Friday, May 18, 2007


Monday, April 30, 2007

Craft Island

craft island
Click the photo to view the slide show.
It has been awhile since we added to our learn something new blog. It is not because we haven't been learning, we have just been very busy. Soon you will see a slide show from Jacob's trip to DC and photos and stories from our trip to UW School of Engineering Open House. Today I wanted to share a neat find near our home. On Earth Day, my husband, my dog and I headed out on a hike to find a geocache. Craft Island is a small island in Skagit Bay. You can actually walk to the island if you hit the tides right. This was a fairly easy hike. A little muddy, but absolutely beautiful. We saw at least 10 bald eagles and over 20 heron. We saw many other types of birds. We even saw a few snakes. Roswell LOVED running through the wetlands and on the beach. It was a perfect day. It is so neat to have such amazing places so close to home.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yoga by Abbie

This week I learned yoga. Yoga is a way to stretch and relax your muscles. I learned two different kinds of yoga. One type is poses. Poses are a way to stretch your muscles and create balance with your body. Another is Sun Salutations. Sun Salutations is an exercize and also a way to stretch your muscles. After you are done stretching and the rest of the stuff you can lay down and think of peaceful things. This which relaxes your whole body if you do it right. Thse are just a few of the kinds of yoga. I hope to learn better stretches and do better on the one's I already know. Yoga is very fun and I encourage every one to try it even the boys because yoga is for everyone.

How to Draw a Horse

Yesterday I got to go to an art class at MoNA. The instructor showed us how to draw a horse. We started off with basic shapes and we had to figure out the proportions of the horse by measuring with our pencil. We kind of put it together like tinker toys. We then added details. The last part was adding shading. The shading made the horse look 3D. If you do it right, you can see the strong muscles. I first drew a horses head. It looked more like my dog Roswell. Then I drew a full size horse. Except I didn't start in the right place so I didn't have enough room to make the legs the right length. I then drew another horse. It looked pretty good, but the body was a little too long. So, I tried one more time and shortened the body. I was pretty happy with my horse. And to think, it started off looking a lot like tinker toys.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Taylor: Pancakes

I learned how to cook pancakes at my Nana's house. My Nana told me to measure the pancake mix till it hits 1/4. When I hit 1/4 I doubled the pancake mix with another 1/4. When I stopped at the other 1/4 that equals out to be 2/4 or 1/2. I poured the pancake mix into the pan and waited for the pancakes to bubble. When the pancakes start to bubble that means that the pancakes are ready to be flipped. When you have already flipped them then you won't be able to tell if they're ready. To tell if they are ready, you have to be careful you take the spatula and put it under the pancakes then you lift up the pancakes just about 2 inches high. When they are golden then they are ready to enjoy with butter and syrup.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I'm a little hesitant to write about this because I have some moral questions about how this exhibit came to be. But, my husband had heard really cool things about the Bodies Exhibit which is now in Seattle and that is what he wanted to do for his birthday. So, with some hesitation, we went to see the exhibit this weekend. My hesitation comes from the fact that these bodies, came from a medical school in China. The people all died of natural causes, but we have no way of knowing if they had given consent to have their bodies used for this type of display. I know that I would be willing to donate my body for science and education. The mission of the exhibit (besides making money) is to help people better understand the body they live in and what they must do to take care of it. So, if you can get past the questions of consent, (which I am still really having trouble doing) there is a lot of cool learning to be had. I think for me, the coolest thing was being able to see the nervous system and the vascular system isolated. It was really cool to see the size and position of organs. Another really powerful part of the exhibit is that they showed organs effected by smoking, sedintary behavior and overeating. Yuck. This really makes you think about the importance of taking care of your body. As the sign said, "The Body Doesn't Lie", what you do and don't do to your body is very evident in these models. I am not a very squeemish person, but I think that the way the bodies are presented, help even the squeemish to be able to really look at this exhibit and learn without feeling ill. I learned a lot about human anatomy and how we are put together.

Here are a few of the fun facts that I learned.
* All the blood vessels in the body joined end to end would stretch 62,000 miles or
two and a half times around the earth.
* The total surface area of the alveoli (tiny air
sacs in the lungs) is the size of a tennis court.
* Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour - about 1.5 pounds a year. By 70 years of age, an average person will have
lost 105 pounds of skin.
* Every square inch of the human body has
an average of 32 million bacteria on it.
* Every person has a unique tongue print.

