Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review

happy-holidays-graphics2 After looking at other bloggers talk about their year, I thought I would include an overview of my year too on this last day of 2009. It was interesting to look back over the year and see how much I have accomplished. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised because I had forgotten how much I have done and feel that I have had a very productive year.

January – I gave a presentation at the South Carolina Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Charleston. Then we went to Arlington, VA so I could attend the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Board of Directors meeting. My hubby spent a lot of time visiting a lot of the Smithsonian museums.

February – I found a local knitting group as well as an online group to help her get better at knitting. I have been knitting a lot of prayer shawls. Now I am into knitting socks in between the prayer shawls.

March – We began our trip out west. We drove through Nashville and St. Louis. Then we stopped in Kansas to see the Cosmosphere and the Salt Mine. It was really exciting to meet online friends in person (Howie G, Joel, Ande, Shelly, Kevin, and Michelle! We got to Colorado Springs in time for a blizzard. We had to stop in Oregon to buy chains for our car. You can read more about our April Adventures on Pat’s Loonyhiker Blog (March)

April – We arrived in Seattle for the national Council for Exceptional Children Conference. After the weeklong conference we explored Washington and Oregon. We even took a tour of the Boeing plant. While in Oregon, We got to meet another online friend and her children in person (Meg, Emma, and George). We were able to visit a lot of different national parks. You can read more about our April Adventures on Pat’s Loonyhiker Blog (April).

May – We came home from our long trip around Mother’s Day. Then we spent the next couple of weeks working on our house and yard.

June – I taught a graduate class for Furman (Nature of Learning Disabilities). My students were teachers getting their Master’s degree in Special Education.

July – Pat taught a graduate class for Furman (Learning Disabilities Practicum). I got to play “principal” to a school of 20 special ed students and five teachers. The teachers were my students and I was able to review their lesson plans and observe their teaching practices.

August – We headed north to visit family in New York and then explore the New England states. We were excited to meet another online friend and her husband in person (Diane)!

September – We went on two cruises in the Caribbean (Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Sea and Carnival Glory)

October – I had an online meeting using Flashmeeting with a group from Minnesota CEC in order to show them how we hold our local CEC meetings. I felt that we accomplished a lot and it was exciting to show them a wonderful new resource. My online friend, Diane, came to Charlotte, NC for a conference so we drove up to spend some time with her. Then we went to Arlington, VA for the Council for Exceptional Children Board of Directors meeting. After the meeting, we drove to Daytona Beach to spend a week with Pat’s parents at our timeshare.

November – We worked on one of our rental houses which needed a lot of work. We painted all of the rooms and the garage plus made repairs that were necessary. Now we just have to get it rented out again.

December – We went on two more cruises in the Caribbean (Carnival Dream and Carnival Miracle). My 90 year old father was hospitalized for a bleeding ulcer (which we think was caused by the medicine he was on to prevent another stroke). They had to do emergency surgery and thankfully got the bleeding stopped. I am so thankful that he is still with us.

It has been a busy year but we are so thankful for all of our family and friends who touched our lives. We have been truly blessed with good health and happiness this year! May this coming year bring you the brightest and best times of your life!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Andy Griffith Lessons

Andy On a recent visit to my parent’s house, we spent a lot of time watching The Andy Griffith Show. As we watched, I thought about how this show would be great to center lessons around. They just don’t make shows like this anymore and I wish they did. After watching some of the episodes, it could be used for English, History, and Social Skills lessons.

Last night’s episode concerned Andy and Barney taking their girlfriends out on dates along with Goober and his girlfriend. Andy talks about buying black out shades and my husband mentioned that kids today wouldn’t realize what those were. It would be great to talk about world war II and talk about how it impacted everyday lives. Many times we teach about the war but now about how it affected people at home and their daily lives. This would be a great perspective to see this from and learn.

Another thing we noticed was how they dressed for dates. Andy and Barney had jackets and ties while the women wore dresses. It seems like today’s generation doesn’t know how to dress up anymore. Even when we were on our cruises, people would come to the dining room at dinner in t-shirts and shorts, even though it was written for them not to come to dinner like this. It made me sad to think that some of these people felt they had “dressed up” in their finer shorts and t-shirts. This would be a great lesson in talking about appropriate dress for different situations such as job interviews.

It was also interesting that their activities consisted of playing bridge in their living room, going to the movies, or bowling. With the cost of movies today, going to a movie involves a large financial investment. Many teens go hang out at the mall. There aren’t many reasonable safe places for teenagers to socialize any more. This would be a great lesson in talking about this topic and alternatives. Maybe there are some teens that need this discussion and it would encourage them to choose other places than what they originally thought about doing.

There was also a problem with Goober horning in on their double date. This episode showed how they handled the situation. Andy also explained why they should handle it the way they did. It would be great for my class to discuss how they would have handled it differently.

Could you think of other lessons that can be made from this show? Have you ever used a TV show as a basis for your lessons? If so, what do you think would be a great one to use and what kind of lessons do you suggest?

Original image: 'Andy' by: Mark Welker

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Develop a Sense of Belonging

Two female joggers on foggy Morro Strand State Beach In The Importance of Finding a Connection

from TutorFi by Meaghan Montrose, she gives some tips on how to help your child feel connected and develop a sense of belonging. I think this also applies to myself as a teacher which is important for keeping me energized and excited about teaching. Here are ways I would apply her tips to my own life as a teacher.

“1. Find an activity or group that suits your child.” I need to find an activity that I enjoy doing. This means that I might have to try a lot of different things until I find it but eventually something will appeal to me. This also means that I don’t have to stick with it for life and when I get bored with it, I can move on to something else. If it doesn’t suit me, it will be okay for me to say that I need to try something else and not feel guilty that I don’t want to do what is suggested or what I am currently trying. But I also have to try it long enough to give it an honest try and not give up when I am struggling at the beginning.

2. Make sure the activity or group is for your child, not for you.

I need to find something for me, not my husband or the family. Many times as a teacher, I am always looking to make sure that others have what they need and my needs are pushed to the back. I think most teachers are that way. Then we feel guilty if we try to do something just for ourselves. I think it is healthy to put our needs to the front once in awhile. It also helps from getting burned out or feeling used.

3. Be supportive.

Find a support system. It might mean finding others who enjoy doing the same thing. This can be a group in person or online. When I began knitting (which is my newest passion), I found a group that meets locally once a week. This was really great! Then I also found online friends from around the world who also offer support to me. This helps keep me going when I struggle with a problem and it is fun working it out with others.

I think these are great ways to feel connected and a sense of belonging. How can we show our students this if we don’t model the behaviors ourselves? By doing this, I think we are showing the students that they too can be successful in finding ways to meet their needs.

What do you think? Do you have any other tips to add to this? Please let me know. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Original image: 'Two female joggers on foggy Morro Strand State Beach' by: Mike Baird

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lessons Learned in 2009

lessons I learned a lot in 2009 but here are the main things that stood out for me this year.

Traveling around the country is a true learning experience. Seeing places that I have read about is really different when you see them in person. Cultures and places have new meaning. When I read a book and it is set somewhere that I have been, I am able to feel more for the characters in the book. In 2010, I plan to continue to experience the world. See my travel pictures at: Trip Out West 2009

Connect with others. I really enjoyed traveling around the country and meeting online and real life friends in person. I use email, instant messenger, plurk, twitter, facebook, delicious, diigo, digitalscrapbookplace, and ravelry as some of the ways to stay in touch with family and friends. These connections are important and I plan to nurture these friendships and not take them for granted.

Take advantage of learning opportunities. I participated online with K12online and educon this year. I also presented at the Upstate Technology Conference. I will look for more opportunities in 2010.

Don’t over-commit myself. I participated in the daily photo a day project on Flickr and did pretty good. I thought I did one every day but somewhere along the line I either missed 3 days or I messed up my count. I will go back and review these pictures. I learned a lot about taking pictures by taking them, looking at others, and getting comments on my pictures. I tried to comment on others but when I traveled, the internet connections made this difficult. Meanwhile I also had hoped to finish 100 scrapbook pages but seriously missed this goal by a lot. I think I bit off more than I could chew. In 2010, I plan to work on one project instead of two major ones.

Keep life simple. My life got complicated when I let it. I need to remember that I have control of my own life and when I let it stay simple, life is much better. When I struggle against the natural flow of things, my life gets complicated. In 2010 I plan to not over-plan everything and go with the flow.

Get more exercise. I have gained more weight and weigh more than I ever have in my life. I sporadically exercised and easily found reasons for not exercising. When I exercised, I felt better and even felt more in control of my life. In 2010, I plan to do more hiking and getting outdoors more even if we are traveling.

Take better care of myself. I thought about yoga and meditation this year but I never took the step to doing it. I let my body take over my mind. I want to start back doing my tai chi and calisthenics. I want to dress better instead of just throwing clothes on my back. In 2010, I plan to take more pride in how I look and how I dress.

Life is short so spend time with the ones you love. We almost lost my father this year. He is 90 years old and I know that soon, he will not be with us anymore. Every day I spend with him is to be cherished. In 2010, I will spend time with loved ones and make sure they know how much they mean to me!

Original image: 'Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual Mashups'
by: Q. Thomas Bower

Friday, December 25, 2009

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/25/09

005 Merry Christmas everyone!

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my Personal Learning Network (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!

Dinosaurs - The Smithsonian Institute has a wonderful dinosaur site. There are links to dinosaur info, dinosaur collections and exhibits, and interactives. This is really worth checking out.

You Are Here – free website; “You are welcome to use the resources and activities on this site to teach kids about today’s marketplace. The site is intended for students in 5th through 8th grade and can be used to complement lessons in critical thinking, writing, language arts, media literacy, business, civics, and social studies.”

Cash Cab Quizzes – fun quizzes to use in the classroom.

Skype an Author Network – “The mission of the Skype an Author Network is to provide K-12 teachers and librarians with a way to connect authors, books, and young readers through virtual visits.”

City Data – “We've collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create as complete and interesting profiles of all U.S. cities as we could.  We have over 74,000 city photos not found anywhere else, graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, home value estimator, hundreds of thousands of maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment...), geographical data, state profiles, crime data, registered sex offenders, cost of living, housing, religions, businesses, local news links based on our exclusive technology, birthplaces of famous people, political contributions, city government finances and employment, weather, tornadoes, earthquakes, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, air pollution, latest unemployment data, time zones, water systems and their health and monitoring violations, comparisons to averages, local poverty details, professionally written city guides, car accidents, fires, bridge conditions, cell phone and other towers, mortgage data, business storefront photos...”

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Did They Say?

conversations In Imagining Conversations with Former Students from The Clever Sheep by Rodd Lucier, he asks,

“When you cross paths with your present students 10 years hence, how do you anticipate the conversation will begin?”

I thought of the many conversations that I’ve had with former students and I think about the things they have already said to me and I feel proud of these things. Some of these things that were said surprised me because I don’t remember them or it wasn’t as an important interaction for me as it was for them. Here are some examples:

Many of them start off with telling me, “I am a Born Winner!” That has been my class motto for over 25 years and each student had to write that on every paper before they turned it in or I wouldn’t grade it. I think my students have heard too many negative things about themselves and need to turn their own thoughts into a positive one. Usually there is a power of wills at the beginning of the year about writing this on their papers but I’m steadfast in my will and always win. It fills my heart to know they still remember it.

Another favorite is “Remember the zoo!” This was as traumatic for me as it was for them (and David, if you are reading this, it still is but now I’m smiling!) It was the one and only time I thought I lost three high school special education students at the zoo. I tromped through the zoo looking for them practically hysterical. Since I had to go find them, I had to leave my brain injured girl with my heavy pot smoker who promised to take care of her and I prayed that they didn’t disappear next. When I found the three walking calmly down the walkway, I lit into them like a crazy woman! Here are three boys towering over me, looking sheepish and let me scream at them like one of the wild animals! Now, normally, any other student would have gone off the deep end and yelled back or walked away but these tough guys hung their heads and took what I gave them. I look back on this and think wow; they really loved and respected me. Later on, a policeman who was there with his small daughter in a stroller told me that the boys were excellently behaved and really didn’t deserve my berating which made me feel 2 inches tall. I think they took it because they realized how scared I was and how much I cared for them (at least I hope so). That is really the only time in my career that I really lost it. I still remember it as if it happened yesterday.

Another student reminded me that I always made them correct their mistakes. It drove them crazy but now they can see why I did that. I still don’t understand how some teachers give the students a grade without helping them learn what they did wrong before moving on. I’m told that teachers don’t have time to do this with the students because of all the standards they have to teach in order to prepare for the tests but I don’t see how they can afford not to but that’s another story.

Here is one that I don’t remember. A girl came up to me in a restaurant with her family including her parents, husband, and small children. She told me that every Thanksgiving they talk about me and are thankful for me because I taught this girl a lesson about respect in ninth grade. When she was disrespectful to me one morning, I didn’t write an office referral on her. Instead, I called her parents. This surprised her because I didn’t even know her, yet she felt I showed her that she was important to me by taking the time to call home. I didn’t know that at the time, she was having a lot of problems, and this little action really helped to turn her around because she thought no one cared about her and felt invisible. I really hadn’t ever seen her since that incident and here she was all grown up and looking great. It humbled me to know that they still talk about me after all these years and give thanks for my small entry into their lives. It really woke me up to the little things we do as teachers that we don’t realize may have a bigger impact on these students that we may never know.

I love having conversations with former students to see what stands out in my career. Now is the time for those teaching to think about how you want to be remembered. What do you hope that these students will say to you? How will you know that you’ve been successful when you look back and talk to these students?

Original image: 'Old School House (Lublin, Wisconsin)'

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Educarnival v2 Issue 18 The Christmas Edition


Welcome to the December 23, 2009 edition of educarnival v2.

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

BUT, lots of educators were stirring with great posts about a variety of topics! Thanks to everyone for participating!

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition! If you see any mistakes, errors, or just plain goof ups, please contact me at successfulteaching (at) gmail (dot) com and I will try to correct it as soon as possible!

Now, without further ado, let the good times roll…

Clix thought I should share this post and we look forward to what everyone else thinks about it so here is my post on Who Has More Rights?

Darren presents Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher: Throwing Teachers Out Of Their Homes And Onto The Streets? posted at Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher, saying, "Teachers union president says something so goofy that it makes all teachers in that district look bad!"

Diane Laine presents The Definitive User’s Guide to posted at College

Rachel Lynette presents The Jewish Kid in Your Class posted at Minds in Bloom.

Angela Martin presents 100 Essential Lifehacks Every Student Should Know Online College Tips - Online Colleges posted at Online

Kristie Lewis presents 100 Best Reference Tools for Homeschoolers Online Colleges posted at Online

Lisa Taylor presents Top 45 Websites to Look for Christian Scholarships posted at Online University Reviews.

Baas David presents How Exactly Does Radiology Technology Work? posted at radiology technician training.

BackusJeff presents The Most Famous Medical Tests of All Time posted at online radiology schools.

Chris Baker presents How Exactly Do College Rankings Work? — Online College Rankings posted at online college rankings 2010.

Baker Jason presents 10 Non-traditional University Rankings posted at online university rankings 2010.

Patrick Fisher presents How Exactly Does Ultrasound Technology Work? posted at Ultrasound Technologist Schools.

Stealth Persona presents 7 Awesome Social Media Sites for Computer Scientists and Engineers posted at Online Engineering Programs.

Gracie Turner presents 50 Essential Blog Posts on Education Reform posted at Online

siobhan curious presents Lia is Outraged posted at Siobhan Curious, saying, "At this time of year, aspects of our students emerge that we might prefer not to see."

Sarah Garb presents Loud Pills and Ad-Libbing posted at Dead Class Pets.

Adrian Peterson presents 7 Sites for Your Daily Dose of Health How-to?s and Tips posted at Online PhD in Nursing.

woodlassnyc presents I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THE UFT IS THIS STUPID posted at Under Assault: Teaching in NYC.

Alvaro Fernandez presents Michael Merzenich on Brain Training, Assessments, and Personal Brain Trainers posted at SharpBrains, saying, "Here's a stimulating interview with brain scientist Michael Merzenich. Who will be the "personal brain trainers" of the future?"

Albie presents 4 More NLP exercises by Bandler: Exams, Study, Motivation, Money posted at iDevelopWorld.

TIC presents Does Technology Promote Aliteracy? posted at Technology In Class, saying, "Is this the most aliterate generation? If so, is technology to blame?"

Rose King presents 20 Weird Masters Degrees That Actually Exist posted at Online

Angela Martin presents 100 Incredibly Useful Links for Teaching and Studying Shakespeare posted at Online

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of educarnival v2 using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Role Model Problems

rolemodels I am on a cruise in the Caribbean (and no, that isn’t a problem). One day we were at sea and there were high winds and high waves. Even though it was sunny, the winds were strong enough for them to block the stairways to the upper decks, including the jogging tracks. The doors to these were also closed with signs telling people not to open the doors due to strong winds. Now when I read these signs, they tell me that this could be a dangerous situation. When I see a rope across a stairway with a sign that says “Do Not Enter,” I know that means basically that I should not go past the rope. Even if I couldn’t read or didn’t know English, the rope across the stairs tells me to stop. Don’t you agree? Or maybe I’m missing something.

I was truly amazed at how many people thought this didn’t apply to them. I guess rules only apply to everyone else but not them. I watched people duck under the rope and go up the stairs anyway. And the rope was not easy to duck under because it was low and pretty taut. Yet, I watched people shimmy and crawl under these ropes. I watched them fight the high winds on the upper decks as they walked around. Now, I honestly believe if something happened to them, they would be the first ones to sue the cruise line for safety issues. They take absolutely no responsibility for their actions. Because let’s face it, if they did, they would have followed directions.

