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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Aren't I a lucky fella?

September 19

Had this great email this morning:

Mr. Paull,
  We found a Black Widow today.  Would you like it?  If so, I can drop it by your house after school.  If not, what should we do with it??

Missy Langtry
Cherry Valley Elementary

'Yes, YES, YES, please,' I responded! 'Bring her over!'

Then, later, my neighbor came over and gave me this beautiful dragonfly he'd found dead in his garden:

Missy came after school and handed over the lively black widow which I quickly transferred into a Spider Hotel where she will stay for the weekend. Jeannine will take her to school on Monday, show the kids, then I will find somewhere appropriate to release the young lady back to her natural setting.

I put some earth in the bottom of a far, a branch, and, carefully,  added the spider

Later, I made a pocket museum for the beautiful dragonfly which I, of course,  will show to kids throughout the following weeks:

I use one of my old tobacco tins for my pocket museum

I line the inside with felt and glue the insect in place

and add the date I made it.......

Latrodectus is a genus of spider in the family Theridiidae, many of which are commonly known as widow spiders. The genus contains 32 recognized species distributed worldwide, including the North American black widows (L. mactansL. hesperus, and L. variolus), the button spiders of Africa, and the Australian redback. Individual species vary widely in size, but in most cases the females are dark-colored and readily identifiable by reddish hourglass-shaped markings on the abdomen.
The venomous bite of these spiders is considered particularly dangerous because of the neurotoxin latrotoxin, which causes the condition latrodectism, both named for the genus. The female black widow has unusually large venom glands and her bite is particularly harmful to humans; however, Latrodectus bites rarely kill if proper medical treatment is provided.

dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera (from Greek ανισος anisos, "uneven" + πτεροςpteros, "wings", because the hindwing is broader than the forewing).[1] It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies can sometimes be mistaken for damselflies, which are morphologically similar; however, adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Dragonflies possess six legs (like any other insect), but most of them cannot walk well. Dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects in the world. Dragonflies can fly backwards, change direction in mid-air and hover for up to a minute[2]
Dragonflies are major predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies,beesantswasps, and very rarely butterflies. They are usually found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic. About 5,900 different species of dragonflies (Odonata) are known in the world today of which about 3000 belong to the Anisoptera.
Though dragonflies are predators, they themselves are subject to being preyed upon by birds, lizards, frogs, spiders, fish, water bugs, and even other large dragonflies.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The BEST thing Beryl ever saw on a classroom door....

Beryl, teacher colleague from way back in the 1970's, has recently retired from teaching.

She sent me this (the best thing she'd ever seen on a teacher's door) which I'd like to share with teacher readers of my blog:


If this is not a place where tears are understood,
Where can I go to cry?

If this is not a place where my spirit can take wing,
Where do I go to fly?

If this is not a place where my questions can be asked,
Where do I go to seek?

If this is not a place where my feelings can be heard, 
Where do I go to speak?

If this is not a place where you will accept me as I am,'Where can I go to be?

If this is not a place where I can try to learn and grow,
Where do I just be me?

Attributed to William J. Crockett

Thank you, Beryl.

A view on the teaching profession....NYT

The Challenges of Teaching
SEPT. 16, 2014

To the Editor:
With increasing frequency, articles are being published that acknowledge the challenges of teaching. “Why Don’t More Men Go Into Teaching?” (Sunday Review, Sept. 7) is one of these.
The premise is that men don’t go into teaching because it is an extremely demanding job, with low pay and little respect. Women — in the past — largely went into teaching because it was one of few jobs available to them and the hours coincided with those of their children.
Today, more professions are open to women, and as schools increasingly demand that teachers take on responsibilities such as tutoring and leading clubs on evenings and weekends, the hours are no longer so conducive to raising a family.
As a former teacher, I know that my current job would be more conducive to raising a family than the 70-plus-hour workweeks that I used to put in at one of New York City’s lauded charter schools.
Moreover, historically, one perk of teaching has been the relative job security offered by the tenure system and the comparatively generous retirement benefits. But as we demonize teachers and blame bad teachers for our failing schools, these small perks are increasingly being chipped away at.
We need smart, hardworking, talented individuals (both men and women) to choose careers in teaching. But with more professions open to women, and the few perks in danger of disappearing, I fear that we will soon no longer be asking ourselves why more men don’t go into teaching but why more people don’t go into teaching.
Chicago, Sept. 8, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey, someone READ my book!!!!!!!!!!

An email this morning from one of my deputies (Assistant Principal) - David Mills:

John I downloaded your book Through my Eyes and read it when I was in
Florence. What a fantastic read !! I enjoyed it so much. 

It made me laugh and cry in places. It also made me reflect on my own childhood,
early school memories (which were not happy) why I chose to become a
teacher and my subsequent career. 

We have fought some of the same battles along the way. 

It was also good to remember people like Bill Browse and Hazel Sibley and time spent as a young teacher visiting your field study centers at Foxton and Hoby

Roy Illsley was someone who had a big impact on my
career when he first plucked me out of the classroom to set up
practicaI courses for teachers at Beaumanor Hall - where I first met
you! I

 have attached a copy of a document - Preparing for the
Integrated Day, foreword by Roy Illsley, I came across only recently
when I was researching something  - you might be interested in reading


Thursday, September 11, 2014

My mum's birthday..........September 11

Born September 11th, 1919, it's my mum, Hazel Monica, birthday today...........

'Hey, Mum, thinking of you today and sending you the BIGGEST wish from my wishing rock......
I hope you get that special tingle down your spine......'
Hazel loved looking for wishing rocks............

Science and Story Telling.......

I had a super time at a small school yesterday, talking about science (my spider story) with the entire school student population of 35 kids, K through 5!

And, last evening, I had a super thank you note from the teacher who invited me to her village school:

You were beyond incredible today! Everyone in the room was captivated, kids and adults alike!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I hope we can get you back in a paid position for the child/parent science night. You let me know if/when you would like to host such a night and I'll arrange it, maybe late Oct/Nov.  If you are ever in the CVE area again out looking for a coffee shop, please stop by.

I hope to continue to learn from you in the future. I wish I would have been fortunate enough to be a teacher in the classes you facilitated.
I think we are on to something with our little boy, Cody. I have never seen him so communicative and excited about sharing information. Thank you for the inspiration and ideas that are motivating him right now.
Have a wonderful night

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The world's largest dinosaur......NYT September 5

PHILADELPHIA — Eighty-five feet long, 30 feet tall, 130,000 pounds and still growing when it died, a newly described dinosaur is among the largest land animals that ever lived — so big its discoverers are calling it the Dreadnoughtus.
Its skeleton, unearthed in the Patagonia region of Argentina, is the first of this species and the most complete ever found in the group of gargantuan dinosaurs known as titanosaurs, scientists reported on Thursday. An international team led by Kenneth J. Lacovara, a paleontologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, describes the fossil in the journal Scientific Reports.
“What we can say with certainty is this is the biggest land animal that we can actually put a number on,” Dr. Lacovara said.

Even what remains of the bones is huge. “We’ve got 16 tons of bone in my lab right now,” Dr. Lacovara said.