Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monthly Review of Goals from December

Goals December is ending and so is this year for my goals. I’m so pleased with how well that I’ve done and I credit this to my monthly reviews. I plan on doing my goals again this way next year because I think I need the monthly reminders/reviews to keep track of how I’m doing. I’ve accomplished more this year than I have any other year so I’m pretty proud of myself. The ones that are in bold are ones that I have already accomplished.

For the year:

1. I want to spin the alpaca fiber that I processed with some wool. (I accomplished this!)

2. I want to knit a sweater. (I accomplished this!)

3. I want to dye yarn. (The one goal that I didn’t accomplish so it will go on my list for next year.)

4. I want to spruce up my gardens this year. (I accomplished this!)

5. I won’t commit to more to more than I can handle. (I accomplished this even though it was really hard for me!)

6. I will find something good in each day. (I accomplished this!)

7. I will learn archery. (I accomplished this and hope to do more of it next year!)

8. I will nurture old friendships. (I accomplished this!)

9. I will lose at least 20 lbs. this year. (I accomplished this and hope to lose another 10 lbs. next year.)


1. I will eat healthy. (I ate healthier this year than in the past!)

2. I will exercise. (I accomplished this and exercised more this year than in the past.)

3. I will stretch. (I accomplished this!)

4. I will read my bible. (I accomplished this._

5. I will do something that I have been avoiding. (I worked harder on this in December and did a pretty good job this year.)

6. I will contact a friend and let them know I am thinking of them. (I accomplished this.)

7. I will be happy. (I accomplished this and found it pretty easy throughout the year.)

So, all in all, I accomplished all but one of my goals for the year. I’m not perfect so I won’t beat myself up over it. Instead, I will roll it over for next year’s goals. I look forward to having this kind of plan again next year.

Have you reviewed your goals or resolutions you made at the beginning of the year? How are you doing? Please share.

Image: 'La Jolla Goal Wall'
Found on flickrcc.net

Monday, December 30, 2013

My 11 Answers:

questions In 11 from Blogush by Paul Bogush, Paul asks me to join in the current meme by answering some questions.

It is that time of year where lots of meme’s are going around the blogosphere and I enjoy reading other people’s answers. It gives me a chance to learn more about them. By reading their blogs, I know what they are thinking or feeling but I don’t really know about them and how it may connect with their writing. Paul doesn’t pressure the people he tags and mentions that there are no hard feelings if we don’t have time to do this but I’m visiting my parents for the holidays and felt it was a perfect time to do this. Besides, I’m sitting in the dark kitchen at 5am trying to be quiet while everyone else is asleep. So, hang on to your hats, here goes!

The rules are:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

My random facts:

1. I’ve played an accordion since I was 4 years old.

2. I love to garden but I’m not very good at it.

3. I’m scared of the dark.

4. I have no tattoos and don’t plan on ever getting one.

5. I am spoiled and always have been (by my family because I was the youngest child and now by my husband because he loves me!)

6. I’ve never given birth to a child and so glad I got my 2 daughters already made!

7. I love salt and any food that is salty.

8. I haven’t missed a Christmas holiday with my 94 year old dad in 54 years!

9. I enjoy spinning my own yarn.

10. I love knitting.

11. I love meeting new friends.

Here are the answers to Paul’s questions:

1. What do you want to be when you grow up? Sometimes I want to be park interpreter/naturalist and other times I want to be nothing but retired and lazy.

2. Describe your favorite shirt? My Disney tshirt

3. What band do you wish you could join as the lead singer? I would be too shy and could never be the lead singer!

4. What should the title of your autobiography be? Loony and Loving It!

5. Who is one person that has had made you view the world differently? My husband. I have always been afraid to explore and try new things/places but since marrying him, I’ve learned that it is okay to find out what the world is like and terrible things won’t happen to me.

6. What have you done that you thought was impossible? Being chosen Special Ed Teacher of the Year for my state.

7. What do you think most about? How much I love my life.

8. Where are you most relaxed? Anywhere my husband is because I just love being with him.

9. What is one thing you hate to admit? I’m scared of failure.

10. If you could remove one obstacle in living up to your potential, what would it be? My fear of failure.

11. If you could wear a t-shirt with one question that everyone you met asked you, what would it be?? Where are you from? (Some people think I’m Hispanic, some think I’m Native American, some know I’m Asian but not sure which country).

I’m not very good at coming up with new questions because Paul’s were so great so how about answering the same questions that I did and letting me know more about you. If you do answer the questions in a post, leave a comment with the link so I can go read it.

Image: 'questions'
Found on flickrcc.net

Friday, December 27, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/27/13

tools1 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!
Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

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

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

Smithsonian X 3D – “offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.” (L:G; SA:A)

Engineering Interact - interactive science and engineering (L:E; SA:S)

Wild Music – “A Traveling Exhibition about the Sounds and Songs of Life” (L:G; SA:FA)

Roller Coaster Game – “This simulator is designed for people who want to design their own thrilling coaster and educators who want to use a cool activity to simulate the application of physics by using an exciting interactive tool and access to a wonderful reference source.” (L:G; SA:A)

Class Charts – “Seating charts are an essential part of any good teacher’s tool kit. They help organise students into appropriate learning groups and minimise behaviour issues – the class teacher asserts their authority before the lesson even begins. We take seating charts a step further. You can optionally include and display key data (eg SEN, reading age) about each pupil which is used to intelligently position pupils in the classroom to maximise learning.The seating plans you create in Class Charts are also a behaviour management tool which you can use collaboratively with colleagues to track and analyse student behaviour over time.” (L:T; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Less Talk, More Action

action In Want to Drive Change? Spend Less Time Planning and More Time Doing. From The Tempered Radical, Bill Ferriter states,

“…you've got to spend less time planning and more time doing.  While detailed plans might sound REALLY good in theory, they can quickly become organizational handcuffs.”

This a major problem with many people. There is a fine line between acting responsibly and being paralyzed from action for some reason.

Of course I see many politicians who like to hear themselves talk and spout rhetoric that they think people want to hear. There are many problems that these politicians talk around but never really offer solutions. There is lots of talk and very little action taking place.

Sometimes I am so afraid of failing that I overthink some problems. I have started to look at the problem and trying to decide how immediate the solution needs to be. If I have a faucet that is spewing water up at the ceiling, I’m not going to list the possible solutions and planning to get several estimates from a plumber before doing something. I’m going to immediately shut off the water before further damage can be done.

If I have time to solve a problem, I may think of the possibilities to solve it. If I can, I like to talk it over with someone (usually my husband) who can see the problem from a different perspective. It is amazing to me when he always comes up with an option that I never even thought of.

