Friday, August 12, 2022

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 08/12/22

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

Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego - version of the old geography game using Google Earth (L:G; SA:SS)

Quick, Draw - “Can a neural network learn to recognize doodling? Help teach it by adding your drawings to the world’s largest doodling data set, shared publicly to help with machine learning research.” (L:G; SA:A)

Pictures as Math Problem Prompts - “...find some images that contain simple mathematics problems for your students to solve.”

Inspirational Videos for Teachers - compiled by Terri Eichholz (L:T; SA:A)

Google Arts and Culture Games - A variety of fun games (L:G; SA:FA)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Beginning of the School Year

The beginning of school
Is the best time of year.
It is filled with excitement
And anxiety and fear.

The first week of school is usually filled
With meetings and boring paperwork galore,
And greeting friends and colleagues we missed
As they gladly walk in the door.

It’s fun to plan on arranging the classroom
And moving the desks and the tables.
It’s even fun to hook up the computers
With the gazillion miles of cables.

Deciding how to decorate the classroom
With a room full of color and lots of great posters,
I can’t wait for the room to be filled
With a whole bunch of jokesters.

It is time for getting the new textbooks
And choosing what I should teach.
What is just right for my students
And what is out of reach?

Together we learn about new school policies
And relearn all the old school rules.
We are ready for the new school year
Armed with all the tools.

Each teacher and student
will each play their part.
And hope this new school year
Will bring a fresh new start!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

One Thursday Afternoon - A Book Review

I recently read One Thursday Afternoon written and illustrated by Barbara DiLorenzo. I read a review copy compliments of Netgalley and I am not being paid to give this review.

It is a great book for young elementary school children! During these difficult times of school shootings and worries about school safety, this story highlights the feelings of a child who had a lockdown drill at school. I think many young children are feeling the same way but don’t know how to verbalize their feelings.

This could be used as a whole class lesson that opens up a class discussion about feelings and school safety. If there is a child who seems withdrawn or worried, this might be a good book to read one-on-one.

It also might be a good book for parents to read with their young children. By sharing this story, children can learn that sharing their feelings with an adult can help them feel better.

I would highly recommend this book to teachers and parents. If you read it, please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Faith and Hope

As many of you know, I like to think about how I can take the Sunday sermon and apply it to my life, both personally and professionally. This week, Pastor Kyle's sermon about faith and hope really struck home. He talked about faith, hope, and what-ifs. He reminded me that I don’t walk alone because God is with me all of the time.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a scaredy-cat. I want to do many things but tend to avoid them out of fear. My husband on the other hand is always a positive and brave man so he encourages me to do what I want to do even if I’m afraid to try it. Whenever I am very worried about doing something, we always play the what-if game. I mention all the what-ifs that I’m worried about, and he always has an idea of how to handle the situation if it ever happens. Once I have a plan, I don’t worry so much and I can actually move forward. I have faith that we can handle anything together.

I used to be afraid to travel because when I was growing up, we didn’t travel much. After marrying my husband, life was an adventure. We began traveling to places I had only dreamed about going. At the time I had a lot of worries about our what-ifs. I wrote them all down and we talked about them. Once I knew what we could do if we ran out of gas, had car trouble, my parents got sick, or we had some kind of emergency, I felt more comfortable traveling. We always have a Plan B.

Most of my students want to learn but are also afraid of learning.

When my students arrive in my classroom, I know they are filled with fear and what-ifs. It is the elephant in the room so it is important to address it early on. I play the what-if game that I experienced as a student.
  • What if no one likes me?
  • What if the teacher calls on me?
  • What if I don’t know the answer?
  • What if the others laugh at me?
  • What if others are smarter than me?
  • What if someone is mean to me?
Then I ask students if I missed any what-ifs and usually, they feel comfortable giving suggestions since we are talking about me and not them (even though I’m sure many of them know exactly how I felt.)

Then I ask them to have faith in me.

Once they are in my class, I consider our class our family, and I like them. They don’t have to worry about anyone liking them because I like them. Eventually, others will like them once they get to know them. A family doesn’t let others be mean to each other because we stick together.

I let them know that I am their safety net and they are not walking into the world of learning alone. I will be there beside them and help them. Whenever I ask a question, I will ask a question first and give people time to think about the answer before calling on someone. I won’t laugh at them for not knowing the answer.

Don’t worry about someone being smarter than they are because everyone has strengths and weaknesses, even me. There are things that I can’t do because I haven’t learned how to do them. That doesn’t mean that those who can do it are smarter than me.

I have this conversation often with them and I show them that I mean what I say by my actions. I show them that I care about them and that they can have faith in me and then have faith in themselves.

Once they start having success in my class, they feel that it is okay to hope. Many of my students have been beaten down by their failures and they are afraid to hope for any success. By hoping for success and continuing to fail, they don’t want to risk getting hurt. I have to show them that not succeeding at something is not a failure but an opportunity. It is an opportunity to try it a different way or to ask for help. Only when they give up is it a failure. I won’t give up on them and I want them to not give up. This involves faith and hope.

Of course, this doesn’t happen all at once. Having faith and hope is a continual process. I am constantly having to remind myself of this when I get discouraged or afraid.

I remind myself and my students that no one walks alone.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Monday, August 8, 2022

Camping Trip

We headed to the Smokies on 7/31/22 for a 5-day camping trip. We camped in Smokemont campground at site D39. Next time we may want to try site D42.

When we got there on Sunday, it was hot and humid. After setting up camp, we walked around the campground and then relaxed at our campsite. About 30 minutes after we went to bed, it started to rain pretty hard. We had to close the windows because the rain was blowing in.

On Monday, it rained on and off for most of the day, We walked around the campground in between showers. We found a Mexican restaurant (Rancho Villa) in the Food Lion shopping center that had lunch specials for $6.99. We had to check email and I had to do my Duolingo lesson so we had to go into town each day for a cell signal.

Tuesday was much better and we went to Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome. We hiked on the Spruce-Fir Nature trail and found pink turtleheads.

Wednesday we tried to hike on the Oconoluftee Nature but the elk had other plans. We waited for one group to get to one side of the trail so we could go past at a safe distance. Then we came across another group who would not let us pass. This mama elk and baby came straight down the trail towards us instead of going into the woods. Eventually, after we had to keep retreating, we decided to give up and go back the way we came. We ended up going to Mingus Mill and doing the trail there. We were excited to see the Cranefly Orchids blooming.

On Thursday morning, we took our time and packed up for our ride home. We had hoped to visit some antique stores but the one we wanted to visit had moved.