Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Labyrinth Locator

I was reading "Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto" by Tricia Hersey, and among the many poignangt lines in the book, this one particularly struck me: 

It reminded me of a chapter in Annabel Streets' book "52 Ways To Walk" where she discusses getting a maze. Labyrinths to be specific. Actually, mazes and labyrinths are different, in that mazes have multiple paths that branch off, while a labyrinth is a continual path that leads to center. The purpose, while whenturies old, is to provide the purpose of contemplation, rest, and relaxation. A literal "walking to nowhere" and "somewhere" simultaneously.

As with everything these days, you can find a nearby labyrinth online. Go toLabyrinth Locator, and you have a portal for labyrinths worldwide. A simple search tool lets you hone in on where you are and how far you'd like to travel, and it will show you where the nearest one is in your radius.

Makes me want to locate one and transport there, then wander until I get lost.  Until then....I'll just have to go on walkabout and get lost where I am.

Quote image created at; screenshot from

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Microplastics are Everywhere.

What did you do the last hour? I went to the neighborhood coffee shop to grab a hot green tea and have some quiet time while waiting to go set up for a summer PD class I am teaching some school colleagues. Apparently I also inhaled 16.2 bits of micro plastics. Add that up, that amounts to an inhaled ingestion of microplastics per week, which is equivalent to the amount of plastic in a credit card. Yikes!

Sadly, it's not news (or shouldn't be) that we consume microplastics in our food. Plastic is everywhere. Fish consume plastic from marine debris in the seas. Unfortunately too, plastic can sometimes find its way into farm animals' feed. And, it has also been found in fruits and vegetables.  Those of us who eat (aka: all of us) end up eating whatever it was that they ate.  

Microplastics are classified as any plastic material that is less than 5 millimeters long. They can be produced intentionally (like glitter) or be by-products of degraded plastic.

I learned about this new way of taking in microplastics first by seeing this Instagram post from Plastic Pollution Coalition. From there I found the following article on IFLScience's UK-based website and written by Maddy Chapman: "We Inhale A Credit Card's Worth Of Plastic Each Week - Where Does It All Go?" (June 19, 2023). They referenced the Physics of Fluids study about inhalation of microplastics. The particles, once inhaled, larger were found in the upper airways, including the nasal cavity and the back of the throat. Over the course of a week, this amount totals to being about a credit card sized quantity. 

Thinking it through, not to be gross but that's a lot of icky plastic boogies and phlegm on top of ingested microplastics via food. (And yes, there are studies that indicates microplastics found in human waste and even human blood and breast milk.) Thinking all of THAT through, it certainly has the potential for major health concern over time. Even the thought of 52 credit cards stacked on the table to indicate a year, feels frightening when you consider that all ends up in your system--and all on the microbits of plastic that we eat by way of food consumptions! This definitely indicates we need to take a serious look globally at our plastic production and consumption to address the issue at hand.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Summer Solstice 2023

According to summer officially began today at 10:57 am, EST. (And you thought it was just all day June 21st!) The reason there is an actual, specific time is because it the exact time that the sun is directly overhead 23.5° North Latitude (the Tropic of Cancer). It is for this reason that the first day of summer is the longest day of the year, summer solstice, and the official "first day of summer" and the next season here in the Northern Hemisphere. (This, of course, makes it the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first day of winter.)

What were you doing at 10:57 am EST?

Here, I was in the middle of a professional development class. (Yes, the first week of out of school and beginning of summer vacation). It's a dreary, kind of cool, rainy day and it feels pretty far from being your idyllic sunny, first day of summer. Based on both parts, I have yet to feel like it's actually summer yet... but we needed the rain.

Where I'm at, we scored a 5:38 am sunrise and a 8:37 pm sunset, making our longest day of the year 14 hours, 58 minutes. Not too shabby. Although, it does counter my initial instinct of "Oh no! Now the days are getting shorter! The end is near!😱" I need to kick in the inner conversation: No, no it's not. Just breathe, dear. We have 6 entire months of days getting shorter to get us to winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and December 21st. We have more than just a little time!

To find out just how many daylight hours you have (both here today and every day between now and winter solstice), check out the Farmer's Almanac Sunrise-Sunset Calculator. About as easy as it gets, all you need to do is put in your location and choose your date. Case in point, I'll only have about 10.5 hours of sunlight on my next birthday. Better soak up the sun now while I can!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Happy Father's Day Weekend!

I ran across this and it really spoke to me for Father's Day. Thank you Josh Clark for this 2016 tweet!

May all the meaningful men, fathers, grandpas, uncles, and father's figures in your life be treated like family champions today!

photo screenshot from

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Father's Day Nature Cards

Father's Day is less than a week away. Are you planned and ready for how to make the father or father-figure in your life feel special?

If not, there's still time to prepare and make a homemade, heartfelt, and nature-themed card. Check out this video created by Mother Natured, then get outside and get your materials (and your puns) and start creating!

