Sarah as Chargee at Chisholm Elementary in Edmond, Oklahoma

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!

The Story of My Dad’s Photo with President Kennedy

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.

2nd Grade Celebrates Spanish Music

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!

Inspired by the First All-Female USAF Boeing E-3 Sentry Air Crew

Rachel and Sarah had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to visit Tinker Air Force Base by Oklahoma City and tour a Boeing E-3 Sentry (AWACS) aircraft with the first all-female crew in the history of the US Air Force.

USAF Women in the E3 AWACS

The girls spent about ten minutes in the cockpit checking out the controls and asking questions of both female pilots and the female flight engineer.

Sarah & Rachel in the E3 AWACS

Then they learned all about the mission and roles of the air crew in the AWACS, which serves as the “eyes and ears” of the US national command authority worldwide. I’ve wanted my girls to get a better understanding of what officers and NCOs in the US Air Force do and what careers they could potentially have in the military, and yesterday was absolutely the PERFECT opportunity to help them do that! MANY thanks to my friend and classmate Vern Conaway, who let us know about this opportunity.

Oklahoma City’s Fox 25 News interviewed Rachel and Sarah during their tour and featured some of their comments in a video news segment which aired on March 15th.

Rachel recorded a 2.5 minute narrated slideshow, “Inspired by Women in the US Air Force,” using the app SonicPics on my iPhone, sharing some additional thoughts and reflections about the impact of this experience on her.

Thinking and planning for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers starts early! Many thanks to all the officers, NCOs, and civilian employees at Tinker AFB who made these experiences possible!

Inspired by USAF Women

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Are Aliens Out There? Of Course!

This afternoon I watched the TEDx talk, “Seth Shostak: ET is (probably) out there — get ready.” I totally agree with what Seth says about the statistical probability / near certainly of extra-terrestrial life and intelligence being “out there” in space. I also agree with his point that we need to focus on getting kids between age 8 and 11 both excited and interested in science, because ideas they encounter at that age can have a MAJOR impact on their life studies, interests, hobbies, profession, and “trajectory.” Check out the talk, it’s excellent. I told my 9 year old about this, and she watched it on my iPhone. Woo hoo for videos which encourage STEM interests!

Marie Curie

This is a book report Rachel wrote for Ms Moore’s 3rd grade class this year.

Marie Curie changed the world through science. Marie and her husband discovered two new elements, polonium and radium. Marie and two other scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics. In 1910, she isolated radium in the form of a metal. Marie won a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry.

Some of her main struggles were that her husband was killed in an accident right after they won the prize. Marie’s main struggle was that people treated her differently because she was a woman.

Her accomplishments inspire me to work harder in science. She proves that women can be as good as men in science. One of my favorite quotes of hers is:

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think can be most useful.” -Marie Curie

Her research into radiation helped others discover the structure of the atom. Even though radiation is very dangerous, it helps save lives even today through X rays, cancer treatments, and creating electricity.

A Tour of Club Penguin (February 2013)

In this screencast, 10 year old Rachel takes us on a guided tour of Club Penguin. I asked Rachel to do this because this morning, she shared how she had created an igloo to be like a funeral scene for a puffin in the game. The father of one of Rachel’s older sister’s friends died suddenly from a heart attack two weeks ago, and 3 of us attended the funeral last Saturday. Rachel didn’t attend, so I wasn’t sure if this “virtual encounter with death” was a way she was dealing with those feelings. It’s not clear to me that she is or was… She describes how she saw someone else doing this with their igloo, and she thought it was a clever way to get people to come to your igloo in Club Penguin where they can click “like” to show their approval.

This is an interesting dive into the the virtual world my youngest daughter plays in every week.

A Personal Tour of the International Space Station

This morning before school I shared the start of this video with Rachel, who is VERY interested in science, space, and all things NASA. It’s a 25 minute tour of the International Space Station by Sunita Williams, who was the commander of the station until this past November.

Rachel, YOU could be recording a tour like this from space in 15 or 20 years!

(I’m posting this here so Rachel can watch the rest of this after school or another day, and you can too!)

Hat tip to Mike Gras who shared this video on Facebook last night.

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