Friday, June 29, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/29/12

tools1Here 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

Paper Toys - for all ages (L:G: SA: A)
Smart History - “a free, not-for-profit, multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional art history textbook.” (L: H; SA: FA)
Pace Recorder - Android App; “The PaceRecorder is a voice recorder equipped with a simple pace indicator. It requires 10 seconds of you speaking to register your pace. It will show different colors so you can understand your speaking pace: Blue=relaxed Green=balanced Red=excited” (L: G: SA: LA)
Alpha Munchies Typing Game - “Alpha Munchies is a keyboarding activity for elementary age students. Select a level of difficulty and begin keyboarding as quickly as you can to protect your lunch! Students must type the letters above the critters as they fall from the sky! Letters are introduced over a series of stages.” (L: E; SA: A)
Art Babble - “ArtBabble was conceived, initiated, designed, built, sculpted, programmed, shot, edited, painted and launched by a cross-departmental collection of individuals at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). It is intended to showcase video art content in high quality format from a variety of sources and perspectives. ArtBabble was created so others will join in spreading the world of art through video.” (L:H; SA: FA)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Swimming in the Deep End

swimmingIn You Can’t Be a Lurker in My Class from Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech,  Dean Shareski talks about the lurkers in his online class,

“I wonder if I’m missing something. Maybe I need to structure things differently in order to accommodate the lurker? But if it means an isolated learning environment where good thinking happens behind closed doors, I don't think I can do that. I know many people using all types of online spaces consider themselves lurkers and I don't have a problem with that and yet I do when it comes to my courses.”

I used to be a lurker. I was content to sit in the background and hear everyone else talk, give their opinions, and I was willing to soak up all the knowledge swirling around my head. I didn’t have the confidence to join in the conversations.

But as I tried to expand my horizons, little by little, I started joining in. I started commenting on blogs or leaving a comment on twitter. This was a scary time for me and I really didn’t know what to expect. No one was there to show me how this was all done. No one was there to encourage me. But I was curious and willing to put on a brave front to give it a try. Then people started to respond back to me. Eventually I started skyping with people and even meeting them in real life. Slowly I started to find my own voice! Now I am willing to share my thoughts and opinions with confidence.

I’m not sure I could force my students not to be lurkers. Joining in the conversation is kind of like learning to swim. If they are anything like my husband, when using force, they will surely dig their feet in and refuse to budge. I think it is important for me to make the environment safe and welcoming for students to dip their feet in the water. As they gain small successes, they will be willing to go a little deeper each time. Just like me, with each success, their confidence will build until they suddenly find themselves swimming in the deep water. Eventually the deep water won’t be scary for them and they will jump in the deep end of a pool without even thinking twice. Joining in the conversations will seem natural and exciting.

If expectations are given about the class and how participation is necessary in order to pass the class, maybe students who are enrolled hope that this is the kind of class to get them out of lurking. Many people who take public speaking courses are the ones who are terrified about speaking in public. They don’t want the instructor to accommodate their fears and say, “Okay, you are afraid of speaking in public so you can just write a paper.” The same may be true about students who take an online class. They hope this is the nudge they need to move them out of their comfort zone.

What do you think? Are you a lurker? Do you think teachers should accommodate the lurkers in the classroom? Please share.

Image: 'Deep Blue #2'

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Words Can Make a Difference

004Recently there has been an uproar in the knitting community caused by the US Olympic Committee. Now I’m sure you are wondering what knitting has to do with the Olympics. I belong to an online social network of knitters called Ravelry. Whenever the summer Olympics come around, they organize crafters into the Ravelympics which encourages people to knit, crochet, spin, while they watch the Olympics and support their favorite team. We don’t make any money by doing this but it is a lot of fun. I feel this is as much fun as taking part in the many fantasy NCAA tournament competitions that happen every year.

Well, this year, the US Olympic Committee sent Ravelry a Cease & Desist Letter stating,

“We believe using the name "Ravelympics" for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

Then NPR ran an article stating,
“It wouldn't seem to be a good idea to get 2 million people with pointy sticks angry at you, but the U.S. Olympic Committee did just that.

So it has just apologized for sending a "cease and desist" letter to a social networking site for knitters that is holding its own sort-of Olympic games.”

The follow up to the Cease and Desist Letter included the following:

“…we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games….To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games”

Now I know you are probably asking why all this uproar about knitting? Well, let me tell you, knitters take their craft seriously, just like any other crafter or hobbyist. We don’t appreciate anyone being disrespectful to our craft or to ourselves because knitting is something that takes time and patience and practice. And then they insult us by telling us they support us by allowing us to use our time and energy to make things and send it to them!

When people use the words “denigrate” and “disrespectful” about something, it makes others stop and take notice.

I always felt like I was taking part in the Ravelympics as a way to support the Olympic Team and encouraging me to watch and cheer them on. I never thought I was denigrating or disrespecting anyone and never meant to do this.

I think this is one more example of the US Olympic Committee overstepping their boundaries. Why in the world would you pick on a knitting community? When I go to Facebook and search the word “Olympics,” I found things such as Redneck Olympics and Dolphin Olympics. Surely Redneck Olympics is much more denigrating and disrespectful than a knitting community having the Ravelympics!

I understand the concept of branding and some have told me that the reason is that this social networking site makes money. But so does Olympic National Park. The Olympic Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula was around longer than the Olympic Committee but maybe they will be threatened too.

All of this is to show that words can make a difference. What a person says and how they say it can have a large impact. I’m not sure the US Olympic Committee imagined having 2 million knitters (and their children and grandchildren) being impacted by their attack on one web site but it happened.

I know I will try to think more before I speak more often! And I will probably be doing a lot of knitting without watching the Olympics. I hope our team wins a lot and the athletes do well in all of their competitions but I refuse to support the committee and their sponsors during this time.

Original Photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

EasiSpeak Winner



The winner of the EasiSpeak Digital Recorder was aews! I will be contacting you to get more information to send to the company.


Please stay tuned for another giveaway next week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Water Words that Work Workshop

Convince(Boy, try to say that three times real fast!)

Last week I attended this really great workshop that was presented by Mr. Eric Eckl, of Water Words that Work, LLC. I was notified about this workshop sponsored by Carolina Clear, Upstate Forever, and Pickens county Stormwater Partners through our Master Naturalist Association and it was well worth it.

The flyer said this workshop “will help you create and deliver messages that will reach your target audience and inspire them to action.” Of course the message was about the environment and get people to move beyond awareness into action. But then I began to think how this same strategy could be used in the education environment too and the strategy would definitely work the same.

Here are some of the notes I’ve taken and you can find more information by going to the Water Words That Work website. The site that has more words can be found here.

Words that work when addressing the “so what” question:
Future generations
Family and children

Words that work when encouraging somebody to do something:
Make a difference
Doing my/your/their part
It affects you
What you can do
Working together
Save money

Words that work when asking somebody to take your side:
Planning ahead

Near the end of the workshop we actually got to apply what we learned. We used the words and used them in different situations to answer questions. Role playing is always a great way to apply learning.

I thought of many different situations in the education system where this practice would really be very effective. I can see using this when trying to convince colleagues to try a new technique or tool. This would be effective in convincing the administration to spend money on some necessary equipment for the classroom. These words would be great in applying for grants to benefit the classroom. Convincing parents to see things in a different light would be easier if I used these words.

The only thing I would do differently if I ran this workshop is the following: I would not move people into new groups at the beginning of a workshop. Some people arrive early to get seating which they are comfortable in. Some people may have hearing or vision problems so plan on sitting where they can get the most out of the workshop. People like me who are tactile-kinesthetic sit towards the back of the room in case I need to get up and down out of the seat or do things with my hands that might be distracting to others. When we got there, we counted off by 8 and then had to get in 8 new groups of 4 even though we were already sitting at tables of four people.

I think this presenter did an excellent job and would recommend him to others. I think his message was clear and very motivational. As I mentioned, his information could be applied to other disciplines besides environment. I liked the way that he kept the presentation moving and I was engaged in the activities the whole time. He varied the activities enough to keep me from feeling fidgety which was effective in helping me learn the material.

Do you know of other situations where these words and strategies would help in the education system?

What other words do you use to help you? Please share.

Image: 'one single person on 1 August 2010+-+day+213'

Friday, June 22, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/22/12

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

The Spangler Effect - videos; “Each episode will put one science experiment, concept, project, challenge or situation under the microscope to learn how and why it's important in our daily lives. At the heart of each episode is a take-away activity that has great wow-factor but is easy enough for viewers to recreate at home using simple household items. Sketches and brainstorming sessions quickly make their way from the workshop to a real-world situation that ends with viewers saying, "I can't believe they did that!" It's entertaining and fun in such a way that viewers don't even realize that they are learning... but they're totally engaged and eager to spread the science virus.” (L:G; SA: S)

Volcano Explorer - from Discovery Channel; interactive online exploration of a volcano

iNaturalist - “where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world.” (L: H; SA: S)

Math Chimp - “Welcome to Math Chimp! We collect free online math games, videos, and worksheets and organize them by the common core standards. We're glad you've come to find great online math resources here... they're free and always will be!” (L: E, M; SA:M)
Travel Film Archive - “a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970.”

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Agricultural Festival 2012

008This week our community garden participated in the Agricultural Festival: Around the World on a Plate. The festival was sponsored by the Synergy Garden, The International Center, and the Greenville County Farm Bureau. The agriculture of Costa Rica, Colombia, and Uganda was featured at this event. It was exciting to hear people from those countries talk about the agriculture and the way of life in each of those countries. By doing this, I was able to see how different life is in other countries but yet, how much we have in common in the way our hopes for our families are the same. After each speaker gave their presentation, there was a drawing where the winner won a basket of fresh produce from the garden. Then an international lunch was provided and a tour of the garden ended the event. There was a full house for the inaugural event and I believe fun was had by people of all ages. You can see the pictures of this fantastic event by clicking here: Agricultural Festival 2012

An event like this helps people learn about other cultures and ways of life. Knowledge increases tolerance of people who are different from us and we need to do a better job at teaching our children this. By attending events like this is a great way to model this behavior for our students and our own children. Maybe something like this can be done on a smaller scale in the classroom.

(On a side note, I was also able to reconnect with a friend that I haven’t seen in about 20 years! She looks as great as ever and of course it brought back memories of wonderful times. It was great seeing you again Whitney! )

If you do something like this in your classroom, please share your ideas!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Education Blogger Survey

clipboardIn Research: Education Bloggers from the blog Through the Looking Glass, there was a survey to help with “OU’s Institute of Educational Technology…small research project exploring communities of education blogging.” Education bloggers were asked to fill out a survey so I thought I would share my answers here:

Blog URL:

What do you blog about? Ideas and strategies for new and struggling teachers

Are you paid to blog? No

What do you do professionally (other than blog)? I am a retired public school teacher who taught special education for 30 years. Now I teach on the university level to teachers getting their master’s in special education.

How long have you been blogging at this site? My first post was on September 16, 2007

Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) I published my first ebook this year thru

Can you remember why you started blogging? I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences with others in order to help them be successful in the classroom.

What keeps you blogging? I have connected with so many educators out there through my blog and have shared ideas and strategies.

Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? I use Sitemeter to keep up my stats and as of 6/10/12, it said that I had about 447,000 page views. I also use ClustrMap to see where my readers are located.

What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? As long as it pertains to my post and is relevant, I appreciate any and all comments.

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) I thought when I started that my blog might only fit in with special education but quickly realized that what I believed in and strategies I used would fit in with the general education community for all levels and all subjects.

If so, what does that community give you? I have learned so much from others. I have been able to fine tune my own beliefs as well develop new skills myself.

What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? I think it helps others who like to read about new ideas and strategies and are able to come back to the post when needed. It also helps when people comment and start a conversation about the post. The limitation is that it is not a real time conversation so sometimes life gets in the way and the conversation falls to the wayside.

Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) Yes, because I want people to know my blog is out there in case they know educators who might benefit from reading it.

Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? Blogging has enabled me to grow professionally. It is also thrilling to meet fellow bloggers in person when we travel around the country.

Image: 'clipboard the'

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Education Buzz Carnival 6/14/12

carnival1The "Wish Life Were A Beach" Edition of the Education Buzz: Life's A 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 Hidden Treasures 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, June 18, 2012

Easi-speak - Product Review and GIVEAWAY!

002I was recently sent the Easi-Speak digital microphone by Learning Resources and asked to review their product (I am not being paid to do this review.) Here is what I think about this product:

I think the Easi-Speak digital recorder is a wonderful tool to use in the classroom. Children of all ages seem to enjoy using it and I believe the shape of the microphone makes it a lot of fun to use. Along with the microphone, there was also a lanyard that attaches so it could also be worn around the neck if desired. The controls are easy and color coded which makes it easy even for young children to operate this. The microphone needed to be near their mouth to hear the students speak clear but when playing it back, it could be played pretty loudly.

I think it was fun for students to read aloud using this microphone and play back what they read. Constant use of this would help students read more fluently. Some students even liked to pretend they were on American Idol. For older students, it was fun to interview them for a book report.

Here is 2nd grader Tasha reading some facts aloud: Tasha

Here is 7th grader Nicholas being interviewed about a book that he read: Nicholas

The microphone has a USB port that plugs right in to the computer. But the microphone was round and would not fit right into my computer. Luckily the microphone comes with a USB extension cord so there was no problem with getting it hooked to the computer. It charges and downloads easily to the computer through a USB cable and even has a headphone jack. I think this microphone would be extremely useful in the classroom and also just be lots of fun to use too! The cost for this microphone is $69.99.

Find out more info about Learning Resources:!/learninghandson

Giveaway info:
If you would like to win this microphone for your own classroom, just leave a comment below answering the following question:

How would you use this in your classroom?

A random drawing will be held in one week (June 25). Also include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Original picture by Pat Hensley

Friday, June 15, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/15/12

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

Sound Maps - “Use the interactive maps to find recordings of regional accents and dialects, wildlife and environmental sounds, and selected world and traditional music.” (L: G; SA: A)

Nature Explorers - nature activities (L: E; SA: LA, S, FA)

Alpha Maps - facts about cities using wolframalpha info (L:M, H; SA: A)

Understanding Taxes - “This online version includes detailed lesson plans, interactive activities, simulations, and more! For Educators, every Understanding Taxes lesson includes the correlations to national and state educational standards. Each lesson plan includes a link to the applicable national and state standards, making it simple to integrate Understanding Taxes into your existing classroom curricula.” (L:H; SA:SS, M)

Passengers on the Titanic - “A century ago the Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank. Mapping travelers’ hometowns reveals the immigrant status of most third-class passengers, who also suffered the highest fatality rate.” (L: H; SA: S, SS, M)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I Learned at the Upstate Technology Conference

0071. AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning by Cathy Nelson
2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning

Media Sharing

Digital Storytelling
Myths and Legends:

Manage and Organize

Social Networking and Communication
QR Microsoft:
QR i-nigma: www.i-nigma/CreateBarcodes.html
You are What You Read:

Curriculum Sharing
Yolink Education:
Khan Academy:

Content Resources: Lesson Plans and More
Digital Vaults:
Lingt Language:

Content Collaboration

2. Edmodo session by Tony P. Thompson
This was a great session! Edmodo looked like Facebook for a class. I can’t wait to give it a try. It looked like something students would enjoy where assignments are all given and submitted in one place. Messages are handled in one place and the teacher is able to have control of the whole situation.

3. Movie maker by Debbie Jarrett
2 versions of Movie Maker: the old one and the new one.
New Windows Live Movie Maker is missing some of the capabilities that the old one has.
Old one must have video in Wav or avi or asf files
Can use new movie maker to convert and save. Then use it in old movie maker.

4. It's not about the technology: tech integration for Learning by Shirley Smith Http://
Within 3 yrs every child will have their own device. If you don’t feel comfortable with teaching with technology and integrating it in your lessons, then it is time for you to look for another job.

5. Digital Storytelling by Chris Burras
Top 3 skills needed at the workplace: Creativity: Collaboration: Critical thinking
Favorite storytelling tools are:
- Inspirational, simple, social, shareable, it just works
- make animated maps for past, present and future adventures
ActivInspire tools

6. Chrome and Google Apps:Two Peas in a Pod by Maryanne Sansonetti-Wood
Storify - app
I really liked seeing how Google Chrome looks and works so I may give it a test drive. I have been using Firefox and was told that Chrome is so much better. We shall see.

Hope you find my notes useful! If you have used any of these tools/sites, please share your thoughts and opinions about them. Thanks!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unveiling the Mystery of Project Based Learning

Here is the presentation that I gave yesterday at the Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, SC.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feeling Connected

connectiosnOn February 28, we met a man who was beginning his Appalachian Trail thru-hike the next day. We exchanged contact info and he gave me the address of his blog which he would be updated along the way. This was his way of letting his family know where he was and share pictures. I thought this was a cool way of sharing his trip. I added his blog, Appalachian Trail 2012, to my Google reader and I follow along as he hikes north to Maine. I feel like I am sharing his journey and look forward to seeing him reach his destination.

Today starts the 2 day Upstate Tech Conference and I look forward to this in the same way. I feel like I am going on a journey with many others. This is a great way for me to see many of my online friends face to face. Sometimes this is the only time of year that I connect with them in real life. But thankfully it is so much easier because we stay in touch online. When we meet, I feel connected to them. I am not starting new friendships all over again every time we meet. I love this feeling of connectedness.

When I travel around the country, I feel like I have so many online friends that if something every happened, I think I could contact someone I “know” for help. This feeling connected is very important to me and I wish I had these years ago. I wonder if I would have been a better teacher then…No, I know I would have been a better teacher then.

How do you feel connected with others? Please share.

Image: 'Get Connected!'

Monday, June 11, 2012

Upstate Technology Conference 2012

UTC2012The Upstate Technology Conference 2012 is this week! On Tuesday and Wednesday there will be over 1200 participants attending and I’m so excited. It has been thrilling to watch this conference grow every year and I’m glad to be a part of it! This year I will be giving a presentation called “Unveiling the Mystery of Project Based Learning.” If you are in or near Greenville, SC, I hope to see you there! If not, I will be posting the presentation to this blog so stay tuned.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/8/12

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

Responsible Young Drivers - “Responsible Young Drivers (RYD) promotes road safety and draws the attention to mainly young drivers asking them to demonstrate responsible driving.” (L:H ; SA: A )

Magic Gopher - A fun magic game where the gopher guesses your number. (L: G ; SA: M )

Map A List - “a wizard for creating and managing customized Google maps of address lists” (L: H ; SA: A)

Story Online - Screen Actor Guild members read books aloud. (L: E; SA: LA)

3DToad - Education Imagery Database; allows you to get a 3D look at these images (L:G; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Episode 17 Summer is Here!

Show Notes:

Contact info:
 a. loonyhiker on Plurk:
b. Loonyhiker on Twitter:
c. Blog –
d. Email me at

 Music Notes a. Yes I Can by Danny O’Flaherty from his Secret Garden CD. :

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Acts of Kindness

kindnessIn 10 Inexpensive Ways to Be Kind from Cool Cat Teacher Blog , Vicki Davis states,

“Being kind is so simple. It has often bothered me that we say "random acts of kindness." What if kindness were so common that we just had "random acts of unkindness" but we don't. Everyone wants to be appreciated and encouraged. You can do it too.”

Then she shares some simple ways to be kind to others so please check this post out.

Last night at my knitting group, we talked about people and the meanness out there. My friend’s expensive and beautiful chickens were killed by some teenagers who plucked them and harmed them out of meanness for fun. My friend knows the families and says the kids are not abused but pretty spoiled. She knows that they did it but doesn’t have proof to have them charged so it is just their word against hers.

This made me wonder about some of them. Why hasn’t anyone taught them about kindness? Why hasn’t someone taken them under their wing (like their parents) and modeled acts of kindness. What if they had chosen to help clean the chicken pens or feed the animals instead of harming them? If they are caught and charged, would it help to force them to work with the animals that they want to harm or would it be dangerous? I don’t know.

But I do know that hearing about this makes me want to be more kind to others. I want to make a conscious effort today to do some kind things for others. Maybe I can’t change other people’s behaviors but I know I can change my own. I can’t help the dead chickens but I can do things to try to help my friend. I guess I want to try to make up for other people’s meanness.

As Vicki shares, “Being kind may be free but when you're kind you become priceless.”

Maybe I’ll see you out there spreading some kindness! Please share some of the things you have done lately. It might give me some new ideas of things I can do. Thanks!

Image: 'Be kind, for everyone you meet is+fighting+a+harder+battle.+~Plato'

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Summer Plans

summerIn Catching Up from Tinkerings, Tim asks,

“And what, exactly, are your plans for the summer?”

Well Tim, I’m glad you asked! Of course this may be more than you really wanted to know but here it is.

I am giving two presentations at the Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, SC called “Unveiling the Mystery of Project Based Learning.”

There is a Red Cross annual meeting and volunteer recognition event at Fluor Field at Westside in Greenville this week. Then I’m helping with the Volunteer picnic this month also. We are also on call every 6 weeks with our Disaster Action Team which helps families who have lost everything from a disaster.

I will also be teaching a graduate class for Furman University in July. This is a practicum class where my students are teachers and we will be running a school for students with learning problems. The school only lasts a month but I think the teachers and the students both benefit from this.

On Friday nights our town has free concerts at the City Hall fountain and on Saturday nights there are free bluegrass concerts at the Depot St. market area. I hope to enjoy some of these during the summer.

I am also doing lots of knitting and spinning. I’m continuing with making prayer shawls and leprosy bandages for charities with my church group. I’m also involved in some Knit-alongs and Spin-alongs through Ravelry (an online fiber social network).

I hope this year to get my gardens in shape. I want to plant more vegetables and flowers. But my weeds are very healthy this year. I’m trying to work in the gardens at least a couple of hours each day. I will probably need about 8 truck loads (pick up truck size) of mulch and it is free from our local landfill.

Hopefully in our down time, we will do short camping trips to the Smokies or even Shenandoah. I really enjoy getting out and doing some hiking. Sometimes I need to get away from the TV and the computers. I love to sit around the campfire and knit while my hubby and I talk.

So, now, I ask you, what are you doing this summer? Please share!

Image: 'Lake St. Peter [2]'

Monday, June 4, 2012

10 Things I Need to Improve

weedsIn Make a List of Things To Improve Upon Before You Forget Them from I Want to Teach Forever, Mr. D talks about a list of “things you need to improve upon the following year.  Framing it this way, instead of a list of "things I didn't do well" or "ways I suck as a teacher" makes you think specifically in a constructive, actionable way.”
I decided to make my own list of things. So, here they are:

1. Weeding my flower beds. If I don’t do this regularly, the weeds take over and it is much harder to do this. If I stay on top of them on a regular basis, I don’t hate it as much.

2. Trying new recipes. I get in a rut and keep making the same boring dishes over and over again.

3. Eating healthier. I love cookies, brownies, macaroni and cheese, and pasta. I need to eat more fresh vegetables and fewer starches.

4. Running. I would like to be able to run a 5K (not that I would enter one. I just want to know that I can do it).

5. Spinning yarn. I want to spin a yarn that is more consistent and I know it will just take lots of practice.

6. Knitting sweaters. I want to knit a sweater that fits me perfectly and that I knit exactly the way it should be knit.

7. Keeping in touch with friends and family. I need to touch base with them more regularly. I call my parents almost every other day but I have some aunts and cousins that I need to stay in touch with.

8. Cleaning my house. I have started a schedule where on a certain day. I will tackle one room and clean it. That way I won’t feel overwhelmed with trying to clean the whole house in one day.

9. Practice my Chinese. I took a few classes but I don’t practice it so I lose a lot of what I’ve learned.

10. Playing pool. We have a beautiful pool table but I never use it (other than as an extra table to put things on). Now that we have a new sun room and may start inviting others over, we might want to play pool so I should practice it.

What things would you like to improve on? Please share.

Image: 'Fantasy of seeds - Semences de fantaisie'

Friday, June 1, 2012

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

tools1Here 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

Science of Gardening - interactive; “gardening is both a science and an art. See how the plants we tend feed our bodies, our minds, and our senses” (L:M, H; SA: S)

Dance Mat Typing: “Make your way through all 12 stages and you can be a top typist.” (L:E; SA: A)

Glacier Works - “GlacierWorks is a non-profit organization that vividly illustrates the changes to Himalayan glaciers through art, science, and adventure.” (L:M, H; SA: S)

Sound Clips - “ empowers users to Share, Listen, & Download sound clips that have been uploaded to it's site.” (L:G ; SA: A)

Eat Different - “Track your meals each day, via desktop, mobile, or email. Snap photos for even better accountability. Don't worry about counting calories — instead, set your goals and drag a slider to indicate how well you do each day.” (L:H ; SA: S, PE )

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley