Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share

Playground Artists / Bakers

Have you heard of Anka Zhuravleva?  She has a series of distorted gravity photographs that I quite like. 

Jeff Wolin's Pigeon Hill series is at Pintura Gallery right now.  Husbandman and I will see these amazing Then and Now photos of people who lived on the Hill.  Some still do.  The photos and stories are amazing.  Please look at them now. If you want.

I've been taking more photos lately.  Here's a picture of a beautiful dogwood tree. Spring is in the air right now and the creativity of the planet is stunning.  Way to get it done, Planet. 
 Thursday Creativity Share.  Photographs to check out.  Some by me.  Some by professional photographers.  Let's reach up and give myself a pat on the back.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Confirmation

I've been asked to give some confirmation that I actually found morels in the wild.  I'm not offended by this request.  It shows that I'm considered a journalist of the highest caliber. This photo should do the trick. These are the feet of Nancer, who brought me on the magical mushroom tour.  I'm afraid I can't really tell you where we went, because now that I'm in the special club of morel mushroom finders, I know the importance of secrecy and subterfuge.  Here's another photo of the glorious morel in the wild.  As you can plainly see, it's one of the most immense morels in the land.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


It's #TwinTuesday.  Pen and Coaster. Nice, right?  Somehow we just keep getting the job done.  Because we care.

Big news.  Went for a hike with Nancer yesterday and got some photos of MORELS. IN THE WILD.  That's been one of the goals of my life.  So let's check that one off.  THANKS, Nancer!  And by the way, Nancer is guardian to a dog named Chloe.  This dog knows how to live, my friends.  Dashing this way and that.  Always on the lookout for mischief.  Super content with herself.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Authenticity

My writing project is back on the table these days, involving lots of emails, nonsensical anxiety, talks with the editor, and a weekend full of rewriting.  Because I focused on the writing project, I did not get a few important teacher tasks done over the weekend. I think it was a fair trade because I've been working a lot on school this past month.  A. LOT. The Thirdlanders will be understanding.  They always are.

Case in point.  I told them last week that I was starting to worry that I wasn't going to make my ukulele goal of playing You Are My Sunshine to them by the end of the school year.  "Don't worry, Dr. H.," said a Thirdlander, kindly.  "If you don't learn it by the end of May, we can all meet at a park this summer and you can play it for us."  In some ways, you might say they're overly understanding.  That one kind comment had the unexpected result of motivating me to hustle with the ukulele learning.  There you go.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Woods

Not a huge musical fan, not going to lie.  But I did enjoy Into the Woods last night.  The music was jaunty and the pace was quick.  I liked that 3 different stories were usually going on at the same time.  I liked that the singers had incredible voices.  I liked that #1 Son was in the pit playing away on his big old bass.  The only thing that would have made the musical better would have been a big screen somewhere on the set, showing #1 playing the bass throughout the show.  Next time, try to get on that, IU Theater.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Best

Technically, I'm not really sure I'm doing my best right now, let alone forgetting the rest.  We started state testing yesterday. We have 5 more days of testing.  I hate the people who wrote this test.  I wish they could be tasered a few times, I really do.  Someone needs to tase some sense into them.

Whenever I say I hate something, my sister says, "Don't hate."  I think she's right.  This hating doesn't get anyone anywhere.  Maybe if I try to communicate with the standardized testing people, they'll stop being morons and imbeciles and start supporting students in their learning.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share

Tomorrow a new exhibit opens in Chicago.  It features the cool sculptures of Liz Larner.  Please look at a Liz Larner sculpture right here and right now.  I will be going to Chicago this summer and I plan to see this exhibit.  You're probably wondering why I'm going to Chicago.  Well, come to find out, #1 son has been invited to be part of the Ravinia Music Festival's Steans Music Institute.  Only 15 people are invited from around the country, so I think that's PDA (pretty darned awesome).

Another thing I'm going to see is this Doing Our Own Thing exhibit, which features photography of Back to the Landers in Canada in the 1970s.  We'll be traveling to Prince Edward Island in early June, so that should be a perfectly feasible thing to do. I want to go back to the land and I keep thinking of building a tiny house, so this might give me a few ideas.

