Day 175: Ancient Technology – Slide Projector


“Oh my gosh. Mr. Whiteley, what is this and do you know how to use it?” I got that a lot when I busted out the slides to show my students photos of my college research in Central America and Utah, my graduate work at UNM in Albuquerque (and of course some balloon fiesta photos), and my semester in Granada, Spain in 1980. I am 19 to 22 in most of the photos and have to apologize for the fashions (although the Ray-Ban Aviators are very chic). They were a bit surprised to find that I had done such interesting things.

Day 173: Welcome to Jeopardy

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With 15 minutes to spare on a Friday I decided to share my love of Jeopardy and tell the students about the current run of Julia Collins (19 wins and counting). Some had never seen the show and few knew how it worked. They loved it and tried to beat me and the contestants to some of the answers. I think I may do this once a week in advisory next year. To girls who feel like they need to dumb themselves down, she offers this piece of advice: “If someone doesn’t like you because you’re smart, that’s their problem.”

Day 170: Class of 2014

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Graduation is on 5/29 and today (5/27) was the last full day for seniors. We are one of the few places where the students get their senior prank approved by the administration. Last year the Class of 2013 parked two cars in the lobby and surrounded them by 2013 cups of water. This year they plastic wrapped the breezeway, and strung string across the walkway. Some seniors grilled in the parking lot at lunch. Good kids!

Day 165: Senior Quilt

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Not a busy day as most of the senior stayed home. Saturday was the prom and the post prom ended at 6 am on Sunday. We knew today was a planned skip day. Ironically, they senior quilt is on display. We had one building for K-1 for many years and the teachers put together a quilt made of 200 student drawn images done when the kids were in 1st grade. It is heartwarming to see how innocent they used to be and how universal the drawing seem to be. My favorite the one by Ryan who clearly remembered his planetarium visit!

Day 163: Four Diamonds Field Trip


Today I took 5 (of the nicest students) student council members to Hershey PA to tour the PSU-Hershey Medical Center and meet with the Four Diamonds staff. The photo is taken on the 3rd floor of the new children’s hospital. They have a roof garden so patients can get outside easily. We toured the labs and the patient floor and even met with a courageous 18 year old who has been battling cancer for six years. What an inspiration she was! We have renewed enthusiasm for miniTHON 2015 and have a better idea where the money goes and what we support. It was an uplifting day.

Day 156: Unknown Sand Lab


Today we (IS II students and I) reviewed the procedures for a multi-day lab where they collect qualitative and quantitative data on 8 unknown sand samples. They describe the samples and determine grain size, settling velocity, roundness, luster, and the terrigenous vs biogenous component. I then give them descriptions and they have to match their samples with the correct locations. This year the sands are from Bermuda, Galapagos Islands, Daytona Beach, Miami, Uruguay, San Diego, Maui, and Costa Rica. There is great detective work and students always enjoy seeing the sand under magnification.