Arctic survival safety valve

IMG_1401I think it’s the cold or maybe the six more inches of snow we got the other night or the report of the anticipated millionth snow storm predicted for this weekend. Maybe it’s the traffic jams or the slippery streets or the jammimg of the car into a snow-packed parking place this morning or the layers and layers of clothes we all need to put on each day. Maybe it’s the sporadic attendance of students, some of whom have given up getting to school, or the umpteenth time shoveling, but there was very definitely a pocket of silly air that engulfed the classroom today.

First, MT walked into class in shorts and no socks. “I’m wearing a hoodie,” he protested. He claimed he walked to school like that (he only lives a block away).

Then DM turned all the lights off and declared, “Stay away. Oh my God! My finger is radioactive!”  After we quarantined DM, EF rushed over to show me the image she had found on the internet (see image at end of post). After she attempted to say the formulas, RH turned the lights back on.


JB, who never shouts, shouted, “What do you call putting TNT inside a steer?” “A- bomb-in-a-bull.”

“The opposite of pro is con so what is the opposite of progress?” “Con-gress.”

“Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?” “It was dead.”


This morning was the demonstration of an arctic survival safety valve. Human effort in the face of the bitter cold and ice and snow is taxing, frustrating, emotionally and physically draining, and just plain depressing. I am happy that my students were totally attuned to those feelings and helped all of us to crawl out of that gloom for just a bit. Even leaping into classwork, I worked to make sure we all could hold onto a piece of that release.

No polar vortex in this class.

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