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Monday, February 23, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside

Living along the East Coast, the last week or so has brought about some frigid Arctic blasts along
with the dumping of inches of "that white stuff."  Depending on where you fall on the map has determined the number of snow days you've encountered.  The public schools in and around our area have also had a number of late starts... largely due to the chill-tonian temperatures upon sunrise. Sometimes there's the fear of melting and then refreeze (creating hazardous driving conditions) and sometimes it's more a matter of not wanting our littlest of ones (or even our walking high schoolers or bus-stop middle schoolers) out facing the frigid temperatures, fraught with extensive wind chill.

Wind chill has been making a name for itself!

(And it's right about here, that noisy naysayer say "Oh, and what's all this about 'global warming?'" 'Climate change' [the better terminology] means that we are in an era of more extreme weather.  Not that there will be no winter. Don't even get me started on this noise!!)

If you are in search and wonder as to what exactly wind chill is, or what kind of activities you can do at school to investigate wind chill, check out these resources.

  • TED-ED's "What is the Wind Chill Index" (A lesson created by Amy Woxland, with a 2 minute video, multiple choice quiz, and further investigation links to determine the day's wind chill factor.)
  • Conduction lesson plan from Climate Education for K-12.  This includes the National Weather Service's Wind Chill chart, which you can also find here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tales of a 4th Grade Eco-Adventure

Books bear its name:
   --Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
   --Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli
   --The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary by Candace Fleming

Curriculums have guides for it:  World Book Curriculum Guide for Grade 4

Many cities, districts, states, and schools make their home state & it's history and geography a focus during the 4th grade.

And, from Educational Leadership's April 2011 article "The Early & Elementary Years/The Leap into 4th Grade," Mike Anderson states it well:
" For better or worse, 4th graders tend to have incredible energy and emotion. Their increasing awareness of others and the world around them can be both exciting and unnerving. Hair twisting, stomachaches, and headaches are common manifestations of the tension and anxiety that are common at this age. Most 4th graders also tend to have bursts of enthusiasm, followed by the need for rest and relaxation. Industrious and curious, they are often ready and eager for new knowledge. Yet they are still concrete thinkers and need to learn by doing: creating posters, putting on plays, writing stories, reading books, playing games, and using math manipulatives to support abstract math concepts."
As a mother of a 3rd grader and someone who has taught 12 years of 3rd grade, I wholeheartedly agree.


So it is with all of that that there's no wonder why 4th Grade was the grade chosen by the National Park Service.  As President Obama revealed just this past Thursday, a nation full of 4th graders & their families will have free admission to the 401 national parks (as well as other federal lands) for their 4th grade year.  The Every Kid in a Park Initiative was set up to get kids out & about outside.  What a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (which is officially on Aug.25, 2016)

So fellow parents of 4th Graders here ahead in 2015--2016... make sure this school year ahead you get your Every Kid in a Park Pass!!

Teachers...get your National Park Service lesson plans & classroom resources here!




4th Grade banner from http://www.unionsd.org/page/219 #FindYourPark pic from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/19/let-s-get-every-kid-park; video from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/02/19/obama-free-national-park-admission/23640451/; anniversary pic from http://www.nationalparks.org/our-work/celebrating-100-years-service

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Living Outside the Landfill

The Green Phone Booth is an environmental blog I like to follow. 

Their tagline is "Where Ordinary People Become Eco-Heroes."

One of their most recent articles this past week was entitled "82 Ways to Avoid the Landfill."  It's a great list of a lot of old, new, and possibly forgotten ways to reduce your planetary impact.  

My top 5 favorites from their amazingly thorough list:
  • Give junk mail the boot.
  • Push away from plastic plates & utensils & make the move to the "real" stuff.
  • Take your own to-go containers for doggie-bag time when dining out.
  • Push for plastic bag bans & take your own bags to the store
  • Take dry cleaning hangers back to the dry cleaner!

Photo from:  http://www.greenphonebooth.com/2015/02/82-ways-to-avoid-landfill.html

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Framing Education Around Population

I'm still flying high after last weekend's MAEOE Conference in Ocean City.  I mentioned it before, but it definitely is worth a re-mention:  my favorite session of the weekend was led by Carol Bliese of Population Education.


