Friday, October 28, 2011

Yesterday, I was in Hartford for the National Science Teachers Association Conference. It's interesting to note that what I got out of presentations often differed dramatically from what I thought I'd get out of them. For instance, there was a workshop about how the NSTA committee picks award winning books that I thought might be depressing (I have lots of magazine articles!). It was excellent. I got a whole sheet of what reviewers look for in science books, things to think about when I write. They spoke highly and enthusiastically about their selections and mentioned subjects they rarely see. Another workshop about how we learn was quite interesting and material about standards made me feel like I'm right on target with my subject matter.

I could have spent more time in the exhibit hall where I entered a dark semi-spherical moonbounce structure, a digital starlab. The larva of a Mexican jumping bean trying to repair its broken bean captivated me for a long while. I viewed it with a microscope that worked like a computer mouse. As a kid, I had jumping beans.

I drove into Hartford on a raw rainy day and came home to find October snow on the back deck. Some of the stuff I got at the conference is in the top photograph. The thin sheets of antibacterial soap were really nouveau, although I surely contaminated them when I pulled them all out. Shhhh. It's my little secret. Anyone need some dirty soap?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, New Hampshire

I pored over an outline this week. One chapter was too big and got split. That left me with a new question. Am I losing the story? I think I've got it under control.

Then I shifted gears to work on a chemistry article that needed more chemistry (heaven forbid!). I chose workshops and presentations for a conference next week. That task took a good 1.5 hours because there were so many choices to sift through. Today, I made copies of a brochure and an article that pertains to my talk. I will bring them to the Appalachian Mountain Club Annual Dinner on November12th.

I learned that Columbus Day is the busiest hiking day at Mt. Monadnock and that is clearly evident in the second photograph. Enroute to the summit, I stopped several times to admire the beauty around me. Amidst the sawtooth leaves of the mountain ash were clusters of Christmas berries. White birch, red berries, yellow and tangerine leaves were all framed against a bright blue sky. Simply stunning and I wasn't even at the peak.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Next February, I'll be teaching two three-hour hands-on inquiry based classes for K-2 at Manchester Community College:

Wolf Tales and Trails on February 4th from 9am-12pm

BH 101: Bear Hair Basics on February 11th from 9am-12pm

My outline for a new project is done. Or so I thought. It is so helpful to have another set of eyes, or two, on the material. I understand what I'm trying to convey, but I didn't write it for me. My writing friends loved the hook at the start, but thought the organization could use some adjustment. Hm.....

These photographs were taken at Misqamicut Beach in Rhode Island. The monarchs were flitting their wings in a strong wind. A few days later I read that migrating monarchs were spotted in New York City enroute to Mexico. It made me think of how much wind there is blowing across the ocean and how exhausting that trip must be.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yesterday, I spent three hours at the university doing research. I came home with quite a stack of research papers on two topics. Now, I am enthusiastically diving into an outline on a fresh subject, readying it for review by my crit group.

Bolton Notch was a two-garter snake hike. This snake was the first and biggest of the two. As we approached the tree in the bottom photograph, I reached down and picked up a round nut. My friend said, "oh that's a horse chestnut." I looked at it and shook my head. "No, it's a hickory." When I turned to look at the bark, peeling like loose shingles, I knew for certain it was a hickory tree.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Research on a new topic is going well. Yesterday, I put together an outline. Today, I realized it's not quite right. One chapter actually happened before another, so things are getting shuffled a bit. I have SO many questions. What else is new?

A scientist emailed a research paper. I'm hoping the contents answer all my editor's questions enabling me to complete the final revisions.

At Valley Falls, we encountered this fallen tree that grew on top of a rock. It had a shallow root system making it easier to topple. The unusual butter-colored lichen reminded me of a frozen waterfall.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I decided to attend the NSTA conference. I couldn't pass it up because it's right here in CT. I won't need airfare or a hotel. As I reviewed their website, words from a wise editor echoed in my head. "Invest in yourself."

Was it worthwhile to become a member of NSTA? Spend $75 to save $5 on admission = no.
Should I go half day or full day? A full day was the better deal.
Which day should I go? That was real tough. It came down to either Thursday or Friday.
What do I want to get out of this? In order of priority:
1. I want to see a presentation by a writer/author to see what they are all about.
2. I want to hear about the standards
3. I want to see the exhibits, presentations and workshops

I've done some preliminary research on two new ideas. The one that is really exciting me came from Melanie's notebook from a college science course. INTERESTING stuff!

Last week, I hiked at Bolton Notch with my friends, Maureen and Emily. I showed them the tunnel, the cave, the flag rock, the cliffs, and the pond. It was the end of September and all three of us took off our shoes and socks and walked into the swimming hole (that was closed for the season) up to the bottoms of our pants (or shorts in my case). In the hot sun, the water was refreshing.