Friday, March 16, 2018

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 3/16/18

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

Front Row – “Front Row helps you deliver the perfect lesson to every student across Math, ELA, Social Studies and Science” (L:G; SA:A)

How do birds learn to sing? – “A brown thrasher knows a thousand songs. A wood thrush can sing two pitches at once. A mockingbird can match the sounds around it — including car alarms. These are just a few of the 4,000 species of songbirds. How do these birds learn songs? How do they know to mimic the songs of their own species? Are they born knowing how to sing? Partha P. Mitra illuminates the beautiful world of birdsong.” (L:H; SA:S)

Science Netlinks – “Science NetLinks is a premier K-12 science education resource produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At Science NetLinks, you'll find teaching tools, interactives, podcasts, and hands-on activities, and all of it is free!” (L:G; SA:S)

Cardio VR – app for Google Cardboard, “When the doctor’s away, who’s going to find all the broken bones and brain worms? You. Using Google Cardboard, enter a virtual reality doctor’s surgery where you search for your patient’s ailment using x-ray vision. And speaking of vision, navigate your way through the diagnosis using your eyes - just look at the eye icon for help.  Cardio is a fun, child-friendly and gender-neutral immersive experience. There is no win or lose, just come and enjoy the surgery. (L:E; SA:S)

Cueprompter – “CuePrompter is a free teleprompter/autocue service. Your browser works like a teleprompter -no extra software needed. Free for any use (both commercial and non-commercial).” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, March 15, 2018

No Excuses

In Get Rid of Excuses and Get Ahead from Cool Cat Teacher Blog by, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher, asks,

“Are you making excuses for yourself? Are you blaming others? If others are truly at fault, how will you respond?”

I tend to make excuses when I’m trying not to do what I know needs to be done. To avoid what I should be doing, I do all the other things that I normally avoid. This way, I feel like I’m doing things I don’t like, so I don’t feel so bad. I rationalize that I’m doing things that had to be done. When in reality, if I put them off for longer, it wouldn’t really matter. I’m only making an excuse not to do what I need to do.

I really don’t blame others but I do put a lot of blame on myself. Sometimes I blame myself so much that I feel bad and don’t want to try. Then I think that this is just an excuse to avoid failure. I guess it is just a vicious cycle and I have to really work hard to break out of it.

I’ve started a new routing where I list all the things I have to do. I am making myself do them in the order of the worst is the first. Once I get the worse thing out of the way, it actually makes the others easier to do. I’m learning that I can get a lot more done this way and still have time to do the things that I want to do.

In fact, since I’m not finding excuses not to do things, I’m getting more things done. I’m happier with my productivity.

Of course, realistically, there are some things that have to be done first, even if it isn’t the worst. But if I move things like that off the list and only list things that I have flexibility with, it makes things less overwhelming. It is like taking one step at a time rather than being overwhelmed by the big picture.

Others might not find the list of things I do as horrible as I do but each individual may see things differently.

I think if I had my students do this, it would help them be more productive also. I think my students would be more successful in their daily living.

How do you get around your own excuses? Please share.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Being Me

“Are you an imitation or an original? Being original doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be famous, but I can promise you that if you’re not an original, you have no hope of being memorable. There’s no such thing as a famous Elvis impersonator.”

When I started hiking with my hiking group, I fell a lot. I mean A LOT. I worked hard with keeping up with everyone’s pace. I looked at what people were carrying in their packs and tried to put a lot of the same things in mind. I thought the more I hiked, the better I would get at it.

Then I realized that I was trying too hard to be like everyone else. I wanted to be able to hike at their pace and carry all the weight that they did. But it was impossible to do this. And it just made me miserable.

Once I learned to hike at a pace that I was comfortable with, I was actually able to keep up with everyone and didn’t fall once. I carried what was important to me in the weight that I was comfortable with. The hikes became more enjoyable.

This is how I felt when I began teaching. I observed experienced teachers and their classrooms. I wrote down things they did that seemed to make their class successful. Then I went back to my own classroom and tried to replicate what that teacher did. But, as you can probably figure out, it didn’t have the same effect on my class and I wasn’t as successful as the original teacher was.

It took me awhile to learn that there are many factors involved in making my class a success. These include my own personality, the students’ individual personalities, my teaching style, and the students’ learning styles. Nothing I could do would make my class be exactly like the other teacher’s class.

I realized that I could take things that I learned from others and adapt them to my class. Certain things won’t work for me because that isn’t my style of teaching. Doing this would make my teaching seem fake and impersonal which would not make it the best thing for my class. I could try some of the things to see if I could adapt it to work and I might find out different ways to teach a lesson.

The main thing I learned what that I didn’t have to be exactly like another teacher in order to be an effective teacher. I learned that by being me, I would enjoy teaching better and I believe my students would enjoy learning better.

Have you ever tried to be like someone else? How did it turn out? Please share.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Do You Believe?

“Do you believe in the mystical, the paranormal? Numerology, astrology, spirit guides, ghosts? Guardian angels? Do you believe in psychics and mediums? Life after death? Do you believe there is the possibility for communication beyond the grave?”

I absolutely believe in the mystical and guardian angels. I’m not sure I believe in numerology, astrology, psychics, and mediums though.

When my oldest sister died in August of 1974, I was only 14 years old. She had been dealing with lupus for about 9 years and it finally took her life. We were extremely close and this was a traumatic time for me.  I remember the day she passed away and our family and relatives were all in our house waiting for the phone call. When my parents got the call, my middle sister’s 2 ½-year-old daughter, was in the back bedroom taking a nap. She woke up and then told us all that, “Aunt Betsy came and gave her a kiss goodbye.” We were all stunned. As I walked down the hallway in our house right then, I smelled the hospital smell from my sister’s hospital room. It was like she had come to tell us all goodbye.

I smelled this smell several times in my life. I smelled it at my sister’s funeral and a couple of times during high school when I was extremely upset. I smelled it when I started my first day of college,  when I graduated college, and the last time was when I got married. I believe my sister was letting me know that she was there with me and was watching over me.

At first, I was very scared when I smelled that smell but mother told me that I had nothing to fear from my sister because she loved me. I realized that she was right. You see, my mother believed in life after death and reincarnation. I’m not sure about either one of them but every time I talk to my niece, she is so much like my oldest sister, I’m amazed.  A lot of her mannerisms and ideas are so similar to my oldest sister and I feel comforted by this even after 40 years.

I think we shouldn’t disregard what we don’t know. I feel that anything is possible and since there is no way to prove something isn’t possible, it should be a possibility.

Learning is kind of the same way in my mind. We don’t really know exactly what will work or not work with individual students. Everyone’s brains are different and react to things differently. So, with learning, anything is possible.

Do you believe? What do you believe is possible or not possible? Please share.