Friday, August 29, 2008

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 8/29/08

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found interesting this week. 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!

The Best Online Learning Games 2008 – some of the criteria the author used to make the list was that it had to be accessible to English Language Learners, provide exceptionally engaging content, not provide access to other non-educational games on their site.

Free Multiplication Bingo Game – supplies the template for the board to be used

Educational Jargon Generator – “This fine academic tool was designed to assist in the writing of reports, grant applications, and other documents related to public schools...Amaze your colleagues with finely crafted phrases of educational nonsense!”

K-8 Math Games – there is a big selection of math games to choose from.

Facts4me - an online reference tool for primary readers of English. This site is written by teachers and is committed to offering high-quality, educationally-sound information in an ad-free, child-safe environment.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Carnival of Education 08/27/08

The 186th edition of the Carnival of Education is up on the midway at Sharp Brains. Don’t miss out on all the fun! See what is going on in the Edusphere. There is also an post included Why Students Should Use Technology. Lots of other great thought provoking articles there to entertain you! See you there.

Photo credit: Colour My World by carf

Don’t Let Our Children Down

I recently saw this video Dalton Sherman which truly inspired and motivated me to be a better teacher. I hope you take the time to watch this 9 minute video if you haven’t seen it yet. The speaker is a fifth grader who is talking to an auditorium full of teachers explaining to them why he needs them.

Then I read this artlcle Little League Pitcher Banned from Playing Because He is Too Good after seeing this story on the Early Show. This boy is nine years old and his fastball can go as fast at 40 mph. When he took the mound the other week, the opposing team forfeited and left the game. The league told the coach that this boy could not pitch any more. Imagine not allowing a child to play a game because he is too good? That is what is wrong with America right now. We are holding back children who are too good in whatever they are good at but other countries are pushing their children to be the best at extremely young ages. Look at the controversy over the age of the Chinese gymnasts. They push their children at a very young age to pursue excellence. Yet, we tell this boy he can’t play with children his own age because he is too good. Then of course he can’t play with children who are older than him because he doesn’t meet the age requirements. What will happen to this boy? Do we let his talent fall to the wayside?

When my daughter was in fourth grade, I would have to drop her off early at school so I could get to my school early and prepare for teaching. She would go to the cafeteria where all early arrivals met and proceeded to keep herself occupied so she wouldn’t get in trouble. I didn’t know there was a problem until I was called for a conference at her school. Apparently at the end of each day, the teacher would put up the next day’s assignments while they waited for dismissal. My daughter would copy the assignments down and in the morning while she sat in the cafeteria for 30 minutes, she would complete all of the assignments. Then during class, she became disruptive because she had nothing to do and bothered other students while they completed the daily assignments. I asked how well the assignments were completed and was told that she made 100 on all of them. The teacher and administrator insisted that I make my daughter stop doing the assignments ahead of time so she wouldn’t be disruptive in class. My concern was that if she could make 100 on assignments without classroom instruction that maybe she wasn’t being challenged enough. Both refused to give her alternative assignments or look at any other alternatives. They refused to think about the gifted program because they felt she was a behavior problem. As a teacher, I tried to be sympathetic about the behavior problem and promised that we would address that at home but I was insistent that the academic problem was the school’s problem. Needless to say, we were at a standstill and the rest of the year was just miserable for all of us.

Here are two examples of how we hold our children back. Then we wonder why the rest of the world is forging ahead of us. After reading Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, I am impressed at how India has looked at the needs of their country and tried to find ways to move forward quickly. I recently attended a forum on the need for finding alternative fuel sources and the research that is being done. In the future, who will be doing this research if we continue to hold back our children. If our message to them is to not be too good or try too hard, then we become a mediocre country with mediocre talents who only produce mediocre results, while the rest of the world passes us by.

How can we combat this pressure for mediocrity? I don’t know but I’m feeling very frustrated by it. I think one way would be to look at our students and make sure that we are challenging them to work to their full potential. If they are behavior problems, look beyond the behavior and see what the cause is. Let’s not treat the symptoms but find out why the child is behaving this way. Maybe the need more challenges or need to be pushed to fine tune their talents. We are the ones that can shape this child into someone who could change our world. Our children believe that we can help them and we can’t let them down. We need to believe that we have the power to help them find success.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blog Award

I’m honored to be given this award by Gina from Where’s The Sun. Thank you so much Gina!

The rules for this award are as follows:
(1) Put the logo on your blog
(2) Add a link to the person who awarded you(3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
(4) Add links to those blogs on yours
(5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

7 blogs that I find inspiring, motivating and thought provoking are the following:
Tech Thoughts by Jen
All Teachers are Learners – All Learners are Teachers
Angela Maiers
Ed Tech Solutions: Teaching Every Student
TJ on a Journey

New Teachers and Dancing

In Five Things That Fred Astaire and Great Teachers Have In Common, Vicki Davis talks about how Fred Astaire and Teachers have a lot in common. She makes great points and I wanted to expand more about how these points, as great as they are, could scare new teachers and how they shouldn’t be afraid.

First she says, “They Make It Look Easy… It takes a long time. Lots of knowhow, experience and practice.” If you are new to teaching, don’t let this scare you but it is worth it all. In fact, it may never actually be easy but in time you will be able to make it look easy. You will know it paid off when you see the “lightbulb” go on in a child’s head as their faces light up when they grasp a concept. You will know it the first time a student or parent lets you know that you made a difference in their life. You will know it the first time that a colleague comes up to YOU for advice or to talk over a problem.

Both have “Deep Knowledge of Their Subject.” In the field of education, I feel it is a constantly evolving subject so teachers need to constantly seek a deeper knowledge of their subject. Don’t think that once you become a teacher that the learning ends. It is only the beginning. There will always be new techniques or strategies that someone is refining to enhance learning. Some you will agree with and some you won’t. But that doesn’t mean you should not learn what is out there being discussed about your subject. For many years I just read information but didn’t really internalize it or form an opinion about it. This is just as bad as not bothering to read it. By forming an opinion about something, you have to ask yourself why you agree or disagree with something. This may lead to further searching. I found out that I was a better teacher when I knew the current issues in education, what possible solutions or discussions were happening, and then decide how I felt about it. I became more aware of my own teaching and why I used certain strategies. I streamlined my teaching and stopped doing things that were not effective in helping the students.

“Enjoyment of the Dance…It’s what we are born to do.” At the beginning, you actually may not enjoy yourself but that doesn’t mean that you are in the wrong profession. In fact, the first six months after I moved to a new school, I would wonder if I had made the wrong decision to be there. There is an adjustment period that you will go through in every new situation (the amount of time is dependent on your environment, your support system, and yourself). The first few years of teaching you will still be finding your sea legs and learning the school procedures as well as learning the best way to teach so it will be tough. Don’t give up. Don’t throw away all that you have worked for to get to this point. I have seen too many teachers give up after a year or two and I want to tell them it is like going to a movie and missing turning point. They don’t get to the good part that makes it worth sitting through the whole movie.

“A Few Good Tricks” is important for all teachers. Your bag of tricks will grow as you gain experience. Sometimes you have to be patient with yourself and not expect to know all of the tricks at the very beginning. You will even surprise yourself when you find yourself doing a “trick” that you didn’t realize you were able to do. I would get so frustrated when I couldn’t be just like the experienced teachers! I still watch some teachers and wish I could teach just like them. Then I realize that this would be impossible because I have a different personality with different strengths. So I accept the way I am and teach the way I’m comfortable with since I know I am making a difference.

“Desire to Innovate” is important to a successful career. Don’t think that because you are new that you shouldn’t try new things. New teachers are what keep our profession alive. In fact, I have learned many neat things from my student teachers and teachers who are first year teachers. In discussions, feel free to mention neat things you are doing and how successful it was because teachers like me want to know more about this and see how we can adapt it to our class.
I really love Vicki’s last comment which really hits home for me, “You've got the most noble calling on earth -- live like it!” In order for the community to take teachers seriously and treat us the way we should be treated, teachers need to start acting the way teachers should act: with honesty, integrity, and nobility.
photo credit: Original image: '039_64199'

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Life Cycle of Teaching

In Baby Steps are Not Enough, the author shows an old candid camera video about Group Behavior an Elevator. First of all, it was great because it had me rolling! Then I began to think about how we are as teachers and how we influence each other. Maybe it is the cycle of life and maybe we need to really look at this cycle and see how we can change it.

New Teachers: You are taught certain styles and techniques but no one else in your school is teaching this way. You were also shown different ways to incorporate technology in your schools but no one else is doing this or at least the few that are sure aren’t telling anyone. You are full of great ideas to motivate and inspire young students but when you tell the veteran teachers, they smile at you indulgently and then move away snickering. Then you begin to doubt yourself. Maybe they know something you don’t. Maybe they know a better way and they aren’t inviting you into the club to find out about these better ways. You begin to not have the same enthusiasm that you had when you first arrived. No, you were warned about this attitude and you will stand fast and true to your beliefs. You will not give in. You will search for a personal learning community who can support your ideas and encourage you.

Teachers who are not new anymore but they aren’t the “war ravaged” veterans you have seen walking the halls: You have become jaded in your views about what you are doing in the classroom. You have tried new techniques but no one appreciates your hard work. You see these new teachers come in with their new ideas and remember when you once were one of them. Now you try to convince them to join your group because, let’s face it, you don’t want to look bad like you don’t care and if these new teachers keep showing how great they are doing, you won’t look so good! You don’t want to take the time to learn new stuff because you are finally coasting your way through the day. You don’t have to work as hard as when you first started and hey, isn’t that your right? You need to tell these new teachers they won’t get paid what they are worth and stop wasting their time trying to motivate and stimulate these youngsters. If they continue this way, maybe the administration might think you aren’t doing your job so you have got to stop these new teachers as soon as possible. You have a foot in both worlds and you are undecided on which way to lean. You want to feel that enthusiasm and excitement you felt as a new teacher but you feel a lot of pressure from the veteran teachers. Which way should you go?

Veteran teachers: You feel you have put in your time. You shouldn’t have to learn anything new and don’t want to either. These new fangled ideas are really messing up your place in the educational system. This is your time to coast until retirement. You don’t want to learn or do homework. You did that when you were new and now you have paid your dues. You feel it is your job to infect the newer teachers with this stale attitude because if you don’t, the administration might feel that all teachers need to start learning new things and it isn’t right for you to have to do this. You didn’t need all that new stuff when you were a student and you didn’t need it as a new teacher. If these new teachers were taught right, they would have been taught to make do with what they have instead of always reaching for the stars. What kind of role model is that for the kids? Before long, the students will want to reach out and learn new things (some of which you don’t know) and that will make you look really really bad. In fact, the administration might encourage you to retire. You need to get all the other veteran teachers to join your bandwagon so you can really pressure these new teachers to change their ways.

I hope that there will be more new teachers than the others and maybe they change be the vehicle of change. If you are new out there, maybe you can be the one who puts life back into the more experienced teachers. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to their advice because most of it is really helpful. I’m just saying that if you want to try a new project with your class, don’t be afraid of doing it. What is the worst thing that could happen? It won’t work and you move on to try something else. Don’t let people tell you that it won’t work and let that keep you from trying. It might be that your personality and drive is what it needs in order for it to work. Then when you are successful, you might motivate and inspire other teachers to try new things. Yes, you might not have the experience in the classroom but the educational system needs your fresh ideas and energy to keep us all going! Don’t be afraid to be unique!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Unnecessary Distractions

I’m not against text messaging and used to have it on my phone. Then it wasn’t cost effective to keep it on my phone anymore so I don’t have that service anymore. The other night we were at an outdoor drama and in front of us were two rows of a college soccer team. These girls were nicely dressed and seemed like very nice girls. Before the show began, the announcer asked that everyone turned off their cell phones. I know these girls thought that meant the ringer, not that actual phone. The show began at 8:30 and lasted until about 10:30 so it was pretty dark in the theater except for all the phone screens that keep popping up in front of me. It was extremely distracting as these girls text messaged through the entire show. I looked around the audience and I noticed other teens also had their phones out doing the same thing. I have to admit that the lights of the phones were extremely distracting for me and impacted how much I enjoyed the show. But I don’t think the girls even knew that what they were doing affected anyone else except them.

My husband and I began to discuss whether these students knew that what they were doing was inappropriate. Do we teach this in schools or at home? Has anyone ever said, “Don’t text message in a dark theater? Or in church? Or any other place where you should be paying attention to something instead of a private conversation on your phone? It’s a shame that people have to be asked not to talk during a movie or a show, but now they even address cell phone use. Before cell phones came out, you never heard the requests to turn off phones during a movie. Even when I go to presentations, the speaker may even start off by asking people to turn off their phones. Now in the day of text messaging, will this need to be added to the list?

