Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy Memories

happyIn Keep your audience captivated: article in GTC Scotland magazine from Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education, Ewan McIntosh asks,

"Take a moment to recollect your happiest memories as you learned something new. Where were you? What kind of activity did you undertake?

I learned to knit about seven years ago. I was at home alone and decided to teach myself to knit by watching YouTube videos. It is amazing how many videos there were out there on knitting and seeing different people using different techniques really helps to find one way that works for me. I loved being able to create something new that looked nice. It is so rewarding when others see the finished product and say how much they like it. I also found a local group who helps and supports me when I struggle with a problem. I learn so much from being a part of this group too.

I need to remember these memories and good feelings so I can help my students feel the same way.

Try to make the learning relevant. If there is a certain skill I want them to learn, can I find a way to teach it while focusing on a topic that they are interested in? If it is a topic they are interested in, they will be more engaged and willing to learn something new.

I want them to learn new things but they may to see different ways in order to find the best way that works for them. By expecting them to learn only one way may end up frustrating them more than helping them. Allow them to explore different ways until they find the way that works. This means I have to step back and give them time and space to find it.

Creating new things feels so good that I need to encourage my students to do the same thing. When they are creating things, I don’t have to worry about cheating and puts the burden of learning on the student. Besides that, creating is fun!

Allow students to get in groups to help each other. Sometimes students learn better from each other than from me. Sometimes they can explain things differently than I can. It never hurts to get a different perspective.

What happy memories do you have about learning? Please share.

Image: 'All That Matters'
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Active Listening

listeningIn Put the Laptops Away from Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski  states,

“This is about recognizing what types of learning you are doing in class and when technology makes it richer and when it dilutes…Paying attention to one another is the best use of time. The laptops then provide a wonderful supplement for alone time and thinking.”

We teach our students that there are different tools we use for different purposes. We use almanacs, dictionaries, reader’s guide to periodic literature, and encyclopedias for different uses. We use hammers, saws, and screwdrivers to do different things. We might drive a car or ride a bicycle or simply walk depending on what we want to do and where we want to go.

The same thing applies for using technology or not using technology in the classroom.

Technology (laptops, internet, word processing) would be great to use when researching, looking for information, organizing thoughts. It would be good to use technology when creating something new with other people where you need tools that are available there.

But the exchange of ideas when in a face to face group needs to be done when without technology. Looking at each other’s body language and hearing tones of voices are as important as the ideas themselves. Interaction between people can have a big impact on the idea.

When building something, architects and builders come together and discuss the actual plans. The face to face meeting is as important as the blueprints. They may work separately to complete their individual tasks but when they have to collaborate to create the final product, it takes more than separate jobs. It takes the meeting of the minds, collaboration of ideas, and working together to solve any problems that may come up to end up with a final product that both can feel proud of doing.

Technology is great for the initial stages and supplementing ideas but it cannot be the only thing.

When collaborating, we need to stop and listen to others but this can’t be done if we work individually focusing on ourselves instead of others. We may be hearing others but not listening to what is said. Listening involves the participant taking an active part and hearing is a passive action.

So, when I have class discussions, everyone will put away technology. If I am sharing information, then I don’t mind people using what they need to take notes or find information.

How do you feel about the use of technology in the classroom? Please share.

Image: 'My Listening Ears'
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Trip to New York 2014

DSCF0369Last week we spent time on Long Island, NY with my family. I was amazed how different the area looks like and then I realized that even though I spent my first 17 years here, I’ve been in South Carolina for 38!

It was a lot of fun going to my niece’s daughter’s soccer game over the weekend. I’m amazed how skilled the 10 to 12 year old girls were! It was also hotter than usual for New York so the humidity felt a lot like home!

Day 1 Pictures

Day 2 Pictures


NYC 2014 Day 1 Pictures

1. Parked near the Babylon train station (.25 for each hour so we put 15 quarters in the meter) while we took the train into New York City. It is so much fun to just people watch while we wander around the city. My husband loves to ride the trains and the subway! There are so many people in one area that we aren’t used to it!

2. Staten Island Ferry was free. We had great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

3. Chinatown – saw where my mother grew up. Ate dim sum at Hop Shing (9 Chatham Square). Lunch cost $11 plus $2 tip. Saw a Chinese funeral. Walked through the park where a lot of elderly Chinese people were playing cards and some kind of board game.

4. Union Square – went to Lion Brand Yarn Studio

5. Times Square – stopped at Hard Rock CafĂ© (clean bathrooms). McDonalds had large teas for $1.

6. Broadway – found the August Wilson theater (Wed. Jersey Boys tickets). Stopped outside the Late Show with David Letterman. Henrik Lundquvist (goalie for the NY Rangers showed up!). Met Fernando (doorman of the Broadway Theater) who invited us in and gave us a tour of the theater which was playing Cinderella. He showed us the set and the costumes.

7. Radio City Music Hall

8. Rockefeller Center


NYC 2014 Day 2 Pictures

We started the day off by going to Brooklyn to the NY Transit Museum. Then we went to Grand Central Terminal which is still beautiful. After that we went to Chinatown again for lunch. After lunch we went to Wall St. and Federal Hall where George Washington took his oath as our first President.


NYC 2014 Day 3 Pictures

We had an awesome day in the city yesterday. We walked along the High Line park which was free. It was a park on an old elevated train track. Then we walked around the city until lunch time. We had lunch at Carnegie Deli where I had a pastrami sandwich which was so huge and cost $18! After lunch we went to see the Jersey Boys and it was fabulous! Even my hubby liked it and he usually doesn’t like musicals.


We spent the morning looking for an air pump because I left ours at home by mistake. This took all morning because my husband refused to buy one from the company called Slime. We ended up at Lowes and buying a Kobalt one. Then we met my sister and brother in law for lunch at TGI Fridays. In the afternoon we repacked our suitcases and then packed the car.

Things I Learned:

1. Youth League soccer games are fun to watch.

2. Allow people to get off the subway before getting on.

3. Reading train schedules can be daunting but eventually figured out.

4. Mondays are black Mondays on Broadway where most theaters do not have any shows playing.

5. Henrik Lundquvist will end up in the Hockey hall of fame

6. After walking 10 miles, my feet hurt!

7. The NY Transit Museum was worth seeing.

8. I’m glad we went to The High Line which was better than we expected.

9. Theodore Roosevelt was born in Manhattan in NY.

10. If you want to buy something at the store of a Broadway show, it is better to go after the show than during the intermission.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/12/14

tools2Here 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

Math Word Wall Posters – free posters to download (L:E; SA:M)

Newseum Digital Classroom - Primary sources, interactives, videos and lesson plans bring history, journalism and the First Amendment to life for students. (L:M,H; SA:SS)

ReadWorks – “ReadWorks provides research-based units, lessons, and authentic, leveled non-fiction and literary passages directly to educators online, for free, to be shared broadly.The ReadWorks curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the standards of all 50 states. Most importantly, ReadWorks is faithful to the most effective research-proven instructional practices in reading comprehension.” (L:E; SA:LA)

What gives a dollar bill its value?“The value of money is determined by how much (or how little) of it is in circulation. But who makes that decision, and how does their choice affect the economy at large? Doug Levinson takes a trip into the United States Federal Reserve, examining how the people who work there aim to balance the value of the dollar to prevent inflation or deflation.” (L:M,H; SA:SS, M)

ABCYa’s 100 Number Chart – “The One Hundred Number Chart Game is a fun and educational activity for children learning numbers. The chart will help children to see relationships and patterns between numbers one to one hundred. To play the game children must place numbers on the correct spot of the chart.” (L:E; SA:M)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 11, 2014


bloggingOn September 16th, I will have been posting on this blog for 7 years! Yes, I have been doing this for 7 years – Monday through Friday. I don’t think I have missed too many times overall. If you told me 7 years ago that I would be blogging this long, I would never have believed you!

I thought I would give this a try back then and hoped that I would have something to write about. I promised myself that if it wasn’t fun, that I would stop.

I have continued blogging here because:

· I like writing.

· I like sharing my thoughts.

· I have learned a lot by reading comments and links to other blogs.

· I have grown professionally.

· I have learned about new tools, techniques, and strategies for the classroom.

· I have been involved in discussions about educational trends.

· I like the conversations that develop with others.

· I have made new friends and met some of them in real life.

· I enjoy doing this!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts and if you have any suggestions or topics you want me to write about, please contact me.

If you have been coming back to read what I have written, I truly thank you. You are important to me!

Image: 'blogging'
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