Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Favorite Childhood Book

My favorite book (and earliest book that I remember reading) is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

I think I felt it was my first story book that I ever read myself because it wasn’t written in rhyme. I think at the time I felt that hats were magical. If you put on a different hat, you can be someone else. I think I read it more than once over time. For some reason, that book still stays with me some 50+ years later.

I found this book and I read it to my children as they were growing up. I liked sharing a part of my childhood with them. I even read it to my high school students because I liked sharing a part of my childhood with them too. I liked talking about why I liked it and asked my students to share their opinions too.

I think this would be a great activity for students because not that many years have gone by since they first started reading. I think it would be good as a way of getting to know my students too and allowing them to share a part of their childhood with me also.

I would ask them the following questions:
·      What is the first book you remember reading?
·      Why did you like it?
·      Would you read it to your children?

What was your favorite childhood book? How would you answer the questions? What other questions would you ask your students? Please share.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Don’t Wait To Change

You don't need to wait until your decision makes sense to other people. Decisions made on behalf of your own sanity and happiness is reason enough. After all, it's you that actually has to live your life every single day. So why not make it awesome?”

I am always trying to justify changes to a specific time.

I’ll wait until the first of the week to start dieting.

I’ll start my running program on Monday.

I’ll make changes to my lessons next year.

I’ll do… at the start of the school year.

I’ll throw out unused clothing when school ends.

I’ll clean out…at the beginning of summer.

Does any of this sound familiar? I guess it is a form of procrastination and putting off the undesired until a later time.

Now I’m trying not to wait until I decide to do something. I’m trying to live in “today” and not “tomorrow.”

If I’m going to start watching what I eat, then I’m going to do it today. At that time, I’ll also start exercising. Why wait until the beginning of the week or a Monday if I’m ready to start now. There is more likelihood of me following through if I don’t put it off.

I am making changes in lessons as I think of them and not wait until another time because I usually forget to change them then. Then when it is time to reuse the lesson, I can’t always remember what I wanted to change.

I’m trying to throw out or donate at least 5 items of clothing a week. That way I don’t have to waste a chunk of time doing it all at once. This also ensure that I’m moving forward in my actions.

I’m learning that it is best for me not to wait to make changes that I want to make. I’m more likely to do something when I think of it instead of postponing it.

I think this would be good to teach our students. Don’t wait until the next grading period or the next year to start changing your study habits. Don’t wait until the weekend to start on that major project. Instead, start planning your strategies now. Don’t wait until the end of the week to organize your papers. Don’t wait until next year to start doing better. Do it now.

What changes do you want to make that you can start now? Please share. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Back of the Book Blurb #15 Challenge

From Sioux's Page, Sioux offers this challenge.
She posts a picture and you need to imagine it as a graphic for a book. You choose the genre and book title, and then write a blurb that might appear on the back of the book.

·                The blurb should be 150 words or less (not including the title).
·                The genre is wide-open.
·                Each blogger should include their blurb on their own blog, and link back to this post.
·                Have fun with it. Go to the other posts and comment on the other blurbs. 
·                You can do fancy techy things with the photo.

(Join in if you dare...! It sounds like fun! I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students especially since they would be expected to write 150 words or less!)


Everyone gathered at the town meeting in order to vote on some charges being made to their town. Marvin had always been in charge. Now that the young whippersnapper has shown up in his fancy Corvette talking about what he was going to do to improve the town. Marvin was getting angry about all these crazy ideas but Martha was looking at this young guy as if he was wonderful. Marvin didn’t like it and was going to take action. Marvin went up to the new guy and told him not to plan on getting his way without Marvin’s approval. When the new guy asked what made him the boss, Marvin pointed to his car. The tag read HCTM-01 which stood for Here comes The Man #1! Read some more to find out how the new guy reacted to this information!  (141 words)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/20/16

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

Brainflexfrom Ck-12; summer challenge; Invite students to get a head start or review concepts they missed. Utilize free math and science practice daily, which students can do anytime, anywhere. Track your student's progress over the 8-week challenge. (L:G; SA:M,S)

