west and killed the buffalo. He purchased a custom built rifle just for the hunt. If Mike had to put a price on the kettle full of buffalo chilly, he would have had to charge $1,000 per plate to come close to breaking even. Everyone was crazy about the gumbo. I noticed a local independent restaurant owner critiquing the steaming hot bowl of gumbo. I overheard him comment that he knew that a pot that large had to have cost over six hundred dollars to prepare. I immediately got another bowl full. Peanut butter sandwiches inhaled in my ten minutes of lunch time pales in comparison to the wild game cooked to perfection I eat Friday night.

As for those present, I will not try to list those that in attendance. However, I only saw two other teachers there. One was my future son-in-law. The other was a coach that is an avid outdoorsman. I did see a retired high school coach in the crowd. It was a real who's who of movers and shakers from our rural county. Our NC State Senator made a brief appearance, As did our current Sheriff and several NC Highway Patrolmen, some off duty and some on-duty. Those on-duty officers eat and ran. They probably stopped to ask that we move all those four wheel drive pickup trucks off the shoulder of the road. I parked very close to the food so my father did not have to walk far.

The best part of the evening was shaking hands and getting caught up with all my old friends. I chatted with people I had not seen in 15 years. It was like a homecoming. The funny thing is that none of the men there has a blog, none of them have a wiki, none of them could tell you the difference between Facebook or MySpace. I would be willing to bet that less than 5 of them use email. Yet, they all are making a living, have sent kids to college, could buy and sell most any thing they want, and hunted everywhere in the world, have boats, lake front, river front, or beach or mountain vacation homes. Technology is not part of their lives. Sure they have cell phones so their kids and wives and keep up with them. I did not see a single one of them with a cell phone stuck in their ear. The doctors there left their pagers/cell phones at home. The judges walking around with plates of catfish and cups full of their favorite beverage, could care less about answering text messages or if iPhones will have push email in July.

Social networking still is all about face to face personal contact. I am not going to miss another one of those events. It has been too long since I have been to a pig picking/wild game cooking. Blogging compared to wild game cook offs are a waste of my time. No one reads what I blog anyway. Who cares what a small town school teacher has to say.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Poll Everywhere in my classroom to engage thinking

I ran across Poll Everywhere and signed up for a free account. In a recent email, the folks at Condense, Inc, recently changed from offering prepaid blocks of votes to monthly subscription plans. Since I had registered for 100 free votes to try it out, they’ve transitioned me to their free plan which includes 1000 free votes every month, up to 30 votes per poll. They
wanted to make a useful product that is free for K-12 educators (schools today pay over $1000/room for hardware clicker systems). They’re providing an audience/classroom response system over ten times cheaper than buying hardware!

Brainstorming how to best use this tool to enhance learning, I am considering trying to use it to ask students to come up with their own Power Point Polls. I need a resource on how to write poll questions. I do not want the polls to be "do you like Rap?" However, it could be interesting if we could have all our students create their own poll and students vote. I do not think our polls will exceed 30 votes per poll. If they do, then our school may invest in Poll Everywhere. Free is good.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eating too Late and Nightmares

I have always heard that eating too late in the evening can lead to nightmares. Is it true?

The other evening, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful meal together at San Jose, one of our famous Mexican restaurant. San Jose is in Whiteville, North Carolina. It is located about 18 miles from our home. It is near Wally-World and Hibbetts Sporting Goods which we like to walk through after eating. The walk usually helps our meal digest. This dream may not have been the product of the meal, but it was weird.

In my dream, I had ordered a science kit to use with my students. One of those kits that come with everything we need. The kit arrived and my students were working on another project. Instead of using the kit, I put it way to later. My dream was interrupted by my dog jumping on my head and licking my ear. He does this when my snoring is so loud he can not sleep. I rolled over and fell back asleep.

When the dream resumed, some time had passed and I had pulled out the science kit. Students gathered around the box. It was a black box with handles. As the box opened, a plant-like puppet came out of the box. It was like the plant creature in some play I watched years ago- I think they called the man-eating plant--Seymour. Well, as the students participated in the activity, I noticed a packing slip that had written in bold print: "OPEN KIT IMMEDIATELY, CONTENTS ARE...I could not make out the rest of the notice. But in my horror, I realized that the kit had a human-like being in the kit that ran the puppet. It had been in the box, locked in the cabinet. Another piece of paper appeared stating that if the kit was not opened within two days of arrival, the school would be charged a daily rate of use for the kit. [...dreams of fine print? Lord, help me!]

The dream seemed to restart at a point where the bill and the overdue fee for the rental of the science kit had come due. The school board had me sitting at a table and were threatening to fire me. This woke me up!

Someone could make this into a horror short-film. Maybe this summer, I can make the time to storyboard this nightmare.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Using Wii to blog

This is my first time using my Wii with the Opera browser. I need a wireless keyboard. Using the Wii remote to type is too slow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This Makes Me Sick

Teaching is a challenge. Students today are engaged in a plethora of hardcore criminal behaviors. Violent behavior is just beneath the surface of every conversation. Drugs plague our communities and spill over into the school yard. My point is that teaching is a hazardous endeavor. NEA has an interesting article online at the link below. Now in my last decade of teaching, I look at the number in the NEA article and want to throw up. Teachers are blamed for everything. Poor test scores, drop-outs, poor eating habits of fat kids, and more.

Oh well, what do we know, we are just teachers.

Check out this interesting article: Be prepared to self-medicate.

NEA: Professional Pay - Myths & Facts About Teacher Pay
MYTH: Teachers make just as much as other, comparable professions.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lesson Plan Template

This is a template we are now required to use for lesson plans. I am posting on my blog so I can share it with my fellow educators. There are several parts of this template that as a teacher, I am challenged to master and find quality time to implement. In coming blog posts, I will be investigating and sharing "how to" strategies. If you are reading this blog and you have POSITIVE- CONSTRUCTIVE comments, tips, or strategies you would like to share please share. I have been looking for links to resources online that may help, but have not found very much to brag about.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Last Week of the Fall Semester

This semester has been interesting in my classroom. I have been teaching, or trying to teach Physical Science, Biology, Earth Science, and both 7th and 8th grade science. Admittedly, I have not covered every topic in lectures, demonstrations, or even lab activities. Also, my classes are very small. However, I do not feel like I have accomplished anything. Students have been used videos, textbooks, activities, laptop computers with online resources, digital camcorders, graphing calculators with probes, peer-tutoring, and lots of teacher student conferences.

Reflecting on how I could have met the needs of my diverse students and broad spectrum or science concepts I do not have a clue. Trying to keep the curriculum relevant and rigorous is highly impossible with so many different preparations.

Burned-out is a good way to summarize my feelings.