Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Episode 15 Blogging, Painting, Weather and More

loonyhiker on Plurk: http://www.plurk.com

Loonyhiker on Twitter: http://twitter.com

Email me at successfulteaching@gmail.com

Yes I Can by Danny O’Flaherty from his Secret Garden CD. : http://www.dannyoflaherty.com/.

Moving at the Speed of Creativity Blog by Wesley Fryer

My ebook: Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2011

Monday, January 30, 2012

Upstate Master Naturalist Meeting 1/26/12

(For pictures, please click here.)

Our meeting was held at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History. I had never heard of this museum before and it has existed since 1975. The building was a jail from 1902 until 1975. The exhibits were fantastic and full of artifacts. I would definitely recommend people to go check out this museum.

048After the museum, we met at Hagood Mill and had lunch. Carol Bozarth (with assistant, Talley) did a demo of Open Hearth Cooking. This was a fabulous demonstration! They made hoe cakes, apple pie, coffee, and even roasted the coffee beans - all over an open fire. After lunch and the demo, we had a nature hike led by Joe Townsend, naturalist with the Hagood Mill Field School.

Here is a list of things that we saw along the trail:

1. Black Walnut trees

2. Resurrection Fern

3. Honey Locusts

4. Basswood - Bees made hives in this.

5. Holly

6. Lycopodium

7. Beech - with copper leaves

8. White Pine - look for pink lady slippers in this area around May

9. Rattlesnake plantain - area is full of Catesby Trillium in the spring

10. Hepatica - area has northern maidenhair fern, lady fern, hay scented fern in the spring

11. Cranefly orchid - purple leaves, won’t see bloom at leaves at the same time.

12. Ginger - area is rich with Indian Pink, blue star, bellwort in the spring

13. Daisy Fleabane

14. Foamflower

15. Black Cohosh

16. Pipsissewa

17. Oconee Bells

18. Silverbell - by the covered bridge, has striped bark

19. Sparkleberry

20. Dogwood -Named for Dag or Dague meaning skewer

21. Climbing Hydrangea - fragrant white blooms that are to see because they are usually at the tops of the trees trying to get the sun.

22. River Oats - or “fish on a pole”

23. Virginia Sweetspire

24. Putty root orchid.

At the end of the hike, some people chose to continue hiking with Joe across the road. We were the first group to be on this new trail that they are putting in. Here are the things we saw along the way:

1. Sassafras tree - 1st commodity of the new world, problem with propagating because birds love the seeds (near gas tank beside store)

2. American Hazelnut

3. Pink berries possibly beautyberry along fence of old house

4. Daffodils

5. Honey locust

6. Beehives

7. Hackberry

8. Shortleaf pine

9. Pawpaw trees.

It was a wonderful day and even though it was overcast and sometimes misty, it was a wonderful day to be outdoors! I can’t wait to visit this nature trail again in the spring!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/27/12

tools2Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Primaries and Caucuses - featured lesson; “Students will examine the caucus and primary systems of selecting delegates, Students will discuss the processes involved in the two systems, Students will determine the pros and cons for each system” (L: H, SA: SS)

Running for Office - “The political cartoons in this exhibit, drawn by renowned cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman, illustrate the campaign process from the candidate’s decision to run for office to the ultimate outcome of the election. Although many political procedures have changed, these cartoons show that the political process has remained remarkably consistent; Berryman’s cartoons from the early 20th century remain relevant today.” (L: H; SA: SS)

Vatican Museums – virtual online tour of the Vatican (L: M, H; SA: FA, SS)

JFK Library and Museum – Interactive exhibits (L: G; SA: SS)

NASA@Home and City - “Have you ever wondered how space impacts your daily life? Pick a starting point and see how space traces back to you.” (L: M, H; SA: LA, S,SS)

Original Image by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CEC 877 Meeting Recap

LogoWe had a wonderful Council for Exceptional Children 877 meeting the other night. It was held online and we had about 9 people there at one point. Cheryl Johnson was our guest speaker and she shared wonderful information about Compliance Issues and How to Avoid IEP complaints. Participants were able to ask questions and we had a lively discussion. I did notice that the volume on our side was rather loud (so I apologize ahead of time) and we could not hear a person’s question at the time but during the replay you can hear the question. It lasts almost an hour and I think there is a lot of useful information. I hope you take time to check it out at http://flashmeeting.e2bn.net/fm/317468-14801

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teacher

teaching(This post was written by Rachel Stanley, an education blogger whose unusual educational background has given her firm opinions on what makes a good teacher. She was educated at home for eight years before attending a boarding school for sixth form and then Oxford University to read Classics.)

Just as no two classrooms are the same, there is no single template for what makes a great teacher. Each school environment requires a different set of skills and traits to bring out the best in its pupils. There are, however, certain universal traits and skills that make any teacher ‘great’. Here are my top seven of the most common examples of habits which all highly effective teachers will employ.

1) Confidence is the key to every child’s development, be it social or educational. Low self-esteem can cause anxiety problems and depression in students, so every great teacher knows that building their students’ self-confidence is a priority. This may be through positive reinforcement when they try hard or succeed in class, or it may be going that extra mile to keep an eye out for confidence problems, or staying after class to provide support. Either way, an effective teacher works to keep their students confident and happy.

2) Even the most interesting of subjects can go over a student’s head if not explained in an engaging way. Every effective teacher constantly works to keep their lessons as practical, precise and understandable as possible. Each lesson should be explained in simple, deliberate language, with practical examples to reinforce the information. This way, students stay attentive and understand what they’re learning in real world terms.

3) The ability to take things at a slower pace is perhaps a less obvious habit that you’ll see in effective teachers. With the syllabus looming over every lesson, sometimes leading a class can feel like a race against time. No matter how much pressure you may feel to advance with a subject, unless the class has really taken in the lesson, there’s no point moving on. Effective teachers know how to adjust the pace of their lessons to let the information really sink in.

4) This might seem like a trivial point, but the best teachers know the names of their students. Knowing every student by name creates a familiar, comfortable atmosphere, helping to create a personal relationship with each child, and means that you can address any class issues in an instant.

5) Every teacher can take feedback, but only the most effective actually use this feedback to inform their future lesson plans. Asking classes what they enjoyed and what parts of the syllabus they had problems with, can be a great basis on which to structure future lessons. It also helps to get an idea of which children are responding to which teaching techniques.

6) Technology is everywhere and using the latest gadgets can be a great way to re-energise a lesson plan. The children will respond to cool and desirable new technology, and teachers might find that using new equipment can actually make teaching easier.

7) Arguably the most important of all: be flexible. Effective teacher knows that every year, every term and every day is different. You need to be able to adapt to new problems and change your style to fit new children, new syllabuses and new environments. The most effective teachers don’t have one set teaching style, they respond to what’s required of them and adapt their style to suit their students.

Do you have any habits you think make a great teacher? It would be great to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Image: 'Reading Aloud to Children'


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Education Buzz Carnival 1/18/12

carnival1The first edition of the 2012 Education Buzz Carnival is up and running at Bellringers! Don’t miss out on all the fun! See what is going on in the Edusphere. My article on Teachers You Don’t Want to Meet is there but there are lots of other great articles to read too! See you there and don’t eat too much cotton candy!

Original image: Carnival by Pat Hensley

Monday, January 23, 2012

Compliance Issues and How to Avoid IEP Complaints

LogoThe Council for Exceptional Children Chapter 877 Online Meeting is scheduled for:

Tuesday 01/24/12 from 7:00-8:00pm Eastern Time!

(disregard the time on the meeting page because the server is 5 hours ahead of Eastern time)

Topic: Compliance Issues and How to Avoid IEP Complaints

Guest Speaker: Cheryl Johnson, Greenville County School District

Go to the following address for full details and to access the event:


You do not need to be a member to attend. Please join us!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/20/12

tools2Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Virtual Museum – “The Virtual Museum has been realised through digital environments and 3-D images so as to give visibility to a few of the most remarkable artefacts included in the collections of the Museums involved in the project. To these artefacts have been linked thematic routes and touristic-cultural itineraries created on purpose. The overall resources valorised by this innovative product, demonstrate the common ancient matrix on which Europe is founded since prehistoric times, guiding visitors to the discovery of our shared European cultural heritage. The various thematic routes available design a unique experience of a friendly, highly accessible visit of the Virtual Museum. Visitors are made free to choose objects, themes, language and criteria on which they want to base their virtual journey.” (L: H, SA: FA)

Wordia – Word games for kids 7-14 (L: M; SA: LA)

National Museum of Natural History – Smithsonian museum; virtual panoramic tour (L:G; SA: S)

Inspire My Kids – “InspireMyKids.com is a place where people can find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos and projects to share with the children and teens in their lives to help them take positive actions and become the best people they can be.” (L:G; SA: A)

Idea Sketch – app for iphone, ipod touch, or ipad; (L: G; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anything is Possible

possibleIn Make them do the impossible… from Blogush, Paul Bogush states,

“There is an increasing amount of chatter on the internet about the value of letting kids make mistakes, letting them fail, allowing them to be wrong…throw into the conversation a giant heap of how to get them to unleash their creativity…of course the two are interconnected.  How do you get them to stop being afraid, so that they take a risk, not fear failure, and allow their creative juices to flow?

Make them do the impossible.

Seriously…the impossible.  Something that has never been done before.”

Many times my students refuse to try or act up in class because they are afraid to fail.

It is really hard to get them to try because they feel everything is impossible.

While I understand that we need to encourage our students to try and do the impossible, I am afraid if I tell them it is impossible, they will fail. It is the self-fulfilling prophesy. If they think it is impossible, they will not see that it is possible to succeed. When faces with something hard, they immediately shut down if they think it is impossible.

Instead I want my students to do the possible. They may not know it is possible at the time but I want them to think that anything is possible.

Sometimes when they are trying for something possible, they may end up going in a different direction or getting to their destination a different way. When thinking that anything is possible, I feel it opens up more opportunities for success. It helps my students face an obstacle with an open mind.

Sometimes we brain storm about what is the worst thing that could happen. Many times they bring up that fact that they could fail. Then others mention that it wouldn’t be the first time they failed at something so actually that isn’t the worst thing that could happen. By bringing out these feelings in the open, the unknown doesn’t seem as scary. Sometimes the students end up encouraging and giving emotional support to the other person.

I want them to think that anything is possible if we can find the key to solving the problem. But we can’t find the key if we just give up. The more the students succeed, the more confidence they have facing the next obstacle they come across. As they accomplish more and more, they suddenly realize that anything is truly possible.

How do you encourage your students? Please share!

Image: '(im)possible - 282/365'

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Photo a Day Project

010812After taking a year off, I have decided to do the Photo a Day project again. I really missed doing it last year and I’m glad to be back to this project.

I noticed that when I had the pressure of finding a photo a day to share with others, I looked at things in a different way. I had a different perspective. This year I have joined a group called Today’s Posting that gives a daily assignment. These assignments help direct me to finding a photo a day. Sometime I use the assignment and sometimes I don’t.

I also like looking at the gallery and seeing how other people interpreted the assignment and what photo they came up with. By commenting on photos and receiving comments on mine, I feel that I am growing in my photo taking skills.

You can see my photo stream on Flickr or the blog I created for my Photo a Day Project.

You are welcome to come look at my photos, comment on them or even join in!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My First Ebook

ebookI have finally published my first ebook on Lulu! This project has been in my thoughts for the past year. Thanks go to Sioux Roslawski who kept prodding me and encouraging me to do this project. My book Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2011 gathers all the links that I have written about on my blog on Fridays and put them all together. I checked all the links and deleted any that did not work or was not relevant any more. I also organized the resources into grade levels and subject areas. I hope you check it out and if you buy it, I hope you find it useful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Going the Extra Mile

helpingIn The Little Man from Misadventures with Rangers, Marianne, aka Ranger Anna tells a story about how she helped this Asian man at Yellowstone National Park.( If you get a chance, please check out this story because it is an awesome one!) He didn’t speak English and pretty much had no idea what to do or how to get around. She took the time to help him, find translators, and basically take care of him so that he could have the best experience possible. Not only did she do all of this but she did a lot of this on her own time!

My husband and I love to travel and we have been in foreign countries where we have no idea what is being said and it can be a scary situation. At least we are together. This poor man was all alone and had no one, except this ranger. She was his lifesaver (maybe in more ways than one!).

Now I was lucky enough to meet Ranger Anna this summer and she is as wonderful in person as she sounds in this story. We have also become Facebook and blogging friends. When she led a group of us on a hike, she talked with everyone and found something personal about each person to connect with. We found out our common thread was through crafting.

All of this connecting and helping takes time and patience. Without willing to give some personal time and energy, I don’t think the connections will happen.

In helping this scared man in a foreign country, she made it personal. Even though it was on “company” time, it became personal to her. As I read the story, I could feel it become personal to her. I began to think that if it was my dad, I would hope that he came across someone like her. As my parents grow older, I’m afraid that some of the modern world sometimes confuses them and becomes like a foreign country to them. I hope that they come across patient younger people who will help guide them in the right way.

Then I think about my classroom and my students. When I am teaching a new skill or concept, it must seem like a foreign country to them. All the new vocabulary must seem like a foreign language to them. I need to remember what it is like to be in a foreign country and I need to go the extra mile. I need to remember who scary it can be until I can figure out how to get around.

I need to look at this from that point of view. If my students were in this foreign country (new skill or concept), what road maps and tourist information (learning steps) can I give them? Maybe they will need to refer to these resources often in order to grasp what I am teaching them. Maybe I need to go the extra mile and do more than just “teach” them. I need to guide them and sometimes even hold their hands until they get to the next destination.

I use a lot of visuals that can help them. Written schedules are helpful to students especially if there is a change in the schedule. I write schedules on the board so students can copy it if needed. Also, having the sequence of steps shown to complete an assignment may be useful if this sequence is repeated for other problems or situations. As the students become comfortable following the sequence, the need for the visual will become less and less.

I also liked making calls home to brag about the students. When they accomplished something that we could be proud of, I would take the time to call the parents. The student and the parents appreciated this. Of course, I did most of my phone calls at home in the evening when I could reach the parents and it was on my own time. But going this extra mile really helped in the classroom. When the students knew that I would call home to tell positive things, they would work harder. Students that hadn’t put much effort in their work were suddenly trying so that they could get a good phone call home. Parents began praising their children more than punishing them. I was breaking the cycle of negative reinforcement.

Sometimes going the extra mile means taking it personal. But I believe it is worth it.

Do you go the extra mile? What do you do? Please share!

Image: 'Lend a Hand'

Friday, January 13, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/13/12

tools2Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Test Your News Knowledge2011 End of the Year Quiz (L: M, H; SA: SS)

Poster My Wall – “Make poster-sized collages, Use your photos or your friends' Facebook albums, Use free poster backgrounds or upload your own, Get big, high quality posters up to 3 feet tall, Free downloads, prints from $7.50 + shipping” (L: G; SA: A)

Bookboon – “Bookboon's free online textbooks for students are focused and to the point. They are all written by highly respected professors from top universities in the world and cover topics such as economics, statistics, IT, engineering and natural science.” (L: H, T; SA: A)

Hubii – “Browse the news in a completely different way! Use the map to search for what you want; filter by news categories, by language, by time, go where you want with a couple of clicks....browse the news like you never did before!” (L: M, H; SA: A)

NobelPrize.Org – “Nobelprize.org's educational section consists of 46 productions. Of these, 29 are interactive learning games of various sorts and degrees of difficulties. Most of them also includes a "Read more" about the subject.” (L:M, H; SA: A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wasting Time

timeIn 5 Ways You Waste Time and How to Stop by Laurie Gerber, she talks about different ways people waste time and I found it interesting that I don’t do too many of them. I do have trouble asking for help though.

This made me think about my students and how they waste time. I have been known to tell them to stop wasting time. But do they understand what they are doing and why they should stop? Even if they know what they are doing wrong, do they know how to change their behavior? Too many times I have told them to stop their current behavior but I don’t give them ways to change what they are doing.

I have had students who are quite creative and find ways to avoid doing their work. If they took all that time and energy they use in avoidance and applied it to actually working, they would get more things done.

For 2 days, I observed one of my students and wrote down all of the things he did to avoid completing his assignment. On the third day, I had him sit near me to do his assignment and he wasn’t allowed to do anything else until it was done. I kept track of the time it took to do the work which usually is about 30-40 minutes. On the fourth day, I met with him and showed him the things he did the first 2 days and then compared it to actually getting the work done. No one had every showed him this before and I could see the “light bulb” come on. I explained to him that the key word was “Procrastination.”

Now that we could identify his behavior, when I saw it begin, I would pull him aside. Then we would talk about the assignment and what troubled him. Talking about his concerns helped bring them out so we could get them out of the way. When he felt better about dealing with his concerns, he was able to start and complete his assignment.

Sometimes I waste time because I am just not in the mood to do a particular thing. In the morning, I jot down some things that need to be done and then I do them in certain order. Some days I do the most important first. But if there is no set priority, I try to do the thing I dread first and get it out of the way.

I try to get my students to make a list of the assignments that they need to do. Then I help them choose the order. By giving them some control over their actions, students seem to respond more positively to the assignments and complete them faster.

I take a break between assignments. By planning a set break (5 or 10 minutes); this keeps me from getting sidetracked from what I need to do. Once my break is over, I continue on with the list. I try to encourage my students to do the same. When they turn in one thing, I give them a 5 minute break. When it is over, I let them know it is time to get back to work.

I also like to reward myself with something when I accomplish my list. I love knitting and spinning so I use them as a reward. I try to give my students encouragement when they are able to cross off everything from their list. This might be a library pass or computer time.

How do you waste time and how do you overcome this behavior? Please share.

Image: 'Me In Time'

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Real Person

Did you ever meet one that disappointed you because the way they were in real life is much different than what you expected? Have you ever met a celebrity in person that you really liked the way they were in real life?

One year at our Council for Exceptional Children national conference, Patch Adams was our keynote speaker. I remember watching the movie starring Robin Williams. I thought it was a great movie and was impressed with the character. But to think that I was going to finally meet this person in real life was so exciting. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he was an arrogant, belligerent man. He was not friendly and had no intention of being friendly. Our teacher of the year told him that her kids admired him and read his book and asked if he would take a picture with her. He told her no but if she wanted to pay for it, he might be willing. He was not joking and we were all in shock at his behavior. He asked the group why anyone thought they could take a picture of him without paying him for it. I was flabbergasted! Needless to say, I left the room, and was not impressed with him at all. In fact, his keynote address left me cold.

FonzA few years later at another national conference, I met Henry Winkler (the Fonz on Happy Days) and he was awesome! He was the keynote speaker at my conference and suddenly got bit by the shy bug and couldn’t go up to meet him. He honed in on me, walked to me, and said that I looked like I needed a hug so he hugged me! We also saw him at the hotel bar and he acted just like an ordinary person talking to different people like you and I would. I liked him even more because of this. When he gave his speech, you could tell that it was heartfelt and real. He was a sincere person who seemed to truly care about what he was saying and how people received it.

This made such a big impression on me. It made me realize that my students see me in the same light. If I come across like Patch Adams, they will write me off and not care about anything I have to say. If I am like Henry Winkler, and show how much I truly care and that I am a real person like them, the students will be more receptive and willing to hear what I have to say.

Have you had an experience like one of these? If so, please share!

Image: 'The Fonz'

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Importance of Recess

recessIn Kids just wanna have fun? from No Margins, ejr tells about

“An article in The Chicago Tribune informed its reader that "[m]ost CPS schools haven't had recess in 30 years."”

I find this truly amazing and absurd! How can we do this to our children? I just hope this is not the direction that most schools are going.

I remember learning most of my early social skills during recess. We played lots of tag and jump rope. I even remember learning how to play jacks during that time. I learned how to take turns, wait patiently, and enjoy life. I learned to sharpen my fine and gross motor skills as well. I also learned about cooperation with others and being a team player. There is so much to be learned during unstructured play which happens mostly during recess.

It seems like we are taking the joy of childhood away from our children.

It is a great opportunity for teachers to observe students and reinforce teachable moments.

When these children grow up, they will be given “breaks” during their work day. It helps workers be more productive and lowers the chance of on the job accidents. So, if adults get a break, why would take this away from our children?

Everyone needs a break from whatever activity they are doing for long periods of time. It helps the muscles relax as well as the brain. Like a rubber band that is pulled too tightly, if continued to stretch, it will break. Mental and physical tension can wear our bodies out.

I wonder if that is why so many people do not know how to relax because they don’t know what to do with any free time they have. That may also be one of the factors in obesity in our children. If we want them to sit and work all of the time, when do they get physical activity outside of a physical ed class (where in many elementary schools, only happens once a week). I wonder if that is one of the factors in stress related conditions in our children.

There are so many reason why recess needs be included in our children’s day and these are some of them. What other reasons can you think of? Please share!

Image: 'Portal'

Monday, January 9, 2012

Episode 14 January Beginnings

loonyhiker on Plurk: http://www.plurk.com
Loonyhiker on Twitter: http://twitter.com
Blog – http://successfulteaching.net
Email me at successfulteaching@gmail.com
Yes I Can by Danny O’Flaherty from his Secret Garden CD. : http://www.dannyoflaherty.com/.
Shelfari – http://www.shelfari.com
The Hunger Games Book 2: Catching Fire
Flubaroo: http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/6/12

tools2Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Extreme Weather 2011 – from NOAA; “From extreme drought, heat waves and floods to unprecedented tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms, a record 12 weather and climate disasters in 2011 each caused $1 billion or more in damages — and most regrettably, loss of human lives and property.”

Logo Maker – free logo maker; fun for kids

Find That File – search for specific types of files

Shelfster – “Shelfster is a free platform dedicated to WRITERS. The key feature is that when you write, you have at your fingertips everything you've gathered for your writings. You don't have to worry anymore that your ideas and sources of inspiration are lost or scattered in different places.”

