Tuesday, January 19, 2021

It’s All in Your Perspective

I never really hated the cold weather until we have spent a few months in Florida where cold means turning off your air conditioning. We came back home to South Carolina and I have the heat on full blast. When we were in Florida, we still wore shorts and t-shirts while the locals wore long pants and coats. Since we’ve been back home, I’ve worn layers of clothes, wool sweaters, wool socks, and a jacket but I still feel cold! Yet everyone here says the weather is mild for this time of year.

It’s all in your perspective.

This also applies to the classroom. As a teacher, I feel that many skills should be easy for my students and I take a lot of things for granted. I need to remember what it is like for a new learner and plan as if everything is going to be hard. I make sure that I include every step even if I think the student already knows how to do that step. This way, if they don’t know the step, it will be there to help them. If they do know the step, they can skip it and go on to the next step.

Another way that has an impact is how I introduce the new skill. I let students know why they are learning this skill and how they will use it in real life. I let them know that I believe they can do this easily if they follow the steps. Plus, I let them know that if they have any difficulty, I will be there to help them. I set the stage for their success. The belief that they can succeed can make a big difference in their mindset. If they believe they can do it, they will put a bigger effort into it. If they believe it is too hard for them, they will give up before they really give it a try.

During the learning and exploration stage, I encourage my students to help each other. They are seeing this lesson from a different angle than I am. Sometimes they will have a helpful suggestion for someone else that worked for them. I might have overlooked something because I am able to do the task but as they are learning it, they might see a step that I had left out. They also might see a shortcut that might help someone else.

Allowing different perspectives can help everyone be successful in learning a new skill.

How do you allow for different perspectives? Please share.

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

Monday, January 18, 2021

Doodle for Google Contest

The Doodle for Google contest has started again. Grades K-12 can enter the contest.

“We're excited to see some strong doodles this year! Students can work with any materials they want, but all doodles must be entered using the entry form. Parents and teachers can mail us the completed entry form or submit it online as a .png, or .jpg. The contest is open for entries until February 26, 2021 11:59pm Pacific Time (PT)…

Doodles will be judged on the following parameters:

Artistic merit: Based on artistic skill

Creativity: Representation of the contest theme, use of the letters in the Google logo, and the unique approach to the doodle

Theme communication: How well the contest theme is expressed in both the artwork and the written statement

Doodles will be grouped and judged by the following 5 grade groups:

  • Grades K-3
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 6-7
  • Grades 8-9
  • Grades 10-12
Finalists will be judged on a state-by-state basis as described below.
  • State and Territory Winners:10 or more winners for each grade group, 54 in total
  • National Finalists:1 finalist for each grade group, 5 in total
  • National Winner: Featured on Google.com”

Friday, January 15, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/15/2021

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

Time Capsule – “The National Postal Museum recently worked with artist Bel Mills to create a video tutorial on how to make your own time capsule using household items, including business return envelopes. This project is one way to create a unique version of mail art, which is art that can include postal items (such as envelopes or stamps) or is sent through the mail. For many of us, our worlds have become physically smaller in the past few months, which gives the everyday objects that surround us even more significance. Objects tell a unique story, and a time capsule places this story in a personal or historical context. To help you understand the history of time capsules and the impact they can have, we created a Learning Lab collection about time capsules. This resource guides learners of all ages through the background of time capsules and the steps you could take to create your own, including ideas for what contents to include.” (L:G;SA:A)

Zooniverse – “Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects. Work with 1.6 million registered users around the world to contribute to research projects led by hundreds of researchers.” (L:G;SA:A)

Financial Literacy – “This post shares 15 carefully selected games and activities to teach kids of all ages money management best practices to make more confident decisions when it comes to their wallets.” (L:G;SA:A)

Petra – “Over 2,000 years ago, the Nabataeans created Petra—the city of stone. Journey with us behind the iconic facade from the movies, and discover one of the great wonders of the world, forgotten by time itself.” (L:G;SA:SS)

How China Is Using Artificial Intelligence in Classrooms – “A growing number of classrooms in China are equipped with artificial-intelligence cameras and brain-wave trackers. While many parents and teachers see them as tools to improve grades, they’ve become some children’s worst nightmare.” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Peace of Mind

In What gives you peace of mind? From Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares what gives him peace of mind. He states,

“Increased anxiety seems to be a common symptom of the CORONA virus and the isolation many people feel because of it.”

This would be a good story prompt for students.

What gives you peace of mind?

I remind students many times that we can’t control what other people do or think but we can control our own actions and thoughts.

So, the things that give me peace of mind are the following things:
  • I keep in touch with family and friends.
  • I keep a prayer journal and I pray several times a day.
  • I keep a bullet journal and try to be productive every day.
  • I exercise regularly to stay healthy.
  • I choose healthy things to eat.
  • I avoid eating many things that I know are bad for me.
  • I keep track of the foods I eat.
  • I read every day.
  • I pay my bills on time.
  • I don’t spend more money than I have.
  • I keep my house clean.
  • I work on having positive thoughts.
  • I look for the good in people instead of the negative things.
  • I only watch the news on TV once a day.
  • I encourage others as much as I can.
What gives you peace? Please share.

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


It takes courage to learn something new. I know it takes a lot of courage for my students at their young ages because they have faced failures and disappointments so much. Many students do not have a strong emotional support system to help them face these obstacles so they shy away from learning new things.

Many believe that being courageous means that you have to be a superhero with superpowers. Maybe courage is a superpower, and all people have it, but most don’t know how to develop it.

How can I help my students have the courage to face new things that come into their lives?

First I need to help them define the word courageous.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Courage means mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

One way I can help them is by sharing everyday stories of people who do courageous things every day. I can have them look in the news to find everyday people who have done something courageous.

People who have terminal illnesses and who are fighting every day to stay alive are also great examples of courage. Despite how miserable they feel, they continue to fight, and I have seen how hard it is. It is much easier to give up but many of them don’t.

I have a friend, P. that is very courageous. She’s had a few rough years dealing with personal matters and has decided to start a new chapter in her life. She is going to move to a new place, get a new job, and work on her personal happiness. I know this wasn’t an easy decision for her and I’ve watched her plan to make this happen. In spite of her doubts and fears, she has pushed forward to making her dream happen and I’m so proud of her. It is hard to start over but her desire to be happy has given her the mental strength to persevere. She is definitely a great example of courage.

To face failure takes courage.

I have a crafting group that is taking January to try something new. The goal is not to succeed at what they are trying to do but to just try it. It can be new crafting techniques, or cooking, or anything in their life that is new to them.

I would have students ask their parents to name something new that they tried recently. Students can also ask other teachers or even friends with this question. In class, they can discuss the different things that people have tried. They can also share if the person succeeded or didn’t.

This would be a great exercise for students to do. They need to find one thing that is new to them (that is not illegal or dangerous) and give it a try. It would be fun to have this discussion in class and teach students how to support each other with encouragement. There may be some students who have done something already that someone hasn’t done before and is going to try. I would explain to them that this is a lesson in courage and how I am so proud of them for giving this a try. At the end of the month, we will discuss how things turned out.

What is something new that you have tried? Did you succeed? Please share.

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash