Friday, October 24, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 10/24/14

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

Wildscreen Arkive – “With the help of the world’s best wildlife filmmakers and photographers, conservationists and scientists, we are creating an awe-inspiring record of life on Earth. Freely accessible to everyone and preserved for the benefit of future generations, ARKive is a truly invaluable resource for conservation, education and public awareness.” (L:G; SA:S)

Jeopardy Rocks – create an online jeopardy game in minutes (L:G; SA:A)

Go Soapbox - GoSoapBox is a web-based clicker tool used by educators around the world to keep students engaged and gain real-time insight into student comprehension. (L:G; SA:A)

CyArk – “free, 3D online library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time.”, Lesson plans included for teachers(L:G; SA:A)

eQuizShow – Create an online jeopardy game or use one already created (L:G; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Changing is Hard


changeIn Nobody likes to hear it from Dangerously Irrelevant, Scott McLeod shares,

“… we DO need to change, we DO need to do things differently, and we are NOT there yet.”

My husband hates change. He likes things to be the same when he works on his computer and if a website that he goes to regularly, changes its look, I hear about it! He says it is like learning something new all over again.

He likes his routine to be pretty much the same and when things get out of whack, he forgets certain things and he feels disoriented.

Well, we just returned from a trip and things are topsy turvy in our home. I have 6 inches of dust everywhere and my house needs a deep cleaning. My satellite dish didn’t work and after awful service over the phone, we decided to switch companies. Then we had the cable company install cable in our house which delayed the cleaning. On and on the saga goes. But the bottom line is that, I forgot to post this article this morning.

I look forward to getting back in a routine again. It seems to settle me down and I can focus on the non routine things that need my attention. I miss this routine when we travel and I think I need to come back home and get back into my routine to ground myself.

My students seem to feel the same way. After vacations and holidays, they seem to look forward to returning to school and getting back into the routine.

But sometimes we just the routine as a safety net which can turn into a crutch. Instead of broadening our horizons and learning new things, we yell about having to change and want things to be the way they were.

We need to find that line between the security of what was and the excitement of learning new things. If someone hadn’t learned how to do new things, we would still be riding in horse and buggies or living in the dark ages.

We need people who are willing to be daring and face the unknown. But we need the people who are willing to be in the background for security when things don’t go the way we hoped for. But the main thing is that we need to support each other. We need to encourage those who try the new things and we need to be thankful to those who are there to catch those that fall. But we shouldn’t let each other stay in the rut of never changing or always changing.

How do you feel about change? Please share.

Image: 'Seasons Change'
Found on

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Road Trip to New York 2014

Last week headed to New York and the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Our adventure continues.

Here is the link to my pictures!

10/15/14 – New York

DSC_0006Today was kind of a rough day. We drove to our hotel in Lake George (The Georgian Lakeside Inn) which was supposed to have a restaurant and a couple of bars. It sounded lovely online. When we drove through town, we found that most of the town was closed for the season (even the McDonalds!). When we tried to check in at 1pm, we were told that the room wouldn’t be ready until after 3. When I asked about the restaurant or bars, I was told they were closed for the season and the girl was pretty rude about it. We ended up calling and asking to cancel our reservation without penalties since the hotel wasn’t as advertised. They immediately cancelled without any penalty. Then we drove to Kingston to find a motel for the night. On the way down we stopped at Martin Van Buren’s home and took a tour which was pretty interesting. We had a coupon for the Super Lodge and it seemed pretty nice. Then we went to the Stadium Diner for a wonderful dinner. For $9.95, I had the senior dinner which included a large bowl of mushroom soup, a large tossed salad, a huge hamburger steak with onions and gravy plus a baked potato. Included was also a large bowl of ice cream with whipped cream! On the way back to the motel, we turned in the wrong exit of a roundabout and looked up to a toll booth! When we told the girl we took the wrong turn and needed to go back, she told us to make a u-turn. We didn’t know we had to go through the cash only line and ended up going through the EZ Pass line. When we got back to the hotel, I immediately called EZ Pass and the girl said that when I got a violation letter in the mail, I just needed to write a letter and ask that they waive the violation fee.

