Friday, September 4, 2015

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/4/15

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

Taking the Mystery Out of Copyrightfrom the Library of Congress (L:E; SA:A)

CNN Student News – “CNN Student News is a ten-minute, commercial-free, daily news program designed for middle and high school classes. It is produced by the journalists at CNN. This award-winning show and its companion website are available free of charge throughout the school year.” (L:M, H; SA:SS)

BBQ Science – “Learn more about the science (and art) of barbecuing.(L:G; SA:A)

The Energy Game – “This energy game activity engages students in learning about energy sources. This game demonstrates that energy, the environment, and economics are closely tied together. During the course of the game and in the discussion afterward, students learn the concepts of scarcity, opportunity cost, net energy profit, law of diminishing returns, and that availability does not mean usefulness.(L:M; SA:S)

Monthly Activity Packs – “Check out our free monthly downloadable activity packs, with themed vocabulary lists and lesson plans, to use with WordWriter!(L:E; SA:LA)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Working Together

In Two (or More) Heads from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

"When was a time recently when you collaborated with someone to complete a task? Was it easier, or would you preferred to have worked alone?"

Over the past 20 years, we have had a lawn man mow our lawn and edge the yard. But recently he had to move away and we had to buy a lawn mower and grass trimmer. Now my husband has returned to caring for our yard like he used to do before moving to this house.

When we moved to this house, I decided to take on gardening as a hobby and enjoyed creating new flowerbeds and planting flowers. I trimmed the bushes as best as I could but couldn’t reach many of the tree branches that needed to be trimmed. During these few years of gardening my husband didn’t really spend any time in our yard and I let some things get overgrown.

My lawn man was wonderful but didn’t do all the little things that I would have liked. Of course, if I had been here instead of traveling so much, I could have followed him around to get him to do those things. I could have paid him extra to trim tree branches too but I didn’t.

The past couple of months my husband and I have worked together in the yard getting it in the shape we wanted it to be in. It has been exciting to see the yard get back in shape little by little. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working side by side with my husband and feeling proud that we had done the work ourselves. It has made gardening even more enjoyable.

I like collaborating with someone when I know we have the same goal, work habits, and values. It is easy to work with someone like this because I feel like we both give 110% and can share ideas without worrying about egos. It seems like we achieve the goal even faster than expected.

But it is really hard to collaborate with someone who doesn’t have the same work habits or values as I do. At times it feels like we are at cross-purposes even though we are working towards the same goal. These are the times that egos get in the way and I feel like I am spinning wheels instead of achieving anything. It seems to take twice as long to reach the goal when this happens. Would it be better to talk about our differences and admit that we should work alone rather than together?

So, the bottom line is that it depends on whom I have to work with.  Communication and honesty is the best policy.

How do you feel about collaborating with others? Please share.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Let It Go

In Sometimes You Should Take A Little…. From Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski shares,

“I believe that sometimes it’s okay not to stand up for yourself.”

This really struck home with me. We talk so much about bullying and standing up to bullies that I think some students feel bad about themselves if they don’t stand up to the bullies. But we need to let them know that there are two options and not just that one. And the choice that works best for them is the right choice.

Growing up, I was bullied pretty often. I hated it but the school, the teachers, and my peers did nothing about it.  I didn’t even do anything about it. I know they all knew about it but nobody would acknowledge that it was happening so at the time I wondered if I was just imagining things. Of course, after being stuffed in a big locker a few times was proof that I wasn’t making this up. I just let it go. That is how I survived. I decided that to stand up to the bully was giving the bully too much importance. Maybe I was wrong and maybe I wasn’t.

I noticed that the bullies changed faces and wasn’t the same one every time. If I stood up to one, I would have continued throughout my school career standing up to all of them over and over. I didn’t have the energy or the desire to spend my time doing that. I just wanted them to leave me alone. So, for my peace of mind, I just let it go. Usually the bully tired of messing with me and moved on to someone else. I think the bully was bored with me and didn’t find any entertainment because I refused to respond.

Maybe others saw me as a coward or maybe they thought I was crazy but as I said, it worked for me. I still got angry. I still got scared. But I was determined not to give them power over me and make me respond on the same level they did. Eventually all of them left me alone because I don’t think my response was the one they expected.

As an adult, there are many times someone does something that isn’t fair and I want to scream at them, but I just ignore them. I remind myself that it is too much energy to waste on someone like that. Sometimes I do stand up to them. But now I know that I have the ability to do either one. I control my reactions and I can choose to let it go.

It would have been nice to hear someone support my decision as a student.  Now as I look back, I really believe that I had made the right decision. By letting things go by choice helped me become stronger in the face of future injustices.  

How many students today feel the same way? How can I support them? I feel the best way is to have discussions about it and sharing my story. Let students know that they have a choice but they need to be in control of their choices. I believe being in control of my own actions is more important than standing up for myself.

What do you think? Do you think that students should be told that they can choose to let it go? Please share.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monthly Review of Goals for August

I really got a lot accomplished this month. We did a lot of camping but we also spent a lot of time at home in between camping trips.

Yearly goals:

1.     Reach my target weight by the end of the year. –  I did not eat sensibly this month but mainly because when I got home from work I was so hungry that I binge ate. I did try to walk to counteract my eating.

