Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Rains

Lately we have been having April Showers in March. As much snow as we got this winter, we seem to be getting that much rain. The ground is squishy and soggy everywhere you step. Trees are falling over, those that were spared by the heavy snows that is. And earthworms are rampant. Big, fat, squishy earthworms. The kind that wiggle and squirm. The kind that boys love to use for bait and to torture their sisters.

What is it about worms that is appealing and repulsive at the same time? Think about it, gummy worms?! I think of the book, "How to Eat Fried Worms", the poem "Nobody Likes Me", and my childhood favorite "The Hearse Song."

The Hearse Song

Didn’t you ever think, as a hearse goes by,
That you may be the next to die?

They wrap you up in a big white sheet,
And bury you down in the 6 feet deep.

They put you in a big black box,
And cover you up with dirt and rocks.

And all goes well for about a week,
And then the coffin begins to leak.

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.

Worms, delights for the harbinger of spring, robin red-breast. C 'mon spring!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home Again

After being away for a few days (weeks if you asked DH and DDs.), I returned on a glorious Sunday afternoon to find that all our daffodils and croci had bloomed. Luckily they had just bloomed so I will be able to enjoy them.
After lugging my many bags into the house, (no, you may not ask how many!) I quickly changed. Then it was out back to sit on the deck and soak up some spring sun - the best kind around. DH came home from his basketball tournament and we enjoyed the sun and a dip in the newly cleaned and refilled hot tub. Pure bliss. Then, I promptly fell asleep until Monday morning!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

3-20-10 NSTA

First day of Spring and in Philadelphia it was apparently glorious. Highs in the seventies and brilliant sunshine. I say apparently because I was pending the day indoors at the NSTA conference. Now, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. I met a lot of great educators, experienced many exciting activities, and in general, had a great time. But really, after the winter we had, the first really nice weekend...did it HAVE to be this one?!

At least I did get a few minutes outside walking across Arch Street to the legendary Reading Terminal Market. Best city market I know. From Italian butchers to Amish bakeries to Asian sushi. The market has it all.

Friday NSTA

I had a great day of science sharing and learning at NSTA in Philadelphia. As a NSTA newbie, I wasn't sure what to expect. I definitely wasn't disappointed. I saw presenters eat lit "apple" candles, adopted a mealworm, and attended a crime scene reenactment. The presentations were all top notch. Friday evening, my roomie and I attended a crime scene CSI type event where we enjoyed snacks and a show from Ward's Science. On our way back to our hotel, we passes this chair in the lobby. Being the inquisitive sort that I am, I had to get closer to read the post-it on this chair. I found it funny that a chair was chained to power cords in the first place. Funny again that a post-it was used to advertise this fact. But perhaps the funniest of
all is not shown here. On both sides of the chair are large glass cases filled with jewelry of varying style and cost.


A wonderful evening was had by all at the Philadelphia premiere of Life. Life picks up where Planet Earth left off. Discovery Education and Siemens planned an amazing evening at the Franklin Institute - Philadelphia's premiere science museum. Attendees were welcomed to the

evening's festivities with a cold drink and what else, but a bag of popcorn. After some brief introductions, the lights dimmed, and the theater grew silent. I am not sure how long episode one lasted, but I do know that the theater was silent except for an occasional sharp intake of breathe. Amazing photography does not do the film justice. I have no idea how the film makers were able to elicit sympathy for a fly, but that they did.
Episode one aired this past Sunday on the Discovery Channel. If you didn't see it, make sure to catch episode two next Sunday. If you did see it, you know to catch episode two.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day in the City

March has been an extremely busy month and my pictures/blogging have suffered. Although I don't have the time, and I really need to pack, and I really need to work on my presentation, and I really want to read the paper, and I really want to go to bed...I had to post a picture from tonight's fun DEN event. Discovery Education hosted a great evening at City Tavern. Many Discovery people, including some of the Student Adventures people shared great food, swapped cards and stories and enjoyed a pleasant evening. Thanks also to our gracious servers seen below.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Damage Continues

After 24 hours of torrential rains and hurricane strength winds, there was bound to be downed trees. Driving through my neighborhood this morning I saw tree after tree just upended root ball and all. Most of the trees were massive evergreens like this one leaning against the large deciduous tree. There are branches and twigs everywhere. I wish our town had some sort of program whereby we could chip all these branches rather than just put them in the garbage.

From Sun to Rain!

After a very snowy winter, March came in like the proverbial lamb. It was sunny and almost 60 degrees for three or four days. People were smiling again. And even though there were still many piles of snow, people believed that winter was over.
Indeed, winter may be over, but Mother Nature is surely not finished with us. Saturday brought torrential rains - upwards of 4-5 inches. I kept thinking how much snow that could have been! Not only rain, but hurricane sized winds as well. Backyards flooded, rivers crested, and many lost power. It is amazing how much damage a simple storm can cause.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh What a Beautiful Day!

Left school this afternoon and noticed that my car thermometer was at 65 degrees! What a beautiful almost-spring day. Made it home in time for a lovely walk into town with DH and two dogs. Stopped at Starbucks for a green tea lemonade. I know that rains are coming, but it sure was nice today!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

My fourth grade students are currently studying water. They are learning about how little fresh water we have on our planet and how crucial water is to our survival. One of the early experiments has them predicting what happens when a drop of rain falls. This prepares them for the water cycle which comes further in the unit. My students enjoy dropping water on bricks, wood, sand, and other surfaces and making observations. They are always surprised when the water piles on the wood, or soaks through a brick. Hands-on-Science is the best!!

Hearts for Haiti

Every year our school does one large, school-wide fundraiser. This year we were going to raise Pennies for Peace. Based on the #1 New York Times Bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School At A Time, by Greg Mortenson, children the world over have been earing, saving, and donating pennies to other children. Through there actions children on both sides of the equation are connecting with one another.
As I said, we were going to do pennies for peace. The catastrophic earthquake and the resulting damage and destruction led us to change our focus to assist those people in a more immediate crisis. After discussing the earthquake with my fourth graders they decided to "sell" hearts for Haiti. For one dollar, students could purchase a heart. They could then decorate the heart or write a wish for the Haitian people on it. We have formed the smaller hearts into large hearts as seen here. So far, we have four large hearts. I am so proud of my students for the care and concern they show others.

Spring Pushes Through

After a record breaking winter of snow, ice, and more snow (Which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way!) March has arrived. Unfortunately, March is my least favorite month of the year. Save for St. Patrick's Day and the rare Easter, there are no holidays in March. The weather is no longer winter crisp and clear with hopes of snow. Yet, it also isn't yet warm. March is the month of mud. The month of brown from winter and not yet green of spring. March is morose. Have you gotten the sense that I dread March?!
For all its faults however, March is usually when the daffodils start to poke through the just thawing soil. No one has told them that the nights are still cold and the risk of frost remains for another six weeks. And somehow, even if they could be warned, I know they would soldier on. For daffodils, like no other flower, embody the hope that beats within us all. We know that it will get better. The sun will come out tomorrow, or the next day.
To paraphrase Petula Clark (Downtown) When you're alone and life is making you lonely, you can always get daffodils.


Monday night I had the chance to see the Wolftones - again - with some dear friends. We can't remember if we have seen them four or five times in the 20+ years we have known each other. One thing is certain, we always have a grand time.
The venues have changed over the years, but the songs remain the same. Everyone knows all the words and singing along is encouraged, even expected. It is amazing seeing people in their early twenties singing along with those in their sixties and up. This group transcends gender, generation, and time.
Céad míle beannachta