(And, there's a companion video for Mother's Day, if you are into planning ahead for next year! 😉)

Video from 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

End of the School Year Reflection

This week marks the end of my school year. I think if I'm counting correctly, it's the end of my 31st year of teaching. I suppose that makes me a well-established veteran teacher. But the funny thing about teaching is that the more you know, the more you realize you don't know. Not to mention, there's always something new in terms of trends (including those from the last few years with remote, hybrid, and pandemic teaching), and kids evolve and change. Kids I'm teaching now in this post-Smartphone & AI-era are much different than those in my first year of teaching in the early 1990s. 

This year I'm tired here at the end of the year. Yes, the end of the school year necessities are always exhausting with report card writing, packing up or tidying up classrooms, post-planning meetings, end of the year extras, and more. But this year feels more exhausting. Again, the past few years have definitely taken their toll as we've crawled to the end of the Covid years. Makes me wonder if we all are still living a little bit in that aftermath still, slightly traumatized. 

But this year too for me has been full of extra challenges. Over the last 11 months I've had two significant knee surgeries, one on each of my knees. Rehabilitating them and experiencing my first FMLA leave a new experience, one that was physically and mentally taxing (prepping sub plans for 6 weeks is never easy). On top of that, we have had 4 deaths in the family over the last 5 months, one of them within the last month, overlapping the end of the school year demands. I had a partner-colleague leave midyear which impacted the nature of my job (and my location within the school building, which means packing up my space), and we've been training his replacement--all of which will be good, but of course it takes time. And then there's the part of me which is the mom, wife, daughter, in-law, sister, friend ... all of which has its own separate demands too.

Maybe it should be of no surprise that I'm tired!!! It's been a year!

I think that this what happens to all of us. Every year has its typical rhythms and cadences, but every year is always so different by its own specific details, impacts, events, surprises, and anniversaries. Every year, your students/your classes are different, each with their own needs and challenges, making no class ever the same. Thinking about that, it strikes me that I've probably been 31 different teachers in my 31 years of teaching--perhaps even more considering summer positions and camps along the way. 

Teachers get some grief about being off for 3 months of the summer. In my personal experience, the days of "3 month-summers" have dwindled to just barely two. The demands on teachers and their plates over the years have also grown significantly. In some ways, it seems teachers are expected to be superhuman with a slew of added responsibilities. This poster kind of sums it up: 

So if you know a teacher, go gentle on them at this time of year. They may be hanging on by a thread.

And if you are a teacher, go gentle on yourself. Your summer has come (or is coming soon). Take time for you. Rest and catch up with yourself, so you can be right and ready and rejuvenated this fall. You've earned it! 

Images from, and

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

All Roads Still Leading To AI

It really does seem like everywhere I turn here, even at the end of the school year, that all roads lead to AI (that's "Artificial Intelligence" to anyone who may be living under a rock). 

I'm taking a one-day workshop this summer on the subject, and it seems like every other email I get to my school email address is inviting me to attend another. The offerings are growing like gangbusters, fast and furious--as are the AI websites (for teaching, in particular).After reading The AI Classroom: The Ultimate Guide to Artificial Intelligence in Education (The Hitchhiker's Guide for Educators Series), and perusing the Facebook feed of the The AI Classroom group, it's definitely clear that part of my summer (when the R&R is well underway and I start getting back in the groove of reading for professional development again) that I need to spend some time investigating the growing number of sites out there dedicated to AI.

This post in particular from The AI Classroom Facebook Group has led me on my latest detective investigatons. This graphic by Dan Fitzpatrick (one of the Admin of The AI Classroom FB page and also one of the authors of the book) is fascinating. 

Here are the links to these websites for you to start your own investigation. I have a feeling this is a "to be continued" kind of conversation in the months/year ahead!

Teaching AIssistant (notice that extra 'I''s important!)

And, while running across the websites for those 5, I ran across this article from Ditch That Textbook: "30 AI Tools for the Classroom." Then I got a link for this teacher resource from Richard Byrne in his Practical EdTech eNewsletter I get weekly.

Yes, this is definitely going to be an ongoing conversation!!!!

Photos screenshots from administrator and author Dan Fitzpatrick's post in The AI Classroom Facebook Group, a public group anyone can join.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

June 5: World Environment Day

It's not an advertised fact that June 5th annually is World Environment Day. This truly is unfortunate give that it has been around now as a designated UN General Assembly global day since 1972. 51 years since it was established, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first celebration in 1973 where the slogan was "Only One Earth."

50 years later, there is STILL only one Earth, and yet it faces a lot of hardships in many ways, but particularly from and environmental standpoint.

This year, World Environment Day is hosted by Côte d'Ivoire in partnership with the Netherlands. The theme: "Solutions to Plastic Pollution." You can follow the social media hashtags at #BeatPlasticPollution. You can learn more about the necessary and nefarious effects of plastic by watching this video below, as well as watching and reading the United Nations Environmental Programme's visual feature here. Big takeaway: globally we produce about 400 MILLION tons of plastic pollution a year!

For resources to learn even more, check out the following:

  • Get Involved: Get Solutions (3 more interesting videos [on local governments, business & finance, and people & communities] and a wealth of other info in their Practical Guide.
  • Learn more about Côte d'Ivoire hosting this year (and watch another fabulous video) at this link.

World Environmental Day Logo from, Video from