2.     Finish knitting my Fair Isle vest. – I finished my vest and I love it!

3.     Spin 4 lbs. of fiber for the year.  
a.     January – spun 4 oz. of Into the Whirled “Rhinebeck”, 4 oz. Hobbledehoy Gemmy Bats
b.     February – spun 4 oz. of Fiber Optic “Turquoise to Tangerine Gradient”; started on 4 oz. of Pumpkin Queen.
c.     March – spun 4 oz. of Miss Bab’s “Blackwatch” that I bought in 2011.
d.     April – spun 5.4 oz. of Loop’s Bullseye Bump in the “Somewhere” colorway and 4 oz. of Highland Handmades Masham fiber in the  “Talbot” colorway.
e.     May – spun 4 oz. of Brown Alpaca from a fleece that I bought from my friend Lisa.
f.      June – plied the Loop bump and the Masham fiber.
g.     July – spun 4 oz. of Leading Men Fiber Arts  in the “Steve and Andy” colorway.; 4 oz. Fiber Addiction “Freak Like Me” colorway.; started on a Loop Batt
h.     August – spun 4.8 oz. of a Loop batt (Raindance colorway)
Total: 46.2 oz.

4.     Use at least 4 skeins of my handspun this year. –
a.     January - Basket Weave scarf
b.     February – Summer Shadows shawl by Angelea McGarrah
c.     March – working on the Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre
d.     April – Finished my Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre
e.     May – started on the Belle Greene Shawl by Nina Machlin Dayton
f.      June – still working on my Belle Greene shawl.
g.     July – Finished my Belle Greene shawl
h.     August – finished Don’s ribbed hat.

5.     Dye my own yarn or fiber – dyed some KnitPicks fingering yarn in indigo

6.     Walk at least 1200 miles this year.
a.     January - 157.71 miles (avg. 5.1 miles per day)
b.     February - 148.34 miles (avg. 5.3 miles per day)
c.     March - 182.63 miles (5.9 miles per day) I’m really happy with the mileage I got this month!
d.     April - 181.6 miles (6.1 miles per day) I really rocked on my mileage and my daily average this month!
e.     May - 165.82 miles (5.3 miles per day). I didn’t do as well as last month but I still did pretty well. I spent the last 3 days in bed with food poisoning, which really messed up my daily average.
f.      June - 151 miles (5 miles per day). This was a struggle this month but I was happy to see that I still did better in total miles than in February (I know! There were less days but the total miles was still better!)
g.     July -  172.03 miles (5.5 miles per day). I struggled with this because I like to walk early in the morning and it was hard to do this and get ready for work. Sometimes I walked half the time in the morning and half in the evening. It was also hard to walk when I got home because the heat this month has been horrendous.
h.     August - 177.82 miles (5.7 miles per day). I went over 1200 miles for the year already and I’m so proud of myself. On August 15, I had the highest mileage ever in one day (15.74 miles).
Total: 1337.01

Daily/Weekly/Monthly goals: Last year, I only had a 60% successful completion rate so I am aiming to do better than that this year.

1.     Daily – Name 3 things that I’m grateful for each morning. – I do this every morning before I get out of bed.

2.     Daily – A Photo A Day project – I’ve kept up with this and really enjoy the comments and suggestions I have gotten. I enjoy looking at other people’s pictures too.

3.     Weekly – Contact a friend and tell them something nice. – I really like doing this.
a.     January - I went out to lunch with my friend Sandy one week and I’ve contacted others through Facebook.  
b.     February - Contacted long distance friends on Facebook and wished them happy birthday!
c.      March – kept up with friends on social networking and tried to schedule lunch with my friends Sandy and Sylvia but they were either going out of town or having to work.
d.     April - Contacted some friends but couldn’t ever work out a day we could meet for lunch.
e.     May – tried to meet up with a former student but she ended up getting sick on the day we were going to meet for lunch.
f.      June – Met a lot of nice new friends at the knitting retreat and connected with some known friends too.
g.     July – Went out to lunch with Sandy once, Dyanna once, and Kathy once. I tried to meet up with Femessia, and Sherry but they were out of town. We also had dinner with David a couple of times.

4.     Weekly – Work in my yard/garden at least once a week.
a.     January - It has been too cold in January to do too much but I’ve blown the leaves out of the driveway, raked leaves in the back yard, and fed my worms.
b.     February – raked leaves out of the backyard, removed branches that have littered the yard.
c.     March – weeded, cut dead stuff from winter, fertilized the lawn
d.     April – weeded and edged my flower beds., set up 2 new rain barrels, dug out rusty pole in concrete which was in the middle of the lawn.
e.     May – Did a lot of weeding when I was home but it was hot and humid outside!
f.      June – Did some weeding.
g.     July – I did some weeding but it was so hot! I also planted some elephant ears that I bought at the flea market. We bought a lawn mower since my lawn man moved.
h.     August – I didn’t do as much as I should have but I made sure the front yard stayed weeded.  

5.     Monthly – Knit 10 squares on my Mitered Square Sock Yarn blanket. (Total 120 for the year)
a.     January – completed 10 squares
b.     February – completed 15 squares
c.     March – completed 11 squares
d.     April – completed 11 squares
e.     May – completed 13 square
f.      June – completed 10 squares
g.     July – completed 10 squares
h.     August – 8 completed (fell short this month because I didn't realize until the last day of the month that I hadn't gotten finished. I will start on these earlier in the month so I'm sure to get it finished.)
Total - 88

6.     Monthly - Read one non-fiction book every month. I really enjoyed doing this last year and it forced me to read books out of my comfort zone.
a.     January – The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
b.     February - The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
c.     March – Publish on Amazon Kindle by Kindle Direct Publishing
d.     April – The History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rudd
e.     May – Becoming Unique by James Charles
f.      June – A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell
g.     July – Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder (an annotated autobiography)
h.     August – Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

How are you doing so far with your goals? Join me in the monthly review and let me know how you are doing!
Image: 'Goals'
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