Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bigfoot and Straw Towers

I can remember setting in boring science classes where you just read out of the book and answered questions in the back. I really try not to be boring. Sometimes you have to cover some science content to get to the cool stuff but usually there is a way to do it so that it isn’t “boring.” Today we did a couple of different activities that I thought were fun. First, in Science Investigations we created straw towers. The kids had to work as a team to create the tallest free standing straw structure that they could build in five minutes using nothing but straws and tape. The kids did really well. We combined classes with Mrs. Brown’s class. Enjoy the pictures.

In science, the kids had homework last night to read an article about a supposed Bigfoot carcass that was found and stuffed into a freezer. We had a great discussion about that and it was pure coincidence (Don’t you love it when things work out or like they said in the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”) Today in the Kansas City Star there was an article that said the guys are now saying it was a complete hoax. I also brought in a couple of letters that go along with Bigfoot. One is from the guy that took the famous video of bigfoot and the other is from a guy that claims to be the guy in the ape suit in that video. Check out the Dear Mr. Kelsey blog in the next few days for those to be posted.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day of 7th Grade

Remember back when you were in school and you were all nervous about a new grade, a new teacher, or a new building? I definitely remember that and have relived it today. What an amazing day. I’m excited, worn out, my voice is gone (the plague of all teachers on the first day of school) but what a great day. I have some great kids. It was really cool to see some of the kids that I had in class in the past again. It was also nice to see a few familiar faces. The morning flew by and the afternoon did as well but it is hard to teach the same thing four times in a row. Luckily next week I will only teach the same thing twice.

Homeroom and Science Investigations went so fast just trying to get some of the basics done. Really all of today was expectations and getting to know the kids. That is one of the hardest things for me is learning all of the kids names. I have a few down but nowhere near all of them.

Broadcasting was really cool. I think that the kids were excited about what we are going to accomplish and a little nervous about all the work they have in front of them. I am confident that they will rise to the challenge. The broadcast kids did have homework today – they had to go home and watch TV, watching for the rule of thirds. I think the kids will be really surprised when they see how much it applies to everything on TV.

In science, we went over a lot of different topics including listening to the launch of the Space Shuttle. For homework tonight the kids have to read an article about the supposed Bigfoot that a couple of guys found and put in a freezer. I think it will lead to an interesting discussion in class tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Almost Finished!

Right now it is 7:28 pm and I am (hopefully) almost finished with my 90 second news story. We have been working since yesterday at noon on this news story. Our assignment was to go to Branson, Missouri and find someone interesting and create a news story about them. This time we were given a little more freedom and length to get it accomplished. Our target time was between 75-90 seconds. When we got to Branson we were kicking around a few different ideas.

We thought about doing a story about miniature golf, or an old time photo studio. We thought the photo studio might be interesting because we could do some old time effects on the video. We went into a photo studio and didn’t really find anything interesting. So my partner, Bob, and I decided we were hungry so we went to dinner at a Ruby Tuesday’s. Our server came up and we asked him who was interesting in Branson that was within walking distance. He said, “Even though I work at a Ruby Tuesday’s, I’m kind of interesting.” Daniel is going to be trying out for American Idol in a couple of weeks in Kansas City. That in itself was a pretty interesting story. Then he told us that he does the voice of the robot hillbilly at the IMAX theatre. They have a robot dressed up like a hillbilly at the theatre that talks to people and Daniel uses a microphone to do his voice. Now we had an even better story. Then the clincher was when he told us that he uses the robot hillbilly to get girl’s phone numbers and that he met his girlfriend that way. We had struck film making gold.

We were in Branson until around midnight last night and we have been editing the 20 minutes of video that we shot since 10:30 this morning. Our teacher has to come by and give us final approval but we are really close to getting done. The teachers are then putting them all together into a full news broadcast. When I get a copy of that, I will post it on here. I love our story but I’m so tired of it right now that I could puke. I think that is one of the things that is cool about this camp is that it is so hands on that it really makes you feel what our students will be feeling coming up.

On another related note, after everything I’ve learned this week, I dread looking back at the old KMH broadcasts. Not because the kids didn’t do a good job, or do exactly what I asked of them. The kids that have worked on KMH for the last seven years have been awesome. It is just that my knowledge base was so low. There are so many really simple things that I just didn’t know. Those simple things make the job of putting a news story together harder because you have so much to look for but I think the quality of our future broadcasts is going to be well above what we have done in the past. I haven’t had a TV all week (Yes, it is killing me) and I can’t wait to get home to watch it so that I can see where these same techniques are used.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Drinking out of the Fire Hose

I started broadcast camp on Sunday and again, I feel like I’m trying to drink out of a fire hose. I’m staying in a dorm room at Drury University. I’m roommates with guys from KC, Arkansas and Ohio. In my class there are people from 17 different states. I was even setting in class today net to a woman who knows my cousin that lives in South Carolina. Talk about a small world. Our first night of class was on Sunday and we immediately jumped into things. We actually didn’t get out of class on Sunday night until around 9:00 and that isn’t even out “late” night. This is the first formal education I have had in broadcasting and I have learned so much already. I have been trying to figure out how I’m going to teach my kids the basics of broadcasting while getting our first shows together. I had a few ideas that I was kicking around before this class and now I’m overloaded with ideas.

One of the cool things about this class is that we do lectures in the mornings about how to do different things, then in the afternoons we have assignments to practice them. Last night we had to work on different kinds of shots (Wide, Medium, Tight, Action, Reaction) and we did this by video taping a guy playing guitar. Today our assignment was to create a one minute movie with no sound that told a complete story (beginning, middle, end). We were given a topic and then we had about 2 ½ hours to brainstorm, make a shot list, film/act, and edit. I think ours turned out really good. Out topic was “Silly campers are locked inside a van.” So myself and one of my roommates, Bob, acted like we were dead and then scared our camp counselors. Eventually I will get a copy of that story and post it on here. We definitely made some mistakes but overall I was happy with the results. I think tomorrow we are talking more about putting a news story together so I’m pretty excited about that.

Tonight we went to Lambert’s restaurant, home of the Throwed Rolls. I ate way too much but had some great conversations with teachers from all over the country. If you’ve ever been to Lamberts, you know that it is always a long wait. I figured we would be there for hours when our teacher told us to listen for “Davis party of 44.” It actually only took us about a half hour to get everyone seated. I sat next to a teacher name Marty (again, small world) from Pennsylvania, there were also teachers from Arkansas, New Jersey, Iowa, South Carolina, and St. Louis at my table. I think was is really cool is to hear ideas from others who are excited about teaching. I don’t know how you could go to a class like this or the Space Foundation classes in Colorado Springs and not leave wanting to get back to the classroom and try this stuff out. It is 9:40 on Monday night, I already feel like I’ve been through a week of class but I will probably be up later staring a presentation for the first week of school for broadcasting. I hate the let these great ideas get out of my head.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back in Class

In my space suit!
The cardboard tubes are sun spot viewers

I’m back in class in Colorado Springs. This time the class is Astronomy Principals for the Classroom: Kinesthetic Astronomy. It has been so much fun so far. The last couple of days we have been learning about telescopes and observatories. Tomorrow we have a lesson on black holes and then tomorrow night we are doing a star viewing. I just got in from looking at sunspots through a telescope (NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN THROUGH A TELESCOPE). What we did was hold paper up next to the eye piece and let the telescope project an image of the sun on the paper. The only bummer was that there were no sun spots today. Check out the link below to see if there are currently any sun spots.

Update – last night was our night viewing and it was really cool. We had 10-12 telescopes set up and were looking at the moon, Jupiter and Saturn. We could even see the rings on Saturn. Today is our last day of class. I’m kind of sad because this is my last Space Foundation class. I’ve taken five of them over the last 3 summers. They have all been amazing.

Looking through the telescope looking at the moon.


Picture of the moon I took through a telecope

Summer Trip

I haven’t updated for a while because I have been crazy busy. My wife and I are currently on a three and a half week trip. We have gotten to see and do some amazing things. We are taking classes in Colorado Springs through the Space Foundation. We have finished up one week of class that was about the Biology of Space Travel. For the class we learned soooo much that I will have to go through my notes to remember it all. A couple of the highlights were riding the Barany Chair. This is a chair that spins really smoothly. They block out all other senses – so basically you wear a blindfold and ear muffs. You have to show which way you think you are spinning. I started out correct and then at some point while I was still spinning I felt like I was stopped, then I felt like I started spinning the other way. Then the teacher stopped me from spinning and I still felt like I was going. It was over 30 seconds before I felt like I was stopped. It was really an odd sensation. It has to do with the inner ear and how it senses directions. Kind of cool because it really made the microgravity flight and what I was feeling make more sense. During class we also designed space suits – of which I was my teams model – build glove boxes like they use in space and designed plant grown chambers. I also go some cinnamon basil seeds that flew with Barbara Morgan on STS-118. I can’t wait to get them home and start growing them.