Now the thing that really set me off, even beyond the fact that these adults were apparently idiots in my eyes, is that I saw a man bring his young son up there too. It is bad enough that the adults want to risk their own safety but when you encourage a young person to disobey the rules and possibly risk broken bones or even being thrown overboard, someone should bop them over the head! I don’t believe the Captain makes these decisions because he is bored and wants to stir up the passengers. He has to do things like this to ensure the safety of the passengers on his ship.

It took all the energy in me not to go into “teacher mode” and scream at them to follow the directions and get down from there. In fact, it stressed me out so much that we have to go inside and eat more food! (What a dilemma for me! LOL)

But seriously, I wondered what kind of role models these adults were for their own children. Obviously the man with his son had no desire to be an appropriate one. He is teaching his son that rules don’t apply to their family and that it is okay to skirt the rules if you want to do something. Can you imagine what this child might be like in the classroom?

We need to keep this in mind when we are disciplining our students. I’m not saying that we need to make excuses for them but we need to remember that some of this may be learned behavior. I think the best way to approach a student would be to explain why their actions are a problem. I wouldn’t just say that I dislike their behavior but would explain why. There might be safety issues or a rationale for why the rule is there. Just like the laws we have in society, there are rules in a school. We might not like the laws, but we have to follow them. If we don’t like them and don’t want to follow them, we need to work to change them but we don’t just ignore them. I feel if I can reason with my students rather than put them on the defensive, I can usually see an improvement in their behavior. Then I feel like I have been successful in my actions.

Original image: 'The innocence of a look ...'

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Passion

passion In Passionate Learning: Always in "WOW" Mode from Angela Maiers Educational Services by Angela Maiers, she writes,

“Choosing passion is to be wholeheartedly committed to the purpose of achieving results and adding value. Choosing passion requires working with enthusiasm, energy, vigor, and determination to create and construct something meaningful. Choosing passion puts us and those around us in "wow" mode. Often, if not always… What else? Fill me in?  Passion is _________________”

Passion is my love of teaching.

Passion is seeing the goodness in the world.

Passion is my desire to help others.

Passion is jumping in with both feet without ever looking over your shoulder.

Passion is feeling wonderful as you watch the smile on a student’s face grow when they “get it!”

Passion is never giving up when the going gets tough.

Passion is absolute joy in doing whatever I’m involved with.

I really can’t imagine teaching without passion in my heart. Without it, I think I would have become a bitter and unhappy teacher. Unfortunately I have seen those teachers in the classroom and wonder why they stay in the profession. Could it be the money? No, those pay checks aren’t worth it. Maybe it is the sense of power? I don’t know. But I know that I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have passion for teaching. My husband is always telling me when we are in vacation, there are times I still slip into “teacher mode.” If I see children misbehaving out of sight of their parents, I still can give the “look” or say something that makes them stop in their tracks. If someone is having a problem, I have no trouble stepping in and helping. I think God put me in this world for that purpose and I better do my job!

Do you have other ways to finish the sentence? Give it a try! It’s a lot of fun. Maybe it will help you reflect and be more successful in the classroom.

Original image: 'George At The Canter' by: LORAINE DAVIS

Friday, December 18, 2009

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/18/09

tool1 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my Personal Learning Network (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!

Verbalearn – free tool to use! “VerbaLearn has grown into a comprehensive vocabulary building service that offers audio, video, flashcards, games, and much more. In countries all around the world, people are building their vocabulary faster with VerbaLearn's innovative review tools and adaptive technology…VerbaLearn attempts to bridge the gap between traditional print flashcards and the methods that today's internet users gather information with; video, audio, RSS feeds, games, etc. Because VerbaLearn allows users to study with a variety of tools that they are comfortable with, users actually enjoy the learning process and can accomplish much more in shorter period of time.”

Livebrush – “Livebrush is a drawing application. It employs an easy-to-use brush tool that reacts to your gesture. By combining simple motion controls with brush styles, Livebrush offers a fun and unique way to create graphics.”

Celestia - The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy.

Big Huge Thesaurus – “Synonyms, antonyms, and rhymes (oh my!) (Also blog post ideas and story plot/logline resources for writers.)”

We Seed – “WeSeed EDU offers educators a free, hands-on tool to help teach their students about the stock market and the world of investing. WeSeed shows users how to invest in what they know — the products, brands and companies that they use everyday — to help them grasp the concepts behind the stock market and the importance of investing.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Millennial Students Need to Know…Before They Get to College

(Today’s post is by guest writer, Elizabeth O’Neill. She is a contributing writer for She holds an MFA in creative writing, and has taught several college courses. ) students

The world is evolving at a breakneck pace. Teachers are working hard to keep up, and they’re making admirable headway. At the same time, certain shifts in our society have prompted new issues in higher education. Middle school teachers and high school teachers can help their students, by addressing these issues before graduation rolls around.

Beyond Grades

Grade-obsessed parents have created grade-obsessed kids. Good grades used to be part and parcel of dedicated scholarship. These days, especially in high school, GPA is everything. Students view their assignments as the means to a final grade, without much regard for the developmental “through line” – a.k.a. learning.

When students arrive at college unconcerned with their own learning outcomes (beyond grades), they’re more likely to choose an arbitrary major, to coast through easier course offerings, or to practice academic dishonesty when classes become difficult. By the time they reach college (especially given what it costs today), students should have the maturity to actively care about what, why and how they are learning. For their own benefit, they should aim to fuse connections between their studies and the outside world. They should be anticipating their careers, and building their competencies accordingly.

Middle school teachers and high school teachers can help students take ownership of their education by offering praise for “through line” thinking. Try to teach beyond the next test. Encourage kids to talk about their ambitions and individual goals. Integrate more class discussion with textbook chapters. And remember that some of your students will become poets, some will become accountants, some will become veterinary technicians. Regardless of the subject you teach, you should find ways to make your lessons speak to all of them.


A lot of people criticize millennial students for their misuse of grammar and punctuation. Texts, tweets, and nonstop status updates have indeed affected students’ communication habits. But be careful not to squelch all your students’ texting talents and idioms. In the business world, executives are scrambling to teach themselves the e-parlance and netiquette that most of your students have mastered and popularized.

The real concern should be whether or not students are learning to shift gears between online and offline communication strategies. Because even though the Internet can be used as an educational tool and medium (quality online colleges and online universities are proving this point every day), it’s dangerous to assume that students will be able to draw their own distinctions.

Students need to recognize how screen reading differs from book reading, how emails differ from essays, and how Wikipedia differs from the Wall Street Journal. Middle school and high school teachers can help by combining online and offline assignments, which highlight key differences in accessibility and strategy. Teachers should also acknowledge the value of online literacy, for all the skim reading and acronym decoding it requires, because this kind of fluency will generate more and more applications in higher education and the working world.

Original image: 'School Room' by: Rob Shenk

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best Blogs for Special Education Teachers

blogs I was recently told that I was on the list of 50 Best Blogs for Special Education Teachers. I was truly honored to be included in this list because it makes me feel like what I’m doing is worthwhile. There are some great blogs listed here (besides mine!) and I hope you take time to check some of them out.

Original image: 'Rosie the Blogger' by: Mike Licht

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Year and Next Year

The Apple Jill Hare from The Apple emailed me with these thought provoking open ended sentences. She asked that I fill out at least one of them and since I am an overachiever, I filled out each one. It was a great time of reflection for me and I invite you to give it a try too.

"This year I learned...."

This year I learned how wonderful it is to connect with others. Because of Plurk, Twitter, Skype, blogs and many other useful tools, I am able to connect with people all around the world. When I connect with others, I realize that the world doesn’t seem as big and scary as I thought it was.

"This year I noticed....."

This year I noticed that even though we may live in different places, we all want many of the same things for our children. We have a lot of the same dreams for the future generations. Our geographic locations really don’t mean anything when I look at our children and realize our hopes for them are the same. The details may be different but the big picture looks the same.

"Next year, I look forward to....."

Next year, I look forward to connecting with more people and learning new things. It is fun to learn and share with others. Since learning is a lifelong process, I hope to continue gathering new knowledge.

"Next year, I hope...."

Next year, I hope to continue to blog and connect with others who can gain from my knowledge and experiences. I hope other teachers will use me for a resource when they struggle and need encouragement. I hope that I can give teachers a “hand up” when they “fall down”

Thanks to The Apple for allowing me to contribute to their site!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who Has More Rights?

dogIn the article Appeals court upholds decision to allow service dog in Columbia school, the court ruled that a autistic student’s service dog is allowed in the school with the student. Of course, there is concern from another student’s parents because their son is highly allergic to animals.

I’m really glad to hear that this decision was made but I also feel for the student with allergies. I too am highly allergic to many things. Yet, there has to be a line dr awn somewhere.

I am highly allergic to fragrances but it is everywhere. When we go out to eat, I might be sitting near a person who has heavy perfume on. Sometimes our server has a bunch on too. I actually had to drop out of our church choir because some of the women had perfume on that stopped up my hose and caused me to sneeze and cough a lot. I have been on airplanes and encountered the same problems. But that is something I will have to live with.

One of the students may have to change classes in order to meet the needs of both of them. Maybe they can just keep them on separate sides of the classroom. I think the school will just have to be creative with this.

I feel we need to make sure all of students have a chance to be successful in the classroom but I’m not sure how we would go about it in this situation. What do you think the solution would be to this type of problem? Has this ever occurred in your classroom, school, or district? If so, let me know how this was solved. I’m really curious about how this would be dealt with and I’m so glad I’m not the one making the decision!


Original image: 'Service Animal' by: Tom Arthur

Friday, December 11, 2009

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/11/09

tools2 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my Personal Learning Network (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!

Imagine It - Students will discover 20th century writer and poet, Carl Sandburg, while learning about his writing style, affects on America and his home life at Connemara.

Track My T – Explore the journey your tshirt has taken from the cotton seed to the store before you bought it.

Planet In – “Welcome to where the world is your playground. Google Earth is a highly detailed 3D representation of our entire planet. Rather than just looking at it, why not play on it! brings you top quality ideas, applications and concepts that will let you experience your planet in a whole new way.”

Dare To Compare – “So, how do you compare with students nationally and from around the world? Pick a subject, a grade and how many questions you want to see (600+ currently in database), then click the Show Questions button.” – “ offers an online variant of traditional Boggle, with different rules of game play and board distribution.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Educarnival v2 Issue 16

carnival2 The Carnival of Education is up on the midway at Epic Adventures are Often Uncomfortable. Don’t miss out on all the fun! See what is going on in the Edusphere. My article De-Stress Your Class is there but there are lots of other great articles to read too! See you there and don’t eat too much cotton candy!

EduCarnival v2 is continuing from the Carnival of Education: "interesting and informative posts from around the EduSphere -- and a few from the Larger 'Sphere." Typically, articles have been focused on K-12 public schooling, but private, homeschool, school/life, college or other related topics are welcome as well.

You can submit your blog article to the next issue of EduCarnival v2 by using the handy-dandy carnival submission form. Past carnivals and future scheduled editions can be found on the blog carnival index page.

If you are interested in hosting an upcoming carnival, please email Clix at uncomfortableadventures (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa

dreidel This is always an exciting time during the school year because my students always got excited. Of course when they start putting up Christmas stuff in the stores before Halloween arrives, it really drags the excitement along (but that is another story that I won’t go into!). Usually all of my students are Christians because I live in an area that is considered the “Bible belt.” So, this makes me want to give my students to holidays that others may be celebrating. I make it quite clear that I’m not encouraging my students to change religions but instead I want to encourage tolerance of other cultures and religions.

It was actually very educational to me when I found a synagogue that opened their store in order for me to buy dreidels. According to Wikipedia,

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top, played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.”

When I bought this dreidel, the person even gave me lessons on how to play the game and was quite excited that I would teach my class about this game and about Chanukah. More from wikipedia,

“Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, and may occur from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a special candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. An extra light called a shamash (Hebrew: "guard" or "servant") is also lit each night for the purpose of lighting the others, and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest.”

Wikipedia also says,
“Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States honoring African heritage and culture, marked by participants lighting a kinara (candle holder). It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year, primarily in the United States. Kwanzaa is considered one of the primary holidays within the U.S. Christmas and holiday season.”

I think it is important that students learn about other cultures and the holidays they celebrate. After studying these three celebrations, I like to have students find ways that all of them are alike. It is fascinating to watch them come up with similarities that they didn’t realize. For my students, all of these are so very different and they don’t think of ways they can be alike. Once we start discussing the similarities, they start to come up with more. In fact, I had one student who came up to me the next day after the lesson to tell me that they talked about this over dinner and they came up with a few more ways they were similar. The student wanted to bring up the discussion again so he could share his family’s ideas.

I really felt this was a successful lesson in teaching tolerance as well as learning about cultural diversity. What other holidays do you know that are being celebrated during this time? Do you do any special lessons on this topic? If so, please share because I would love to know.

Original image: 'The Geflocktne Dreidl' by: Philip Chapman-Bell

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Little Push

push One story in my Lutheran Hour Ministries Daily Devotion was this:

“Yesterday, while standing in line at the bank, I struck up a conversation with a soldier.
During our talk, he told me he was a paratrooper. Impressed because I have a deep respect for heights, I asked him how many times he had jumped.
With a smile, he responded, "Pastor, I've never jumped. Not even once. But I can tell you I've been pushed more than 40 times."

It made me think about the times I needed a push in my teaching career. Sometimes I thought it was something awful that happened to me in my career, and later on, looking back, I realized that without that push, what I was experiencing currently would never have happened. When I was dissatisfied with my current school and moved to a different one, I felt refreshed and motivated but if I hadn’t moved, I would have been stagnant and disengaged along with my students.

Sometimes we would have a new program to follow in our school and all of the teachers would grumble and gripe. Yet, after we got used to the program and learned how to best implement it, we would see positive results with our students and realize that it was an effective program. Yet, for weeks and months, people were unhappy about trying something new. It took time and energy and patience. People wanted to do it the same old way. Then the administration had to push us into doing something new.

When new technology was introduced to the school, many teachers were anxious and didn’t want anything to do with it. I remember when the first smart boards came to our school. I think for the first year, they sat in classrooms and no one used it. Then new teachers came to the school and begged for them so they could use them. As the teachers began to use them, others could see how effective they were. The administration began to realize how this could be used in the classroom and wanted all of the teachers to use it but the teachers were not all on board. Then one year, the school district bought promethean boards (like smart boards) and put them in the entire classroom. Now all of the teachers are using them but they had to be pushed to use it. It became part of the teacher evaluations.

Just like those commercials where the siblings didn’t like what they were eating, they would give it to their little brother, saying, “Let Mikey eat it,” that is the way I was treated in my school. I loved to try new things and fiddle with it until I could figure out ways to make it work in my classroom. Where others complained about it sucking up their time, I saw it as a fun challenge. Soon, the administration noticed this, and I was usually the first one to get new technology which suited me fine. Others saw this as an inconvenience but I saw it as a way to get neat new stuff for my classroom. I began to look for new technology that no one else had and found a way for the school to get it for me to try. It might have involved writing grants or doing presentations to show how these things were effective in other schools. I was willing to do what I needed to get it so in a way, I was giving my school the push that they needed.

At times, my students needed that push too. Many of my students were unsuccessful in their school career until they got to my class. Soon they were making good grades and feeling good about themselves. In fact, they felt so good finally that they didn’t want to leave my class. I even had a couple of students start making failing grades near the end of school in hopes that they could stay in my class. I had to push them out of the nest which was as hard for me as it was for them. One year I had an 18 year old girl who had watched her mother get killed and she was so traumatized that she carried a stuffed animal and refused to talk or look at anyone. I got her an internship at the local animal shelter and eventually she started to talk and interact with others. She even gave up her stuffed animal. Then I had to move her to working in a nursing home because I wanted her to try new experiences while she had me as a support system. That was very hard for her but she was successful because of her nurturing spirit. Without my pushing, I think she would have become very isolated and depressed from withdrawing from the world.

Sometimes we all need a little push. Has someone’s push helped you, either personally or professionally? Has your push helped someone else? Please share your stories because I would love to hear them.

Original image: 'Down you go!' by: Maureen K

Monday, December 7, 2009

Learning to Ride a Bicycle

bicycle When it is not raining, my husband and I try to walk in the park for exercise. It always makes me smile when I see a parent trying to teach their child how to ride a bicycle. I usually see this in the spring and the summer or right after Christmas. The fun part for me is to see the different techniques that parents use to teach their children. It seems that the most important part, no matter how different the techniques, is that the child trusts the adult.

It made me realize that when teaching my students, I need to get them to trust me. If I don’t have this trust, I’m not sure they will ever be ready to learn independently. I know that I teach my students content but I also know that there is no way that I can teach them everything they need to know in one year. They need to learn how to learn so they can continue to learn when they are no longer with me. Just like teaching a child to ride a bike, just because they learn to balance and move forward without falling, they still need to learn other things.

I remember for a long time my father would push me on the bicycle and I would pedal as fast as I could. But once he let go, my bicycle would wobble and then I would fall. I look back now and realize that I was learning on a bicycle that was too big for me. When I would start to wobble, I couldn’t put my feet down to catch myself. I know when I fell a lot, I didn’t even want to get on that bicycle. I think my parents thought I would never learn to ride a bicycle! Do I do that when I teach my students? Do I have them on levels too high that when they falter, they can’t catch themselves? When they keep falling, they are afraid to try again.

After I had been riding a bicycle for a few years, my cousin who lived in the city came to visit me for a week. She really wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle so I agree to teach her. I decided that I was not going to teach her the way people taught me. I thought about how I wished someone had taught me and showed her these things so I wasn’t surprised how easily she learned in one day. I brought her to a hill and let her sit on the bike with me as I rode down the hill. She was able to feel how it should feel if she was alone. Now of course, she was able to put her feet down on the ground while sitting on the bike which really helped. I had her glide down the hill without pedaling so she could learn how to balance. We only focused on one skill at a time and when she was able to balance on the bike easily, we added pedaling. By the end of the day she was riding the bicycle as easily as me. I was surprised when I searched the internet for this topic and someone actually wrote about this as an alternative method so I will share it with you: Learning to Ride a Bicycle.

That is how I like to teach new skills to my students. I think about the end result that I want my students to achieve and then break it down into smaller steps for them to succeed at. When I model the skill for them a few times, it is like taking them on a ride with me so they know how it feels, how it looks like, and how to get to the end point. Then I find a way for them to “coast down the hill” for a taste of success. This may call for a lot of encouraging, and prompting but eventually they get there. Once they learn how to do one step on their own successfully, it is time to move to the next step.

I think learning new skills are a lot like learning how to ride a bicycle. This is also a great way to share this with the students and hope they can be successful.

Original image: 'IMG_3836.JPG' by: eyeliam

Friday, December 4, 2009

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/04/09

011 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my Personal Learning Network (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!

Skeletal System Game – learn the bones – “Over 350 categories of free, first-rate, family-safe online tutorials, guides and instructionally oriented Websites!”

Teaching With Contests – “The purpose of Teaching with Contests is to assist educators in finding contests that can be used in the classroom to motivate students. We are here for the student and the teacher not the promotion of products or company public relations. Our goal is to select contests and programs whose primary goal is education and secondarily business/product promotion.”

Digging Back in Time –“Students will follow other students in the field at a hearth site archaeological dig and complete an activity which will help them learn about the systematic science of archaeology.”

Everyone Has a Story - Students will work cooperatively to decide on a topic and investigate it through oral history interviews. Students will understand that everyone has a story.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

De-stress Your Class

stress Thanks to Meaghan Montrose from TutorFi for sharing The Positivity Blog’s list of 7 Tips to Lift the Stress Out of the Morning in her post 7 Tips for Stress-free Mornings .

I thought about these tips and how I could apply this in the classroom. Simple steps like this can help the student and the teacher from being stressed out. Let’s face it, sometimes chaos happens but the little routines we have bring some sanity to our lives. The tips suggested are in bold italics and my comments follow the tip. I hope these tips help the class be more successful on a daily basis.

  1. Plan the night before. I think it is good to let the class know what is in store for them. If I know each day’s activities, I try to post them on the board or a sheet that is posted for them to refer to. Some of my students get the schedule for the week given to them so they can refer to it when they need to.
  2. Pack your bag the night before. I try to help my students plan what they will need for the next day. Just like writing a grocery list before we go shopping, I think it is important to know what materials are needed so everyone can plan to bring them. Making a list helps many students come in more prepared than they would without the list. Before they leave home, they can check the list to make sure they have everything they need.
  3. Make your lunch the night before. Encourage students to get assignments done as soon as they can. How many times have we all thought that we would get to it tomorrow, or the next day, or right before it is due. Once it is complete, it isn’t hanging over our heads and causing stress. It actually can feel good to be ahead of the game.
  4. Don’t forget to just relax. Enjoy learning! Be excited about any new knowledge you might learn today that you didn’t learn yesterday.
  5. Get enough sleep. Let’s face it. Sometimes our students have busy active weekends and are tired and cranky when they arrive on Monday mornings. When I notice that the students are not focused and seem tired, I am usually spinning my wheels by trying to teach something new. I actually stop teaching and give us all a 5 minute time out. This allows so students to put their heads down, some to just refocus. I ask that no one talk and find something to do quietly for these five minutes. It really seems to help them. When the five minutes are up, I try to do a review before we start into any new material.
  6. Use a morning routine. I have a daily class routine that we follow. When the students’ lives are in chaos, this steady routine can have a calming effect. I would usually have 5 minute journal writing after the bell rang. I give a suggested topic, quote, or they may write anything they want. After I have collected all the journals, I collect homework and discuss the answers. Next we review what was learned yesterday and then transition to new material. The last five minutes of class, I assign new homework and we straighten up the classroom. No one is allowed to leave until all trash is picked up off the floor.
  7. Keep everything in its place. Take the time to file papers as I get them. Once I let things pile up, I tend to get overwhelmed. I teach my students how to organize their notebooks. I have them have a section for notes, a section for handouts, a section for graded work and a section for homework. At the end of each week, I give students 10 minutes to get their things organized. I know this takes class time, but I would rather do this and help my students be successful than rant about how it isn’t my job and let students get more and more discouraged. After we do this the first two months, the students have learned a new habit and it doesn’t take as much time to do this. By the second semester, they are doing it on their own and I don’t even have to plan class time for this activity

Original image: 'Day 79 - f o c u s' by: Margo C

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Last Night I Sang to the Monster – A Book Review

lastnightisangto the monster I just finished reading the book Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (By the way, I am not being paid to write a review of this book.)

This is a very strong and moving book. Many students who are faced with alcohol problems would find this book motivating and inspiring. I think it would be helpful for them to know that they are not alone. At first I was a little unsure about how I would like this book but then once I got into it, I felt drawn into the main character. He couldn’t remember why he was in this place and each page led you closer to the events that led him here. As I read, I realized what a complicated character this was and I watched him change as I read the book. This would be a good book for high school students who are struggling with many of the same issues such as addictions and isolation. The profanity in the book was a little strong for this to be used in the classroom but I could see students reading this on their own. I would give this book a 4 our of 5.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My 2009 Edublog Award Nominations

EdublogAwards Nominations for the 2009 Edublog Awards are now open until December 8th. You can find out more about this on The Edublog Awards Homepage.

My nominations for the 2009 Edublog Awards are:

Best individual blog: Blogush (I am always inspired by the many things he shares. He writes very thought provoking posts)

Best individual tweeter: Karenjan (I never want to miss her tweets because they are usually informational and upbeat)

Best new blog: Reality 101: Council for Exceptional Children’s Blog for New Teachers (New teachers share their experiences as they experience the realm of teaching)

Best class blog: South Paris Collaborative Chat (Different students add their thoughts to this blog)

Best student blog: Civil War Sallie (Great information from a teddy bear named Sallie Ann)

Best resource sharing blog: Epic Adventures are Often Uncomfortable (hosting the Educarnival and sharing links to great blog posts)

Best teacher blog: Bellringers (shares the fun and frustrations of her daily teaching adventures)

Best librarian / library blog: Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts (another thought provoking blog)

Best educational tech support blog: e4Africa (helping to move the teachers in South Africa into the 21st century)

Best elearning / corporate education blog: eicommunity (gathers blog posts from a variety of teachers to share with others)

Best educational use of audio: Bit by Bit (blogs when updates to podcasts are ready)

Best educational wiki: Moving Forward (great resource for educators)

Best educational use of a social networking service: OnlineProjects4Teachers (Ning that lets teachers post what online projects they are involved with in order to facilitate collaboration with others)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Kick a Ginger Day Horror

red hair After reading Kick a Ginger Day: One Mom’s Horrifying Account and seeing news accounts on TV, I was also horrified. For some reason I couldn’t get it off my mind. Of course, this leads to a discussion of sorts with my husband over breakfast which really is more of a rant.

Apparently a group on Facebook who was inspired by a South Park episode encouraged kids to beat up others who had red hair and freckles. At one school a 12 year old boy was surrounded by a group of 15 others (some were even his classmates) like a pack of wild animals and attacked him. They took him down and kicked him repeatedly.

This is just more evidence on how what our children watch can influence them. There is so much violence and profanity on television now that I think our children are desensitized to it. They think it is so cool to do these kinds of things. Even worse, many of these shows are showing that the “bad guy” gets away with it.

I have watched an episode of South Park once and swore that I would never watch that again. But apparently enough people watch this so they get advertising and continue to broadcast. I was horrified with the disrespect these characters use to interact with others. How can parents allow their children to watch this garbage?

At first I thought that this type of stuff should be banned from the airwaves! Of course my husband disagreed (amazing that we got married since we don’t agree on a lot of things but I guess after 30 years of togetherness, I should be glad we agreed on the important things!). He felt that censorship is “big brother-ish.” When I calmed down, I had to agree but something needs to be done. Parents need to monitor what their children are watching. If people don’t watch certain programs, their ratings go down, advertisers won’t pay for advertising and these programs will go away.

What happened to those great family shows? They don’t seem to make them anymore. I remember my children watching Little House on the Prairie, Eight is Enough, Our House, and Touched By An Angel. Those were great wholesome shows that a family could watch together and even talk about. Even now I tend to watch the Hallmark channel a lot because those shows just make me feel good about the world and others.

I watch a lot of TV shows now that my children are grown up but I don’t think I would have watched these shows with them. There is so much violence and blood in shows like CSI, Law and Order SVU, NCIS, and other shows like this. I didn’t let my children see those horror movies that “everyone else” got to see. I didn’t let them watch TV shows that “everyone else” got to watch. Maybe I was a fuddy-duddy (do they still use that phrase?) but I felt it was my responsibility as a parent to set these limits.

I hope some of these parents with young children will start to wake up and realize that they have a responsibility. It is time to say no to these movies and shows. It’s time to tell our children no. They do not need to watch these shows and encourage their continuing influence. They do not need to do what “everyone else” does because, let’s face it, not “everyone else” really does it!

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now. I just got so upset with this story and it all boiled over. Now, tell me what do you think? Do you let your children watch these types of things? If so, convince me why I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m not sure you can but I’ll keep an open mind.

Original image: 'Little Redheaded Boy at the Atlanta Zoo' by: Steven List

Friday, November 27, 2009

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/27/09

011 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my Personal Learning Network (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!

Kidzillions – “We give kids the tools to manage their own money online. Parents complete the transactions, but kids make the decisions and learn the lessons.”

How to Rock Your Intellectual Game: The Top 111 Learning Strategies

A Lifetime of Color – “provides educators with a comprehensive resource of lesson plans, projects and techniques for teachers and educators!” Lesson plans from K-8 are included, demos of different techniques as well as a chance to try these techniques out.

Amazing Cells – “From the structure and function of organelles to communication on a molecular level, these materials explore the inner-most workings of cells in a dynamic and realistic way. Integrate the Print-and-Go activities below with the online activities available in the Amazing Cells section on Learn.Genetics to provide a good picture of what a cell does during its "resting phase." Tour the information on the rest of this page for teaching tips and background information.”

The Human Skeleton – interactive site that quizzes you on the names of the bones

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving Today is Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for this year.  (cross posted on The Life of Loonyhiker)

· Husband (the center of my life!)

· Family (I feel the love!)

· Good Health (I feel good!)

· Money to pay my bills (being able to pay my bills lets me do other things without worrying)

· Ability to travel and mark places off our wish list (I love traveling to new places)

· My father who will turn 90 on December 7th (after his stroke 2 years ago, I didn’t think he would make it to this age)

· Learning Mandarin (learning to speak Chinese is something I always wished I could do)

· Online friends (I feel so connected with others rather than isolated)

· Meeting online friends in person (I find this fascinating)

· Ability to help others (it makes me feel useful)

· Writing my blogs which I thoroughly enjoy (sharing my life with others)

· Teaching graduate courses for Furman in the summer. (sharing with others about my teaching experience)

· Books (to help me when I want to escape the real world)

· Laptop and internet (so I can stay connected)

· TVs (which are on at home all of the time)

· Recipes (so I can learn to make new dishes)

· Sunshine (makes me smile!)

· Music (makes me feel happy)

· Ipod (to take my mind off my misery while I exercise)

· Cell phones (with Verizon I can call family members easily)

· Toyota Prius (which now has almost 100,000 miles on it!)

· Cameras (because I love taking pictures)

· Rain (especially since we experienced a drought)

· Flowers (they make me smile!)

· Hiking (I love to experience God’s world)

Original image: Thanksgiving Centerpiece by alasam

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Educarnival v2 Issue 14

carnival1 The Carnival of Education is up on the midway at Epic Adventures are Often Uncomfortable. Don’t miss out on all the fun! See what is going on in the Edusphere. My article on Unblocking Social Networking Sites is there but there are lots of other great articles to read too! See you there and don’t eat too much cotton candy!