Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When they complain, it is working.

One of my jobs is to watch the parking lot in the afternoon.  The job is kinda useless.  We have cameras.  What can I do?  "stop, or I'll yell stop again."

So as I am out there I tell them to put their seatbelts on.  I understand they are invulnerable, they are young.  But they grew up with the alarms and the warnings.  I don't get it.

Talk to a group in the car.  "put your belts on."

"we haven't started the car."

"really"  surprised look (patented) "so you plan on putting the belts on when you start the car?  put the belt on ,"  glance to other drivers, "you know your could be hit by another car."

Today at the parking lot, a student asked me to check a specific student.  to make sure the belt was on.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

breaking bad

This week my students are studying electron configuration.  One of my students made the observation of Heisenberg rule, "that's where 'Breaking Bad' guy got his name from?"

I'm not sure I like the demo.  I do flame lab but I let the kids do it with powder.  And he's not wearing his safety googles.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

samantha swords

That really is her name. She is an award winning sword fighter, geek, actress and round about good guy.

Friday, November 4, 2016

things I tell my students Part one

forget writing a novel month, I am writing a fact book.

"and now boys and girls since we have the window that can see when the police car arrives to deal with student we need a protocol.

1. Everybody may get up to look for 1.45 minutes, after that, eveybody sits down.
2. No taking pictures with cell phones or other digital devices.
3. I will designate an observer who's job is to keep and eye on the window and inform the class of changes. Such as "dude, his mom just pulled up and is slapping him upside the head."
4 If student is in handcuffs and being put in the car, the monitor will inform after the police car has pulled away. somebody is worthy of some privacy.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

blast from the past

Our school has an event at this time of Halloween where the students dress as famous people from history and tell the story.  I meet Frida Kahlo, 2 Sacajaweas, 2 Pocahontas (one after she was English-ed), and a fabulous (three snaps for the costume) Montezuma; among others.  Students try for group concepts so they have back up.  The Triangle shirt fire victims and owners was good.  My adult daughter was with me and loved the one who was Elizabeth Hamilton. The student was a singer so I could not argue with "she got all the information from the musical."

I ran into two former student who are now on college.  One said college chemistry was easy I had taught him everything.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

simple skills

What is your favorite thing to cook. I have realized that my favorite is the humble meatloaf. My husband likes it. I enjoy making it. . Meatloaf is like an apron or a sawhorse.

Why? because these very basic things can relay the skill of the creator. Aprons are simple, but a stylish apron can show the skill of the sewer above and beyond other people. People applying for a carpenter's job on site, years ago, were asked to make a sawhorse as their interview. So to does the humble meatloaf show the skill and art of the cook.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Song of Fire and Ice creator  George RR Martin takes place in the Game of Thrones universe.  The charcters are Dunk and Egg.  Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall, is a poor Hedge knight, a knight who must sleep in the hedges for he has no lord.  Dunk, who was a street urchin from the city of Kings Landing, was squired to an older hedge knight, Dunk knows no other life.  Egg is Aegon the grandson of the current king of Westeros. Egg is ten when through events of the first section, becomes Dunk's squire while meeting at an inn o the way to the tourney.
The book is three parts.  How Dunk and Egg met at a tourney.  Dunk and Egg's working for a minor lord in a squabble over a dam during a drought.  Then another tourney where they stumble into men of power and ambition.

Unlike the Song of Fire and Ice, this book seems light hearted.  Dunk and Egg simply are.  Dunk knows only what the "old man" who taught him about knights.  Dunk truly believes in honor.  Although he berates himself as "Dunk the Lunk," Dunk is smart, just not educated and he cannot read.  Dunk is also tall, just under seven feet.  Egg on the other hand, is educated as befits a Dragon Prince.  Egg must hide his identity as a prince, not because he must, but because he has choosen to follow the life.  When he interacts with those that know the truth, he is proud and not afraid.

The book has lavish black and white illustrations which are true to the characters' descriptions.

Hail TechnoCeaser

Our school has some extra funding for Science.  Now we can use it for supplies, but that seems passe, I can generally get anything I want.  Except for replacing the worn out lab stations, that we have trouble doing.

I would like to have an afternoon STEM program.  Projects the students can do.  Things that would take an afternoon.  My ultimate plan is to make it a class, but I would need another classroom for all the supplies.

I asked my students what they might want to make with such a thing.  "can we make robots that fight each other?" he said hopefully.  I'm not having you make things that power cut or throw flames.

"come on we'd learn something."

Book Review Star Wars Death Star

I realized that I was not reading new books but would instead putter around reading old books.  Many of not great quality.  So I came up with a plan.  I would pick a book from the stack starting at a given place, read the book then write a review.  Craft books or such I would work on projects when encountering them,  cookbooks a new recipe would be tried.

Star Wars Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry

Rating  **** out 5

Plot well driven with characters moving the actions.
Characters were mutliple and well developed.  We do get an inkling into the mind of the Star Wars bad guys of the film, Darth Vade, Wilhuff Tarkin, General Motti, and General Tagge.  There are scenes recreated from the movie, such as the meeting where Vader force chocks Tagge, "as you wish."  There is Leia capture and the destruction of Alderaan. But these are things happenning in the plot, not the main focus, these are situations for the new characters to tell their stories through.  A librarian, an escaped prisoner, a martial arts expert, a conscripted builder, a medical doctor and a bar owner end up on and working on the Death Star.  There stories are told how they ended up there and their horror at what they are actually doing.  Aptly handled is the force awakening of the martial arts expert.  The story pulls you along as the chapters change telling the story from the point of view of the current character.

Introduced is Admiral Daala, who appears later in the Expanded Universe series.

If you have not read any of the Star Wars novels this is a good one to be your first.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"come home..."

conversation with my 95 year old father

*now my grandfather funeral had this "he made his peace with his family, himself , his God and his fellow man."*

 My father wants the same said of him.

me "'you're not scared of die ing.  You are scared of die ing badly.  you want "your wife, daughter, parents, and brothers, among others; are waiting for you and right now your remaining children are being called to tell them you did not wake up.'  You don't want the realization that 'there is a machine keepine me alive.  I hope they turn it off."

My husband's grandfather had machines keeping him alive.  and he would point at them, we knew what he wanted.  But my Mother in law wanted him alive so she could get payments and support as he lived and there was nothing anybody could do.

Monday, August 22, 2016

me too

We, my daughter, her teaching colleague and colleague's 1.5 year old son have decided to go to The Big City to get fabric.  Map fabric so the History teacher can have a skirt.

Conversations keep revolving around teaching, except for toddler who would howl like an adorable wolf puppy.  Senior skip day..."our kids could not put it together.  I suggested that instead of one thing they do groups, one group wanted to fish and barbecue, one wanted the trampoline park, my geeky kids wanted to watch Dr. Who and have pizza."

colleague..."heck sign me up for senior skip day...."

later after picking up other daughter and fixing my freshly broken driving glasses...

My daughter and colleague are singing to fussy kinda sounds familiar.

Me:  "What are you singing...?"

buddy...."from Rent."  I recognize it as the "end of the millinium song."

Me:" your kid is going to so f888 when he grows up."

there was a lots of giggling then from the back seat.

(still have car seat in car, can't figure out how to detatch it and they have a spare.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

wow..again stories I never knew about

Hidden Figures  a film about black female computers.

I am reading _Rocket_Girls_ about the female computers...I knew about the black ones.

I need to show this to my students on a slow day, then show them trig charts and my slide rule

"Do not ever complain about the math I give you."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

last day

Tomorrow I start training.  I have reestablished my mentor status and will be helping our biology novice.  Technically I'm department head.  One problem is my other colleague does not do labs.  My novice and I agree that we will do labs once a week.  She's a little scared but I conviced her we could do it.  Heck I conviced her that properly done, with the SBE we have, Labs are less work than worksheets.

I'm investigating practical chemistry...*smile*

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Our higher ups embrace the concept of STEM.  Until it costs money.  It seems though that what is STEM means good photo op with robots and computers.  Welding is STEM, sewing is STEM, making or fixing anything with your hands, brain is STEM.

I was able to convince our higher ups to purchase a 3D printer for the lab.  Any student can use it with permission or my fellow colleagues.  We can make models for teaching or students can do projects.  No cell phone cases though.  It must be a school project.

Monday, May 9, 2016

I keep encountering this feldercarp in training.

Look at is.

first all the numbers are rounded.
Reading 10%?


Then why have books.

A simple e search shows where this came from.

Want to believe students learn from doing?  Fine.

But use the right stuff.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Movies are another way to tell our stories.

I saw this trailer.

I am _not_ an Indian is a noble savage person.   But I shared this with my History counterpart who's son is a small movie maker.  And my daughter.  We agree.  We _have_ to see this....

from Oklahoma...  My husband's state...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

hey, one day it will be a college.

years ago, at the school I was at, the decision was that once a week teachers would wear college shirts.  I got several from places that don't exist.  My Star Fleet engineering cadet shirt died finally.  I need a replacement.

hands on

During Spring Break I went to a trade tech show.  I bought many things.  I am glad to say I use them.  One thing was a telescope lens.  See previous post.  I wanted to put leather around it to let it lay on things and not be scratched and to keep the edges from chipping.

So first I measured it using the drafting kit I had.  I brought out some old geometry skills to find the center.
Then cut the bottom and the top from leather.  No problem though I was guessing on how much.  Hand sew it on, use glue to hold it together first.  Have it wet so the leather shapes around it.  The only problem was the water made the black thread bleed.  I used binder clips to secure it on.
Almost nice like this.  the binder clips left inpressions that did fade in tiem.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

retro trade show

My husband and I went to a retro trade show.  I bought a lens with the plan to put a leather frame on it to use in class.
A gentleman rebuilt typewriters.
I have an old one left from a project and I have decided to fix it up.  Problem already is when I took some screws out they fell apart.  I have one I can use as a sample. The carrage does not advance, I think I have the wiring that is needed to make this happen.

So Slide Rules, including a class one I am showing my students.  Calipers, a _good_ metal micrometer.  I have used the drafting set already to measure the leather for the lens.

buy american

I realized my feet had hurt, my husband and I were on the way to the big city so we stopped at Gander Mountain for shoes.

I got two lovely pairs but I also purchased these made in America socks.

They are awesome.  Warm, stretchy, fit my normally small feet.  I have decided that every time I throw away a pair of socks, I am going to get another pair of these.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

when the carpenter met the lush...

Wood infused alcohol...and here I thought wood was just for furniture.

meat eater

Although you can see my hand and camera, you can see the times of the brisket, pulled pork and other meaty goodness.
Smoke in Dallas has pulled pork for its Eggs Benedict instead of Canadian Bacon

da da....DA! dat dat DA! ...Tusk!

Mic Fleetwood came up this when he was hungover at the French Rivera.  There was a band marching around.

Tusk 1979

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Shop tip

when working with power tools, put Bag Balm on your hands.

They soften the hands so they do not dry out.
It lets your grip better.
It protects your hands from grime and wear.
When (not if) you cut yourself, the sulfur in the Balm will start the antibiodic reaction.

Friday, March 11, 2016

This is going on my classroom wall.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"I will get a hose"

We are currently in an area with record rainfall.   Wednesday I told my students what I was told.

"we won't shut school down early unlesss the school floods."  ( live in a rural area where some roads are flooded.)

student, "is that a challenge?"

*** we did release early and took the next day off***

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Blogger challenge Day 3

Day 3: Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

My official one is
2b Establishing a Culture for Learning • Importance of content • Expectations for learning and achievement • Student pride in work

This is because we are going into SBE.  What I am really trying this year is to reshape how I teach and grade.  I want to get out of the "worksheet" paradigm.  The problem with this is since I teach science, projects are not really the way to go.

I can do it in my Environmental Science class, and honestly I have not tried.  I have a few ideas using "bingo" and "menu".  But I have not done it.  My excuse is "these students can't do it."  I think my real reason is I have never done it before.  We have a new nine weeks coming so I can do it then.  I will be doing a project for my chemistry class in which they make paper dolls of famous scientists toward the end of the year.

Back to this.  I walk a line of having students work on their assessments, then not running around putting out fires. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Blogger challenge 2

Day 2: Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. You might also write about what you’re hoping to see out of this edtech integration.

I am working with Educreations. This lets me write and speak at the same time then load the work onto a video. The advantage of this from Show me is the site is not blocked and the editing lets me go and "do over" pieces instead of the whole thing.

My colleagues use it now and sing the praises. Me? I just do not have time.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Still playing with dolls

Somehow I ran across this website with paper dolls.  I think it was when I was looking for things for paper craft.  Like there are paper models of the Lunar Module which I am going to do sometime.  Along with some paper crafts from Video games I play.

Paper dolls

I printed some up for my students.  Yes I have played with them too.  Primarilly to work on my insufficient drawing skills.

I printed some up for friends' daughters.

I like the Bodacious ones, they are not skinny.

Craft day

Since I have had the day off I did many household chores.  Including putting a new strap on my new bag.  I like the bag but with my OCD, I like things in different pouches.

  Dumping in does not work.  Using my leather sewing machine I did this for my pens, moleskine pad and multitool.

Everything I read about the bag says the strap does not work for long.  I can see why, the support is off balance.  Two large compartments but the strap is connnected on one side.

I used some of the original straps and clips then sewed them to the large strap.  Then I put a D ring on the other compartment.  I adjusted so the new ones do not hold much weight but it could be enough to relieve the strain.

Toward the end I had trouble.  After much fuming and fussing I replaced the needle then had to rethread the thing and adjust the bobbin tension.  Lesson learned.  When the thing acts up, take the time and get the instructions troubleshooting guide.

Blogger challenge day 5

Displaying IMG_0380.JPGDay 5: Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see –and what you don’t see that you’d like to.

I think I have everything where I want it.
The wall where the poster changes

Reactions posters, periodic table, world map and my "smart board."

Some posters from a person who did the elements as a school project.

 My usual view.

 The pathway.  What they are going to do today

My desk. this time it is semi clean.

Books I've offered my students to read.  World War Zl.  Rufus the Lab Rat puppet and a Bear skull I bought from a yard sale years ago.

Other books.  Thanks to Math Curmudgeon for the ideas.

game ticket to ride

The youngest got another game for use.  Ticket to Ride.  The play is fast since you can do few things in your turn.  The goal is to build railroads across the country.  There are different routes you can take and you have bonuses for completing certain lines.

My husband loves it since he is a logistics specialist and lets him relieve those days.  (when I can buy him a rail car like Wild, Wild West I'll let you know)

There is a European version too.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Tumeric tea

I have given up coffee and alcohol for lent.  And trying to get healthier.  Since I cannot drink anything at night, really, except for water with slices (cucumbers, oranges, lemons etc) I am trying some other things.  No, I'm trying not to drink sodas either.  Normal tea has caffeine and defeats the purpose.  Tumeric tea.  This is good for me since the coconut has potassium and can help my leg cramps.  Which I'm getting since I have started working out.  I might use this mix in my morning Chai teas.

from  most seem like this.

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
  2. Pour into a small sauce pan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
  3. Drink immediately



My daughter purchased this one on the recommendation of Wil Wheaton and his Table Top web series.

The difference in this game it is cooperative.  Nobody "wins", either the group wins or falls apart.  It is not easy to win.  The goal is to stop the spread of disease world wide.  Different players have different abilities, healing, moving freeling, building things faster.  So there is a lot of negotiation.  We have trouble explaining to my husband that there is not "do as I say" power.

My daughter brought it to here school for a lockin and the students enjoyed it.  I would like to have it purchased for mine but the problem is when?  I have approached the local library to see if they would have a table top night.  I will try again later.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


About graphics

There is a vintage poster on the web about Radiographic information.

"The poster is not only still highly informative, it also gives a wonderful glimpse into the time it was made. Just look at the illustrations for the different parts of the spectrum that were allocated for specific uses (note ‘mobile’ in particular)."

This poster, it is too large to put here, goto the original site.  

If I teach physics again, I will use this as the lesson plan.  After they finish a section we put it up.

I finally managed to put it up in class.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Blogger teacher challenge number 1

(So I'm out of Sequence)

What are your goals for this year.

1.  Get the Standards based learning under control.

this changed since we did not go SBE all the way, just the 10th level learners (9th graders)
Then there were too many of them, so I picked up a class.

2.  Use the full classroom.

The moved me out of the lab.  I am using an idea called "math 360" which is simply the students stand and work and I watch.  This can work with the Chemistry class, and the AP is slightly sluggish though they are starting to see the need for it.

