Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blogging


This is kind of funny. I am posting on my blog about blogs! I just wanted to see how all of you students have liked commenting on my posts so far. Evidently those of you that have commented must like it because most of you commented on more than one post, even though you did not have to. I hope you can see what kind of "conversations" we can get stirred up using this kind of communication. I am rather impressed with some of your thought processes!

A couple of reminders: 1) Please remember to sign you name (first and last, first initial and last name, or first name and last initial) and 2) Please proofread your comments before you post.

"Web logs, or "blogs," are personal, online journals - and one of the fastest growing trends on the Internet."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Plant and Animal Species


Just when you think that life on this planet is quietly being eliminated some new plant and animal species have been discovered. In this day and age I consider this quite remarkable. I think we are used to hearing the words "endangered" or "extinct", not that new and exciting plants and animals are being discovered. To me this is a ray of hope for the continuation of life on this planet.

These plant and animal species have been found in Vietnam. There are a total of 11. As you probably figured out, these new species were found in a remote region. It is said that these species are only found in the tropical rain forests of the Annamites mountain range.

Wouldn't it be nice to discover many more new species in various places around the world?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Substitutes...the lack thereof



Substitutes in Adams County, Illinois are becoming increasingly hard to come by. Why? Are they not paid well enough? Do the kids act differently towards subs in this day and age? Is the lack of substitutes just hurting our area or is it a state, or even nationwide, problem? These are some of the questions I have concerning this somewhat serious situation.

The problem is serious due to the fact that the state requires us, as teachers, to get so many continuing professional development units (CPDUs). I think the professional development is a necessity but if schools cannot get substitutes for teachers to get out of the classroom, attend seminars and conferences, to better their teaching skills and get their CPDUs, then we are fighting a losing battle. There has to be something done!

I will also say that, at our particular school, the quality of the substitute goes down drastically after the first two or three are hired. I am talking about professionalism and the ability to control a classroom. Some of our subs think that it is their right to get onto the computers that are in our room or to change lesson plans at their leisure! Do any of you have any ideas on what to do to solve, or at least alleviate, this problem?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Grossman on the Bench...It's about time!


The report is that Rex Grossman will not be starting the Bears next game when they play Detroit. I am not even a Bear's fan and I want them to change quarterbacks! He is disgraceful! He has a 45.2 quarterback rating, has thrown 6 interceptions this year already, and has only thrown one TD pass. Griese can't do any worse! I would be a little more understanding if he was terrible all the time but he has times when he looks really good but other times he makes some of the worse decisions I have ever seen a quarterback make.

What scares me more than anything is that the Bears are bound to get a good quarterback sometime and with that defense they will be tough to beat. I mean, they made it to the Superbowl with Rex at the helm!

AS I SAID BEFORE, GIVE GRIESE (OR EVEN ORTON) A CHANCE! THEY CAN'T POSSIBLY BE ANY WORSE!

Halo 3



For all you gamers that live in a cave, Halo 3 came out yesterday. It has been billed the "Harry Potter" of gaming. Microsoft sold 1.5 million copies in preorders! It was developed by Bungie Studios and the reviews are good.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Organization

I have been cracked on a few times for being organized. I don't know why. Maybe because on some things I might take organization to an extreme. I keep everything on my desk in a certain place. My lesson plans have coded lettering to let me know what has been copied and what needs to be copied. I have school jobs set to be done on certain days. I just feel that if I am organized and ready to go then I have more confidence in what I am doing and how I am doing it. I have always been this way.

