Monday, January 17, 2011

What Do Cocktails, Brain Power and a Give Away All Have In Common?

Being an elementary school teacher means having a lot of random knowledge about fairly odd topics.  Topics that most adults know little to nothing about, since they haven't really thought about these topics since, well....since they were in elementary school.  In other words, teachers make for pretty rad guests at a cocktail party - we are small talk machines!

Scene - A holiday cocktail party.  A fire is lit, drinks are flowing and, natch, I have on fabulous heels.
Me: Did I hear you all mention the beautiful snowfall we just had?  Well, funny thing about snowflakes...

(10 minutes later.  Same party.)
Me: Did you say you're going diving while on vacation?  How fun!  You know, an octopus is able to camouflage itself to blend in with it's surroundings, so be careful for those!

(10 minutes later.  Same party)
Me: What have I been reading lately?  Hmmmm....does Mo Willems count?  I just finished his Elephant and Piggy series - genius!

Okay, so maybe not the coolest party talk ever.  But, if the crowd is a sucker for pee jokes or a good fart story - man, talk about my wheel house!  I don't know a teacher who doesn't have a good bodily fluids story on hand at all times.

I was just thinking the same thing!  We are a fun bunch.

I don't think we can help it.  After teaching about the ocean, or seasonal change or soil for so many years, these facts and ideas become ingrained in our brains and it's almost impossible to hold them in.  I guess you have to be a bit of a Nerdy McLikesToReadToLearn to be a teacher.

Speaking of reading to learn....

(Cue the pimping!!)

Little Pickle Press has a fab new non-fiction text for all of you out there who want to refresh those non-fiction libraries, integrate a new book into your teaching repertoire or just expand their cocktail party conversation.

It's  Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak of The Deak Group.  I checked out an advanced copy of this puppy and really enjoyed it.



In a nutshell, it teaches children that their brains control what they think, do, feel and remember.  Not only does the book diagram and explain various parts of the brain, it encourages children to be brave, practice, learn from their mistakes and make connections.  Um, hello, lover!

Obvi, one could integrate this book into a study on the brain, the human body, etc.  That's a no-brainer!  (Pun SO intended.)  However, I think teachers could also use portions of this text to discuss the importance of being comfortable with making mistakes in school, practicing a difficult skill to improve or being brave enough to try something that feels scary at first.  All very important lessons and this book could absolutely be a great conversation starter.

Get ready for a give away!!!

(drum roll, please)

Little Pickle Press is giving Mrs. Mimi a copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain to give away to a lucky reader!  Cha-ching, people, cha-ching.  Sooooo....here's how to enter to win a copy:

* In the comments section, post the most random fact you know (and sometimes bring out at cocktail parties) as a result of your time in the classroom.
** I'll use a random number generator (fair is fair) to pick the winner!
***You have until Friday, January 21st to enter!  I'll announce the winner on Monday, January 24th.
****Be random!

If you simply can't wait for the contest winner to be announced, head over to the Little Pickle Press Book Store and enter code BBTMIMI for 25% off this book. (Can I get a high five, or what?)

And, if you want to double down, click over to the Little Pickle Press Blog to enter to win a whole bag of amazing books for your classroom.  Fab titles, my friends, fab titles.


Scene - a cocktail party.  Again, the heels are amaze balls.

Me: Speaking of headaches,  do you know where your amygdala is?  'Cuz I do.

Life of the party people, life of the party.

80 comments:

Beverly said...

We're starting a muscle unit for first grade in my student teaching classroom... Did you know the shortest muscle in your body is in your ear?

chris barry said...

The only two words in the English language that end in -gry are angry and hungry.

Rebecca said...

Cocktail party goer: Man, I'm tired and cranky. I didn't sleep well last night.

Me: Did you know that during sleep depravation, the brain encodes negative memories in the amygdala and deprives the hippocampus from storing positive memories?

Mrs. Loch said...

I just found out at academic team practice last week that while giraffes have two official horns, they sometimes have horn-like growths on their head as they age, which can make it look like they have up to 5 horns.

Miss Davis said...

My students decided after reading Diary of a Wombat that they needed to know more. Did you know that wombat poop is shaped like a cube?

Mrs. G said...

In our read aloud, the word ennui (pronounced on-wee) is used...it means showing boredom.

groovyoldlady said...

How...random. ;-)

I homeschool my girls and I've taught high school chem and biology to many other homeschooled teens. I know so many random, weird (and useless) facts that it is mind boggling.

We NEED that book!!!

