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It’s a Battery Conspiracy…

Within a high tower of glass the last light of the day reflecting from its surface upon the city below we find the boardroom. The lights are dimmed so that identities of those around the table are hard to distinguish. Smoke curls from Cuban cigars clutched between jewel encrusted greedy fingers. A hand snakes out of the darkness at the head of the table and grasps a glass filled with an aromatic Glenfiddich 50 Year Old. He raises it in salute, “So, do we have a deal?” The others raise their own glasses and intone “We have a deal; toys will be made with an odd number of batteries required. And for each one sold you will send us a very large check each quarter.” All but one finishes their drinks and shuffle off into the darkness of the boardroom, the lights from the hallway spilling in as they open the doors and exit. The leader tops up his glass and sinks back into the cushions of his throne, “Now everyone must buy more batteries to fill the void of the missing one…”

Is it me or have kids toys started requiring odd numbers of batteries as of late? Normally you would open up the back of a toy and have to put in 2 or 4 or more batteries; but it was always even numbers. And even though it might have taken more than 2 batteries it was always okay because they were sold in even numbers. When I go to the store there they sit on the shelf or hang from hooks, packs of 2, 4, 8 or more. I don’t see packs of 3, 5 and 9 anywhere, have you?

But so far this week I have opened up the back of 2 different toys and have been faced with 3 batteries required. THREE! WTF… my battery reserves were low already. My pack of 24 only had 2 remaining, so the hunt for the odd battery began. Into the battery box I went, a repository of the left over and button batteries that accumulate over time. But due to the odd number required in my kids toys all the extra AA’s had been used up already. And so it seems that for now I must go and buy more batteries…

So enough for now…as some other sparkly has my attention…till next time…OH SO SHINY…

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A teachers perspective…

This is a message from my wife, a BC teacher.  Comments will be moderated and I will remove those deemed asinine…

Friends and Family,
If you have not already blocked me or “unfollowed me,” PLEASE READ this one last post before you do. It comes from MY heart.

I am a teacher. I LOVE teaching, LOVE my class, and LOVE my students (maybe not every moment of every day, but that wouldn’t be realistic). I even LOVE my school, my coworkers and my principal (yes, it is hard to believe, I know).
I worked hard to become a teacher. I was never satisfied with “just getting through,” but needed to be the best. Even now as a more veteran teacher, I work hard to do the best I can do and to be the best that I can be. I know that I can always do better. I want my lessons to be exciting. Actually, I want my lessons to be life altering. But no matter how hard I work at home and in the classroom, I will never be able to really do my job properly. Just typing this brings tears to my eyes. It KILLS me that I cannot be everything and do everything for my students. No matter what I do, I am not enough.
Let me talk about my Grade 1 classes. I have taught this grade at my school long enough to know that though students change, the composition of my class remains generally the same. I average around 22 students (some years more). I should consider myself lucky that I am not always filled to 24. As a Grade 1 teacher, I rarely have students that start the year with any special needs categories or designations. That means that I don’t qualify to have any extra support in my class. I alone need to meet everyone’s needs AND teach them all how to read, write, add and subtract.
In every class I have taught, there are always 2-4 students who will struggle academically. I try my best during every pencil to paper activity to sit at a back table with them (and anyone else who is having trouble with the concept being reviewed). These students will often do nothing unless I am there to guide them step by step through every worksheet, journal and project. They don’t do anything independently because they legitimately can’t. I do my best to meet their needs.
In the same class I will have 3-4 capable students who are unable to focus without someone constantly keeping them on task. These students also need me to sit with them in order to get any work done. If I don’t repeatedly refocus them, writing 4 sentences can take a full day. I also work hard to provide these students (along with my whole class) with a wide variety of physical breaks throughout the day. I do my best to meet their needs.
Still in the same class, I will have 1-2 students who are behavior challenges. They usually have trouble controlling their emotions. When they are upset or angry, they can sometimes hurt others. I even had a 6 year old who threw chairs. Usually, though, they just hit, kick or say mean things. These students are dying for my attention. They act out because their basic needs in life aren’t being met. Some are hungry, some are dealing with difficult issues at home, and some are lonely. There are so many reasons that they are hurting, but they need me to help them. I need to stay near these students so that I can intervene before they hurt someone or they disrupt their neighbours (or the whole class). These students get the most of my time and energy because they DEMAND it. I do my best to meet their needs.
This class also has 1-2 very quiet and insecure students. These students do their best to fade into the background. They want to avoid attention. They will say nothing even when they don’t understand what is being taught. They are hesitant to join me at the back table when I am providing small group help. They don’t want to “bother me.” I try my best to get to these students at their desk to see how they are doing. Sadly, I rarely make it there before it is time to move on to the next subject. But I do my best to meet their needs.
Every class also has 1-2 students who are “brilliant.” These are not always naturally gifted students, but are sometimes students who work very hard to be the best. These students are bored to tears as I review “C-A-T” or how to “add 1” in math. They need to be challenged. Realistically though, they are only 6 years old and still require that I spend time with them to go over any more challenging work and to be available to answer their questions that come up. They cannot be independent. I rarely have time to spend with these students because there are so many more in the class who need me. I do my best to meet their needs.
The rest of my students are the neglected group. They are capable students who can usually get their work done in the allotted time. They have better control over their emotions and have more refined social skills. It may sound like these students are doing fine without me, but they also need me. They need me to comfort them when their cat dies. They need me to acknowledge their successes, even the smallest triumphs. They need me to take an interest in their lives. They need attention. Sadly, I do not always have time to touch base with each of these students on a daily basis. I do my best to meet their needs.
BCTF is my union. The union is helping me fight for more. Yes, I really do think I deserve a raise. Prices for gas, power, food, everything is going up. I work hard and I have a stressful job. I provide an essential service.
But the union is helping me fight for more than that. We are fighting for an educational system that will actually help teachers meet the needs of students. I WANT to meet the needs of each one of my students. They all deserve to have their needs met. I need to have smaller classes. I need to have support for my distracted students, my struggling students, my quiet students, my behavior students, my “brilliant” students, and my average students. I need a librarian that can work with me to teach information literacy and the love of reading. I need a learning assistance teacher who has enough time to come into my classroom and help meet the needs of my most at risk students (so that I can try to meet everyone else’s needs). I need to know that support staff will be replaced when they are home sick.
But the union is helping me fight for even more than that. We are fighting to restore 2002 funding to our schools. Imagine how much cheaper everything was in 2002. Our school boards are being crippled by a government that requires it to make cuts to meet unrealistically low budgets. We live in a “have” province, yet our school districts are given $1000 LESS per student than the national average. I need to have a school budget that actually allows me to buy art supplies and materials for science experiments. I need to be given enough school supplies to last the entire year. I need a full-time custodian who can help us keep our class clean and safe. I need computers that are up-to-date enough to perform required tasks (my classroom computer is so old that it is unable to connect to the internet). I need to have textbooks and materials that reflect the current curriculum. I need to have a globe that includes Nunavut. I need to have hands-on materials and games needed to make learning fun and active. I need a hot lunch program to feed my students who are hungry. I need Kleenex and Band-Aids that stick.
So before you remove me from your FB wall, please take a moment to think about what you would want for your children, your grand-children, your nieces and nephews. Then, tell the government that it is time that teachers are given the working conditions needed to meet EVERY student’s needs.