If no clear cut solution appears, sometimes I like to give some of the options a try to see which one works. Without actually trying them, all the planning and talk is useless.

Sometimes I need to have a little faith and try something, anything. I need to stop talking and planning and trying. Sometimes all that talk and planning is due to fear of failure. I need to encourage my students to do the same thing. I need to encourage them to try things in a safe environment with me there as support.

I need to let them know that failures aren’t bad but rather a learning experience to do something even better. Sometimes I learn more from my failures than my successes.

Do you do more planning or action? How do you balance the two? Please share.

Image: 'Surfer feelin' good'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013


Merry Christmas to all my family and friends!

I am truly blessed to have you in my life and even though miles may separate us, you are near and dear to my heart!

May you have a wonderful safe and fun holiday and may it be filled with lots of love and laughter!

Image: 'Merry Christmas & Happy New Year To+You'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Journey through 2013

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again – Christmas time! Pat’s favorite season! We don’t need snow or presents but for some reason the Christmas season just fills their hearts with joy and thanksgiving! So we hope to take you on a journey with us and see what we have done throughout this past year. Put on your seatbelts and hang on!

012313January – Our first trip back to Disney after buying a year’s pass to the parks. This gets us into Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. I can’t believe these tickets cost so much!

February – We spent this month at home and just relaxed. Don had a wonderful birthday! Pat did a lot of knitting and spinning on her spinning wheel.

March – We had some snow which was magical. Then we had to evict a tenant and do major repairs on a rental house. We went to Frog Watch training and learned to identify and count frogs for a nature inventory.

   032 April – We headed to the Magic Kingdom and really enjoyed the Epcot Flower Festival. Then we swung further south to visit my parents. We also went to the Smoky Mountains and attended the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage which is an awesome event that we look forward to each year.

May – We went camping at Pensacola Beach in our tent and enjoyed going to the Naval Aviation museum where I met the Blue Angels and got their autographs. We had a lot of fun but the rain forced us to leave. The next day at home, we b002ought a camping trailer! (2007 Casita Freedom Deluxe)

June – We took our camper to Orlando and another visit to Disney. What an adventure! A tire blow out helped us learn that tires have date codes and old tires may look perfectly new but can have dry rot!

July – Every year Pat teaches a course for Furman during the summer semester. She loves teaching this class and look forward to it every year. Meanwhile we were also preparing another rental house for a new tenant.

August – Another trip with the camper to Disney because we wanted to get our money’s worth out of our annual passes! Then when we got home, we took our camper to Myrtle Beach and camped at Huntington Beach State Park with Nancy and Ray (Don's sister and her husband). We had the best campsite and had a great time! Pat began teaching a course (Education of Students with Exceptionalities) for Furman for the fall semester. She had 23 undergraduates!

September – We went to Myrtle Beach again. Our niece Deanna, her husband Mike, and daughter Kaeli came down from New York and it was so exciting to see how much Kaeli has grown. Their daughter Lauren and her husband Joey joined us from NC too so it was a mini-family reunion. It was a very special time for us since we would lose Mike in November.

October – Another trip to the wonderful world of Disney but we stayed in a hotel!

November – Our last trip of the year to Disney and we are sad but next year we might give Universal our money since it isn’t as expensive as Disney. Thanksgiving was a sad time for us since Mike passed away suddenly but we are so thankful for the time he had on earth with us. We are so thankful that we had this time together with him in September.

December - Pat finished teaching her class and we headed to Florida again for the Christmas holidays. Pat’s father turned 94 this year! The weather has been perfect and the company has been delightful!

We hope you have enjoyed seeing the recap of our year. We had a wonderful year and look forward to an even better one next year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Revealing Yourself

In Making friends is easier when you are naked… from 1 Blogush, Paul Bogush  is asked,

“How do you balance the need to protect your “internalness” with sharing your thoughts with this abyss of strangers?

and his reply was, “In the end, dropping my protection allowed me to realize that the abyss of strangers is nothing more than a collection of friends I have not met yet.  And each time I share a bit of my heart, I find that I make another friend…most of whom I will never meet.”

blessthischick-130x145BWhen I first started blogging, I was worried about putting myself out there. I did a lot of research on blogging and tried to read the advice of many people. At first, I put up a cartoon avatar and used my username – Loonyhiker. I felt a little more comfortable behind a cartoon and username.

I had been a little worried about people who disagreed with me or told me I was wrong but that hasn’t happened much because of the way I chose to share. I realized that I wanted to tell people what I believed in and things that I did which had been successful. I wanted to share my mistakes in order to help others not make the same ones I did. By doing this, I’m not telling others what they should believe in or what they should be doing. I have had people email me and ask me for advice but rather than tell them what they should do, I try to tell them what I would do if I was in that situation. I think that helps people be more receptive to my message.

Then I started to get comments on my blogs from real people! What a thrill. I started to have conversations online with these real people. My relationship with them moved from my blog to Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook. As we traveled, I started to meet these people face to face (that was a much bigger thrill!).

BlogAvatar It was at this point that I stopped being so afraid. I changed my avatar to my real picture and put my real name out there. But I still use common sense. I don’t put sensitive information out there but enough for people to contact me and if I want to give them more detailed info, I can do it privately. I feel like a child growing up when I was told never speak to strangers but as you grow up, you learn to know which strangers it is alright to speak to. If I never talked to strangers, how I would I ever talk to my students who, on the first day of class, are usually complete strangers!

So, as I continue to blog, I will continue to throw myself out there. I hope if you are reader of this blog that someday we will meet face to face. If you are someone out there I have already met face to face, I’m so glad you are in my real life now! Let’s stay friends!

How do you feel about revealing yourself? Please share.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/20/13

tools2 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!
Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

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

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

Ice Breaker Tags – “Are you an event organizer? Do you want to help people easily strike up a conversation? That's what Icebreakertags are for. Similar to name tags, people attach these conversation starters to their clothes, but instead of a name, they answer a question.” (L:G; SA:A)

Mind Cipher – “a social repository of the world's greatest brain teasers, logic puzzles and mental challenges.” (L:G; SA:A)

Math Trail – “Powered by Google Maps, these exciting trails take you to locations connected by a theme.Test your Math and geography skills along the way.” (L:G; SA:M)

GeoGuessrgame where you look at images and try to figure out where in the world it is located. I found some of these very challenging. (L:G; SA:SS)

Math at Work – “discover the importance of math from industry leaders” (L:G; SA:M)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, December 19, 2013

High Expectations vs. Realistic Expectations

expectations In Adrien:  Who our students are vs. who we want them to be from Reality 101: CEC's blog for new teachers by CEC, Adrien talks about how she struggles with her high expectations in addition to being realistic about their abilities.

“Bottom line, my students are each wonderfully unique and I cherish each of them. I want and expect the very best for each of them. But how do I balance who they really are with what society and I want them to be? Do I just accept that Student #1 will always be loud? Do I accept that Student #2 will always require special handling for his choices and actions? Do I accept that Student #3 will always just say what she thinks and hope she’s surrounded with people who understand? Or do I stick to my guns with expectations of propriety and maturity?”

I think it is important that we challenge our students to expand their horizons and try to grow. Without taking risks and trying harder tasks, we will never be able to learn what we could do. I need to give my students a safe place to take risks and know that I am there for support. I want them to know that failure is not the worst thing but not trying is the worst thing.

Adrien mentions student #1 who is very loud. I need to look at the student’s weaknesses and seeing how they can be used as a strength. If the student is loud, I need to help the student learn what situations are appropriate for loudness and which aren’t. Yet, there are times that I might need to use this loudness to get the class attention. By looking at this as a strength, it can change how I perceive this student’s weakness.

Adrien also mentions student #2 who has trouble taking criticism. I feel using a rubric with very specific descriptions can help the student check their own work. I would have the student review their own work and fill out the rubric. This might help the student be more prepared for what needs to be done and it may seem more objective than subjective.

Student #3 that Adrien mentions is a student who says inappropriate things or things at inappropriate times. I would come up with a frequency chart that can be filled out on this student. Either the student would carry this with them or it can be taped to the desk. Every time the student says something that isn’t “filtered,” I would mark it on the chart. At the end of the day, I would keep a record of how many marks were made. At the end of the week I would make a graph to show the student and challenge them to have a lower frequency the next week etc. At the end of the month, graph the results to show progress. Many students respond well to the graphs that are a visual representation of their behavior.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with having high expectations for my students as long as they are realistic. We need to help our students grow into what they can be and not hold them to just what they are.

What do you think about high expectations? Please share.

Image: '(Sorry, but this is an) Endless Recession'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Teacher Feature – Danielle Lewis

This month’s featured teacher is Danielle Lewis! I found out about Ms. Lewis through a friend whose grandson attends Ms. Lewis’s school. This school is very unique and has a lot of talented students there. Congratulations Ms. Lewis for being this month’s featured teacher! I think you will really enjoy this interview because I know I did.

ST: Would you describe your school setting?
DL: The campus of the SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities is located in downtown Greenville overlooking the Reedy River Falls Park.  It was designed to emulate a Tuscan village.
(According to the school website:“The South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities is a public residential high school for emerging artists. The school gives artistically talented high school students from across the state the opportunity to study their art in a supportive environment of artistic and academic excellence. Arts concentrations include Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts.”It looks like a really cool place to go to school. It makes me picture it as our local Julliard!)

ST: What is your official title(s) and what services do you provide?
DL: My title is Academic Assistance Coordinator.  I serve as the Special Education Coordinator, 504 Coordinator, Special Education Teacher, and also serve the students that have not been identified as having disabilities that are struggling academically.  I tutor multiple subjects one on one or in small group settings and also work to improve the executive skills of the students, such as time management and organization.

ST: How long have you been teaching?
DL: 16 years

ST: What ages/grades/subject did you teach prior to this current assignment?
DL: I have taught students ages 5-55, maybe older.  I have taught resource in elementary and high school.  I have also taught self-contained classes in elementary and high school for students with learning disabilities, mental disabilities, and emotional disabilities.  I have also served as the Disability Services Coordinator at the college level.  The only age group I have never worked with is middle school.

ST: What inspired you to become a teacher? 
DL: When I was in high school, I took a Community Service Learning class.  It was a pilot program my school was launching and my parents were friends with the teacher, so they signed me up.  I ended up spending a lot of time in the self-contained class for students with neurological disabilities and fell in love with it.  There was a student in the class who used a keyboard for communication.  Watching him overcome his difficulties without the slightest complaint was inspiring to say the least.  His biggest passion was watching the demolition derby at our county fair.  I'll never forget the first time I saw him there, watching the derby.  Sitting in his wheelchair yelling and waving his arms, I had never seen anyone happier.  I knew I wanted to help kids like him.

ST: What is the best thing that a student has ever said to you?
DL: Several Thanksgivings ago, a student I taught my first year contacted me through Facebook.  I was only 21 when I started teaching.  This particular student struggled with bipolar disorder.  He was a brilliant artist and creative thinker, but extremely depressed and misunderstood.  I took him under my wing that first year of my teaching career.  I got him when not many other people did because I am also a person that was misunderstood in high school.  He wrote me a letter Thanksgiving Day.  I had not heard from him in 10 years.  He told me thank you for saving his life and not giving up on him.

ST: What do you feel is the most difficult thing about teaching?
DL: The most difficult thing has always been and will always be not being able to help everyone that needs help.  Sometimes due to the student's family situation or lack of time in the day or whatever the case may be, I can't do all that I want to do.  It bothers me tremendously.

ST: What do you feel is the best thing about teaching? 
DL: On the flip side of the most difficult thing, the best thing is helping students who need it the most.  My passion is working with the students that others don't always see the value in.  Working with kids who learning comes to easily or come from great backgrounds has never been my thing.  I crave finding that student who really, really needs someone to help them.  Those can be the biggest heartbreakers, but they can also be the most rewarding people in your life.

ST: What is the biggest issue in education that you wish the state or federal government would address and why?
DL: There are not enough opportunities for students who struggle academically and don't learn in the traditional way.  There needs to be more money and support put into our tech prep programs at the middle and high school levels.  I've read some great articles about programs across the country that prepare high school students for careers in technical fields.  Many of the students I work with are hands on, kinesthetic learners.  These programs recognize and embrace that.

ST: What piece of advice would you give to a new teacher just starting out in their career? 
DL: Have control of your classroom.  Be organized.  Challenge your learners.  Adapt when you need to.  Recognize your mistakes.  Care about the students you work with and find ways to connect with them.

ST: If money was no object, what would you want for your school to help the students you serve be more successful?
DL: I would have the school hire a tutor for our math and science classes who could be here each night to work with the students.  Many of my students struggle to understand math and science.

ST: If you could have anybody in the world visit your school (alive or dead), who would it be?
DL: Louis Zamperini, the WWII Prisoner of War and Olympic Runner, who the book Unbroken was based on, would be my current pick.  I read the book about a year ago and found his story so incredibly inspiring. He's someone that every high school student should be aware of.  His story should inspire anyone to not give up.  

If you want to nominate a teacher for me to feature in the upcoming months, please email me (successfulteaching at gmail dot com) their name, school, and contact info. Please consider helping me recognize teachers who sometimes don’t get the recognition that they deserve!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Amazing Teacher Podcast Interview

AmazingTchrPodcast I was recently interviewed on The Amazing Teacher Podcast and you can go HERE to listen to the entire interview. I was honored that Sam invited me to be a guest on his podcast because I’ve been a big fan of his Success In The Classroom blog and a fan of his Amazing Teacher Podcast. Sam was a gracious host and made me feel comfortable answering his questions (even though I am always nervous in interviews!). There are also some other great interviews there that you might want to check out so I hope you have time to check them out too.

Monday, December 16, 2013

FLL Robotics Tournament

  This past weekend, my husband and I were part of a judging panel for the First Lego League Robotics Tournament hosted by our school district. Here is the description of the challenge:

In the 2013 NATURE’S FURY Challenge, over 200,000 children ages 9 to 16* from over 70 countries will explore the awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves and more that we call natural disasters. Teams will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work, and play.  Brace yourself for NATURE’S FURY!
*9­-14 in the US, Canada, and Mexico”

We spent most of the day sitting at a table judging 26 teams for the Robotics tournament. The students were in middle school and had to identify a natural disaster in a community of thRobotics1eir choice, do research, come up with a solution, and present it to the judges. Each team had 5 minutes to set up and present and the judges had 3 minutes to question them. It was a long day but the kids were so interesting and it was fun to see how they came up with their solutions.

The best part of this event for me was how each team chose to present their information. There were so many creative ways that they shared their project. Some teams did skits and some gave demonstrations. One team did a video that they made which they spoke their public service message in different languages because many of the group were from India. This message was shared with schools in India. Another team talked about Robotics2the need for generators and transfer switches being required by law at gas stations during emergency situations. They went as far as contacting legislators and seeing how they could propose this for a bill.

The teams were judged on their research, innovation, and presentation. To judge each team, the judges used a rubric with a scale of 0-4 and a description for each category. The judges only had 2 minutes after the team left the room to fill out one scoring sheet which did not leave a lot of time for comments. We had to be positive and encouraging on the judging sheets but there was so much more that I wanted to say to a lot of the teams. They were all wonderful and could be proud of what they did but I wish we could talk to the coaches of each team to give them some suggestions for their teams to be even better.

Suggestions I would have given some teams:

1. Talk louder.

2. Talk slower.

3. Don’t block your demonstration. You have seen this before but the judges haven’t.

4. Practice your presentation.

5. Don’t read your poster word for word.

6. Choose a spokesperson to choose people to answer questions asked by the judges.

7. Time your presentation and practice your timing.

8. Make sure you have met the objectives of the challenge.

9. Go over the rubric that will be used to make sure you have covered all of the parts.

10. Smile.

If you haven’t ever been to a Robotics tournament, I would highly encourage you to go. These children may one day be our future leaders.

Original photos by Pat Hensley

Friday, December 13, 2013

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

tools1 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

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

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

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

Snappy Words – “free visual online dictionary” (L:G; SA:A)

Math Maps – “Google Earth (and Maps) gives us a great perspective on it all. It also provides easy access for our students to see rich visual content that depicts everyday maths.” (L:G; SA:M)

Lit Map Project – “Find books about your favorite places by doing a location search. Use the filters so that you find exactly what you are looking for” (L:G; SA:LA)

My Reading Mapped – “Here is your chance to digitally experience history by zooming in on the details in over 140 Google Map formatted documentaries on history and science. So, join me as we explore the world, and digitally walk where explorers of the past have traveled, locate sunken ships, view plane and train crash sites, roam ancient ruins, survey battlefields and forts, discover undersea phenomena, research environmental disasters, find dinosaur fossil sites, digitally climb the tallest mountains, investigate famous crime scenes and learn about the rise, fall, and migration of civilization due to climate change” (L:G; SA:A)

Things to Think About – “Kids’ Things to Think About provides 100 prompts to spark thinking for written responses and encourage conversations about ideas and issues for kids. Created by students and teachers in Michigan, it can be used in classrooms or with families by allowing children to explore the prompts and by using them to guide a discussion or lesson.” (L:E,M; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Time for Everything

spelling In  Why You Can’t Click “Publish” from Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski talks about spelling errors in his blog.

“That’s why many of you won’t blog or click publish. Not necessarily because you might make a spelling error but because you’re worried about what someone might think…We need to understand that this space is different, that this medium breaks down the requirements and allows for much quicker and primarily more conversations to take place means we can’t still think about publishing in the same way. I’m not suggested spelling and revision isn’t important but THIS SPACE IS A CONVERSATION, not a monologue.”

I used to worry about this a lot but now I don’t, thanks to comments like that above. I try to proof read what I write but I still publish it and when I go back, I find some errors. That is why they make an edit button.

I try to explain this to my husband who collects postcards and stamps. He has all these wonderful items and I suggested sharing some of them on a blog. But he agonizes over his writing and his spelling. I explain to him that it is all about the sharing of information and opening up dialogue about his hobby.

That is why I blog. I am trying to share my knowledge from the 30+ years of teaching that I have had. I don’t want to watch it all disappear because I’m no longer in the classroom. I think a lot of good strategies and techniques can be passed on through the ages. Learning diplomacy and tact will never go away with the introduction of new technology. Learning to work with the different personalities of students will never go away.

I try to explain to my students that when they are texting or emailing in a professional setting, they need to use proper writing etiquette. I also expect proofreading when they are turning in work for a grade (I would do the same for myself). I don’t see blogging as a formal writing setting so I can live with mistakes on other people’s blogs. I’m more interested in the content and the conversation.

How do you feel about spelling and grammatical errors in blogs? Please share.

Image: 'Spelling Book cover'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Story of Forgiveness

forgiveness In A New Shout Out, Along with An Extended Old One--And The Joke's On Me from Sioux's Page, Sioux mentions,

“Chicken Soup has a new call out for submissions. The Power of Forgiveness…How about it? I know everyone has a story about forgiveness they can craft and send off...Right?”

This had me thinking overall about forgiveness. I am the world’s worst at giving forgiveness. I can hold a grudge like nobody else! If someone has hurt me deeply, I can’t get past the forgiveness stage and move on. I won’t ever trust them again. I’d like to think that I’m the best but I know I’m not. In my head I tell myself that I have forgiven but I don’t forget but if I hadn’t forgotten, then have I really forgiven? If I can’t give my trust, I know I haven’t forgiven them because I don’t want to be hurt again.

I know that I have done many things unintentionally that have hurt other people and have even asked for them to forgive me. I hope and expect others to forgive my shortcomings but yet, I find it hard to do the same. I guess in my life forgiveness is not a two way street and it should be. I hope to try harder next year with this but I know it will be a struggle.

This makes me think of my students who struggle with learning. Many parents don’t understand what a disability is and have thought their child may have been lazy or just not trying hard enough. Many times my students blame themselves for their disability or troubles at home because they feel their disability has caused tension at home. Many are unable to forgive themselves for having a disability even if this is not their fault. I try to explain that having a disability is not something you have control over but how you live with it is something you can control.

How many times has an adult/teacher hurt them with their words and their actions? How many times do I expect my students to forgive and move on? How can I ask them to trust me when they are afraid of being hurt again? I have to try to change their perception of what I am asking them to do and help them feel the joy of success. But this takes time and I’m not sure if they really forgive.

How do you feel about forgiveness? Please share.

Image: 'No sense'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Getting to Know You

handshake In, Strengthening The Ties Within The Blogging Community from A GeekyMomma's Blog, Lee Kolbert  shares her answers to a blog Meme. I thought I would join in because I enjoy learning more about others.

Here's how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don't nominate a blogger who has nominated you

My random facts about myself:

  1. I have played an accordion since I was 4 years old.
  2. I taught myself to knit using YouTube videos.
  3. I love to hike.
  4. I lost 20 lbs. this year and need to lose another 10.
  5. My oldest sister and mother died from lupus and my middle sister still suffers from it.
  6. I love to teach.
  7. I’m afraid of the dark.
  8. I love to travel and meet new people.
  9. I am a volunteer with the Red Cross and work on a Disaster Action Team that goes out to local disasters.
  10. I am a volunteer at the state park and lead school classes on nature hikes.
  11. I definitely suffer from Imposter Syndrome a lot of the time. Do you?

My answers to Lee's questions:

  1. What did you always want to "be" when you grew up? I always wanted to be a teacher ever since I learned to read.
  2. What kind of car do you currently drive? A 2007 Toyota Prius
  3. What would most people be surprised to find out about you? That I still play an accordion.
  4. How much time passes between the time when you wake up and your check your phone? 10 minutes because I need to check the app I use to log my steps and calories from the previous day to an online weight loss group.
  5. When did you last write a blogpost? Today.
  6. Do you suffer from Imposter Syndrome? Most definitely!
  7. What would you do if you were not afraid? I would climb up to Half dome at Yosemite National park.
  8. What's the most bizarre food you've ever eaten? Iguana in Belize
  9. Do you still live in the town where you grew up? No, I grew up on Long Island in NY and now live in South Carolina.
  10. If you have kids, do you let them run around in restaurants? (If you do, I hate you!) When my kids were little, they were NOT allowed to run around in restaurants.
  11. What's your secret indulgence? I love pasta and could eat it every day for every meal if I let myself.

My questions for YOU are below.

1. What secret talent do you have that no one knows about?

2. What would you love to do if money and time were no object?

3. What place would you love to travel to before you die?

4. What non-family member has influenced you the most in your career?

5. What moment made you the most proud?

6. If you could relive your life, what is something you wish you would do differently?

7. Have you seen someone from the past who let you know that you influenced their life? If so, how did you do that?

8. What are you afraid of?

9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

10. What is your favorite movie?

11. What is your favorite technology?

I nominate my readers to carry this meme forward. I really don’t like to pick specific people because that seems too much like a chain letter to me. So, if you want to give this a try, please write a blog post and come back here to leave a comment letting me know you joined in so I can read your post!

Image: 'Brothers'
Found on flickrcc.net

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shrinky Dinks Project

120813 I remember in the 70s when Shrinky Dinks came out. I always wanted to give them a try but I never got them for Christmas. Now, here it is 40 years later and I decided I wanted to give them a try. I wanted to make my own stitch markers to use with my knitting.

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a package of 6 sheets for $4.99 and a package of silver jump rings (12mm) for $1.99. I also bought black Sharpie ultrafine marker and colored pencils to use for coloring. I had a regular whole punch at home that I used.

I had to search the house for something to use in order to trace a uniform circle. I didn’t want it too big but I didn’t want it too small. After trying cans of food and cleaning items, I finally decided to use the lid of an aspirin bottle from the Dollar General.

First I traced about 16 circles on my plastic sheet. I drew my design inside each circle with the black Sharpie and colored them in with my colored pencils. Then I cut out each circle. If I did it again, I would cut out each circle before designing them because I felt like I smudged the other circles when I cutting out the individual circles. Once each circle was cut out, I put a hole in the top for the jump ring and I initial and dated the back.

Now it is ready for the toaster oven. I preheated the oven to 325 degrees. Then I put parchment paper down in the tray and added my circular disks but made sure none were touching. I put them in the oven and watched the magic. At first they curl up but I was prepared for this and didn’t panic. Eventually they flatten back up and they are really small. Once they all flattened out again (about 3 minutes from the time I put them in the oven), I took them out and immediately covered them up with another piece of parchment paper. On top of this paper, I put a thick book to make sure the items were flattened and let them cool for a few minutes.

After admiring them for a few minutes, I slipped the jump ring in the holes. Next I added a 6mm seed bead on the jump ring which was a pain because I had to open the jump rings up to slip the bead on using needle nose pliers. This process hurt my fingertips but I got them done. I put a tiny bit of super glue where the jump ring closed together and then moved the seed bead over the join. This will keep it from snagging on my knitting when I use them.

Now I have a wonderful personalized set of stitch markers and had fun making them too!

I think this would be a fun activity to do with children of all ages. They would enjoy designed the items but there needs to be adult supervision when baking them. The children could make key chains or holiday ornaments.

Have you ever made something like this? If so, please share.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, December 6, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 12/6/13

tools2 Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

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

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

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

Quiz Socket – “Nobody ever has to log in. As a teacher, you create a quiz which gets assigned a unique id — like a flight confirmation number. You write that 6-digit number on the board or slide. The students access the page through their cellphones or laptops and enter the quiz by entering the same number. You run through the questions one-by-one and everyones’ screen updates to the current question in real-time where the students select the answer. Questions are not part of quizsocket and should be written on the board or on slides.” (L:T; SA:A)

Sign Up Genius – “If you are a group leader and find yourself organizing volunteers, meals, service projects, or events... we want to make your life a lot simpler! Now you can coordinate it all online... FREE!” (L:T; SA:A)

The Science of Football – “the science behind professional football.” (L:H; SA:M,S)

The Playgrounds of Mathematics – math practice problems (L:G; SA:M)

Edmonton Corn Mazevirtual corn maze (L:G; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Appreciate Your Loved Ones

love This past week has been hard on our family. My niece’s husband passed away suddenly and since she is about 800 miles away from me, it is really hard to give her any kind of emotional support. I can only imagine how hard it is for her and her family. He left behind my niece and four children (the youngest is 9 years old.)

I know my husband and I constantly talk about living in the moment because it could be your last but it is another thing to have this slap you in the face. No one wants to think about what it would really be like to lose a loved one.

So, this week, I started to keep a list of at least one sweet thing that my husband does for me each day. Usually he does many more than one but I know he does at least one thing at day and I don’t always make note of it so that I can appreciate it more. I am going to make more of an effort to show my appreciation for his love. If there comes a time when he is no longer here, I will be able to look at the list and feel some comfort at the memory of the many things he does for me.

I hope you take this time to really appreciate your loved ones. Appreciate them now while they are living and not wait until they are gone to notice how much they enrich your life.

Image: 'Mute Swans, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Agreeing to Be Contrary

disagree In 12 Contrarian Statements from Blue Skunk Blog, Doug shares some beliefs that others may not agree with. I agreed with some of them and wanted to share my own examples of why I agree. His beliefs are in bold letters with my opinion following. If you want to read all of his statements, please check out his blog post.

  1. “Technology should not transform education. I harbor deep skepticism about the ability of technology to change education in powerful and positive ways. Yes, sometimes technology can support (or even make possible) best teaching practices - but teaching and learning always come before the technology.”

I believe that technology enhances teaching but will never replace teachers. Yes, students can learn many things on line but the bottom line is that someone had to put those lessons online. Somehow, a real live person was involved in that lesson. They might have put up a document or wiki or video but the lesson wasn’t born on its own. I know that sometimes I learn different things in different ways which may involve technology or it may not. I need to look at the student and the individual needs in deciding how I will teach a lesson and make sure I’m not teaching a one-size-fits-all lesson because someone is going to be left out.

  1. “Collaboration is not always a good thing. Fine if it is a means to an end, but not an end in itself as library literature too often assumes. See here and here.”

Collaboration only works if the teacher is comfortable interacting with others. You can’t force someone to collaborate if that is not their personality. Forced collaboration is sometimes worse than no collaboration. I stress learning styles of the students when we teach but it is also important to know our own teaching styles and what we are comfortable doing. Yes, we should stretch our limits and try new things but if we decide that it doesn’t work for us, there is no shame in trying something else.

  1. “State/national program standards are irrelevant. School libraries and technology programs should be tailor-made to suit individual schools rather than conform to a set of state or national standards.”

Too many times we try to make education a one-size-fits-all plan and that doesn’t work. Students are all different and unique. If we try to pretend that they are all the same we do the students a disservice as well as schools. Depending on the location and the neighborhoods that the students come from, we need to be flexible and willing to adjust in order to meet their needs.

  1. “Face-to-face educational experiences will always be better than online. Sorry, I have personally yet to experience an online class, presentation, MOOC, or meeting that even comes close to the learning I experience when working with others in real time, in the same room.”

My online experiences are a great thing and I love every minute of it. But there is something to be said when I meet an online friend in person. It makes the experience real and more meaningful. It helps make the connections relevant to my life and puts the connections in perspective to what is happening in my life at that moment. We need to offer the students the same opportunities as much as possible.

How do you feel about these statements or the other ones on Doug’s post? Please share.

Image: 'Ritratto di Sebastiano'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Am I Being Fair?

size In Ann-Bailey:  What students teach us about community & differences from Reality 101: CEC's blog for new teachers, Ann shares,

“As adults we worry about a lot of things. Is it fair to have different expectations for this student? What will the other kids think? Are we sending the message that this student is different? Would a smaller environment be better because it wouldn't so outwardly show the difference between the student and her peers? What about the other kids? Are they learning? Are their needs being met? All of these questions become a part of the ongoing conversation about how we are meeting every student’s needs in an inclusive setting.”

I believe that being fair and meeting the needs of our students are two different things and shouldn’t be confused.

I try to remember that all of my students are individuals and have different needs. I can’t teach them as if one size fits all. If I teach that way, I will definitely not help all of my students be successful. I think it is important for all students to understand this concept. One analogy that I use is that we all go to the grocery store but we all buy different things. Even though we all need food to survive, we all prefer different combinations of food. Yes, we could be forced to eat the same foods but we all wouldn’t end up in the same shape or ability because we all have different nutritional needs.

Students have different learning styles and I need to teach according to their learning styles. They don’t just have one learning style all of the time. Depending on the task, their learning styles may change. It is up to me as the professional to be aware of their learning styles and help the students learn new skills the best way that they can.

As for being fair, I think that my expectations of students should be the same. In order to be fair, I shouldn’t underestimate my student’s abilities and help them believe in their capabilities. I need to believe in them and what I am asking them to do. I also need to let them know that I am there for support if they need it as long as they are giving their best effort. I should expect that all students work to the best of their abilities. I should expect that students complete the tasks that I assign for them. I expect that students not judge others according to the tasks that others are expected to do.

Image: 'Display of Russian Stacking Dolls'
Found on flickrcc.net

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monthly Review of Goals from November

Goals November is now gone and it has been a busy month. I can’t believe how quickly time flies! It is time to review my goals and see how I did last month. All of my goals can be found here. The ones that are in bold are ones that I have already accomplished.

For the year:

1. I want to spin the alpaca fiber that I processed with some wool. (I accomplished this!)

2. I want to knit a sweater. (I’ve finished the Gnarled Oak cardigan and added these really cool wooden buttons!)

3. I want to dye yarn. (I still haven’t had the courage to try this yet.)

4. I want to spruce up my gardens this year. (I need to get out an blow the leaves out of the yard now.)

5. I won’t commit to more to more than I can handle. (I was asked to be on another team with the Red Cross but I turned it down.)

6. I will find something good in each day. (It has been easier to do this during November because we have gone out to a lot of disaster calls for the Red Cross this month. It has made me more grateful for what I have in my life.)

7. I will learn archery. (We had our lesson and hope to give it another try. I really enjoyed this but not sure I’m ready to invest a $1000 in bows and arrows for us.)

8. I will nurture old friendships. (I spend catching up with a friend while we walked on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.)

