Monday, February 27, 2017

The Things I Learn While Teaching

We recently had parent/teacher conferences and so one father came to school one afternoon to help his daughter clean out her desk. When she pulled out a small cup of BB's (yes, little silver BB's), I asked, "Where did you get those?" She simply replied, "The Black Market." I asked, "Where is the Black Market?" She answered, "At recess." I further inquired, "Did you pay actual money for these?" She explained, "No, you just make a craft or whatever and then trade for things on the black market!"

I see.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"Piloting" with Park Rangers

My school district does this monthly newsletter called All About Alpine and for the first time ever, I made the paper, thanks to Rangers Annie and BJ at Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Ranger Annie did a little write-up after our class helped them pilot their new Distance Learning program and submitted it. The activity was fabulous, my fifth graders deserve all the credit, and I'm just passing this along, not so much to toot my own horn, but to let anyone in the world know that you can have the same experience if you have a certain amount of technology.

When looking for a classroom of excited, engaged learners to pilot our new distance learning/digital fieldtrips program with we knew our best bet would be Jody Kyburz’s 5th grade class at Snow Springs Elementary. Jody has always been willing to stretch herself and try new things in order to give her students the best opportunities possible and in return her students have year after year proven to be attentive, engaged, full of curiosity and highly respectful.

This program was no exception. The class completed the required half-hour long pre-visit activity with interest knowing that they would be the subject experts and presenting their information to rangers the next day. Their handouts were highlighted and detailed notes were taken without any prompting on her part. It’s a very small group research project on their part, but a project which helps the students be equally invested in the presentation.

The ranger part of the presentation is approximately 35 minutes and covers weathering, erosion, fault lines, uplift, continental drift, and the creation of caves. The student presentations take another 10 minutes and are scattered throughout the program. This leaves approximately 10-15 minutes for questions at the end of the presentation. It covers core requirements in science, scientific literacy, reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening. A full and detailed list of the standards are available on our webpage.

To connect with Timpanogos Cave classes need to either have video conferencing equipment such as LifeSize or a computer, webcam, mic, and projector. If you’d like to schedule a digital ranger visit for your classroom more information can be found at the following link: and if you have further questions we can be reached easily via email:

Annie Brantley Park Ranger Timpanogos Cave National Monument 2038 Alpine Loop Road American Fork, UT 84003 801-756-5239