FACS Careers, FACS Engineering, FACSessorize, Family and Consumer Science Education, FCS, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, Home economics, National Women's History Month, Techno FACS

Beauty and Brains

Celebrating National Women’s History Month!


Hedy Lamarr:  Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold

Our blog post today honors Hedy Lamarr, a woman who truly “had it all”! Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” Hedy Lamarr’s beauty and screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day.  While it’s unlikely that students in today’s FACS classes would be familiar with her work on film, they all owe Hedy a debt of gratitude.  You see, her work off screen led to the development of one of the most used items in today’s world:  the cell phone!

She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria.  At seventeen years old Hedy starred in her first film, a German project called Geld auf der Strase.  Hedy continued her film career by working on both German and Czechoslovakian productions.  The 1932 German film Exstase brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers, and she soon signed a contract with MGM.

Once in Hollywood, she officially changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and starred in her first Hollywood film, Algiers (1938), opposite Charles Boyer.  She continued to land parts opposite the most popular and talented actors of the day, including Spencer, Tracy, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart.  Some of her films include an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat (1942), White Cargo (1942), and Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Female Animal (1957).


As if being a beautiful, talented actress wasn’t enough, Hedy Lamarr was also extremely intelligent.  In addition to her film accomplishments, Hedy patented an idea that later became the foundation of both secure military communications and mobile phone technology.  In 1942, Hedy and composer George Antheil patented what they called the “Secret Communication System.”  The original idea, meant to solve the problem of enemies blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles during World War II, involved changing radio frequencies simultaneously to prevent enemies from being able to detect the messages.  While the technology of the time prevented the feasibility of the idea at first, the advent of the transistor and its later downsizing made Hedy’s idea very important to both the military and the cell phone industry.

This impressive technological achievement combined with her acting talent and star quality to make “the most beautiful woman in film” one of the most interesting and intelligent women in the movie industry.

Have a great weekend!





Back to School Ideas, FACS Image Shake Up, For the Love of FACS, Techno FACS

How I Spent My Summer Vacation :-)

Before I get started writing about today’s topic, I want to share another resource I’ve discovered related to my last post, a lesson based on decorating a school locker.   Students can virtually design a dream locker on this site.  Very cool!  http://www.lockerlookz.com/ 

Locker design

We had one of the busiest summers ever since starting Fresh FACS!  We traveled roughly 4000 miles to participate in one national FACS conference and four state FACS conferences!  Phew!  We literally wore the wheels off one of our suitcases!  No joke!  The wheels just fell apart!  All that travel was definitely hectic and tiring, but it was so much fun getting to meet and exchange ideas with so many of our FACS friends!  Once again, I came away firmly convinced that attending professional development conferences and workshops is one of the best ways to stay up to date on all things FACS and to maintain enthusiasm that is so important to success in the classroom. 

One of my favorite things to do at a conference (besides exhibiting and presenting workshops) is to visit the vendor booths in the exhibit hall.  There are so many great ideas and products out there that you might never know about without this experience.  Just in case your summer plans did not include a conference experience, I’d like to share a few of the products and resources I discovered during my summer travels.  FYI—We do not sell any of these products!  I just think they’re worth sharing with you!

Bake For Good from King Arthur Flour is a free program that teaches kids to make bread from scratch.  Kids use math, science, baking techniques, reading and following directions, time management and more through this great program.  King Arthur even supplies the ingredients for the activities!  Awesome!  Learn more at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learnbakeshare/.

bake for good

I love the recipes in this Team Nutrition cookbook available free from the USDA.  The recipes were all submitted by kids as part of the Recipes For Healthy Kids Competition.  You can request a free copy of print a copy from the website.  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cookbook-homes.pdf  You can also download individual recipes from the cookbook. 

recipe for healthy kids cookbook

I mentioned this product on our Facebook page after attending the IFCSE conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  If your students are issued tablets and you’ve been looking for a creative way to use them in your classroom, you should definitely check this out.  So clever!  http://www.interactiveapplicationsllc.com/


If you teach food safety, you’re probably already familiar with this website, but I encourage you to check it out again.  I picked up a packet of great new resources from Fight Bac!  Go to the website to request yours today!  http://www.fightbac.org/

fight bac

Sugar seems to have been labeled the nutritional boogey man of the moment by the news media so I was very interested in the materials I picked up from the Sugar Association.  You can request free materials from their website.  The movie Fed Up movie can also be viewed from the website.  Might be interesting to view the movie with your students and discuss the role of sugar in the American diet.  http://www.sugar.org/


This post is getting a little long so I think I’ll wrap it up for today.  I’ll have more products and websites to share later this week.  Hope you find some of these resources useful!


FACS Image Shake Up, For the Love of FACS, Reading in the FACS Classroom, Save FACS, Techno FACS

Work in Progress

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything here, but I assure it’s not because I haven’t been busy working hard for you, my FACS friends!  Work on my new curriculum blending FACS and academics, specifically reading, has been consuming every minute of my day for weeks and I’m so excited about how it’s developing!  I think it could be my best resource to date!  Sorry if that sounds like bragging, but the Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams offers such a wealth of classroom ideas, that I don’t know where to stop! 

My goal in writing Four Course FACS, A Fictional Culinary Adventure was, of course, to give FACS teachers another vehicle for adding value to the FACS curriculum by integrating reading and technology.  I knew this was a mission that I could easily accomplish based on the success of two previous FACS-Reading resources:  Recipe for Reading and A Novel Approach to FACS

My second goal of creating a curriculum that could basically use the novel to take the place of a culinary arts textbook was admittedly a bit of a stretch.  However, after working on this project for several months, it’s really happening and I’m so excited!!  What a great thing to be able to say to students that they’re going to have the pleasure of reading this delightful novel instead of a boring textbook! 

Now don’t get excited and throw away all those expensive and essential  textbooks!!  They will still play an important role in your culinary arts instruction.  In fact, Four Course FACS will include a crosswalk outlining the connection between the novel content and the activities in Four Course FACS and all of the best-selling culinary textbooks currently available.   The twist is that the textbooks will play a supporting role.

Besides the concept for the novel supplanting textbooks as the primary instructional tool, I’m also excited that I’ve been able to incorporate so many cool online resources into the activities for Four Course FACS!  For example, when I was in the classroom, I was never able to devise a method for teaching students about kitchen equipment and tools in a way that was as engaging as I would have liked.  Through my research for Four Course FACS, I discovered the website ThingLink.com I was able to create an activity that is interactive and cool!  Love that!

Well, I just wanted to end my digital hiatus and let you all know that I haven’t abandoned you!  I hope you’re as excited about adding academic value to the FACS curriculum as I am!  It really is the only way to save our programs and serve our students fully.  While I continue to write away, I urge you to pick up a copy of Pizza, Love, And Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams.  It will entertain you, I know and I hope get your own creative juices flowing for using it in your classes!  FYI—We sell the novel on our website. 🙂 www.freshfacs.com

Steve Martin quote