On top of being in love with their 7 minute video that I posted last weekend, I'm also in love with the above map (which you can download or buy poster sized on their site). The map shows what the world would look like if the land masses matched the population per country.  Interesting!

I think the study of population relates directly to the planetary problems.  Over-population, over-consumption of static non-renewable resources, and then the over-abundance of landfillling waste (through the crazy idea of planned obsolescence of tech goodies and gadgets)...all of this is directly related to the number of people on the planet.  Add in water pollution, water shortages, availability of healthy food... The study of population can do a lot to open eyes for the amount of planets we are using, and what our planet's carrying capacity looks like!

Carol Bliese wrote a blog post on the Population Education website about the 19 of us and how our 3 hour session played out last Friday.

It was a good day!!  Any day you can go home with a boatload full of exciting hands-on activities is a great day!

Other definite goodies worth checking out can be found on the Population Education website:
Images from:
Carol Bliese's photo from https://www.populationeducation.org/content/meet-our-trainers, map from https://www.populationeducation.org/content/population-map

Friday, February 13, 2015

Send a Little eLove this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is full of hearts, hugs, happiness, red, pink, and love.  It's a prime time to send those you love an eCard to show your eLove.  Not to mention, eCards, along with being quick, can help you save two prime resources:  money and paper.

World Wildlife Fund has a slew of Valentine's eCards, as well as cards filled with adorable endangered animals for other card-giving reasons for other seasons.  What a great way to show the people you care--about them and the things that are important.


Image from http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/PageServer?pagename=WWF_Free_Ecards

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Planting the Seeds of Change

I love how the author of this Mother Natured article decided to post this poster on her fridge in order to make small steps toward bigger action and future change. Every step in the right direction is going the right way!



Poster from http://mothernatured.com/2014/05/29/save-the-environment-poster/

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Superbowl: MAEOE'S Annual Conference


Ahh....one of my favorite weekends of the year is here:  Maryland Association of Environmental & Outdoor Educators' annual conference.  It's always the first weekend of February, and for the bulk of the past 7 years, I have been here.  2 days with like-minded people, going to workshops and educational sessions, soaking up the green scene, and learning new (and being reminded of old) tidbits and trends for the classroom.  It's completely like coming home.

It's my li'l eco-nirvana!!

After 2 days of sessions, my mind is swimming with resources I can't wait to share.  Too much info, too little time!!

Here's where I will end...for now!  With a dynamic 7 minute video from Population Education, my 3-hour morning session yesterday.  I personally love timelines, and it reminds me of my Social Studies curriculum last year, at my former very "green" school that this conference reminds me of so much..  This video shows population growth from 1 AD to the present to the projected 2030.  The last 200 years will blow you away as we make our way to 7.3 billion people planet-wide!  Remember, each dot on the video is 1 million people. It starts with 170.  [Spoiler alert:  The only time the numbers ever decrease is during the Black Plague.]


Image from http://maeoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/conference-banner-2.jpg;
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BbkQiQyaYc

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Story of the Sea Turtle ~ Mathematically Speaking

"A longshot.
The exception not the rule.
A jackpot.
A miracle."

This is the story of the sea turtle.
Mathematically speaking.



This TED-Ed video by Scott Glass does a nice job of showing the math behind the difficulties of being a surviving sea turtle in a human world.  Not only does this 4.5 minute video show the environmental impacts on this species, but there's an interesting secondary mathematical conversation that can be had.  Elementary students would clearly see the power of division, and what that can mean over time to the sea turtle population.

For additional kid-friendly information that will appeal to your students, check out these links:

Sea Turtles from Ranger Rick

Sea Turtles ~ a variety of sea turtles by species with information, photos, videos, and conservation status.

Green Sea Turtles at the National Aquarium

Sea Turtles:  The Kids Times from NOAA Fisheries



Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=t-KmQ6pGxg4
Sea Turtle poster by http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Animals/Amphibians-and-Reptiles/Sea-Turtles.aspx

Friday, January 30, 2015

Having Never Failed Means You've Yet to Try

I have seen this video (& something akin to this poster) before, but it's an idea that needs to be revisited every now and again.

I think it's especially worth watching--not only for oneself, but also as a parent who is raising kids in today's world.  There's no instant "reset button" like there is on an Angry Birds video game.  You don't simply re-spawn.  These instant gratification-techification kids du jour need a bit of a reality check.  What you do is get up, dust yourself off, and try again.  Retry, redesign, reiterate, and redo.  And if that doesn't work, try try again!