Now I am going to slowly move away from worksheets and more Classwork.

3.  Use computer more for class.

With midling results....

4.  Exercise..

yea..right.  well I am starting again.

Groudhog day is a good day for goals.

New a presenter at a conference.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Crafting storage

Adam Savage (of Mythbusters) has several tool boxes.  As a person who works in the prop business he builds many things, for job and pleasure.  Organizing and having is necessary.  He has what he calls First Order Accessability.  Which means he likes things where he sees them.

So I made something for my sewing and crafting.  My husband helped me.  It was my first use of Forsner bits.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


For Christmas I ordered these cool bookmarks.  However, since it started in a foreign country it took time to get here.  These are great.  The finger points to where you are and it adjusting up and down is not difficult. I ordered some for my son and daughter inlaw.  When I opened the box I gave one to my husband.  He got his e reader and put the bookmark on.  "too small"  He was lucky there was nothing heavy by me.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

earth tones

I dress simply, cotton button up shirts, skits etc.  Few patterned stuff aside from strips and few polyester.

So I need to iron things.  My colleagues use steamers to keep their things done.  I'm old school, starch needs to break.

So I spent a little over an hour with this.

Mostly everything that can be pressed, has been pressed.  I ran out of the starch.
Everything is refurbished and crisp.


Tested on and its Youtube channel posted favorite things.
Many were fun then I saw this

Favorite things start at 1:50

This is not complicated, a backing, some straps.  I did some google search for instructions and found some with staples, cardboard etc

Then I made this.

It is made from elastic, some strapping, posterboard, staples and washi tape.  This is something my students can make and use for their equipment.  So I have an easy STEM project.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

food hoarder

The freezer and larder is full.  Much catfish, hamburger, porkchops added to the roasts, lamb and corn on the cob. I think there is a duck or whole chicken in there too. We actually broke one of the cabinet shelves putting the cans in.
We bought a lot of chicken on sale and decided to precook it, bag it then freeze it. Meals ready to go for stir fry, casseroles and chicken salad.

Friday, January 15, 2016


We have SBE starting at our school for 9th graders...excuse me Level 10 learners.  The powers that be thought it would be easier to do this one grade at a time.
We had a bumper crop of Physical science, a Level 10 course and I picked up the slack for one class.  I decribe my schedule as "challenging".

I have some students where they need to be, most falling behind and not caring and some who just plod.
Some days I do lock step, others they work on what they need to do.  So I spend a lot of time putting out fires.
Yesterday I threw two problem students out, the day before the same with different students.

Today the Asst Principal dealt with the referrals.

We have video in class, so everything they do can be seen.

the assistant principal came by to back me up and told me to keep trying with those students.  He also saw my one class which was packed.  He was astounded how many students were in there and I think his respect for me went up a notch.  Wierd schedule, I teach chemistry 2, 4, 6 and 8 period.  The number of students respectively is 12, 30, 17 and 8.  Go figure.

I was proud to tell him that two of my problem students worked.  I pointed out that these, and a few others, need constant reinforcement, with a large class I cannot give.  I also told him one of the problem students not only did the problem on the board, but explained to three other students how to do it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

pen review

I am doing better writing.  David Seah mentioned a pen in his blod.  The Lamy Amazon.  This is a low cost pen, so I decided what the hey.

And bought another, my husband bought one; and I bought one as a Christmas present for the school secretary.   She loves it too.  It comes with some catridges but you can buy converters to load the ink yourself.  This write smoothly.  Mine are fine and medium nibs.  I have one with red ink for grading.

The colors are good too since I do not spend time looking for where I laid my pen.

Monday, January 11, 2016

knife review

I got a new knife for Christmas.

Tac Force EMT Edition Spring Assisted Tactical Folding Knife

This thing feels good.  I have small hands, it fits quite nicely.  I am fond of tanto points, this fits the bill.  The edge is razor sharp when it arrived, the belly is able to "bit" into what I am cutting.  It is low cost as these things should be.  I am not sur about the belt cutter part, it seems that it must be set properly.  The window breaker has a part where I can put a lanyard it.  This may become my new EDC knife.