Program Outline

This morning I led an environmental education program for a group of adults with intellectual disabilities.  I’m going to write a longer post about it later, but I wanted to share the outline today:

  • Start with introducing the Land Trust property where the event was held
  • Conduct an audience-participation bird song activity
  • Teach about the geography of Alabama and how it affects the biodiversity of the land
  • Talk about the mammals, marsupials, birds, reptiles, and amphibians of the area
  • Discuss the importance of the Oxford comma.  Not really, but the last bullet necessitated the inclusion of this bullet
  • Finish with a raptor presentation starring Sassy the red-tailed hawk

In a word, it was a blast.  More to follow!

My Dog Took Me for a Walk Today

My dog took me for a walk today.

Normally, in keeping with comic strip conventions, when I read a sentence like that I imagine a huge hound dragging a small person.  My dog, however, is a relatively small dog (sort of a minpin/dachshund mix kind of mutt), and I’m a relatively large person.

Now, by Friday afternoon, I’m usually ready to get home, grab a book or tablet, and sit in a chair for the 14 seconds it takes me to put said book or tablet down and take a nap.  Hey, it’s Friday, and I’m a teacher.  Tomorrow, though, I’m part of a team leading an educational outing at one of the Land Trust properties in my area.  I knew I needed to walk the property to avoid any surprises tomorrow morning.

But it’s Friday.

“I know the property,” I told myself.

“What if vandals stole the picnic tables?” I answered myself (I’ve got a deep pessimistic streak, sometimes).  “What if the pavilion is covered in mud from the recent rains?”  “What if one of the garbage cans overflowed and there’s trash everywhere?”  “What if…”

But it’s Friday.

Then, though, my dog told me I needed to.  Furthermore, I needed to take her.  Those eyes, darn it…

The walk was nice, despite a gentle drizzle (I’m hoping for good weather tomorrow), and the property looked great.  The Land Trust of North Alabama has a fantastic Land Steward (Brandon and team, you rock!) and it was clear that things had been recently spruced up.

Thanks, Maggie, I appreciate the encouragement.

Who Knew?

Whatever you do, please don’t tell my wife what I found out today.

I was talking to a co-worker about buying a book I’d recently heard of, and she wondered if they might not have it at the library.

Did you know you don’t actually have to buy books to read them?  It’s not necessary to have stacks of books lying around your house, waiting for you to build a new book shelf?  Who knew that you could read them without needing an Amazon account or taking a trip to Barnes and Noble!?  

There’s this place called a…   “Library.”  Whoa.

Now that I think about it, though, maybe it’s okay if my wife knows.  Her book habit is as bad as mine!

Another First for Me

The line, “This is it, people…this is what we’ve been training for our whole lives” ran through my head earlier today.  That’s rarely a good sign.

I’ll admit, I experienced a bit of trepidation as I cinched the straps on my book bag just a little bit tighter and held my stack of iPads just a little bit closer.  

With one last deep breath, I walked through the door of the kindergarten classroom.  

Now, I’ve taught in a kindergarten classroom plenty of times before, and I’ve taught the programming aspects of computer science plenty of times before.  Just never at the same time.

But, you know what?  It went well. Scaffolding, modeling, baby steps: call it what you will…we took things one slow step at a time.  There was exploration, there was excitement, there was a steady chorus of “Oh, wow!”

Tomorrow, I get to do it again in a different school.  I can’t wait!

A Short, Fruity Observation

I don’t think I want to work at an Apple store.

On the positive side, I’d be surrounded by fellow believers and a lot of really cool tech.

On the negative side, I’d be surrounded by people who are either:

  • Spending a lot of money
  • Unhappy because something doesn’t work
  • Confused (and I say this respectfully) because it’s all so new to someone who knows what a “party line” is

Nope.  Thanks, but no.



Just a quick aside: I was at the Apple store tonight to take one of their teacher workshops.  I highly recommend them.

Spring Weather in Alabama

Ah, spring in the southeast.  The early flowers have already made their appearances, the landscape is that particular shade of green, the air has that hint of warmth that proclaims the changing season, and the kids at school are dismissing early today because of the afternoon tornado risk.

The first three signs of spring?  I’m okay with those. That last one, though, is kind of a downer.  North Alabama is under “moderate risk” of severe weather, including tornadoes and large hail.  That’s the second-highest risk level, so batten down the hatches.

It could be a wild one.

Bumper Sticker

When I drive

or even better

when I’m a passenger

I enjoy looking at bumper stickers

on the cars I see around me

I love to laugh along with the witticisms

I love to shake my head either

in agreement

or disagreement

with their politics

I might like their team

I might not like their team

(But, look, it’s


a game)

I normally appreciate the sentiments

but sometimes I don’t


When I drive

or even better

when I’m a passenger

I like to look at bumper stickers


99 out of a hundred times


Every once in awhile

    and today was such a day

I have to wonder

what that person has been through

in order to want to express

that sort of message to the world

on the back

of his or her car


The pain


speaking to me

speaking to everyone who follows


They don’t know me

I don’t know them


sometimes I wonder.