Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Classroom Experience: The Word is "History"

I won't say what grade this was, but one of the vocabulary words this week is history. I was sitting with a small group of four or five kids during a reading class. And we were talking about what the word means...

The kids seemed to view history in terms of important events and leaders. I tried to explain that history also studies what life was like in the past.

"For example," I said, "Think about the first pioneers in West Virginia (where I teach) back 160 or 170 years ago. Do you think they ate much macaroni and cheese?"

The group all quickly agreed that that seemed unlikely. I asked what knowledge they had that led them to that conclusion.

"Because the microwave hadn't been invented yet," one child said. Everyone agreed.

Hmmm. I tried to think how to recover from that. I also looked at the clock and realized I had about 45 second left before I was due to leave this room for my next group of students, down the hall.

"Well, you know that people ate macaroni and cheese before the microwave...," I informed the students.

Facial expressions: shock and disgust.

"What did they do?" one student asked. "Did they eat it raw?"

I explained that you could cook macaroni and cheese on the top of a stove. My students were skeptical. And I decided I'd have to be more convincing on the subject at a later date. I excused myself and moved on to my next classroom.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bluebirds, Coffee Makers, Etc

Our annual bluebirds are back. They've been around for a few weeks. But last weekend there was nothing in the birdhouse and this weekend we have a full nest and four eggs.

This morning Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird are explaining to a group of tree swallows that they'll just have to live somewhere else. We've put up a second house. The two houses are about 100 feet apart. The tree swallows have ook in it. I don't know of the Bluebirds will tolerate a family a tree swallows that close...

In the past six years the Bluebirds have nested in our bird house five times and the tree swallows have succeeded in holding on it it just once.

I retired a coffee maker this morning . Maybe I should say "fired." We've been using Proctr Silas coffee maker because they are sold here in town and are cheap enough to be almost disposable. But they start off making a pot of coffee in about 15 minutes and they get slower and slower. The maker I retired today took 48 minutes to make its last pot of coffee. We'll see how long the new Black &Decker coffee maker lasts.

My cough is almost gone. It's been almost gone for a week or more. But it still goes through short but troubling moments of intensity that leave me heaving like a cat with furballs. Hope I get rid of this soon.