Me riding the Barany Chair

After class got done on Friday we drove south to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had never been there before but it was a pretty city. While there we went to the zoo. It was pretty cool with lots of animals that were on display in a way that made them pretty easy to see. Our next stop was really cool. We went to Meteor Crater in Arizona. This is the best preserved meteor impact site on the planet. It is a hole a mile across and 570 feet straight down. This is where NASA trained the Apollo astronauts on what to look for when they got to the moon. We took a tour that took us a half mile around the crater. It was really impressive. Apparently you can take a magnet and go through the dirt and pick up pieces of the original meteorite that were vaporized and re-solidified into little balls.

Standing at Meteor Crater in Arizona

After leaving Meteor Crater we took off for the Grand Canyon. I had never been there before. We were trying to make it by sunset. We missed it by about 10 minutes. When we first walked toward the edge (Note: I do NOT like heights so for most of this trip I was really pushing myself and getting outside my comfort zone. It took a while but I ended up on a trail that was right at the edge and dropped over a mile into the canyon.) My first impression of the Grand Canyon was that it honestly looked fake. It was so big/enormous/huge/massive that at first I couldn’t comprehend how big it was. We stayed about a half mile from the canyon at Yavapai Lodge. If you have a chance to go to the Grand Canyon, I highly recommend it. The night we got there it happened to be the night of a star party. This is where amature astronomers bring out their telescopes and let people look though them. We saw several different galaxies, and Jupiter. We could see the bands of Jupiter and four of the moons. The next day we spent most of the day at the Grand Canyon. We took a bus ride that dropped us off at several points where you could walk out onto cliffs that were dangling by a thread over the canyon. Seriously, who looks at the Grand Canyon and says to themselves, “you know I think we should put a trail out on that 2 foot wide rock but lets leave the guard rails off. “ Apparently the National Parks Service. Still, the park was beautiful and I am still impressed with the magnitude of the Canyon. I would go back in a second.

My wife and I at the Grand Canyon. This is about as close as I got to the edge.

Yesterday we drove to Phoenix, Arizona to go to the zoo (my wife loves zoos and I drag her to all kinds of historical and scientific places – battlefields, meteor crater, petrified forest, Hoover Dam, etc. – that the least I can do is go to a zoo occasionally.) This one just about killed us. We got there at 9:00 and the temperature was over 100 degrees. Even the giraffes were laying down. Snakes were going, “man is it hot!” Coolest thing at that zoo were the turtles. I counted over 40 turtles in a little pond that you walked over to get into the zoo. That night we went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game. It was way cool. I played baseball in college and love going to games. I tried out for 20+ major and minor league teams when I was in college so I really enjoy seeing other ballparks and how they do things, especially now that I work for the Royals occasionally. We got hooked up with some free tickets and a personal tour of the field. They have an amazing facility. The prices are pretty reasonable (I got a hat and T-shirt for $15). They even had sushi (I passed) and Chinese food. The Diamondbacks won and we had a great time at the game. Thanks Casey!

Today we are on our way to Las Vegas. We will be there for a few days over the 4th of July. Right now I am in the car typing this. My wife is driving and we are about 40 miles from going over the Hoover Dam. I really want to see it and later this week we will be coming back to take the tour. A cool side note about the desert. Right now I am watching 4 dust devils work their way across the desert. Kind of weird coming from tornado alley, the instinct is to go dive into a ditch but they are kind of cool to watch. After I take the tour of the dam, I will post more.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Change in the Blog

The name of this blog officially changed today from Room 42 Daily to Mr. Kelsey’s Class. I’m not sure if I like this title yet but it will work for now. I have been enjoying my time off since school let out. I’ve been to a T-Bones game, went to see Indiana Jones, slept in a little bit, and had a day of technology training. I got some details finalized for the broadcast program for South Valley Middle School. The name of the program will officially be the Knightly Knews. It will begin the year as a weekly broadcast and hopefully by the end of each quarter we will be doing daily broadcasts.