You might surprise yourself, but those failures might end up building some strength, some confidence, and ultimately some great success!!



Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLYECIjmnQs; Never Failed-Never Tried Poster from http://www.cmoe.com/blog/famous-failures.htm

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thank You

I would like to send out a good ole fashioned GTG "Thank You."

Thank you to all of you who have been routinely checking in over the last 2 weeks.  I have been highly absent.  And for that I apologize.

But, there's been a lot going on.

There usually is!  But it's true.

There has been an incredible loss to my community.  We have been far more in the news than I would have liked.  There have been far more tears than I would have liked.

Some excellent articles I would like to direct you to are here.

Baltimore Sun:  Families Releases Statement

Firehouse Zen:   Annapolis Mansion Fire, Investigating, and of Course, The Haters

Capital Gazette:  Families of Victims Release a Statement


Image from http://media.npr.org/assets/artslife/books/2010/04/poetry-month/art-of-losing/candle-c310328a1ef08a3c359730d2219c7fedaa7ab686-s800-c15.jpg


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Oceanic Threats Infographic

I find infographics so fascinating in the presentation of facts.  

Largely, I would imagine, it is due to my  very visual learning style.  

Here is an eye-opening one on the importance of oceans to our planet, and how both human and environmental factors are affecting them!  Click here (or enlarge) to see it in a more readable size. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Earth is My Church

This Video has been around apparently since Earth Day 2013, but it's a new one to me, and felt like a strong, powerful way to start the new year.

 


Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoKAYoe6Tuw

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Make a "One Word"Commitment for One Year

Ever since writing about "one word" and reflecting back on what that probably was for 2014 ("Change"), I have been pondering my potential word for 2015. 

It's kind of like dress shopping. I've been trying them on, sampling them for size, shape, fit, comfort level. 

I nearly went with "Invest." That one had a pretty good fit--not just from a money decision side, but also in these ways:

  • Invest in the relationships that matter; 
  • Invest in spending time in ways I value; 
  • Invest in food and health choices to build the body and energy I desire. 
A good word.   A "walk-to-the-counter-it's-mine" word.

But, just like when you think you have that "just right outfit" and are walking up to the counter to purchase it and make it your own, you see "it." That unassuming yet perfect outfit tucked away that you somehow managed to miss on your first go around. Surprisingly simple, yet so ideal. 

Yep, it's the one.    Make.

It ties in with the Maker Movement of inventive thinking that we are embracing at school to embody the 21st century skills of design thinking, creativity, collaboration, & critical thinking. So this 1 word builds in, for me, a professional goal.

Yet, this seemingly simple word has a lot of power:

  • Make time for what I value. 
  • Make time for the people I love. 
  • Make healthy food choices. 
  • Make smart money choices.
  • Make room in my house for the things I love, and make a break from the things we have outgrown. 
  • Make a move to get outside more. 
  • Make more "unplugged" time (& make my family see the importance of that). 
  • Make more time to "play" (& to sleep!) 
  • Make time for creativity and blogging. 
  • Make time to be less busy while making time for re-energizing & more adventures. 
  • Make time for more books and less Social Media Trawling. 
  • Make peace with the imperfections. 
  • Make more laughter to alleviate the stress of modern living. 
  • Make more space amongst the busy. 
  • Make some lemonade, & make time to watch the sunset while drinking it. 
  • Make a family word for the year that the 4 of us can aspire to. 
  • Make a life that energizes me. 
  • Make sure I'm not sleep walking through life (though make sure to sleep if that's what my body needs!) 
  • Make this the year that you make things happen. 
  • Make a difference. 
  • Make. 
As my husband told me, many of these, while all encompassing, seem to counter each other. 'Tis true, but I think that's what life is. Kind of like the old Kenny Rogers song from the long ago movie "The Gambler:"
"You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them.                Know when to walk away...Know when to run."
Sometimes you ebb, sometimes you flow. It's about being more self-aware and knowing what you need at the time. "Make sure you aren't sleepwalking through life" sums that up well.

Yes, "Make" fits quite comfortably.
What might your word of 2015 be?

