Learning Signs

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I want a Dog

April 10th, 2014 by Rachel · No Comments

This is a song from a short film that I like. I was showing it to my parents when I thought about posting it, so you all could see it!

→ No CommentsTags: dogs · littlesister · video · youtube

Sarah’s Simple Machine Project

April 6th, 2014 by Dad · No Comments

These are some photos and a video of Sarah’s eighth-grade simple machine project she completed this weekend.

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→ No CommentsTags: school · science · sister

Lord of the Rings Re-enacted by Ponies

March 20th, 2014 by Rachel · No Comments

This is really funny! There are other videos of things re-enacted by ponies, too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4hD31VTdsw

→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · movies · youtube

Princess Luna’s Whine

March 11th, 2014 by Rachel · 1 Comment

Ok, I found this really cool My Little Pony video on youtube, and I can’t stop listening to it. It has Princess Luna and the mane six in it. It is an ocupela [ forgive me if i didn't spell it right ] video. It’s really cute!

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→ 1 CommentTags: littlesister · music · video · youtube

Eliminating the Television

February 24th, 2014 by Sarah · 1 Comment

Do you remember when you used to go outside and play until dark? In the twenty-first century many children’s lives are centered around the television. They watch it when they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep at night. If I had the power to eliminate any invention in the world it would be the television, because TV causes kids to go outside less, TV advertisements encourage bad eating habits, and TV causes kids to have body image problems.

The first reason why we should eliminate the television is because TV causes kids to go outside less. In Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, he states something very interesting. He says, “Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community.” What does that say about how are kids are growing up in this world? Kids need to get outside and play. They need to use their imagination and play games with other children.

In addition to keeping kids inside more, television ads encourage bad eating habits. Picture this: The season finale of your favorite show just took a commercial break, so you’re sitting on the edge of your seat. All of a sudden, a food advertisement is played on your screen. The detailed, mouthwatering pictures of huge burgers and fries are now on your screen. Your mouth is beginning to water and your stomach is growling. This was just a scenario of what happens in many households. The television plays ads that make you want to eat food that is unhealthy. It’s just too hard to resist this roaring urge inside of you to go out and buy fast food.

The final reason why we should eliminate the television is because TV causes kids to have bad body image problems. Have you ever noticed that on television most characters are usually thin, fit, and flawless? Watching these type of characters on the television can cause some regular, ordinary, flawed people to get self-conscious. That is one reason why so many teenagers have body image problems. They think that there is something wrong with them. Body image problems can not only lead to depression but also eating disorders like anorexia. One of the main reasons young, teen girls are unhappy with their body image is because television shows and advertisements promote dissatisfaction.

Overall the television is just a bad invention. It causes kids to go outside less, the television encourages bad eating habits, and it causes kids to have body image problems. When Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented the television, I doubt he thought his invention would lead to so many horrible things.

 

→ 1 CommentTags: english · school · sister · technology

PBS Kids Writing Contest

February 8th, 2014 by Dad · No Comments

You should enter this contest, Rachel!

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→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized

I Just Can’t Wait to have Wings

February 5th, 2014 by Rachel · 1 Comment

I was browsing through videos on YouTube when I stumbled upon this great video! Since I am a MLP fan, I like this kind of stuff. It is a parody of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from The Lion King with Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia. I hope you enjoy it! Tell your friends!

→ 1 CommentTags: littlesister · youtube

Holiday Prime Rib

December 26th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

This Christmas we ate prime rib for dinner rather than our more traditional turkey or ham main course, and it was delicious. For my own documentation for future years, and in case this is of interest to others who may find their way to this post, here are some details about what I did, my lessons learned, and what I’ll do differently next time.

Christmas Prime Rib

This recipe from Prime Steak Houses was my main guide. It’s been around 5 years since I’ve cooked  a prime rib, and I couldn’t find the friend’s recipe this time that I’d used previously. I did remember it involved initially cooking the prime rib at a high temperature in the oven for a short time, and then lowering the temp for a longer time… and that is what this recipe also directs. We bought and cooked a five pound prime rib, planning for about 3/4 of a pound per person. That worked out great portion-wise. The main change I’d make is to cook it about 15 minutes longer than I did. My meat thermometer starts at 140 degrees, but according to the recipe you need to remove the roast when the interior temp reaches 120. Since my meat thermometer didn’t show the exact temperature that low, I had to guestimate and I guestimated a bit low. After the initial 15 minutes cooking at 450 degrees F, I cooked our prime rib an hour at 325. Next time I’ll use a meat thermometer that shows increments at least down to 120 degrees (hopefully lower) and cook just a bit longer, probably an hour and a half for the same quantity. Rather than remove the prime rib at 120 degrees (as I tried to do this year, and the recipe directed) I’ll remove it at 130 degrees. For the eaters in our family, medium to medium-well prime rib is best.

