Monday, April 23, 2018


    Another field trip event!  

    Although field trips are a tremendous amount of work they do have excellent learning opportunities. Plans and decisions have to be made. Kids have to be well prepared to take advantage of what they see.

    For a few years my school took all the gr. 8 classes to a professional theater performance. We had to go 140 km (95 mi) to attend a professional performance. We were able to get a back stage tour and conversation with actors after the performance. We learned a bit about the play before we went. Then there were all those forms parents had to sigh to let their kid go on the trip.

    So for 150 kids we had five buses and a whole lot of volunteer supervisors. 

    The big day came and we loaded the buses. One teacher was in charge of each bus and had a list of students, volunteers and teachers who were to be on that bus. I checked each bus if they had everybody before I said "Let's go."

    When we got to the theater, somebody asked "Where's Bill?"  We soon discovered that Bill wasn't there and had been left at the school. Now Bill was the head drama guy and had arranged all things with the theater. Bill knew what was to be going on.

     I immediately started to worry because, I had left Bill behind.

    I decided that the best thing for me to do was meet with Bill and have the chat. When we got back to the school Bill had gone home. As soon as I got home I got on the phone. I phoned Bill's house and his mother-in-law answered. She was laughing and thought it was funny. I did get Bill later in the evening. He was disappointed but not greatly upset.

    He had gone back into the school to get his tie and jacket. He'd been on the bus and left to go back in the school. He knew part of it was his fault.

    So that's the only time I left a teacher behind.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


     The other day , Steve Shadows and Light from mentioned a field trip he took students on and the final comment was at least he didn't lose any!

    Well, over my 37 years of teaching I probably went on a couple hundred field trips with students. Field trips were on the stressful side for teachers but they could be excellent learning situations.

     However, unlike Steve, I did lose two students. Both losses were about the same time.

     One time the local hospital had something they thought kids should see and invited us for a short visit. It had some relation to out health program. We had seven classes to take and it was a short tight time schedule.  The kids had to go down, tour and be back in one period. Did I say it was a tight schedule.

    Well on one of the trips Rob was missing when the bus was loaded and we were ready to go back. I left without Rob as I would be back in 20 minutes. When I got back to the school Rob's Mom had already phoned the school with apologies. Rob had an aunt who worked in the hospital and he had popped in to see her. Once Rob found out he'd been left, he phoned his Mom to tell her he was in trouble. All was rectified and at Rob's expense there was a lot of ribbing.

    The second loss had the potential to be much more serious. We took 36 kids on a back pact trip to the Rocky Mountains. We parked the bus at a trail head that gave us two hikes. First we went right from the bus to a beautiful little mountain lake about two km away. We had lunch and then went back, past the parked bus and to another small mountain lake about 2 km away from the bus.

    On the way back a no-no happened. David asked a volunteer supervisor if he could walk ahead to the bus. The volunteer said sure. David took off like a rocket. David went by the bus that was behind trees and walked to the first lake we had visited. We loaded the bus and counted. One student was missing and a check of the list told us David was missing. The volunteer was sharp enough to tell us what had happened. We put two and two together and hoped that David had missed the bus and gone back to the first lake. Two of us were runners so we ran towards the first lake we visited. Yes , we soon found David on his way back.

    Now in David's case this could have been very serious as we were in wilderness country and if he'd gone off the trail it would have been very serious.

    So I lost two students. Everybody was safe and we learned from the experience.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


    My hearing has been noticeably deteriorating for about five years. There have been symptoms with it that made me think that there could be physical problems influencing the hearing loss.

    I finally got an appointment with a specialist and saw him yesterday.

    First, I had a hearing test . This showed that my hearing was normal as far as volume is concerned and that tone is where my hearing problem is located. So hearing women's and children's voices is where my problem lies. I will miss words or syllables and then things don't make sense.

    Next I saw the specialist. He told me that the only thing he could do is give me a clean bill of health! Isn't that nice! Then he carefully went over my situation.

     It is age related.

     My eardrum is not as taught as it is supposed to be. Therefore it doesn't work properly. Nothing can be done about that. No medication! No surgery! It just happens and goes on down hill.

     The eardrum problem is influenced by many things: atmospheric changes, fatigue, colds, allergies. This is why my hearing level varies.

    Now he covered other things that made sense. Since I'm older , messages go slower to my brain. The example he used was a message from a foot takes longer to get to the brain and be interpreted. I have often said that when I fall, "My butt is on the ground before my brain knows I'm falling." So what he says about messages taking longer to get to the brain makes sense. This situation also muddles our hearing.

    So he said, "I give you a clean bill of health but you might not like it." So for my age things are fine.

     He also told me that a rearing aid would be of limited benefit. ?  I thought he was being very honest to tell me about hearing aids.

    Now I started to think of other things in my body that may be stretched like my eye lids, ear lobes, double chin, biceps and who knows what my insides might look like! I'm sure there are holes bumps and lumps in various places.

     So things the doctor told me can be related to other body organs.

    I thought it was a good visit.

    I learned a few things that could be transferred to other areas.

Monday, April 16, 2018


     You'll never guess but we have another spring snowstorm today. Snow started in mid morning and continued into the afternoon. So it gave me an opportunity to take photos of one of my regular topics.

     If you enlarge some of these you will see the snow flakes.

        One lonely crow is among all the bohemian waxwings.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


       Coming home for lunch yesterday I listened to a tune I hadn't heard for a long time.  I said , "Wait a minute . I've got to check this tune out."

      Well checking out the tune had to wait as I had to get lunch and eat. The ear worm worked well and kept the tune in my head. Dinner time came and I'd completely lost the tune.

     Well I was determined to find this song so I went to the CKUA play list. I'd never checked a play list before. I couldn't tell by the  play list as to which tune I wanted. I knew pretty closely the time the tune was played so checked that one out. Sure enough it was  I've got a never ending love.

    I had heard this song many years ago and did not know who sang it.

    To my great surprise , I found many bands sang this song.

    So what does a boy do? You listen to about 10 versions of the song. This is another thing I had never done before.

    The different versions were most interesting. There were some very good versions and some terrible versions. I liked the New Seekers the best.  They had energy, great instrumentation and vocals. The were fun to watch. Delaney and Bonnie were good but not as good as the New Seekers. They didn't have much of a band with them. I liked the Statler brothers. They had a surprising amount of instrumentation. John Fogerty did a good version as a soloist. Crystal Gale's version was really dead. It's a lively and energetic song and it wasn't for her.

     So this tune was written in 1971 and was popular during the 70's . I hadn't heard it for many years. It was interesting to hear it again and then to look things up on you tube. I'd never done that before.

    So I learned something and enjoyed hearing the tune again.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


    As many of you know I often start a post with, I was a middle school teacher for 37 years. Then you know you are going to get a school story.

     My favorite classes to teach were what we called a modified class. This would be a group of students who were not having success in a regular program so I would modify the program so that some of these kids could have some success. 

    So I would get somewhere between 10 and 15 kids for math and language arts.  In language arts I would emphasize reading rather than literature. In math I would go back to a level that they had achieved and work from there.

    In one of the gr 9 classes I had Kim. I knew Kim before he came to middle school. He was a little tough kid and had not done well in school.

    In math I found out Kim did not know his time tables beyond 5 times. We worked on basic time tables. Kim was the kind of kid that when he understood something there was a big smile and the eyes lit up. The eyes lit up with times tables. Kim could not divide with 2 place divisors.  I always taught quadratic equations to my regular gr. nines. I decided, "Why not show these guys quadratic equations. Surprise, surprise  They were interested in equations. Some of them got quadratic equations and asked more about them. Kim was curious about equations and yes the light was on showing that he understood them.

    Now another side of Kim is that he had bombs on the brain. His imagination quite often lead to how something could be used for bombs.  He wondered if quadratic equations could lead to bombs.

     What I saw is that Kim had lots of creativity and was  willing to learn but he had just got too far behind to ever get in a regular program again.

    So Kim went on to high school and was in a program that allowed him to finish high school. 

    My predictions for success? Not much.

    So awhile after high school I heard about a project to monitor gas wells by remote. Well, guess whose idea this was and who developed it? Why of course, it was Kim. 

    Kim went on to start a gas well servicing company. He was looking for $800000.00 dollars to start his company. The company did get off the ground and was successful and branched off into other areas.

    Now I hope Kim found a good accountant as I'm not too sure how well he could deal with these numbers.

    And yes, a while later somebody was applying for a license to store dynamite. Guess who? Kim of course!

   So it's been cool to watch this little guy become successful by using his creativity.

Monday, April 9, 2018


      I lead a bird watching group in the spring and fall. Every Saturday morning at 10:00 AM will find us at some site where we will watch  birds for two hours.

     Saturday was the first scheduled walk of the spring season. Most springs by April 7 we will have mild spring weather. Not this year. In fact, it could be well compared to one of the colder winter days. It was minus 16 C ( 1 F) . There was a wind of about 30 km per hour . It was brutally cold. I had my wind pants on and a good coat with a few layers. Oh yes, I also wore winter boots. The other birders were well clad in winter gear.

    However, we did get bare hands out to use cameras and binoculars.

    Now none of us expected to see much. Birds usually stay close to cover when it's windy and cold.

    Well, on my way down to the location I saw a golden eagle.  It was flying across the school yard a block from my house. That was a big sighting  for  me.

    As we were waiting in the parking lot we saw lots of American crows and Bohemian waxwings.

    After that it was a bit of a challenge. We could hear chickadees and nuthatches but didn't see them. I asked the group if they wanted to go off the trail and find the chickadees. Yes, of course.  About 50 m in someone saw bird in a dark part of the woods. It looked like some kind of hawk. It was very hard to see but someone said, "It's eating something!" Yes, it definitely was eating something. It was hard to get a look at the bird as the light conditions were very poor. Finally somebody got a good photo. Yes, it was a Sharp-shinned hawk eating a bohemian waxwing.

      Thanks to Lynette for her fine photo. You can see how close the camera had to be focused to get this one.

Image may contain: bird, tree and outdoor

    We spent about 10 minutes having a look at this little hawk and finally left .

    500 m further on we saw a pileated woodpecker sending large chips flying as he was looking for grub. The pileated paid not attention to us and we finally left.

    So what we thought would be a poor day wasn't that bad after all.