10/16/14 – New York

DSC_0003We had a lovely day yesterday. We drove up to Albany to tour the USS Slater – the only destroyer escort ship still around. My hubby served on one of these in the navy in 1969 so he really enjoyed seeing it. We didn’t know it existed until we saw the brochure in the motel lobby! Then we drove down to Hyde Park and spent the rest of the day at FDR’s home. We took a tour of his house and enjoyed it. We decided to use another $55 coupon for the Super Lodge in Kingston. Then we had dinner again at the Dietz Stadium Diner.

10/17 – New York

DSC_0001We went to take a tour at the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park and then to the Eleanor Roosevelt Site after that. After lunch we headed back to Kingston to check in the Super 8 where we will be spending the weekend. My sister and her friends arrived and after chatting with them, we left for dinner while they went to the Indie trunk show next door. When we got back from dinner, we walked over to the trunk show and I saw Wendy, Lois, MadaboutMatisse, Diane, and SO Waters! Then I came back and knit in the breakfast area for a while with my sister and her friends.

10/18 – NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Link to pictures here.
DSCF1011It was a wonderful day! We got in line about 7:30 and bought our tickets ($17 for a weekend pass each). By 9am, they let us in the gates and we headed to Bldg. C where I got 2 skeins of Miss Babs Rhinebeck colorway in the yummy sock base. Then we walked around. I was so thrilled to meet people in person that I know online. At the Ravelry meetup I met Alana Dakos, Hannah Fetig, The Savvy Girls (Melanie and Deborah), Jadee, Stockinette Zombies (Megan and Amy), and Knitting in Circles (Darin and Amy). At Jamlknitter (Lisa)’s birthday celebration in the beer garden, we met up with Wendy, Lois, and Sheila along with BostonJen. After dinner, I came back to the motel to knit with my sister and her friends until bedtime.

10/19 – NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

We got there too early because I thought it opened at 9am but it didn’t open until 10am. Don stayed in the car until it opened but I visited with other knitters. We walked around and I bought a few more things. It was great to see Caron (from home) and her friend Charlie. It got so cold that we left around 2pm. On the way out, I stopped and talked to Leslie from The Knitgirllls Podcast.

Things I Learned:

1. Martin Van Buren was the first American born President.
2. FDR’s library was the first presidential library.
3. NY Sheep and Wool festival was huge!
4. Bring your own drinks and snacks with you to a festival like this.
5. It is good to get an early start and miss the traffic.
6. Bring a big tote bag to hold your goodies.

Original photos by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knowing Better Doesn’t Always Mean Doing Better

cementIn A Head Like Concrete from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

Is your head like concrete about some things? What are they?”

There are times that know I should do something but I don’t. My heart is willing but my head is not.

I know that I should eat sensibly and keep away from a lot of carbs. I am trying to eat more protein and not a lot of carbs and sugar. But then when I’m hungry and the food is in front of me, all sensibility flies out the window. Or if the food at the restaurant is a good price and it is my favorite food, I’m getting it! I know that isn’t the best way to be but I do it. I also think in the morning that I will drink more water so I won’t be so hungry when we eat meals and then I won’t be tempted. But I really don’t like water so I drink diet pepsi which is also not good for you.

I also think if I increase my exercise, it will help with the calorie balance but since we have been traveling, I spend a lot of time in the car and don’t have a chance to walk as much as I like. This is frustrating because when I get home, I have to start from square one all over again. Before our journey, I tell myself that I will get on the treadmill each morning at the hotel but then I don’t. Again, my heart is willing but the head just won’t do it.

I know all the “rules” or suggestions but my head is like concrete and won’t absorb the information.

I can see my students feeling the same way. I can hear them planning on studying and getting good grades but then sensibility (or life) gets in the way. There are more exciting activities than studying. Sometimes they try their best but it still isn’t enough so frustration sets in. In the same way as losing weight for me, their heart is willing but the head is concrete.

I need to appreciate that they may be going through the same feelings that I am about different things. It might be good to openly discuss this. We may be able to find ways to support and encourage each other. Maybe we will be able to find a soft spot in that concrete head.