9. I will lose at least 20 lbs. this year. (I’m down 20 lbs. and inches off my measurements.)


1. I will eat healthy. (I have really worked hard on this for November.)

2. I will exercise. (I am hitting 10,000 steps regularly.)

3. I will stretch. (I stretch and do strength exercises for 20 minutes each day.)

4. I will read my bible. (I found a Lutheran website that sends me a daily bible reading.)

5. I will do something that I have been avoiding. (I haven’t stuck to my Google calendar schedule this month and hope to do better in December.)

6. I will contact a friend and let them know I am thinking of them. (Every day I try to send an email or message through Facebook.)

7. I will be happy. (It has been hard this month when dealing with a family tragedy.)

I think I’ve been doing pretty well with my goals this month. Of course I can still improve on some of my daily goals and I hope to finish the one annual goal that I haven’t completed yet. I’m also thinking about next year’s goals because I plan on repeating this process again.

Have you reviewed your goals or resolutions you made at the beginning of the year? How are you doing? Please share.

Image: 'La Jolla Goal Wall'
Found on flickrcc.net

Friday, November 29, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/29/13

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

Figure This – “demonstrates challenging middle school mathematics and emphasizes the importance of high-quality math education for all students.  Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education.” (L:M; SA:M)

Civil War Animated Maps – “Our collection of animated maps bring battles of the American Civil War to life, complete with troop movement animations, narratives, video, and more.(L:M,H; SA:SS)

Map Your Recipe – “enter the ingredients of a recipe and it will show you where the fruits and vegetables that went into it were first domesticated.” (L:G; SA:LA, SS, S)

Smithsonian Science Education Centerscience games from the Smithsonian (L:G; SA:A)

PlaceSpotting – google map quiz (L:H; SA:SS)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States and it is time to remember all that I’m thankful for. Throughout the year I try to think of this every day but I purposefully make myself name 5 things every day that I’m thankful for. Today I thought I would show some of the things that I’ve been thankful for (not in any priority order but just as I think of them).

1. My husband (he is always at the top of my list!)

2. My family

3. My friends

4. My home

5. My health

6. ability to pay bills

7. knitting

8. hiking

9. laptops

10. IPad

11. Digital cameras

12. Cellphones

13. Skype

14. Kindle

15. Treadmill

16. Seasons

17. Hot tub

18. Prius

19. Love of traveling with my hubby

20. Love of teaching

21. Furman

22. Ability to learn new things

23. Learning archery again

24. Wildflowers

25. Nature

26. Honest people

27. Kindness of strangers

28. New recipes that turn out great

29. Microwave

30. Hiking boots

31. Hiking sticks

32. Yarn

33. Spinning wheel

34. Fitbit

35. Losing weight

36. Online support group for losing weight on My Fitness Pal

37. Tervis cup

38. Birkenstock sandals

39. Hand knit wool socks

40. Hand knit shawls

41. Hand knit wool mittens

42. Hand knit wool hat

43. Hand knit wool sweaters

44. TV

45. DirecTV

46. Internet

47. Email

48. My Sunroom

49. Hot cocoa

50. Straws

51. Mocha Frappuccino

52. Ear buds

53. My watch

54. Credit cards

55. Doctors

56. My church

57. My neighbors

58. Our camper

59. National and state parks

60. Books

I realized as I wrote this list that I could go on and on and on and I’m so lucky to be able to do this. I will stop at 60 but I know this list could go on for a long time. I hope you and your family have wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Image: 'Thanks for My Flickr Friends!'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SC Mushrooms

DSC_0008Last week we attended the Upstate Master Naturalist meeting and had a wonderful class about mushrooms. The talk was given by Tradd Cotter from Mushroom Mountain in Liberty, SC. He has been growing mushrooms for more than 20 years.
Here are the notes that I took from his talk.

