Pancakes are a Kid’s Best Friend

by Cyndi Faircloth

Despite the complaints about starting so early in the morning, the kids made it to Applebee’s and we raised about $500 for our school field trips this year. Our staff enjoyed seeing the kids work together, with such great attitudes, and with such team work.

Here are a few glimpses of what our morning was like:

IMG_1864 Mike, Chris, and Gus were ready for the training session!

IMG_1863 One of our past graduates even came to support the event!  Here, John waits with Erin and Jenni for the Applebee’s manager to explain our jobs for the morning.

IMG_1865Caitlyn and Jon did a great job of making sure everyone got their coffee right away!

IMG_1868 None of us were surprised to find that George and Kwayde play with their food.

It’s a Little Early for Pancakes…

by George Hiatt


On Saturday January 10th, Paradise Creek Regional High School will be having their annual Pancake Feed to raise money for field trip expenses.

As a student at Paradise Creek Regional High School, and one of the only students with past pancake experience, I  feel comfortable sharing my experience and opinion on the Pancake Feed. It is a great team building event for the school and great time for students to socialize without the impression of school looming over them like a rain cloud on a summer day. I felt more personal connection with other students at last year’s pancake feed than I had any other day at school.

Although some students might not agree with me, I enjoy the pancake feed for the most part. It really shows to the community that we aren’t just an alternative high school full of slackers and delinquents but that we can actually join together as functioning members of society.

However, I do feel that the pancake feed starts too early in the morning. The crushing disappointment of having to wake up at 7:30 on a Saturday runs unparalleled in my book of terrible injustices to high school students. It is my belief and the belief of my peers that waking up at 7.30 in the morning on one of our 2 days off school during a normal school week is unjust and harmful to society. Making high school students wake up early on the weekend to do things for a school can prove to be extremely dangerous. Angering the youth and then having them all drive across town to serve food to the local people can prove to be a detrimental situation to themselves and the town. It is well known that most high school students don’t find it easy to follow standard traffic laws and speed limits. So angering them in the morning on top of their terrible driving habits could lead to drag races and the formation of early morning street races in the center of town.

I vote that next year the Pancake Feed starts at 10 am.

Are We Watching a Movie Today?

By Cyndi Faircloth


Matt and I were talking about using videos in class yesterday. The conversation went something like:

Matt: I need to show a clip in Astronomy tomorrow.

Me: Ugh. That stinks!

Matt: I know…I need to get home so I can start searching for clips.

Me: I need to do that for Thursday, but I don’t have time tonight. Guess I’m watching videos tomorrow.

Matt: Bummer.

Really? Showing video clips in class is not fun?

Actually, it’s a lot more work than people realize. I’m teaching History this quarter and he has two science classes.  All three subjects lend themselves to using video clips in class.

I don’t know about science, but kids love to watch videos in History. Rarely does a day go by that someone doesn’t ask, “Are we watching a movie today?” (Some days I wish Monty Python had done History of America, Part I (rather than History of the World) since I teach US History–but that’s a different blog topic) You’d think that I have a magic dvd player where I plug in the period in History and it magically shows images from the years and concepts we’re discussing.

I don’t know about Matt, but I’ve heard people make fun of History teachers. Something along the lines of: “I’d love to be a History teacher. They just put on a movie and read a book in the back of the room.”

I wish. I don’t know where those people took their History classes, but it wasn’t at PCRHS.

I tend to watch 3-5 hours of video for every hour I show in class. Topic: Chinese Immigration in America? I watched a 90 minute clip of Ken Burns’ The West so I could  show a clip or two. I wanted to introduce the railroads that many Chinese immigrants worked on in the 19th century, but Ken Burns weaves multiple stories together in each episode of a documentary so I had to figure out which minutes corresponded to the railroads and which covered Plains Indians. (FYI, in Episode 5, it is something like 3:00-7:54 and 11:22-16:00…) Maybe someday I’ll get smart and write down the minutes that I use in class in my lesson plan rather than on a sticky note that disappears after I show the video.

I rarely show any clips longer than 30 minutes…because I’d rather that kids looked at primary sources to analyze. My hope is that videos make them curious about the topic, or give a little background so that they can better understand the documents. No magic dvd player could help the kids understand how historians research and write about history as much as working with primary documents will.

If anyone wants to watch History documentaries and make a time log of what the movie covers and in which minutes, I’m happy to share titles with you and you can give me your time maps when you finish.  That might cut my movie previewing time down.  Then my conversation with Matt would be something like:

Matt: I need to show a clip in Astronomy tomorrow.

Me: Awesome. Do you have your time maps so you can figure out what to show?

Matt: Yep. I only need another 10 minutes to finish this lesson plan and then I can go home to play with my kids.

Me: I finished my Thursday lesson yesterday! I’m going home to walk my dogs.

Matt: Nice. See you tomorrow!

The Lure of Netflix

Kwayde P’s thoughts:

Netflix logo

I desire to go home and watch Netflix, It is my sanctuary. It is all I look forward to. But I’m kept captive by the state–incarcerated in school instead of enjoying my on-point refuge of video streaming. I tolerate school all day – eight or nine hours of dreary, colorless monotony during which I could be watching The Walking Dead .

Netflix is more than a name. Its what tucks me in at night and says, “Hey, lets stay up all night and watch anime.” Its the voice that tells me to stay home the day after; “Stay in bed and watch movies, I’m all you need.” My soft bed is home waiting for me, beckoning for my posterior – my high definition television, the remote, and a box of tissues at my fingertips ready for the show.

This spectacle means that I don’t have to interact with other people.  I can just watch TV. Sometimes people get boring and annoying. I’m just lazy and sometimes its easier to watch something passively than to be productive and profitable. I’m tired of small talk – about insignificant things that aren’t interesting. It can’t hold my attention like bright colors, fast-moving explosions, and noises.  Wait, that sounds really shallow – it’s actually the storyline and content that grabs me.
I have an unconditional love for Netflix that cannot be tamed. Even if I was rich and made a million dollars, I would spend all my time watching Netflix. Sometimes it takes forever for them to update their current seasons of shows, but I don’t care. I can handle the wait. Sometimes they take off some really good movies and shows, but I don’t care. There’s more to choose from. Sometimes, when I have to search through all the B-rated horror movies and hentai videos, I cry tears of shame and disappointment. I don’t care, because it’s worth it.

The variety of shows and movies collected all in one place makes it difficult to choose. I can seriously search through Netflix as long as I want, but if I find a good show, I could spend weeks watching it, or binge watch a series in one night. And when its over I just don’t know what to do with myself. Its like I’ve lost a dear friend, that I’ve spent so much time with–long nights and lazy days.

Here we go…

By Cyndi Faircloth


Chocolate, Diet Pepsi, SnapChat, MMA, cycling, fast cars, loud music…each other?  We all embrace something…Our new principal, Bill Marineau, embraces technology.  He has encouraged us to start a blog, sharing thoughts and details about “Life at PCRHS”. So…here we go…

Stay tuned for thoughts from students and staff.  We’ll share student writing when they are especially creative or have an idea they want to share. Staff will post updates about things going on in our classrooms. And we may even post questions for you to respond to.

We hope you’ll stay tuned and will give us feedback and your thoughts about our musings…Slide1

Technology…friend or foe?

Cyndi’s Thoughts:

As an educator, I have been pushed to adapt in many ways over the past 10 years.  The challenge helps to “recharge my batteries” and find new things to be excited about.

When I started teaching, the internet was just an early idea for Tim Berners-Lee and the rest of the net inventors. Now, it’s a daily tool in the classroom. We have You Tube, TEDTalks, email, Blogs, wikis, and classroom websites available as tools. These are exciting but can be pretty overwhelming! Knowing I want to share a link for all of the students is one thing. Deciding which platform to use is another. I’ve experimented with a number of sites, some work smoothly, some less so.

Some of these sites the kids enjoyed and found intuitive, others not so much. Few things are more frustrating to me than having six or seven students in the lab asking for my help at the same time with some technical issue they encounter.  Its kind of amazing how many different ways my name can be called out…especially when they all sound plaintive. “Cyndi…I don’t get it!” “Cyyyynnnnddiiiii! This sucks!” “Cyndi…this isn’t working!” (Maybe I should have just written the address on the whiteboard, instead of having the kids join a new website or creating a classroom wiki…but then they struggle with typing it out or misspelling some key word in the address…)

Many times it made me think of that old bath bubbles commercial where the woman’s hair is standing on end and she starts pulling it, yelling, “Calgon! Take me away!” Clearly, some of the website appearances in class were short-lived.

Students often ask if we can watch a video, expressing disappointment if we are reading or doing something without technology instead. Their eagerness to put themselves in front of a screen (whether their phone, the computer, television, or projector screen) makes me cringe. One of my personal goals is to help them become as active a “watcher-of-screens” as possible.

Technology image

Sometimes technology is a distraction, and sometimes it can be a tool, adding enjoyment or a special way to share information. Using it effectively is a constant challenge for me.

Right now we’re experimenting with Google in my English class – encountering ups and downs, successes and failures. It has been helpful to have the kids turn their writing in via GoogleDocs. We can look at parts of student work and discuss what is going well, make suggestions, and help those who need more examples of what a successful assignment might look like. It has reduced paper usage in our building, since I’m able to read drafts and give feedback on-line. In fact, at times it is tough to get the kids to actually print something when I have an activity for them to try.  I like to have them colorcode their writing, highlighting different parts of a paragraph to ensure that they have a claim, evidence, and reasoning all together. Funny that they’ve embraced the paperless world, and often don’t want to bother walking to the printer and back to their desk to do that task.

I’m working on a Google Classroom site to try with the 2nd Quarter History class. I often have kids read and do activities with primary source documents from the Library of Congress or National Archives. Hopefully the GoogleClassroom will let me share hyperlinks with them more effectively. Or…it may generate some more Calgon moments. Wish me luck…

All of this is in anticipation of using Chromebooks in our building.  We are hopeful of having a set that we can use with the kids in class – sometime before the semester is over. I’m sure some of our posts will address that development if it does come to pass.  Both staff and students are excited about the possibility.

All of this to say, I have mixed feelings about technology.  I appreciate the tool that it can be but worry that sometimes we’re all too dependent on it and lose some portion of creativity because we can’t see past what the technology can do.

–Cyndi

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