Friday, July 30, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom

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

City X Project - “The City X Project toolkit is the most educationally relevant introductory 3D printing and design thinking curriculum available for 8 to 12 year-olds. It is a detailed guide to facilitating the City X Project workshop with your own students. Though it is best run with a 3D printer, the City X Project still works great using just free 3D modeling software recommended in our instructor’s guide.” (L:E,;SA:SS, M, LA)

Whimsical - “Whimsical is a unified collaboration medium combining docs and whiteboards.” (L:T,;SA:A)

Circly - “Visual organizer platform for you and your team.” (L:T,;SA:A)

Facing History and Ourselves - “Get more Teaching Ideas, Explainers, strategies and other resources for addressing current events and tough topics with your students.” (L:T,;SA:SS)

EdForm - “Transform your worksheets into interactive auto-graded digital activities.” (L:T,;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway

A couple of weekends ago, I went hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway with my husband. It really showed me how out of shape I was and how I need to lose weight. Nothing like a reality check to wake you up! Many of my students don’t get out in nature much so I always like to share pictures with them about my hikes. Here is a video I made from that hike. I hope you enjoy it! 

Video made by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


(During the summer months, I like to take the A-Z Challenge and come up with words alphabetically and see how they apply to education. I think it’s a great exercise for teachers and students to give this a try.)

Many of my students have failed so many times that they don’t feel like they have any worth. It is so sad to see a person so downtrodden at such a young age. They don’t have any hope and have such a lack of energy to even try to get better. They feel so lonely and just want to give up.

One of the first things I do in my class is to try to change this around. I don’t feel like we can move forward until I can show them that there is hope. They can succeed and I am here to help them. They are not alone.

I start off by introducing the class motto: I am a Born Winner! They have to write this on every paper they turn in for a grade. I start off the morning by having everyone say this together. Throughout the class, I may stop and ask individual students what our class motto is. Before they leave my class, everyone says this together. Eventually, they start believing it.

I also find out what levels they are learning at. At first, I may give an assignment that I know they can complete successfully. I may give several assignments like this so that they start having some successful experiences. Then I slip in some harder work and I stay close to help them navigate the work successfully. Eventually, I wean my assistance from them until they can do it on their own. Sometimes they don’t even realize that they have been successful. I tell them it is like learning to ride a bike. Sometimes there is someone holding their bike as they learn and then all of a sudden they can do it all by themselves.

I also try to learn something new with them. Sometimes I make mistakes but it is good for them to see this. I try to explain that making mistakes doesn’t change my worth at all. It is the motivation for me to not give up and to try harder.

I also explain that everyone has their individual strengths and no one is great at everything. Just because someone is better at something than I am doesn’t make that person better than I am. It is when we put our individual strengths together that make us stronger.

Once students start having hope that they can succeed, they are willing to take risks. Once they see that failure or success does not measure a person’s worth, they are more comfortable with trying new things.

How do you help students see their worth? Please share.

Photo by Sabrinna Ringquist on Unsplash

Tuesday, July 27, 2021


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Monday, July 26, 2021


(During the summer months, I like to take the A-Z Challenge and come up with words alphabetically and see how they apply to education. I think it’s a great exercise for teachers and students to give this a try.)

Again, I have a balancing act with adding variety in the class. I know that my students find success in structure but I want there to be some variety in order to keep the students engaged. Here are some ways that I can have variety and still have structure.

Without variety, students may become bored and not as successful. By introducing some variety, it will help to keep students engaged in learning. When students are engaged, there are fewer behavior problems.

Have the same routine of activities but change the topics.

Allow students to suggest topics that they want to learn more about.

Allow students a choice of activities (pick 3 out of the 4 or 5 choices).

From a list of 4 assessments, let students choose which assessment they want to do.

Allow students to choose how they want to share information that they researched.

Variety is a good thing to have because variety will always happen in everyone’s life. It is better to learn to adjust to variety while students have a support system. Warn students ahead of time of any changes to their “routine” so the change will be easier to adjust to.

How do you incorporate variety in the classroom? Please share.