Category Archives: Education

It’s much harder to write a good review than a bad one

Inge Berge

It’s not that hard to write review panning a concert or an album.  You’ve probably read many such reviews.  It’s much more difficult to write a glowing piece that doesn’t sound corny or like a puff piece.  Below is one of the best examples of a rave review that I’ve ever read. It is at once intelligent, witty, entertaining, straight to the point and completely devoid of obscure references and highfalutin language reviewers all to often use in an attempt to show off their intellect.  It’s written by local singer/songwriter/composer/lighting designer Inge Berge, who is actually smart, so he doesn’t need to try and convince anybody.  Check it out:

Fans of exquisite music: Pay attention to Ruby Rose Fox. Her headlining at The Cabot tonight, courtesy of Peter Van Ness and GimmeLive is easily among the top 3 shows I’ve seen all year (and I see way too many shows.) This show was pure magic. Sublime. Genius.

Her songwriting is smart, heartfelt, genre-bending, profound and just plain gorgeous. Her musicianship is impeccable. Her stage presence is mysterious, deep, eclectic and sexy as all get-out. The backup singers blend like butter yet cut like a razor. The band is road-tight and stadium-confident. The material is presented with rock balls, sensual vulnerability and analytic intelligence. A show chemically cleansed of clichés and standard showbiz cheese.

I count myself among the lucky few who got to experience this evening of not-yet-world-famous MA-grown music before it turns into something more industry-processed. (Hopefully not.)

Unfortunately, what I find of Ruby Rose Fox’s music currently online does not quite do justice to the show I saw tonight. But I understand there’s a full length CD in the works. I’m first in line to purchase.

Sound Temple Music and Healing Arts at Floating Lotus in Gloucester on Friday (7/24)

Come meditate, move and be in a sacred, healing musical space with Sound Temple.

Friday, July 24
Sound Temple with Christine Tulis and Kem Stone

Special Guests
Stan Strickland, Jon Holland and Lisa Bouchie

Floating Lotus
169 Main Street, Gloucester
7:30 pm
$20 suggested
at the door

June 1, 2015 GHS Senior Moose Lodge #1471 and Women of the Moose Chapter#896 Youth Awareness Speaker Award’s Ceremony

The annual G.H.S./MOOSE Youth Awareness Program recently awarded scholarships to this year’s senior speakers.  The program, now in its seventh year, features GHS student leaders, developing and facilitating mentoring skits, at Gloucester’s five elementary schools.  The speaker’s unique themes are aimed at advising their youthful peers in proper responses on topics including Positivity, Recycling, Making Good Decisions, Being Yourself, Importance of Reading, and Goal Setting.

 

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Left to right Linda O’Maley, Junior Grad of Moose Chapter #896 and Jason Psalidas, Governor of Moose Lodge #1471, Val Gilman, Skit Coach, GHS Principal Erik Anderson, GHS Youth Awareness Liaison Don Riley, and far right is GHS Youth Awareness Advisor, Rory Gentile
Sitting left to right in the GHS main lobby are GHS senior $200.00 scholarship winners Tess Benson, Tess Destino (who was also awarded $3,000 for her national presentation this month in Orlando, Florida and a $500.00 district award),  Kelly Hurd, (also awarded $500.00 scholarship for her speeches to Gloucester Elementary School K-4th graders) and Jaqi McCarthy, $200.00 scholarship winner. GHS Senior $200.00 scholarship recipients in back row include Everest Crawford, left, and Bart Margiotta, right.
Left to right front row…  Linda O’Maley, Junior Grad of Moose Chapter #896 and Program Liaison; $3,000 national, and $500 District, scholarship winner Tess Destino;  $500.00, District scholarship winner Kelly Hurd;  and Rory Gentile, GHS Teacher/Youth Awareness Advisor.
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Left to right back row… Valerie Gilman, Skit Coach, Don Riley Youth Awareness Liaison, and Jason Psalidas, Governor of Moose Lodge #1471

Gloucester High School Selected for MassBioEd BioTeach Program

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) has selected Gloucester High School (GHS) as one of 10 schools awarded a BioTeach program grant in the 2015-2016 school year.