I will say the aroma of the cooking prime rib in the house was absolutely fantastic. The anticipation of eating excellent meat like this can be almost as good as the actual eating itself.

We have a relatively new spice shop in Oklahoma City on Western, right by the Will Rogers Theater, called the Savory Spice Shop. It’s a chain based in Colorado, and they have some amazing seasonings. I used their “Mount Evans Butcher’s Rub” as my spice rub on our prime rib and it turned out delicious. I highly recommend it, and look forward to also using it on pot roasts in coming months. Per the above recipe link, I rubbed the ends with soft butter and made small, 1/2 inch cuts around the roast before rubbing in the spices.

We love creamy horseradish sauce with prime rib, and I used this recipe to make mine although I used raw horseradish from a bottle rather than fresh. It turned out runnier than I would have liked, probably because of the amount of lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Next time I think I’ll just make my own to taste with sour cream and raw horseradish. It was good, but next time I’d like it to be less runny.

To accompany the meat I cooked our family’s traditional mixed vege casserole, cranberry sauce (basic and plain from scratch, the best kind) and mashed potatoes roughly following following this recipe. It was a great meal on an already wonderful and blessed Christmas day with family.

I hope you had a great Christmas are are continuing to enjoy a restful holiday time with family and friends!

Table set for Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner 2013

 

→ No CommentsTags: dad · food

Volcano makes new Island

December 7th, 2013 by Rachel · No Comments

A volcano in Japan is making a new island. It is very cool!

→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · science · youtube

Lucid Dreams

December 7th, 2013 by Rachel · No Comments

I just watched an Asap Science video on youtube about lucid dreams. It was kind of weird, but interesting. Kinda creepy, too.

http://youtu.be/lYSX51xBkos

→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · science · youtube

Rachel’s Veteran’s Day Project

November 7th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

This is Rachel’s Veteran’s Day Project she created in 4th grade this year.

Rachel's Veteran's Day Project

Original photo:

President Kennedy and Thomas A. Fryer

→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · writing

Club Penguin Water Dojo Glitch

November 2nd, 2013 by Rachel · No Comments

→ No CommentsTags: littlesister

Oarfish Can Be Huge

October 16th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Rachel, since you’ve been very interested in the Loch Ness monster lately I thought you would like this article. It is about a very large “oarfish” which was discovered dead off the coast of California. The article explains fish like this might be some of the reasons we hear stories about giant sea serpents in the ocean.

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→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · nature · science

Slug in my Backyard

October 15th, 2013 by Rachel · No Comments

My dad and I were just eating French toast in the kitchen when I saw a slug on our window! I knew it was a slug because it had no shell. I thought it was pretty gross at first. But then we did research and found out that it was a Dark face arion slug. We took pictures of it and now I am writing a post about it! 

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→ No CommentsTags: nature

Sarah as Chargee at Chisholm Elementary in Edmond, Oklahoma

October 10th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Flashback to May 2010 when Sarah was a 5th grader at Chisholm Elementary in Edmond, Oklahoma. Sarah was chosen to be “Chargee” (the school mascot) at a PTSA pep rally after an all-school fundraiser. I shot some video clips on a camera that we FINALLY (3.5 years later) took the media off the memory card! I combined these clips together with iMovie and exported it as a single video. Flashback!

→ No CommentsTags: school · sister

The English Rose is The New Girl (cereal box book report)

October 10th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Rachel created a cereal box book report for 4th grade that is due today, and recorded a summary of her project this morning.

Cereal Book Report

→ No CommentsTags: books · littlesister

Shep and Hachi

October 3rd, 2013 by Rachel · 3 Comments

Just the other night, my dad and I read a book on my bookshelf called Shep. It is a very sweet book about a dog. A while ago, my family watched a movie called Hachi. It was almost exactly like Shep!

Shep

→ 3 CommentsTags: dogs · littlesister

Science Love Note

September 24th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Rachel wrote this note to me last night about YouTube.com/ASAPscience. Coincidentally, she discovered it as a related YouTube video on her sister’s account, and I discovered it today via Richard Byrne’s post.

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→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · technology

Switch Zoo

September 11th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Rachel: The website Switch Zoo looks like a great one you would have fun playing on!

Switch Zoo - Make New Animals

→ No CommentsTags: games

Dragons

August 30th, 2013 by Rachel · No Comments

Just a minute ago, I read an amazing article on yahoo about dragons. I am that kind of person who loves science fiction. Sometimes I watch stuff about ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, and other mystical creatures. I want to believe in them, so I do. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can still believe in that stuff.

