Saturday, February 27, 2010

a SMART classroom

It seems like I never win any raffles or drawings. I always watch other people get excited over their new unearned prize. Well, No more! This year I was one of two teachers to win a SMART board in a schoolwide drawing. After patiently waiting four months for the promised wonder gadget, it finally arrived! We are having a blast getting to know it. Many schools around the country have already been using them, so there are lots of interactive websites to utilize. If you are not familiar with a SMART board, they are a giant interface with the computer's 'desktop' Instead of using a mouse or trackpad, you use your hand or 'pen.' The really handy thing for education is that you can build transparencies over any screenshot and then save them. The one drawback in a class of fifty-six students is that only one person can interface at a time. For now, the novelty of the technology is enough to hold their attention.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A day in George's city

I hope that it is OK to celebrate George Washington's birthday in George Vancouver's city. Instead of our annual Big White ski vacation, this year we did a Dutchman's Olympics day. In addition to celebrating Bjorn's birthday, we watched a lot of the Olympics and went to Vancouver one day to take in some of the free sights. We spent a long day in the city doing the tourist thing. Leaving Lynden in a downpour, we expected the worst in weather; but were blessed with sunny skies. It was quite a challenge to keep 15 people moving in the same direction and not losing each other in the crowds. We spent much of the evening watching the big screen at David Laim Park. We felt a little out of place cheering the USA on in the midst of a Canadian crowd. At 11:30 at night the line at the The Hudson Bay Olympic store was short enough for us to do some souvenir shopping before catching the skytrain back to Surrey. Some of the group also went to Abbotsford on Saturday to watch Russian figure skating practice. It was nice to be close to all the action, though the event coverage is a lot better on a couch at home than the streets of Vancouver.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

War on thorns

I feel like I did battle today. The enemy has left me scratched and weary from a day of combat. Blackberry vines can reach 20 feet or more. Once you slice them, they come back to get you again and again, until you finally subdue them by reducing them to footlong sticks you can trample under foot. The battle with these Northwest pests came as a necessary step in my occasional tree cutting routine to protect our view. Now is the time to do the nasty chore, while winter has the foliage somewhat sleeping. I now have a chainsaw at my disposal as a neighbor bought a new one and made a deal that he would keep it up for us, if I would do the grunt work for both of us. The weather felt more like Spring as I hacked and sawed my way to the cliff. Well, I got a good start on the war and am licking my wounds.