If you are interested, you can find out more at Bodies the Exhibition

And for another fun kid's site about how our bodies work check out The Yuckiest Site on the Internet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How to Wrap a Turban

Jasdeep came to costume crew to show us how to put on a turban. We had a lot of fun learning. We still have a lot of practice that we need to do. Jasdeep is from Punjab in India. His family practices the Sikh religion. The men wear turbans to show respect for their religion. It was neat to learn that everyone who practices the Sikh religion has the last name of Singh which means lion. To learn more about the culture, check out this article.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Sam: Things I Learned about Gravity

Gravity is caused by the magnetic force between two objects. Gravity is very important. If there was no gravity, someone could easily float into space and any outdoor sport or activity would be ruined. Bur there would be and up side. Dropping anything would be easy to fix. Falling off a building would be nothing. Swallowing and digesting would not be affected. The moon's gravity effects the earth by pulling the tides. Gravity is slightly less at night. That is why I think gravity plays an important role in our lives.

Jason : Swim Team and Saving Money

In Swim team I'm learning how to improve times in freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke with a better start. I'm getting a better start because I am not just pushing lightly with my legs and swinging my arms. Instead, I am pushing very hard with my arms and legs and my personal bests are improving dramatically.

Our family is trying to think of ways to save money. Our family likes to watch a show titled MythBusters. On Myth Busters there as a myth that it took more energy to turn on and off a light bulb when you leave the room then to leave it on. That was busted.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Travel is a Great Way to Learn

I found a fun site where you can make a map showing the states and countries you have visited. As I have said, travel is a really important part of my life. My family says that I am part gypsy. I love to go to new places. My favorite places are the places with cultures far different from mine. (Exotic) When I look at the map of the World, I see that I have only been to 14% of the world's countries. That is 33 countries. This is far more than most people, but it just shows me that I still have lots of going and learning to do. Most of the countries I have visited have been in the developing world. This is where my heart is. I think that it is important for me to share with others about people I have met and things I have seen around the world. I want to open the world up for my students.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Discovery Educator's Network

This summer I discovered the Discovery Educator's Network. I applied to be a STAR member and this has been a wonderful learning community ever since. It is great to be a part of a network of teachers across the country and even the world who are on the cutting edge of what it takes to engage students in learning. This has truly been one of my main classrooms this year. I go to the DEN daily to look for posts, ask questions and participate in activities that help me to grow as an educator. It has been great for my students because they have gotten the benefit of all that I have learned. At NCCE I had the opportunity to meet up with others in the DEN and go to a workshops led by people in the DEN. This summer I will have the opportunity to go to Berkley to The Discovery Educator's Summer Institute. Very exciting.

Thornburgh 5 Podcast 1.2.07

This is our first class podcast.


I discovered the hobby of Geocaching two years ago while at a NCCE conference. I soon borrowed some GPS units from our ESD and did some more exploring. Erik and I went to Zion National Park for Spring Break that year. I had brought along information on several caches in the area. We had a great time exploring that beautiful area with GPS in hand. We definitely went to places we wouldn't have gone if we were not geocaching. In fact, in a rented car, we probably went places we shouldn't have gone. I remember one of the finds was up on this mesa overlooking Zion Canyon. It had been raining and there was a beautiful rainbow. Since then, I have purchased my own GPS and have had fun searching out treasures. When I went to Honduras and Denmark and Norway the summer before last, it was fun to track my points and watch the elevation. Didn't do any geocaching along the way though. (That would have been cool.) Last Christmas I introduced the hobby to my nephews. Since then, they have become true geocachers. They have logged over 125 finds. It is a great thing for them to do as a family. That is another thing that I really love about this hobby is that it is such a neat way to be together as a family. Last May, I again borrowed the GPS units from the ESD. I hid a whole series of caches downtown. My class walked down and in groups, spent the day geocaching. They loved this fieldtrip more than any other we took. It cost nothing and it was pouring down rain most of the time. Students had to use clues, directions and teamwork to find what they were looking for. Lots of great problem solving. My new class this year came in asking when they would get to go geocaching. I haven't done any geocaching since summer. When I went to Texas to see my nephews, we went out again. We checked on the caches we had hidden and found new ones. When I was on my way to the airport, my nephew told me that geocaching is a lot more fun with me than with his dad. I told him that he should treasure that time with his dad, but I was also pleased that he treasured the time with me as well. When I got back to Washington, I had to do some more caching. Yesterday Roswell and I went out in the rain and the wind and found 6 new caches. What a fun way to get outside, see new things and use your brain.
One neat idea I had for the classroom is to send out a Travel Bug. I thought that we could make it a Heifer Bug. We could put info about Heifer on the Bug. The kids could track his travels on Google Earth.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Preparing for NCCE

