This is the Corona Virus. It’s been sweeping the world, and not in a good way. It’s teeny tiny. The only way you can see it is through a microscope.
Did you know there’s more than one kind of Corona Virus, but scientists are guessing the new one is about 125 nanometers long. What’s a nanometer? One billionth (10-9) of a meter. I can’t imagine dividing a meter stick into a billion pieces.
If you want to picture it, look at one strand of your hair. It’s thin, but huge compared to the virus. Your hair is 80,000 – 100,000 nanometers wide. If your hair is 80,000 nanometers wide, the tip of your hair could hold 640 teeny tiny Coronaviruses. No wonder they make you sick!
The math : 80,000 ÷ 125= 640.
Size of Virus: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/01/coronavirus-surgical-masks-china.html
Nanometer definition: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/nanometer
Its actual size: https://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/nano-size
I went to this link. It says the Coronavirus has two strikes on me. One more, and I’m out. Yikes!
Strike 1 - I’m old. I’m 60 years old. But when I look at this face, I don’t feel old. I know I’m not young, but I don’t feel old either.
Strike 2 - I’m also a diabetic. I never thought you could be too sweet, but you can! I have to watch what I eat, take medicine every day for the rest of my life, but I’ve learned to live with it. There are worse things.
Now I’m discovering how to avoid the Corona Virus. I don’t want that last strike so I’m following the CDC’s instructions for the Corona Virus. I’d rather be safe than really, truly sorry.
Have you read the the CDC’s instructions? If you haven’t, I have them below because if you stay safe, you can keep me safe too. If you get sick, you can make me sick too. Let’s work together to keep everyone healthy!
Here’s the CDC guidelines for how you can protect yourself, and me too!
1. Know how it spreads. Knowledge empowers you to protect yourself, to protect me, and all the people you love.
The Coronavirus spreads when you cough or sneeze. Teeny tiny droplets spread through the air. If you stand 6 feet or less away from that cough or sneeze, you might breathe the germs into your lungs. Then you might get sick too! You might even pass it onto me, onto everyone you know. Please don’t! Read on! You can discover how to stop the Coronavirus from making one more person sick.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. How long is that? It’s long enough to sing the ABC song once. Long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Long enough to count to 20. Not 1, 2, 3 . . . Instead count 1001, 1002, 1003 . . . until you get to 1020.
Why 20 seconds? It’s long enough to wash all the germs away. If you only rinse your hands, most germs stay behind. If you do less than 20 seconds, some germs are still there. But if you don’t wash at all, the germs are all there, waiting to make you sick, your mom and dad, your grandma and grandpa, and me too. Please wash your hands!
3. But what if you’re somewhere you can’t get to soap and water, what can you do? Germs are everywhere. You can never, ever, get away from them.
Get out your hand sanitizer. Always carry some with you – a little dot will do it. Rub those hands together till the liquid disappears. Make sure your sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol. Any less – you won’t kill those germs that make you and me sick.
4. Learn not to touch your face. It’s a bad habit during cough and cold season, but it’s even worse now with the Coronavirus around. If your hands are clean, it’s not a problem, but if your hands haven’t been washed for a while, they’re covered in germs and viruses.
Your eyes, nose, and mouth are the worst places to touch because that’s where germs enter your body. Touching your cheek isn’t a problem, unless you have a cut. That’s when germs have an opening to come in and make you sick.
5. Use social distancing. That’s a new word people invented for the Coronavirus. The best way – stay home as much as possible.
6. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t share your germs! If you have a sick friend, call, text, or Skype them. Keeping your germs to yourself, is a great thing, especially with the Coronavirus around.
7. If you have to go out, remember to keep your social distance. Stay 2 meters or 2 yards apart. Stretch your arms out, and look at the distance between them. That’s how far you should stay away from other people, for you and for them.
8. When you cough or sneeze, cover them with a Kleenex, or an elbow. They’ll catch those germs. If you use a Kleenex, throw it away, and wash your hands. They’re both good things.
9. Wear a mask only when you’re sick. It will keep your germs from spreading to others.
Don’t wear a mask if you’re healthy. It won’t keep out all the germs. You might feel safe, but you’re not.
10. Keep surfaces clean whether it’s the kitchen table or your cell phone. If you touch it, you should clean it, especially if it’s dirty.
If you do these simple things, you’ll stay healthy, and you’ll help everyone around you to stay healthy too.
PS- I added this to the post to help young children, and us adults too, to understand social distancing. I couldn’t find this image, but picture it, and you’ll better picture social distancing. You and your best friend reach out your hands, but don’t let them touch. This is about 2 yards, and social distancing. It helps me, when I see a friend to stay 2 arm lengths apart. I hope it helps you and your family too.
STAGE 1 - I’m not a morning person. I’m a night owl. I love staying up late and sleeping in.
I look at morning people, the ones who bounce out of bed, and I just want to tell them to stop.
I hate mornings. It’s a fight to get up. I just want to close my eyes again and go back to sleep. I hit the snooze button like 10 times before I can get up. I HATE it!
This is what sleep should look like, peaceful, dream-filled. For a couple of weeks, I was submerged in sleep. I slept 10 hours, sometimes more, every night. When I woke up, I napped for another hour or two. It was lovely. I needed it after a stressful summer, after the SCBWI writing conference.
But by the end of the 2nd week, I started to worry. I had too much sleep, and I felt like a zombie trying to get things done.
It ended, finally, the way I thought it would, with the opposite extreme – I’m having trouble going to sleep. I lay there, hoping. I get up, do a little work, and try again. It’s horrible!
So now, I’m on a sleep journey, trying to find a happy medium. I’ll have to learn to set and stick to a bedtime, but I’m committed to this change. I’m tired, all puns intended, of getting either too much sleep, or too little.