Right now we are studying presidents. Did you know that President Taft was SO large (How large was he?) that he got stuck in the White House bathtub and (after they pried him out, of course) they installed a new bathtub just for him that was big enough for four men.

Melissa said...

I was at a party with a bunch of non-teachers and we were playing Taboo (where you have to get your team to guess the word at the top of the card without saying the words listed) and my team had to guess "Dr. Seuss." So, I bust out with "Theodore Geisel!" And I get... absolute blank stares. It was a sad day for me. My team said that if people knew who Theodore Geisel was, then the name would have been on the card not to say. I was happy to go back to school and hang out with people who know who Theodore Geisel is. :)

Erin said...

From an elective class on sea mammals, I learned that a manatee's closest relative is actually the elephant!

Hi, I'm Harmony said...

Did you know that great white sharks have 5 rows of 46 teeth? That's 230 teeth!

I {LOVE} this idea for comment conversation. I really had to search my brain to find a random tidbit of knowledge. Why is it that it comes naturally at the most inappropriate times, but when I need to access my "useless knowledge" file in my long term memory that drawer is locked?!

I just linked your blog on mine! I'm brand new to the teacher blogging world - stop by and say "Hi!" when you have time.

~Mrs. Beck

http://mrsbecksgotclass.blogspot.com/

Kari-Anne said...

It has been said that when you die, your hair will still continue to grow for a couple of months.

andrew kauffman said...

Did you know that a crocodile baby is either male or female depending on the temperature in the nest if it's around 85 degrees then they will be born female, if its below 83 degrees or above 88 degrees then all the babies will be male. Crazy huh :) Thanks for the good blog post, I always look forward to your posts.

Little Pickle Press said...

Mrs. Mimi, consider this a standing invitation to all of my cocktail parties. You are hilarious! Thank you so much for your very fun review of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. We appreciate you!

Karen said...

A nutria is a large herbivorous rodent native to South America. Fur ranchers introduced it to North America. A whole paragraph about this creature was used to assess fact and opinion...weird.

Karen said...

A nutria is a small herbivorous rodent. It is originally from South America, but brought to North America by fur ranchers. A paragraph about this creature was given to the kids to assess fact and opinion. Weird.

TeacherJ said...

I learned the other day that some poisonous snakes normally keep their fangs folded up against the roof of their mouth, but when it's time to bite their prey, they SWING THOSE FANGS FORWARD and then bite/poison their victims.

SNAKE FANGS ON HINGES.

Ugh.

Sorry, I really really don't like snakes, so that one stuck with me.

redbirdsandwombats said...

Did you know that a long time ago, before people really knew what manatees were, sailors used to catch glimpses of them and think they were mermaids?

luckeyfrog said...

Did you know that when you smell something, tiny particles of that are wafting into your nose? Think about that the next time you drive by a pig farm... ewww!

Karen said...

Great blog and I love the new Brain book!

Workshop Classroom said...

The distance between your wrist and your elbow is the size of your foot. That will definitely make you new friends at a party ;)

Becky said...

Cats have four rows of whiskers.

Dorothy.Shapland said...

And speaking of ears, did you know that the only bones in your body that are fully grown in utero are the bones in the inner-ear?

ChiTown Girl said...

The cleft between your nose and top lip is called a philtrum. :)

morgan said...

Did you know that George Washington Carver used to make knitting needles out of turkey feathers?!

Dani Greer said...

Glass is not a liquid no matter how many glass artists claim it to be so. The only thing liquid is IN the glass, especially at cocktails parties. You are a hoot, Mrs. Mimi!

Mrs. F said...

Goose poop every six minutes.

MarieMent said...

Before I leave my comment, please know how much I am enjoying the "facts" so far! I've learned a few new things!

My random item: caterpillar poo is called "frass".

Lindsay said...

Zebras have black skin under their fur. Nevertheless, most are white with black stripes, because they stripes end on their bellies.

Carol Halter-Waider said...

Racecar is a palindrome which means it is spelled the same forwards and backwards!

Emily and Steven said...

Did you know that giraffes and humans have the same amount of bones in their necks? Giraffes are just longer than ours, gotta love a good mammals unit!

heather said...

A blue whale's heart is the size of a Volkswagon bug.

Horizons said...

Did you know that a group of crows is called a murder?
I can't wait for that book- I am a neuroscientist, and though I do not teach per say, I am doing "brain days" at my son's elementary school!

Ebuck said...

Humpback whales can be up to 50 feet long! (You know the word humpback is funny...) That's as long as the grassy area between my portable and the next!

