Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet Mr. Gacek!

Hi, I'm Mr. Gacek.  This year I'll be starting my 11th year at Nova!  I love teaching and Nova is an awesome place to teach.  I teach Language Arts and Geography, as well as Silent Reading, Study Skills, and Social and Emotional Health.  I studied History, Anthroplology, and English at Reed College and Western Washington University and earned a Master in Teaching from The Evergreen State College.   I read a lot.  I really like Young Adult Literature; a recent favorite was Okay For Now by Gary B. Schmidt.  I'm also an avid sports fan.  My teams are the Sounders, Mariners, and UW Men's Basketball.  I have a large baseball card collection.  I'm originally from Bellingham and love living in the Northwest.  Welcome to Nova, new parents and students!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Meet Mr Kehoe!

Dominic Kehoe is our new 6th grade science/computers/geometry teacher.  He is originally from Scotland and he loves to rock climb.  He's been working all summer in the Nova garden and he's been planning up a storm for his classes.  His blog looks great so sign up as a follower to show him you've checked it out.  Also, you'll notice Mr Kehoe doesn't put a period after Mr and Mrs like we do in the States.  So when writing his name, make sure you do it the British way: Mr Kehoe.  As for me, I'm still Mr. Gacek. 

Check out Mr Kehoe's blog here.

NYT notices a trend: Schools banning disposable lunch bags

Students and teachers at Nova actually do a pretty good of bringing their lunches to school in re-usable containers.  Students in Environmental Science the past couple years have experimented for a week with not using disposable bags and containers.  Should Nova ban disposable bags outright?  The benefit would be less waste and it would actually save families money in the long run.  The drawback is that the ban would induce some stress in some parents and students.  The Times quotes a mom whose daughter's school has a no disposable bag policy.
In school years past, she said, many a morning came unhinged when the girls were sent to school with disposable sandwich bags. “That’s when the kids have meltdowns, because they don’t want to be shamed at school,” Ms. Corbett said. “It’s a big deal.”
I'd like to see Nova continue to promote using re-usable containers for lunches.  But a complete ban?  That's kinda harsh.  What do you all think?

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Why Not Eat Insects?"

The topic of insects as food is explored in Dana Goodyear's current New Yorker article "Grub: Eating bugs to save the planet."  As the world's population continues to rise, there will be more and more demand for food.  And as the planet continues to heat up, drought and extreme weather will continue to affect the food supply.  Therefore, it does make sense to start creating a food production system based on the production of insects.  Insects are excellent sources of protein and micronutrients.  They can be raised in an environmentally sustainable way.  Plus, eighty percent of the world already regularly eat insects.

In the West there's an obvious "ick" factor about eating insects.  You also have to eat a lot of them to match the calories found in, say, a hamburger.  But let's face it: humans are really taxing the planet with their current living practices.  Eating insects could very well become a necessity.

I'm all for eating insects.  However, I was disheartened to read one thing.  I am allegic to shellfish, including crabs, lobster, and shrimp.  Genetically, shellfish are very similar to insects.  Therefore, I am likely allergic to most insects.  Therefore, I'm probably not able to start adding crickets and mealworms to my diet.  I'm severely disappointed.

For the rest of you, though, there is nothing stopping you from eating more grasshoppers, beetles, and wax worms.

I would love to have an entomologist come to Nova to give a bug cooking demonstration.  If anyone knows anyone skilled in entomophagy, please let me know.

You can read the New Yorker article here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sounders defeat Monterrey 1-0

Alvaro Fernandez splits two Monterrey defenders (courtesy MLS).
The Sounders are currently playing in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament which pits teams from the U.S., Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean against one another.  The Sounders are currently in the group stage with Monterrey and teams from Guatemala and Costa Rica.  The Sounders won their first game against Communicaciones from Guatemala.  And tonight they won at Monterrey, only the second MLS team to win a CONCACAF match in Mexico.  Monterrey won the entire tournament last year; they're a good team (usually).

Seattle scored its lone goal in the first half on a brilliant shot by Alvaro Fernandez.  The Sounders controlled the game in the first half.  Monterrey very much looked out of sync.  The second half was a different story, however.  Monterrey applied constant pressure on the Sounders' goal.  Somehow shots were deflected, missed, or stopped by keeper Terry Boss.  Boss played an excellent game, with one exception.  On a friendly pass back to him, Boss misplayed the ball, and a Monterrey player won control with an open goal in front of him.  Somehow, though, he didn't have the right angle, so he had to pass, and the subsequent shot by the Monterrey player was offline.  It was a lucky break for the Sounders for sure.

Because the Sounders also have league matches and U.S. Open Cup matches, the team will play 6 games in 18 days.  Several key players, including Kasey Keller, Fredy Montero, and Mauro Rosales, did not play in the game.  It was an impressive showing by the Sounders.  They were lucky, for sure, but they'll take it.   

Friday, August 19, 2011

Olympian Article About Growing Local Food

John Dodge wrote a nice article in today's Olympian about growing and eating local food.  A number of local non-profits have joined forces for a series of events this fall called Focus on Food.  The culminating event will be a day-long food summit held October 15.

You can read John Dodge's article here.

More information about Focus on Food can be found at Sustainable South Sound's website here.

Here's the truth, kids: candy and soda pop are not good for you.  Mr. Gacek says: Eat Your Veggies! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Yorker Profile of the Rwandan National Cycling Team

Everyone should read this article, but I would especially recommend it to those of you who were present for Rachel's presentation on Rwanda in Geography last spring.  The article will give you a good sense of how the genocide continues to affect the country.  The poverty of the country is also starkly portrayed in the article.  However, the article is not depressing.  It's about how a few Rwandans--some Hutus, some Tutsis--have committed themselves to the sport of cycling and are starting to emerge on the international cycling scene.  It's all quite fascinating.

You can read The New Yorker article here.

The author of the article is Philip Gourevitch.  Gourevitch wrote the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, which was about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  You can read an exerpt from the book here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

NPR's List of 100 Greatest Fantasy/SF Novels of All-Time

This is a pretty great list.  Over 60,000 people voted on the titles, so the list reflects popularity.I've read a bunch of them but certainly not all of them.  You'll note there are no children's or YA novels on the list: No Narnia, no Harry Potter, no Golden Compass, no Eragon, etc.  Ender's Game, interestingly, was allowed in and ended up at #3.  Obviously there's not a clear dividing line between YA and Adult.  There are a lot of classics on the list, and there is a lot of stuff on the list not suitable for kids.  However, if you're a genre fan and looking for something to read, you will find a lot of great ideas on this list.

You can find the list here

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mr. Kenis is off to Hungary

Well, Mr. Kenis has left Olympia and is currently driving through California.  He will leave for Hungary from Los Angeles in a few days.  You can follow his adventures by reading his blog here.  Leave comments on his blog so he will know people are reading.  Have a great trip, Mr. Kenis!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Little League Baseball in Uganda

The New York Times published a fascinating (and sad) article about Little League baseball in Uganda.  In short, the team became the first team from Africa to qualify for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  Alas, the team was denied visas into the United States because some players' birth dates were recorded inaccurately. 

It's a shame Uganda won't be allowed to play.  Still, it will be interesting to see if the game continues to grow in Uganda.  That's the great thing about baseball: there's always next year.

I would encourage you to check out the article here.