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basics of those skills the year before. I’m sure we learned some new information related to science or social studies, but this many years later, I have no recollection of what that might have been.

Parent to Parent So, what did my class actually learn in first grade? We certainly got better at reading during the year, but we had already learned the sounds for each letter and the basics of how to put them together when we were in kindergarten. Similarly, we got a lot better at addition and subtraction, including working with double and triple digit numbers, but we had also touched on the

“ You NEVER, EVER, EVER look at the sun during a solar eclipse! ” There is one thing though that I, without a doubt, learned, internalized, and still remember to this day from first grade: “You NEVER, EVER, EVER look at the sun during a solar eclipse!” I can’t even begin to tell you how many times Miss White drilled that into our heads during the weeks leading up to the first solar eclipse I remember. This in addition to multiple children’s magazines that all had warnings about blindness and instructions for making pinhole projectors in order to watch safely. After all the hype, it’s a good thing that the sky was clear when the day of the eclipse arrived. In February in Michigan, that was certainly not a given! Our entire elementary school went out to the playground and huddled around a few of those homemade projectors to watch the moon cover about 80% of the sun.

About 15 years later, my younger sister remembers watching another eclipse through what she described as “several layers of 35mm film.” I’m not sure how accurate that is—it was probably something like the cardboard glasses that are available today. But if they made those back when I was in first grade, they were not readily available. Now, we can even buy inexpensive plastic eclipse glasses. I’ve ordered them for all my kids (and myself!), and this month, as long as the clouds cooperate, they will get to experience, here in Tampa Bay, an eclipse very similar to that one from first grade. Or, we may take a day off from school and drive the 600 miles or so to the path of totality. It’s not quite a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – after all, Tampa Bay will be in the path of totality for a solar eclipse in August 2045. But that’s a really long way off! Until next time,


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August 2017 • 7

Gulf Coast Family - August 2017  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...

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