Friday, April 18, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/18/14

tools1 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory - gives data about volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park. (L:G; SA:S)

Little Bird Tales – “Little Bird Tales was created to help nurture children's creativity and imagination while simultaneously creating one of-a-kind digital stories that can easily be shared. We strive to foster a love for reading, writing, self-expression and creative technology and to make the process easy and fun for students and teachers.” (L:E; SA:LA)

Active Science – “High quality interactive materials cover many science topics in the primary and secondary school curriculum. At secondary level they focus on biology topics linked to treatment of disease.” (L:G; SA:S)

Comics in Education – “devoted to examining the use of visual narrative in the K-12 classroom and beyond. Although schools have seen a rise in the use of graphic novels in recent years, this use is often limited to supporting reluctant or developing readers. The focus of Comics in Education is on showing that understanding, decoding, and making meaning of visual narrative has never been more important than it is today for learners of all ages and abilities.” (L:G; SA:LA)

Art Babble – “showcases high quality art-related video content from more than 50 cultural institutions from around the world. ArtBabble is an energetic place to learn for everybody who loves and has an interest in art and particularly for educators who can use it as a way to support their classroom activities.  ArtBabble brings art content from different places and perspectives together, easily accessed and found.  Created in 2009, the website was conceived, designed, programmed, and launched by a cross-departmental collection of individuals at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.” (L:G; SA:S)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Honesty – To Be or Not to Be

honesty In Honesty...Such a Gift from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

“When did you have trouble either delivering honesty or receiving it?”

Honesty is very important to me because trust is also important to me. I can’t trust someone if I don’t think they are able to be honest with me. Once someone is dishonest, there is no way I will ever be able to trust them. To me, honesty and trust go hand in hand. Once I don’t have either one of them, it is like a glass that is broken and can never be fixed to its original state. I really try to be honest at all times because that is how I want others to be with me.

I would rather people be honest with me rather than talk behind my back. It may hurt at the time but it is so much better than the hurt over the long term. This is kind of like ripping a band aid off quickly or so slowly that the pain goes on and on. If they are true friends, I can see that their honesty may be helpful to me and not an act of meanness. When someone asks me, “Do you want me to be honest with you?” The people that are important to me don’t need to ask this. I know that they don’t know me well enough and that their opinion has less value then they think it does.

Now after saying all that, I have to admit that I have major problems with being honest if I know it is going to hurt someone’s feelings. I will do all sorts of avoidance tactics in order to not have to say something that will hurt someone. I try to be prepared with neutral statements that doesn’t make me lie but can be used without hurting another person’s feelings. Things like: “It doesn’t work for me but that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for you!” or “What most important is whether you like it or not.” Usually I can get by with these statements. Now, if I really dislike something and I think it will hurt the person worse by not being totally honest, I will bite the bullet and just come outright and tell them how I feel.

How do you deal with honesty? Please share.

Image: 'Author Unknown Trust is like a piece+of+paper.+Once+it's+crumpled,+it+can't+be+perfect+again'
Found on

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pendleton Place

PendletonPlace Last week we heard Erin Murphy talk to our group about Pendleton Place in Greenville, SC. Back when I was a college student, I remember volunteering at Pendleton Place which was an emergency shelter for children under 11 years old who had been abused. It was a very rewarding experience so I was excited to hear about this place again.

It has changed over the years and is no longer an emergency shelter but it has different programs to meet the needs of children in our community. I was very impressed with the different programs. Their mission is “to keep children safe and support families in crisis through prevention, assessment, and intervention.”

The Smith House is a residential program for girls 11 – 21. They are taught functional living skills so they can be successfully independent in society. Even though the girls legally can leave at 18, they can choose to stay until they are 21.

There is also a Family and Child Assessment Center that is a collaboration between Pendleton Place, Department of Social Services, the Hospital System and United way. They provide comprehensive assessments to the children and families entering the foster care system. This means the child, the parents, and the foster parents are all involved so the child can eventually be returned home.

The Family Bridges helps families who are separated because of divorce, separation, abuse or neglect. They give supervised family visitation in a more child friendly atmosphere of a home environment rather than a sterile office environment which also allows for a flexible schedule for working parents. There is also a Safe Exchange program that lets parents exchange children at a neutral location where they don’t even have to come in contact with each other.

Pendleton Place has many volunteer opportunities and encourages you to come visit so you can see how the programs work. You can call 864-467-3650 if you are interested.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 20 Flickr

photography On the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook, the twenty day blogging challenge created by Kelly Hines was mentioned and I decided to give it a shot. This is the last prompt for this challenge and I’ve really enjoyed how it made me think about what I read and what I do. So here is the challenge for today:

“What is a website that you can’t live without? Tell about your favorite features and how you use it in your teaching and learning.”

A website that I have used constantly over the past few years is Flickr.

I love taking photos and sharing it with others. For a long time I used the free account with Flickr but then I loaded so many photos that I had to buy the pro account and I’m not sorry that I did. I belong to several different interest groups so the pictures I take may not be of interest to everyone. I like to load my photos into sets and then share the link to that particular set to a certain group.

I also like doing the Photo a Day project and belonging to a couple of groups on Flickr for this. There are some prompts that help me focus in on a specific skill to practice my photography.

I also like looking at the photos for ideas on how to take better photographs. I still need a lot of practice on taking photos from different angles and perspectives.

I also like seeing comments that people make on my photos. They sometimes tell me they like it or can even give me suggestions on how to take it a different way. I like how this site is interactive about the photos.
I can see me continuing to use this site for many years so I hope they never shut it down!
What website can you not live without? Please share!

Image: 'untitled'
Found on

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spartan Up -The Book

Spartan Up – the book, will be released on May 13, 2014.

The Spartan Race has been voted the #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine and, and Joe is the owner and driving force behind it. This is not a book about racing, but uses the race as a metaphor for life - life is the ultimate obstacle course.

You can hear an audio excerpt from the book:
According to the website:

It’s a manual for the Spartan way of life, including:

§ Finding the will to succeed: The first half of a race you run with your legs; the second half you run with your mind. Turn your pain into an outboard motor to drive you forward.
§ Tossing your cookies: The Cookie Test can teach you how to overcome the need for immediate gratification and help you prosper in the long term.
§ Getting Spartan fit: Survival of the Fittest means training outside the gym for strength, endurance and flexibility for your entire body—and don’t forget those burpees!
§ Moving mountains: Whether metaphorical mountains or the ones on which Spartans race, what you think of as your limitations can actually be a mere starting point for transformation.”

I haven’t read the book yet but I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out. I like the ideas behind the book and I think the author has some meaningful things to say. He says it is a life strategy book and I think many of my students could get some motivational tips from this too. Maybe this will help energize teachers too. Check out the links that I posted to find out more.