Saturday, February 4, 2017

girly girls

It’s a good day.  I woke up early this beautiful, crisp Saturday morning, not by way of an alarm clock or cat, or dog, or husband.  Completely on my own volition – it’s a marvelous thing – getting to decide when I want to wake up and get up.  And now, I’m writing a blog post because I want to. 

But yes, there is plenty to do today (always?).  I have assignments to create and assign for my students at University #1.  I must complete configuration of a new classroom for University #1 to be opened tomorrow for students who start a 12-week class on Monday.  And then, I have six online classes for University #2 that also begin on Monday.  I need to update the course calendar for them, and send out welcome messages.  All routine stuff, but I like doing it.  As of Monday, I will have 10 classes on three different schedules covering seven subject matters.  I like challenge. 

One of my students is legally blind.  She has been able to cope well so far, but we have not launched into anything she is not already familiar with.  She magnifies her computer screen and scrolls around to find things.  I have to be mindful not to go too fast because it’s harder for her to find things on the screen.  In my new 12-week class that starts Monday, I will have a student who is profoundly deaf.  She has a cochlear implant, but she still doesn’t hear well.  The student resource person who notified me of her issue sent a link to a YouTube video so that I could understand how she perceives sound.  It’s worrisome – she hears as if she’s swimming under water all the time.  She relies on reading lips, but in my classroom, the instructor’s station is on a long table pushed against the wall.  My screen is projected to two walls.  In effect, when I’m showing the class how to do something, my back is to the class and I talk to the wall.   I can move the monitor and keyboard to face the class (though the tables are very narrow and it will be uncomfortable for me with my elbow against the wall, given that I’m right handed, and my notes in my lap because there will be no space to lay them. Even with that, it will be impossible for her to sit close and have her hearing ear directed toward me.  The room is just not configured right.  If we were meeting on the newer campus, there would be no issue.  Another challenge.

Emily stayed in Morehead this weekend because she was not given any hours to work.  Her boyfriend drove over to be with her…of course…they are very tight these days.  I was a bit relieved that they did not get engaged over Christmas.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with him, only that they are both young and should get farther along in their lives and plans before committing.  Out nest is truly empty this weekend.  It seems odd. 

Yesterday, I volunteered to act as a judge at a regional science fair.  That was FUN!  I’m a closet science geek anyway, so there were plenty of interesting things to look at.  Three other judges and I evaluated projects submitted by students in 6th through 8th grade, on topics related to math, engineering, and computer science.  Most of the projects were interesting, but I will tell you about the little girl’s project who won our category.  She had created an eco-friendly air conditioner using a piece of ply-wood cut to fit a window, with holes drilled in it, and cut-off plastic 2-liter pop bottles stuck through the holes.  The board is placed in a window so that the large end of the bottles face out – the idea is that as air comes through, it compresses and cools.  She recorded five trials showing that room temperature cooled two to nine degrees over a 90-minute period.  The main reasons that she won were because she had a clear objective and hypothesis statement, and was able to explain the science of her experiment better than the others.  She got her idea off the Internet:  people in poor areas of Africa use this invention to cool their huts.  What I LOVED was her display – all girl.  Pale pink board with the main lettering in iridescent silver, and rhinestones glued around all of the important scientific and procedural information that was glued to the board.  Clearly, she spent a lot of time bedazzling her display.  We asked all of the entrants if they had a career objective during their interviews.  She blushed, and said she wants to be a ballet dancer when she grows up.  Of course she does!  Little girls usually want to be a princesses, dancers, or movie stars.  Her project will advance to the state science fair next month.

So now, it’s time to commit this post to the blog, and get to work on things.  University of Kentucky plays Florida tonight, and I want to watch it.  College basketball is an exciting sport.  In last Tuesday’s game, I gave up on UK midway through the second half.  We battled back and the score got really close.  Monk scored a three in the final seconds to tie the score, and then we won in overtime.  It was a nail-biter!  

Monk, Fox, and Briscoe - amazing!

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