31 Jan 2010, 5:59pm
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School Exams

School Exams
Many schools around the country have just finished “mid-term” exams. I’ve been reading an article about how the expectation of a positive reward causes the body to register “stress” and deal with it by faster heart beats and numerous other physiological symptoms. Just the expectation causes more stress reactions than when receiving the actual reward. For example, if I walk toward my dog’s empty bowl, she starts to jump and dance around. Even when I try to walk with it to the dog food bag, she’s dancing around me so that it is hard to get there. Then, when I put the full bowl down for her to eat, she looks at me with disappointment and may not even eat her food.
If the expectation of a pleasant reward initiates that much stress, imagine how much stress must be caused by expecting a negative reward. Do you remember the sensations that surged through your body when a teacher announced: Tomorrow we’ll have a test. Even more so when the dreaded “mid-term”, “final exams” or “oral exams” were announced?
Theoretically, if a student has done his/her homework, read the materials, and memorized some pertinent information, the expectation is to do well on the exam. There is, however, always the very real result that the exam grade will not live up to our expectations. And what if you fail the exam? Very definitely a negative reward.
While I do question the validity of local school exams, standardized test, and the like that require paper and pencil – whether they are teacher scored or machine scored – I wonder if these stress inducing situations don’t set the students up for future ill health and anxiety attacks.
Instead of making a huge thing out of exam time, I used to teach my students a variety of test taking techniques, so that when the mandatory exams came around, my students did not experience the stress of: Oh, no! Exams! Panic! Instead, they had tools to approach the situation with reasonable confidence that the reward would be a positive one.

14 Jan 2010, 5:01pm
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WOWEE at Cub Scouts

WOWEE At Cub Scouts
By Kate Chamberlin
Do you know what a Bear Cat binturong is? Have you felt the large, rabbit-like ears of a fennec fox? Have you ever had a albino Burmese python wrapped around your shoulders and lived to tell about it?
WOWEE, which stands for World Of Wildlife Educational Encounters recently visited the Seneca Waterways Walworth Cub Scout Pack 113. Sally Reaves, a former Guidance Councilor, first introduce her professionally trained, human helpers: Dan, Tyler , and Dolly and proceeded to introduce the wild and exotic animals from the many in their re-habilitation facility in Marion.
As Sally explained the special physical features, lore, life, and natural habitat of each animal, Dolly, Dan, and Tyler brought them around for us to touch and be up-close and personal with critters we’d probably never meet again in our natural lifetime…at least, I hope to never meet up with a huge Albino Burmese Python.
The time literally flew by as we learned about a chinchilla, an alligator. a mata mata turtle, a sulcatta tortoise, a skinny pig. a guinea pig, a binturong, a serval,and a fennec fox.
Sally offered $50 to a scout volunteer if he could out-stare a snake. She admitted it was an unfair bet, because she knew snakes don’t blink. The scout was also unable to find the snake’s ears (They don’t have any ears.)
Sally brought out three boxes and asked for three volunteers to play “FEAR DEAL”. In one box were Hissing Cockroaches, which Sally scared the heck out of us by calmly saying: Oh, one is missing. Do you see it? Then after we all gasped and looked around, admitted she was kidding.; the second had hairless white mice; and the third had a ball python, an arizonia mountain kingsnake,a boa constrictor, and an albino Burmese python.
Mr. Tony Kerr, our brave and courageous Tiger Scout leader was the unwitting volunteer who had his shoulders draped with the Albino Burmese Python. You should have seen the look on his face when he opened his eyes!
“It is our hope,” Sally told the scouts, “that, when it comes time for you to make a decision about saving the environment and wildlife, you’ll make a positive difference.”
TV and video games could never help people to understand the importance of wildlife preservation nearly as much as a hands-on, educational encounter with the real thing.
If your organization would like a presentation by WOWEE, contact: www.WOWEEWildlife.org.
Cornucopia Feb -2010
I shall never feel another banana without remembering petting a real live boa constrictor. And to think that I’ve been chasing its cousins out from under my front stoop and garage for years.
I met Sally Reaves, a former guidance councelor, when she gave a WOWEE presentation to the Cub Scouts (Jan08-2010).

2 Jan 2010, 5:03pm
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Comments Off on Christmas Service

Christmas Service

Saying Amen
In the large lobby, I heard many murmured conversations, exclamations of “Merry Christmas”, and exuberant children, as we hung our winter coats in the coatroom. We found enough seats to accommodate our family of ten, with the youngest going to the nursery.
Poinsettias festooned each side of the multi-plat formed stage, leading your eyes to the tall, twin pine trees decorated with red bows. canned music filled the room until the bass drum’s rhythm counted the measures for the violin. The crowd hushed as the strains of the violin were joined by the electric keyboard. The pastor of the McLane Church invited the 400 or more attendees to stand to glorify God upon his birth.
Yes, this was a Christmas Eve service in a Christian Church in Edinboro, PA. I knew our Jesuit-trained, hometown, Anglican Priest would roll his eyes at these tactics, but when was the last time he’d presided over 400 Christian worshipers gathered together to hear the gospel and honor the birth of Jesus?
We stood and sang several traditional Christmas Carols, albeit, with a violin/piano/guitar/electric keyboard accompaniment with two males and a female singer. The words were displayed on a “ticker-tape” digital readout above the back stage, that was decorated with a swag of evergreens and tiny white lights. I only know the first verse of many songs, but the music was loud enough that I felt very comfortable singing and la-la-ing my heart out, for the first time in ages. When the violin soloist played “Oh, Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” my tears started to flow.
Okay, so I’m a sentimental ol’ lady, with many years of knowledge that noone listens to; however, God heard my heart felt praise, thanks, and sorrows that evening.
My daughter-in-law reached over to grasp my hands and I knew that she not only loved me but understood the emotional release my tears demonstrated. I heard lots of others sniffing back tears, where I just let mine flow
Pastor Cox began his message as my tears continued to flow. He had a blessed blend of Gospel passages and axioms, human foils and situations that we could all relate to, humor that targeted each of us, and inspiration to attain a higher love.
After Pastor Cox’s message, we once again stood for several carols, then, as the lights dimmed, our candles were lit for the singing of “O Holy Night”. We raised our lit candles and felt we were truly embraced by the Holy spirit and meaning of the coming of Our Lord’s birth.
NOTE: We had attended the Thanksgiving service and knew how the McLane Church serve doughnuts, coffee, and juice prior to their 9:00 AM service and scrambled eggs and sausage prior to the 11:00 AM service in obeisance to Jesus’ request to “feed my lambs”. If the purpose of a church is to get the Good Word of the Gospel out to the people, then, the McLane Church is very successful. And, by the way, they distributed over $144,000 to folks who petitioned them for assistance through their Beneficent Funds last year. Amen.