Friday, January 2, 2015

#12BloggerDays Revisited


At the start of December, (yes, a mere month ago) I gave myself a blogging challenge.  The 12 Days of Blogging... which seemed perfectly natural given "the song."  (You know the one I'm a-talking about!)  

So, as my "Scrap-It" App pic above indicates--I did it!  A whole baker's dozen: 12 + 1 bonus.  Yes, a sense of triumph and jubilation is mine.  There were some times, early on especially, when I wasn't sure I could do it--at which my husband always makes fun of me.  Here I go again, bringing about my own self-induced anxiety and frustration by my own self-induced project!

But, my take-aways are strong & I'm glad I did it:
  • It's always good to set a goal (even relatively short term), & accomplish it.
  • It put my feet to the fire in a good way, which in turn rejuvenated my writing (at least for me internally--which for me, is what counts)!  It got me thinking in more creative ways, & I dabbled in some different styles I hadn't used in awhile.
  • It got some of my procrastination topics marked off my to-do list--another sense of accomplishment right there.  Those things that "just hang there," taunting you, start to demean you.  I was feeling quite hard on myself for never getting them there--which does nothing to your self-worth & value!
  • Christmas season served as a good time for me to do it. (Again, this is on a personal level just for me--you might have your own "best time" to do such things.)  I tend to get frenzied and hurried, and thereby grouchy and sometimes discouraged during this season.  So many lists, so many things to do--sometimes I wind up losing the meaning of the season.  Yet, this gave me writing, which for me is a way to re-energize.  I get into the flow, and I bask in the "me time."  A very good way to counter the exciting-yet-sometimes-draining elements of  prep time during "the most wonderful time of the year."  Plus, Christmas sometimes opens up seasonal topics which are ripe and perfect for blog fodder!
  •  It has already started to inspire some January posts, so it continues to be a gift (to myself) that keeps giving.
I'd recommend to anyone to find little (and sometimes big) ways to shake it up.  Kind of what New Year's is all about, with resolutions.  I used to love that about "new calendar season."  A brand new calendar, empty, waiting to be filled.  A year waiting to be lived.  Reminds me of the quote below from Brad Paisley (that cropped up around New Year's). 

My #12BloggerDays walk-away-words:  Write a good book, build some great adventures for 2015, and shake it up in little and big ways! 


Book & Brad Paisley quote from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B6KyK-gIYAA56Hx.png:large; 12 Days of Blogging pic created on my ipad using the Scrap It HD app.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

On the Road Again....Holiday Style

Back in the day, flying solo, I used to adore the space in-flight, on plane, 
between here and there.  Point A and Point B.   Destination & Arrival. 

It was a no-man's land where time sort of stands still... especially if you are traveling between time zones.  Some peaceful solo time.  Don't talk to me mid-flight: this is my time!  On paper, time even seems to cease to exist, because sometimes you arrive, in that other time zone, at a time that just reasonably doesn't make sense (due to the time zones!).  At the very least, it's the perfect time for reflection.  And possibly even a nap!  (Anyone who knows me knows I love a good nap!)


At this point in life with 2 kids, a spousal unit, and two dogs, the mode of transportation is a four-wheeled, non-flying vehicle... largely due to stuff to schlep, Christmas gifts to give, and the expense.  (Though thankfully, we are at least able to locally offload the pups!) 

Now that the jaunt is the highway versus the flyway, the path is 12-14 hours on the road to get from Point B to my old homeland of Point A. 

Point A is my alpha home of days-gone-by, where you remember the original nuclear family where you were 8 or 12... despite the fact that you are now 40-&-change.

Yes, there is still reflection time trucking along in the driver's seat & also while "riding shotgun." Moreso with Papa Bear's book on tape, and the teenage and tweenage Bears all headphoned-&-hooked-into their electronic games and movies.


With New Year's ahead, thoughts of "one word," holiday hopes, annual reflections, and future goals, there certainly enough to think about. And, half a nation of countryside to admire. Sparse in its no-snow winter wonderland, still lovely in its rolling changes across the miles. 

It's nice to see what life looks like outside your typical daily circle of scenes. Reason #347 why travel opens your eyes and helps you see the vastness of what's out there. Even if it's a road you have traveled once before, to a place you once lived, it is still different for seeing it with new and current eyes. I have never seen it all in this light, the light I am seeing it in today, at this age I am at now, with the vision and wisdom (or perhaps lack there of) that I am at now.

Reminds me a bit of lines in two songs:

Sheryl Crow's song "Every Day is a Winding Road" 

"These are the days when anything goes...

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine."



The Beatles: "Long & Winding Road."

"The long and winding road that leads to your door
Will never disappear.
I've seen that road before it always leads me here
Leads me to your door."




Makes you curious where you own road will wind and take you for 2015. 
May it take you to new places, old places, memories in your heart and mind, exciting new adventures ahead, and places of reflection along the way.




Song lyrics from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/sherylcrow/everydayisawindingroad.html and http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beatles/thelongandwindingroad.html;  Song covers from  http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Winding-Road-Sheryl-Crow/dp/B00AYNDM80/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1419986670&sr=8-4&keywords=sheryl+crow+everyday+is+a+winding+road and http://www.amazon.com/Long-Winding-Road-Beatles-Story/dp/B00005YA92/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1419985960&sr=8-10&keywords=beatles+long+and+winding+road
All other photos from my roadside, carside camera.









Sunday, December 28, 2014

Battling Food Overload from Christmas into the New Year

Cookies with sprinkles
Cookies without sprinkles
Chocolate bits, bites, and bars
Candy canes, cupcakes, pies, & pastries
Fudge, feasts, festivities, and frenzies

The further into the holiday season, the more packages you unwrap... inevitably, the more pounds you can pack on.

Last December (the 20th, 2013) the Guardian came out with the post "How Much Weight Will I Gain at Christmas and How Long Will it Take to Lose It?"  Depending, you may still be wrestling with last Christmas' holiday weight gain, still attempting to lose THAT bad boy, while successfully piling on this year.   Yes, the seasons are rich in many ways (with some of the wealth being rather unforgiving!)

With New Year's Resolutions on the horizon (& weight loss always being a biggie in that department), perhaps your goals include being healthier, cutting a few calories, or shedding some of those seasonal pounds. If that's the case, these health links may be for you.

At the very least, they will shed light on some of your favorite sweet treats, and some healthier habits.

Your Teen's Brain on High Fructose Corn Syrup

John Oliver's Takedown of the Sugar Industry is Pretty Sweet
Love me some John Oliver!

Berkley Versus Big Soda
In the category of "Must See TV. (Let's face it--they all are!

This is what a More Sustainable American Food System Looks Like

How Much Sugar People Eat Around the World


And in an attempt for a healthier new year, here are some thing to look into eliminating....

10 Toxic Products No One Needs
From Vinyl shower curtains to oil based paints, to bottled water, pesticides & more!

Styrene Officially Linked to Cancer: 4 Things to Ditch Now
Best plan: ditch out Styrofoam plates, cups, takeout containers (all of which especially so if they hold the hot stuff) and #6 Plastics (that don't necessarily look like Styrofoam).

It's a Wrap! A Non-Toxic Substitute for Plastic Wrap, That Is
An oldie from the summer, but a nice alternative to use instead for food storage & something to keep an eye open for!


Images from our kitchen this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joy to the World This 2014 Holiday Season

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Customize your own digital greeting card
Created by me for Christmas 2014, GTG Style 

Monday, December 22, 2014

An Ode to Winter Solstice 2014


The winter solstice brings....
Mystery 
Delight
Darkness
Turning points
Season change
Celebrations of nature

In thinking about this year's December 21st Winter Solstice, I felt inspired to write a tributary ode:

Smallest smidgeon of daylight
Offering the turning point and official start to the winter,
Leading us into the longest day of  darkness.
Sacred seasonal celebrations honoring the circular nature of nature.
Tagged also as Yule, Midwinter, Longest Night, the Winter Solstice
Includes rituals, festivals, & celebrations such as the Stonehenge sunrise gatherings.
Coming from the Latin words of sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), the sun's path (while
Equatorially distant) seems to stand still this day before reversing.

This Winter Solstice & the season ahead, may you be filled with the beauty of nature, the crispness of winter, and...
Solitude & Silence
Optimism & Openness
Love & Laughter
Sincerity & Simplicity 
Thankfulness & Thoughtfulness
Innocence & Intelligence
Creativity & Curiosity
Energy & Effervescence 


Images:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas is A-Coming, Bow Box, Reused Ribbons, & More!

