Saturday, 27 February 2016

A dog can learn -- So can you

My dog points her nose away from activity so she can focus
Black and white chickens talking to my dog
         People told me that a Siberian Husky was a dog with a mind of its own. They said she would roam and never be good with chickens. Well you do not have to believe everything you hear. She has a mind of her own. She makes decisions, lives her own life and tries to respect me and the things I like to do.
        I talk to her a lot. She has seen me kill chickens and has eaten chicken feet fresh from a kill. She understands more than most people think she does. A good dog can learn and so can a good owner. The chickens and roosters use me and my dog as extra protection.
       The chickens push in to make sure that it is safe and then they hang out with the dogs. It is my theory that the chickens know a new dog in the neighbor hood would not want to upset the balance maintained by the alpha dogs and the chickens and wild turkeys that have already found a place in the pack.

A good dog sets an example for others

       Nanook does roam a bit. One neighbor even called her a wolf but mostly people on the back road love her. She backs up old and young dogs dealing with cougars around the house.
She loves children. She licks them in the face and moves slowly around in a protective way.
        One of the things that I have thought watching her behavior around other animals and people is that she is not afraid of very many things. She is afraid of guns, fireworks, and electric fences but that is it. She is very calm and trusting around people.  My good girl is always ready for an adventure.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Sore back rock stack

Rock wall building with my cousin on his driveway

Stones hold soil and allow for steeper banks

Stones must be sifted from dirt and can be stacked as a wall is back-filled
 So I have been stacking rocks on my cousins driveway improvement project. Some things it is nice to see before they happen. Somethings you can only learn by seeing happen, and sometimes it is good to remember that we all are just learning and living and trying to communicate what we can and can not see. I see rocks and I see lots of work for days to come.
Need rocks stacked? A little organization for your yard? I can see it, can you?
Up close and personal with some dirty rocks

Roots and rocks out -- makes a nice soil -- the chickens approve.

Splitting wood

First swing

Eventually it splits

Second swing leaves the piece of wood ready to pop.
So I was out splitting a little wood in the sun the other day thinking about instructional strategies. I am thinking about the simple pleasing task that I am engaged in. I recall that despite years of experience I have received valuable tips at key moments when they changed my way of doing things.
I am struck by the idea that a new idea means something totally different if given at the right moment. Like it or not it also seems likely that it matters who is sharing the idea. Just in case anybody out there feels open to a wood splitting tip hear goes.
First off a good splitting axe makes a big difference. Spitting freshly bucked rounds of birch in the early spring is also a good idea. But start by placing one round on top of another. Swing your axe with medium strength aiming for the far side of the round. Shown in the first photo.

This technique is safe and sets the situation up for a successful second blow. Any number of follow through strokes can be made to the near side of the round. The axe handle will not sustain as much damage as you cut through the round and you will be able to easily get the axe out of the round.
Notice that I never described hitting the round in the center. This is because I generally avoid it. The center will suck the axe in and make it hard to get out. Strokes to the sides draw a line across the center of the round. If it does not split once you have your line in, keep at it and use our new found experience.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Motivational Turkeys

Why are Turkeys so motivated
Wondering about survival, the seasons, biology and motivation. So life goes on. So we define survival and success for our selves. So we take responsibility for deviating motivations in our being. We take pride in being motivated in different ways. We like to find our own ways to strut our stuff.

Perhaps it is not so bad to be motivated in different ways. It also seems like a teacher can help students find find new directions of motivation. At the same time it seems like education is becoming less personal and it might become more and more difficult to understand students well enough to influence their personal motivations.
Sometimes they stomp around showing their feathers
The male Turkeys are putting on a show in my yard

Changing Seasons

 Nostalgia is so sweet and can strike so fast. A photo of a few weeks ago. The snow is almost gone. I love my dog and this place so much. The river is so beautiful. It gives and it takes -- this tree is a miracle in transformation. 
Nanook checking out the Slocan River

Even nature blinks

Friday, 19 February 2016

Inspiration from Politics?

walking on the snow

I am feeling inspired in strange and unusual ways by politics. We are no longer being lead by Climate change deniers. Trudeau is an intelligent person and a decent human being. Bernie Sanders is intelligent, straightforward and courageous. Here is one of the songs he inspired.

I have never in my life felt like intelligence inspires intelligence as much as I am believing it right now. Trump inspires a sense of school yard hatred in supporters and those who think he is a rich cry baby. This is the song Trump inspired.

And then there is the Wolf Kill In BC -- Have you heard about the use of Judas wolves in southern BC? This is not the face of intelligence or compassion. Cristy Clark -- Shame on you
Now the wolves are moving into the community -- why not when the forest = death from above.

And they tried to make Milé Sirius seem like a child for bring up the wolf kill as an issue when she came to Vancouver. Sometimes you just care and that is all.

Some thoughts posted in the discusion Forum

Thank you for sharing your sales person metaphors for teaching. I find metaphors a valuable way of thinking and communicating. I appreciate teachers who are direct and share their teaching preferences, styles and metaphors with their students.  I find value in the variety of approaches and individual strengths of teachers I have had. I see the value in the sales person metaphor but I also see some weaknesses so just to play devils advocate for a moment I would like to present an alternative metaphor.
My cat Winnie knows what she is doing

I find the idea of selling students a set of ideas kind of troubling. First I would suggest that we do not know everything and that much of what we do know is how to use more and more resources. But understanding that any message can be sold I will go to the more loving and Parental model for environmental education proposed by the institute for earth education.
From this perspective, scientific education has failed to inspire knowledge that helps us live sustainably on this planet. It is suggested that too much emphasis is placed on what is known. More time could be spent telling stories about the mysteries, changing theories and ways that we know what we know. To teach like we parent. To lead students to ask questions by showing love and respect for the material. The things we consider bad and taboo in education are related to our historic fear of communism and long term thinking.

Cat on Bar

There is a critique that says we have brought a cold and sterile business model to education and the environment to help transfer ideas of the western economic system and industrialization to a next generation of students. The argument goes on to say that the environment should not be something teachers can explain all the mysteries of and it should not be something we are afraid of showing strong emotions for. The fear of loving trees is being sold in many classes. I ask you how many planets our solar system has -- or does any one really know.
Some of us have already bought lots of education and are ready to sell -- Check out my blog
Camp site coming soon -- book your learning holiday --