My first step, to power down. To shut down all my electronics 15 – 30 minutes before bedtime. That means sometimes I’ll have to finish a post the next day, but at age 60, I’m going to learn to shut things down. Here’s to the journey! I’ll let you know how it goes in a few days.
PS- It’s tonight, the evening after I wrote the post above, and it worked! I finished the post, but I didn’t put it up on social media till now. Best of all – I didn’t feel guilty. YAY!!!
You can’t kill the golden goose, AKA you, AKA me. If you don’t take care of yourself, there is no you to write, to do whatever makes you special. So tonight when it’s midnight, it’ll be a tiny bit easier to stop.
Here’s to my sleep journey, and to yours, whatever it is! I’ll post when I have more to tell, probably when I take sleep journey.
I've been on my journey for 9 days, longer if you count the day or two of pre-journey research. Last winter I joined Noom, and I have a personal trainer/adviser. When I hit a wall with my sleep, I asked Lisa for advice. So here are my Stage 1 results . I went over them with Lisa to plan Stage 2 .
5 of the 7 nights, it worked. I powered down at midnight. By 12:30 I was in bed, and 5 of those nights I went to sleep, just like the girl in the picture. It was lovely!
2 of the 7nights, I couldn’t go to sleep, even though I powered down. 2 of them were in the first couple nights when I was getting used to the new system. Three is a pattern so Stage 1 was a success! Hip Hip Hooray!
The Next Goal:
I saw my speed bump ahead – the earliest wake-up call of all – getting up early to substitute teach. It was coming, but what was the best way to handle it?
This old body loves to sleep 9 hours a night, I can only get 6 when I sub.
I asked Lisa for advice. She didn’t answer. Instead she asked me about my sleep cycle. My answer – I’m a night owl. Lisa thought sub days would force this owl into becoming an early bird. You can’t be something you’re not so I came up with a compromise . . .
My goal is to power down at 10:30. It will take some time to pull that time back an hour. Lisa said to move it in increments of 15 minutes. I want 3 days to get used to the change before making another one.
That works for most days. But when I sub, I’ll have to work with less sleep. I’m OK when I’m with kids. They energize me. At home I’ll take my 20 minute power nap. I’ll drink more water and keep moving. It’s not perfect, but it’s worth a try.
I’ve been on this voyage now for a month, since September 26th. I’m in a much better place than I was. I no longer sleep 10 hours a night or need hour-long naps every day. The last post I wrote was October 5th. Here are my results since then.
I didn’t track numbers this time, but over the last 22 nights I’ve been able to get 9 hours of sleep. I probably had 1-2 early mornings each week. I got up, and I didn’t take naps longer than 20 minutes on those days. I followed my rules.
I managed to power down somewhere between 11 and 11: 15. I wanted to push it back to 10:30, but I decided not to. I’m a late night person, and an 11:00 powerdown time works for me. Sometimes close enough, like 11:15, is good enough.
The next problem I took on was waking up. I can hit the snooze button for an hour. It's a really bad habit! I decided to try something new. I let myself snooze for 15 minutes. Then I wanted to try something positive, something that would make me want to wake up.
My New Game Plan
This is exactly how I feel at this stage of the game. I have basic rules that help me go to bed and wake up, but it’s not perfect. I’m still tired, especially after a day spent subbing. I need to do some tweaking, maybe even break a rule or two when necessary.
Most nights 9 hours of sleep works, but it doesn’t on subbing mornings. Then I feel tired into the next day. I discovered, when I really can’t get up that next morning, I gift myself with an extra hour of sleep. It breaks the rules, but I feel so much better. It’s my plan for tomorrow and for Thursday, my recovery day after subbing.
This week I discovered turning on the light, sitting up in bed, and checking my phone – it works! I can wake up in 15 – 30 minutes, and that’s a new record for me! It changes the rules, but who cares! I don’t, especially if they work better. My goal is to make waking up something I enjoy, not the chore it’s always been.
Lisa, my Noom coach, suggested meditation as a way to help me fall asleep. There are some nights when I’m so excited/upset that my head spins with ideas. I can power down my body, but it’s a lot harder for my head.
I reached out to my Noom social group. I asked for ideas, and I got 3. Someone suggested using a musical playlist of 3 - 4 songs. Another suggested two different kinds of breathing exercises, and the last one had a You Tube video.
I think I’ll start with the breathing. I use a BIPAP sleep machine. It’s for sleep apnea, but it also stops my snoring. I used to be Snoring Thunder. Now I’m Snoring Whisper. The BIPAP machine makes it easy to focus on breathing because it pushes air in and out of my nose every minute of every night. I’ll let you know in a week or two how it worked! I hope the force is with me!
My Final Results:
I started my sleep journey back on September 26th. Today, December 2nd, I’m declaring it finished.
I’ve achieved almost everything I wanted. I nap for 20 – 30 minutes, but only as needed. Most nights I power down around 11:30. I get 9 hours of sleep. Usually I fall asleep within 10 minutes.
My final challenge – to figure out how to shut down my brain when it doesn’t want to. My big discovery – movies like the ones on the Hallmark channel relax me and help me fall asleep. Mission accomplished!
Thanks to Lisa from Noom, I’m back on track. Sleep will never be perfect. There will be nights when I can’t get to sleep, or mornings when I don’t get enough. But, now I have a tool kit to get me back on track again. Here’s to the future! With sleep, anything is possible!
Question 1 - Which sea creature evaporates in sunlight?
That’s right! One of these animals disintegrates in the afternoon sun. The answer: Jellyfish
Did you guess right? Jellyfish might look scary. They might shock you, literally. But washed up on the beach, they’re helpless. Why? How? Jellyfish are 98% water. If they wash up on the beach, they’ll probably evaporate in a few hours, leaving hardly a trace behind.
Question 2- Caterpillars must melt into a liquid before they can change into a moth . . . True or False?
TRUE! I guessed right! That’s because I used to watch tiny caterpillars make cocoons, then hatch into butterflies. They always left some red liquid behind. I always wondered why. Thanks to this link I now understand: https://quizzclub.com/games/bonus/caterpillars-completely-liquify-as-they-transform-into-moths/answer/1932/
Inside the chrysalis the caterpillar melts down. Really! As its body melts, it releases enzymes. Those enzymes change most of the old body into a rich caterpillar soup. What’s left of the caterpillar feeds on that soup and grows into a brand-new butterfly.
Question 3- How does a butterfly taste its food?
With its mouth feet wings eyes
The answer: their feet. EWWWW! I can’t imagine tasting anything with my stinky smelly feet. YUCK! But butterflies have taste sensors in their feet so they taste a flower by stepping on it.
Butterflies don’t have mouths to bite or chew with. Instead they have a proboscis. I always thought of it as a tongue, but it’s not. It’s more like an elephant’s trunk, or a pig’s snout, or human straws. It’s a great way to drink your lunch, but it’s a terrible way to taste it. The nectar would be flavor-LESS!
More Info: biointerestingfacts.blogspot.com
Earth Day 2019 was April 22, but every day should be Earth Day. Do you know which country puts out the most carbon?
USA China India Japan Russia
The answer: China
Tomorrow: Details about each country and tips to be a good Earth citizen every day.
Can you find the countries below? Start on the western side of the Earth. Find a light green country. That’s the United States.
Now go east across the ocean to a huge yellow country at the top of the world. That’s Russia. Go south to an orange country. That’s China.
Next go east of China and Russia into the ocean. Find a chain of islands that’s half pink, half purple. That’s Japan.
Finally go back to China. Travel south to a large green peninsula. That’s India. These are the world’s 5 top polluters. I don’t think any of them want to be on this list. Here are 2 charts that show 2 different ways to wrap your head around the numbers.
2015 Total Emissions Country Rank Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion (million metric tons)
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
So what does all this mean? Is the USA alright? Do we need to do better? How? What do you think?
There’s always room for improvement, for me as a person. For the US as a country. We span across a continent with miles of highway to connect us. We don’t have mass transit, except in our large cities or on the east coast.
If you look at this link: Union of Concerned Scientists, there are 2 other countries in the 15 metric ton per capita range. Canada is at 15.32, and Australia’s at 15. 83. They’re like us, continent-wide with miles of highway to cross. The biggest surprise on this page, Saudia Arabia’s at 16.85 and tops the per capita list.
One of the nice things about aging is watching things get better. When I grew up in the 60’s, people were becoming aware of pollution. As a country we stopped using DDT. We put animals on the endangered list and worked to protect them. Back then there was no recycling, and now I see it around my little town. Yay! We’ve gotten better at taking care of our planet since the 60’s. But, we still have room to grow.
Now, how can YOU help the Earth? My friends at Traveltrivia.com had a couple suggestions. 1) Ride your bike whenever it’s possible. I have to confess I’m not a bike rider, but I try to watch my car trips so that I accomplish as much as possible in 1 trip. I used to carpool to work. We drove 1 car, not 2. These are simple things, but if everyone does the simple things, we can have a big effect.
2) Turn off the water. Don’t let it drip! Water is a natural resource. Don’t waste it. I also try to watch what I throw out into my yard. Whatever goes into the ground can go into our water system, and it can pollute your water.
3) Turn off the lights when you leave the room. The same is true for anything that uses electricity. Turning it off saves the natural resources that make your electricity. Saving water and electricity also saves money, and that’s a great thing! Money saved is money you can spend on something else that YOU want or need.
4) Reuse something instead of throwing it away. If it’s broken, can you fix it? Turn it into something else? I saved a card from my father’s funeral. I cut it into pieces, glued it onto a frame, and now it’s a treasured possession. Another great thing!
5) If you can’t use it, recycle it! I don’t throw out my newspapers – I recycle them. Did you know paper is one of the biggest things going into the garbage dumps? I can’t recycle old clothes, but I give them to places like Goodwill. You can get things there free or at a great price. Sometimes you even find treasures! Happy Hunting!
If you have other suggestions, please comment or email me. I’d love to share them so we can all make Earth Day every day.!
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
Usually I don’t get comments, but I thought I’d share this one with you, along with my answer.
Daniel: It is interesting to see the “emissions from fuel combustion per capita”. Regarding greenhouse emissions and global warming: This is the possibility that each of every American has an impact on carbon pollution. Instead of working against this outrageous number, people get more, bigger pick-ups, companies discontinue fuel saving vehicles like Ford Focus...Strange new world, and I’m disappointed about Americans who seem to not care.
Rinda: Daniel, I agree that every American has an impact on carbon pollution. I understand your concern about the big pick-ups versus the economy cars. I drive a Honda Crosstour. I’m not sure what my mileage is, but it’s better than our Honda Pilot (my husband worked at Honda, and they’re great cars).
I think Americans do care about the environment, but it’s one choice among a million you might make in a day. I was a soccer mom. Having a car big enough to haul my 3 kids around, plus any of their friends, was huge back in the day.
Our next car will probably be a truck, sorry! It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because we have a boat to move around. We also have a trailer that helps us move anything from tree limbs to furniture. In America, we don’t have the luxury of taking a train so we want a car that’s comfortable. I spent an hour in my car, round trip 5 days a week for 33 years. Now I substitute teach. I sub in Wapak, not my old district because it saves time, energy, and money, all things valued by Americans.
I hope my response will redeem truck-driving Americans in your eyes. At least in my family, we have a good reason for our choices. And Daniel, if you need a car, take a look at the Hondas! They’re fuel efficient, and last forever. Our Pilot has almost 300,000 miles. It’s a gem!
Last month I got an email from Jo in New Zealand. She liked my post about working dogs and asked if I would put her link in it.