Valerie said...

Mansa Musa allegedly gave away so much gold during his Hajj that the price of it declined. Mongols drink fermented mare's milk, as well as horse blood. If not for the Neolithic Revolution, we'd have no McDonalds. NY Global History teachers, you feel me?

Carrie said...

Do you know that it's physically impossible to lick your own elbow? I had 3rd graders all trying it. Priceless!

Ms. S said...

Most humans have a wenus...usually two. (cleanest comment I could make as a middle school health teacher)

Allison said...

Baby puffins learn how to fly by throwing themselves off of a cliff over the ocean. If they fly, great. If not, they just plunge into the ocean, swim back to shore, and try again later.

Random.

mschliep said...

Did you know that the mark on a cobra (called "hook and eye") is supposedly from the great god Brahm?It is said that he left the mark after the cobra spread its hood to shade him? Another tidbit: the mark on a tabby cat resembles an "M" from the god Muhammad?

IteachthereforeIam said...

No word in the English language ends in the letter v. :)

The Girl said...

Fact: Camel's humps are actually made of fat, not water, so that they can survive when there's no food.. Too little food = floppy hump when the storage unit is out!

And I had a 7 year old 3rd grader tell me during my demonstration lesson that spinners (the kind you use for probability) have nothing to do with math...it's all physics--the force of flicking the spinner determines where it will land...

Teachinfourth said...

Being an elementary teacher I have LOTS of random...

Did you know that the Auroras are caused by radiation particles from the sun caught in the Earth's magnetic field?

In fact, without the magnetic field of the planet acting as our force shield, we would be - quite literally - fried.

Beth said...

Mrs. G took mine! Ennui - learned the meaning of that word while reading Edward Tulane to my class.

Katie said...

Franz Joseph Haydn had a pet parrot.

Bach had to go to court after he called someone zipplefagottist (a nanny goat bassoonist).

Stu said...

Over my career I had the most fun studying cats with my students. Cheetahs especially were a favorite. here are some facts:


Cheetahs do not have retractable claws. Its claws are blunt and semi-retractable.

Most people know that Cheetahs are the fastest land animal alive, but did you know that at full speed a cheetah is completely off the ground 50% of the time.

Cheetah's tails are extra long because they use them to steer when they run.

Cheetahs are the only cats that, while sprinting, can turn in midair to follow their prey.

Heidi Pence said...

There are 42 ways using addition only to make the sum of 10 when you don't use zero. 1 + 2+ 3+ 4 = 10, 2 +2 + 2+ 2+ 2= 10, 9 +1 = 10...

dmurph08 said...

The rivalry between Ohio and Michigan actually started over a thin strip of land around Toledo.

Mrs.K but you can call me Coach said...

The inventor of the geodesic dome is Buckminster Fuller and he attend Bauhaus which is also the title of a little known indie metal band from the 80s.

Sarah Amick said...

We are studying the miscibility of liquids. You know like, how oil and water don't really mix together? As a class we decided however that they have spelled miscibility incorrectly and that it should have been spelled, mixability. We didn't come up with anything for viscosity (the flow of liquids).

Jenna said...

Did you know that squirrels teeth never stop growing? Think what one would look like if he stopped cracking nuts...frightening!

Kim Sloggett said...

I won a game of Balderdash because I knew the correct meaning of the word "umiak" - my game playing friends wouldn't believe me that it was a vocabulary word in our science book at the time (18 years ago).

Kim Sloggett said...

A "umiak" is a kayak that holds more than one person! I won a Balderdash game with that one!

Michele said...

If you hold your nose, you can't make the /m/, /n/, or /ng/ sounds! Try it!

Wendi said...

SNOBBY MOM AT PARTY (spoken under her breath: Well, I think HER daughter is the one who gave MY precious sweetsie the, um, you know.

ME (spoken loudly enough for all to hear): Well, actually, lice LOVE a clean head.

kathym54 said...

ouRubber bands last longer if stored in the refrigerator.

Ms. Bales said...

I was playing Catch Phrase and the first clue out of my mouth was, "It's an idiom, that's a 3rd grade skill, you should get it!"

Kindra said...

Pine cones predict the upcoming weather. If they are open, the weather will be a good. If they are closed, bad weather is coming. It works, even in the summer!

Sharla said...

Caterpillars may look like they have many, many legs (especially when we teachers draw them), but they only have 6 true legs, just like other insects. The prolegs are bumps that don't count in the leg count.

{lovely little things} said...