Do you have any suggestions on how to get around this? Please share.

Image: 'Underground Garages Entrance'
Found on

Monday, October 20, 2014

Road Trip to New Hampshire and Vermont 2014

Last week we left Maine and headed to New Hampshire and Vermont. Our adventure continues.

Here is the link to my pictures!

10/12/14 – New Hampshire

DSCF0893We left Maine and drove to North Conway, NH for a train ride on the Conway Scenic Railway. It cost $59 per person and lasted for about 5 hours. It was a nice train ride and the fall colors were fabulous! We sat on one side on the way to Fabyan and then they announced that on the way back, everyone had to switch sides. The scenery was beautiful but almost impossible to take good pictures from a moving train.

10/13/14 – Vermont

DSC_0008We had a lovely day in Vermont. We ended up driving along the road that the train traveled by yesterday and we got to look at the sights again from the car. First we took a free tour of a maple sugar factory and bought a box of pure maple candy. Then we went to Cabot where we took a tour of the cheese factory for $2 each. We drove to Stowe but left because we had to find a new hotel room other than the one we booked (see the story below). We stopped in Montpelier and thought the town looked cute but the visitor center rep recommended that we find a hotel room as soon as possible because they fill up fast. We found a cute motel in Barre, VT called Hilltop Inn of Vermont. We had a coupon for $59 and it is a lovely room with a tiny kitchen and sitting area. For lunch, the desk clerk recommended the Wayside restaurant which was absolutely wonderful! Then we did laundry ($10 to wash and dry one load) which seemed to take about 2 hours but at least we have clean clothes now.

Disappointed in an Airbnb reservation we had for tonight. We were supposed to be at a B&B in a double bed/private bath. Yesterday afternoon, the host emails me and tells me that they are going to a museum today and won’t be able to clean that room after the last guest leaves so they moved us to 2 rooms with single beds and no bath. The bathroom is in the hall. She didn’t think I would mind since her and her husband enjoy separate beds when they vacation! We’ve only slept apart 2 times in 32 years! Plus there won’t be anyone there when we get there so just make ourselves at home! Hubby refuses to go into a house with no one there (what if we got the wrong house or what if this is a scam and not really there house!). Plus, how safe would we be or even our belongings because there wouldn’t be anyone there to give us a key. So we called the credit card company and asked for a refund (I was charged for the full amount when we made our reservation in August) and will have to find somewhere else for the next 2 nights.

10/14/14 – Vermont

After breakfast at the motel, we headed to the Rock of Ages visitor center where we bought tickets for the 9:15 tour of the quarry. It cost $5.50 for adults and they gave a AAA discount plus senior discount for Don so we only paid $9.50 total for the 45 minute tour. Art was a great tour guide as we rode the school bus to the quarry. Before the tour though, we watched a short video that explained a little of the background. After the tour, we went into the factory for a self-guided tour where we watched the people make monuments from the slabs of granite. Then we went downtown Montpelier and had a tour of the Capitol building and walked downtown. Don found an antique store right next door to a knitting store! Then we drove to the Hope Cemetery to look at the unusual headstone sculptures made by the sculptors for their own graves. After that we hunted for the floating bridge (road on huge floating barrels) but when we found it, it was under reconstruction and wouldn’t open until 2015. We decided to spend another night at the same hotel as last night since the price was right and included breakfast.

Things I Learned:

1. The pure maple candy has only 40 calories per piece.

2. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

3. Cabot cheese is a coop of many different dairies.

4. Vermont law only allows 25 tons on the roads.

5. Barre granite is monument grade granite and it has feldspar, mica, and quartz in it.

6. Many people have died from the granite dust in their lungs.

7. There used to be hundreds of sculptors (mostly Italian) but now there is only 1 at the factory.

8. Now most of the etching is done with sand blasting and rubber for the stencils.

9. Vermont is the only one of the 6 New England states that is landlocked.

10. There are many nautical themes in the Capitol building.

11. That Capitol building was destroyed once by fire and the portico is the only thing saved from the fire.

Original photos by Pat Hensley