1. Mycology is more like mushroom psychology.
2. Mychorrhizal symbiosis emerges 400+ million years ago based on fossil records.
3. Interkingdom actions between Eukaryota, Bacteria, and Archaea. Some fungi impossible to grow without this interaction.
4. Plant – fungus – virus: 3 way symbiosis; survives 149F soil temperature; braided together they can perform amazing things.
5. Mushrooms produce spores
6. Spores are discharged from the gills and have an adhesive so they can stick to wood or mulch.
7. Spores land near each other and germinate. They mate and become a vegetative state.
8. Mycelium is not a root.
9. As long as there is food, it will never fruit.
10. They burn their way through whatever they are on. Their ends are very hot.
11. They can even be cannibalistic.
12. Natural surge is circular.
13. Maitake mushroom only grows in oak.
14. Oyster mushrooms grow on anything.
15. Need water to swim through environment. That’s why water is so important.
16. Fluid comes from the ground and causes droplets.
17. It has to hit a barrier to grow fruit.
18. Biggest mushroom growing gets all the water and nutrients.
19. Mushrooms create heat, carbon dioxide and water. They stretch when they want oxygen.
20. Fairy rings – most are poisonous; one found in front of Long Hall in Clemson.
21. Mycoheterotroph– take nutrients from mushrooms; mychorrhizal cheating (Indian Pipes)
22. Lady slippers depend on fungi for growing, then it kills the mushroom.
23. In presence of nematodes, creates fungus rings, invites it to put the head in the ring, contracts and strangles the nematode.
24. Strands at base holds soil. It can hold 20-30 times its weight.
25. Leaf debris falls which is food for fungi and is a great water filter.
26. Large morel – to find, look up at trees and find host trees.
27. Small pink chanterelle – near creeks and birch
28. Tropical mushrooms near Beaufort and Savanna; associated with the collapse of ant colonies; as big as a 5 gal. Bucket; 24 in. in diameter; can grow 4-5 feet tall
29. Gilled mushroom – stays above ground for 2 months, no bugs
30. Mushroom alcohol attracts slugs.
31. Mosquitoes feed off oyster mushrooms.
32. Worms love fungi.
33. White oyster - grows in winter.
34. Phoenix oyster grows when it gets hot.
35. Wood Blewits – love mulch
36. Jack O’Lantern – saprophyte, likes stumps and buried wood, gills glow in the dark.
37. Mycorrhizal fungi – grow on roots of living trees; symbiotic relationship; good for water retention for plants.
38. Plants give fungus sugars and fungus gives plant phosphates and nitrogen.
39. When plants get synthetic fertilizer, they forget about fungi.
40. Carbon trading with plant hosts – 30% more nitrogen; 60% more phosphates.
41. Increases soil porosity and encourages worms.
42. Ectomychorrizal fungi – outside; doesn’t invade the plant; Porcini, chanterelles, truffles, includes 5000 mushrooms.
43. Endomychorrizal fungi – 7 fungal species; annual and perennial veggies
44. Pecan Truffle – tuber lyonii – grow underground; grow on pecans and oaks; has male sex hormone in it
45. Mushrooms are evolving to grow underground.
46. Squirrels and chipmunks dig up truffles because they are very fatty and good for in the winter. Poop is great for spore dispersal.
47. Black trumpets craterellus – smells like apricot, grows near beeches.
48. Gold chanterelles – taste peppery; smell like apricots; does not have true gills, and always forked; orange with white interior
49. Hedgehog – hydnum repandum - have teeth, fruity, grow on confers; won’t find in oak forest
50. Lacterus volemus – exude milk when cut; has gills; milk tastes sweet
51. Lacterus hygrophoroides – favorite of squirrels
52. Indigo Milky – L. Indigo- blue on bottom and top; edible (chop and cook with eggs or potatoes – turns everything blue); loves flood plains and oak trees
53. Lobster mushroom – 2 organisms living together; likes hemlock trees; pairs up with non-poisonous
54. Boletes – conifer loving; pores are white, yellow, orange, or bitter
55. Xanthconium Separanis – tylopilus species – bitter; could be hop replacement for beer.
56. Phallus caninus – grows out of mulch from eggs within an hour, nasty smelly spore mass
57. Lion’s Mane Pom Pom – Hericum erinaceus – tastes like crab meat; weak parasite
58. Hericium Coralloides – waterfall mushroom; tastes like lobster
59. Chicken of the Woods – brow rot goes after cellulose (white rot goes after the white); grows all over the east coast; species depend on wood; usually hardwood like oak.
60. Hen of the woods – Maitaki – Grifola frondosa – white oak, red oak, and rarely on sycamore
61. Illegal to hunt and sell mushrooms in South Carolina
62. Hemlock Reishi – Ganoderm Tsugai – weak parasite; prevalent now due to demise of hemlock; used to make teas and tinctures.
63. Agarikon – grow on old trees; Pacific NW; shouldn’t be picking them; tip is growing surface; age them by rings in the conch, fights tox virus; strong antiviral properties; can be used to carry and transport fires.
64. Forked fungus beetle – sits on top of conch and fight over females; 1 male pushes other mall all the way down off the conch so the winner can mate with female; lay larvae in base of conch.
65. Morel – oversized yeast fruit in spring; yellow, blond or black; grow with large tulip poplars on hillside, should be all hollow; produce tubers; can be mistaken for magnolia pods or sweetgum balls (but wrong habitat if you see Magnolia or Sweetgum)
66. Devils Urn – found near morels
67. If Tulip Poplar is flowering, it is too late to find morels; Fruit between certain temperatures; harvesting them encourages them to grow more. Also Wash in water and throw spore water back out. Air dry them and spores hiss out. 2 week window (measure ground temperatures)
68. Cordyceps – microparasites – eats insects; false truffles (mummified carpenter ants); mind controlling chemicals to move fungus where it needs to survive.
69. Mycopesticides – target specific biological pest; alternative to chemicals
70. Some birds look for conchs and polypors on trees. They know they can work on those trees.
71. Collect spores and mix with bird feed. Give to birds, deer, turkey.
72. Blue jays – fighter jets
73. Hummingbirds – stealth bombers
74. Haiti project – taught them to grow mushrooms on waste

Original Photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frame My Future Scholarship Contest 2014

I was recently contacted by Katie Gargano from Diploma Frame about a scholarship contest that she thought my readers might be interested in so here it is!

FrameMyFuture“Title: Frame My Future Scholarship Contest 2014

Deadline: March 5, 2014

Websitehttp://www.diplomaframe.com/contests/frame-my-future-scholarship-contest-2014.aspx or www.framemyfuture.com

Eligibility: The scholarship contest is open to all students who plan on attending a U.S. college/university as a full-time student for the 2014-2015 academic year and is a legal U.S. resident.

Entering the scholarship: To enter the scholarship, submit an original creation that communicates what you want to do in your personal and professional life after college. Follow the theme: This is how I Frame My Future. Some examples of entry ideas are: photograph, collage, poem, drawing, painting, graphic design piece, short-typed essay and more.

Prizes: We are awarding a total of $6,000 in college scholarships. There will be five winners of the $1,000 scholarships and the Grand Prize Winner, the top vote-getter Finalist, will earn an additional $1,000 donation to their 2014 attended college/university.

More information can be found on www.framemyfuture.com.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Furman Volleyball 2013

DSC_0057This year I had a volleyball player in my class and my husband and I decided we wanted to support the team. So, we tried to go to as many games as we could and even went to one away game. We have had such a great time watching the games, the fans, and meeting some parents.

I think it is so important that as educators we support out students in and out of the classroom. Teaching is not all about inside the four walls of a room. I think it is important for students to see educators outside of the classroom and I think it is important for parents to see that educators care about their children.

Teaching is not all about what goes on in the classroom but I can learn a lot about my students when I see how they are outside of the classroom. It is interesting to watch my students interact with others and see the group dynamics of their friendships. It also helps me find a connection that I can use in the classroom when I’m teaching.

I have been to football games, basketball games, volleyball games, baseball games, softball games, recitals, and plays. I believe the students appreciate it and have had them come and thank me for being there. We will continue to support the students outside of class because I feel it makes a difference. It makes a difference how I perceive them and how they perceive me. It builds a relationship so that when I need to ask them to try something difficult, they trust me to give it a try. When I believe they can do something that they don’t think they can, they are willing to risk failure because they know I care. 

If you are interested in seeing any of the many (yes, I mean MANY) pictures I’ve taken of our wonderful team, you can click on the links below.

9/28/13 and 10/2/13

11/1/13 and 11/2/13



11/22/13 – Southern Conference Tournament

11/23/13 – Southern Conference Tournament

Do you support your students outside the classroom? If so, please share what activities they are!

Original Photos by Pat Hensley

Friday, November 22, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/22/13

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

Media History Digital LibraryOnline Access to the Histories of Cinema, Broadcasting & Sound” (L:M,H; SA:A)

Quotes Daddy – “is the largest online archive of famous quotes, featuring over 1,000,000 quotes from famous individuals throughout history, using a fast and intuitive search function with a variety of user options.” (L:G; SA:A)

Math LiveMath lessons for elementary school students (L:E; SA:M)

JST Virtual Science CenterInteresting science lessons from a Japanese science site. (L:E,M; SA:S)

Perfect Pitch – Get to know the instruments in an orchestra (L:G; SA:FA)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley