Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bill Nye, Emojis, & Climate Change! Oh My!!

It really doesn't get much better than this:  It's like the ├╝ber Reese's Peanut Butter cup where a whole lot of great tastes taste great together!!

Working with GE, Bill Nye (yes, "the Science Guy") has begun a web science series.... with a little help from his Emoji friends. First tackle: holograms. Second tackle:  Climate Change.  (It's real, we can use those words, Florida & Wisconsin & other climate denier states.  Just because you don't want to believe it doesn't mean it goes away!)



This is all a part of the bigger idea that Bill Nye & GE have co-constructed.  #EmojiScience is a 5-part series that will (as Jeff Beer says in his Fast Company article) "hit on topics like energy efficiency, mapping the mind, and materials science, in which recent discoveries show serious potential to impact the world."

Also featured on the EmojiScience website is the "Emoji Table of Experiments."  Might just be what the doctor ordered to spice up your child's summer for those blissful moments of boredom when true creativity & exploration happen!





Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPqd20tdncg and can also be found at http://emojiscience.com/
Emoji Periodic Table from 
http://www.fastcocreate.com/3039715/ge-drops-some-social-science-with-the-periodic-table-of-emojis

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The States of Climate Change Denial


I thought only Florida & Wisconsin were the bad guys.  The ne'er-do-well states that this year have forbidden the words "climate change" and "global warning."

My new realization:  But wait!  There's more!

What the....?!?

While Florida is definitely getting the bad rap in the news this year, Wisconsin has followed along--but it hasn't gotten as much media attention as Florida did.  (For a humorous, but not fully appropriate video for the kiddos in the room, check out Jon Stewart's very snarky mocking of Florida's banning of the terminology.)

As this infographic shows, Florida & Wisconsin aren't alone:


Luckily for the climate change deniers and politicians out there:  
Only 97% of climate scientists agree:
"Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position." ~Quoted directly from NASA.gov
It's leaving me to want to make some snarky, mocking comments of my own!!


Calvin & Hobbes Image from http://jokideo.com/its-not-denial/; States map from http://www.vocativ.com/usa/us-politics/places-that-would-like-to-ban-the-phrase-climate-change/; Jon Stewart pic from http://bluenationreview.com/daily-show-climate-change/ 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Summer Solstice

There's something magical about that first day of summer  The longest day of the year.  "Longest," of course theoretically given it's the day of most daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.  Coming right after school gets out for the summer, it's well at the beginning of all there is ahead for those lazy days of summer!

Here's an interesting map from USA Today of just how many hours of sunlight we had in a variety of American cities last year, Summer Solstice 2014:

To learn a little bit more about Summer Solstice, check out these links:




Summer Solstice Pic from  http://c.files.bbci.co.uk/47F5/production/_83712481_summersolstice.jpg; Map from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/06/20/summer-solstice-explained-sun-earth/10887737/

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Today: That Time to be Reflective in TeacherLandia

There are always a few pivotal times of the year when we humans tend to get introspective and reflective.
  • Birthdays (especially the decades & milestones ones!)
  • New Years ("Old Lang Syne" can always do that to you.)
  • And for the student and teacher:  the end of the school year!
Today was my last day of school (which means last day of teacher meetings, packing up, and end of the year luncheon).  It was a lovely day (with amazing food) paying humorous homage and honored tributes to those folks who are retiring or moving on.

It was a day of happy dance ("Woohoo! Summer ahead!") and a day of reflection.

Today was the last day of my 22nd and a half year of teaching. (Yes, there's a "half" and it's a story for another day.  Along those lines, this whole 22.5 thing elicits the punch-in-the-gut feeling of "How on God's green Earth have I been teaching that long!")

Today was the last day of the first year at my current school.  I survived being a newbie!  I never would have been here had my previous school not closed.

Today was the last day of the first year I have ever been "a special" versus "a homeroom teacher."  (There are definite things I miss in setting up the routines and camaraderie of my own classroom, but definitely perks as well.)

Today marks my last day of school, after teaching in 6 schools total, in 3 different states.

Today is my official start to summer.  Complete with goals of both relaxation, accomplishment, parenting, blogging, learning, environmental visions, and health on the horizon.  And pool time.  Definitely pool time!

Today I reflect over my years of teaching, and my many schools, and I feel an enormous sense of gratitude. I have been fortunate enough to be in 6 truly dynamic schools.  Public and private, with mentors every step of the way. People I love, adore, and treasure. Amazing teachers, amazing people.  I have learned and grown and made incredible friends along the way.  I have refined my craft, found new interests, and sharpened new talents as I have trekked along.  I have met phenomenal people.  This year I was in a situation to have many of my former colleagues embarking upon "the new," and I have seen how lucky I really truly am. Public & private & then some.

