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Girl fight.

So many students fight–they fight one another, threaten, humiliate, and harm.


Why this false bravado, machismo, and aggression? And, unfortunately, girls are equally guilty of bullying, coercion and mayhem.

Perhaps they don’t have any control over their lives, so they create control by chaos.

But–really, whatever the excuses are, I just don’t get it. I cherish my friends, and avoid my dissenters. Life’s too short to fight over slights, rumors, and drama. Save the drama for your mama, llamas.

Let’s be friends.


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Conception: the birth of an idea, an understanding:




So, it would stand to reason, that the word “misconception” means a wrong idea.

The other day, a very curious and inquisitive student asked me, during a quiet moment in the library, “Would we die if we run out of oil, because our bodies need it?”


I didn’t even know where to begin to unravel this one. Somewhere along the way of his journey between two cultures and two languages, he got the notion that somehow humans had OIL, as in fossil fuels, dinosaur guts, T-Rex juice, in their bodies, and that when it ran out, we would die as a species. I know this is what he thought, because I clarified at least this much.

I said no, humans would not die per se if oil runs out. What would happen is our cars, trucks, and other forms of transportation would cease to run as they are engineered now. He then said something about plastics…are we plastic?

No. We are not plastic. We will not die if we run out of oil. If anything, we might go back to horse and buggy days.

Really? Wow.

So much of teaching has nothing to do with ‘teaching.’ It has nothing to do with meetings, no child left behind, state tests, data, or whether or not they have a pencil. Teaching is in those moments where the misconceptions are revealed, the background knowledge steered, and the conversation is safe, and no one is  made to feel stupid.

But I still ask, how did this young man, who is bright, come to think that humans have oil in their bodies?

How does this happen? Perhaps if we explore these questions in our tough, “fire all the teachers” current state of education, we should just stop for a moment, and have a little time to just read. To talk. To think.

To clear up misunderstandings.

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Spontaneous combustion.

I do not know where this came from. A student was talking to me today about the recent mythology narrative fiction assignment, which lead to a discussion about other deities and the suppositions we humans make about their godly decisions and actions.

Basically, the student said something to the effect, “Mrs. L, why do you want to keep living? You have everything you want.”

I guess from a 14-year-old’s perspective, I do. I have a wonderful, handsome, loving husband, two great kids, and a job I love. I wake up everyday thinking how lucky I am to get paid to read and write, and work with some fresh, original minds, mine for the molding!

So what else do I need to do with the rest of my life?

Good question, kiddo. I’ll get back to you.

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Mrs. Love’s Note:I asked one of my favorite science teachers/doctors/bloggers I follow for a little clarification, because I knew that this information wasn’t completely on target. I knew we aren’t “fish” people. We are life forms. We share traits, like bones, guts, and eyeballs. I am using this as a metaphor, which I’m sure you all know. The metaphor is we share a sociological and biological imperative, a need to tell a story. At some point, humans stood up, looked around, and said, “I want to talk about this! Better invent language! I need to write this down! Better invent pigments for the cave walls! I need to read a letter from Aunt Mudpie, better learn to read! (She has a recipe for grilled mastodon that is to die for!)

Here’s what he had to say:

Dear Kelly,

A couple of thoughts on your evolution post.

Humans and fish and reptiles all have common ancestors–just about everything alive does depending how far back you go–but no species around today evolved from any other species around today. Humans did not go through a “reptile” stage–we go back to a common ancestor.

The ontogeny illustration is lovely, and you’ll occasionally find it in textbooks, but it does injustice to the real appearance of embryos/fetuses at their respective stages. Ontogeny sort of recapitulates phylogeny, but not nearly as closely as would be fun to believe.

“Phylogeny” is a great word–it comes from “phylon” which means tribe, race,  or clan; “geny”, of course, goes back to the same roots as genesis, and means birth or origin. So phylogeny is looking at the origins of our tribe!



Also:  It is a lovely illustration, isn’t it? We animals/birds are all thrown together in an antiquated chart like some sort of indigo rainbow spectrum of life-light, albeit scientifically erroneous.

This is a stretch, I know, but perhaps early mankind felt more connected to the critters, creepers, and caterwaulers of the earth and sea, and that’s why animal spirits played an important role in spirituality, mythology, and fables.

 Now, on to our originally scheduled post, already in progress:

If carbon-based organisms keep some genetic memory, some imprint, of our collective consciousness, is that why we keep telling the same stories?

Ontogeny is the development of an individual organism; in other words, from its embryonic “egg” form to its mature, developed state. Phylogeny is the scientific discipline that studies the evolutionary history of a group of organisms. In other words, ontogeny would study how you went from an embryo to who you are now; phylogeny would study the entire human race’s path. (I think that’s what it means. Perhaps one of my science friends can help me out with this one!)



 The Connection between Ontogeny and Phylogeny 

The evolution of the human brain over millions of years and its development over the course of one lifetime are inextricably linked. In fact, the best way to get an overview of the stages through which our brain passed in the course of evolution is to look at those through which it passes as an individual develops.

The phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” was coined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866 and for many decades was accepted as natural law. Haeckel meant it in the strict sense: that an organism, in the course of its development, goes through all the stages of those forms of life from which it has evolved.Modern biology now rejects this dogmatic perspective. Though recognizing that human beings evolved from fish and reptiles, biologists cannot discern in our development any stages that correspond precisely to those of a fish or a reptile.That said, species that share the same branch of the evolutionary tree clearly also go through the same early stages of individual development, though they diverge subsequently. One good example here is the basic skeletal structure of all vertebrates, which is one of the anatomical structures that is laid down earliest in the process of embryogenesis. In fact, the most precise way to describe this whole phenomenon might be to say that related organisms start with a common general embryonic form and then eventually diverge into distinct adult morphologies as they complete their development.

To understand the link between phylogeny and ontogeny (in other words, between the evolution of a species and the development of an individual), one must understand that a species can evolve from a series of small mutations in the development program encoded in its individuals’ genes. The earlier that these mutations occur in an embryo’s development, the more likely they are to be lethal, because of the fundamental changes that they will involve. That is why we tend to see more mutations in the later stages of development, and why various species show similarities in their early embryonic stages. But sometimes a mutation in the program at an early stage of development will still leave the embryo viable, resulting in a differentiation of these early stages that erases any strict correspondence with the phylogeny of this species. That is why a strict interpretation of Haeckel’s law of recapitulation does not withstand close empirical scrutiny.  

Ride this Ride

Great conversation Friday afternoon, tying in with our World History studies. Consider early mankind. If you want to put a face on it, think about Lucy. With more time on her hands, perhaps she communicates a story to her young. They in turn, tell a story, too. They ask questions. They think of answers. They think outside of themselves. They begin to reflect on the meaning of their own existence. They use the spark, the light, the inner awareness (call it what you will) to look to the skies and ask, “Why am I here?”

How are we answering that question today? We’re still asking it. We’re still fighting over it. We’re still debating it. And sometimes it even involves blood, sweat, and tears. We want to know. We ate the fruit. We got fire. We created big rock clocks. And though we increase our data/technology construct, processing more information in the last five minutes than we did in the last five hundred years (I’m guessing), we still tell stories.

Is that what keeps us moving forward, or stuck in a rut? Or, is just a way to stay human?

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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No excuses book blogs…

Illustration from The Seattle Times
Illustration from The Seattle Times

Please don’t ever say to me you can’t find SOMETHING to read. After we’ve exhausted the possibilities in my classroom library, and in the school’s library, you may want to check out these blogs. In reality, you should be checking them out anyway to keep up with new titles, authors you love, new authors, new genres, etc.:

Featured book blog:

Glancing over a few of the reviews on this blog, I had the feeling that here is someone who really reads the books, and enjoys YA (young adult) literature (that would be you, kids).

One of my other favorite book blogs is: Dog Ear, which goes under the URL:

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