Also, 20 Something has a new blog post.  These only come around every once in a long while, so I think you'd better jump on this opportunity STAT.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Art exhibits.  Blogs.  Proud Parent.  Photograph of Natural Resources artistically assembled.  It doesn't get much better than this.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Resources

Yesterday I told the Thirdlanders a little bit about the economy.  We went over some key terms and then I proposed that we go outside.  Act like producers, I told them. Make some goods. The great thing about this crew is the directions didn't phase them at all.  They were ready to go.

On our way out, one Thirdlander asked where we were heading.  I said, "Over on the other side of the creek."

"Good idea, Dr. H." he said.  "There are way more natural resources over there."  Then he zipped off to collect some rocks and sticks to produce goods.   Not everyone was producing goods.  I saw some Thirdlanders hitting trees with big sticks.  But most of the Thirdlanders seemed to be producing goods.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


It's #TwinTuesday.  I even made up a little song about it:

We've got a teacup and a spool of thread
We've got a teacup and a spool of thread
It's #TwinTuesday...
      Get Outta bed.

We've got a teacup and a spool of thread (3X)
It's #TwinTuesday ....

....Go earn your bread
....Why don't you use your head
.....That's what I said!

It's kind of nice to have a little song to sing with #TwinTuesday.  So, you're welcome for that.  I've got to do more song writing.  (Obv).  KC and I could duet on the #TwinTuesday numbers with fiddle and uke. The song has kind of a bluegrass/hiphop kind of vibe.

Also big news side note:  One of the top ten teaching moments ever happened yesterday when the Thirdlanders found Christo's Surrounded Islands on their iPads.  They'd never seen anything like it and cries of, "OH COME ON!" and "This is CRAZY!"  and "You are KIDDING me!" filled up the room.  I was literally jumping up and down with happiness.  Then we talked about the environmental, economic and aesthetic impact of this amazing piece of art.  Fun times. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Islands

I'm going to teach about Christo's Surrounded Islands today.  I got a gazillion awesome things from working at Downtown School, but one of the most awesomest was the focus on the Artful Learning curriculum model.  I've had a hard time organizing an Artful Learning unit this year because the work is time consuming and it takes me a long time to get good ideas.  But I really enjoy planning curriculum and Artful Learning ties in well with International Baccalaureate,  so yesterday I took the whole day to look at books, look at art and start fooling around with possible inquiry centers.  I'm not there yet, but I have a start.  I'm just going to be audacious and jump in with what I have.  Kind of a pilot unit that I can tweak for next year.

Lots of things weren't done yesterday because I was learning about Christo, fair trade, goods versus services, Bloomington employers, and clean water for the planet.  Let's face it though.  Those are all good things to learn about.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Sleep

We discussed an article about getting enough sleep in the recent Time For Kids.  Come to find out, a new study shows that having electronics in your room may result in getting less sleep than you should.  Some people leave the telly on or keep their tablets tuned to something interesting and that's impacting sleep. Both adults and kids are doing this.  But here's the thing. The Thirdlanders insist that books and homework should also be listed as causes of lack of sleep.  I felt sad when they kept bringing up homework as a problem with getting to bed on time.  I always believe I don't give that much homework, but I probably do. From all reports,  I'm keeping small children up at night and that has to stop.  I'm sorry Thirdlanders. I have this week's homework packet ready to go.  Let's call this packet the final packet of the school year????

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Greening

Mushroom /Photo Credit:  KR
One of the Thirdlanders is extremely talkative.  He talks to me when we're walking places even though we're not supposed to talk.  The problem is he's usually fairly interesting, so I get caught up in his sharing and then the Thirdlanders get rowdy in the hallway which is disruptive and reflects badly on me as a teacher.
Yesterday he walked next to me and asked, "What's your dream trip?"
I said, "Dream trip?  Hard to say.  There are so many cool places to see."
"Mine's L.A.," he told me instantly.  "Because my initials are L.A. So that's my dream trip."
Up until that moment, I hadn't realized that our dream trips tie in to the initials of our names. Come to find out,  my dream trip would be Lake Havasu and Husbandman would probably love Palm Springs or the Paris Suburbs.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share

So Christo's plan to install sheeting over 6 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado is meeting up with some resistance. But I like the idea and I wish I could go to Colorado to see it when it's ready.

Have you ever heard of String Bean?  I found out about him tonight.  He was a banjo player and he was on Hee Haw.  He played the song Lil Liza Jane in this video and that's a song I'm learning to play on the ukulele.  String Bean liked to wear his pants in a creative way.  Sadly, he was murdered by his cousins.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Christo's Over the River will be installed once legal issues are settled and it's going to be beautiful.  And then there's String Bean.  A comedian and country music singer with a pant wearing style that was ahead of his time.   Good stuff all around.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Wasp

Remember how I wanted the good kind of staple remover??? THANKS, NANCER!
So freaking irked and I'll tell you why.  The wasps are back.  Remember in fall how we had wasps and I actually got stung by one of them?  Well, they are back in true form.  For the past 3 days I've had a wasp flying around my classroom, wrecking every single lesson I've planned.  We did kill one, but yesterday and today we had another wasp just going to town in our room. All day I nagged the Thirdlanders to stop paying attention to the wasp.  I was really irked at them and even threatened recess denial for their total lack of concern for my fascinating lessons.  Finally I knew things were getting out of hand and I said, "Am I being unfair?  Give me feedback here.  Is it too much to expect you to ignore the wasp?" Basically they told me I was in fact being unfair because the wasp was frightening and they were scared it was going to sting them.  I was somewhat moved but honestly still irked. So then there was dismissal time and I had car duty.  Then I returned to the room where the wasp was flying around just like he owned the place.  I ignored him, but come to find out, he landed on my neck.  I tried to swish him away and he flew into my shirt and stung the holy heck out of my shoulder.  I screamed like nobody's business

So this is it.  I'm joining the Thirdlanders with the rejection of ANYTHING remotely LIKE education when wasps are in the room.  We will kill all wasps and we will take our time doing it.  We will spend all day talking about killing wasps and then actually killing them if that's what needs to happen to get to the bottom of this situation.  I'm mad as all get out.  Wasps, you brought this on yourselves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Here's the new instrument paired with a wedding ring.  Pleasant, yet poignant?  I believe so.

Today's a daunting day, I'm not going to lie.  But if I keep this image in mind as I move from task to task, maybe I can stay true to my goal of creativity and cheer.  I'll give it a try.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Mekons

We saw a documentary called Revenge of the Mekons last night.  Wish I could say I was one of the cool people who followed (and knew about) the Mekons.  Yes, I've heard of the Mekons, (don't worry yourself about that) but did I own their music? No.  Had I ever attended one of their raucous shows?  Again, no.  But now that I've seen this fine documentary do I admire them for their creativity, longevity, and brazen attitudes? In short, yes.

In conclusion, if you want to see a documentary about some cool people who do what they want to do, you should see Revenge of the Mekons if you feel like it.  Husbandman gives the film a 4 and I would give it a 4.5.  Husbandman says the film was "well made, kind of inspiring and made me wish I had been following the Mekons."  That ship hasn't sailed yet because the Mekons are still going strong, down their own path.  From now on, I'm going to be like the Mekons.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Uke

I bought a ukulele yesterday.  Now I'm going to work on learning how to play it.  #1 Son says I can sit in on some of his gigs once I get a few songs learned.  I'm working on You Are My Sunshine.  I love my ukulele so much.  It's the coolest ukulele ever made.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

El Deafo

The problems with a Half Marathon in town are varied.  First off, I suffer from a sense of sluggosity when comparing myself to all the runners, as I am wont to do.  B, we are right inside the route, so we're basically trapped at home for the morning.  All the drivers who didn't know to stay inside are lined up outside my house, waiting and waiting for a break in the action.  It's kind of amusing to see them there.

I sensibly stayed in my jammies and decided to read and drink coffee.  First I read a New Yorker piece about innocent people who have served time for crimes they did not commit. Can't stop thinking about this piece.  I even tweeted the link.  Next I started reading the amazing El Deafo. I couldn't put it down, so I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Incredible book.  If you want to read it, I think you really should.  It's a memoir about the author's experience with deafness. Truly inspired.

This week has been stellar.  The Thirdlanders and I did quite a few cool things together and I had a lot of fun.  I told them that the goal of the week was to make sure their teacher was having fun.  They seemed okay with it.  I love this crew as you know.  I've been disorganized of late, losing teaching materials right and left.  When I'm in a jam, I ask the Thirdlanders for help.  Invariably some amazing Thirdlander comes to my rescue and finds the supplies.  Yesterday I announced, after one such rescue, "That's it!  No one is going to 4th Grade.  I can't live without you!"

