Each third Saturday in September in California, the California Coastal Cleanup Day gathers thousands of people to help clean tons of trash from our beaches and waterways. The 2017 event occurred on September 16th.
If you missed September 16th, and can’t wait until next year, you can start today in without leaving your own property.
This spring, the SF Friends of Urban Forests (FUF) helped us plant sidewalk gardens in front of our house. FUF is great: They expedite processing permits through the City, scan the sidewalks for underground pipes, etc., then gather a bunch of volunteers to help with a morning of landscaping around the neighborhood (several neighbors of our had gardens installed on the same day as us). The cost to the property owner is minimal.
“What does this have to do with beach cleanup?” I hear you asking. Well, with the watering of the baby plants, I have noticed the amount of trash that collects in our gardens (used to just blow down the street). I’ve started to go out each evening when I get home from work and pick the trash I see in our gardens. Below are some photos of the trash collected over two weeks. I counted the cigarette butts, and came up with 39—that’s about 2.5 per day.
So, again, what does this have to do with beach clean-up. Well, I’m betting you can guess where all this trash would end up.
Some of it swept up by our weekly street sweepers (my neighborhood in SF has weekly street-sweeping).
Some of it swept up by other neighbors…and
some of it finding is way into the storm drains and eventually into the Bay.
So, I enjoy visiting my garden every day when I come home, and collecting a bit of trash, knowing that this trash won’t make it to the Bay.
OK, maybe I’m in the minority, but I really like Back to School Nights. I appreciate the parents taking time out of their busy lives to come in and get a sense of who is teaching their students.
Tonight was no different. Great parents, lots of appreciation expressed, and a few good questions thrown in (not much time in ten minutes to ask questions).
Unfortunately, as usual, the higher academic classes have higher turnout of parents. Why? I can speculate about amount of free time, ability to get off work early, etc. But in the end, I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault (I suspect that all parents want their kids to be successful in school), it’s just a reality.
Thanks to all the parents who did make it out (and thanks to all those who didn’t for trusting your students in my care).
I have been making many video tutorials for my science classes in the last few years, and some folks have asked how I create them. I have gone through a process of changes, so I thought I’d present the options I have used to create them.
My students had a short quiz, and I wanted to make sure they all had plenty of time to complete it. I thought it would take them about 20 minutes to finish it (most finished in 15-20 minutes), but wanted to allow plenty of time for students who require ‘extra time’ (whether LD diagnosed and on an IEP or not diagnosed). I set the timer for 30 minutes, and, since my school is a BYOD school (every student has a computer of some kind), I created an assignment on our learning management system (Schoology, see screenshot below).
Before the quiz, I spoke with my students about what I was doing, sharing my concern with being able to provide in-class time for students who need extra time, but not having those who finish quickly sit around waiting for others to finish. Most of them understood and thought this was a good idea.
And, when the moment of truth arrived, when most were done with the quiz, the class was still pretty quiet. No students whispering to each other (well, only occasionally), and most working on their chemistry.
Of course, I should do this all the time, but sometimes I forget. Today was an example of the importance of a complete lesson plan.
In working with my students’ perceptions of the periodic table, I wrapped a periodic table around a roll of paper towels. My attempt was to get them to realize that the Alkali metals are actually right next to the Noble gasses. I wasn’t sure if it was working, but in our review leading up to the finals one girl mentioned that it was a spiral–so I guess it’s helping some students.
Below is a video showing a periodic table spinning around on a turntable. I recommend downloading the video and using VLC Media Player, Quicktime, or some other viewer that allows you to scroll the video back and forth.
The table I used comes from ptable.com, a great resource for online and printable periodic tables.
Here are a couple other 3D ‘tables’ that email list folks have let me know about:
Over a decade ago I made a Quatro-Pro spreadsheet to make quick calculations from masses on the periodic table. Well, now Excel rules the roost, so I created a similar version using Excel. The fundamental element of the spreadsheet is that the cell with each mass is given a name that is the symbol for the element. So, for example, instead of having to remember which cell the mass of oxygen is in (C9, in this case), you only need to type in O.
The only element that doesn’t work with its symbol is carbon.Excel will not allow a cell to be named just “C”, so I had to use “CC” instead.
To calculate the mass of water, just type if =h*2+o (letters can be UPPER or lower case)
For hydrochloric acid, type =h+cl
Copper nitrate: =Cu+N*2+O*6
Carbon dioxide =CC+O*2 (this is an example of the carbon exception from above).
I wrote this poem in 1998. I think it still applies 18 years later.
Before we were scared
the streets were our own
we'd wonder the town
and call it our home;
anyone we would see
we could ask for the time
and sometimes we'd even
give us a dime.
Before we were scared
our doors might be locked
but bars didn't exist
our windows to block;
porch lights were turned on
when we were expected,
a motion detector
didn't make us protected.
Before we were scared
we didn't need a phone
inside of our car
only in our home;
our numbers were listed
our names we could find
if we wanted to call us
we really didn't mind.
Before we were scared
our streets all had shops
and sanitized malls
weren't one of our stops;
and guards weren't in stores
only in the banks
the merchants they knew us
they'd give us their thanks.
But when weren't we scared
was it ever that way
is it just what we think
looking back from today;
was life really better
is that just in our heads
to justify our fears
as we lay in our beds.
And if we were scared
and nostalgia's a screen
then we're left in a world
that's not so serene;
and to banish our fears
to some far away ground
we must start making friends
with all us around.