Sunday, July 28, 2013

Snapshots of my Summer

When I think back on my summer, two experiences stand out, one personal and one professional.  Below, you'll find some pictures I took that are related to both.  

Cypripedium parviflorum, Munger Trail
As is my habit in the summer, I spent my mornings biking on the Munger Trail, taking pictures of the wildflowers that grow there.  I've taken hundreds of photos of the Yellow Lady Slippers that are so common along the trail, but each year as I get to know the trail better, I find new patches of them.  This year was no exception.  

Cypripedium reginae, Munger Trail
I also set a new goal for my summer:  to see a Showy Lady Slipper (the state flower), and I did!  I found one blooming on Munger Trail, and I also travelled up near Bemidji, along the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway, where many more Showy Slippers bloom.  I was able to get there at the right time to see them at their peak.  I was astounded by the quantity of flowers growing right by the side of the road.  I am already planning to go there again next spring and take more pictures.  

There are even more Lady Slippers (hundreds of thousands, so folks say) up near Baudette, so maybe next year I'll go there, too. 
Cypripedium reginae, Lady Slipper Scenic Byway, near Bemidji, MN

Later, in mid-July, Madame Greenan, Ms Oswald, Mr Lockhart, and I went to Memphis, TN, for the Lausanne Learning Institute Conference.  I hadn't been to a professional conference in a while, and this was supposed to be a good one, focused on helping teachers use technology effectively in the classroom.  (I guess it was a good conference, because here I am blogging, and thinking about ways to get students to blog, too!)  I think we all felt like we learned a lot.  One of the best things was finding out that many, many other schools are going through the same 1:1 transition that we are.

Lorraine Motel, National Civil
Rights Museum, Memphis, TN
When we weren't attending conference sessions, we checked out the National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis.  It consists of a couple buildings, one of which is the Lorraine Motel, where Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated.  You can walk up on the balcony and look in the window of the room he occupied, which has been preserved.  Mahalia Jackson sings "Precious Lord" over the sound system as visitors walk past.  The motel is being renovated to turn the rest of it into additional museum-space.  The current exhibits are across the street in the boarding house from which James Earl Ray shot MLK.  
Lorraine Motel sign, National Civil Rights
Museum, Memphis, TN

The now-converted boarding house not only exhibits an extensive collection of artifacts from the investigation into the assassination, but it also chronicles the entire history of the Civil Rights Movement.  We spent an intense and unforgettable few hours there, and I'm really glad I had the chance to see it.  The finished museum is scheduled to open next year.  Madame and I want to go back next year, perhaps to present a session at the conference, and also to see the finished museum.

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