Ck-12 Summer Course for Teachers – “Join our new FlexBook® Jumpstart Program and transform your curriculum! Join us for the full six weeks to maximize your experience or check-in as your schedule allows. We’re here to help you as you walk through the process of creating, customizing, and sharing content. Weekly webinars will bring educators together. Case studies and resource links will inspire you and give you the tools you need to be successful. We’ve even set up a Forum for you to connect with others.” (L:T; SA:A)

Litcharts – “CliffsNotes and every other literature guide series that followed (including SparkNotes) all use long paragraphs of summary followed by long paragraphs of analysis. LitCharts break that mold in several ways: Side-by-Side Summary, Analysis, and Themes: LitCharts present a bulleted-list-style summary of every single plot point in the book side-by-side with analysis and color-coded themes for each point. LitCharts Make Theme Development Visual: Every LitChart includes a color-coded Themes Key, which assigns a specific color to each theme. Readers can then trace the prevalence of themes as they develop throughout the book. LitCharts Improve Close Reading: Close reading has become a crucial skill for English and ELA students in classrooms across the U.S., both in states adopting and not adopting the Common Core. While the analysis in other literature guides is often disconnected from the summary and underlying text, our side-by-side summary and analysis are always examples of close reading. As a result, LitCharts help students understand the text at the closest level, and serve as a model that teaches how to read closely. LitCharts Have Helpful Features That Nobody Else Offers We've applied the same innovative approach that we use in our summary, analysis, and themes to other aspects of our guides. The "charts" in our name originated from our PDFs, which present the same content you'll find on our website and mobile app, but in a beautifully designed chart-based format that's easy to print and share. Teachers love to use our charts as teaching aids in the classroom, and students love using them for quick-reference review for tests and quizzes.” (L:T; SA:LA)

StackupAllow students to explore the web and read what interest them, or create guidelines and assign specific categories or websites to read at. Create challenges to encourage students, and see how they are progressing in live time. Allow students to see other students scores, or chose to keep it private”. (L:G; SA:A)

Bandlab-  “The cloud platform where musicians and fans create music, collaborate and engage with each other across the globe.” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It’s Hard to Be a Teacher

Last week there was a news story about a teacher who humiliated a high school student in the classroom. I wasn’t going to write about this but I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

I think we are going too far in criticizing teachers and giving students who refuse to cooperate attention. This never should have been a news story and I think the school district should have backed up the teacher.

This main thing that I saw in this story was that a student was uncooperative and the teacher was handling the situation. No person was physically touched. The district was forced to respond that the way the teacher handled it wasn’t appropriate. All of this did nothing but undermine the teacher’s authority in the classroom.

I have to tell the story that causes today’s students to roll their eyes. If I had been that student who refused to cooperate, my parents would not have complained that I felt humiliated. They probably would have slapped me into yesterday (and no, I don’t consider that child abuse because they never had to do this. I was smart enough not to want to see yesterday!). Not only was the student’s behavior noncompliant but it was also disrespectful and there is no excuse for disrespect in the classroom.

What is going to happen in the workplace when the worker refuses to cooperate? That person would get fired. No boss is going to tolerate a worker’s parent coming up to complain that the worker felt humiliated!  Are we not supposed to teach students that sometimes they need to do things that they don’t want to do? I’ve had to do many things on the job that I didn’t want to do or felt like it was someone else’s responsibility but if my boss told me to do it, I did it.

By giving the student attention for refusing to cooperate and encouraging parents to argue that their child was humiliated, we are just taking more and more control away from teachers. There needs to be control in the classroom in order for the teacher to teach and meet the needs of all the students. When the teacher has no control, very little learning will take place and it will be a miserable situation for all.

At what point do we draw the line? What if whatever I say in the form of constructive criticism is considered humiliation by the student and/or parent? Teachers can’t be effective in the classroom if they are afraid to say anything.

I’m sorry for the rant but I had to get it off my chest. I feel frustrated for teachers today and I really think they deserve more support from parents, districts, and communities.