I hear on the news about teens who are sending text messages while driving and causing accidents. Now there are ads in papers cautioning people from doing this. I guess people think that as long as they can’t cause any physical harm to anyone, it is okay to do this anywhere else. I think/hope that we will see this added to requests before movies and shows when the theater is dark.

Friday, August 22, 2008

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

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found interesting this week. 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!

Free Technology Toolkit for UDL in All Classrooms – “My passion is to remove the obstacles to learning for all students and these free tools offer opportunities for struggling learners that promote academic success. When material is digital or electronic, it is flexible and accessible. It is our responsibility as educators to provide materials that promote success. Please encourage all educators to consider using these free tools.”

Interactive Games by – great interactive learning games.

Tutpup Learning Games – “simple, fun, competitive games that help children learn and gain confidence with Maths, English and other key skills and knowledge.”

Imagination Cubed – Use drawing tools to make your own drawings and save them. It’s a lot of fun. There are shapes and stamps too.

100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Carnival of Education 8/20/08

The 185th edition of the Carnival of Education is on the midway at Bellringers. Stop by and join the fun! Lots of great articles to read, opinions to ponder, and information to learn! There is even one from me about Cyberbullying, Are We Doing Enough? So don’t miss out on this week’s Carnival! See you there!

Feeling Like Indiana Jones

Sometimes teachers have to be detectives as well as educators or maybe we can pretend to be Indiana Jones on an adventure looking for the hidden treasure. In the article CSUN/ A Toolbelt for a Lifetime, the author writes:
“Services to those labeled "disabled" are far too often presented as "gifts from concerned people," the style is, of course, medical, with evaluations, and prescriptions, and implementations set up by professionals. None of this builds independence. None of this builds life skills. None of this prepares students for life after school. And, truly, none of it is realistic because it all pretends that one defined, professionally chosen, solution will solve all of a person's needs forever. And, obviously, that is as ridiculous as it sounds.
Toolbelt Theory is based in the concept that students must learn to assemble their own readily available collection of life solutions. They must learn to choose and use these solutions appropriately, based in the task to be performed, the environment in which they find themselves, their skills and capabilities at that time, and the ever-changing universe of high and low-tech solutions and supports.”

The author continues to talk about the steps in order to determine what tools are needed. This is a great strategy to teach our students. We tend to think only the disabled students need tools when in actuality all students need to know what tools they will need in order to achieve the goals they want. Too many times as teachers, we tend to think that since we have a college education, we know exactly what tools the students need and how they should use it. The problem with this thought is that all students are different, need different tools, and may even use the tools differently. As long as it helps the student achieve the goals, we shouldn’t care what they use or how they use it as long as it works.

One year our school decided as a whole to emphasize writing in all classes. They expected us to do writing every day in our classes with dire consequences if we didn’t do this. My high school students had all different disabilities but I decided that I would have them start each class by writing a paragraph. After checking their reading test scores from the previous year, everyone seemed capable of writing a short paragraph. I would give them a topic but started out with the rule that spelling didn’t count as long as they were able to communicate with me in writing. If I couldn’t read it, they just had to come up and read it to me. It sounds easy, right? Wrong. I had this one student that was extremely resistant to this assignment. I called home, he was punished. I tried to bribe (I mean motivate) but that didn’t even work. I even offered the use of the computer instead of handwriting but that didn’t even motivate him. Finally I stopped, sat down with him and said that we had a problem that we needed to solve together. He was shocked that I would even ask him. Finally he said he didn’t know how to start writing a paragraph and didn’t even have a clue how to start. Now this took a lot of trust on his part considering the past four weeks was nothing but a hassle for him and for me involving punishment and frustration. I saw in his eyes that he really wanted to do well but didn’t know how to do this. I suggested that he record his answer verbally (which he said he could do) and that we would write his answer down on paper together. For some reason he couldn’t process the spoken word into the written word. Then we found out he had dsygraphia and had extreme problems with writing so I moved him to the computer to write out his verbal thoughts. Using the Wynn program, he was able to hear his response read back to him to see if that is what he wanted to say. After about a month of doing this every day, he was able to do this independently. I don’t know how he made it to 9th grade without writing but what a difference this success made with him. He became a happier person with a huge decrease in behavior problems. Sometimes I would see him answer science and social studies questions by answering by moving his mouth and then writing. But that was fine with me, so I moved him to a quiet spot where no one would be disturbed by his murmuring and he would feel more comfortable. By the end of the semester, his Fs turned into Cs and finally Bs. It took a lot of extra time on both of our parts but we were persistent and it paid off.

By sitting down with the student and trying to find out his needs, we were able to find what tools he needed to achieve success. If this tool didn’t work, we would try others. Once we were able to record his thoughts, we were able to find out what other tools he needed but we had to move one step at a time. I think he was so frustrated and had such a low self esteem at this point that he felt paralyzed to even help himself. I think that all this time of not doing work was like a cry for help and hoping to find a teacher who would help him. Instead many teachers just looked at the symptoms and wrote him off as lazy and uncooperative. This in turn just feeds the cycle so as a teacher, I needed to break this cycle. Once I did, he gained momentum and started to learn, participate, and cooperate.

I really like this Udl Toolkit that gives suggestions for students with all different learning styles and subject areas. These would be useful to explore with the student. By doing this, the student would know that you are really trying to help him succeed and giving him some control over this. So, I hope that when you come across a student like mine, you put on your Indiana Jones hat and see it as an opportunity to join him in the quest for success.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Students Should Use Technology

Australian teacher Jo McLeay steered me to some of her student’s blogs for commenting and a couple of these stood out for me. MurphyR and 711294 talk about using technology in the classroom.

MurphyR states, “study guides online, i dont think they are a good idea, students can get things wrong and alot of the time and this can mess up a students understanding of the book, whats wrong with discussing a book with the class? you still get the same benifits without the uncertainty of not know whether what you are typing is right or not.”

711294 states, “With a book for example, it would be hard to trust anything written by a bunch of year 10 students about a book they probably haven't even read, so why would we write a study guide about it? You would have to trust everything the writter says, where as when you learn by discussing it as a class you get more active and you get more out of the experience, by learning what other people have to say.” This person also states, "In my opinion, technology is fun but learning things from a qualified teacher may be better than from year 10 students online.”

