Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to School Sale

There is a huge back to school sale going on starting tomorrow on Teachers Pay Teachers!  There is a 10% discount by using code B1T1S1 when you check out and many teachers have their stores on sale for addition money off!  Here is the link to my store:

Gotta run to Staples for the .10 composition notebooks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Classroom Management in Middle School

Middle school teachers see a wide range of behaviors!  It is always better to plan to teach about behaviors you want to see than to let them happen and then try to fix the situation.  These are some guideline I follow:

1.  Teach procedures and rules during the first weeks of school and revisit them every day thereafter.
I will say something like, "Jenna how do we wait outside the classroom before coming in?"  I review like this every day and actually have a test over my rules and procedures the second week of school. 

2.  Don't yell.
Have you ever seen yourself yelling?  Not a pretty sight. However, middle school kids think it's funny and want to see it again!

3.  Teach skills.
We use a skill teaching program at our school.  The whole school teaches a skill a week.  We give steps for the skill so students know exactly what to do.  Here is an example of the skill of following instructions:

step 1.  Look at the teacher
step 2.  Listen to instructions
step 3.  Do what is asked right away.

4. Show interest in your students.
Students know when you don't care for them.  Show interest in them.

5.  Give incentives.
I use Collingwood's Cash in my classroom.  I also have punch cards for homework that work really well.  Kids still like incentives in junior high!
For more classroom management and a great linky party on the subject go to:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hobbit Crossword

Well I finally reread The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I am really looking forward to the movie that is now in production in New Zealand.  Peter Jackson is the director (thank goodness) after others that were interested in the movie dropped out.  I just got a look at the first day of filming which is posted on Peter Jackson's blog.  The sets are amazing!  He walks around the set of Rivendell and in some caverns where they most likely will film Bilbo's exchange with Smaug the dragon. 

What does this have to do with a crossword you ask?  While I was reading The Hobbit I made some notes on characters and such and created a crossword for the book.  At first I thought of doing more than one, but in the end I just went with a big crossword that covered the entire book.  Here it is with a very nice background:

You can find this crossword and many others at my store on Teachers Pay Teachers here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Might Be a Geologist if....

I was trained as a geologist so I will be commenting on some "You might be a geologist if..." statements to see if they are accurate!  Here it goes.

You might be a geologist if...

1.  You think recent events are anything that happened at least 100,000 years ago.
Yep this is right. 

2.  Your rock collection takes up more shelf space than your family photos.
True, I try to keep some family photos around too.

3.  You can pronounce molybdenite correctly on the first try.
True.  I think my first word was molybdenite!

4.  You don't think of "cleavage" the same way everyone else does.
Very true.  7th graders like this word!

5.  You have intentionally taken a 15-passenger van over "roads" intended for cattle.
My professors did this all the time.  It's called a field trip!

6.  You own more than half of the "Roadside Geology" books.
I actually own 3 of these but I wish I owned more. 

7. You feel compelled to examine the gravel in other people's driveways.
True.  My last post showed a rock in my grandmother's yard, actually.

8.  You think road cuts are tourist attractions.
Aren't they???

9.  Your map for your next road trip is marked with the locations of a series of interesting roadcuts.
True.  That's what the Roadside Geology books are for.

10.  You get upset when movies have glaring geological inaccuracies and point them out to everyone in the theater.
*cough*cough* Dante's Peak!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Trip to Nebraska & Interesting Fossil Finds

For those of you who follow this blog, I posted previously that one of my goals this summer was to travel to southeastern Nebraska and visit my grandparents and other family members that still live there.  I haven't been back for a long, long time and it was great to go back.  My grandmother was turning 85 and we had a nice birthday party for her.  Here is a picture of my cute grandma:

 Flying over eastern Colorado and Nebraska is not as exciting as flying over the Grand Canyon or even Sedona, Arizona, but it is interesting, however.  I always find it amazing how much land is farmed in this country.  There are fields as far as you can see as you fly over in an airplane.  Here is an aerial shot from my plane:

Family members on both sides of my family are connected in some way to family farms.  The farm on my dad's side has been sold, but my father's brother still lives on a piece of that land in Clatonia, Nebraska.  My mother's family still owns a farm that has been in our family for well over 100 years.  Her brother still farms that land in Wilber, Nebraska.  Here is a picture of the farm at sunset:

My uncle has found some pretty interesting things on his land, geologically speaking.  I never thought about Nebraska's geology that much, I'll admit.  I did all of my undergraduate work in the southwest, both geology and anthropology.  I did my masters through Mississippi State University but my field school was in Arizona.  I know Arizona's and New Mexico's geology like the back of my hand, and you must admit we have some fine geology here. 

  My grandmother and I were walking around her yard and I noticed a rock with many shells in it.  When I questioned her about where it came from my grandpa remembered it came from the farm. He was unsure why they were digging at the time the rock was found but he said there were so many you could have filled a truck with them.  Here is a picture of the rock:

 I knew it was a marine bivalve but I guess there was too much going on to think about it further.  If I had, I probably would have remembered that Nebraska hasn't had an ocean over it in a long, long time.  I started digging around about the geology of Nebraska when I got home.  It turns out that Nebraska hides it's geology under crops and farmland.  There aren't any Grand Canyons in Nebraska but there is an overwhelming amount of fossils there.  In fact, over one-third of the fossils in the Smithsonian's Hall of Mammals is from Nebraska!  It just so happens that the right aged rocks are exposed at the surface.  Our family farm rests on Cretaceous aged rock.  The fossils found there are marine because an ancient sea had transgressed over this area.  The end of the Cretaceous was 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs and many other animals died out!  That means that rock with the fossil pelecypod shells is very old indeed.  Here is a webpage that shows which rocks are exposed in Nebraska:

It also shows a geology time scale.  If you want to see the dates for the time periods you can click "show" by the dates. 

My uncle also has land near Fairbury, NE.  Fairbury has even older  rocks exposed and fossil leaves are often found there.  This is a site that shows this area and the rocks and fossils found near Fairbury you can click on the map and fossils for information:

Some of the leaf fossils in this area are probably near 100 million years old because they are found in the Cretaceous Dakota Formation.  That means the rocks with leaf fossils in them that my family has found on this land is incredibly old and very interesting to me.

There are also many Cenozoic fossils in Nebraska.  Mammoth and mastodon fossils have been found in 90 of 93 counties in this state.  I know more about invertebrate fossils than I do vertebrates but I would venture to guess that the bison skull my uncle found on his ranch is probably much older than a modern bison:

I am looking forward to going back to Nebraska, this time with my rock hammer, and really doing some fossil hunting!
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