Friday, April 19, 2019

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/19/19

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

Rivet – “Better reading practice, available to all; With over 2,000 FREE leveled books for kids in K-2, quality reading practice has never been easier.” (L:E;SA:LA)

Reshot – “Uniquely free photos. Handpicked, non-stocky images. Yours to use as you wish.” (L:G;SA:A)

Rocket Science 101 – iOS app; “You don't have to be a rocket scientist to launch a NASA spacecraft with NASA's Rocket Science 101 (RS101)! Select your favorite NASA mission and build a rocket to send the spacecraft into orbit. As you take the RS101 challenge, you can learn more about thrilling missions and the various components of the launch vehicles, how they are configured and how they work together to successfully launch a NASA spacecraft. NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP) does the same things for real rockets and exciting spacecraft missions every day - now it's your turn!” (L:M,H;SA:S)

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That – games, videos, activities, and printable materials  (L:E;SA:LA)

Timelinely – “Create interactive experiences. Timelinely empowers people to go beyond just video. Highlight interesting parts of a video on a timeline with interactive comments, pictures, links, maps, other videos, and more.” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Retirement Rules

In Rules for retirement from Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson asks,

“Any retirees out there who have their own set of rules for retirement?”

I never thought about it but I guess I have my own rules since I retired from teaching in public school. I don’t have many rules because I’m so routine oriented. I get up the same time every morning without the need for an alarm. I guess it is a habit after 30 years of getting up at the same time.

I actually had to learn to let go of the “rules” and just enjoy retirement. We love to travel and I’m a big planner, but my husband isn’t. He had to keep asking me to think about "what if." What if we don’t plan? What if we just play it by ear? What is the worst that could happen? When I looked at the consequences, I realized that letting go of the rules just means it will be a new adventure!

If I wrote out my rules from when I first retired, I think the list would be longer. Now I’m kind of proud that my list is so short.

Here is my list:

1.     I exercise or walk on the treadmill at least six days a week. I need to stay active.
2.     Eat healthier.
3.     I write a blog post every Monday through Friday.
4.     I keep a bullet journal where I make a list every morning of the things that I want to accomplish each day.
5.     Each day I write down one thing that I am grateful for.

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


In More right in Seth Godin's Blog , Seth Godin states,

“Waiting for perfect is a never-ending game.”

Sometimes I expect too many things to be just perfect.

I expect myself to be perfect and never make mistakes. I expect to do everything I need to do perfectly. I expect everything I want to do perfectly. I want everything I plan to go perfectly.

I want others to do everything I expect with perfection. I want everyone to act and think perfectly in the way I want them to be. I want projects and plans to go perfectly.

I want my yard and my gardens to look perfect. I want the projects that I knit, crochet, or sew to look perfect. I want the yarn that I spin to be perfectly spun.

I want my students to behave perfectly. I want their work to be done perfectly. I want the lessons that I teach to go perfectly.

But that is not the reality.

I need to change the words to this “Perfect” song.

I need to expect that I will be flexible enough to deal with any changes or challenges in whatever I face.

If my plans don’t end up being perfect, that is okay if I have done my best. I will be able to roll with the punches because I will be flexible enough to make changes.

If other people aren’t as perfect as I expect, I will realize that they are human beings and I can’t control their actions. If I have done my best, I know I can only control my own actions. If I need to do something in order to accomplish what I need to do, then I just need to do it.

If my craft projects aren’t perfect, I will know that it may be a learning experience and see what I should have done differently to make the project better. This way I won’t make the same mistake if I do a similar project. If I can learn something from it, it isn’t a waste of time.

If my yard and gardens aren’t perfect, it is because flowers, weeds, and grass always growing as long as they are alive. I will be thankful that they are living and that I enjoy working outdoors.

I have to accept that my students and their work will never be perfect. That is why they are in school and they are learning skills to help them succeed in life. They will never be perfect and no one can be. I don’t need to lower my expectations as much as I need to help them learn to do their best. Instead of perfection, I need to expect high effort. Putting effort into something is more important than doing it perfectly which is impossible.

When my students know that I’m expecting the impossible, they won’t put any effort into it. I am setting them up for failure and those students know it from the start. Yet, if they know that I’m looking more into how much effort they put towards accomplishing something, they will try harder.

How do you avoid being a perfectionist? How do you help your students learn this skill? Please share.

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Kore Stool – Product Review

I was recently sent a Kids Kore wobble chair to review. It looks like there are many places to buy one of these stools – Retailers.

The stool seems to be made of sturdy plastic and would be easy to clean. It came in 3 parts that easily fit together but doesn’t come apart. It comes in several sizes: toddler (10”), preschool (12”), kids (14”), junior (16”), and pre-teen (18.7”). There is also a limited lifetime warranty on the chair.

I have had a few children try it and they seemed to like it. They could wiggle in their seats without being distracting to the others. The price seemed reasonable for this (varies depending on the size). I noticed on the website that there are also adult adjustable chairs that may be wonderful, but I haven’t tried it.

I would suggest that you go to one of the retailers to look at this chair. I think it is a great option to have in the classroom for those children who just can’t seem to sit still. If you have one already, please leave a comment sharing what you think about it.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Busy Does Not Equal Productive

In Busy is not the point from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters.”

That is my problem. I’m so overwhelmed by all that I have to do that I feel paralyzed and can’t move. I guess that inaction is a survival mode that my body goes into when I feel overwhelmed with the need to act.

We have three big trips planned and they occur one right after the other. That means that I need to basically plan and pack for all three trips at the same time. Now is the time for my lists. As you recall, I’m a BIG list maker! I can’t live without my lists and then the list of lists that I have made. They keep me sane. I know you think this is crazy but it works for me. I think.

I have a list of all the things I need to pack and each trip has a different list. I have a camping list, a cruise list, and a road trip list.

Then I have a list of things that I need to do before we do any trip.

I also have a list of things to do while we are traveling.

Then I have to go through the list of things to do and prioritize them. Of course, they all seem like something that I need to do right now but I try to number them in importance.

I also keep a bullet journal and list the things I need to do today. The joy of checking each one off gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps me from being depressed when I feel overwhelmed.

When I think of all that I need to do, I just keep reminding myself about the saying that asks,  “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

When I’m on a difficult hike, I remind myself that I just need to take one step at a time.

When I look at my weight loss, I remind myself that it is just one pound at a time.

When I’m writing a post for this blog, I remind myself that it is just one word at a time.

When I look at things in this way, I feel a heavy burden lift off my shoulders and everything seems possible.

I need to give my students the same encouragement. I need to help them and encourage them with one word at a time, one gesture at a time, one smile at a time, and one hope at a time.

How do you tackle difficult things? Please share.

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash