Science on youtube

There are a couple Youtube channels I keep an eye on. They’re both science related.

One is Michael here Stevens of Vsauce. While not strictly science, his videos are highly educational and entertaining. He answers everything from why “bad words” are bad to “Is the Earth really flat?” With 9 and half million subscribers, He must be doing something right.

The other is Derek Muller’s Veritasium. Born in Australia, moved to Canada as a kid, then moved back to Australia to do his PhD at Sydney University. His videos are all based on science and engineering and are also very educational. He understands how we learn and his videos are conducive to the methods he studied in his PhD.  He has a following of nearly 3 million. He covers everything from the truth of the swirl in the southern hemisphere to explaining the magnus effect.

Crash and Bang are currently obsessed with Minecraft parodies. These silly songs are all about minecraft, however, they’re sung to the tune to currently popular songs. Like Maroon 5’s Animal becomes “Craftable”. Or Eminem’s Friends with a Monster becomes “Friends with a Creeper”. We (meaning I) put a few of them on the cell phone so the boys could listen to them in the truck. The tough part is checking them to make sure they’re okay. None of these songs have swear words. There was one song (The Creeper Rap) that sings of blowing up blocks like Al Qaeda and being a suicide bomber. That’s what a “Creeper” is in minecraft, but the boys don’t need to be hearing about such bombers. There’s a ban on that song in our house, now.

What do you watch on YouTube? Is there a particular channel you follow? Are you on YouTube? Feel free to leave a link to your channel in the comments for us to check out.

Our Little Geek

Today is report card day. I am always impressed by how much work goes into these things here. In Virginia we simply put the student’s grade and comment or two from a drop down menu. Talks too much. Pleasure to have in class. Needs to turn in more homework. Great job! That kind of thing. Not here. Here, there are paragraphs written about each subject that was studied. It’s a three page report!

Crash’s first report card last November was shining. All A’s and one B. He also nearly had straight C’s (C is for constantly which means he was able to do the task all on his own). Though he did have one P (which would be for prompting. He was able to do what was needed after being asked to do it a couple times. Fortunately, he only had the one P because if he were like me he would have had A LOT more). I wonder what what kind of grades his teacher will give him he will earn this time around? Check back this evening and I’ll let you know.

For those checking back, the report card has arrived. We have tried to set high standards without applying too much pressure. I think we’re succeeding. He doesn’t seem stressed about it at all. Then there’s that consistent B in speaking and listening. He’s 7, he doesn’t listen to much of anything other people tell him unless it involves video games, farts, or the Lego Movie. On the flip side, his interaction with others – being positive, resolving conflicts, and working collaboratively – is outstanding. He’s a people person who strives to please. Room for improvement? Of course. Are we proud? As punch.

A Reptile Adventure

Little Rays Reptile Zoo is a rescue Zoo. You can read their blog here. Most of the animals they have are unwanted pets. Pets that people gave up, had illegally, or were rescued. They have an outreach program where they bring the zoo to you, show you the animals and provide some fascinating facts. Not wanting Crash and Bang to miss this opportunity, we opted for the first show at 6:00 because we figured the second show at 7:15 would be too late for Bang who is usually in bed at 7:30 (as is his brother). It was pretty busy and they were excited. As were all the other kids who were up running around and couldn’t keep their voices to a dull roar so we could hear the presentation. The teacher in me was going berserk! Who brought the monkeys to the reptile show?

Anyway, back to the show. We got to see some animals we wouldn’t otherwise get too see. She began the show with this little furry critter…

Chilli the Chilean Tarantula

Chilli the Chilean Tarantula

It was tough to get a good picture of him because she wouldn’t hold still long enough. But you can see here he’s about the size of the palm of your hand. Poisonous? Yes, but not really to humans. She said Chilli’s bite would ruin your day, but it surely wouldn’t kill you. In our household, we like spiders. But this “little” guy takes it to a whole new level. She then brought out a scorpion. I don’t even have a blurry photo of it let alone a good one. Again, it was poisonous, but not enough to kill you. She told us it would have to sting you ten times to equal one bee sting.

Coaster the Tortoise

Coaster the Tortoise

Afterwards, she showed us Coaster, the tortoise (I forget exactly what kind). He’s named Coaster because when he was born, that’s how big he was, the size of a coaster you would use on a coffee table. When he’s full grown he’ll be the size of the coffee table. He’ll live to be about 100 and weigh 250 pounds. Coaster is currently the size of a soccer ball.


Mooshi – The bearded dragon

Then she moved on to show us the reptiles. First was a bearded dragon name Mooshi (Mushi?). I love bearded dragons and used to own 2 once upon a time – Shadow and Ezmeralda. *Note: fireflies are toxic to bearded dragons. I learned that first hand.* He was a fair size dragon and, of course, made me want to get another. They are extremely friendly, docile pets. Mine would curl up under my blankets to sleep when I would let her. Mostly, she just loved to hang out on my shoulder. They eat crickets and meal worms and tons of fruit and veggies. If crickets and meal worms were easier to come by, we’d have one!

Things wound up a bit more when she brought out a 6 foot albino rat snake.

Albino Rat Snake

Albino Rat Snake

Normally, these things are black. But being albino, he’s not. Obviously. I didn’t catch much of what she said about it as every kid in the place was oohing and awing. She did bring four kids up front to hold him. *Side note: this is where the teacher in me became frustrated. Did she pick kids who respectfully raising their hand from where they sat? No, she picked the ones who were jumping and shouting.*


IMG_0921 Cayman

Lastly, she brought out this little fella, a cousin to the alligator and crocodile, a cayman. He’s only about four feet long at the moment, but full grown he’ll be six feet. When first born they are often preyed upon by anacondas of the Amazon. However, those roles are reversed when the cayman is an adult.

Here, the show ended and the kids were allowed to come touch some of the animals. However, Crash and Bang missed out because instead of letting them rush the presenter with all of the other kids, we held them back in hopes of getting to touch and see them with less frenzy. She put the animals back in their travel containers and announced that the next show would start in about 5 minutes. Nearly everyone from that show had cleared out and seeing a smaller crowd coming in we opted to go ahead and stay for the next show as well as Crash and Bang were fairly well behaved. We are glad we stayed.

The second show had a smaller crowed and Crash and Bang got front row seats. We saw the tarantula, the scorpion and the turtle again. However, this time she brought out a new lizard. Instead of the bearded dragon, she had a green iguana named Izzy.

Izzy the Green Iguana

Izzy the Green Iguana

She said he wasn’t as green as usual because he was looking for a mate. His tail is used as a whip and if used properly will send you to the hospital for stitches.

Lastly, she brought out the snake. Only this time it wasn’t the rat snake from the first show. This snake, when born, was only as long as a pencil and as big around as your finger. Full grown he’ll be 300 – 400 pounds and as long as school bus. A reticulated python. I’m guessing this one was about 8 feet long. But he’s only 3 years old – same as Bang.

Bang petting the python

Bang petting the python

The Value of a Teacher

Our school year has 10 extra day built into it to accommodate for snow days. Teachers are paid by salary so they make the same amount whether those snow days are used or not. As of this writing, we have used 8 of those 10 allotted days and school boards are scrambling trying to decide if those missed days need to be made up. If they decide yes, then they need to figure out how. Continue reading

The Teachers…


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Teacher’s Pet.”

apple for teacher

Do you remember your first grade teacher? I do. Mrs. Rosemere. I wish I knew where she was now so I could tell her I’m a teacher now. I had a bad year of school the year before we had moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland. So here I was in a new school, in a new state with a new teacher and new kids to make new friends. While I don’t remember anything specific from that class 30 years ago, mom tells me I would have walked through Hell in a gasoline suit for Mrs. Rosemere. She helped me learn to love school.

Then in 3rd grade I had Mrs. Burton. My greatest and favorite memory about Mrs. Burton is that she made me feel good about myself. Each week she handed out what she called a “Super Sprout” award. It was basically a picture of a plantman for us color and she would hang on the bulletin board outside her classroom announcing to the school who her favorite best student was that week. Before lunch she told the class, “It’s someone who is not expecting it”. Of course, during lunch we’re trying to guess who it would be. No one guessed me. I didn’t guess me, either. So you can imagine my delight to find out it was me!

Then in high school I had two teacher I really looked up to, though neither one was my teacher. They were my coaches. Mr. Frey and Mr. Melchior. They both coached soccer and Mr. Frey coached wrestling. So every day after school for about 6 months of the school I’d spend 2 hours with either both of them during the soccer season or one of them during wrestling season. They demanded a lot from us but they did it in such a way that we’d look forward to it. They didn’t make us do anything they couldn’t themselves. Unfortunately for us, they could do A LOT!

Then in university, after enduring two years of undergrad requirements, I entered my field of study, teaching. Here I met my last two favorites, Dr. Ornstein and Dr. Bingman. It was a class of about sixty and they knew everyone by name. They took the time to get to know us. Nothing was sugar-coated, but they weren’t mean by any stretch of the word. Together they taught me to be the teacher I am today.

Lastly, though Crash has absolutely adored all of his teachers, I feel I need to mention his first “big kid school” teacher, Mrs. Kennedy. Others compared her to Mary Poppins. She would do pretty much anything for her students. If it was pyjama day at school she would wear her pajamas, bath robe, curlers in her hair, and the whole works. She created a superhero “Zero”, who helped the kids count to the hundredth day of school. Zero would drop off math assignments for the kids to complete. Then on the hundredth day, her husband would dress as a “Zero the Superhero” and come into their class.

As a teacher, I’ve gotten to work with some pretty amazing teachers. Who was your favorite?