GHS was also awarded a BioTeach grant in 2009 and was recognized with MassBioEd’s prestigious Joshua Boger Innovative School of the Year Award in 2013 for inspiring students to explore life sciences careers through progressive biotechnology education and exemplary science career programming.  

Through this year’s BioTeach grant, MassBioEd will provide GHS with professional development and mentoring for teachers; updated, inquiry-based biotechnology curricula; access to student career exploration experiences; and up to $12,000 for materials and equipment for school labs.

“We are honored at Gloucester High School to have MassBioEd’s support through equipment and training and look forward to providing exciting, inquiry-based lab exercises,” said Eric Leigh, Biology Teacher and BioTeach Coordinator at GHS.

“Gloucester High School is honored and enthusiastic about being awarded a BioTeach grant, said Robert Gallinelli, Dean of Students at GHS. “This grant will assist us in inspiring our students to pursue careers and educational opportunities in life sciences and biotechnology. Our teachers are eager to enrich our student’s lab experience with modern equipment and training.”

Funding for this year’s BioTeach cohort comes from a $139,999 grant awarded through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) STEM Equipment and Supplies Grant Program.

“We are thrilled to bring our BioTeach program into additional schools for the 2015-2016 school year,” said Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “By providing Massachusetts students with lab experiences in high schools across the state, we hope to inspire students to pursue educational opportunities and careers in the life sciences and biotechnology industry.”

“Investing in training the next generation of life sciences workers is a critical part of the Center’s mission,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “We want to create an interest in STEM careers among students all across the state, and at all levels. The Center’s investments in equipment and supplies for training at high schools, both directly and through our partnership with the MassBioEd Foundation, are increasing interest in STEM among all of our students – regardless of socio-demographics or zip code.”

The 10 schools for the 2015-2016 cohort are:

•  Avon Middle-High School, Avon

•  Claremont Academy, Worcester

•  Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, South Yarmouth

•  Gloucester High School, Gloucester

•  Lee Middle and High School, Lee

•  Palmer High School, Palmer

•  Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Northampton

•  South High Community School, Worcester

•  Springfield High School of Science and Technology, Springfield

•  Weymouth High School, Weymouth

With the addition of these schools, the BioTeach program, recognized by the Massachusetts State STEM Council as a premier @Scale initiative, now reaches 204 schools in the Commonwealth. Learn more about the MassBioEd Foundation and BioTeach at www.MassBioEd.org.

Eastern Point Day School sends out another thank you

Eastern point day school 2nd press release

 

Eastern Point Day School THANKS Their Teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week!

The collective love and effort from our EPDS teachers and staff is overwhelming!

They work as team, almost like a family, to give our kids a great experience and so, in honor of National Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week, our families say “thank you”!

 

And indeed, to educators all over the country! THANK YOU. It matters.

 

 

Rewarding

I have been teaching forever.  Seriously, like FOREVER.  This is my 22nd year.

However, even after all of these years, I am continuously amazed, impressed, and humbled by my students and their love of learning.

Take last week, for example.  After three weeks of learning about the Mayan Civilization my students presented their work, research, art, etc. to their parents and members of the school community.  I couldn’t have been prouder.

Things got off to a slow start and for a few days I was worried that it may not all come together, but, as always, my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students worked, created, imagined, collaborated, and rallied.  Not only did it come together, but it surpassed any expectations that I may have had.

I am so proud of them for sharing their knowledge confidently, for working so diligently, and for expressing themselves so individually through the projects that they created.

Proud enough in fact that I had to take this opportunity to sing their praises a bit.  Forgive me.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a Montessori classroom, this is a great example.

Sorry, Hawk, Easter is Over!

It must be spring because the Schraffts left work/school yesterday and hit Richardson’s Dairy.

The boys got gift cards in their Easter baskets and, since it was a whopping 50ish degrees after school, they naturally wanted to go get the first official ice cream of the season.  With the Red Sox game on the radio (they won 8-0, by the way) and the windows down for a stretch of the ride…off we went….because, really, how do you say “no” to that?