Here at school I see a lot of disorganization. I do not only see it from kids but also from fellow teachers. Some people can function like this and do a wonderful job at what they are doing. For those people, you are better than me. I would be a basket case if I tried to do my job like this. Like I said, some can do it. I can't. Some students think they can function without organization. Most can't. Homework not getting turned in, projects being done the day before they are due, and tardies, are just a few of the ways I can pinpoint a student that is not organized. If you are one of the very few that can not be organized, and be successful, then the more power to you. On the other hand, if you think you don't have to be organized and you are stressed all the time and your grades are less than stupendous then maybe you should think about getting on the Organization Train. Trust me, if you give it a legitimate try you will be surprised what you can accomplish.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Back From Bloomington Normal



I got back from Bloomington Normal yesterday afternoon after watching a heartbreaking loss for our Lady Braves. We lost 12-2 in six innings. It was a perfect day for softball. I would say when our game started it was in the mid 80s or so. There was quite a breeze blowing. We started out the game great by scoring two runs right out of the gate.

Being in the "Elite 8" is something special and you girls have nothing to be ashamed of. For those of you that don't know what the "Elite 8" means, it means that we were one of the top eight teams in the entire state of Illinois in our class (A). Congratulations girls and may you remember, and learn from, your trip to the state tournament.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Midterms Already!


The longer I teach the faster the school years go. It seems like yesterday when I was talking about my classroom rules and what kind of things we were going to be doing in class this year. Midterms are this Thursday! In a little over a month we will be celebrating Halloween which, for me, symbolizes the start of the holiday season. We always have Parent/Teacher conferences around Halloween, which is a busy time. The time flies two-fold around the holidays. Not only are you extremely busy at school but there always seems to be something to occupy your time, besides routine items. Holiday parties, holiday programs, getting together with all of the parts of your family are just some of the social events that make holiday time fly by.

The school year is going great so far. The kids are working hard and have finally established a routine (KNOCK ON WOOD). I have a great bunch of kids in junior high this year. I think when things are going well it also puts the time in overdrive. My kids are doing well in school and seem to be enjoying it. I hope we all continue to smile throughout the year. I always have to remind myself to slow down and take time to enjoy the kids.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Payson Seymour Junior High Softball Team to State!


I would like to congratulate the Payson Seymour Softball team for winning their sectional game this past Saturday! The won the game 5-4 and played a wonderful game. They beat a team that had beaten them twice in the regular season. They will be playing the in the state tournament this Friday (9/21) in Bloomington.

There is something about a state tournament that brings out the best in a small community. It brings coaches, teachers, parents, players, and students together. We all join together for one cause, to cheer on our team. How do I know? I was on a junior high basketball team that went to the state tournament. It will remain in my memory forever! The community pep rally, the convoy of vehicles to the state tournament, the large crowd, and the feeling of great accomplishment that has never disappeared from my mind.

Girls, play to win but also take the time to realize what you have accomplished and where you are. Very few teams can say they have been to a state tournament. Conduct yourself with dignity and understand that you are representing your team, your school, your town, your county, and the west central Illinois area!

I am proud of you and I will be there to support you at the state tournament. I hope the majority of the community will also be there to root you on also. Good luck and let's bring home a trophy!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Qualified Interpreters Wanted



Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed a law on Wednesday (September 12, 2007) that protects people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing from unskilled sign language interpreters. Again, I can't believe this was not already a law. Were there any regulations at all regarding interpreters? Interpreters now must deal with professional standards. The individuals receiving the services may also file a complaint if they get poor services from individuals that are unqualified. The law was enacted on Deaf Awareness Day on September 12th.

Great solution to, what sounds like, a big problem.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The World's Most Polluted Places


This is very interesting. I can't believe that there are no cities from the United States on this list! This pictorial lists the number of people potentially affected, type of pollutant, and the source of pollution. Having been to New York City I can't believe that these places are worse. The only place on the list that I am familiar with is Chernobyl, Ukraine. We have discussed, and done papers on, this location in my high school class. Some of the pictures are unbelievable.

I wonder what the top ten polluted places in the United States are?

Everett - Another Positive Sports Story


Kevin Everett was severely injured in a football game on Sunday. He received the injury while making a tackle on a Denver Bronco. The injury was classified as a "life-threatening spinal-cord injury". An orthopedic surgeon said that a full recovery would be the best case scenario but it was not likely.

