Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Woden is...well, maybe you should look it up yourselves. I say this as a plural assuming incorrectly I am sure, that there will be more than one reader. It's a great story of word origin actually and worth typing in. You'll undoubtedly come up with the wiki definition as first choice from your internet search. It works for this just fine. I love that it's a precursor for Santa Claus.

Weekends of this length (I have Thursday and Friday off, in addition to Saturday and Sunday) are often good and bad. Don't get me wrong, I won't be arguing the extra couple days off--what I'm saying is that it's hard to come back after the long break. I almost feel like I need a break from the break. I am totally excited to have the few days without work; it just makes me wish I had won the lottery and didn't have to come back to work.

I hope everyone has a great break and enjoys their time with friends and family.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chemistry Extra Credit

Okay, this doesn't come along very often. It is exactly as advertised and is available for a finite time. It is due the day we come back from the five day weekend. The details are:
Page One--cover page including title, name, date, and call period.
Page Two--the body must be 12 point font (Times New Roman or the like [Helvetica or Calibri too]) and double spaced with one inch margins. Include citations in MLA format.
Page Three--References in MLA format

Please don't plagiarize by cutting and pasting anything. You actually might lose points if you are caught. Just do your own work.

Finally, the subject: pick a scientist guy or gal who has contributed to chemistry.


Good luck and have fun.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Biology & The Cell

We are studying the cell. The details are completely interesting. Yeah, I're thinking...not so much. As a student though, it is new. It is new information and new stuff. It is filled with new vocabulary. Scientists with new names and new ideas. Each and every class period is filled with something new. How does that feel? Really.

Biology students--for extra credit (valid and due on Tuesday (NO LATER))--write one page on a scientist that has contributed to our further knowledge of Biology.  If you plagiarize or cut and paste I won't accept it and you risk actually losing points. You will have to include, too, your sources and properly cite your sources on a separate piece of paper.
Page One--Cover page; include Name, date, and class period. A title here is also necessary.
Page Two--The body. Double spaced, 12 point font. No more, no less. Cite your work.
Page Three--References. MLA format. Two sources are the minimum.
All stapled neatly (in the top left corner) together. Some strange people have a love/hate relationship with staplers--so I must clarify. 

As a teacher staying up to date and keeping things fresh and interesting is a challenge. This thing called teaching isn't easy. I have always said that being interesting and doing a great job teaching is extremely difficult.

And kudos to all those teachers who make an effort. It is often tireless and thankless, and the dedication is noted and appreciated.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Well, classes are well underway as they are almost everywhere. Each period has its own ebb and flow--its own personality--and its own nuances. Some of them are better than others as a whole, while some aren't. I know every teacher has similar observations, so I know I'm not revealing anything new and cool. I am, however, still fascinated by it. After all, the kids are equally smart, funny, and interesting. It's in the mix then--the right combination of students that make teachers love or hate a period. Yes, there is a middle ground...some classes you love AND hate. Alright, not really...there are some classes that seem to go slowly into the night. Maybe those are functions of of the time of day and such.

Back to classes. Biology classes are just starting the cell--the basic unit of life, not the prison type. We'll be in that unit for a few more weeks. Between Cell Theory, cool scientists, organelles, function, active transport, osmosis, and mitosis (among the longer list) we'll be busy for a while.

Chemistry students are neck deep in chemical reactions. We'll be having a test in the next couple of weeks. So, good luck with that. 

Monday, September 21, 2009


Okay, this might better be posted as a Friday update, but the topic itself warrants a posting by itself. I come to work fairly early. I get here at 7. I know, you're saying, that's not early, but after an hour drive and getting ready, I feel like the day has been going for a while, and so relatively, it feels early. After all, I get to watch the stars and stuff that early in the dark morning skies.

Well, today's arrival came with the news that apparently, Fluffy was found in the halls.


She is in an aquarium. With the lid firmly closed. So, her escape and escapade is either one of two things: another superpower (by that, I mean the new ability to teleport out of the cage), or someone let her out. I'm really hoping no one let her out. I mean, she could get hurt running around the halls and such. Big shoes could hurt her too. Small ones too, I would imagine. And although I'm hoping for the teleportation angle, I'm thinking that option seems shady at best. Was the teloportation trick in an effort to get my attention? Was she teleporting to the hallways as a sort of aiming sortie--sort of getting bearings?? Hmmmm. I will keep you posted as news and details of this amazing new superpower become clear.

Update 1: Apparently, Fluffy was found in the A-hall outside a teacher's classroom.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I wonder if there is a universal feeling of jubilation on Friday? Is that the underlying premise of TGIF? But does everyone feel that way? I'm only asking. Generally it seems like they are fluff kind of days, but lately they have really rocked. I mean that in the very best way. Today, for instance, we were really really busy and kept the pressure on. Full lectures and little activities. I think (nay, I hope) the classes went well.

I hope all those that come to visit Raine World have a great Friday and I hope my students had a great time in class.

TGIF...see you all on Monday.

Oh, a Fluffy may or not know that Fluffy molted recently. She (I think...again, I'm not going to ask, but I read that males are really unsettled, while females seem more content) shed her skin, and in the process she got noticeably larger. And she gained a superpower. She can now climb the glass walls of the aquarium (I'll post a picture shortly). This new superpower was a surprise to me and the students sitting near the cage. She "magically" appeared on the counter next to a couple of students. It's now more common to see her on the glass than it is under the boards.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Okay...chemistry students...

Your assignment is straightforward. Read the linked article in this posting about thermometers and make an intelligent comment about it. Even a question or something you'd like to know more about after reading it.

A great short story on the history of the thermometer from's pretty good. And short.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cough cough cough

Good morning everyone. I took the weekend off of blogging for my classes. But I'm back. Sick, but back. It is exactly like first-year-teacher-sick. Blech. I hate that. A little fever and a cough. The cold? The flu? Me and my DayQuil will survive.

It has been an interesting few weeks blogging. And I happen to have a few followers. I'm excited about it. Terrified, but excited. No, not confident.

A note about one of the followers. Several years ago I started as a principal in a small town north of Twin Falls, Idaho. 350 students. 20 something teachers. I was given two tasks when I was hired: change the archaic and ineffective schedule, and raise test scores. Well, several years later with a brand spankin' new schedule and test scores that merited state award and recognition; my goal and challenge were complete. Well, I certainly couldn't have done it alone. Along the way I met some great colleagues that I am happy to call my friends. I don't believe you can teach anyone, anything without first developing a relationship with them. The staff and I, for instance, had to develop a relationship before we could move in any direction--much less a positive one.

On with the story: two years ago I had to hire for a social studies position. I'm not sure if any of you have ever had to wade through the sea of social studies applications, but I am here to tell you...wear your waders. From mouth breathers (applicants that have a hard time chewing gum and walking at the same time) to lookey-loos (teachers that just want an interview and don't have any intention of actually accepting your offer), the list of applicants was both tedious and tiring. On occasion, however, one teacher comes in and sits down, and you are sure you see it. You see the genuine article sitting before you. Carly was that for me. The interview committee was overwhelmed with her presence and thoughtfulness. It was, for me, an easy choice. And my intuition was correct--Carly turned into a great teacher--inspite of me. So, I hope this posting finds one of my friends doing well and enjoying the climate of her new digs (she left when I left) in the State of Ada.

And not to cloud the post, but Happy Birthday to her. Wish her well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Biology Assignment

Hello Biology students.

Looking for your assignment?

Okay. You need to look around house, home, store, or mall...anywhere actually that has a product of some sort. Jot down the metric units it uses. For instance, my Pepsi can (now, you can't use this one) says it is 355 mL. You need to write down ten (10) of them.

Now, comment to this thread. I'll match your name with my gradebook and give you credit.

Good luck and have fun.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ISS & mice

Okay, so I've a made a big deal out of the space station. But can you blame me? I mean really, it soars overhead at an average height of 220 miles above the surface of earth at over 17,000 miles an hour. It has allowed a continual presence of someone in space for almost nine consecutive years.

So, for students interested take a peek at the following websites: the official NASA site, the wiki site, more overview, and Boeing's site on the ISS.

S119-E-009662 -- International Space Station
Image courtesy of NASA.

An finally, if you'd like to see the ISS the definitive guide to viewing all satellites is heavens-above.

Okay, now mice...the ultimate sciencie thing...levitation. Really.


Good morning everyone.

I'm not sure about the 3 people that actually look at this blog...but I am exhausted (yeah, it's only a four-day work week), but seriously.

Okay, if you like sciencie (pretend to put a little flower over the i--it makes it cuter I'm told) stuff [and, really, who doesn't], and you are a nerd of sorts, AND you have a sense of humor you might like to investigate the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It started as a rebuttal to...well, maybe you should just find out yourself. Ramen.

On other more important issues our Biology quiz is today and tomorrow. The details are on the side bar to the right. Graph. Hair color. Data table. Not hard at all. After we'll go over scientific method again, and then follow up with some metric stuff ( I have a new assignment we'll try) and then on to cells.

Chemistry classes, on the other hand, are going to kill me. Fun stuff the next few days. We have a density lab today. Volume and mass of objects. It's not that hard really. We'll also try to spot the space station in broad daylight--wish us luck. Chemistry is also continuing with nomenclature assignments on their way to double displacement reactions. I'll be posting those assignments for downloading shortly.

And finally, this awesome post from about the sewing machine. Really, it's worth the time to read.

Update: we looked for the ISS and we did not see it. dang it. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So, it's hump day. The week is half over--at least in theory anyway. This week in classes include a major quiz in Biology and more nomenclature for Chemistry students. Biology students will be seeing the world through microscopes starting today too.

Sciencie related is the space shuttle and the International Space Station. They are visible across most of the western United States for the next several nights. Email and ask for times, or look on and navigate through their pages. Tonight, for instance it will be visible at 9:11 on the western horizon. It says it will be overhead at 9:14 and we'll lose sight a couple of minutes later. Taking the few minutes to watch it pass over is really worth your time. It is falling at almost 18,000 miles an hour and is brighter than really any star out right now. In fact, I understand it's possible to see during the day...well, not in direct high-in-the-sky sunlight. Still--completely cool. I think my afternoon class will go out and try to see it during class. You shouldn't miss it...

Oh, and if you visit you totally need to leave a comment...please. And YOU know who I'm talking about.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day Three

Today's post marks day three. I won't post over the weekend. Well, probably. I mean I could. But I probably won't. It's not that I can't. I have a laptop at home and I can log in, but it's Labor Day weekend. Work will undoubtedly be the furthest thing from my mind. Maybe. I can even post from my iPhone. Well, that's not completely true. There is--of course--an app for that. I just don't have it. All the apps on my phone are free ones. I haven't wanted to spend any money on any apps. If I keep this blog thing up I might have to spring for it--though procrastination may prevail. I've read that a free blog app is coming. We'll see if Apple approves it.

Speaking of apps for everything...this one cracks me up. Credit to Divine Caroline here.

Oh My really need to check out this article from CNN--pictures of Mars. They are incredible!

I may actually add a couple of links to an online periodic table--incase you've misplaced yours.

So, unless something seriously sciencie happens over the weekend...peace out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day Two

Okay, so this is day two of my new website. Far too many things to do to spend a lot of time on this today. Trying to stay ahead of the grueling pace I've set for the students is going to take a toll on me...

I have, however, been completely intrigued and consumed with the possibilities and thoughts of how to use this for the class. And because I'm new to the process I'm probably behind the times. Hmmmm. So, if you have ideas for making the site better please let me know. If I'm able I'm happy to accommodate. Nathan, in fact, made a comment on yesterday's post...just before he flipped having realized that the 7 fishies are of a certain color scheme.

And again, to all those just visiting Raine World for the first time...please come again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


There has been some speculation regarding my pet spider (I many times are those words uttered). It was graciously given to me my some outstanding kids. They performed flawlessly in the play Robin Hood that I help direct. As thanks, they presented me with a tarantula. I'm still not sure what that says about me...but it was nice nonetheless. Sceptically, I kept him (or her). I still haven't asked--it seems rude. They bought (from a catalog) a Pink-Toed tarantula. Now, almost six months later and after one molt (creepy, by the way), I can say without equivocation, that it's NOT a pink-toed tarantula. I am, however, pretty sure it's a Chilean Rose tarantula (Grammastola rosea). So, from time to time, I will post a Fluffy update and a picture.

a wiki link for the curious

New Beginnings

Hmmmm. My first blog. Seriously, it's 2009 already...and I'm just now getting with the program. Well, Mr. Caldwell (a fabulous math teacher in Gooding) said once that if I started a blog he would certainly follow it. I totally need to email him and remind him.

This new blog is actually meant to be for my students. I'm hoping to keep this up and post sciencie stuff all the time. And for the students, I hope to link assignments too. We will be having a some things available here for extra credit if you follow along from time to time. I suppose we'll see how that goes.

If you've stumbled across this little corner of the internet accidentally, well...welcome.

So, between my students (like all 3,000 of them) and my friends (well, more like both of them), I'm hoping to have a few followers...

In the meantime, however, please make suggestions and the like...