Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Can't Draw.

I should start by saying I can't draw. Well I can, but not quickly on the white board in my classroom. Somehow whenever I try to draw fast my pictures of giraffes always end up looking like bicycles (or two equally unrelated items). 

It's sort of a running joke in my class. Whenever I'm about to draw something I always make sure they're paying attention so they don't miss my horrific masterpieces. 

So for my birthday, one of my students made me a card. I laughed for a good minute or two after reading this part of it:




Now the funny thing is, I actually can draw. Quite well at times. But that's when I have time to perfect every line and curve. 

So on Monday during art class I had the kids draw trees. And I made it quite clear to them that I would not be accepting clouds on top of two sticks, but rather they needed to draw the tree with realistic details. 

I drew an example on the board. First I started with the tree trunk and the kids were in awe. Mostly because it actually looked like a tree trunk and not like an elephant. Then when we started discussing shapes of leaves one of the students mentioned the Canadian flag leaf.

G'day Mate! Oh wait, wrong country.


I quickly looked it up and drew it on the board. When I finished, and I'm not kidding, my students were applauding me. For drawing a leaf. 

Sometimes it's so easy to impress children.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Want a Wand

As a teacher I think it's important to pull inspiration from other educators. There are so many characteristics of a great teacher I almost couldn't choose just five. But when I had to narrow it down here is what I came up with:



1. Complete hatred of students.
2. Physical violence? Absolutely!
3. Instill fear in (almost) all your students.
4. Speak as if always giving death threats.
5. Greasy hair a must.


It took me about 2 seconds to find someone who embodied all of the aforementioned qualities.

Snape.



I sincerely hope you weren't expecting anyone else.



Pretty sure that's illegal.



This whole post came about because today while reading "The Witches" aloud to my students I had to keep reading the number 454. I couldn't not read it like Snape. And anyone who is a true fan of Snape should remember the following scene.


Side note: Teaching would be so much easier if I had a wand.



And as a present to all my loyal readers, I found this clip while searching for the previous one. As long as you're a Harry Potter fan you'll enjoy it. And if you're not, well then, 1000 points from Slytherin. (Only Slytherin's hate HP.)



You're most welcome.

Party Underground

The tectonic plates really need to relax. 

Here's a picture of all the little hiccups this past week.


See the big yellow square underneath a smaller yellow square? That's from my birthday last week. Fun times, I tell you.

And in case you don't check the USGS website daily (wait, only I do that?) the blue squares represent earthquakes from the past 24 hours and yellow ones are from the past week. Thankfully there are no red squares; those show up within an hour of the quake. With my luck I just jinxed it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thanks, Earth.

My birthday has proved to be very Chilean. 

At 12:50am, I woke up because my room was shaking. This is what went through my head, in this order:

1. Is this real, or am I dreaming?
2. WTF?! It's my birthday!
3. Why isn't it stopping?
4. Oh crap, it's getting worse.
5. Shit! Where are my glasses?
6. I think I hear my roommate shouting, I guess I should get up.
7. Oh, this is not fun.
8. Bummer, the electricity went out.
9. Where is my effing flashlight?!
10. Yay. It stopped.
11. Why are people shouting? 
12. Maybe we should go downstairs. 
13. I'm tired.
14. I have to wake up in how many more hours?
15. I want to go back to bed.

Last night on TV the news said the earthquake was a 6.7. When I looked this morning on USGS.gov, I was surprised to see it listed at 5.1. That's a big downgrade. Joe pointed out that the 5.1 was an additional earthquake to the 6.7. They just happened in the same spot so it was hard to read on the map. So we basically got two quakes for the price of one.

After posting about it on Facebook, a friend of mine wrote me a funny message:
"It's just Earth's way of saying happy birthday!"

Uh, a card would have been fine too.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Early Birthday...to ME!

A while back I was browsing on Pinterest and stumbled upon this insanely colorful scarf:



Tolani Pantone Scarf

I decided almost immediately that I needed to own it. So I did the most logical thing:  I emailed my mom.

Fast forward to this afternoon:
Thanks Mom & Joe!

Looks like she got my not so subtle hints!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

So I'm sure many of you know that Friday the 13th is considered to be unlucky. Well, here in Chile (and other countries around the world) today is just any ordinary day. The day that is feared by all those superstitious people is Tuesday the 13th.

Why Tuesday?

Well, from what I've read it all goes back to the fall of Constantinople is the year 1453. The Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople on a Tuesday (May 29th to be exact). This greatly upset many people of the Christian faith. I'm guessing they considered it unlucky back in the 1400s and it stuck for many people in Spanish speaking countries (Greeks too, apparently). 

So why isn't Tuesday the 29th considered unlucky instead of Tuesday the 13th?

It seems so many people, for so many different reasons fear the number 13. There are so many theories online but the following seem to be the most common. 

  1. There were 13 people present at the Last Supper. And that didn't end so well.
  2. On Friday, October 13, 1307 an arrest was issued for the Knights Templar by the king of France. King Philip was such a bully.



Enough history, back to Tuesdays in Chile.

Those who are super-superstitious, will avoid traveling or getting married on this day because they believe trips or marriages that begin on Tuesday the 13th will not end well.

Chile is divided into 15 regions, numbered one through fifteen. There is no region 13. To make up for the lack of a thirteenth region, there is RM, or Región Metropolitana de Santiago (Metropolitan Region of Santiago).  Seems there are many Triskaidekaphobes here.

Many pop culture references from the US have trickled down into Chile and other Spanish speaking countries. The popularity of the Friday the 13th films spurred new generations to consider that day to be unlucky as well.

Creepy McCreeperson

I, for one, am not a superstitious person. Friday the 13th is a fantastic day in my opinion. Why? Because it's a Friday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Geeky Goodness

This has been my week so far. Filled with a lot of nostalgic geekery.

1. I taught my kids the world's best classroom game today. Heads Up Seven Up. Oh admit it. You loved playing it in school when you were little. Most of the class had never heard of it before. (Yes, shocking. I know.) They haven't yet mastered the art of the game. Soon they will figure out that you need to position yourself in such a way where you can watch people's shoes as they sneak past you. That way you can figure out who picked you.
If they were younger I'd teach them to play "Duck, Duck, Goose". If we had more space I'd teach them how to play "Red Rover". If it was 1994 I'd let them play Oregon Trail. All day.


2. Today I also introduced my kids to the wonders of Shel Silverstein. Oh my word, that guy is fantastic! His poems are so silly, the kids just love them. I remember reading his poems as a child. I brought to Chile with me the same copy of his book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" that I had in elementary school. I just knew my kids here would like it.

I read them a poem called "Smart" about a boy who's not so bright. The boy receives a dollar from his father and trades it away for two quarters. He thinks he made a good deal since now he has two things instead of one. At the end of his trades he has five pennies and he is quite pleased with himself (much to the dismay of his father). My kids ate it up. They really seemed to enjoy it. Of course, I started first with a micro-mini-lesson on US currency so they could understand the poem.
Geeky fun fact: Shel Silverstein wrote the famous Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue". Thank you Mental_Floss.


3. And the most fantastic geeky thing we did this week was watch a video about the respiratory system. By Bill Nye. The Science Guy. (Bill-Bill-Bill-Bill!)
If you didn't have the honor of watching his videos in school you have been seriously gipped. And I feel deeply sorry for you.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Want To Go To There

I have had a folder sitting on my desktop for over a year called "I want to go to there". In it are pictures of places all over Chile. I figured I could take time out of my incredibly busy Sunday and post some of them here (Gilmore Girls reruns can wait).

There are more photos but I thought it would be best to separate them by location. Otherwise this post would never end. So, first up on my list of places I want to go to is Torres del Paine National Park. Duh.


So where is it?

Torres del Paine National Park is located so far south, that if you squint really hard you can almost see Antarctica. Okay, maybe not. But it is located in Southern Patagonia, about 2,000 km South of Santiago.





Obviously none of these photos are owned by me, seeing how I've never been there.









People have been touring this region recreationally since (at least) the late 1870s. A British woman named Lady Florence Dixie and her traveling party apparently have the honor of being the first tourists to the area that is now the National Park. (Thank you Wikipedia.) Of her travels in Patagonia, Wikipedia included the following piece of invaluable information:

"There, she hunted big game and ate it with gusto."

Gusto, you say? Well, there you go. I'm convinced Wikipedia includes such pointless pieces of information so jerks like me can mock it on their blogs.

But, I digress.

Nowadays, most people (I'm assuming) skip the killing of large, defenseless animals and travel to the park to participate in all things outdoorsy.

I think that after seeing photos of the park, how could you not want to visit? It looks so absolutely gorgeous.

The park was in the news last December when a fire ravaged through the reserve. It was so intense, I received numerous emails from the US Embassy (they know I'm here) warning me to not enter the park.

At the center of the park is the Cordillera del Paine, a group of mountains that look like they're from The Lord of the Rings.  These three towers are probably the most famous peaks in the park. 

I'm sure Legolas and Gimli are there somewhere


Millions of years ago glaciers cut away at the granite forming these impressive monoliths.

So there you have it. Mountains, lakes, rivers, trees, glaciers, (elves and dwarves). Seems like a pretty impressive place to visit. And it's definitely at the top of my list.