Classification – By: Scarlett

ScarlettWell, I am pretty excited about a lesson plan I have been working on. This lesson plan is going to be video taped for my edTPA portfolio. edTPA is going to be a somewhat national way of certifying teachers. It’s kinda tough, but its better than my actual portfolio for the university I am at.

My lesson is on classification. I really like this lesson because it teaches students how to organize and classify things. We do this natural as humans. For instance, our society has a somewhat unofficial way of classifying acne. It’s weird, but we do; everyone hates the one that’s embedded in you skin, then the white head one, etc. The underlying basis of my lesson plan is to slowly show them the content, which are the 6 kingdoms (Archae/Eubacteria, Protista, Plants, Fungi, and Animals). First, I have the students as a team, sort through 24 pictures of furniture and group them. Then they look at birds, bats, and bees and decide how related they are. Then they watch a video showing them how those organisms live. The next part is notes on the proper classification system (Kingdom, Phylum, etc). This part is school because I walk the students step by step and show them how humans are classified and why. The last parts revolve around dichotomous keys which are a series of clues that help you identify an organism. First, I have them use a dichotomous key to classify a series of insects. I tried to pick really cool looking insects (6 legged bugs). The last part is they make their own dichotomous key but for the 6 kingdoms. A dichotomous key is a lot of fun to use, because it really helps students to synthesize the characteristics and organize them in such a way. There is a lot of embedded content I am not mentioning, but I think it’s going to be pretty cool. I also have embedded cockroach stories. The main reason why I am excited about this lesson is because the students are doing a lot of work, we call this student-centered learning. Also, these tasks ae clearly meaningful. Most of the stuff my mentor teacher does is notes and then a foldable. Her honors class I feel are in for a treat. I just hope they are up for a challenge and change. Organizing in your head is a big challenge for many people, I feel this lesson is very crucial. Hopefully, that transcends to them. Look out for an update in a couple weeks!!!!


No-Poo For Over One Year – By: Scarlett

ScarlettWhat does no-poo mean? No shampoo or diverging away from typical shampoo and conditioning methods. Technically it means someone who does not use any shampoo or conditioner but it has become an umbrella term. I started out as a strict no-poo. Why, you ask. Well it specifically started when I read an article at the old office I worked at about how you don’t really have to shower every day. After reading the article and finding my job really boring, I remember someone telling me about no-shampoo. So, I started looking into it. What really changed me was how men and women historically washed their hair compared to now. Way back when our country was being founded and beyond that, we didn’t have shampoo and definitely not conditioner. To wash hair, up until about 1900, you would have used emulsified fat (lye or sodium hydroxide). Sodium hydroxide is a very basic material. Not far away from Drain-o. Of course, its watered down, but still very drying. The first red flag I found about this was that the surface of our skin is slightly acidic. Naturally, that meant many people didn’t wash their hair every day. Up until the 60’s, most women only washed their hair once a week or less than that. After the early 1900’s got going, they came out with commercial shampoos. Still very drying, but more convenient than lye. Now, looking at the vantage of the companies that make these products, the only way to sell more product is to get your customer to use it more often. Companies had to find a way to make shampoo with more moisture. Around the time of the 60’s began a boom in consumers consuming chemicals. They loved chemicals, they were tired of hand washing and painfully using other chemicals. Dishwashers, washing machines, and many other appliances came around which needed chemicals to use them. People embraced chemicals and trusted the companies they came from. Today, we are a lot smarter. For a long time the sulfates and phosphates in detergents were being dumped into streams and caused algal blooms which ruined lakes and streams. This is just one way our blind trust had a negative impact.

Coming back to cosmetics and shampoos. These companies turned to sulfates for our hair products. Sulfates are the exact same chemical you find in dish detergent and liquid hand soaps. I know this from the chemical company I worked at in addition to just reading the bottles. Sulfates give a lather that can be completely rinsed without residues left behind like lye (think Dial soap on skin). But, Sulfates are still drying when used too frequently. Finally, they found a conditioner. Conditioners typically have a version of the material called silicone. Silicones, which I know from the chemical company I worked at, are uses as soft sealants and coatings. Think of elmer’s gue when it drys, it creates a pretty smooth surface. Well, the catch-22 of these awesome silicones is that you must use sulfates to remove them. Essentially, your hair is in a vicious cycle of being washed, coated with something, and then washed again to be dried out. What is the one true chemical hair and skin produces…..OILS. Oils for a long time have been thought to be the culprit of acne and have been shamed to be something dirty. But, oil is the only thing hair wants. Many other animals depend on oils. Take horses, they have to be brushed multiple times a day with a boars-hair bristle brush so the oils can be spread (think women brushing hair 100 times).

