Friday, August 20, 2010

The Devil's in De-Tail!

Every day is a new adventure in the life of a kitten. For Cairo, the buzzing of a fly, the the flight of a dragonfly, or the hopping of a grasshopper is cause for major curiosity. And when it comes to dogs, she really knows how to focus on de-TAILS!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Tale of Two Kitties

Meet the 2 newest members of our family, Medina and Cairo.
My daughters were devastated after the loss of a favorite family pet, and we happened upon a "Free Kittens" sign on our way home from the vet. "It can't hurt to look," I said, knowing full well the results of "just looking" at the pound and Humane Society in the past.
We had to get both so they could entertain each other when we're gone.
These two have brought so much happiness to our family already. Their antics constantly make me pause to watch them and smile. Cats sure know how to enjoy life!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Why I Love Outdoor Education

Jose is a Hispanic kid who has had to work very hard to overcome the language barrier. I watched Jose and his best amigo, Pablo, canoeing for the first time at 6th Grade Camp. Framed by the faded orange life jacket, Jose's eyes were wide, and his smile even wider as he realized that the spotter was no longer holding the canoe. He and Pablo were captains of their own fate. His expression said, "I'm doing it! I'm actually balancing in a canoe!" It was a magical moment -- the moment that makes teaching worthwhile.

Haley is a complainer. She doesn't like to try new things, grumbles loudly when asked to do something, and often refuses to do it. Her group was at the rock climbing wall, and Haley was balking. "I'm afraid of heights," she said, as she stepped out of line and sat down in a chair apart from the group. After everyone else had gone, it was obvious that Haley was inwardly struggling. Her adventurous spirit was asserting itself. With some encouragement, she strapped on the safety harness and approached the wall. "On belay?" she asked. "Belay on," came the answer. And the rest is history. We all clapped as she scaled the wall, then allowed herself to lean back into the harness and walk down the wall. One small step for man.

A Tale of 2 Nicks. . .
One 6 foot giant, and 1 short and skinny, the 2 Nicks were an unlikely pair. So when tall Nick was cast as the heroine of his group's skit, everyone was surprised that he consented. When he skipped onto the stage, pretended to pick flowers, and threw them over his shoulder in girlish delight, the audience was stunned. (Think Ferdinand the Bull of picture-book fame. . .) Next, shrimpy Nick entered the scene. He kicked down the imaginary door and flexed his imaginary muscles before ousting the evil villain and rescuing Nick #1. These 2 shy boys that never talked in homeroom brought down the house. Two giant steps for man-kind.

Seeing different aspects of others' personalities is a wonderful consequence of outdoor education. So is watching kids add one more notch to their confidence belts every time they risk trying something new.

Editor's Note: The names in this piece are fictitious, but the adventures are real.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nest Box Surprise Revisited

Three days later, we checked the same nest box. The following video-clip shows what we found.

We realized after seeing the eggs last week that our nest box tenant was probably a black-capped chickadee. Tomorrow, we check the nest box again. Stay tuned for more mad-black-capped chickadee adventures. . .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

Today, this old dog starts to learn new tricks. My diabolical master plan is to start practicing technology that I'll use when I travel to Antarctica in January of 2011 as teacher liaison for a research team from Miami University.

I begin with a video-clip from my Flip Cam. It chronicles the first nest-box monitoring expedition on our Perry Schools Bluebird Trail. (Maybe not the very first nest-box expedition. On that one, the student monitor got so overly-excited that he screamed at the top of his lungs when he found eggs. We had to do a little re-training
, and we're going for a "calmer and more serene" session in the video-clip below.l

Speaking of new tricks, no comments about my focusing abilities, please. That's why I'm getting started 6 months early! I want to take photographs and write copy that would make a National Geographic explorer sit up and take notice (or at least appeal to a computer savvy 6th grader!)

This Blog is written for any adventurous soul who loves to explore unknown places. I invite you to join me on my journey -- and if the spirit moves you -- please share your questions, comments and ideas.