Poster My Wall – “Make poster-sized collages; Use your photos or your friends' Facebook albums; Use free poster backgrounds or upload your own; Get big, high quality posters up to 3 feet tall; Free downloads, prints from $7.50 + shipping”

Original Image: Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Word for 2012

In Word for 2012 from CogDogBlog, Alan Levine aka CogDogs, share his word for 2012.

believeI have been thinking about my word for this year and I chose: BELIEVE!

In order for me to have a more positive outlook on life, I need to believe.

· I believe that 2012 will be a great year! There are so many great opportunities that are waiting to happen.

· I believe that there are more good people in this world than bad people. I will be on the lookout for them every day.

· I believe that good shall overcome evil. I will look at the positive things that happen every day.

· I believe the economy will get better. I will just have to pray about this one.

· I believe I can do more than I think I can. I need to encourage myself when I want to try something new and not doubt my abilities.

· I believe I can do anything if I set my mind to it. If I want to try something new, I need to research about it, ask for help if needed, and gather support just in case.

· I believe that I am loved. I will just have to believe this one.

What is your word for this year?

Image: 'believe'

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Setting Goals

GoalsEvery year I hear people talk about making resolutions and setting goals. I like to set goals too for myself. Many people talk about dieting or improving their lives some way. Working on improving our lives is always a positive thing. Then I wondered about the process of setting goals. My students hear about this but I’m not sure they understand the process of doing this which may be why they don’t stick with resolutions or work towards goals after a week. Here are some guidelines for setting goals.

They need to be realistic. It needs to be something that is possible to do. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.

If you want to accomplish this during this year, you need to look at the time involved. How much time each week are you willing to devote to getting this done. If you don’t have the time or aren’t willing to give it the time, then don’t make it a goal because you won’t reach it.

There needs to be a way to measure progress. That is the best way to motivate you to continue. Decide how often you will measure progress and how will you measure it. I love to keep charts and document my progress so when I get discouraged, I have something visual to help me keep going.

Make a list of the things you want to do and then prioritize them. Pick the top three or five things and make them your goals.

Find others to support you. Share your goals with those who are able to support you. Explain what kind of support you want. I don’t want someone to nag me or make me feel guilty if I am not doing what I should. For some reason, it makes me annoyed and I act more negatively. I want people who will cheer me on and praise when I’m doing well. If they see positive changes, I want them to mention it. I want to feel good about working towards my goals.
Moving towards the Finish Line

How will you know you reached your goal? What reward will be there for you in the end. Everyone likes a reward and it helps you to work towards it. Decide when you start what your reward will be. Find pictures of your reward and put them up around you. Seeing your rewards each day, will help motivate you.
What advice do you have for setting goals? Please share!
Image: 'Goals, Goals, Goals'

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Amazon Associate

AmazonI have been accepted as an Amazon Associate. Now, I’m sure you wonder what the heck that is all about. So here is the scoop:

 I have decided to try something new with this blog. I have added an Amazon link to my page (over there on the left side of this page) and if you buy something from Amazon through the link in my page, I will get a percentage of what you buy. You just put in the item you are searching for and then hit Enter. It will bring you to the Amazon page.

 If you aren’t supporting any other blog or web page, I am asking my readers to buy from Amazon through this link. This will not cost you anything extra and there are no fees for you. If you do this, let me know what you think. I truly would appreciate your support.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

NewYearsHappy New Year to all my friends and family! I hope this New Year brings you lots of good health and happiness!

It is time to set my goals for this year. I don’t do resolutions. I don’t know why but that word just seems to set me up for failure. I feel the overwhelming weight of resolutions and just hate them. So I don’t do them. But what I like to do is have goals. Maybe it is the teacher in me, but goals are workable

Goals for 2012

1. I will put on a cheerful face every day and be thankful for the life I have. My positive outlook will affect anyone who comes in contact with me.

2. I will lose weight. I need to lose 30 lbs. I will exercise at least three times a week.

3. I will eat better. I plan on decreasing my sugar intake and only have it on the weekends. I will eat pasta only once a week.

4. I will work on promoting my Etsy store and sell more of my knitting items. I love knitting but I’m being overwhelmed with all my knitting items that are filling my office.

5. I will be more flexible and not stress out about having a schedule for every little thing. And when the schedule is changed suddenly, I will take a deep breath, adapt, and accomplish what needs to be done without whining or getting mad.

Do you have any major goals for this year? Please share.

Image: 'Fuegos'