Saturday, January 25, 2014

Planetarium Field Trip

Last week I got to help chaperone an honest to gosh field trip with James' third grade class. We visited the local JC's planetarium and sat through their show on our solar system and galaxy. Although the show is dated (Pluto is still a planet in a video), the venue is easy to get in and out of and a great place to be introduced to astronomy.

There was lots of oohing and ahhing, especially when they showed pictures over the constellations in the ceiling. James sat still through almost the entire show, which means he was interested.

I am trying to remember if I've been on a field trip with James and the best I come up with is a field trip to the pumpkin patch in preschool and kindergarten. Having me show up at James' classroom used to throw James off his routine to the extent that it would tank his day, so I haven't done one of these class activities in a while.

James is having some regressive behaviours. It's been a very stressful time outside of school and likely will be for a while longer. His reading regrouping teacher and case manager is going out on leave. His case worker from the Regional Center left and we have not yet been assigned a new one. I am working with his aide and teacher to keep him on track with practicing good behaviours and choices. We have putting leaves in the mouth, poking self with pens, and not focusing. Then on the good side, we have this on a field trip:

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Planetary Project

James came home with an unusual homework assignment: choose one of the planets in the solar system to study and report upon. Mmmm hmmmm. Well, we did okay with the ostriches, so let's go planets! How to do this as a real study project? I grabbed my laptop.

James bounced right over "Can I do Decoration Hunt? I want to watch Lazy Town!"

He settled in with me on the sofa and we selected (courtesy of Google search) the following:

  1. Martha Stewart creates a mobile!
    James' first choice
  2. A "Solar system mobile in action"
    Our second choice; no noise - he was hooked
  3. "The Solar System HD"
    James liked the HD; I loved the music. Just the perfect pacing to observe and have the chance to ask questions and talk.
  4. "Our Solar System: A poster and index of best available planet images,"  by Dr. Steuard Jensen for the Alma College planetarium;
    this is the image that James used to pick his planet: Saturn
  5. The Solar System - Tour the Solar System on Sea and Sky;
    fun to click through, and another eye-catching view of the planets in our solar system
Extra credit: National Geographic Live! Solar System Exploration: 50 Years … Too much talking (and some of it VERY fast) but still a good viewing. Learned some new facts myself.

Right now I am replaying The Solar System HS ... I really am enjoying the music (and the Star Trek connection).

It's really interesting to see how a different approach to starting a report project (more visual than verbal instruction) makes this more interesting to us both.

Courtesy of NASA and Cassini

Monday, January 06, 2014

Using Our Parks Pass

The big holidays and James' sister's birthday have come and gone. We're all In a bit of a letdown.
Finances are still tight but the weather is gorgeous, especially compared to the rest of the country. A kind of Christmas present to the family was an annual parks pass to our Regional Parks. So far we've been to the ocean twice, but today I wanted to be closer to home yet really get outdoors band unplugged.

We came to Riverfront Park. After some initial grumbling, it was great. We waked 10 minutes in the shade of the redwoods and emerged at pond#2. Clear skies and no wind in a protected shore meant temps at almost 70°.

It was quiet too. Far from the background noise of the rods and leaf blowers that had sent James into our back bedroom closet earlier.

For close to an hour now they've been happily busy digging in the moist bank with sticks for rocks to throw. We'ved been visited by ducks, horseback riders, dads teaching daughters to fish, and walking groups. For the most part, it's us in the outdoors: sun on our faces, and simple pleasures.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

It's 2014 ...

And I've been offline.

Things have been happening again, and bottom line is I have been taking a time out to regroup. I have been online AWOL and am still getting a grip on things.

However, New Year, new perspective, new round in this thing we call Life.

I like this message:


And I will try harder to remember, in times of panic:

Because as long as I can have faith and hold on to that, the sucky things won't win.

Here is my reminder, at the bottom, in red: