Friday, November 27, 2015

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/27/15

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

Zaption PresenterWith Zaption Presenter, any video lesson you’ve created and published can be projected at the front of the room or streamed live for online presentations. Viewers join the presentation on their own devices to respond individually as they watch together. Instructors get real-time data and can add questions on the fly.” (L:T; SA:A)

How to Read Music – YouTube video, “Like an actor's script, a sheet of music instructs a musician on what to play (the pitch) and when to play it (the rhythm). Sheet music may look complicated, but once you've gotten the hang of a few simple elements like notes, bars and clefs, you're ready to rock. Tim Hansen hits the instrumental basics you need to read music.” (L:G; SA:FA)

Where is this? – Geography game; “Study the place shown in the photograph. Where is it on the big map? Try interacting with the image or slideshow to look for more information about the location. Find the location on the map and click the red dot to make your choice, then check your answer. Remember that there are clues to help
you.” (L:M,H; SA:SS)

Space Chef“…is a fast-paced action game designed to provide the starting point needed to build healthy meals using simple, readily-available, and nutritious ingredients. Space Chef requires quick thinking and even quicker fingers as you race against the clock to sort through an array of ingredients and construct healthy recipes. Along the way, you’ll unlock food factoids, discover new Space Chef robots, and have access to over 60 healthy recipes. Start your intergalactic grocery list today...those Sweet Potato Blueberry Squares won’t make themselves!” (L:E,M; SA:LA,S)

Riddle – “create interactive content in 60 seconds.”; great for making online quizzes and polls (L:T; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I’m going to take the time to think about my many blessings (way too many to even make an attempt to write about them here). I hope you and your family have a wonderful day and I hope you have the time to think about the things you are thankful for also.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Messy is not me!

In Embrace the Messy from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

What things do you like to do that are messy? 

I have to confess that I don’t like messy. When things get messy, I feel my stress level increase. I have to straighten things up before I can really settle down to work. I like my work area to be clear or I find the mess very distracting.  The problem is that some of the things I like to do are messy.

I like to cook but it definitely involves mess! When I garden, it involves weeding, which means piles of weed and getting dirty. When I spin, there are usually tufts of fiber flying around in the air or when I’m carding my fiber, there is usually a mess around my chair. Paying bills involve a mess of paper around me until I get it all organized. I love to read so my piles and piles of books seem to look messy but I have them organized according to topics if they are nonfiction and favorites if they are fiction. I have seen posts on pinterest where people organize their books according to colors of the spines but I don’t think I’d be able to find anything I needed if I did that! Plus the mess of trying to organize according to color makes my eyes twitch!

When I am going to cook something, I need to straighten up the kitchen and start with a clean kitchen. If there are dirty dishes in the sink, I have to wash them before doing anything else. Overflowing trash cans drive me crazy.  I also wash the dirty dishes while my food is cooking.  I hate having dirty dishes in my sink overnight so if my husband eats something after I’m in bed and puts the dirty dish and spoon in the sink, I will get out of bed and wash them.

I cannot get into a bed that hadn’t been made up. Every morning I make the bed because I know that when I go to bed, I can’t get in it if it hasn’t been made. I have been known to make up a bed only minutes before getting in it at the end of the day.

When I sit at my computer, I need to have some kind of organization around me before starting on the computer.  I have to put things in organized piles of “save” and “bills to pay” or they will distract me from what I want to do.

This is the same reason I make lists because in my mind, I feel like lists are messy and I want to cross things off of them in order to clear them up.  I also feel like that when I’m crossing things off my lists, I’m making my life more organized and less messy.

Of course, if you came into my office, you might see it as messy and I see it as organized chaos. One man’s messy is another man’s organized chaos. I guess that is why many things are in a holding pattern in my office and really don’t do “work” in there. I end up taking my laptop or knitting or spinning and going to the sunroom or the playroom or the bedroom.

What do you do that is messy? How do you reconcile the mess? Please share.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First World Problems

In Thanksgiving THINKING: "Got a real problem?" from Librarydoor, Paige Jaeger shares a lesson plan and says,

Here's an Inquiry-based lesson to challenge students to overcome struggles or over-look slight "first world problems."  My former library aide used to tell students, "You need to get a real problem." Kids would laugh and get it. Sometimes we just have to call a spade a spade.”

Sometimes I think my problems are the worst thing in the world because they affect me. I guess I get selfish and feel like the world revolves around me and if I have a problem, my life takes priority to everything else. I feel ashamed when I look around at other people and think about some of the problems they face. I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a home, shelter, money to pay bills, and a loving husband. What more do I need?

This reminds me of a quote:

"I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet." -- Ancient Proverb

I need to remember that my problems are all First World Problems and that many people are facing things that affect their lives in a much more serious way. Many people fear for their lives. Many are trying to survive day to day with lack of food or water. Many people have serious illnesses and aren’t sure how much longer they will live.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I need to remember to be thankful for all the things that I’m blessed with. I need to stop complaining about things that really don’t matter. I need to start being more positive and helping to lift others up.

What problems do you have? Are they First World Problems? If not, what can I do to help lift you up? Please share.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Unexpected Results

In I Won't Never Be Wearin' No Meat Dress... But I'm Still Ga-Ga from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

"What experience has happened to you that brought about unexpected results?"

I decided to try knitting even though past experience has not been positive. I remember being a small child and my mother tried to teach me how to knit. I think I hated it because I couldn’t hold the yarn right or the needles right. I couldn’t make anything perfect like she could. My other sisters were very crafty and could do anything they really wanted to do but I didn’t have the same abilities. My middle sister could sew, knit, and crochet. My oldest sister was a very talented artist and I couldn’t draw to save my life. Why in the world did I think at the age of 48, that I could suddenly do something with my hands?

I decided that I had nothing to lose. I was about to retire from teaching and wanted to learn something I could do while we travel. I tried crocheting but I didn’t feel very challenged so I decided to try knitting. I loved knitted items so maybe I could make something. I decided to get on YouTube and find out everything I could about knitting. Then I decided to buy the materials I needed and gave it a try. At first I struggled and talked to my sister about it and she told me that there were two ways of knitting and I might need to try a different way. Once I watched the video on continental knitting and gave it a try, it all clicked. I must have some kind of muscle memory from when I was a child!

Now I love knitting and challenging myself to try new techniques. I also like seeing how I could fit knitting in with educating students. I love my new ability like I never expected to! I feel closer to my mother and wished I had learned more when she was alive but for now this helps when I’m missing her. I never would have thought I would end up feeling this way about knitting.

What has given you unexpected results? Please share.

Original Photo by Pat Hensley