Thursday, August 24, 2006


The other night I watched a show on the Discovery Channel called the Stunt Junkies. An episode the other night featured someone trying to skate down a huge ramp, then jump onto a 30 ft. rail and "grind" himself over the edge of a cliff and into the Grand Canyon, where he would parachute to safety. Now I'm a big fan of The Darwin Awards and I'm all for stupid people removing themselves from the gene pool, but what irks me about this show is these people are promoted as "part scientist, part stuntman".

On the show I watched the big concern was that as the skateboarder transitioned from the ramp to the rail he might fall and not clear the rocky cliff on his way down, which is exactly what happened. Fortunately for him, he landed on his back on the rail and slid far enough down it to clear the rocks safely. Upon landing at the bottom of the cliff he had this conversation with the show's host:

Host: Dude!
Stunt Junkie: Dude!
Host: Dude!!
Stunt Junkie: Dude!!
Host: DUDE!
Stunt Junkie: DUDE!

Most of you are probably not aware that the word dude can be used to convey many different emotions, so for those of you who are not immature males here is a translation of the conversation above:

Host: Dude!! (That was quite spectacular, unfortunately I lack the vocabulary to express my feelings of excitement, even though I'm the host of a TV show)
Stunt Junkie: Dude! (That is quite alright my friend, as I am not capable of comprehending most polysyllabic words)
Host: Dude! (You must be relieved that your incredible good luck more than compensated for your lack of adequate planning, safety measures and overall good sense)
Stunt Junkie: Dude! (Yes, I am happy I did not bash my skull against the rocks)
Host: DUDE! (Will you be performing any future stunts that will result in a serious decline in your life expectancy?)
Stunt Junkie: DUDE! (Undoubtedly I'll be experiencing many future blows to my head that will result in a plethora of bad ideas on my part)

The hero of this episode took a helicopter ride back to the top of the cliff where he was greeted by the stunt coordinator who said, and I quote, "Dude"

Ever wonder why so many kids have such poor vocabularies?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Glurch, fun to make and fun to say

As classes make their first visits of the school year to my lab I try to give the kids something really exciting to work on to get them interested in Science. Last year I used Oobleck, which I couldn't use again due to the fact my 3rd graders had already seen it, so this year I went with something similar called glurch.

I had originally used this recipe, which called for either a mix of 50% water and 50% white glue OR water and boric acid, but I have found a combination of both works really well.

I let the kids mix the water and glue mix together, give them a discussion about the properties of matter and then have them mix the boric acid, which can be found in the laundry detergent aisle under the name "20 Mule Team Borax". You should have kids wear safety gear while creating the mix, as borax is an eye irritant. The mixture, when just right, will bounce like a superball and take permanent marker off of objects.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My 14th First Day

My 14th first day has come and gone and I have to admit it was a pleasant one.

Our school was absolutely immaculate, with floors polished till you could have eaten off of them. I didn't see even one student crying, which was a first for me. On the first day of school us teachers who don't have regular classrooms, called "the special pops" teachers, do foyer duty helping kids and parents find rooms and room assignments. We usually have a long line of parents who waited till the last minute to register their kids for school, but even that was absent this year.

I didn't have any Science lab classes, they will start tomorrow, and the 3 classes that came to computer lab were very well behaved.

The IT technician came by and made sure all the computers were working properly for the Read 180 teacher, and the even the head of the technology dept. stopped in and asked if all our computers were working.

My principal said everything went so well she was worried we'd have a really bad day to even things out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

All in all, we couldn't have asked for a better first day.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Texas Accountability Ratings Are Out

You can begin your search for your Texas school rating here.

My school received a rating of "Recognized", which is the 2nd highest rating. For more information about how schools are rated you can read the 2006 Accountability Manual.