Destine for greatness

We had a moment if silence in class the other for the victims of 9/11. As a teacher I recounted to them what happened that day at our school. Some of my 7th graders had not yet been born, some where only months old. One student told me, he was there. He survived. He was not born yet but he was still in his mother’s womb when she was at the World Trade Center when the planes hit.
I couldn’t believe it. One of my students was there that day. I asked him how he felt about that. The fact that he survived the attacks…. I don’t think he ever thought about it that way. I told him the fact that he survived, he was born for greatness. I could see him smile. Destine for greatness. We are all here for greatness. To make this world better. To impact others in a positive way. How are you going to make that difference today? What are you going to do to make this word better? What is your greatness?

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Best Job in the World

I just found out that one of my former students just came in 4th in the International Brain Bee. I feel like a proud momma! There is just such pride in knowing this young man, seeing him grow and feeling like I just may have a small part in this!
This isn’t the first time I’ve had this feeling. I have had the pleasure of getting to know my former students as adults on Facebook. I can see how my ‘finished’ product winds up. I have a student that started his own companies, one who just took the Bar exam, a student who became a professor… just to name a few. I found that one of my former students went into education and did his practicum in my daughter’s class….I love when my students come back to visit me and tell me they are doing well (except not when they are cutting study hall, you all know who you are!!!).

I am excited that I was just invited to one of my first class’ 20th high school reunion…. what an honor!!!

You see in this job you don’t always get to see how your students turn out… so it is always exciting for me to hear about my former ‘kids’. They always make me proud… and make teaching the best job in the world.

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My comfort zone is changing! YIKES

I attended an edcamp for the first time yesterday.  EdcampSTEAM. I really thought I was too type A to do this. After all, you go to edcamp and have no idea what topics will be covered…. I’m a planner. I like to know. I have been in a few instances lately that have taken me out of my comfort zone… this was no exception.

I went to great sessions and met some wonderful people. A few whom I will rely on for ideas! One particular teacher uses Minecraft to teach his students! Dan Curcio teaches in North Jersey. I went to his session on using Minecraft in the science classroom and I love it! I loved his ‘maker’ outlook on the class and I can’t wait to use Minecraft in my own classroom. He’s an inspiring teacher!

Another teacher is starting her own STEAM class.  I tried Google Glass…fantastic! Made things in the Maker Lab. Looked at Google Classroom…. I’m ready to start school….. well I have some planning to do… I can’t get rid of my type A personality…. still need to plan!!! These plans are excited and inspiring… and I’m ready for my new students.

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The Power in Words

I have been practicing yoga for almost a year now. I fully understand being able to do poses is not what it is all about but I struggle with some basics. All the yogis tell you it isn’t a competition, do what you can…. that is hard for me. I have attended classes in a variety of settings: school, a hot studio, home and the beach. By far, the beach is the best. I usually go to Monday’s class but decided I needed to go to today’s class.
I dropped off from doing yoga for a while in the spring do to other things going on. I love doing it but obligations with the kids and doing stuff around the house started to consume me. This week I had a particularly bad series of events happen, nothing life-threatening but still upsetting. I said I need to do something for myself and got myself to the beach this morning. I am thankful I did.
At today’s class, while I was struggling, a truly remarkable thing happened. The instructor complimented me! Me, the one who was struggling to do a downward-facing dog! She said I had perfectly squared hips! I know, doesn’t sound like much…. but how did that motivate me to push forward. At the end she came up to me and told me how great I was in my practice and had the best hip and back form she had ever seen. She even asked to take a picture of me next week. I was stunned and speechless. Which rarely happens. I did my best to stammer out a “thanks”.
As I drove home from the beach this morning, I thought wow, she changed the direction of my day today. How powerful those few words were to me! Then I thought about my students who struggle… everyday. Those that don’t receive praise or a compliment. I remember last year telling my students on the first day of school how I was so lucky because my class roster had all the student on it that I wanted. At the end of this school year, a student asked me if that was true… of course it is! He smiled.
The power in words. Use them wisely and carefully. You never know the impact you have on someone.

Point Pleasant Beach Yoga

Point Pleasant Beach Yoga

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Everyone needs a champion STILL

I have had a few champions in my life. A few I still have, a few I don’t. I continue to look for people that lift up others. I was invited by PJ Simon this week to attend National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy sponsored by DuPont. I was invited not as one of the 30 ambassadors but an observer because I do not teach Ag. I arrived yesterday in Wilmington, DE at 6:45 am to meet up with the 30 Ag teachers from across the country. We toured the Stine-Haskell Research Laboratories to see how one of the products manufactures goes from start (research) to finish (market) and the Hagley Museum (the home and historical site of E.I. DuPont) in the morning and presentations by DuPont employees in the afternoon highlighting products. The evening started off with a mean game of lawn bowling ( my partner John and I won!) and dinner at DuPont’s County Club.

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Inside the workshop at Hadley Museum where gun powder was made.

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Along the Brandywine with the water turbine.

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Powder yard

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Water to turn the turbines

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Home of DuPont

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The view of the back of the home.

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The real GREEN roof at Chestnut Run that helps this facility become a LEED Gold certified workplace.