A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to see a calf being born this time of year.  It was pretty awesome for the boys to see.  Yesterday’s wildlife adventure on the farm was led by a hawk…who apparently thought that Easter was not over because he was clearly still out on an egg hunt.

Check your calendar, Hawk.  Easter is over….and, you can sit there looking all threatening all afternoon, but those birds aren’t going to give up their eggs.

It is OK

Dear Future Teachers, Instructors, and Coaches of my Sons,

I’d like to take a minute now to thank you for the hours, energy, and love that you will undoubtedly be giving to my children in the future.  I know that it is not always an easy job that you have, but it is one that you accepted, however long ago, because you have the best interest of children, and now my children, at heart.   Many of you have simply volunteered…and don’t even get paid…and all of you spend a large portion of your personal time thinking about, worrying about, or being excited about things that have to do with the classes you teach, the lessons you give, or the practices that you run.

I know, no matter how much you love what you do, the down side is that your job will sometimes require that you make difficult decisions.  I know that those decisions will sometimes even cause you sleepless nights, a heavy heart, and worry, and pain.

I’d like to tell you now…that it is OK.  It is OK to not pick my son.

It is OK to not call on him when his hand in raised as high as possible in class, because you have 20 students and they all want to make you happy by knowing the right answer or sharing their thoughts.

I know that even that one silly decision….who to call on?….can be excruciating…each and every time.  I know that you make a mental note…and try to call on them all the same amount each week, but it is still so hard to watch their hands fall disappointedly back into their laps.

It is OK, if my son ends up not being able to carry a tune, that he does not receive a solo in the Spring Concert…no matter how much he wants one. You know what? Even if he can sing, but isn’t one of the best, it is still ok.  I know that you’ll find other ways to encourage him and make him feel proud. I know that you’ll let him know how important his role in the chorus is.

It is OK, if my son has trouble finding his inner actor, to not pick him for a leading role.  He may be crushed for a minute, but I know that you need to do what is right for the other children and the school play.  He’ll understand, because he knows  that everyone has strengths.  We will encourage him to find another way to shine and tell him how important it is to play that small supporting role.  The play couldn’t go on if all characters weren’t cast…no matter how big or small.  After all.

I image that my son will enjoy working on science fair projects each spring.  But, you know what, when it comes time to pick just 5 projects to send to regionals, it is OK to pick others…and not his.  His hard work and the pride that he feels when he presents his experiment should be enough for him.  And, it will motivate him all that much more the following year.  And, trust me, I know how hard it will be for you to pick just 5.  I know that you wish someone else could make those decisions.

I want you to know now that it is OK if his essay is not submitted to the writing contest.  Even though I’m sure he’ll try so hard to be chosen and want so desperately to impress you, sometimes you have to just pick one…and inevitably the other children will feel sad.  I know, without a second of doubt, however, that you’ll pull him aside and tell him how much you enjoyed his story.  You’ll make him want to write again….because writing is fun…even if your story isn’t picked.

It will always be OK if, when some children’s art work gets selected for the art show, his is not.  We will shower him with praise, encourage him to create more, and teach him to congratulate his friends for their creativity and their submissions.  His art will always have a special place in our home.

It is also OK, no matter how much he tries, to sometimes make the decision to leave him on the bench.   I know that you will take time during the season to help him improve, make him feel valuable, and motivate him to dig deeper.  And, because you’ve done such a great job, I know that if the team wins, he will know he has won and played a monumental role in the victory.  Even if his role wasn’t as obvious in the final minutes of a game.

I want to thank you again, because I know that it sometimes feels impossible.  I know that you became a teacher, an instructor, or a coach for so many wonderful reasons.  I know that you had giant aspirations to always be “fair.”  I’m also guessing that you never imagined how many times each year, session, or season you would feel burdened by decisions that have no “fair” answer.

