Xmas Card 2008

Posted in family, Uncategorized with tags on December 17, 2008 by roxteacher

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Dear Family and Friends:              Holiday greetings. After a brief hiatus, the annual Whiteley Family Christmas letter returns. Despite the avalanche of technologic innovations there will be no blogs, moodles or wikis embedded in the letter and I will not use Skype, Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr as a way to share information. Just a good old fashioned family letter full of positive hyperbole.  Dan finished high school, spoke eloquently at his graduation, and headed across the pond for university (as they say). He is studying astrophysics in a five year masters program at the University of St. Andrews. We of course miss him and he of course soon forgot about us. He made the men’s 1st golf team (varsity) and finds time to play the Old Course as much as possible. He will join us for the holidays before his reading period and exams wrap up the first semester in late January. He will be part of the charitable Race-to-Berlin between semesters and may be in Sweden this spring with the golf team. Emma is now a high school junior with her eye set on a career in modern dance. She dances with the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet and her 30 hour dance week is sandwiched in with her regular high school classes, meals, sleep and homework. We took a quick trip to NYC to check out Fordham this summer. NYU is also on her list. She plans to try out for dance companies (such as Hubbard Street in Chicago) and would postpone college if accepted. She is a budding artist and is taking as many art electives as possible. Sharon continues to own and operate Take Five Expresso Bar in historic Central Market in town. She helps out with the local health education center and is currently planning their 15th anniversary gala for 2010. She serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet and looks forward to their annual trip to Williamsburg to help the Virginia Regional Ballet and their Nutcracker performance. Sharon and I will appear onstage in PRB’s Nutcracker in December. We tore down and rebuilt the family beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey this year and Sharon was the guiding force behind the architectural and interior design. My classroom is changing as technology surrounds us. I’ve been selected as a “Classrooms for the Future” teacher at my high school. Part of the governor’s Keystone Technology Initiative, this grant trains CFF teachers to use available technology and to integrate this technology into their teaching. There is really cool hardware that comes with the grant, but it is more about the integration and the move from a teacher-centered to a student-centered classroom. Much of my “free” time this past year was spent working on our house in York or making many trips to Ocean City to inspect construction and then haul furniture. Have a Happy New Year and a memorable 2009.

Simple Things

Posted in science, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 1, 2008 by roxteacher

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Teaching has become a bit of a conundrum lately. Increasingly we are using more and more technology to engage the students and make learning more interesting. I support this effort fully and have agreed to be a CFF (Classrooms for the Future) teacher in my school. This means lots of training and the access to some great technology for the students. Having said that, I always marvel at the power of “low tech” demonstations and activities where there is no electronic/computer/internet component. In order to illustrate the umbra and penumbra of the Moon during a solar eclipse, it was marvelous to see students “get it” when a light source, styrofoam ball, and a globe were positioned in just the right way. Understanding the synchronous orbit of the Moon requires a student to circle the room, while always facing the earth in the center. Currently, my students are determining the percentage of oxygen in the air by observing the reaction of iron and oxygen (rusting) in a simple set up (see photo). Ah, the simple things!

Million Dollar View

Posted in family, sand, Scotland, Uncategorized with tags , on October 19, 2008 by roxteacher

I have to admit that when my wife emailed me from Scotland last month and told me that Dan had a million dollar view, I was skeptical. I asked the boy to take a photo from his room window and lo and behold, it truly is breathtaking. Looking at the North Sea, he can see the Old Course and the West Sands (beach scene in Chariots of Fire filmed here). His room in McIntosh Hall is just high enough to look over the buildings that separate him from the course and the sea. The road on the right leads to the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient golf club (one block on the left) along with the 1st tee and 18th green of the Old Course. The West Sands are straight ahead and the rest of the Old Course is the greenery to the far left. For a golfer like my son, this has got to be heaven.

Grammar Police

Posted in funny signs with tags , , on October 17, 2008 by roxteacher

This sign was photographed on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk this summer. Some things are just not “fare.” I know that I can be annoying in so many ways (just ask my family); however, even they understand my compulsive need to seek out and correct poor grammar and misspellings. My dream is to recruit others to join me in a geek squad that actually calls people and businesses on their badly spelled words and poor grammar. We could be to the English language what the justice league was to fighting crime. I envision us ticketing those who offend. If you are interested in joining me on this quest, let me know.

Funny signs I forgot I had

Posted in family, funny signs, Scotland, Uncategorized with tags , on October 3, 2008 by roxteacher

Gotta love it! My brother Paul lives in San Francisco and it was a visit to see him in 2005 that provided me with a lot of my funny signs. He sent me this sign this past summer and I am just getting around to posting it. It makes me smile to know that my brother and I find the same things humorous. He found this at an entrance to a San Francisco parking garage. The road sign is in St Andrews, Scotland where Dan is now a fresher. I snapped this in late 2007. Do the Scots see the humor in this or is it just juvenile Americans like me? The warning not to attack the bus driver was posted on a double-decker that took students and visitors from one campus to the other at the University of Edinburgh. I will keep looking in my photo “vault” for more gems like these.

9-29-08

Posted in family with tags , , on September 30, 2008 by roxteacher

What a day! Dan celebrates his 19th birthday on his first day of uni at St. Andrews and the US stock market takes its biggest dive ever (point wise) with a plunge of 778 points (7%). Just when you think things can’t get any weirder . . .  Dan is doing an OK job keeping in touch with us. Understandably, his fresher’s week was not spent thinking about home and that’s good. We have friends with a daughter at college just 4 hours away and she calls every two hours with a “crisis.” The last one involved something in her eye. I’ll take the infrequent contact over constant calling any day. I personally am recovering from the weekend as I was a constant chaperone for student council’s homecoming festivities. As SC adviser I have to be at everything; powderpuff football game, parade, bonfire, football game, dance. Photo is of windows that the National Art Honor Society paints each year. This year the theme was Superheroes. If you have not been to a high school dance lately, trust me when I tell you that dancing is now a full body contact sport.

Signs of Scotland

Posted in funny signs, Scotland with tags , on August 19, 2008 by roxteacher

Finally got around to scanning these non-digital photos and adding them to my sign “posts.” When in Scotland in 2006, I was, as always, on the lookout for signs that caught my attention. Now I know that these may be commonplace in the UK, but they certainly made me laugh. What we call speed bumps, they call humps (Dornoch, Scotland). The Ho Ho Hostel was in Inverness. I have no idea how they chose that name but the implications are, well, you know. The electrocution sign was in Ayrshire on the west coast. I did appreciate that the Scots did not mince words. Danger meant death and they were not shy to say so. Even the cigarette packs had “SMOKING KILLS” printed in a font one could read from 100 meters away. And lastly, one of my favorites from a small cafe near Fort Williams along the lochs – “Everyone is free of smoke inside.” Could not be more clear!