On the 9th Day of Christmas Blogging....

Today, we had one of our first adventures in gift giving and receiving. Family fun & festivities in front of the lighted tree....after full family photos with 16 people!  Fully day indeed!  (And even relatively pain-free!)

A day of gifts...a day of memories.  Part of my long-ago family tradition, as far back as I remember, always included the "bow box" (most of which was reused), the box of tissue paper (most of which was reused), and the box of gift bags.  Yes, you guessed it, most of it reused.  That tradition continues, in a nicely-wrapped box so it can live under my tree, at the wrapping ready.  Decorated gift boxes, bags, and tissue paper were heavily used on our side of the gift giving for the festivities of today.

But what do you expect from an eco-warrior?!



It was in the memory of my Christmas Pasts and Christmas Present that this picture of percentages spoke to me.  I saw it first on a Story of Stuff's Facebook post that showed up on my news feed.  They attributed the image and stats to PLAN:  The Post Landfill Action Network's FB page.  They in turn attributed the stats to EcoATM.  All great FB follows, if you are looking for some!

So the season is upon us and in full swing.  May you be in the 52%...the 17% or even the ├╝ber 20%.  No matter what....may you be happy, healthy, and do what you can to carve out a sustainable holiday season! 




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

National Tree! Christmas Tree! Coding All the Way

A week before Christmas Eve, as I'm watching a recording of the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree, I'm in a singing mood....I think you know the tune (with a touch a variation):

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
To know tech coding is so cool.
O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree!
These skills are such a current tool.
Not only reading & writing here,
Let's also code computers this school year!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
To know tech coding is so dear!


What I've discovered is this: I'm not only a sap for a good Christmas show, but you totally have me if you throw in an educational component. Especially one with a 21st century skill of creativity, critical thinking, and computer coding! Google's Made W/Code has done an excellent job of pairing with the National Park Service this year with the televised lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Their goal: to help bring girls into the beauty, power, & importance of coding & computer programming. Just check out this video:



To watch the lighting of the National Christmas Tree (which happened December 4th), click here.

To see the state/territory ornaments on the National Pathway of Peace, check out this link..

Click here for Made With Code projects (including the ability to code your choice tree on the Pathway of Peace).  In just playing around, I discovered that I really & truly programmed the Florida state tree for December 22nd at 7:55 pm.  I also used code to make the little green avatar guy below.


For Made With Code Mentor videos, click this link. (Go Girl Power!).  Or, click here for the Code Makers.  (Again, all girls!)

And by all means, don't miss the Resources!

And whatever you do...don't forget to go code the Christmas Tree!!
Then sing it with me (to the tune of "Jingle Bells"):

National Trees, National Trees,
Coding all the lights.
Oh! What fun it is to make
A tree that's quite a sight!
National Trees, National Trees, 
Coding all the lights.
Oh what fun it is to make
A program to delight!




Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XenuKouUHM; 
Song parodies & lyrics:  my own invention!
Coding creations made using the https://holidays.madewithcode.com/ website, and saved after creating!

Monday, December 15, 2014

16 Holiday Life Hacks

John Green is one of my new all-time favorites.  Here's his "16 Holiday Life Hacks" from his Mental Floss.  Many of which are quite eco-friendly, putting the 3R's to heavy use!




Video from http://youtu.be/eNHCJOQsN4A

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Cornucopia of Commentary on Climate Change

A collection.
A bounty. 
An abundance. 
A cornucopia!

Most certainly, this is it! At least on the subject of Climate Change. In my new job stockpiling of articles these last few months, a major wealth of my finds were on this still-controversial topic. Why it's even still a question, is beyond me. But, perhaps after this wealth, it might open some still-shut/blind eyes.

Debating A Climate Denier:  It's OK to Be Smart
The place to start, no doubt, is here: From PBS Digital Studios' "It's OK to Be Smart" Series: "Climate Science: What You Need to Know".


8 Climate Change Clues for Kids
This article highlights the website:  A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change.  "Student's Guide" is a great student site that encourages students to both think like a scientist, get facts, and also be part of the solution!