Ok, so you are asking "What is so positive about this story?". Well, on Tuesday Everett voluntarily moved his arms and legs! This was two days after this horrific accident and the grim prognosis! The doctors are pretty sure he will walk again. This should prove to anybody what human will can accomplish. My thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin and his family. Good luck Kevin and may you walk again!

Indonesian Earthquake



Living in the midwest all my life I can't imagine what an earthquake would feel like. I don't think we get a true picture of the terror these natural disasters release in the videos and pictures we see on TV. It is kind of surreal, or movie like. As we all know from the news stories these catastrophes are real and can create mass destruction. The latest of these earthquakes happened this morning.

This earthquake happened near Indonesia. It was an 8.4 magnitude earthquake and a Tsunami warning was issued. It killed nine people and shook buildings hundreds of miles away! I know that we have our own share of natural disasters around here, floods and tornadoes, but to me earthquakes of this size seem to be on a different level. I don't know, maybe it just seems that way since I (we) have not experienced an earthquake of this magnitude.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Day to Remember


I heard on CNN this morning that some schools and institutions, and even New York City, are trying to "move on" and "get over" what happened September 11, 2001. I think this is a mistake. We should always remember and always put time aside on this day to reflect on how our country changed in just that one day. In my opinion, there is not one place in the United States that was not changed after the events of 9/11.

They feeling of being safe and free in our country is something of a good memory. Think about it. Transportation safety before 9/11...transportation safety after 9/11. The freedom of going somewhere on a plane by just buying a ticket and getting on a plane is over. The feeling that our government and country can't be touched is over. I think that most people have that feeling that they have to keep looking over their shoulder to make sure everything is going to be o.k.

Keep this day in your mind and hearts. Understand that we are not indestructible!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sleep=Academic Success


Just as I suspected! The amount of sleep does make a difference in academic success. I have always been a lover of sleep and I think that it made a difference in how I did in school. I still go to bed fairly early and I think it makes a difference in my attitude and how I function during the day.

They mention that one of the biggest problems is trying to get back to a routine schedule after summer break. It still takes me about a week to get back in the groove but I can tell that kids sometimes take two to three weeks to get back on track. The article also says that sleep affects the positive attitude of students. How many of you think you get enough sleep? I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT ALL STUDENTS READ THIS ARTICLE.

Here is another good article I found about the amount of sleep teens need. Wake Up, Sleepy Teens!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Big Blue Who?


Ann Arbor Michigan was the sight of one of the most stunning upsets in college sports history. Appalachian State (a former Division I-AA school) beat the Michigan Wolverines 34-32 on the opening Saturday of college football. As I understand it, smaller schools are getting money for playing larger teams. Appalachian State received $400,000 for playing Michigan! They also have received much more than that, not monetary, since Saturday. It wasn't like Appalachian State was some horrible team. They were two-time defending champions in Division I-AA, but we are talking about competing with one of the most prominent college football teams in the history of college football, in the University of Michigan. This is why I watch sports. You never know when something like this is going to happen!

If you didn't know (and I bet you didn't), Appalachian State is located in Boone, NC (population 15,000). Could you imagine playing Michigan and walking into that stadium? There were 110, 000 people in the stadium to watch the game! That is over seven times the population of the town that the college is located in! This proves that the "little guy" always" has a chance.

Two things bothered me about the after-game interviews. First, the talk of Lloyd Carr (Michigan's coach) being fired. Stuff like this happens (even to Michigan!). If the team does not recover from this, and regain it's dominance this season, then yes, maybe a new coach should be looked at, but not after the first game. Give Appalachian State some credit! It wasn't just poor play on Michigan's part. The play of Appalachian State also had much to do with their win. Second, the talk of the Appalachian State players. They talked as if they had won another national championship. Yes, it was great, and yes, it will go down as one of the biggest upsets in college football history, but I did not hear one player mention anything about "we have to focus on next weeks game now" or "it was great, but we still have a lot of games to play this year". I even heard one player say something to the effect "This win makes the season". No it doesn't! You can enjoy the win Appalachian State but you better get focused on next week or you will be the next victim of a big loss.
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