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→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · science

Rachel’s “Me” Cube

August 22nd, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Rachel created this “Me Cube” this week in school. These are four of the sides she decorated.

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→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · school

School Homework

August 13th, 2013 by Rachel · 1 Comment

This is my homework. It is pretty basic. Just drawing cells from the text book. Where are the experiments?

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→ 1 CommentTags: littlesister · school · science

Howard Zinn Book Review

August 10th, 2013 by Alexander · 2 Comments

Here is a book review I did for my AP US History class on Howards Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States.

 

Zinn Book Review

Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States, tells a story of United States history not often heard in textbooks. While a very interesting read, you must read it objectively as many of Zinn’s views are extremely liberal. The book provides many troubling topics that make you think and consider the truth about what we have always heard in school.

From my reading, it seemed Zinn mainly wanted to focus on the struggles between capitalism, the United States people and the world. He states his purpose is to inform people of the untold, and often unwanted, history of oppression, racism and class struggles. This being said, the book is less a history of the United States and more about “A People’s Struggle Against the United States.” I think the book does not include a full history, but it includes the history that Zinn wanted told. He wanted this history told because it was not the history he learned while in school and is still not in many textbooks today (Zinn 687).

I do not believe Zinn states an explicit thesis, but he does state that the purpose of the book and what he wants to accomplish with it. That is, as I previously stated, to provide a full story of the United States told by the people who were oppressed by capitalism and the government. He says he wanted to do this because it is the history he never know about but may be more than that. Zinn grew up in an Irish-American, working-class family in New York. Later he worked in a shipyard for three years. Growing up in the northeast part of the United States, as well as being an immigrant, gave him a predisposition to tell of the oppression there more than in other places. Zinn states this and how he ignored struggles of the large number of Latinos in California for justice and the fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States (Zinn 687).

This book presents a more extreme view of history than what I have grown up hearing. My father graduated from the Air Force Academy and enjoys discussing the history of the US and the world. From him I have acquired a distaste of oil companies and imperialist wars as in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book supported much of what I have heard before, but looking at it critically I believe the book has portrays things out of balance. Zinn criticizes how Samuel Morison, who wrote a biography of Columbus, focuses briefly on the bad aspects like genocide but then goes on to talk a lot more about the good side of Columbus’s endeavors (Zinn 8). Ironically, Zinn points out this fault in Morison’s text, but writes in the same style about capitalism in his own book. Overall, this book has helped me in understanding better the history of the United States but at times it seemed too subjective and out of balance.

The book, for the most part, includes secondary sources that are other historians’ collections of facts. However, it does include an occasional primary source (Wineburg 2). In addition, Zinn includes many statistics of people who were involved in strikes, riots or other protests. It is hard to accept some of what Zinn writes because in some cases he does not always use multiple sources. For example, when supporting chapter 16, about views of distaste among African Americans for WWII, he only cites three pieces of evidence that all came from a single secondary source (Wineburg 3). That being said, there are a lot of other examples of good documents being used. Zinn not only shares the facts but his interpretation of them and makes you question them. This is good although Zinn tries to instill in you a viewpoint that is anti-capitalist by doing this and seems to cherry pick the facts.

This way of asking questions first then giving you the facts later is used often by Zinn. In this way it is almost more of a narrative of the story with facts thrown in to make it seem more like a history. While working well to make his points, this practice of using either-or questions deviates from standard “professional historical writing” (Wineburg 3). When Zinn was writing on how Roosevelt lied during WWII, he accused him but did not explain specifically what Roosevelt said (Zinn 411). Zinn’s tone throughout this chapter more ambiguous and less definitive. This is different from when a history book will interpret the facts clearly and tell them to you. Zinn tries to lead you to a conclusion but its like he doesn’t want to commit himself to that conclusion in the book. Overall, Zinn writes in a way that advocates his points well but you have to be careful to still read it objectively because Zinn is very subjective.

I enjoyed reading this book even though it could be a bit dry and did not have the same kind of “hook” as a fiction book might. From previously being in debate it was fun to read because in most debates we would be arguing something that encompassed capitalism or over militarization of our government. It was funny because I even recognized some of the authors Zinn referenced from reading their evidence in debate rounds. The main difference was that in a debate round everyone knows you can find an author that says exactly what you want, hence many arguments ends in global nuclear war even though most debaters really do not believe that would ever happen. When reading some of these same authors in Zinn’s history book, it makes me realize that Zinn can do this same thing that we did in debate and that he is presenting the best sources that support his positions. Even though he presents this information as if it is the only true explanation of what happened, that is not the case. His desire to persuade you gets in the way of objectively portraying the facts. Throughout the book he gives the view that the United States has no redeeming qualities. I know that while we certainly have some big problems that we have a lot of good things happening in our country.