Toilet talk is ever popular in my Seattle classroom....

When discussing the equator, my students were thrilled and AMAZED to learn that toilets flush backwards when you cross from the Northern Hempishere to the Southern Hemisphere. They went wild!

Furthering the toilet talk discussion - when we read the ever-popular "Larry Gets Lost in Seattle," the underground tour boasts the oldest toilet in Seattle - it automatically became the #1 place of all the potential landmarks that my kids wanted to visit.

Kendra said...

Everyone knows there are tigers and lions. If the two mate that's called liger. Well, if a tiger and a liger mate that baby is called a tiliger. True story.

Kendra said...

Everyone knows there are tigers and lions. If the two mate that's called liger. Well, if a tiger and a liger mate that baby is called a tiliger. True story.

Kendra said...

Everyone knows about tigers and lions. And thanks to Napoleon everyone knows about their lovechild: the liger. But did you know that a third type exists...when a tiger and a liger mate you get a tiliger. True story.

leah said...

Little kids love to hear this one: Dr. Seuss is responsible for the word 'nerd.' He first coined the word in his book 'If I Ran the Zoo' in 1950.

Sarah said...

We got guinea pigs as a class pet this year. I learned that they are also called cavies. Wild cavies live in herds. They don't make their own vitamin C so you must make sure they get it in their food. Guinea pigs also have to eat every 12 hours or they starve to death.

Teri K said...

"Did you realize that today is officially Winnie-the-Pooh Day?" Followed up by several quotes from Pooh. Of course, this only works on Jan 18, but I have them for other days, too.

Elyse said...

Great idea! This book looks fabulous.

My favourite useless fact for small talk -
Did you you that Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse, was afraid of mice??

Shay said...

My favorite useless fact is:

The number of letters composed to create the name "Optimus" as in Optimus Prime is a prime number....

I've told this useless fact before and it has been a hit at parties! :)

Laura said...

The male Bowerbird builds an intricate nest that looks like a house to attract a female mate.

sheldinski said...

Fun fact of the day: Ben Franklin firmly believed in the benefits of the "cold air bath." By this, I mean spending time each day running around in the nude.

MarieMent said...

OMG you people are fantastic!

Another little factoid: If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.

Melissa Dippel said...

Barking is not natural to dogs. Humans had to breed that trait as something desirable thousands of years ago.

Luanne Lewis said...

Polar bears DO NOT live in Antarctica. Penguins and polar bears never live on the same continent except at the zoo.

Mrs. Mullenax said...

More people are killed each year by vending machines than by sharks. Be careful in the teacher's lounge when your chips are stuck.

Comma Queen said...

Oh heavens, Mimi, you make me laugh! I can relate to so many of your stories! My colleague and I have started a blog of our own to share our stories and how nerdy (yet totally fabulous) we are! I mentioned you in my most recent post (nerdyteachers.blogspot.com). I hope to get some of my friends to read your stuff, too! Teaching comedy GOLD!

Cocktail Party Fact That Stuns PartyGoers Into Total Silence (because they don't care): Did you know that if you read Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" makes just as much sense if you read it backwards line by line? :) I love that fact. Shockingly, lots of other peeps don't...

kitkat said...

LOVE this blog! Thank you Ms. Mimi for putting it out there so eloquently...

my fact: a "tri-drake" is another name for a three headed dragon.

Still awaiting the social situation that prompts that tidbit!

melissa said...

Did you know -- the reason that some animals have white fur in the winter? It is true that it helps to camoflauge them from predators. BUT more important is that the pigment in fur takes up space. When that pigment is gone, air is able to fill the space in the hair shaft. This provides the animal with thick layers of warm air between its body and the cold winter air - just like our winter coats!

Lisa Thayne said...

One of the faces of Mount Rushmore is Lincoln. Lincoln has a stripe through his nose. That stripe is a pegmatite. Pegmatites are super important - and used for many technoligies such as Playstations. And actually, the Playstation shortage of 2000 was due to a lack of pegmatite - due to a civil war in the Congo over mining costs. :)

Mary D'Eliso said...

Today we learned that Crayola produces 23 shades of red; more variations than any other base color...

Eduardo said...

Your tongue works best when you're ten years old.

Sarah Ackerley said...

Thank you for the wonderful review! I am the illustrator of this book, and I have to say, it is quite fantastic!

Maureen said...

Hot new date says, while staring at the night sky, "Wow, it looks like a full moon tonight."

Me: "Actually, the moon was full a few days ago, it is now waning gibbous."

Who's Peeking?