Monday, November 23, 2020


In An Experiment in Gratitude from Engage Their Minds, the author shares,

“In “An Experiment in Gratitude,” the host shares the results of a study devised to determine how much gratitude affects happiness.”

This is why I try to pay attention to at least one thing that I’m grateful for each day.

I feel like if I can at least find one thing, I know there are many others. Instead of focusing on the negative stuff, I want to find the good things in my life. I

It is always so easy to focus on the things we regret or the things we wish we had. It is easier to have a pity party than to see the good things in our life.

Sometimes we might have to dig deep to find the things we are grateful for but once we start this habit, it gets easier over time. The more I do this, the easier it is to find more than one thing. Before long, I start finding more things that I’m grateful for than things that I’m not. I started being thankful for the little things and not just the big things. I started realizing it is the little things that I take for granted but if they weren’t in my life, the big things wouldn’t happen. Suddenly I realized that I need to be thankful for all the little things that add up to the big things.

I also realize that the study is right. The more I’m grateful for, the happier I feel. The happier I feel, the more confident I feel that my life is going in the right direction. I’m able to make better decisions. I’m able to enjoy my daily life more and more. I think I’m a much happier person than I was and that other people see me this way too.

I want my students to feel this way. Many students are depressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. Maybe by focusing on gratitude, I can change their outlook on their own lives. Once they can start feeling better about their life, they can start acting more confident and making better decisions.

It would be good to have students start a gratitude journal. It is okay to be thankful for the same thing every day but if they put the same thing down, they need to add one thing new. I would explain that this will get easier as we continue to do this. After 3 months, I would have them reflect on whether it is getting easier. Then I would do the same after 6 months. It will be interesting to see how they respond. Then I will ask them if they think their life is better now or 6 months ago. I think they will even be surprised by their answers.

What are you grateful for? Do you think about this on a daily basis? Give it a try.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Friday, November 20, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/20/2020

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

The First Thanksgiving – activities to do for Thanksgiving (L:E,M;SA:SS)

Balloons over Broadway – “This is a roundup of Balloons Over Broadway STEM activities and lesson ideas – both with and without technology – to use the week of Thanksgiving, the week after Thanksgiving, or anytime in November!” (L:E,;SA:SS)

Thanksgiving Digital Breakout Box – A Thanksgiving puzzle to work out (L:E,;SA:SS)

Better Thanksgiving Potatoes Through Chemistry – “Making delicious roasted potatoes is all about finding the right texture and consistency. Here at Reactions, we were inspired to give it a go after seeing J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s delicious recipe on Serious Eats. Today we’ll use chemistry (are you surprised?!) to create the roasted potatoes of your dreams. Get ready to wow your family and friends this holiday season.” (L:H;SA:S)

The Truth About Tryptophan – “Enjoy this compilation of Thanksgiving turkey chemical deliciousness! We’re celebrating the holiday with our favorite food science bits and pieces.” (L:H;SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Emotional Support

Recently I attended a stress webinar that was excellent. Even though I knew a lot of the things shared, I was reminded that I don’t always do the things I need to do in order to help myself. Like being on an airplane where you put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others, I need to make sure I’m dealing with my own stress before I can help others.

One question asked was:

How many people are plugged into you?

This means - How many people do you support emotionally? Sometimes when you have too many people plugged into you, they are sucking out the energy and it is important that you replace this energy before you get depleted.

Giving occupations such as teachers, cops, firefighters, and medical personnel usually attract people who are very giving. They give so much that over time it can affect their health if they don’t practice self-care habits. When I was growing up, I was always taught that practicing self-care habits are selfish, I don’t think that people realize how detrimental that was, but I know that they hoped to teach children that giving was more important than taking.

I think we still can teach children the importance of giving but we need to teach them also about balancing with self-care. This is not being selfish. I think this will help people be more giving because they will have more energy and not feel overwhelmed.

I think it is important to find an outlet that you can do on a regular basis in order to recharge yourself. It may be a hobby or exercise, but you need to plan for it in your schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be huge amounts of time and can be as short as 30 minutes every day or every other day. There may be times that you skip it but make sure these times are rare and your special time is not set aside for other things. Your special time is as important or even more important than anything else. When you set aside these times, don’t feel guilty about taking “me” time and when you do feel guilty, remind yourself that you are just recharging your battery so others can plug into you.

I try to take time every morning to write in my bullet journal. I include at least one thing that happened the day before that I’m grateful for. I also have a prayer book and will add a few things that I’m praying for today. I try to exercise for an hour at least 4 times a week and if I do more, I’m ahead of the game. I also knit which I find very relaxing.

What do you do to recharge your battery? Please share.

Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Showing Work

In Show no work from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“Show us why the logic holds up. Tell us how this has happened before.”

Whenever I teach a math skill, I always want the students to show their work. This tells me that they aren’t just guessing an answer. I’ve heard this saying in several situations lately and it applies to this situation: Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and then. If you keep guessing at an answer, you might get the answer right some of the time and wrong some of the time without ever knowing why.

Many students find that having to show their work is tedious. They believe they know the answer and just want to write it down. Some students are in a hurry to finish the assignment and having to show their work takes longer. Some students don’t want to show their work because they really don’t understand the concept and aren’t sure how to show the work.

One way to help students with showing their work is to list the steps they need to follow in order to show their work. This list can be posted on the board or each student is given their own personal copy to follow. This will give them more confidence when they have to show their own work.

I think it is also important to explain to students why I want them to show their work. I think if they understand the reason why they should do something, the more willing they will do this even if they don’t want to do it.

Reasons for showing work:
  • I will know that you didn’t just use a calculator.
  • I will know that someone didn’t give you the answer.
  • You can show me that you know where to start in solving the problem.
  • You know the steps to follow in order to solve the problem.
  • You understand what operation you need to use in order to solve the problem.
  • If you got a wrong answer, I would know which step you used was the problem.
  • You will be able to see where you went wrong when we review the work you have given.
  • Once you are getting the right answer consistently while showing work, you will be allowed to stop showing your work.
Do you have students show their work? How do you get them to do this? Please share.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I Hope You’re Listening – Book Review

I recently read I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan. I read a review copy compliments of Netgalley and I am not being paid to give this review.

Something happens to her best friend that traumatizes Dee. Now Dee has to go on with life and we rejoin her ten years later. The story tells how Dee is still coping with what happened and how she is actively trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. Then something happens that brings the past into the present and Dee has to make some difficult decisions.

This is a great book for high school students to read. It can open up discussions about peer relationships, traumatic situations, kidnappings, podcasts, making differences, personal safety, and media involvement. I could see students acting out different scenes or maybe creating their own podcasts.

I enjoyed the book so much that I couldn’t put it down! The story was captivating and exciting. I wanted to find out what would happen and how Dee resolves her issues. I would highly recommend this for a high school library.