Friday, June 24, 2016

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/17/16

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

Great Questions – “Here are some of our suggestions for getting a good conversation going. We encourage you to use the ones you like and to come up with your own. This list is in no particular order. Choose one of the categories below, or scroll through and read them all.(L:G; SA:A)

Triventy – “Write your own questions, or customize any quiz from our extensive library. You'll be able to mark your quiz as a collaborative quiz and invite students to add questions to it.” (L:G; SA:A)

Teach Your Monster To Read - The groundbreaking game that makes learning to read fun. Covers everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences. Designed in collaboration with leading academics. Complements all synthetic phonics programmes used in schools. Computer version is 100% free.” (L:E; SA:LA)

FRED Activities – “Looking for a quick way to master the basics of FRED, the St. Louis Fed's free economic data website? This online guide to 10 step-by-step activities prepares users to find and graph economic data. The guide also shows how to customize, save, and share a FRED graph.(L:M,H;SA:SS)

Public Domain Collectionsfrom the NY Public Library; “Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in our Digital Collections are in the public domain? That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways. The Library now makes it possible to download such items in the highest resolution available directly from the Digital Collections website.” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 23, 2016

G is Gracious

According to Merriam and Webster, Gracious means “marked by kindness and courtesy; graceful; marked by tact and delicacy; merciful, compassionate.”

Students learn to be gracious by watching others. I don’t believe that this is something people are born with but learn from others.

Teaching in a class where students have different or multiple disabilities, the students have faced ridicule and teasing for most of their life. It is hard for them to see graciousness in many people.

I start the year by making this a kind of treasure hunt. I have them actively looking for examples where people are kind, courteous, merciful, or compassionate. We talk about all of these behaviors and ways that people can exhibit them. The can’t find them if they don’t know what they are looking for. By having them look for specific examples, it makes the students more observant and receptive to behaviors other than ridicule and teasing. It helps them see that not everyone is like that.

At the end of the first week, I ask for specific examples that they have found. Each person that can share at least 1 situation, receives a reward. The next week they have to find 2 situations and the next week 3 and the last week 4. By then they are actively looking for this and it makes it easier. Then I switch to once a month to make sure they are still looking and observing.

I have found that since graciousness is such a positive behavior, the students don’t react so much to the negative behavior to them because they are so intent on looking for the positive behaviors in people. Sometimes they even ask their family and friends to help them identify this and that extends this activity to others.

I have also found that the more they look at these behaviors, the more they start trying to be gracious to others. I start seeing my students mentioning the behaviors of those closer to them. This improves the self concept of others because they start seeing that other recognize their actions.

Eventually this observing and acting gracious starts becoming a habit and the behavior in the classroom and outside of the classroom improves.

How do you teach students how to be gracious? Please share. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

F is Fear of Failure

Over and over again, I hear people talk about being afraid to try things. I believe that they aren’t so much afraid of trying as they are afraid of failing.

As we grow up, we are made to feel ashamed of failing; to see failure as a bad thing.

How many times did the Wright brothers fail?

How many times did Alexander Graham Bell fail?

How many times did Lincoln fail?

I don’t think failure is so bad as much as how you deal with it.

If you accept it, and refuse to try again or try to do better or differently, then it is bad.

By seeing our failures and working to overcome them, we are also being good role models for others to see.

I think as adults, if we make children feel bad about failure we are doing the wrong thing. Instead we should be helping them see why they failed and help them find success.

I think that is one of the most important thing we can do as adults.


How do you feel about failure? Please share.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

E is Etiquette

According to Merriam-Webster: “the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life”

It seems like we don’t teach etiquette anymore. These are the things that can make you stand out as special – in a good way. These are things that make you feel good about yourself because you are doing nice things. These are the things that make people know that you were brought up “right” and have good breeding.