I really commend this teacher for encouraging students to blog and I am also thrilled to see that students feel they can be honest about their feelings. I started to write a long comment on one of the blogs and decided that it would be so long that I would write my own blog post about this topic.

I think creating study guides encourage students to read carefully in order to put accurate information online. If you know that you might be called on something erroneous, you tend to put more effort and care in what you write and say. I think it is great to discuss a book in class but a study guide can help clarify points and focus ideas into a type of organization rather than a free for all discussion among a group.

711294 felt that trust was a hard thing to handle when you don’t know if the information is correct. What a great lesson to learn! This just doesn’t apply to study guides but also applies to newspapers, magazines, television, online material, and anything your read or see that may influence you in one way or another. You will face this all your life and need to know how to critically analyze what you see. Just because you discuss something in class, does that mean it is true?

Many times there will be students who have a stronger personality than others and sometimes they can dominate the conversation. Blogging and study guides may give others who are not so vocal an opportunity to share and contribute to the class. I was one of these students and felt like I had something important to share but never had an opportunity to share it. I would have loved to use technology if I had it in order to be heard. In this way, even the dominant students will hear what others say. Communication does not just involve talking, but also involves listening.

Learning from a qualified teacher is important but one of the ways this teacher may teach is by being a facilitator. Teachers do not always need to stand in front of the class and spit out facts and information in order to teach students. By actively participating in the learning, students will learn more and retain it longer than if they are passive learners.

These students’ posts also remind me that I need to make sure that students understand the relevance of what they are doing. One way to do this is to allow them to question why they are doing certain things and open the discussion for exploration.

I appreciate these students’ comments and hope that they see by doing this, not only are they helping themselves, their peers, but also other teachers like me. Technology opens the door for better communication. Without technology, I would never have been able to have this conversation with them since I live in South Carolina and they live in Australia. I would really have missed out so all I can say to them is thank goodness for technology in the classroom!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hopes for New Teachers

In Jeff’s post, Michael Jordan says it’s okay to fail, he shares a youtube video for a Nike commercial where Michael Jordan talks about some of his failures, yet he still is a success. I think it is great that he shares this with the public. Too many times our “heroes” portray this invincible persona that steer students in the wrong direction. I remember reading the book For the Love of the Game: My Story by Michael Jordan to my class and how they found this inspirational. Of course there is the movie Rudy with Sean Astin, which also has the theme of never give up. Richard Nixon lost the presidential election in 1960, and governor’s race in 1962, but did not give up and won the presidential election in 1968. Abraham Lincoln lost an election in 1832, in 1856, he lost the bid to become a candidate for Vice President, and in 1858, he lost the senate race but he didn’t give up and finally won the Presidency in 1860. These are just a few examples of people who haven’t given up despite some of the failures they may have faced.

As the beginning of the school year approaches, I wondered how many new teachers would face failure in their classes and have the strength and fortitude to hang in there and keep going. I thought about the hopes I have for these new teachers and wanted to share this with you.

I hope that:
1. You do not let what you consider to be failure blind you from what you can do to improve or change your situation.
2. You do not let failure be used as an easy excuse for not doing better.
3. You do not let every failure keep you from seeing the successes that happen in your classroom.
4. You see each failure as a step to help you learn to be more successful.
5. You accept that you are still new to this and things won’t always work out wonderful and great.
6. You seek veteran teachers to help you, not just for academic support but for emotional support too.
7. You don’t react to failures in a way that keeps you from continually looking for new ways to reach your students.
8. You will be even more determined to overcome your failures and in this way be a role model for your students.
9. You see failures as a small blip on your career screen and that there will be events to brag about in the future.
10. You do not let fear of failure keep you from being the best that you can be.

If you are a veteran teacher, what hopes do you have for new teachers?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Podcast Episode #2 - Getting Ready for the First Day

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Links to recommended sites:

a. 100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials

b. 100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner


d. Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning

e. Literactive

Music Credit: Start Now by Marc Kucher

Friday, August 15, 2008

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 08/15/08

Photo by TOMTEC
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found interesting this week. 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!

100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials – “If you’ve heard the buzz about Library 2.0, but don’t quite understand how to implement it, you’ve come to the right place. The Internet is full of helpful webinars, presentations, and tutorials designed to help you take your library to the next level, and we’ve highlighted some of the most useful of these here. Read on to learn how your library can get with the times.”

100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner - links to great tools according to different learning styles.

eLECTIONS – “Inspired by the classic board game "The Game of Life," players will role-play their own virtual candidates running for President. The one or two-player game is both genuinely entertaining and genuinely educational - with emphasis on delivering a fun learning experience. Kids can play with parents, students with teachers, users of all ages with a friend, classmate, or with a computer-generated opponent. The latest edition of eLECTIONS also offers a computer-generated Third Party candidate.”

Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning – “This guide reflects an expert panel's consensus on some of the most important principles to emerge from research on learning and memory. The guide draws on the best available evidence and expertise to provide teachers with specific strategies for organizing instruction and students' studying of material to facilitate learning and remembering, and for helping students use what they have learned in new situations. The guide includes a set of concrete actions relating to the use of instructional and study time that are applicable to subjects that demand a great deal of content learning, including social studies, science, and mathematics. Along with seven recommendations for teachers, the panel also indicates the quality of evidence that supports each recommendation.”

Literactive – “Literactive is the leading provider of reading material for pre-school, kindergarten and grade 1 students available online. The program is comprised of carefully levelled guided readers, comprehensive phonic activities and a wealth of supplemental reading material which gradually develop a child's reading skills in a sequential and enjoyable manner. Developed and approved by teachers and parents across the United States, Literactive is the acknowledged leader in early learning online. All the material is available for free from this site but you need to register.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cyberbullying – Are we doing enough?

Photo by ichangedmyname
Attribution-NonCommercial License
In the article, The Newest Breed of Bully, The Cyberbully, the author talks about strategies to protect your children from cyberbullies. It was a really interesting article about how cyberbullying is happening and what you can do if it happens but it also talks about the difficulties law enforcement faces in trying to stop it.

The other night there was a discussion on Plurk by Lisa who mentioned that her daughter called mom to come pick her up because some girls were being mean to her. Apparently these girls have been bullying her even at school but the daughter didn’t think she was being bullied.

This made me wonder that even though we talk about bullying in general and even cyberbullying, maybe our students do not realize that they are being bullied. Or maybe they see it as a sign of weakness to admit to being bullied. I know when people talk about criminal domestic violence or date violence, many times the victims do not want to admit that they are being abused. I feel that our students feel the same way when they are being bullied and maybe we should talk more about how to know the difference from actions that are just irritating to actions that constitute bullying. We spend so much time teaching our young children not to tattle on each other, that maybe we have done too good a job. Now is the time to teach our students the difference between tattling and stopping bullying.

I also think we need to do more about the bullies. Sometimes just giving consequences to the bully may not be enough and just notifying parents that their child is bullying others may not be enough. Maybe we need to teach parents how to talk to their children about appropriate behavior and consequences to their children. Parents of the bullies need to think about consequences they should give to their children when they act this way. When I learned to drive, I knew that if I got a speeding ticket, I would lose the privilege of driving the car plus pay any increase in insurance when I got the privilege back. When a child uses a computer or a cell phone to bully someone else, this privilege should be taken away. I have seen too many times that the child gets put on restrictions and can’t go anywhere but they don’t lose the privilege of using the computer or the phone and the bullying continues. Make the punishment fit the crime.

I also do not think these lessons should be a one time shot in the dark kind of lessons. I feel that these should be integrated throughout the year in our classes. The more that bullying of any kind is brought out to the open, the less power it has over others. I also feel that parents need to take a firmer stand and maybe parent-teacher organizations could help with educating parents on this.

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Carnival of Education 08/12/08

The Carnival of Education is up on the midway at Joanne Jacobs' blog. Come join the fun and don't miss out on some interesting articles! There is even an article there from me on Teachers with a Positive Attitude.

5 Things Educational Policy Makers Should Know

I was tagged by Cathy Nelson for this and you can go to her blog to read how she answered this meme. Here is what I think and maybe these are too simplistic but I think these are basic truths that educational policy makers need to be aware of.

1. What you see on the news and what you hear from your staff, may not be what is actually happening in the classroom. These people may have absolutely no experience in the classroom and are basing their opinions on what they may have heard. Visit some classrooms yourself and talk to some teachers to find out what is needed to make our educational system successful. Try to teach a lesson to different classes and that will open your eyes.

2. Recruiting and retaining competent teachers should be a priority. This cannot be determined just by how students score on tests. Talk to teachers and find out what their needs are because it isn’t all about money.

3. Not all students learn the same way and they don’t all fit in the same mold. We cannot teach a one-size-fits-all curriculum if we expect our students to compete with the rest of the world. As long as teachers are expected to meet the goals of this fantasy world, our students are the ones who are getting the short end of the stick.

4. We need to look at school districts that are top heavy in management where the tax dollars are spent more on the top levels than in the classrooms where you would get more bang for your buck. We don’t need to keep raising taxes. We need to use the money more wisely.

5. We need to go back to community schools and stop busing kids all over the district. It worked when it was needed but I think it isn’t needed now. With the price of fuel now, this would also decrease the need for raising taxes to pay for the fuel. If the community is involved in the schools, student discipline problems would decrease and parent involvement would increase because schools are closer to their homes. There would be more school pride in taking care of the facilities and grounds. With the economic conditions, more teachers may want to teach closer to their homes so this would increase parent – teacher interactions which would only benefit the students. This could only be a win-win situation for all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

If They Would Have Just Called Back…

Photo by splorp
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
I went to a seminar about Special Education and the Law a few years ago and I remember something the speaker said that really made an impact on me. He said that most of the parents say that they would not have filed suit if the school had just called them back. As a parent, I know that I have called the teacher, the guidance counselors, and the administrators but had to call a few times before I ever received a return call. Once email came about, I thought it would be easier to get a response because I know how busy the teachers are, but this didn’t happen either.

I made it a personal goal to call or email a parent back within 48 hours and I would tell the parents this during the first contact I made with them. I also put this in my classroom newsletter. But I told them that I was only human and sometimes make mistakes, so if they haven’t heard from me within 48 hours, I might have lost their number, never got the message, or just plain forgot and would appreciate it if they contacted me again. If the parents hear this up front, it helps ease the communication process. Of course, I did my best to meet my goal and it helped motivate me to make the contact even though I would rather have avoided it at all costs. Let’s face it, every teacher has that parent that they hate to communicate with but it is much easier on everyone’s nerves if you just bite the bullet and get it over with. Sometimes I found out what I was anxious about never happened and I would have wasted time worrying about making the contact. And if it ends up a bad situation, it is better to get it out in the open and deal with it than to let it fester like a sore and get worse.

I had a great principal years ago that encouraged this communication too and that helped me stay on track. He was really good about saying that if I made a mistake or did something unintentionally in class, it was much better to tell the parent that I messed up and would correct it than to avoid the discussion because the parent just gets angrier. And if I could avoid having an angry parent contact the principal, we all would be much happier!

Maybe this story could help you have a successful school year. I hope it does!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Handling Sensitive Issues in the Classroom

The other day on my personal blog I talked about what I would do if I had to work with someone closely who had really bad breath. One of the comments mentioned having a teacher who had bad breath and it made me think about my own experiences with my own teachers and started to wonder about my students. This also made me think about how I handled this as a new teacher and I remember not even wanting to think of things like this when I first started, much less knowing how to handle them. Here are some ways I addressed certain sensitive issues in my class. (I have to be honest and say all of these have happened to me.)

Bad Breath: I remember having teachers who had bad breath and I would rather not know how to do something than ask them for help. So, I try to make sure after lunch that I have a breath mint. If I’ve eaten something really strong (I really love things with garlic!), I warn the class about it and tell them I will try not to overwhelm them with my breath if they need help. I even tell them if it is so bad, I will let a peer try to help them.

Unzipped zipper: During the first week I tell my class that this happens to everyone and if they see me with my fly open on my pants, to PLEASE tell me about it. I do not want to go through the whole day like this and realize that no one told me about it. I also will do the same to them and hopefully none of us will feel too embarrassed about it. I would rather a momentary embarrassment rather than wondering how many people saw me like this!

Inside out clothes: I once wore a solid colored shirt inside out and didn’t find this out until lunchtime when finally another teacher asked me if that was a new style. Again, I mentioned this to the class and asked them to let me know.

Static Cling: Have you ever gotten something out of the dryer to wear and didn’t know that there was another article of clothing clinging to it? Then you wear it all day with that “hitchhiker” along! I wore a pair of washable pants with a clingy sock hanging out of the pants leg and didn’t notice it until it finally fell off at the end of the day. I ask that someone just tell me! Everyone knows how mean kids can be so save me from the hallway snickering and giggling please!

Wearing shoes of two different colors: I have this style of shoes that I really loved and bought two pair: one black and one blue. I didn’t want to wake my husband up since I get up so ear ly and I got dressed in the dark. Luckily I saw them before school started and called my husband to bring me another shoe. Of course he asked me which one and I told him that it didn’t matter because it would match either one. I couldn’t believe I had done that. Unfortunately I had to wear the mismatched shoes to first period so we had a lesson in observation. We played a five minute observation warm up. I gave them 60 seconds to look at me and then put my coat on as I sat behind my desk. I asked the to write down everything I was wearing. We turned this lesson into using descriptive words and observing details. Finally I stepped out from my desk and took off my coat to show them the two different shoes. We all had a good laugh about it too and I also stressed about when getting dressed, make sure you look in a mirror before you leave home!

I’m sure these are only a few of the stupid things I’ve done but it definitely helped my relationship with my students. They had an opportunity to see me as a human being and I was able to model how it could be handled. These things happen so it is important for a teacher to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at themselves.

Can you think of any other “sensitive issues” that a new teacher should be prepared for?

Friday, August 8, 2008

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

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found interesting this week. 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!

Arcademic Skill Builders – “an innovative approach to teaching basic academic skills by incorporating features of arcade games and educational practices into fun online games that will motivate, intrigue, and teach your students.”

Repositories of Primary Sources – “A listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar. All links have been tested for correctness and appropriateness.”

Visuwords – online graphical dictionary. You plug in the word and it branches off into synonyms or antonyms. I think students would really enjoy playing around with this. You could have them make up their own games using this too.

Crickweb – “163 free to use educational interactive resources for Primary Schools. 16 free to use fun games for children aged 4 - 11. 100 web links to other free interactive, image and software resources.”

NCEO Data Viewer – “an interactive data reporting web site. At this site you can view data related to students with disabilities and create individualized reports based on criteria that you can choose. Two major databases are currently available for your use.”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

TimeBridge Scheduling Assistant to Help Teachers

I recently wrote a post on Time Management for teachers and was contacted by TimeBridge about their scheduling tool so I had to check it out. PC World even names it one of the 101 Fantastic Freebies. I like the way you can plan a meeting by choosing available dates and times on the calendar. Then you send that out to the participants who look at the dates/times and matches up when they can meet. When there is a common date and time that matches, the meeting is scheduled. Boy that could save a lot of time and confusion and emails/phone calls. The best part was that it was free! Below is the press release they sent out this week and my friend Vicki Davis is even quoted in there! She does an awesome project where she collaborates with people all over the world and recommends this tool so I hope to try this out this year. If anybody has to schedule meetings, you might want to look at this neat tool.


TimeBridge's Personal Scheduling Assistant Being Used by Educators Around the World to Increase Collaboration and Communication

San Francisco, Calif., August 04, 2008 —Educators at a variety of schools and universities are increasingly turning to Web 2.0 technology to help them be more efficient and fill the gaps left by traditional desktop applications. For teachers with tight schedules and small budgets, these web tools are popular due to their ease-of-use and because they are often inexpensive or even free. Educators have the tricky job of coordinating their schedules with many groups of people, including students, fellow colleagues, parents and other groups and organizations. TimeBridge has proven to be a valuable tool in aiding collaboration and making it simple for people to share availability and easily schedule times to meet, instead of going through the painful and tedious process of exchanging multiple emails and phone calls.

TimeBridge's Personal Scheduling Assistant, which launched in December 2007, now counts more than 70,000 users and was recently named a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner Research. TimeBridge offers a new, efficient way to schedule meetings with large groups or individuals across time zones, calendaring systems and fully integrates with Outlook and Google calendars, with Apple iCal integration coming soon.

TimeBridge Bringing Teachers All Over the World Together

Vicki Davis is a teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia, where she teaches 8th-12th graders. Along with fellow educator Julie Lindsay in Qatar, Vicki co-founded the Horizon Project which brings together students from classrooms across the world in a collaborative environment to research, discuss and envision the education and society of the future. One of the main challenges for Davis and her colleagues is finding times to plan together to keep the project moving forward. With people located from Georgia to Bangladesh to Australia and across many other time zones, emails would go back-and-forth for days before a time could be finalized, with the original proposed time often going by before it could be confirmed.

Davis and the Horizon Project turned to TimeBridge to solve the scheduling headache that was hampering their ability to collaborate. TimeBridge's advanced time zone support and meeting time polling feature streamlined the scheduling process and has eliminated the inefficiencies and wasted time previously associated with getting everyone together.

"TimeBridge just works," says Davis. "It's great because it works across all time zones so everybody can see the proposed times within their own schedule and respond accordingly. It now takes at most 24 hours to schedule a meeting that used to take six or seven days—it was a nightmare. These projects would really not be possible without TimeBridge because we would not be able to get together to plan and strategize."

"Teacher's schedules are often very complicated," continues Davis. "We all have tiny windows of time before, between and after classes so our availability is really limited. Using TimeBridge to schedule our meetings allows all of us to make the most of our time."

Facilitating New Relationships between Faculty and Students

Dustin Brentlinger is the Dean of Students at Heidelberg College in Ohio. He is in charge of student discipline and academic counseling so a large part of his job is meeting with students to discuss their academic and disciplinary standing.

Meeting with students, especially those with disciplinary issues, can often be challenging to coordinate. Students often ignored or lagged in responding to phone calls from Brentlinger and his office assistant, so he began sending them TimeBridge invites offering five times for the student to pick from. TimeBridge's strong call to action has yielded quick responses from students: "When they're in trouble, they try to avoid you," says Brentlinger. "I've been able to meet with students who I could never get to come see me before."

For students requesting meetings with Brentlinger, TimeBridge has proven invaluable as well.

"Students would much rather communicate via email or some other digital means than receiving a phone call to schedule a meeting," Brentlinger continued. "So now when I receive an email from a student asking to meet with me, I simply respond with a TimeBridge invite offering a few times for them to pick from. It gets the meeting scheduled much more quickly and everyone is more comfortable with the process. It's allowed me to strengthen and build new relationships with students."