Most of the Thirdlanders chortled at this, but one said, "But Dr. H., we need our education."

I guess they're right.  But I really don't know what I'll do without them.  Even though we're into a great read aloud right now, I'm going to introduce the Double Readaloud plan because I must read El Deafo to them asap.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday Creativity Share (A Day Late and a Dollar Short)

We saw Bobby McFerrin play on Monday night.  He sang with the IU Jazz Vocalists.  #1 son played with the rhythm section.  Bobby McFerrin is probably one of the top 5 creative people in the known world.  He uses his voice to create musical scenarios never before witnessed. Highlight for us was the episode where he and #1 Son improvised together on a blues song.  I walked out of the Buskirk Chumley feeling I had been part of something wonderful.

Here's another cool thing.  Yesterday was "Futuristic Day" at school.  We made teleporter bracelets out of aluminum foil.  We also made laser rings.  We were ready for anyone and anything.  The future's obviously going to be great with the gadgets.

Thursday creativity share.  Bobby McFerrin and Quinn Sternberg.  Playing music together.  (There were other amazing artists present, but I mostly focused on those 2).  Bracelets made out of foil.  Well, well.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Pups

Yesterday we read about a problem in California.  Sea lion pups are coming ashore, starving and weakened.  People aren't sure why, but they're trying to help the pups.  It may have to do with warming ocean temperatures, that are causing the moms to go further out to sea to find food. It might be connected to El Nino. There have been sea lion epidemics in the past, but this one is far worse.

One thing I've noticed as we've been working more with Kids News articles is this: Kids don't have a sense that the government is in place to promote and maintain the public good.  I've done a pretty cruddy job with our state standards regarding government.  The National Ocean Policy Plan might be a good thing to talk about today.  There are some great ideas in the plan, but I'm wondering if the plan is really being put into place.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


#TwinTuesday is a bell and a tennis ball.  Sitting together like old chums.

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Behavior

News update.  Center for Disease Control says that behavioral therapies should be used more often than they are for people who have ADHD.  Come to find out, we jump on the medication bandwagon and behavioral therapies aren't even tried.  So I started reading about behavioral therapies because people I know don't seem that interested in either medication or behavioral therapies.

So basically it's all about task management --- breaking stuff down into steps, adding on some time limits.  The article pointed out that behavioral therapies for ADHD take years to impact behavior, so that kind of relieves any pressure I might feel to improve quickly or to help others improve quickly.  We're all going to take our time about this situation.  There are 2 projects I'm avoiding right now so I'm going to put some behavioral therapies in place.  That could be a goal for all of us this week.  Break stuff down into steps.  Set the timer every once in awhile.  We won't see results, but we're doing the right thing.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Staples

There's a good kind of staple remover and that's not the kind I own.  I own the bad kind.  I went to three "office supply" stores yesterday and none of them had the good kind.  Sold out.  Because everyone's buying the good kind.  Supply and demand, people.  Case in point.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Return

Geez Louise, Not sure what happened this week.  One moment I'm living and blogging each moment and the next I'm stymied, sullen and struggling for words.  Nancer gave me a good talking to today and straightened me out.  When I told her I had no ideas for my blog this week and couldn't even think of one creative thing for Creativity Thursday, she ran through a list of topics in 30 seconds that all would have been great:  Our IDIOT governor, #1 Son's Birthday, one sentence about not feeling like writing.  This is why Nancer is one of the great writing teachers of our age.

On this beautiful Saturday I'm feeling more upbeat.  I have less than 40 teaching days left and they're all going to be boldly audacious.  Husbandman and I walked along Ted Turtle Trail today and hopped over a chattering creek.  We skyped with 20 Something in the morning and there was laughing.  Also #1 Son turned 21 today at 8:30 am and we are heading out for a birthday dinner at a favorite eatery.  I don't have 2 children any more.  I have 2 adults.  WILD!

I could have written about my somewhat upsetting run in with boar glue.  I could have written about the new Frida Kahlo exhibit in Detroit.  I could have written about my fabulous book club book. I could have written about the clean up dance parties we've been having in Room 200.  I'm not sure exactly what happened, but this much I know.  I'm back in the game.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...