Here are some of the things that I don’t see on a usual basis anymore (and would like to):
·      Men holding doors open for women (I don’t care if it is sexist, I like it).
·      Holding doors open for the people behind you entering the same door.
·      Sending handwritten thank you notes.
·      Saying please when requesting something.
·      Letting people out of an elevator before entering.
·      Not talking with food in your mouth.
·      Sending an RSVP when you can or can’t attend an event.
·      Setting the table with forks, spoons, and knives in the correct spot.
·      Calling people to see if it is alright to visit them.
·      Dressing appropriately for different types of events.
·      Talking in soft voices when inside public places.
·      Not talking on cell phones in restaurants.
·      Not texting or talking on you cell phone when you are visiting with other people.
·      Allowing other people to go first through doors if you both arrive at the same time.
·      Cleaning up after yourself if you make a mess somewhere.
·      Not gossiping about other people.

I think as a teacher, these are some things that I could teach my students. They are little things and would make them look good when they are around others. Some are just good common sense items.

What are some etiquette that you would like to see others show? Please share.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Traveling Home

On June 5th my knitting retreat ended and we traveled home. The first day we drove 12 hours (13 if you count crossing back into the Eastern Time Zone!) and through 5 different states (MN, WI, IL, IN, MI). Here is the link to my pictures.

6/5/16:
We left Minnesota around 7am and headed east, first stopping in Wisconsin for lots of cheese curds at the Ehlenbach Cheese Chalet ($7/bag). Soon we hit Chicago (I thought the traffic wouldn’t be too bad on a Sunday) and the traffic was horrendous! I will drive hours out of my way next time to avoid Chicago at all costs! Don was not a happy camper! Then we stopped at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for a little while. It was okay but maybe we were still exhausted from the Chicago traffic to really enjoy it. In fact, we were too tired to hike the sandy trails so we drove around and saw the Century of Progress homes built from the 1933 World’s Fair. Eventually we ended up at Detroit around 8pm. It is so nice to be in my home time zone again!! We were unhappy that we spent $14.40 in tolls in IL and IN though! We finally made it to the Hampton Inn Detroit/Southgate and will stay here for three nights using out Hilton honors points (20,000/night which is pretty cheap).

6/6/16:
We got to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan at 9:30. We bought combo tickets for the village and the Henry Ford Museum which came to $75. We spent all day walking around the village and into the historical buildings (most had been moved here from the original location and some were reconstructions). It was well worth the money and we left around 5pm. Then we went back to the hotel room to rest before going to Secret Recipes Family Dining for dinner which was fabulous!

6/7/16:
We arrived at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan at 9:30. The first thing we saw were several Presidents’ limos – Reagan, Kennedy, Eisenhower, FDR. They were Don’s favorite things to see. My favorite thing was the actual chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated. There were several sections: cars, trains, planes, furniture, clocks, engines and dollhouses. It took all day to go through the whole museum and we left at 4:45pm.

6/8/16:
We left Michigan and headed to Ohio. We got to Jackson Center, OH for the Airstream factory tour. Of course we were a couple of hours early so we went to Bodkins for lunch at The Inn Between and had a wonderful lunch. We had chopped sirloin, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans for $5.95. There was not much on either side of the interstate to visit (no antique stores, grocery stores, or any kind of store) so we parked on the side of the road and hung out for an hour. Then we took the 2pm tour which lasted for about 2 hours and it was fabulous (and free)! I would highly recommend the tour to anyone in the area. We met a lot of nice people who were getting their airstreams serviced so they took the tour while they waited. They could camp for free overnight if their camper was getting serviced. Otherwise it was $10 per night.

6/8/16 - 6/10/16 - Dayton, Ohio
Please see last week's post about Dayton, Ohio. We had such a great time and I had so much to write about that I didn't want to overwhelm you with all the details in this post. 

Things I Learned:
1.     Avoid Chicago at all costs!
2.     Make sure you have a drink and napkin when eating cheese curds.
3.     Cheese curds are very salty.
4.     Have plenty of cash available for tolls in IL and IN.
5.     Henry Ford was friends with Thomas Edison and Henry Firestone.
6.     Henry Ford collected historical buildings and brought them to Greenfield.
7.     This village was once known as Edison Institute and used to be a school.
8.     Bring water and snacks when going to the Greenfield Village.
9.     The post office was a working post office.
10.  Going to both – The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village were both worth going to. Plan on spending a full day at each.
11.  The workers at the Airstream factory work 9 hour days Mon. – Thursday and then work 6-10am on Fridays.