Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentines for Dolphins

In trying to find some way for my 7th graders to come to the aid of marine mammals, mainly the dolphins who migrate along the coast of Japan, I came across a unique way to protest.  This week of Valentine's Day will be a week of demonstrations against the inhumane treatment of dolphins culminating with protests on Valentine's Day.  It is called World Love for Dolphins Day.  One way to let your students be involved without actively protesting outside an embassy is to send dolphin valentines to the Japanese ambassador in Washington.

My students had the option of making a valentine or not.  Here are some of the ones that were sent to make it there just in time for Valentine's Day.

I think that this helped my students with being able to actively do something and speak out.  The address to send your own valentines is:

Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae
c/o The Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C.
2520 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Can You Do About the Dolphin Hunt in Japan

On Monday this week I was bombarded by my students coming into class and talking about the dolphin drive in Japan.  The two questions that were asked the most were "Why?" and "How can we help?"  Seventh graders are sophisticated enough to demand good answers to these questions.

The "why?" is a very good question.  Japan wants you to believe they are some kind of tradition and therefore not something that should be changed.  The truth is these hunts were very rare until 1969.  There were only a few in the 1930's and 1940's.  The main driving force behind these hunts is money.  Some of the dolphins are sold into captivity for $150,000.00 or more.  The rest are either slaughtered for meat or returned to the sea without a great portion of their pod.  Some of the ones returned to the sea don't make it due to injuries or the loss of their mothers etc.  There has also been some talk that the killing is continuing because the dolphins themselves are seen as pests, and competition for fish.  In any case, the "why?" is very hard to understand.  These are unique social creatures who recognize their own reflection in a mirror, and have complex interactions with each other.  They may even have their own language.  It reminds me of a quote in the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, "Human reason can excuse any evil."  It appears the reasoning behind this evil is money, competition and so called tradition.

How You Can Help

There are a number of things you can do to help the dolphins in Taiji, Japan.  WAZA the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums could actually move to expel JAZA, Japan Association of Zoos the Aquariums because their members are violating their code of ethics.  Drive hunting is a true violation of this code.  To submit a letter to let WAZA know they need to clean up their act click here.

Boycott anything that showcases marine mammals and whale shows.  This includes Sea World and other aquariums and dolphinariums.  To take a pledge that you will never visit a dolphin or whale show click here.

Donate money to help the people on the frontlines in Japan here.
This helps monitor the cove and helps get translated copies of the documentary The Cove into the hands of the Japanese and other officials.  Caroline Kennedy had a copy of this.  Kind of makes you wonder how much it influenced her.

Educate anyone who will listen on the link between captivity and the slaughter in Taiji, Japan.  The Cove and Blackfish are great documentaries to tell your friends about.

Sign the petition and letter to world leaders to end the killing in Japan here.
They have reached their goal of 500,000 signatures but are asking for more before sending.

Share, share, share!  Tweet and share anything from this blog. Share this video as well.  
Tweet the hashtag #tweetfordolphins.  Get creative!  Make a video for You Tube about your views.  You could also share a video on Vine or Instagram.  Follow facebook pages like The Dolphin Project to stay current on what is going on.  

Telling my 7th graders what they can do is very empowering to them.  I would say that it is very empowering to their teachers as well.  I will do a follow up to this blog with more addresses and ideas as I find them.  Thank you for helping.



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!

Who needs black Friday when you have Cyber Monday?!  In this case it will be Tuesday also!  Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing their annual Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale.  Most of the top sellers will be on sale that day. My store will be a whopping 20% off plus the discount already given at the site.  You will get up to 28% off.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some Thanksgiving Lessons

Normally I am too busy to spend much time on lessons about Thanksgiving in my classroom.  This year, however, I have hour and a half classes and I am way ahead!  Our district always works the day before Thanksgiving, much to my dismay!  This year I have vowed to do a little lesson on how Thanksgiving came to be using this short film:
Then I think I will have a nice fun day by following it up with a nice free Thanksgiving Anagram worksheet that I have discovered recently.  You can find it at this wonderful Teachers Pay Teachers store here:
Thanksgiving Anagrams
This is a great anagram sheet because it's free and written for the middle grades.  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Class Dojo for Classroom Management

After sixteen years of teaching I have used the majority of classroom management techniques out there.  Basically most of them use a carrot and stick approach.  Students do the right thing and get the "carrot" or do the incorrect behavior and risk the "stick".  The "stick" could be anything from a negative to a detention or office referral.  More often the "carrot" is the more difficult thing to make appealing to a student. 

Enter "Class Dojo" a very interactive website and application for classroom management.  Class Dojo uses little monsters avatars for your students.  Your students can log in and change their avatar to a custom monster of their choosing.  My 7th graders liked this feature very much it was definitely a "carrot."  The program is very basic.  You choose positive and negative behaviors for your class and then reward or correct students during class.  You can project Class Dojo on a smartboard so that the class can hear and see when a positive or negative is received.  You can also have parents log in to Class Dojo to see how there child is doing or print reports which shows a pie chart of positives to negatives.

All and all, Class Dojo is a very smart techy way of managing the classroom.  I think it would would for very young children all the way up to middle school.  The website can be found here

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fun Summer Activity with Plants

It is very hard in Phoenix to actually get through the summer and figure out some fun things to do without baking too badly.  We function like you would if you were having a blizzard.  We basically stay inside all summer.  Unfortunately, the schools haven't figured out a better time for being on break around here!

My daughter and I were getting a little bored a few weeks ago and thought we should plant something in our planter.  We had some old pots that were left behind by the last people that lived in our house.  We basically turned the pot upside down and painted it to look like a little mushroom house.
We put this in our planter and planted an ice plant, sage, basil, and rosemary.  Then we made a little walkway out of polished stones, shells and sand.  I know this isn't really about middle school science but then you did want to know what teachers do with there summers, right?  Actually, I would say, using plants in a school setting is very powerful, especially if you have kids that are living in an urban setting.  They typically really love to germinate seeds and watch the magic of plant growth!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Word Wall Review

I was so busy at the end of the school year this year I couldn't blog for the life of me!  So I took a little break and I am now back at it!  I want to chat a bit about reviewing those words that are on our word walls at the end of the year.  In science we have about a zillion vocabulary words!  I keep a word wall up all year as we work through them.  At the end of the year, when I have no idea how to keep students engaged, we review these words using definitions and pictures.  My students did a book called The ABC's of Science this year to review our word wall.  Here are some examples of their work.

My 7th grade students seemed to like this review during the last couple weeks of school so I tweaked it a bit and made it into a product that could work for any vocabulary.  You could do the ABC's of Poetry, or the ABC's of The Hobbit!  I will be offering this in my store at a discounted price for the first week it is out so don't wait to grab this one!  It can be found at this link:

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