Starting from Columbus to the 21st century, A People’s History of the United States gives an account of the struggles many people faced at the hands of the government and capitalists. It does not tell, however, of the hardships people faced going west. It instead focuses on their troubles with income and rights. In chapter 11, Zinn goes more into the strikes of the Industrial Age and even implies that we were close to another revolution with as many protests among the low-income population. Zinn goes on to tell about how the US entering the World Wars had more to do with large corporations and politicians figuring out that getting behind a war effort was a good way to increase imperialism and to avoid economic trouble and class struggles at home. So as the US came into WWI we came out of the Great Depression. After the war however more strikes were continuing to take place. Large unions as well as the communist political party were causing trouble for the US government to deal with. Even though the large corporations and politicians knew how war could help the country, it could not last forever as seen in Vietnam when due to anti-war efforts they had to end the war. Overall the book gives a good picture of what is not often included in most history books.

I am glad to have read A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. It has led me to become more enlightened about many more things, like the darker side of Columbus and the amount of strikes that took place before WWII. While some parts may have been stretched, in most cases I believe it proved to be true to its point: To tell of the suffering and hard times people have had at the hands of capitalists and the government. This book provides many questions but also a different outlook upon our history worth reading.

 

Works Cited

1. Zinn, Howard A People’s History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003. Print.

2. Wineburg, Sam “Undue Certainty: Where Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Falls Short.” Rev. of A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. American Educator Summer 2013. Online.

→ 2 CommentsTags: books · brother · history · review · school

The Story of My Dad’s Photo with President Kennedy

June 5th, 2013 by Dad · 2 Comments

My dad, Tom Fryer, graduated from the US Air Force Academy on June 5th of 1963. As a distinguished graduate, my dad was given his degree and commission in the US Air Force by President Kennedy, who was the graduation speaker that year. Seven short months later, President Kennedy would be shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.

In the fall of 1988, when I was a freshman at the Air Force Academy, I found a box of original photo negatives taken at the 1963 USAFA graduation ceremony on the 6th floor of the Cadet Library. I found a negative in the box I thought might be my father with President Kennedy, but since it was a negative and not a print it was hard to tell for sure. Dad had never seen a photo of himself at graduation with President Kennedy. There weren’t (relatively speaking) that many official “distinguished graduates” in the Class of 1963, so I figured someone HAD to have taken a photo of dad with JFK. It turns out someone did. After confirming with family friends this photo was my dad, I had a framed enlargement made and presented this “surprise” gift to my dad for Christmas in 1988. He hung it in his office at Union National and later Commerce Bank in Manhattan, Kansas. After the movie “Forrest Gump” came out in 1994, visitors to his office would sometimes question if the photo was authentic. Yes, it was. That is President John F. Kennedy. And that is my dad.

President Kennedy and Thomas A. Fryer

Today, on the 50th anniversary of my Dad’s graduation from USAFA, a classmate sent him the following YouTube video which includes an original audio recording of President Kennedy’s 18 minute address to the USAFA cadet wing and families on June 5, 1963. I’d never heard this before tonight.

Listening to these words from our late 35th President, I’m reminded of how far we’ve come, so quickly, with respect to changes in global communications and technology. Our nation’s need for moral, courageous leaders who recognize (in Kennedy’s words) the non-military as well as military dynamics of our relationships with other nations is still vital. I was born seven years after President Kennedy was killed, and I’ve heard some of the words from his 1961 Inaugural address many times. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I’d never heard the words from this particular graduation speech, however, and it’s nothing short of MAGICAL to be able to hear them today, fifty years later.

Wherever and whenever you live in space and time, I challenge you to record and preserve the voice of someone in your family who is still alive today and able to tell stories. If you do, perhaps fifty years hence in 2063 someone you don’t know today will have a magical moment of listening and learning thanks to the time you spent in 2013 creating a digital audio recording.

The sounds of human voices can be both magical and priceless, and we all have roles to play in preserving those voices for future generations.

Thanks to Ken Kopke, USAFA Class of 1963, for sharing this YouTube audio flashback.

A variety of iOS apps and other software programs for audio recording are linked on the “Radio Shows” page of Mapping Media to the Common Core.

→ 2 CommentsTags: granddaddy

2nd Grade Celebrates Spanish Music

April 18th, 2013 by Dad · No Comments

Cleaning up my laptop hard drive tonight I found this video my wife told me about last year but I’d never seen… I’m so glad it wasn’t deleted!

This video shows my 2nd grade daughter’s class celebrating Spanish music listening to Juan Luis Guerra (from the Dominican Republic) while donning sombreros and dancing the conga. A very memorable party… yes, that is Rachel leading the conga line!

→ No CommentsTags: littlesister · music · school

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