10 Failed Climate Change Denial Arguments
This features another great video, this time from Hank Green (brother of John Green--author of "Fault in Our Stars" and the sarcastic Crash Course History videos).  With John Green's sarcasm (family trait, obviously), Hank fights out all of those "typical" arguments that come up in the climate change "debate"


Will Climate Change Make Men Extinct?
An interesting look at fertility and rising global temperatures.

A Warmer Planet Means Boozier Wines.  Trust us, That's Bad
Like species of animals that could become extinct, so too could certain varietals of vino.

Red States More Likely to Be Burned By Climate Change
The Breadbasket of America might be one of the hardest hits, regardless of politics and whether or not the politicians there believe in climate change or not.

Emma Thompson Just Won Our Hearts With Some Straight Talk on Climate Change
It's always good seeing a famous face speak from her heart on issues of importance.

Screenshot from PBS Digital Studios' "It's OK to Be Smart" Series:
 "Climate Science: What You Need to Know"
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Jon Steward Reminds Us Its Climate Change That'll Kill Us, Not Ebola or ISIS
Political satire always brings smiles.

This Graphic Novelist Tells the True Story of Climate Change
The story of "Climate Changed:  A Personal Journey Through the Science" by Philippe Squarzoni.

Climate Change Threatens National Security, Pentagon Says
The ills and effects of climate change become "threat multipliers" and "its impacts do not respect national borders."

Paul Ryan Thinks Humans Might Not Be The Cause of Climate Change
Huffington Post Live has a good time with this one.

They Took a Camera to a Remote Area in Greenland & What They Recorded is Simply Terrifying
Glacier watching, and watching the glacier calving.

Robert Reich on the Importance of Putting a Price on Carbon
Makes sense:  hit companies where it counts!  The wallet!


Teaching Kids about Climate Change?  Read them a Classic Story
A list of some great family favorites that put the importance of the environment at their heart

The Inventors of a 'Revolutionary' Climate Solution Just Won a Nobel Prize
Amazing what a Clean LED light can do!

If These 35,000 Walruses Can't Convince You Climate Change is Real, I Don't Know What to Tell You   This is what a crowded house looks like!

Antarctic Ice Melt Causes Small Shift in Gravity
Small, but there. Noticeable. Potentially problematic over time.

Can Farmers Outsmart Climate Change?
Climate Smart Agriculture could be a plan for the future.

How Climate resilient schools Serve Students & Communities
A peek at how green-focused STEM schools can make plans for a more sustainable future

12 Views of a Warming World
Proof indeed that a picture speaks 1000 words!

This Map Shows How Climate Change is Screwing Over Your Immediate Area
Program in your location to see how significant the effect and rise of climate change is over the last century.




Santa/North Pole image from http://www.azhaguboomi.org/Cartoons.html
Video from http://youtu.be/ffjIyms1BX4
Climate denier pic, screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffjIyms1BX4
Invalid Arguments: Climate Change video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF9LNuH3IpU
Robert Reich video from http://vimeo.com/105254387
Infographic from http://newint.org/features/2012/05/14/451-26-infographic-72ppi-2000x1414b.jpg

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nurture Yourself By Getting Out More In Nature

As my quest for the #12BloggerDays of Christmas continues, thoughts du jour turn outside. Maybe because one of my crazy canines is barking his bloody head off in a total attempt to show us how "indoor cagey" he feels.  Clearly, an outdoor adventure needs to come...and probably soon!

As the weather turns chillier, we all find ourselves indoors more.  Layers and bundles are needed. That requires effort!  In the Christmas Chaos, maybe time is the key missing feature.  Add in that earlier sunset each night as we careen closer and closer to the week-away winter solstice.  At least after that, the days start getting longer!  

With that in mind, here is a list of the nature-centric finds I've stockpiled the last few weeks:

The Last Generation of Kids that Played Outside
This has got to be one of the most interesting articles I've read in a long time.  Especially as both an environmental and a technology teacher, the base of this article is about how all our current-day tech geniuses (who created the tech gizmos and gadgets of today) may possibly have gotten all that creativity from playing outside as kids, observing how nature works, and putting that natural "education" into creative practice.  With all our indoor tech-head kids these days, what will that mean for the future of innovation and creation?  A superb article in the Huffington Post by Nate Hanson! Definitely, food for thought!