In two weeks my wife and I leave for Colorado Springs for two weeks of classes offered through the Space Foundation. We will both finish up the first half of a master’s degree this summer in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in space studies. Between the two classes we are taking we have 9 days off and will be driving to the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Phoenix for an Arizona Diamondbacks game, and then a few days in Las Vegas. Once we return from Colorado I have a week off and then I go to Springfield for a broadcasting camp. It will be a busy summer but it should be a lot of fun. Be sure to stay tuned for updates.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How Far is It

Today in science class we created scale models of how far it is from the Earth to the Moon. The kids predicted that the moon would be no more than 2-3 meters away on our scale model. When they actually created the model they were amazed at how far away it was. (It is 10x the circumference of the earth or 240,000 miles away.) In our model the moon (a baseball) was about halway down the hall from the earth (a globe).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Where the Red Fern Grows

Today we started reading my favorite book of all time, Where the Red Fern Grows. For this in class project we will be reading the book both together and independently. Students will then respond to questions that are posted on the Red Fern Book Blog. For these questions, I really want the kids to bring in their own personal experience. Some of the answers I have seen on this project in the past have been touching, funny, and unbelievably thoughtful.

I would love for anyone interested to join us on our journey through the Red Fern. Don’t worry, I won’t grade anyone but the students. If you are in need of a copy of the book, let me know and I will be glad to loan you one. I have 5 copies left. First come first served. If you want to answer the questions with us, you can log in as anonymous and answer the questions. The only thing that I ask is that you put your name on the post so I know who it is coming from. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Red Fern Book Blog Link:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Room 42 Daily Featured in Cable in the Classroom Magazine

Yes, you read correctly. This blog is featured in this month’s edition of Cable in the Classroom Magazine. There is a great article about how I use the blog to communicate and there are some great pictures there also. Click on the link below and then click on the Homeroom to Home link.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Adopted Soldier

Okay, so I’ve been really slacking lately and not getting updates on here. I will attempt to rectify that in the future.

Today we got a special surprise. Several Months ago we “adopted” a soldier who was stationed in Iraq. He is the future brother in law of one of our kids. We sent him a big batch of letters and a small care package. I found out last week that he was in town on a two week leave and wanted to come by and thank the kids for sending the stuff over. Today Kerry stopped by and the kids were completely surprised. We had a great talk about what it was like in Iraq (we learned about the food, bed times, body armor, and the kids). We also sent home with him one of the flags that went on the weightless flight. Check out the pictures below!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Exchange City Pictures

Finally, I have found an extra minute to post the pictures from Exchange City, sorry for the delay.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A New Opportunity!

It became official today. I will not be returning to Manor Hill next year. I have accepted a position at South Valley Middle School. While I am sad to be leaving Manor Hill, I am excited to be starting a new position. I have been at Manor Hill for the last 9 years. Actually, I have been there for the past 9 ½ years, since I student taught there as well. It will be really hard to leave that last day of school this year. At South Valley, I will be starting a broadcast program. I will actually have a studio and we will be producing live daily broadcast. I will also be teaching seventh grade science. I think both of these will be a lot of work, very challenging and a lot of fun. I told the class today and at first I don’t think they quite knew what to think but when I told them that I could be there teacher again in two years, they actually cheered. That meant so much to me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Playing for the KC Royals . . . I wish!

Okay, this really doesn’t have a lot to do with school but I thought it was really cool so I wanted to post it. I have a new summer job. I will be helping run the scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium this year. It is nothing major, and at this point I don’t even know exactly what I’m doing or how many games I will get to work. I'm sure that my job will be very minor, however, just going to the first meeting last night was really cool. The scoreboard is PHENOMINAL! Imagine the size of the old scoreboard only this time it is all (no border) high definition. They had it on last night when I drove up and I couldn’t believe how awesome it was. Literally peoples jaws will drop when they walk into the stadium next year. A couple of cool things that I got to see last night were the control room (multi-million dollar). Wall to wall computers and video equipment, my KMH brain was spinning. They also use a program called Final Cut Pro that I have looked at using for KMH. Just the scope of what they do and the equipment that they use was amazing. Next week I have another meeting where I think I will find out more of what I will be doing and they will be doing a detailed run through of what a game will be like. I will post updates when I know more.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MAP Prep

This week we are going to work really hard on getting ready for the MAP test. To do this we are taking some practice tests and we will be going over them in class. I think it is really important for the kids to not only know what questions they got right or wrong but also to see why they got questions wrong. This week we will also be hitting our normal math lessons hard in order to get to the beginning of unit 9 which involves coordinate planes. I have a feeling that this might be a skill that is tested on the MAP test.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break

Wow, this whole blogging thing really seems foreign to me after having basically not blogged for the last three weeks. I had the flu which knocked me out for a week. I have never had anything hit me like that. I was so sick that when I was home, I did nothing other than eat a little soup and sleep. This week has been spring break and I did a lot of little random things. My wife and I went to the zoo one day, and saw the movie Vantage Point. I worked on a grant for next year and did some work around my house. I even got a new barbeque grill put together. I even got a chance to get some reading done. I’m currently reading Honeymoon with My Brother, a book that was recommended to me last summer. I can’t put it down. It is really good. I’m also reading a biography of Chris Kraft, a member of mission control for much of the Apollo space program. I also had an opportunity to hit several book stores and picked up a few books. I hate finishing a book and not having something new to read. I got a book by Bob Woodward, who was a part of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. I got a book written by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins about the trip to the moon. I also got a book called 102 minutes about the World Trade Center. Those should keep me busy for a while.

We have one week at school before the MAP tests start. This week we will be working on several different projects that we need to get done so that when we have limited time because of the MAP test, we will be able to get some things done. The biggest thing about the MAP test is to make sure that the kids are at school every day and at school on time. We will start right after school starts and go basically until lunch. Anyone that comes in late will have to sit in office until we get to a break, then will miss the afternoon to take makeup tests.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Math Casts

Despite the short day, we were able to get a lot accomplished today, especially for our Math Casts. I don’t know if I have mentioned this project or not. The students have each been given a math problem. They now must create a short movie explaining exactly how to solve this problem. Students are working in pairs and today spent a good deal of time just figuring out the steps needed to solve the problem. (Most of them could solve the problem easy enough but had trouble breaking it down into steps and explaining each step). Next week we will work on our final storyboards and on creating the steps and taking digital pictures. The last step will be putting it all together in Movie Maker and narrating it. Once all of the projects are done, I will post them online and students will be able to watch them to review for their test.

Enjoy your long weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Wax Museum Pictures - Finally

After much delay, and looking at my house, I found the cable to connect my old camera to the computer and I was able to download the lat two wax museum pictures. Brittany and Madison, sorry about the delay. You both had great costumes and did well on your presentation. This was even the first year that I had a "peg leg."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Parent Teacher Conferences

Just a short post today about Parent Teacher Conferences tonight, I know I won’t have much time after school to get anything posted. As soon as school is out it will be a quick dinner (at 4:00) time for a quick pit stop and then conferences until almost 8:00. I look forward to seeing everyone tonight. Remember, these are student led conferences, so the kids need to be in attendance. If they are not present, conferences will be really short. If you are unsure of your conference schedule, click on the link below to go the Room 42 web page. The schedule is on the front page, just scroll down to see it.

Room 42 Web Page

Monday, February 25, 2008

Exchange City Mania

Two words pretty much sum up this week. Exchange City. This week will be spent on getting ready for Exchange City. Applications, resumes, cover letters, shop meetings, interview, and a million other little details to get ready for the day. Tomorrow we meet with Mr. Fisher to go over interview techniques. Our class will be doing interviews for their jobs on Monday, March 3rd. Students need to dress appropriately and will need to have their resumes, job applications, and cover letters done by then. We have two hours of computer lab time in the next two days, I am pretty sure that we will get all of that done at school in plenty of time.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Extra Pictures

As I was looking through some pictures on my computer today I came across a couple additional photos that I thought I would share. These are pretty much just random pictures of different class projects that we have worked on this year. Also, I have not forgotten, I am still looking for the cable that I need in order to get the rest of the Wax Museum pictures off my old camera.

Happy Unexpected Snow Day Part 2

I really was not expecting the call this morning saying that we didn’t have school. I love the snow day but I know that we have to make it up, probably at the end of the year. That won’t be as much fun. I have actually gotten a lot done today. I wanted to take a little bit of time to post some pictures of the lunar eclipse this week. I braved the cold and spent probably too much time outside taking pictures. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you missed a great show. A lunar eclipse is when the Earth passes between the moon and the sun. Basically the earth casts a shadow on the moon. Everything started about 7:45 and you could just see a slim shadow starting to creep across the moon. At around 9:45 the shadow completely covered the moon. Now, you could still see the moon but it took on this really cool reddish shade. The pictures here in order and are fairly small. I had a really good camera (Thanks again Brian and Gina) but the moon is a really looooong way away. The pictures are good enough, however, to see the shadow. Enjoy the pictures. If anyone else took any that turned out well, I would love to see them.