Monday, December 9, 2013

Have You Ever Heard of Robert May?

As a teacher I believe that asking questions is a skill that all students need to be able to do. How many times have you said, “I didn’t know enough, to know what questions to ask”?  

One of the things I try to share with my students is the love of learning.  I love research, I am always learning things that surprise me.  I have been pairing pictures with the Question Formulation Technique developed by the Right Question Institute .  I love the book “Make Just One Change”.

I have been featuring authors of children’s literature.  I decided I would feature Robert May - author of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as my mystery photo.  As I began looking for pictures of the author, I came across the picture I wanted to use in a post by Nate Bloom.    

As I read his post I learned about the author of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and other Jewish writers who penned contemporary holiday music and stories.  The juxtaposition provides a tantalizing layer to these literary treasures.
I took the picture, put it in a powerpoint slide.  Broke it into quadrants - placed four text boxes filled with different colors over the picture.  Animated each square to reveal part of the picture each time I clicked.  The kids developed questions they wanted to know about the picture.  The rules are: write down every question as the person says it.  You can not judge the questions, or stop and discuss or answer them.  Each time I revealed part of the square the kids asked more questions.

I left the section with Rudolph’s head for the last piece to be uncovered.  My students are getting better at asking deeper questions.  This week we will explore May’s biographical information.  I wonder what questions they will have after reading about Robert May?

Like every good Paul Harvey fan - "And now you know the rest of the story."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

No Relief

Our road trips take us down many isolated areas and back roads.   Rest stops are always high on my priority list.  Me - I am partial to rest stops with indoor plumbing and warm running water.  My husband is not so particular.

Out on the back roads a maintained rest stop can be a welcome luxury.  Today those were unavailable because the government was closed till further notice.

Each day I am made aware of how many ways my life is impacted by this shut down.  The first few days the Library of Congress website was closed.  Thus no research for me.  All the National Park websites are still closed.  The impact on me is annoying, frustrating.  I dislike that individuals who didn't get their way are able to hold this country hostage.  Yet I think about the many small businesses around Yellowstone that rely on the tourist trade - their livelihood has been sorely impacted.  I am sure this is true for all of our National Parks.

My photo was taken of a sign taped to a locked outhouse in the Shoshone National Park.  I think it is a great allegory for our current situation.  Each closed government function ripples out affecting so many people.  Some mildly impacted, others who may never recover.

To me the sign proclaims no relief today!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Looking Into Hell's Canyon from Hat Point Lookout

After we left Joseph Oregon, we went to a small community called Imnaha, Oregon.  From Imnaha we headed up the mountain to Hat Point Lookout.  From the top you can see the Snake River running through the bottom of Hell's Canyon.  You can gaze at the Seven Devils Mountains.


We traveled up a forest service road.  A narrow, steep and twisty dirt road.  With courtesy on-coming traffic can get by. There are no guard rails.  We traveled about 15-20 miles per hour sometimes less.

Looking through the windshield.

Shot from moving car.

This was taken at the first overlook.  It is an impressive view.

Then we started up the road again.  In the next picture look for the blue ribbon on the left side.  That is is Snake River.

At this point it is a vertical mile to the canyon floor. 

 The sign tells of a rock slide that created a dam in the canyon bottom over 400 feet high 10 - 15,000 years ago.  Today most of the rock dam is gone except for some boulders.  

The left over boulders from that landslide create the white water rapids that you see in this picture of the Snake River.  I am standing at the top of Hat Point taking this picture.  The rapids are a vertical mile from the top of Hat Point.

Hat Point Lookout fire tower is 82 feet to the top of the tower.  It is manned every summer.  Visitors are allowed to climb the stairs and have a look.  Yours truly did not climb those stairs!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Look at These Deer

Going through Joseph, Oregon I noticed a sign for a bed and breakfast.  It caught my eye because the name was the same as my maiden name.  So I took a photo.  Then I noticed the two young deer eating the front yard.