I checked her post and loved the article about 6 popular dog sports. I learned something new, and I thought you might too. I was also flattered to get Jo’s email. Here’s her link. I hope you’ll check it out.
PS – I think I’d like to do a post about sporting dogs, and Jo’s link is the perfect place to start!
The story behind this post: It all started with a publicist, not mine, Riley’s. Riley’s owner, Jill Mangel Weisfield , had a publicist for her book, and she emailed me and asked if I’d review it. She sent me a copy to read. I loved it so much I decided to review it for My Reads and write a post about working dogs.
In her adventure Riley searched for the right job. She imagined pulling a sled, guarding the president, competing in a dog show, guiding a blind person, working at a fire house, and becoming a therapy dog.
I researched and found even more job opportunities for Riley! It’s true— a dog is man’s best friend! Keep reading to find out why dogs are the best pet ever!
Sled Dogs: Long ago dogs pulled sleds in cold and snowy places like Alaska. Mushing peaked during the 1880’s gold rush. In the early 1900’s dogs still delivered mail until planes took over. Sometimes dogs still help out by moving people and supplies.
Dog sledding was a popular sport until snowmobiles appeared in the 1960’s, but in 1973 the Iditarod revived dog sledding. It takes 8-15 days to race from Anchorage to Nome. It may be early March, but the dogs race through blizzards and gale-force winds. The wind chill can drop to −100 °F. Yikes!
Carting: Carting or dryland mushing is a sport found all over the world. It looks like dog sledding without the snow, and it keeps the dogs in racing form during the off-season.
Draught Animals: These are draught (draft) dogs from long ago. I’d never seen the word draught before. It means that they’d pull carts for their owners, usually farmers or peddlers. Sometimes they carried mail or people.
In WWI they pulled small field guns. The Soviet Army in WWII used them to pull carts with stretchers for wounded soldiers. Would you believe the military dogs had guard dogs to protect them too. They were valuable!
Turnspit dogs: Can you find him in the picture? He’s inside the wheel, and he’s running to get some meat. He reminds me of a hamster on a wheel, except hamsters do it by choice, for fun.
Now can you see the spit on the fire? It’s cooking some meat. The dog’s wheel is connected to the spit.
When the dog runs, it turns the meat so it won’t get burned. In today’s world, that seems mean, but if you were a kid back in the day, you’d rather have a dog turn the spit than you. This picture was from a book about a tour to North/South Wales in 1797 by Henry Wigstead. I wonder if George Washington had a turnspit dog.
Turnspit dogs were also called Kitchen Dogs or Canis Vertigus, but no one’s sure what breed they were because no one recorded that information. Some people think they might be related to the Glen of Imaal Terrier or the Welsh Corgi. I think both are too cute to be put to work!
Hunting Dogs: Dogs have been helping people hunt since before bows and arrows. Hunters love their dogs. They can find, track, and bring back the animal you shot. Sometimes they chase away animals you don’t want like mice or cockroaches.
Dogs are trained to hold big animals like bears or wild boars in place until you arrive.
Bird Dogs: These dogs were bred to point hunters toward the game and to retrieve it. They’re energetic, and they love water. Bird dogs are great with kids, and they’re great as therapy dogs.
Here are some of the most popular bird dogs. Do you recognize any of them? Do you have one?
My dad’s favorite dog was a Brittany. She was his best friend and a family legend, pointing out pheasants hidden in the woods.
Sight Dogs: I’d never heard of Sight dogs till this post, but they have great eyes and great speed. They can chase down things that move fast like cats, squirrels, even kids. They love to play games like fetch. Sight dogs love to run, but if there’s nothing to chase, they’re happy laying by your feet. Here are a few sight dogs.
Herding Dogs: Everyone can picture them. They’re Biblical! Remember, the shepherds watching their flocks by night? I picture them with a dog or two. Don’t forget cowboys and their dogs herding cattle. I’ve never pictured dogs herding geese, but they are in the first picture below. I’ve seen dogs herd kids. My border terrier, Leia ,used to herd me if there was something she wanted me to do.
Did you know there’s actually a herding group of dogs? There are 80 different breeds in this group! But not all herding dogs turn out to be good herders. Some are better as pets. Click on the next link and you can read the whole list. Link: https://www.dogbreedinfo.com/h/herdingdogs.ht
Did you know herding dogs have trials? To win one, a dog must move the sheep when their handler is farther away. BTW a handler can be the owner or a professional hired by the owner. The dog must control the sheep and take them to the handler, and then repeat, by doing the opposite. It’s interesting that the away drive is harder. It’s against instinct for a dog to move the sheep away from the handler. The final task for the team is to move the sheep into a space like a pen or a cart.
Sometimes the dog must separate the sheep into 2 groups according to a judge’s directions. It’s called shedding. Singling is when the dog and handler work together to pull a few sheep out of a large group. They may also do a cross drive where the dog moves the sheep from one side of the field to the other, in front of the handler, but at a distance from him.
The picture above is from a 2010 trial in Utah. I found it, plus more information at this link.
Fire House Dogs: That’s the one and only Dalmatian. You know as in 101 Dalmatians? I’ve never seen a live one at my home fire house. They’re just statues. Read on and discover how Dalmatians became fire station dogs.
Back in the days of fire carriages in merry old England, the firemen would get the call, throw in a steam pump, hitch up the horses, and take off. The Dalmatians kept the horses from spooking and they could run forever beside the coach.
I love this fact! Dalmatians were the first siren. Their bark warned people to get out of the way because a fire carriage was coming. They also kept the horses calm when they arrived, and they guarded the equipment. Back at the fire house, they took care of vermin like rats.
But when fire trucks were invented, Dalmatians weren’t needed to bark or calm the horses. Any dog would do, but firemen have kept Dalmatians around. They’re tradition! I hope it never changes! Here’s the link that helped me write this post. It has more information than I could share.