In March I will be presenting at our regional computer educators conference in Spokane. My presentation is called "Creating a Learning Legacy, Incorporating Kid Created Multimedia Into Standards Based Lessons". I have one hour to share what I want to share. Hmm... where to start? I think right now, I have more ideas than examples so I will need to get busy when school starts back this next week. I was thinking instead of sleeping last night (this is common with me) about my presentation last night. I was thinking about the fact that the reason I like using technology in class is that I can use it as a tool to create and communicate. I have never been a big fan of educational computer games. I have always, since the very beginning used technology for creating and communicating. I think that I do a pretty good job of using technology as a teaching tool and a communication tool in my class. I incorporate videos, Power Point, blogs, websites etc. into my daily teaching. Now I really want to go a step further and have my students be able to use technology to share their learning. I have a ton of ideas now I just need to incorporate them into my daily teaching. I need to think of ways to have students using technology to teach. I need to do this in a way that enhances the learning of Standards and doesn't get in the way of their learning. I want to use video, PowerPoint, PhotoStory, podcasts, and whiteboard movies.

Friday, December 22, 2006


I think that one reason I like writing and blogging is that I know that I am more than meets the eye. When people meet me, I think that they see a rather frumpy elementary teacher with a bit of a Texas accent. I don't think that it is obvious that I am someone who has lived and traveled all over the world. I am someone who cares deeply for the world's poor and hungry. I am rather adventurous. And, I have become quite the technogeek with a love for how I can use technology to be creative and share with others and continue to learn new things daily.

It has now been 6 1/2 years since I have lived overseas. This is really a piece of my identity that I don't want to lose. I think that my experiences living in places like the Navajo Nation, Kenya, Ecuador and Indonesia and my work with the poor in Mexico, Haiti, India, Honduras and Somalia has done a lot to shape who I am. I love my life here in Mount Vernon, WA. My husband and I have a neat 100 year old house in a great neighborhood. We have the world's most wonderful dog and we are both very happy. A year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to go to Honduras with Heifer International. Since leaving Indonesia, I had traveled extensively in the US and Canada, but hadn't been back to the "3rd world". Landing in Tegulcigalpa was like coming home. It refreshed a part of me that I had been missing. I vowed then not to let that part of my life go away. I need to be in touch and aware of what is happening in our world and I need to share my passion for the world's hungry and poor with my students and any one else who will listen.

So, If I am the one painting the picture, that is how I want to paint myself. I am a teacher , a lifelong learner, a happy wife with a passion for caring about the world's poor and hungry.

Today is a Great Day to Learn Something New

Blogs are great. I love to share my thoughts in writing and this is a great way to do it. The problem is that there are about a million different ways to use a blog and even though I can theoretically host thousands of different blogs, I really don't have the time to do so. So, where do I go with this one? I'd love to have a family blog with news of what is going on in our life here in Mount Vernon. I envision lots of pictures of Roswell our dog, up to his never ending antics. I know I love to look at cute pictures of my puppy, but posting to the web might be a bit of overkill. Then there is the idea of writing as a teacher to other teachers. I have a couple of blogs for my students already. I have class blog which is really just a place to post our daily news. Not really that exciting, but a great place for parents to keep informed about what is going on in our class. (Which IS exciting.) I would love to have a more interactive site for my students to share their learning, thoughts and ideas. Hmmm... I envision podcasts, video, pictures, student artwork and student writing. I like this idea, but I could also do this and have to some extent on our class blog. I think that I will start this blog as a place to share new learning. This could be things I am learning, or things my students are learning or things I have learned, that I think others would be interested in learning. We will see where this goes. If it seems to seperate itself out into seperate blogs, then, thanks to blogger, that is what I will do. But, for now, this will just be a place to celebrate learning.