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Getting ready to socialize at DuPont’s Country Club.

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The country club at DuPont

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Mingling with DuPont employees, or as I like to put it, picking out my winning partner for lawn bowling.

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BBQ, DuPont Style

 

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Walking to breakfast on the farm.

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View from the farm, also known as doing work.

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This is hard working on labs with this view.

This morning has been spent working as students on labs testing food safety and food security. However these workshops are at Chesapeake Farms, Chestertown, MD. The farm is owned by DuPont.

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Workshopping

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Becoming leading teachers in our field

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The farm

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Where farmhouse food is made and served

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The most spectacular sunset ever. On the farm, are things really that much better?

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Last dinner on the estuary.

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CRAB!!!!!

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Sunset at dinner, this picture really doesn’t do it justice.

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The remains of dinner.

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The perfect view, the perfect end to the perfect week of professional development.

DuPont values education and is committed to being a champion for teachers. I have been lucky enough to find one of my champions in PJ Simon. She not only is a big proponent of Ag teachers but of science teachers in general. She has allowed me to have some great professional experiences the past 3 months. I can’t thank her enough. But I know the way I can repay her! Teach my students well. And I will.

PS: I wrote this prior to hearing the Ag teachers speak at the closing awards part. The biggest take away for me, and I knew this going into this week, is to continue to surround yourself with positive people and engage each summer with a rewarding experience that brings you back in to focus of the WHY of your career. Almost every teacher spoke of how this week changed their lives and a few mention how they were close to quitting their jobs this year. We have to stick together to self-promote and remind each other of the reason we do what we do: the kids. We tend to lose focus for various reasons. Every teacher needs an experience like this. I had mine a few years ago when I flew in zero-g at NASA with PPPL. I found my WHY and embraced it. Every child needs a teacher that finds his/her WHY.

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Forever Learning

Just because you are the teacher, doesn’t mean you’re always right. I had a discussion in class about Tinker Bell and tinkering. I said no she wasn’t a tinkerer. My student, KM, said didn’t you read the lore???? Uh, no. Doh!!! Guess what I will be doing…. Reading instead of watching the movie! Thank you KM for reminding me that I need to keep learning!

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The Butterfly Effect ( of teaching)

The impact of one… Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, the Podcast, which is what I want you to listen to,
is at the end of the status… It is 27 min long but worth it ( if link doesn’t work search for Mike Rowe works on iTunes podcast and it is the one on Fred King)
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=783612778315534&substory_index=0&id=116999698310182

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The Moon Rocks Are Coming

Hard to believe my whirl-wind month is over. Sort of.
April started with my trip to Boston, making a national presentation on project-based learning and ended with (wo)manning the DuPont Science Booth and the DuPont Challenge Booth at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC. The latter wasn’t expected but very much appreciated!
May isn’t starting off much different as far as juggling scheduled go. Track meets, confirmations, birthday parties, more track meets, retirement/honoree dinners, BOE meetings and… The moon rocks are coming! On May 17th I will be helping at the GS STEM day. The moon rocks will be there! These National Treasures will be arriving this week at my school and will be stored at the Howell Township Police Station. Yes they have to be locked up. As I have to remind my students … We aren’t going back to get more (yet).
I know I’m busy with school stuff. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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It’s Contagious!

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I had a great time at the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC.

I was invited down to DC to help out at the DuPont hands-on booth and The DuPont Challenge booth by PJ Simon. The DuPont Challenge is a science essay contest for students middle school and high school. They are even coming out with a junior challenge for younger children. Something for everyone!

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On Saturday, I worked with children of all ages on solar panels. It is such a charge (ha ha) to witness the kids’ face light up ( ha ha again- with delight, not with the photons being emitted from the incandescent lamp). It is exciting to see youth interested in science and engineering. Their excitement is contagious!

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Of course the #SciFest had other things to “catch”. There were hundreds of exhibitors including one who “gave” children a virus. The kids had to scan the QR code to pass on the virus and answer questions online to gain points to get the antidote. Really neat. NASA also used 3D and the QR code to let you move the Mars Rover while wearing the 3D glasses.

 

 

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I was ‘this close’ to Mike Rowe.          20140427-175446.jpg

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I like Mike Rowe.

I did not see Bill Nye or Michio Kaku but thy were there. I did met from children, teachers and administrators from VA, MD, DE and NJ. This is the festival’s 3rd year and it has had to expand to a 2nd floor already!

I do have to personally thank DuPont and NSTA for sponsoring this trip for me. I love being involved with science and kids. Especially when I get to promote it.

My personal favorite highlights were running the booths … talking to the kids. Great feeling the excitement they have about doing and making science! It’s contagious.

 

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Opportunity Looks A Lot Like Hard Work!

That quote goes to Ashton Kutcher. The reason goes to me! I have been blessed the past few years in my career. This year is no exception. First I had my first presentation outside the school district at a State Conference in October, then at a National Conference the beginning of this month. Today I found out I’ll be going to the USA Science and Engineering Festival this weekend in DC. This came about from my hard work in Boston ( and persistence with PJ). I can’t wait to continue the hard work sprinkled with mass amounts of kids ready to celebrate science! Thanks for believing in me PJ!

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