The final piece that had me convinced is that split ends cannot be repaired. They can be cut and they can be glued together by the silicones in conditioner, but never cured. It really made me mad that companies had me in their cycle. Being no-poo is no easy task though. There is a lot of oil at first because your scalp is used to over producing to compensate for the amount of washing. Then there is trying to get the balance of either castile soap or baking soda and apple cider vinegar right. Then I was making flax seed gel for my wavy/curly hair. Which doesn’t stay very well and takes time. But I did take up the oil cleansing method for my face, I don’t use body soap—only scrub with a loofa and very hot water, I don’t blow dry my hair, my hair is washed with cold water, I have a shower filter, and I do not use any lotions, only oils (lotions have silicones). But, after months of trying to get my hair styled right, chopping it off, still trying to get it right, something happened. I discovered Shea Moisture. Which is a line of natural and organic hair products. They have no sulfates, polyethylene glycols, or silicones (silicones are anything that ends in –cone). Now, I do an apple cider vinegar soak (wards off fungus-causing-dandruff), wash hair, Thayer’s witch hazel, and a little conditioner on ends once a week. During the week I rinse my hair every other day and add Thayer’s Witch hazel on scalp (good scalp health).

Shea Moisture Ingredients

Shea Moisture Ingredients

I might not technically be no-poo, and I still use deodorant and tooth paste, but at least the chemicals that go in my hair I pronounce and know where they come from. Plus, I will never go back to a cycle that has been started by companies so they can make money off of me.

  • the blog that got me started; has real science to back up no poo

  • one of the best things I ever did

  • to see my lotion bars and other topics and places I am interested in


Creeping Thoughts – By: Scarlett

ScarlettEveryone has those thoughts that are so far back in your head that it’s unapparent how much they shape your thoughts and choices. One of those thoughts for me is a disease that runs on my Mom’s side of the family. My mother had me when she was 40, but my older sister and I both bear witness to how impactful this disease has been on my mom. This disease leaves my mother anemic, I will explain more about her disease later. Because she is anemic she feels tired a lot. Naps for my mom when I was a child were pretty typical. Honestly, one of the most annoying things for me was that she never wanted to chaperone one of our field trips. We went on vacations everywhere when I was a kid but she never wanted to chaperone. She says it was because of her age and she didn’t want to be around all the young moms, but I think it was both her age and the disease.

For my mother, it has only gotten worse with age. The disease is called HHT (Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia). The disease is characterized with bleeding localized to an area of the body. For my mother’s mother, she would bleed in her intestines. Right now, my mother only bleeds through/in her nose. Just about one nosebleed every day. The chronic bleeding is the main reason for the anemia. My mother now is about to turn 64 and she is as healthy as a horse. She can’t do intense labor but she could walk a distance and be just fine. So, it’s not like she is dying soon.

The main reason why this thought creeps is because my sister and I both have the disease. All I can think about is how I don’t want to be my mom. I don’t want anything to hold me back from being a chaperone on my kid’s field trip. This thought shapes my behavior because I know I will have kids way younger. I don’t really want any after 35. I think, if I could support a kid from a year from now I would have one…..that’s if my boyfriend would let me haha. I mean for real though, his mom just turned 50 and my mom is about to be 64. The clock is definitely ticking because my mom wants to enjoy her grandkids and I want her to as well. My boyfriend and I joke that if for some reason I became pregnant now she would probably be the only one excited.

I think a lot of us have similar thoughts especially ones related to our family that has forced us to think, behave, or believe in certain ways or things. For example, in my special ed class I am taking right now, our instructor told us about her friend. Her friend had a brother who was down syndrome. She has had kids and none of them are but she thinks she will specifically adopt child with some mental handicap. That’s some baggage to carry with you in a relationship and a very specific thought in your mind. At least mine is us just having kids early. But, like I said, we all have thoughts or expectations that are very deep in our minds.

Being A Teacher – By: Scarlett

ScarlettSince August of last year, I have been student-teaching just south of Atlanta, GA. I received my undergrad in Biology at UGA and really did not have much experience teaching high school let alone Title I. Very often, I am asked what do I think or how is it going with student-teaching. But, I think the real question is do I like teaching? That’s, at least, what I feel most people are asking me. Title I schools are schools where a majority of the student body qualifies for free/reduced lunch. This at least becomes a factor most lay people believe is what determines it, but really there is much more to determining whether or not a school gets special funding from the government. Regardless, these students are typically very underserved; most quality teachers do not want to teach at these schools, and that is why I want to. Because, deep down inside every students wants to learn. Now, day to day it’s like a whole different feeling. These students and I do not have the same background and were not raised the same way. Although, my old town of Milford, Mass. was pretty ghetto, we didn’t drop the N-word nonchalantly or walk around with ankle bracelets because we were under house arrest.

I really find it annoying when people ask me how I like teaching because the question is complicated. At any new job, its going to take you a while before you say, “Hey, I really hate or like this job.” Aside from that, I am student-teaching. So really it’s like I am at job where a veteran, and I share cubicle and office chair. The classroom I work in is not mine and it is very frustrating. That is why this question is complicated, because I don’t know if I like it. Some days I really hate it and think these kids are hopeless and other days I want to punch my mentor teacher and then some days its bliss and I laugh and the students laugh with me. Besides the students, parents, other teachers, and administrators make doing your job difficult. With unexpected meetings during your planning period or with parents after school, it makes for a bumpy ride. Some days I can’t decide whether I am dreading my own classroom or looking forward to it. I really want my own classroom so I can do things my way but then I don’t want to be on my own with the students yet. Hopefully, by next August I will be ready to teach. Until then, who knows my feelings between now and then?

**I student-teach in a special program that has me in the same classroom/high school from pre-planning in August to post-planning in May.

Isn’t Everything A Journey? – By: Scarlett

ScarlettAs I am currently experiencing my first mega-bus ride from Atlanta to Orlando, I can’t help but feel that it’s been a journey.  The bus ride is ten hours long, stopping in Jacksonville, Fl.  So, this isn’t really a journey. But, it feels like it.  With an unfamiliar subgroup of people on this bus—cheap travelers—it makes for an interesting experience. The bus is full with 81 people, but after our stop it significantly dropped but we added a dog!  Accompanying this dog is a very smelly man.  Well, it seems I have gotten off topic.  My point is, many experiences, although small, are often significant and can feel hard to endure.  At the end, I’d like to think that most experiences end up being ones you would want to repeat, even those unpleasant experiences.  When you experience something unpleasant but somehow find yourself wanting to do it again, I call it the ‘runner’s experience.  I’m not sure if those that are reading this enjoy running, but you either love it or hate it.  If you love it, the reality is you hate it when you are on that last leg, when you feel like it’s a journey to finish.  Once you are finished, after some magical period of time, you find yourself proud and excited to do it again.  I will explain a little later how I think it’s possible, scientifically speaking. It definitely doesn’t make much sense though, so let’s break it down.

There are other common experiences that can be related to this, phenomena—the runner’s experience.  I have heard before that having children is similar to this. Mostly because; women suppress a lot of the gory details and because of epidural, hahaha.  I have not had any children and maybe you haven’t and don’t believe me.  Then ask yourself how is it possible women have more than one???  It’s the runner’s experience I speak of.  All they can remember is the miracle that came out of.  After hearing my cousin’s story about him and his wife’s baby, it sounded like a journey.  From, being at the hospital for nearly 24 hours to all of the drama about the status of the baby, and the crying, and everything.  That was a journey for them even though they stayed in same place all day.  Other ‘journeys’ could be more physical ones like climbing mountains, the Appalachian Trail, or other ones like college semesters, especially med school or law school.  College could be considered a journey, but then 5 years later you are teaching and find yourself going back to get another degree.

Now time for the science part of this particular phenomena.  If you notice there is a pattern to these particular experiences of the negative parts; that are typically suppressed, and at the end there is always a positive outcome.  Like forgetting gory details of childbirth, callouses on your feet, or sleepless nights of studying.  But then seeing your baby girl for the first time, just seeing your journey through, or getting that diploma becomes worth the struggle.  Positive experiences always trump negative ones (as we can remember from the movie Inception).   If something positive comes out of a negative, like meeting your run goal even though your chest was exploding, you often only remember the positive part.   Our minds typically code experiences as good or bad, and because you made one chunk of time end positively it ends up being coded as positive.  Hence why we can look at unpleasant experiences as good and want to do them again.

As my journey comes to a close, I still don’t look forward to my return journey, although it’s still cheaper than flying.  Many journeys are not worth repeating, like battling cancer or being unemployed.  We should be kind to each other for we do not know the journeys of those around us are experiencing.  Another thing we can learn from this is what we should try to end all experiences on a positive note.  Like yes, your boat sank but you finally got those swimming lessons you wanted!  Or Tom Hanks got stranded on that island in the movie, Castaway, but he got a free route canal and lost a lot of weight! Hahaha, but seriously, life is too short to make everything negative.