Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday dear Heathie!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Birthday to yoooooooooooooou.
Today is my baby sister's 23rd birthday.

Here is a picture of baby Heather being fed by my mom, while Jeremiah (yes, my husband) climbs up on the table.

Isn't that so cute.
Bad quality, sorry. The photo was in rough shape.

One of my favorite stories about Heather as a baby is actually about her and my brother Ryan.
When Ryan and Heather were little, Ryan used to climb into her crib and pull down all the stuffed animals (and we're talking 30) into the crib so that they were surrounded.
Later on, my mum or I would go in and find them both asleep in crib buried under all of the animals.
One of my other favorites takes place in a department store.
My mom had Heather and I with her while she did some shopping. Heather was about 5 so I was 9.5. My mom was looking through the racks and I was helping her look. Suddenly we couldn't find Heather.
My mom started panic while we looked around everywhere trying to shout her name without alarming too many people.
All of the sudden little tiny Heather emerges from the inside of one of those racks. Her eyes looked especially large and all of her hair was either plastered to her head or standing on end from the static electricity.
She looked at us both and said, "Hi Mum," in this tiny little voice.
She looked so cute and funny that my mom couldn't even be mad with her.
We were both so relieved to have found her anyway.
I think that my mom took us for ice cream at Brigham's after that.

This is a picture of us at Christmas. I think it was Christmas 88. Heather was 2 almost 3 at the time.

This is Heather (on the left), my other sister Coleen (middle), and I at Christmas a few years ago.

Happy Birthday Heather! I love you dearly and I am so happy to have you as my sister. Thank you for the many ways in which you love and support me. You are one in a million.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rash of Animal-Related YouTube Movies

I know I know. I can hardly refer to this website as a blog, it's more like a venue for posting my favorite YouTube videos. This is a really busy time of year for me at school. My AP Biology class takes their AP Exam May 12th. I've been working since September to teach them everything from basic chemistry (Hydrogen Atoms, Carbon molecules, electronegativity, etc.) to Ecology (how all organisms interact with one another and every abiotic element of the biosphere).
It's a lot of information and I get really stressed out about it.
I love biology so much, that I want the time to teach these girls everything all of these topics (well everything that I know about them at least).
I want them to be able to research exactly how the endocrine system works, to be able to make a model of the cell, and to be able to get outside and see many of these living creatures for themselves.
Unfortunately, there just isn't enough time to do it all, so I find myself sitting and thinking about what to teach and how to teach it in the most efficient manner.

For example, here is one of my more recent stream of conscience: "hmmm, scrap Drosophila lab, no fruit fly breedings, just computer-simulated, we'll get algae samples once the weather is warmer, ....what seeds for what plants should they grow? yes, they can grow, measure, observe their own plants, should they read that peer-reviewed paper on the population dynamics of algae in lake carango, they need to know phylogenetics, and they can review nucleic acid probe and polymerase chain reaction analyses.....hmmm yes. that's good, they can correct one another's bacterial transformation lab and hopefully make PowerPoints on all the major systems, except i'm going to have to teach them the endocrine system, and probably excretory....and respiratory... oh jeez and circulatory. forget it i'll teach it. tomorrow we'll do mosses, ferns, and other non-vascular plants."

Yeah. So basically my brain is constantly cluttered with teaching strategies for covering every topic related to the "study of life".
We're going to be getting into animals and animal behavior soon and there are a few YouTube movies that I like to show.
Evolutionarily speaking (micro not macro) there is really no incentive for any type of altruistic behavior in the animal kingdom. It is an eat or be eaten type of world. Animals automatically act in an economic fashion...and they are wild animals that act on instinct.
But sometimes, we see behavior that is just amazing.
Like animals teaming up to save one of their own, or even another.
Or animals forming relationships with humans, reported instances of wolves actually nursing human babies.
And my favorite, examples of animals relating with other animals.
Here are some examples:

The Battle at Kruger

Christian the Lion (from the movie Born Free)

Polar Bear and Husky

This is my AP Bio class at the Boston Regional Brain Bee.
They are really cute, very sweet, and they make me smile on a routine basis.
The class is actually 19, but only 12 participated in the Brain Bee since it was during February vacation. I also teach 65 freshmen biology students.