Dean Brentlinger has also taken his use of TimeBridge to the next level by posting his availability link in his Facebook profile so students who want to meet with him can easily access his calendar and request a meeting. "Hopefully this will make me much more accessible," he says.

About TimeBridge
TimeBridge has created the first Personal Scheduling Assistant to give busy professionals a faster, more efficient way to schedule their time. TimeBridge's one-step scheduling is the most efficient way to schedule meetings with large groups or individuals across time zones, calendaring systems and companies. TimeBridge allows users to easily schedule meetings, share their availability with others, and connect directly with calendars including Outlook and Google Calendar. While online calendars help users track their time, TimeBridge facilitates the social, and often complex process of getting busy people together—in person, on the phone or online. TimeBridge is backed by blue-chip venture capital firms Mayfield Fund and Norwest Venture Partners. For more information, go to”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Carnival of Education 08/06/08

The Carnival of Education is now up on the midway at Pass the Torch. Come join us for great articles about education and an opportunity to enter into the conversations. My post on Am I Replaceable is part of the entertainment!

Teaching and Gardening Part 3

Maybe I should have titled this post: Weeds vs. Flowers in Our Classrooms. I have really enjoyed looking at my hobby of gardening to see how it relates to teaching. I’m constantly amazed how much I learn from gardening that can be applied to the classroom. While thinking about this topic, I found the following quotes that I thought you would enjoy.

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fortune of the Republic, 1878

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them- A. A. Milne, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.- James Russell Lowell, The Growth of a Legend, 1847

A weed is but an unloved flower.- Ella Wilcox, 1855 – 1919

One time I went to the plant nursery to buy this plant called Lantana, which is supposed to be hardy in the heat and drought. I was thrilled to plant this because I loved the bright colors of the plant and how easy it was to care for it. When my parents found out that I paid about $8 for this plant (My father is an avid gardener so I love to share things like this with them), they really laughed. You see, in Florida where they live, this plant is a weed and grows along the sides of the road. People constantly try to get rid of it from their yards. My father said he could get me all that I want, and for free!

I wondered how many students are considered weeds. Maybe no one has seen their virtues or gotten to know them. Is the student who misbehaves a weed or a flower? Maybe no one has made an effort to find out this student’s virtues. I once read somewhere that you can find at least one good thing about a person and when you do, it will make it harder for you to dislike them. Maybe if I can find that one good thing, that student will change from a weed to a flower.

I taught at one school where we had some flexibility in scheduling. (I didn’t understand the whys or how, but I just know it affected the classes that I taught.) I was a special education teacher so as long as I taught special education for at least half the day; I was allowed to teach anything else the principal wanted me to teach. This meant I was assigned 2 more classes of remedial math which involved teaching regular education students who had failed standardized tests that could affect their graduation from high school. The regular math teachers were thrilled that I would be teaching these classes because none of them wanted to teach the lower level students and felt their destiny was to only teach higher level math courses. They felt that teaching these lower level students was a waste of their time and usually involved major behavior problems. (I guess you could say, these lower level students were considered weeds.)

Now, I on the other hand, was ecstatic about the chance to teach these lower level students. I had only taught special education students up to this point and I felt like I was teaching gifted and talented students. Please don’t think I didn’t still love teaching special education students, but this was a whole different world to me. I really feel that many of these students lacked the basic math foundations in order to build new skills so I started from the bottom and worked my way up. I pre- and post-tested students so they could work on their own individual skills. Everyone had their own plan that I worked up for them and they worked their hearts out for me. Usually the students were too busy to misbehave so behavior issues were not a problem in the class. I was so proud of the students who retook the exit exam at the end of the year and passed the math portion of the test. You see, I saw these students as flowers, not weeds, and cultivated their garden so that they could grow and learn the skills they needed in order to be successful.

Our attitude towards plants is a singularly narrow one. If we see any immediate utility in a plant we foster it. If for any reason we find its presence undesirable or merely a matter of indifference, we may condemn it to destruction forthwith.- Rachel Carson

I have learned a lot about wildflowers while I have gone hiking. There is this beautiful flower that can be either reddish orange or yellow called Jewelweed. I love to find this because they are so pretty. After some research and talking to park rangers, I have found out that this flower supposedly is used to fight poison ivy rashes and usually grow near where poison ivy is found. Yet, my husband tells me that this plant used to grow in his parent’s backyard and they spent years trying to get rid of it from the yard. Every year they would pull them out of the ground only to find them coming back the next year. His parents obviously found no use for this plant and felt it was a weed. I think this plant is handy to have around and that it is a very useful flower so if I ever have it in my yard, I wouldn’t try to get rid of it.

Maybe I need to look at my students who I feel are weeds and try to find out how useful they could be. Maybe they haven’t discovered their usefulness yet and I am the instrument of their discovery. Instead of trying to find out ways to eradicate them from my classroom, I need to find a way to cultivate these students. I need to help them to grow and be productive. How amazing it would be to find out that these students were not weeds and actually rare and valuable plants. If I could do this, my class would be a successful garden!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Teachers With A Positive Attitude

In The Vast, Unstatable Importance of a Positive Attitude, Leo Babuata, head writer of Zen Habits, writes about having a positive attitude. He states,

“It changes how you interact with people, and that in itself is huge. If people perceive you as a negative person, they tend to get tired of dealing with you after awhile. But if you’re a positive person, you come off in a more positive light, and you’re a joy to talk to and work with and be with.”

He also gives these suggestions for changing the way you think and I thought about how teachers could change the way they think in order to be happier and not get burned out. Too many times I have seen new teachers give up because of negative thinking. Here are Leo’s suggestions with my spin on each suggestion.

1. “Squash negative thoughts.” Too many times I have heard teachers say on Sunday night that they hate the thought of Monday arriving or groan when Monday arrived. I have always tried to see Mondays as looking forward to seeing my students and hear how their weekend went. I also tried to see the new week as a way to make a fresh start and be a better teacher this week then I was last week by learning from my mistakes or trying new techniques.

2. “Mantras.” My husband is my true hero in all of this. For the past 30 years, he would wake up and say “I feel great! It is so great to be alive!” You would never know that he was not feeling well or grumpy. He felt that by saying that, he even felt better and it changed the way he saw the day. As a teacher, as soon as I arrived in my classroom, I would say, “I’m so glad to be here and I’m going to make a difference today!”