I hope that you know you have our support and gratitude and the love and respect of my child.  Even if you didn’t pick him.  Because…even if you didn’t pick him….you chose him.  You chose to teach him, encourage him, support him, love him, challenge him, push him, excite him, and inspire him.  Your success, loyalty, or impact can not be judged by one, or even several of those difficult decisions.  It is based on the many moments, outside of those decisions, that you made sure to make him know that you are there for him.

I think it is important to tell you….not that you don’t already know….that I don’t expect all parents will feel the same way.  And…that I am by no means speaking for them.  I am simply telling you how I feel.

Thank you in advance for all that you will surely do….and for those difficult decisions you are forced to make.

Sincerely,

Nichole

Our friends at Eastern Point Day School

SAVE THE DATE! MARCH 16TH IS AN OPEN HOUSE FOR EASTERN POINT DAY SCHOOL

Open Houses at Eastern Point Day School are a great way to learn about our school and programs for PreK through 8th Grade! If you cannot make our next Open House, we are happy to schedule a visit for a date that works better for you and your family!
Contact us anytime at 978.283.1700 or via email: info@easternpointdayschool.org
Also, be sure to check out our website for more information and FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK too!

SCAN0001 Eastern Point

Know Your Dinosaurs

The youngest Schrafft, 5 year old Finn, finished up his 3rd hockey season the other day.  Thatcher’s team is in the play-offs and will finish up, one way or the other, this weekend.

While there will surely end up being some summer sessions or hockey camps in their near future, for now, the early morning wake-up calls are almost over.

I used to wake up at 5:45 to rally the troops and get myself to work and the boys to their respective classrooms, but lately I’ve been pushing it to a bit after 6:00.  Try as I may to convince myself to go to bed just once before 11:00 pm, I can’t seem to do so.  I love my boys…but, I also cherish my quiet late night hours alone.

So, while school days are always a bit of a whirlwind with a dash of crazy thrown in, when we miraculously get through to Saturday unscathed, the weekend early morning hockey practices usually do me in.

Until recently my husband worked early Saturday morning…which left me to get both boys into their hockey gear bright and early to get to the rink for 8:00 and 9:00 practices.  Actually, now on a travel team, Thatcher’s early Saturday practices have turned into earlier Sunday morning games.

While both boys are now experts on getting into their gear…they still need a fire lit under their butts to do so.  It wasn’t nearly as pretty for the first few seasons, however. It was always a mad rush…they both needed help with everything….they needed snacks to eat while the other one was on the ice…and even books, matchbox cars, and a bag of tricks to use as hush money to get through back-to-back practices.  It was downright ugly for quite a while. Might I mention that I am not…never have been…and never will be…a morning person.

I was laughing the other day when Thatcher reminded me about the “Hockey Dinosaur.”

There must have been many, many consecutive Saturdays, that I teetered on the edge of sanity while trying to get them out the door.

I believe my mantra became something like, “If you think I want to be up at the crack of dawn, you’re wrong, so please just get dressed” or “If you don’t want to get into your gear, and you don’t want to skate, I certainly won’t mind not getting up at the crack of dawn, boys!” or “If you think I got up at the crack of dawn yet again to beg you both to get off the couch and into your gear, you are crazy.”  You get the gist.  All very proud parenting moments.

So, one day, while I was no doubt stomping around like a mad woman, I heard Thatcher quietly say to Finn, “Mom sure is mad about the crackadon.  I don’t even know that type of dinosaur.”

So, for a while, stomping around like a Crackadon became my way of getting them ready for everything…school, hockey, soccer, etc.  Somewhere along the way, the Crackadon left us and the boys started to become a bit more self-motivated.  I won’t be surprised if however, years from now, a couple of giant crackadons visit my grown-up sons and their future families.  And we can all laugh about it again.

 

duckbilled-dinosaurs-2

 

 

Awesome Local Workshop for Teachers Coming Up

Coming up on March 14th: a great workshop/micro-conference for teachers of English Lit and related subjects is taking place at the Eastern Point Lit House in Gloucester. There will be a communal meal and a few sessions on “Teaching Impossible Texts” with some outstanding local teachers. This event is designed for public, private and even homeschool educators to come together, connect and collaborate with other likeminded teachers who are into books and want to teach kids how to be into books as well. Feel free to call me (Sarah) at 978-546-2861 for more info. If you mention GMG there will be a 25% GMG Close Reader Discount refund offered after you register! :)

SEHgeneralposter

 

Rockport Local Food Forum

Well, it’s been a while since I posted. But in the meantime, Nichole Shrafft and others have been killin’ it in the representing Rockport department, so that’s been awesome. A whole bunch of stuff is coming up, so I wanted to pass along some information, starting with a local Food Forum in Rockport scheduled for next Thursday night. We can all get together and figure out the answers to some pressing food-related issues. There’s an anonymous survey too, in case you want to make your thoughts known and submit any questions to the panelists. Click HERE for the survey.

Feel free to share the poster

Feel free to share the poster

VIDEO: Making Saint Joseph Altar Bread with Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo

Artists-in-the-Kitchen Maria Cracchiolo, and her parents Domenic and Nina Damico, demonstrate how to create beautiful bread in shapes symbolic of Saint Joseph and inspired by nature. Watch as Maria, Nina, and Domenic artfully shape angels, a carpenter’s saw, San Giuseppe scroll, Saint Joseph sun, snails, flowers, butterflies, grapes, and more.

Saint Joseph altar bread is available by special order at Caffe Sicilia. Call to place your order at (978) 283-2345.

 

 

As you will hear Maria’s story unfold (while deftly shaping the dough), her family’s tradition of making the Saint Joseph altar bread began several years ago, for a very heartfelt reason. In 2010, her young daughter was facing a very serious operation. Maria had never made the special Saint Joseph altar bread, but decided that year to make it her devotion to Saint Joseph. Maria taught herself how to shape the bread, finding inspiration in old photos of altars, and also from images, which she found online, of bread made in Sicily. Maria lived in Italy for five years, attending art school and studying fashion design. When I write “Artists-in-the Kitchen” you’ll see why after viewing the video.

Both of Maria’s parents, Nina and Domenic, were born in Sicily and grew up celebrating the Feast of San Giuseppe in the Sicilian tradition of feeding the poor and orphaned, and welcoming all who came to their table. Thank you Maria, Domenic, and Nina for graciously welcoming me into your Caffe Sicilia’s kitchen!

saint-joseph-bread-caffe-sicilia-c2a9-kim-smith-2014- (1)

Beautiful Saint Joseph Altar Bread Created by Caffe Sicilia

 

Thank You, Grand Isle

There have been some great posts (and gorgeous photos) about the USCG Cutter Grand Isle, its years of service, and the fact that it was decommissioned earlier this week.

This may sound silly, but here in Rockport, at our tiny little home, it was sad news.

My boys have loved that vessel since they could both say, “boat.”  The several months that the Grand Isle left us back in 2011 for an overhaul in Baltimore were loooong months for Thatcher and Finn.  Such a quirky thing, but they missed her presence in the harbor greatly.

Grown-ups do coffee runs….  Thatcher and Finn have asked me to do boat runs for as long as I can remember.  I’ve written about this before, so forgive me if you read it, but for YEARS now, no matter the season, we have been doing the tour.  “The tour?”  You may ask.  Well, it goes like this….  some time in the parking lot of Cape Ann Marina to see the shrink wrapped boats, or a drive by the docks to see those in the water, down the boulevard, past the Fishermen’s Wives Statue, a quick sit at the Man at the Wheel to watch whatever traffic may be going in or out of the harbor, through the fort, past St. Peter’s Square, check on some of the fishing fleet, look for the Privateer, check on the Lannon, down Washington Street to Harbor Loop, count the Coast Guard inflatables and grey 47-footers, see who is docked behind Captain Carlos, down to Cape Ann Whale Watch to see the Hurricane, and then on to the their Disney….The State Fish Pier.   Each and every time…upon driving past Pratty’s, the boys would declare, “I think the Grand Isle is in!” or “I think the Grand Isle is out!”  “What do you think, Mom?”  They’d make me drive crazy slow to let the anticipation build until the nose of our Jeep would peak past the Environmental Police building to catch a glimpse…or not…of the mighty Grand Isle.  It took a couple of years for them to realize that if they would just look up (at high tide anyway) they could see her yellow tower rising from the harbor…hence giving her away.

Thatcher, in particular, has been somewhat obsessed with the Coast Guard as a whole for years.  I’ll never forget the day he was standing forever peering at the boats through the fence at Solomon Jacobs Park until a new hero, Petty Officer Bowen, came over and invited him into the fenced in area for a tour.  Oh my, the smile!  Petty Officer Bowen later shared with me, that having grown up in Chatham, he used to spend hours doing the very same thing.  Kindred spirits, those two.  I’m not sure he’s aware of the little fire that was lit in Thatcher that day.  But I’m incredibly thankful for it.

As the love affair continued there would be more tours of the Coast Guard Station and vessels at Harbor Loop, a Coast Guard hat for his birthday, a Coast Guard shirt that reads, “Schrafft” and the year “2025”….as in the year Thatcher would be eligible for the academy, Coast Guard patches, and even a Coast Guard Halloween costume (loved that!).  And then….there was the tour of the Grand Isle.

The boys couldn’t even believe their good fortune.  They looked forward to the day for a couple of weeks….and then clammed up like crazy in the midst of all of the excitement….but, talked about it relentlessly for months afterwards. (Thanks, Cousin Rob!)  They were so little then….yet, so in love with that boat.

As a parent, you never really know what your children will become passionate about.  We have clocked hours sitting in the parking lot of the State Fish Pier just looking at the Grand Isle.  During winter months, the boys would sip their hot chocolate after hockey practice.  Summer months….there’d be smoothies.  On so many of those days, my dad would happen to call and get a good chuckle upon asking, “What are you guys up to?” only to find out that we were sitting looking at her ….again.

I wouldn’t trade a single one of those seconds that I spent wondering who thought I was stalking them as we sat in front of her bow. I was always keenly aware that surely there was someone up in the pilot house thinking, “Yikes. There’s that Jeep again.”  I was happiest when I could put the windows down so that the boys would be visible in the back seat.

So, Thank You, Grand Isle.  Thank you for helping me foster something wonderful in my boys.  Thank you for helping to spark their interest and for being the impetus for many valuable lessons.  I know at least two little boys who will miss seeing you sit proud and strong in our waters.

 

Electricity Saving Update 19- Energy Saving Tips and How To Get Energy Saving Stuff For Free

In an interview with Energy Advisor Geoff Martin:

What can homeowners do to prep for cold weather?
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but getting a home energy assessment really does help prepare you for changes in weather. There are almost always things that you can do through the utility programs that will make your home warmer and more comfortable – at a lower cost, too, thanks to available incentives and rebates.

But beyond that, there are a couple things I swear by. I always suggest people check their hot water temperature. Don’t set it above 120 degrees. If your water is any hotter than that, you’re paying more for hot water than you need to. It’s just a little knob on your heater. Carefully lower the dial until your temperature goes down.

Also close your curtains or blinds. It won’t replace an insulation job, but when we use our infrared camera over closed blinds or drawn curtains versus open ones, we do see a reduction in heat loss. Closed heavy window curtains or blinds also make a room more comfortable and slow heat loss.

For those of you who have not taken advantage of the Free Home Energy Assessment that you’re already paying for in the line item “Energy Efficiency Charge” On Your Electric Bill, sign up in this form and you will get a ton of free lightbulbs that use 10 watts of power but replace ones that use 70-100 watts and give great light, also free power strips, and replace old style thermostats with electronically controlled ones as well as water saving green shower heads.

SIGN UP FOR THE FREE STUFF HERE-


My mom did it and lots of other happy campers like Donna Ardizzoni have too.
Check out your bill for the Energy Efficiency Charge(shown on my mom’s bill in this picture)

That charge is what everyone has to pay regardless if you take advantage of the Free Energy Assesment and Free Energy Efficient Lightbulbs Available To You!
And they’re not the ugly squiggly ones, they look just like the regular lightbulbs they are replacing-

SIGN UP FOR THE FREE STUFF HERE-

For the entire series to date check out the past entries from the Electricity and Home Efficiency Series Here-

Parts 1,2,3 Here
Electricity Update #4: Free Home Energy Assesment With Kevin From Next Step Living
Electricity Update #5: Video Walkthrough- Energy Efficiency Assesment and Free Stuff At Mom’s House
Electricity Update #6 Energy Saving Ideas
Electricity Savings Alternative Home Energy and Comfort Update #7- Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth
ELECTRICTY AND HOME ENERGY UPDATE #8 NO BRAINER- DONNA AND RICK GET THEIR ENERGY EFFICIENCY ASSESSMENT!
ELECTRICITY, HOME HEATING AND ENERGY UPDATE #9 CAPE ANN CHIMNEY AND HEARTH TESTIMONIAL FROM CAROL CATALDO
Electricity Update #10
Electricity and Home Heating and Comfort Update 11: Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth Part III
The No Brainer Electricity Update #12
Electricity Update #13 Next Step Experience At Lise Breen’s Laneseville Joint

Electricity Conversation Update #14 Paulie Walnuts Gets His Energy Assessment #GloucesterMA

Have You Opened Your Recent Electricity Bill and Seen The Energy Efficiency Charge? Update 15

Electricity Savings Update 16: Solar Opportunities and A Solar Home Evaluation At Brian O’Connor’s

ELECTRICITY UPDATE 18 BRIAN AND DIANE O’CONNOR ARE GOING SOLAR

The World’s Largest Ocean and the Tiniest of Birds

Black-chinned hummingbird Goleta Santa Barbar Ellwood mesa ©kim Smith 2015We were happily surprised by the sight of the diminutive Black-chinned Hummingbird perched atop a thicket, spotted while hiking down the steep descent to the beach at Goleta, Santa Barbara. I loved the view of the region’s smallest bird juxtaposed against the world’s largest body of water, the Pacific Ocean. In the background you see Santa Cruz, one of the eight Channel Islands that comprise the archipelago off the southern coast of California, along the Santa Barbara Channel.

More photos from beautiful Santa Barbara to come.

Black-chinned hummingbird Goleta Santa Barbara ©Kim Smith 2015Black-chinned Hummingbird

Goleta Santa Barbara Ellwood Mesa ©Kim Smith 2015

So This Happened

In the category of Never a Dull Moment

I’ve been teaching for 22 years.  I’ve seen a lot.  I have had all sorts of excellent…and funny…and puzzling things happen….but, never…ever, this.  Until this week.

We have two crested geckos.  I’ve always believed in having a lot of pets.  It is a time suck when you’re the one ultimately responsible for caring for them (even with lots of helpful hands), but the lessons for the students are invaluable. We’ve had your run-of-the-mill hamsters and gerbils…and now the coolest guinea pig around.  We’ve also had a hedgehog and a rabbit.  We’ve had birds…and more fish than I can count.  We’ve also had tree frogs, anoles, a tortoise…and now geckos. There were a few years before I had the boys that I had a fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal all at one time so that we could really learn first-hand the different classifications of Phylum Chordata.  I digress.

The children have always treasured having the opportunity to interact and care for these critters and they’ve also provided fantastic learning opportunities.

What better way to learn the parts of a fish…ventral fins, pectoral fins, dorsal fin, caudal fin, gill openings, lateral line, etc…than observing a real live fish?

You get my point.

So, this week we learned that when a gecko feels threatened (don’t ask) it will “drop its tail” in an attempt to distract the predator so that it can flee.  Fascinating.  Most geckos will grow a new tail.  Crested geckos do not.  They can, however, live happy and healthy lives without their tails.  Phew.

What happens after the tail falls off, you may ask?  Well, see for yourself.

 

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