Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Return to Posting . . . Hopefully

I have been absent from the blog scene for a while now. Last year, my first at South Valley Middle School, was an unbelievable whirlwind. It was a phenomenal year, probably one of the best of my career. I loved being able to focus on science and really create some fun lessons. It was a huge change to teach the same thing four times in a row but I found that this allowed me to make changes to lessons, and really have a good idea of what worked and what didn’t. This was definitely a change from the one and done mentality of elementary school. It was also nice to be able to spend time creating a lesson and know that I got to use it four times, instead of having to wait four years to do a lesson that many times. I am looking so forward to next year to try some new things, and go into the year having a better understanding of what middle school is all about. I already have some plans for beginning of the year activities, what my expectations will be, and some new projects for later in the year.

Broadcasting was also a blast to teach. I had 150 kids go through broadcasting this year and we never missed a deadline for a show. Each week, all year long we had a show on the air, even the week I was in Colorado. We had some amazing things happen for us this year. We had interviews with a Harlem Globetrotter, Author Darren Shan, John Walsh host of America’s Most Wanted, and Baseball Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr. We also covered a rally for VP candidate Joe Biden, and two of my kids got to shake his hand. We won several awards at the Reel Spirit Student Showcase and presented at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

This summer has been just about as busy as the regular school year. I have been teaching summer school (only 3 days left) and started the last two classes of my second master’s degree. I am also helping coach t-ball with my best friend and his son (this can also be read: I am now officially a cat herder). My wife and I are planning a HUGE trip this summer and I am looking so forward to that. I will be posting often from the road (hopefully tethering my Blackberry to the laptop will work as well on the road as it did the other day when I tested it).

We are going to be gone about 4 weeks this summer and we have some great places that we are going. We start out in Colorado Springs, where my wife gets to take a free Space Discovery Institute class from the Space Foundation. This will be her 6th class. She got this one for free because she was named a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison this year. I will not be taking this class, instead I will be doing some hiking around Colorado Springs. I will probably spend a day in Garden of the Gods, and I am planning on driving over to the Florissant Fossil Beds. There are also several other parks in the area that I want to hit.

After the week in Colorado Springs, we will be on the road for the next 21 days. My best friend is getting married in Jackson, Wyoming on the first of August so we are making a big loop through Los Angeles, San Francisco, and then to Jackson. I am really excited about a lot of the stops on the way. We will be going through a bunch of National Parks including: Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capital Reef, Mojave National Preserve, Point Reyes, Muir Woods, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Golden Gate Park. We will also hit Goblin Valley State Park, this is where they filmed some scenes for Galaxy Quest. I’m excited about going to Donner State Park where the Donner Party made their winter camp. My wife is less excited about this. We also have a tour scheduled to tour the Jet Propulsion Lab and we will visit Ames Research Center, both in California. We also have several zoos and aquariums on our list as well as a couple of days at Disneyland. I’m also hoping to catch the taping of a TV show while in LA. Right now we have tickets to see Craig Furguson but we are hoping to get tickets to Conan O’Brian (it is a lottery) or maybe even The Price is Right.

I will be updating as we go this summer, and hopefully bringing back some resources to use in my classroom next year. If you have any suggestions, especially for science (or just cool) places to stop I would love to hear them.


Eric Langhorst said...

I am really interesting in talking to you about your trip to Donner State Park. This is one of my favorite things to teach and I have always wanted to go there.

Mr. Kelsey said...

I was thinking about you when I saw that we were going to be passing close to Donner State Park. I will be sure to take a lot of pictures and get any information that I can.