Yes, I am still alive…

August 9, 2013 2 comments

If anyone is still following this blog I just have to say once again, sorry,  a daily blogger I am not…

I tend to find that life gets in the way of posting more often than not. That and I tend to not have much to say, at least not much that won’t get me in trouble… I have been posting a few photos over on my Flickr page instead of on here as of late. So if you want to see some of the new pictures head on over there for a peek:

black-im-on-flickr

Other than that it has been all work and some play. Big car show tomorrow in town so I am hoping to fill up the memory card(s) on the camera. Don’t know if the 37 Celsius weather will be all that fun on the blacktop, but you gotta do it now and then. Considering I work outside most of the time now I think I’m getting use to it.

spartanracelogo

Still trying to get into better shape for my Spartan Race in September. I’m doing better than I thought I would so far, but… I see many Burpees in my future…

Doing some push-ups here at the house and all I can hear is my elbows crackling as I work out…I’m getting old and those dang Glucosamine / Chondroitin supplements that I am taking are not doing a damn thing. Sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies® in the morning when I stretch…SNAP! CRACKLE! POP!

So enough for now…as some other sparkly has my attention…till next time…OH SO SHINY…
D.

Need more Bug Spray…

So on Thursday I took my camera into work as we had a robins nest in the rafters of one of our shops awnings. There are 4 of the little ones in that little nest. Mom and Pop have been keeping busy feeding them and keeping watch. Might try drawing this one later, but I will change the rafters into a tree trunk or something…

Four young-lings in that nest

Four young-lings in that nest

That adult robin was just sitting there eyes closed now and then rocking back and forth, wonder what it was thinking… We got four, maybe the noisy one fell out of the nest, ya that’s it… sleep, need sleep…

Feed Me!

Feed Me!

I have to say my work phone’s camera does a pretty good job on the macro front… Found out it is a Sculptured Pine Borer

Taken with HTC One phone...

Taken with a HTC One phone…

Headed out to one of the local lakes for a bit of a tour and got a few pictures in, had some loons on the lake but they were staying out of camera range for me. One day I will get a good loon photo, one day… I had doused myself in Off Bug spray but I must have an old can, because I had to re-spray 2 other times, the mosquitoes are bad this year with all the rain as of late, lots of pools of water for breeding grounds. I was trying for some pictures of some warblers but had to get out of the area as the pictures were being wrecked by the swarm in front of the lens.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Columbia Spotted Frog

Columbia Spotted Frog

Female Blue Bird

Female Blue Bird…from Thursday

Spring Azure

Spring Azure

Spring Azure #2

Spring Azure #2

See the fish?

See the fish?

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Lakeside Tilt Shift

Lakeside Tilt Shift

The next photo was about the half way point around the lake, which is when I checked my time remaining from the kids normal nap time period. And dang was I running late, so I packed up the camera, cinched everything tight and did the rest of the trail at a fast jog. Missed a few picture ops, but them are the breaks. Made it back home soon after they all got up from their nap.

Lakeside Path

Lakeside Path

Kids got me an early Fathers Day gift, works quite well, but a touch finicky with the throttle control, it is kind of all or nothing, and my ceiling can’t take anymore all’s… might have to find some time to try this outside… I get about 10 minutes of flying time, might be a bit longer if it didn’t have all the lights on it, not like I would fly this thing at night.

New Toy

New Toy

So enough for now…as some other sparkly has my attention…till next time…OH SO SHINY…
D.

Weekend adventure…

It was a busy weekend. Out and about for pictures and Geocaching. Took my one daughter out Geocaching and while out we came across this lone deer. We could have gotten closer but my daughter has a nasty dry cough at the moment, which let the deer hear us a long way off; was amazed it stuck around as long as it did. Was hoping for a bit more of a reaction from my daughter on her first close-up with a wild deer but I think the wildlife park has ruined her.

Daughters first Deer in the wild.

Daughters first Deer in the wild.

I could hear the little one(s) screeching inside the nest when momma showed up with a snack…

Female Kestrel with snack

American Kestrel
American Kestrel watching from nest
Anise Swallowtail

Anise Swallowtail

I just liked the colour on these, I don’t even know what type of bush it is.

Berries

Berries

Cactus in Bloom

Cactus in Bloom

Noisy buggers…

Cicada

Cicada

Cicada #2

Cicada #3

Molted Cicada Skin

Molted Cicada Skin

This little one just screams cute…

Smile!

Smile!

Did a tilt-shift and a photo merge for this one, worked out pretty good I think.

BC Lions Fan Day

Tilt shift

Rockscape

Rock-scape

Flowers in the meadow

Flowers in the meadow

Still playing around with some of the pictures, tried something different…too weird?

Seeds

Seeds

Seeds #2

Seeds #2

So enough for now…as some other sparkly has my attention…till next time…OH SO SHINY…
D.

Model Airplane – Air Show…

Took the kids out to see the local Model Airplane Club’s Air Show. So many cool toys, none for me though… So it was a bit hard to take lots of photos when keeping an eye on the kids. Once they were back home for naps I headed back out to try my hand at some fast shutter speeds. Some of these planes can sure pull off some sick tricks, alas one had a technical failure and hit the hill hard, I have a photo but I won’t be posting it out of respect as it was one sweet machine. The owner was just looking at his controller with that universal WTF look on his face.

Here are some of the pictures from today along with one photo-merge that I put together.

Yes it is vertical and hovering...

Yes it is vertical and hovering…

Smoke Show

Smoke Show

Bi-Plane

Bi-Plane

Close-up with background windsock...

Close-up with background windsock…

I'm calling it Red Devil...

I’m calling it Red Devil…

Red Devil

Red Devil

Royal Navy

Royal Navy

Photo-Merge...

Photo-Merge…work in progress…

Was able to complete the Stunt Photo-Merge…The sky around the first plane was not matching to well, took a bit to get it to blend.

Completed Photo-merge

Completed Photo-merge

So enough for now…as some other sparkly has my attention…till next time…OH SO SHINY…
D.

Back to the Lake…

So the morning began with 2 quick geocaches with my one daughter, as my other daughter went shopping with mom. I gave both girls a real pair of binoculars today for their adventures, so during our geocache trek my daughter kept a look out for “muggles”. I wonder if Rowling knows the term is used for non-geocachers… Once we got back to the house they all took off for a play date and I did some quick house cleaning before taking off to get some pictures. I headed out to a small lake that I have not been to in a while to see what I could find. Unfortunately the weather got cloudier and cloudier as I made my way out, yet it remained a rather harsh light, almost like a sky full of florescent bulbs. Reviewing a few of my pictures the histogram showed a lot of blown highlights but to change the exposure enough to compensate would have made all the photos useless; I tried a few test shots to make sure even. It was an all or nothing kind of day exposure wise. It was very busy at the lake with anglers and hikers but I was still able to sneak in one geocache without being spotted. You know it is nice weather and hiking time for me when I come home with my legs all scratched up from bushwhacking, I like it!

Got a few pictures from the day, but I am always looking for feedback and shooting tips/suggestions, lots to learn here.

Spotted the House Finch and the Pine Siskin on the way up to the lake…

House Finch

House Finch

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin

Pro-Tip for the fishermen: If your old motor is so noisy that it is scaring all the wildlife around the lake, it is also scaring the fish! Buy a nice electric one. Also, I could row faster than that thing is pushing you and it’s not that big of a lake…

Fishermen

Fishermen

Common Goldeneye #2

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Dandelion Snack

Dandelion Snack

Dandelion Snack #2

Dandelion Snack #2

Still trying to figure out if its a toad or a frog...

Still trying to figure out if its a toad or a frog…

Moss on Log

Moss on a Log

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

When I took these pictures I knew I was going to HDR the heck out of them for some reason…

Path in the Woods - HDR

Path in the Woods – HDR

Dead-fall - HDR

Dead-fall – HDR

Stump - HDR

Stump – HDR

So enough for now…as some other sparkly has my attention…till next time…OH SO SHINY…
D.

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