Check out this super-cool snowboarding vid. It shows what a little creative thinking does for you. Speaking of super cool, be sure to watch KOBI 5 News this Thursday (the 23rd) at 6:30. One of our Room 15ers is KOBI’s Student of the Week! Another bit of super cool news is that we’re starting The Checkbook Project this week. To find out how it works, visit my professional webpage here, or check out this podcast from Teaching Fin Lit. Speaking of podcasts, we recorded our first Black History play podcast of our reader’s theater play, Richard Wright & The Library Card. You can find it here. We hope to be recording the rest of them this week. Fifth grade students have started new Book Clubs and they’re working on posting their National Park Projects online. Fourth grade math students are doing a quick review and extension of perimeter and area. Here’s their homework: Tuesday, Feb. 21st; Wednesday, Feb. 22nd; Thursday, Feb. 23rd.
As part of our “100 Favorite Things Project,” each student is maintaining a category on their individual webpages identifying and writing about the things they enjoy most about life. Though I started mine as the example or model, I’m finding that I’m learning a lot about myself as I create my list. Here’s another of my favorite things:
At the 21st Annual Tree Re-plant in Josephine County, members of the Rusty Relics tractor drivers sit around a big campfire in between shifts of hauling elementary kids up the hillside. They build a great fire, and upon returning form the trip the other day I found myself drawn to my little backyard fire pit where I promptly built a campfire of my own. There are few things more comforting and therapeutic than sitting around a good campfire, especially when it’s in a great locale. One of my best days of 2009 was spent in an abandoned campground on a sunny afternoon in the middle of winter. We had the place all to ourselves, a nice view of the lake, and a roaring campfire. Hard to beat that.
My list of favorite things includes olives! All those Thanksgivings when I was a kid in which my sisters and I stuck big black olives on our fingers has left me with a wonderfully good feeling toward them. I also spent four of my high school years working at Abby’s Pizza in south Medford, where I put generous quantities of olives on the mini-pizzas I ate each night on my break. When I first started there, mini-pizzas were given free to every employee working more than four hours, but later we were charged $1. Of course, the pizzas only cost $2.35 normally. My favorite was pepperoni, linguica, mushrooms, and of course, olives. Today I eat all kinds of olives, and last year while working on the CPE tree project, I bought an olive tree from Shooting Star Nursery. So here’s to olives . . . wear ’em on your fingers and gobble ’em down!
Here’s another of my favorite things: My shark jaws. During that childhood trip to Baja (see below), we motored our panga to a barren island where shark-fishermen had set up camp. Here I acquired a set of shark jaws, which I still have today. I remember climbing out of the boat and having to step past the bodies of three sharks hooked on a line and resting in the soft sand where the tide could keep them fresh. They were still thrashing around a bit, which made me fear for my ankles. I also remember long strips of shark meat draped over a rack to dry near the fishermen’s campfire. Nearby there was a pile of shark jaws, which had been boiled to remove all the flesh. From this pile came my set of jaws, for which I paid about twenty pesos–or one American dollar. For thirty-five years I’ve held on to these jaws, and I realized while showing them to yet another class of students, that of my material possessions, it is probably my most treasured.
Here’s another of my 100 favorite things: Baja–When I was thirteen years old, my brother-in-law took me on a camping and diving adventure to Baja California, Mexico. We camped on beaches, swam with rays and turtles, and visited a shark-fisherman’s island. I am forever thankful to my brother-in-law, Don, for the experience. To this day it is one of the highlights of my life, so its no surprise that I keep going back (Thanks in large part to another generous man named Don). My adult trips may not be quite as fantastic as the one from my childhood, but Baja still remains one of my favorite places.
Each Room 15 student is building a 100 Favorite Things list on his or her web site. To see them, click on the link entitled Student Web Pages. In the meantime, here’s another on my list of 100 (in no particular order).
2. Chocolate Milk — I’ve always loved chocolate milk. I suspect my mom must have been feeding it to me from a bottle to shut me up during my earliest years. Today I have a glass nearly every night. I didn’t realize what an addiction it had become until one year when Scholastic flew me to New York City. I discovered they don’t sell real chocolate milk in Manhattan. They sell fake, water-based malted substances such as Bosco, but real chocolate milk is impossible to find. After a couple of nights going through withdrawals, I wandered the streets searching for chocolate milk. Growing desperate, I entered a McDonald’s and requested a chocolate shake. Nope, they didn’t sell chocolate shakes, only vanilla–which really makes me wonder about New Yorkers. I survived my week without chocolate milk, but now days when I travel I always carry a bottle of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate syrup in my suitcase.
1. Kids — I know they’re really just human larvae, but for some reason I like ’em. I’ve had about 500 kids come through my classroom over the last 18 years, and I’ve coached another 200 or so at Scenic and Crater. I’m fortunate enough to stay in touch with many of them. The little gal who has the semi-official designation of being my “first student” just completed her basic training for the Oregon National Guard. About half the students of my 1998 Sams Valley 4th grade class are completing their senior year in college. One of my former baseball kids is joining me on my City League basketball team this month, and another is getting back and forth to work in my spare pick-up truck. And of course there are all the other rotters, including the 34 fantastic 5th graders and the nifty class of math students who presently occupy Room 15. Okay children, now sit there quietly like good little larva so that I still like you in June.