The movie was just too good and needed to be shared here:


  1. You'll burn more calories.
  2. You'll strengthen your heart.
  3. You'll drink more water.
  4. You'll build a tolerance for the freezing elements.
  5. You'll remember the importance of warm-up and cool-down routines.
  6. You'll get a dose of Vitamin D
  7. You'll feel happier and more energized.
The Natural Teacher:  10 Ways You Can Add Vitamin N to Your Classroom & Beyond
From Children & Nature Network guru Richard Louv (who coined the Vitamin N: Nature & Nature Deficit Disorder), 10 practical ways to help create more environmentally connected kids.

Nature Connection Will Be the Next Big Human Trend
More commentary in this Huffington Post article by Daniel Crockett on what's amiss amongst us, in this hurried, frenzied, tech-connected yet isolated world in which we live in. The answer:  finding the wild & the wide open spaces.  Only through that connection to nature can we truly be connected.

Thinking Outside the Lucite Box: A Case for Experiential Education
Ben Klasky's Huffington Post article about how getting dirty and outside the traditional classroom leads to real learning!

All Children Need Nature:  12 Questions About Equity & Capacity
Richard Louv over at Children & Nature Network is at it again, with 12 poignant questions that remind us that when it comes to nature none of these matter:  gender, ethnicity, & socio-economic status.

The Uncommon Core:  Schools, Wilderness, & Supporting the Natural Resilience of Young People
Posted by Mark Phillips on the Children & Nature Network, His final quote sums it up:  "There is something about being in the woods, encountering wildlife, dealing with ice on a mountain climb, feeling rain on a trek through new territories, that can be life changing. Let’s make sure we give our kids that opportunity."

The iNaturalist App
Yes, there's an app for that!  By recording your natural findings, you can become a citizen scientist, and your data will help connect you to other naturalists.

32 Magic Pictures of Kids Playing Around the World
32 amazing pictures collected by Hugo Moreno showing play in action across the globe!  Striking;  the simplicity of the tools and the toys, and the smiles on the faces!!  Most certainly will bring one to your face as well!  My favorite (though there were many) was this one from Indonesia.

Amazing Map Shows Every Tree in the United States
From the folks over at Inhabit, check out the map created from Woods Hole Research Center in conjunction with US leaders in forestry & geology.  It's a pretty cool map that shows the tree density in the United States.


Quote picture from http://piratesstilly.com/2014/03/22/nature-as-teacher-quote-series-3/
Video from http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/383642/nature-deficit-disorder/,
Richard Louv quote pic from http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/75/d9/e2/75d9e232499be8ec8947ba7fec874403.jpg
Winter pic from http://intermountainhealthcare.org/~/media/Images/Modules/Blog/Posts/2013/1/EnoughVitaminD.jpg?h=407&mw=612&w=612
Fishing picture from http://www.upsocl.com/mundo/32-magicas-fotografias-de-ninos-jugando-alrededor-del-mundo/

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One Word: What's Yours?

Earlier in the year, I saw the book "One Word that Will Change Your Life" by Dan Britton.  I bought it for a young friend of mine moving from one stage in her life to the next.  True confessions:  I will admit--I got wrapped in and did some reading before I did some gifting.

It's an interesting concept.  What one word will you choose to define your goals and direct the year ahead?  Well, I must admit:  I don't remember what word I choose.  But, in looking at the year in retrospect, I have determined what my word was:  Change.  2014 brought a lot of change for my family, in terms of the closing of a beloved school, new jobs, new roles within my career, new schools for my children, new friends, and old friends moving away to new jobs or new locales.  Change!


With only a few more weeks left of 2014, and here, midst my #12BloggerDays personal challenge, I still see "change" at play.  Especially midst these very busy days of holiday prep and planning.  I noticed it in the extra long bedtime hugs my kids gave me--showing me some of my timings of things (including making time for writing, and homeworking, and laundry & other "home" work) might also still need some tweaking and changing.  I'm not sure what my 2015 word will be, but I still have those weeks to work on even more "change."


If you are knee-deep in thinking of your "one word," here are some resources from their website.  A good thing to take a peek at it this NBC interview with author Dan Britton's friend Phillip Kelley.  What is your "one word" for either this year, or the next one ahead?


Snowy image from my digital Christmas card created using "Smilebox" and inserting the above quote.  Red image created for my digital Christmas Card, using the iPad app "Scrap It:  Christmas HD"  Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_XtL91XSVE