Today I am blessed.

Today I sit at the cusp of 2 and a half months of summer ahead.  What I do with it is up to me!

May you be faced with the same challenge, whether you work or not, whether you are a teacher or not, whether you have the summer off or not....it's still your summer.  Go forth and make it amazing.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glass: Where Sand, Limestone, Soda Ash, & Heat Unite = Glass Is Life

In my reflections on seeing Celine Cousteau speak earlier this spring, I started bouncing around internet--which is where moments of magical connection often happens.  From there I found the "Glass is Life" website and Celine Cousteau's PSA for them as spokesperson.  I was instantly washed back to seeing her in person, as so much of this message is her message.

Fitting that I am writing this on what would be her grandfather, Jacques Cousteau's 105th birthday!  (born: June 11, 1910)



In a world where waterways seem to become more polluted daily by plastic waste, and containers seem chemical-bound through the BPA-leaching of plastic, glass (along with stainless steel) is a viable and vital option.  Glass Is Life is glass manufacturer's O-I Inc's 4-pronged environmental and health platform of the merits of glass:  taste, quality, sustainability, and health.  Each prong on the Glass Is Life website has a short video like Cousteau's above that sing glass' praises as the purest packaging material, made only from sand, limestone, soda ash & heat unite.

Be sure to check out O-I's 5 minute video on the making of glass.

Then go raise your glass, feeling good about what you are reusing and what resources you are saving.
"Glass says quality all by itself. It’s the only packaging material that people are inspired to save, re-use, collect and display. Smooth or rough, blue, green, black, or iridescent, glass comes in a wide variety of textures, shapes and colors. It’s beautiful. It’s memorable. It’s iconic."   ~From the Glass Is Life website.

Celine Cousteau pic from http://www.glassislife.com/



Friday, June 5, 2015

Casting Away with Celine Cousteau on World Environment Day

June 5th annually is World Environment Day.  Given that, this post seemed to be ideally timed!

In the middle of April, we were privileged to get an early Earth Day present--Celine Cousteau was part of a lecture series at our school--a free presentation for the greater community.

Cousteau, you may be asking yourself--gee, that sounds familiar. Of course it does.  Granddaughter to the infamous oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau & daughter to filmmaker/ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, Celine comes from quite the aquatic family line.  An explorer and communicator herself, Celine spoke about bringing the stories from the field and being the megaphone who put the message into story form--a form that people can truly here and understand.

In the hour that she spoke, to the oldest in the room, and in stories even my 3rd grader could relate to, there were many take-aways.  My favorites (written as quotes, but mainly paraphrased as I was writing fast and furiously) are here below.  As you can tell, there were a lot of take-aways.  Things I'm still thinking of more than a month and change later.
  • "I'm a communicator, it's what I do.  I do 'storytelling.'"
  • My grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, is known for his time on the Calypso.  Yet he was a smart leader.  He surrounded himself with people who enabled him to be who was.  It takes a whole group of people to make it happen so that he could do what he did.  He was the front man, but by no means the only one."
  • "Be excellent at what you are and what you can do."
  • "What we do with and for our children stays with them.  You don't know what inspires them and leads them to who they will ultimately become."
  • "You do need the bad to appreciate the good.  Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of pollution around the world. What can we individually do to help it."
  • "Change only comes with action and action comes from the heart."
  • "Education is responsibility, and you can't take that knowledge away. Likewise, once you have the knowledge, you cannot ignore it.  It is part of your life."" 
  • "Change your mindset by changing the way you see yourself in the world.  We are all connected.  Once you see that, it's hard to not care about what's going on around you."
  • "You are not apart from nature, you are 'A PART' of nature."
  • "We need to be rethinking what we think.  Pause amidst the automaticity."
  • "I can't save the world, but I can do my part."
  • "I want to live a life with purpose, not just merely exist."
  • "We are all part of the human tribe.  Over time, we are losing a sense of community--but also building it in other ways, through social media."My tribe is my family.   My 3 year old son deserves to have a mom who says I did everything I could do.  But we all also need balance. How much good can I do if I'm not there?  What are we sacrificing? I need to be there for my son and my family too."

Portrait Image from http://yachtworldheroes.com/?p=725; group photo from my camera (April 2015).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Putting An End to Poverty Infographic

As I mentioned last time, infographics are embedded in my world at every turn these days.  Here's an interesting one that invites you to take a stand, and raise your hand, and take a hard look at what you can do to power down poverty.


Infographic from http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/10/10/ending-poverty-is-within-our-reach?CID=EXT_TWBN_D_EXT