Show Dogs: Have you ever seen dog shows on TV? The dogs are shampooed, trimmed, combed, and primped until they’re perfect. It looks like a beauty contest, but it’s not.
The AKC, American Kennel Association, says dog shows are about finding the dog that best fits the breed standards. That’s a list of physical traits, movement, and temperament. Each breed has its own standards. A Cocker and a Brittany are both spaniels, but they have different standards. A judge picks a winner based on those standards. A handler preps their dog to show off their best traits and to minimize others.
The AKC, American Kennel Association, says dog shows are about finding the dog that best fits the breed standards. That’s a list of their physical traits, how they move, and their personality. Each breed has its own standards. Boston and Border are both terriers, but with different standards. A judge picks a winner based on which dog fits the most standards. A handler preps their dog to show off their best traits, and to minimize others.
Did you know there are 340 recognized breeds world-wide? The AKC recognizes 192. Each breed has its own American club. There’s one club for Boston Terriers, and another for Border Terriers. A dog that conforms to standards will do well in shows. Winning means your dog is worth more money. Their puppies are worth more too. Winning might even get them a dog food commercial, and more money.
Some shows are small local events with just one breed. Others, like the one at Westminster feature all 192. They might have more than 3000 dogs entered in them. Here are 2 links to the AKC: https://www.akc.org/sports/conformation/ and https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/
If a dog doesn’t have enough traits, or it’s a mix of breeds, they can’t be in dog shows, but don’t worry! They can still be a great pet, and here’s another possibility.
Agility Dogs: Agility contests are for all dogs. It’s a growing sport across the US with over a million entries a year. Winning is strictly about how fast and how accurately a dog can race. It reminds me of the obstacle courses some people do on TV. Fast and accurate is the way to go! Each mistake is subtracted from your score.
The course is too complicated for a lone dog. They need a handler to guide them through a series of jumps, dog walks, seesaws, tunnels, pause tables, and weave poles.
The handler gets to walk through the course before the race, without their dog, but during the competition they’ll work together as a team. The dog will race off leash, without rewards like food or toys. The handler can’t touch the dog or anything on the course, but they’re allowed to use voice or hand signals. It must be hard for them to do this cold without running the actual course, but at least at home the handlers can prepare their dogs by using different obstacles, and by changing the order. Training, obedience, and working together is key!
To learn more, click on:
https://www.akc.org/sports/agility/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_agility
Guard Dogs: Dogs have been guarding people and their possessions since the shepherds watched their flocks, since dalmatians became fire house dogs.
Guard dogs and watch dogs are basically the same. They both guard something, but guard dogs work professionally for businesses like security firms and the military. Watch dogs work as pets and as home protectors. If this dog lived at your house, I think I would call and check before coming over. How about you?
Police Dogs: This is a German police dog, but dogs serve policemen world-wide. They can check out crime scenes and track down the bad guys. Dogs can make them freeze until policemen can arrest and handcuff them. Police dogs are also called K9 units. Did you get their joke? Policemen chose K9 because it’s a play on the word for dog…canine. LOL!
Military Dogs: They’re also known as War Dogs or the K9 Corps. Their newest name is Military Working Dogs. Whatever you want to call them, they do many of the same jobs that Police and Guard Dogs do, but these dogs also detect mines and wires. They track or scout for enemy soldiers. They stand guard as sentries. They also serve in search and rescue units. They are truly a soldier’s best friend.
Most military and police dogs are German shepherds, Dutch shepherds, and Malinois (Belgian shepherds). They look like they’re related. That’s probably because they come from the same part of the world.
re’s a map of Western Europe. The part that’s colored is Germany. Each color represents 1 of their 16 states, and that’s where the German Shepherd came from.
Find the northeastern corner of the map. Do you see the Niederlands? That’s the Netherlands where you find all things Dutch, including the Dutch Shepherd.
Go south. Do you see Belgien? That’s Belgium, home of the Belgian Shepherd.
Tao learn more, click or copy this link:
Search and Rescue Dogs: If you’re ever in trouble, you need a search and rescue dog out looking for you. Their sense of smell and hearing are incredible, and they’re so agile, they can find you no matter where you are. They’re trained to specialize in specific kinds of rescues. Read on to find out about these talented dogs.
Tracking Dogs: They track scents, of course! Their skills help them find both people and animals. They can even track down criminals before the police know who they’re looking for.
Detection Dogs: These dogs can sniff out a single ingredient or a mixture of them. Some of the common scents they look for are illegal drugs, bombs, blood, and dead bodies. They can even smell those things inside a suitcase or a trunk. They can also find live bedbugs, termites, or mice from the scent of their waste.
You can find detection dogs working for police departments, for biologists who study living things, and for medical departments.
Hunting truffles was one of the first detection jobs. Truffles are a special fungus that people like to eat, kind of like mushrooms. They’re harder to find because they’re buried underground, but detection dogs can sniff out this hidden treasure.
Cancer Detection Dogs: These dogs can detect certain forms of cancer by smelling your breath or your urine/pee. Research is promising, but it hasn’t been verified by enough studies. Maybe someday dogs will work for your local doctor or medical lab.
Cadaver Dogs: These dogs can find dead bodies or the parts of one. Whenever there’s a disaster like an earthquake or hurricane, dogs can find our loved ones faster than we can. They also work crime scenes and accidents.
This picture shows the site of a plane crash. A dog is looking for bodies that are buried under snow and ice. It’s sad work, but I’m glad dogs are there to help. If you’re looking for a search and rescue dog, these are the best ones around.
Service Dogs: As a retired teacher these dogs are close to my heart. They help you live with a disability, and they can also be your best friend. I researched five of them, and here’s what I discovered.
Seeing Eye Dogs/Guide Dogs: These are the most famous kind of service dogs. This picture is from 1941, but these dogs have been around even longer. They started work in Germany during WWI, about 1914. They were supposed to help veterans adjust to postwar life.
