Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Fair Week

I love the English language. I enjoy the interplay between words of different origins, of homophones,
of double meanings, you name it. More about that later. But first, this. Once a year my school holds a fund raiser for clubs and organizations. It is called the Pine View Fair and this year it was Saturday, October 18. I went but not as a sponsor of any group. I just walked around, ate some food, talked to some parents and students and generally enjoyed the ambiance of this, my final (as a teacher, anyway) PV Fair. 

When I entered the Student Union, which served as a food court for the fair, I deliberately ate nothing at first but walked all around surveying the various offerings. I like to support the kids and I like to eat, so it seemed like a win win situation. I enjoyed chips and salsa,  a spring roll, a homemade chocolate chip cookie, a hamburger, 2 Indian donuts and a second homemade chocolate chip cookies, in that order. (I have a real weakness for those cookies.)

Now about those Indian donuts. Definitely a new experience for me.  The two I had were from different batches made by different people. There was apparently some sort of bragging right associated with these treats as several students tried to tell me which ones were superior. I ended up trying one each from two different batches. They were little balls of fried or baked dough, reminiscent of the shape of hush puppies, soaked in a sweet liquid. I could tell they were not from the same batch. The textures were different, if not much else. They were both tasty and I would probably, given the opportunity, eat them again. The spring roll was excellent. The hamburger was satisfactory. The chips and salsa (actually, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole) were nicely spiced. But the chocolate chip cookies were savored morsel by morsel. I could make myself sick eating home made CCCs.

Of course, the quality of the food was not the main concern. Instead, it was an encouragement to the students, who put a lot of work into this event. The weather this year was outstanding. We might have asked for better weather, but I am not sure how it could have been any better. There was a climbing wall, a dunk tank, skill tests of tossing and throwing objects, a robotics test driving arena, a science show, dichroic jewelry for sale by the art department, and much more. I have no idea of the numbers, but a lot of folks were there and I am sure a lot of money was raised. Success.

This week in astronomy we did one of my favorite activities. We started the chapter on telescopes so we examined lenses and mirrors. My room can get very dark with lights off and blinds drawn, since I have aluminum foil lining all the windows. I made my room a camera obscura and used a lens to project onto a piece of paper an image of the scene right outside our door. I love it because it always gets such a reaction from the students. It is difficult to appreciate without seeing this but, trust me, it is a memorable experience for my class. I keep telling my students that they are never going to forget this class. Maybe, if I keep telling them that, they will, in fact, remember some of it.

Back to English. When I joined facebook in 2008, one of my early posts was titled "Some of My Favorite Words 5 Syllables and Longer." I think my all time favorite is 'sesquipedalian,' which means the use of big words. English is so contrived that ghoti is a way to spell fish. That is gh as in rough, o as in women and ti as in motion. I may revisit this in a future post.

This was the last full week of the first quarter. The school year is 25% over. The time is going so fast. 

Well, thanks for reading this.

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