3. “See the good in any situation.” Remember that old saying, “when you are given lemons, make lemonade?” Try to find something good when things get rough in your classroom. If there is a student who misbehaves, think of it as an opportunity to try a new behavior modification technique or think of a way to redirect the behavior.
4. “Enjoy small pleasures.” Look for the little things that give you pleasure. I remember noticing that a student who normally doesn’t do well on work, was trying harder today. Or maybe I had a few moments of free time and needed to just sit down and relax without feeling guilty about it.

5. “See the good in yourself.” Sometimes I would think I was not a good enough teacher or not effective. That was the time I tried to focus on what I was good at doing and how it affected my students. This helped me see my weaknesses in a better light so they were manageable instead of overwhelming.

6. “See the good in others.” I heard or read somewhere that there was something good about every person. We all know that there is that one student that you just can’t stand to teach. I would try to find something I liked about that student and when I did that, it changed the way I interacted with that student. I’m not saying we had a mutual like for each other, but we were able to get along better so that I could be effective in teaching this student.
7. “Positive imaging.” I hate to be observed and evaluated! I don’t care how much experience or how good I was, I just felt scared to death. One way I got through this was to picture a positive image of myself teaching. I would be teaching with confidence, and know my material. When I would hold that image in my mind, it made it much easier when I was observed and evaluated.

8. “Anticipate fun.” Have fun teaching! If you enjoy your job, you will do much better. I loved teaching and all the unexpected things that will happen comes with it. Every day was different and was never boring. If I was having fun, I know the students were usually enjoying the lesson too. I tried to teach as if I was the student so if I was bored with the lesson, so were the students. I also tried to tell the students at the beginning, “This is going to be a fun lesson today!” That usually put them in a receptive frame of mind and the lesson went well.

I feel that having a positive attitude was important as a role model for students. Sometimes they are surrounded with people who do not have this kind of attitude so showing and teaching this can really make a difference in a student’s life. With a positive attitude, success is sure to happen!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Podcast Episode #1

Here is my first venture into Podcasting! This is the first episode of the Successful Teaching podcast and I give an introduction of what I hope to accomplish with these podcasts and even a personal story of the first day of my teaching career. Hope you enjoy it!

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Links to Useful sites:
Discipline Help
Donors Choose
Teaching Tolerance
National Teacher Shortage

Music credit: Day of Reckoning by Amy Martin

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Worst Job Meme

Thanks to Murcha who tagged me with this meme.

I’m had so many jobs while I was trying to save money so I could become a teacher but the worst job I ever had was working in a knitting factory my first summer home from college. My father wanted me to work in the Chinese restaurant with him like I did part time the last three years of high school but I know he hoped that I would give up this crazy idea of college and stay home. So, instead I went out to find my own job that summer and took the first one that offered me a job. It was in a knitting factory close to my home and it was a Monday through Friday job so I would still have my weekends.

My job was to collect the sweaters in a huge bin and wheel them to the next station in the assembly line. After that, I was sent into this small hallway that was cinder blocked all around with no air circulating and it was my job to thread the knitted belts through the waist band of these sweater coats. I did this for eight hours a day and we had a thirty minute lunch break. During lunch we would sit on the lawn under a tree to eat.

Most of the workers were older heavy set women who worked at the knitting machines all day long. Whenever we had a break or when I saw them in the bathroom, they would make me promise to finish college so I didn’t end up in a job like this forever.
There was no air condition in this factory and the only thing moving air were these huge fans near the ceiling by some windows. Every time the fire marshall would come to inspect, he would say I was in a fire hazard and needed to be moved immediately. So, they would move me so the fire marshall would be happy and then they would move me right back where I was. I was told that when the fire marshall came, I had to move to the other spot long enough to pass inspection.
I think I was paid minimum wage at that time which was $3.65 per hour. I was so proud of myself for not working in a restaurant with my father (where it was air conditioned, working at a cash register which entailed no physical labor for about $5 per hour). Hmmm, how stupid I was when I was young!

I am tagging the following people: Angela Maiers, Bellringers, Cathy Nelson, Christine Southard, and Jennifer.

Now, it is your turn to write a post, acknowledge the person who tagged you and then tag 5 others. I can't wait to read about your worst job!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Apple Article

The Apple: Where Teachers Meet and Learn has published one of my articles on their site. Please stop by and see it! It is called 19 Ways to Reclaim Your Free Time. I’m so thrilled!

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 08/01/08

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found interesting this week. 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!

F1 for Kids – their mission is “to help kids use computer technology productively. Kids develop 3D design and spatial-relations skills using F1 for Kids and Google SketchUp (TM) , which architects, designers, math teachers, and art instructors say is the easiest and most powerful modeling application available!”

New Vista for Learning - “With the resources of the library available for free to anyone at any time, students will be in a good position to learn when they are most ready to do so. For teachers, the available videos can be used in the classroom to generate discussion, or even when planning lessons to generate ideas. Having a simple system for watching others’ work will strengthen professional development, which is one of’s goals.”

My Oats – “Myoats is a place where people can create, download & showcase beautiful designs.” If you ever grew up with spirograph, you will feel like this is spirograph on computer and it’s a lot of fun!

Information Technology in Science Instruction – ‘This comprehensive information technologies (IT) project for middle and high school teachers prepares diverse students for careers in IT by engaging them in exciting, inquiry-based science projects that use computational models and real-time data acquisition. The project provides over 126 hours of lab-based, credit-bearing activities for 90 teachers and full support for classroom implementation.

Participants will learn basic electronics and design skills that will enable their students to install, configure, and use a wide range of sensors. They will also learn to teach students to use, modify, and create computational models. The skills students will learn will greatly enhance their ability to undertake investigations while giving a solid foundation for IT-based careers in programming, computer hardware, and software engineering.”

Finding Dulcinea – “Our mission is to bring users the best information on the Web for any topic, employing human insight and methodical review. FindingDulcinea presents only credible, high-quality and trustworthy Web sites, saving time for the novice and the experienced user alike. Each piece, whether a Web Guide, a Beyond the Headlines story or a Netcetera article, receives the same meticulous research. The Web sites included in each piece are connected through original narrative, providing users with information on each site before they even click on it.”