The little buck has forked antlers and is in velvet, both of them have fading spots.  So are they last years babies or early babies this year?  Does anyone have a guess?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Following the Trail

Dan and I decided that we would follow the Nez Perce Historical Trail this summer.  We drove out to Enterprise Oregon to begin our journey.  Enterprise is next door to Joseph Oregon where old Chief Joseph is buried.  This area among the Wallowa Mountains was the area the Nez Perce had their summer camps.

Old Chief Joseph (Tuekakas) had been the leader of his band.  When he died the responsibility for leading the band was shared by Chief Joseph (Thunder on the Mountain) and his brother Ollokut.  Ollokut was recognized by his people as a strong War Chief and Political Leader.

The old Chief Joseph gravesite and monument is just outside of Joseph Oregon.

Standing by the monument you can turn and see Lake Wallowa.  It is surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains.  

The mountains are truly majestic.  As we came over the mountains to Enterprise.  The road was paved, and windy. It was at least two hours from Lewiston.  There is no easy way to get to Enterprise, Oregon.

When you are in the heart of the Wallowa Valley you know why Chief Joseph and his band did not want to leave.

According to what I have read this is the dying declaration of Chief Joseph to his son Joseph -

" My son, my body is returning to my mother earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. When I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people. They look to you to guide them. Always remember that your father never sold his country. You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more, and white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words. This country holds your father's body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother. "
Chief Joseph commented "I clasped my father's hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father's grave is worse than a wild animal."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Schools Out Now Its Time to get Ready For Next Year

School has been out about a week.  I always have extra stuff to do and so always leave a few days later.  Summer seems to fly by.  I always feel there is not enough time or money to do all the things I want to do.   Yes, yes I know - most people experience the same thing.

I have three training dates this summer.  As I look at what I have already committed to for next year I am reminded that I want to do things differently.  The last few years I have made a Teacher's Binder.  It has helped.

The secret - you need to know where it is and actually use it.  I think I need to simplify my binders. My thinking is way to big and then it becomes unmanageable.  So I decided to revisit sites that have been helpful in the past.  I have hopes that I will be inspired to create the perfect system.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Book Sale

Sunday we went to the Friends of the Library Book Sale.  It is to be one of their last.  The city is building a new library and there won't be room for storing all the used books people donate.  From the book sales "Friends of the Library" donate approximately $1500 a month to the library.  Its pretty impressive for our community.

I bought some old Life magazines one was a week after I was born.  My sister-in-law found one for 1954 the year my husband was born.

I bought a copy of "Montana, Too: A book of Montana History in Story Poems" by Bonnie Buckley Maldonado.  I bought it to use as a mentor text.  Tonight I discovered its an autographed copy.

This poem spoke to me on so many levels.

The Great Aunt

Aunt Mary is regal
as a sailing ship,
white hair swept back
with ivory combs,
back straight, the sound
of England in her speech.

She tells of carrying
fragile china teacups
in a basket on her sea voyage
to Canada to marry Tom Tennant.

Her ranch house is refined
with stained glass and oak.
In defiance of howling blizzards,
she crochets bright blossoms.

She despairs of daughters
flying across prairie hills
on horseback, not yet subdued
by polio or a woman's place.

She lets a great niece
wear her India pearls
and wind the grandfather's clock
that displays the moon's phases.

Sent to keep a great-aunt company,
a young girl reads Jane Eyre,
and doesn't mind emptying
a painted-china chamber pot.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Name Generator is the home of my favorite random name generator.  The site also has many other great teacher tools.  You can use it to randomly call on kids for presentations.  Class prizes.  There are many ways to use it.

Click here for larger version

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Difference of a Day

Sunday afternoon our journey began.  A balmy 63 degrees

 Clouds dance.
Solo the Meadow Lark sings

Welcoming spring

We journey on

Clouds tumbling, swirrling


 Ferocious clouds, gathering

Pompey's Pilar

Stands remembering

 Journeying on

Soon the day will be done

Snow is forecast.

Monday it snowed all day.

Still snowing tonight.