In 1927 Morris Frank brought a German dog home to Nashville, Tennessee. He started a Seeing Eye school for dogs that’s still working today. If you are blind or have trouble seeing, these dogs can guide you through life.
I was surprised to learn that dogs are red/green color blind, and that they don’t understand signs like stop signs. I wondered how they could help blind people with these 2 big disabilities.
Dog schools teach both people and dogs how to work as a team. You are trained to navigate by keeping a map in your head. You must know how many streets to your destination, which ones have stop signs, and which ones have traffic lights. The dog acts as your pilot and directs you around all the obstacles in your way.
Mobility Assistance Dogs: This is not a mobility dog, but it’s wearing a harness like mobility dogs do. Can you imagine how difficult life would be if you had trouble walking or were in a wheelchair?
These dogs are great, especially if your home is dog-ready. They push buttons for doors and lights. They get things that have fallen or are out of reach. They pull wheelchairs up ramps.
They bring family when you need help. They brace you if you have balance problems. A mobility dog could change your life.
Seizure Dog: This isn’t a seizure dog, but it could be. Seizure dogs are tuned into their humans. They detect seizures that are caused by epilepsy or something else.
Seizures are caused by an unexpected electrical charge in the brain. They show up in different ways, with different symptoms. Most are mild and last about 2 minutes, but if they last longer than 5, they can cause long term issues. Seizure dogs are for these patients.
Seizure dogs help in lots of ways. They summon help. They can start emergency response systems. They can help their human out of the seizure or into a better position. They can even help them stand.
Seizure dogs can also get phones or medication. If their human’s in danger like in the middle of the road, they can help them to safety. Some dogs even tell their humans that a seizure’s coming. Can you imagine what a difference these dogs make in the lives of their families?
These are the most common therapy dogs. They’re also the most common working dogs. Why? I think it’s because they’re all smart, obedient, and easily trainable. They’re perfect pets too!
Hearing Dogs: These dogs aren’t as famous, but if you have trouble hearing, a hearing dog would be a god-send. They are trained to nudge their owners and lead them towards a sound, like a doorbell, alarm clock, telephone, crying baby, a smoke alarm, even their human’s name. If you can hear, you’ve probably never thought of how difficult a hearing disability can be.
Therapy Dogs: They are the most common kind of service dog around, and any dog can be a therapy dog. They just have to have the right personality and the right training. Then they must pass a test to prove they have the right stuff.
If your dog passes, they earn a special vest. It tells everyone around that they’re a working dog. Then they can visit hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, schools, and even colleges, anywhere humans need a little TLC…tender loving care.
If you see a dog in a vest, they’re on the job. Always ask if you can greet them. Sometimes their humans will say yes. Other times no. It depends on the situation.
If you’d like to learn more about working dogs, here is the link that helped me get started: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_dog
Click on this one to learn more about the dog breeds that like to get to work:
Look in this classroom. I see living things. I see nonliving things. What do you see?
Living things grow. They change.
Nonliving things can’t change. Someone or something must change them.
Come in the library. What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things respond to their environment. They do different things in different places.
Nonliving things don’t respond. They do the same thing everywhere. Something must change them.
Let’s play soccer! What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things find and use energy. It helps them move, and grow, and change.
Nonliving things don’t need energy. They can’t move, grow or change.
Let’s go to the zoo! What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things have babies who grow up to look like them.
Nonliving things can’t have babies.
Come visit an aquarium! What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things have breathe in air, even underwater.
Nonliving things don’t need air.
Let’s go to the beach! What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things have cells. Cells allow living things to grow and change.
Nonliving things don’t have cells. They can’t grow or change.
Let’s go camping! What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things have cells. Cells use energy to move, grow, and change.
Nonliving things don’t have cells. They can’t use energy. They can’t move, grow, or change.
Let’s ride a roller coaster! What do you see? Living things? Nonliving things?
Living things have cells. Cells have protoplasm. It’s the living stuff in cells that makes life possible.
Nonliving things don’t have cells. They don’t have protoplasm, and life is impossible.
Birds do! Did you know there are 9000 kinds of birds, and they all lay eggs?
Which bird lays blue eggs?
Robins do. Did you know robins are a sign of spring?
Who laid this egg?
A penguin. Father penguins have a pouch between their feet. It keeps the egg warm so mother penguins can go hunt for food.
Who laid these two tiny eggs?
A hummingbird. Tiny birds should lay tiny eggs.
They got their name because their wings hum.
Who lays giant eggs?
The largest bird of course! An ostrich.
Ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand. They lay their head down to hide. It only looks like they’re buried.
Who else lays eggs?
All insects do, except for flies and aphids.
Do you know who laid these eggs?
Ants, of course. They may look different, but they’re both ants.
Did you know we’ve named 12,500 ants? But, there may be another 10,000 without names. That’s a lot of ants!
Who laid all these eggs?
Not this bee. She’s a worker bee.
Only a queen bee can lay eggs. She can lay 1000 to 2000 eggs, a day. That’s a lot of eggs!
Who laid their tiny eggs on this leaf?
A butterfly or a moth. They can live anywhere, except Antarctica.
Did you know there are 12-15,000 kinds of butterflies? There are 150-250,000 kind of moths. That’s a lot of moths!
Who laid these eggs? Hint…it wasn’t an insect.
It was an arachnid. That’s a spider. Some spiders lay their eggs individually. Some weave an egg sac that’s full of eggs.
Did you know there are 40,000 kinds of spiders. They can live anywhere, except Antarctica. I guess insects don’t like the South Pole!
Who else lays eggs?
All reptiles do, except for boas, vipers, and garter snakes.
Who’s hatching out of this egg?
An alligator! How can you tell? Alligators are dark green. They close their mouths and hide their teeth.
Crocodiles are olive brown. They close their mouths and show their top teeth. Beware a crocodile’s smile!
Who laid these eggs?
A lizard did. Little lizards lay little eggs. Big lizards lay big eggs.
All lizards have four legs, clawed feet, and a long tail. Most have dry, scaly skin. That sounds rough to me!
Who laid these eggs?
A snake did. Snakes can be smaller than a ruler. They can be longer than 7 rulers.
All lizards have a forked tongue and a long body. They don’t have arms or legs, ears or eyelids. They never blink. Ever!
Who’s hatching out of these eggs?
Baby turtles! Small turtles are 2-3 inches long. Big ones are 72 inches, or 6 rulers long.
Turtles crawl or swim with 4 legs. They hide from danger inside a shell. I wish I had one too!
Who laid these eggs?
A dinosaur did, millions of years ago. They never got to hatch. Instead they turned to stone.
I wonder who’s inside. A Tyrannosaurus Rex? Maybe a Triceratops? I guess we’ll never know!
Who else lays eggs?
Amphibians live half their lives on land, the other half in water.
Do you recognize these 2 amphibians? The green one is a frog. The brown one’s a toad.
There’s only 1 other kind of amphibian, a salamander.
Most water animals lay eggs, whether they live in freshwater or saltwater.
Who’s inside these eggs? Fish!
There are more than 27,000 different kinds of fish. They live in water. They have a backbone. They breathe using gills. Both these fish live in the ocean.
The first fish is a clown fish. Why? It has bright colors, like a clown. The fish in the second picture are salmon. They swim up river to lay their eggs, in the spot where they once hatched.
Who laid this strange egg?
A shark or a skate. I wonder what’s in my picture. What big eyes it has! I wonder about its mouth…
The egg case is called a Mermaid’s Purse, because of its shape. It never belonged to a mermaid. Some purses hold 1 egg. Others hold up to 7.
Who laid this strange egg?
A jellyfish did. Its body is soft. That’s because it’s mostly water with just a little gelatin (like jello). On top it looks like a bell. It has tentacles that string down to catch or sting its prey.
Jellyfish usually float in the ocean. Their top can pulse and move them along too.
Who laid these strange eggs?
An octopus did. Did you recognize this one with its huge head, 2 eyes, and 8 arms? The arms have suction cups.
Squids look a lot like octopuses with their 8 arms. The difference, squids have 2 long tentacles.
How do you get a chicken? You lay an egg. Then wait for it to hatch. Sorry, you can’t lay one. Or hatch one either. You need a hen, and a rooster.
Can you find the roosters? They're the boy chickens. They're bigger in size. Their combs are bigger too. The comb is that red hat, on top of their heads.
Can you find the hens? They're the girl chickens. They're smaller in size, and so are their combs.
How do chickens hatch a chick? First the hen lays her eggs in a nest. She sits on them. That keeps them warm so they'll hatch.
Humans hatch eggs in an incubator. It gives the egg heat. It even moves them around so the whole egg is warmed.
If you’re lucky, you have an incubator in your classroom. If you’re super-lucky, you’ll watch a chick hatch. I hope you’re super-lucky!
If your class is super-lucky, you’ll have a set of 21 plastic eggs. Peek in an egg every day. You’ll see your chick change. Why 21 eggs? It takes 21 days to hatch a chick.
Look! Seven days…one week. Your chick starts as a yellow yolk. It grows a red dot, an eye. Then red lines, veins for blood. Finally, a body. In one short week!
Seven days…two weeks. 7 + 7 = 14 days. Your chick gets bigger. It has a comb and a beak. It has feathers and toes. Wait! Look! It’s a bird!
Seven more days…that's three weeks. 14 + 7 = 21 days. Your chick is covered in feathers. It has hard scales, claws, and a beak. It’s Day 21. It’s time to hatch!
How does the chick get out?
Did you guess the egg tooth? You’re right! The chick taps and taps with its egg tooth. Finally its shell cracks. Can you see the chick peeking out?
Does hatching look easy or hard?
I think it’s hard! Look at that first chick. I think it needs a nap. What do you think?
The second chick looks better. Maybe it had a nap!
Why is this chick cuter? It just hatched.
It got a nap. Its feathers dried. When a chick is born, it’s wet and covered in yolk. Yuck!
Do chicks hatch at the same time?
No! Three chicks are waiting for a brother or sister. What will it be? A hen or a rooster? I wish we could see!
This post is dedicated to Miss Harrison’s Kindergarten class who inspired it.
1. What's the main idea?
2. As you read, name the 4 hurricanes, in order.
3. Why aren’t hurricanes K and L in this post?
Answers are at the end of this post.
This was Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 25th. (Post: 9/12/17) It was the first in a series of hurricanes that hit the US last fall. On Sept. 6th Irma blew through the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida. Jose threatened the Caribbean but never showed up. Thank goodness!
On Sept. 22nd Maria appeared. Look at the picture below. That’s what Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands looked like after Hurricanes Maria and Irma. (Post: 10/21/17)
This picture was taken mid-October. I was so surprised. Now, not so much. I just visited Houston where Harvey rained for 5 long days. You can’t see the damage outside, but inside people are still rebuilding their homes.
I hope the USVI is recovering like Houston, but it’s harder. Building materials/new supplies come in by boat. It’s more expensive and takes longer. In November I decided to adopt a classroom. I wanted to help another teacher, another classroom.
In December I opened my email and found this:
Congratulations! You've been matched with...
School Name and Address: Lockhart Elementary School, St. Thomas
Mailing Address: P.O. Box XXX, St. Thomas, VI 00801
Teacher's Name: Ms. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Grade Level: 1st Grade
Number of Students: 21
Primary Needs: Dry erase board markers, File Folders, Printer paper & ink, Tape, Construction paper, Crayons, Glue, Hand soap, Hand sanitizer, Disinfectant wipes, Healthy snacks, Broom & dust pan, Bottled water
Message to Adopter: Thank you!
Next step, shopping! By January I had everything on their list. I boxed it and mailed it to the US Virgin Islands. Amazon sent the things I couldn’t, like bottled water and ink.
On Jan. 22nd I got an email saying everything arrived, and this picture. What a great looking class! Their happiness makes me happy too.
But I was also sad. I learned half the kids moved away over Christmas vacation, off the island to new schools in new places. I can’t imagine losing half my class over Christmas vacation. These kids survived so much, 2 hurricanes, putting their homes back together again, and now losing classmates. They’re my heroes, and it makes me happy to do something for them. So…
To Lockhart first graders,
Thank you for letting me help you! I had a ball shopping for you. I hope you have a wonderful finish to your school year. You deserve it!
All the best,
Update on an Update
1. What’s the main idea?
Ex: The main idea is to update the reader about what has happened in the US Virgin Islands since the fall hurricanes.
2. As you read, name the 4 hurricanes, in order.
Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria
3. Why aren’t hurricanes K and L in this post?
Ex: They didn’t affect Texas, Florida, or the US Virgin islands.
1. What’s the main idea?
2. Name one way ants and bees are the same. Name one way they’re different.
3. What’s your favorite ant fact? Defend your answer.
Answers are at the end of this post.
Last week I wrote about the research I’ve done on bees. This week I'm writing about ants. They’re fascinating!
I googled and used multiple sources to confirm my facts, just like I did with bees. Many facts are the same. Here are the ones that shaped my ant story:
* Their jaws are called mandibles. They’re compound tools, like our jaws and hands. Ants use them for biting, crushing, cutting, digging, fighting and hunting.
* Their antennae help them sense the world around them, literally. They’re used to smell, touch, taste and communicate. They’re bent in the middle like our elbows.
* Ants have both compound and simple eyes.
* Ocelli, or simple eyes, come in sets of 3. They’re at the top of their head. They detect light levels (high or low) and polarization (the light source). Simple eyes are weak, and they don’t seem to be important. They're not even in my story.
* Compound eyes have lots of tiny lenses stuck together. They make those big bug eyes. BTW, their eyes detect motion, but send them blurry images (see below). When I googled eyesight, my sources only mentioned compound eyes.
* This week I discovered a new fact, neither ants nor bees have eyelids. They can’t wink or blink so I had to change a couple sentences to fit my new fact.
*Another fact I got wrong is how ants breathe. They don’t have lungs. They have spiracles or breathing holes that let air in and out. Ants can't take a breathe. They open their spiracles and wait. Go figure!
*This diagram shows a stinger. Stingers were never in my story. I googled them for this post. Only ants, like fire ants, have stingers. The rest bite. That’s probably why I never read or wrote about them.
* Ants use their claws to grip, climb, hang and detect vibrations/sound.
* All workers are female whether they work inside or outside the hive, just like bees.
* Drones ants, like bees, have one job, to mate with a queen. They’re smaller than other workers. They have wings and live outside the colony. I found no evidence that drones return to the nest after they leave. My guess, they find food outside.
* Ants, like bees, have queens. They have 1 job, to lay eggs. Minor ants take care of the queen and her new children, keeping them clean and fed. Major workers are soldiers and food foragers.
As promised, here's how you look to a bee. Would you rather have your eyes, or an ant's? I like mine!
I love these pictures. They’re worth 2000 words! The first shows how ants compare, size-wise. The queen is the big dog, I mean ant! She has wings when she leaves home for her maiden flight. When done, she’ll dig a new home, ditch the wings, and lay her first eggs. The queen will never, ever leave home again. If you follow the life cycle diagram, her eggs hatch and become soldiers (major ants) or workers (minor ant). A few eggs become young queens and kings (drones), and the cycle begins again.
Home sweet home, for ants, whether it’s a bug-created habitat, or a human starter-home. My 2nd graders had an ant farm every spring for years. We started with all our sand at the bottom. I pushed a straw in 3 times to give them starter tunnels. Within a week the ants had passages like this, and, had brought sand to the top. No one works like an ant!
When our ants arrived, we sent them to a refrigerator to fall asleep. That way I could put them into their new habitat and remain bite-free. A student once got confused and put them into the freezer. Poor ants! They didn’t wake up. Cold temperatures put ants to sleep. Freezing cold kills them.
My kids promised every year to keep their hands off the farm. Why? A tiny bump is like an earthquake in the ant world. Tunnels could collapse and leave our ants in danger. My 2nd graders took this promise seriously…we never had a fatality.
The best part of having an ant farm, is watching the ants. They carry food to their storage corner. They move sand from the bottom to the top. They even have graveyards. Really! Look at the black spots on the second picture. Those are dead ants, and this is their cemetery.
Do you recognize the bugs above? They’re aphids, and they’re the most interesting thing I learned about ants. Ants farm aphids, really!
Some new queens take aphid eggs to their new colony. They put them out to pasture on a juicy stem. The aphids drink the plant juice. Then when an ant’s hungry, she strokes the aphid with her antenna. The aphid poops, and the ant eats it. YUCK!
The poop is called honeydew, and to an ant it’s like pure sugar. Would you believe ants even clip aphid wings so they won’t fly away?
FYI…this post was easy to write. Why? I’ve been reading and writing about ants for over 6 years, but I’m still learning about them.
A Little More Research…Ants, Please!
1. What’s the main idea?The main idea is to learn facts about ants from what research says..
2. Name one what ants and bees are the same. Name one way they’re different.Same: Both ants and bees have queens who lay eggs.
Different: Ants farm aphids. Bees don’t farm other bugs.
3. What’s your favorite ant fact? Defend your answer.
Ants eat bug poop. YUCK! I can’t believe any creature would do that!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!