Friday, June 28, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/28/13

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

GeoGuessr - a geography guessing game (L:M, H; SA:SS )

Sprouster - Ipad app; like Free Rice, spelling words correctly earns rice to feed the hungry. (L:E ; SA: LA )

Dictionary Word Games - fun word games (L:G; SA: LA )

Problem-Attic - Get instant access to 30 years’ of well-respected, proven questions for Math, Science, Social Studies and English. (L:H; SA: A )

Rivers of Ice - learn about glaciers in the Great Himalayan region (L:G; SA: S)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yes, but…

painIn From ‘yes, but’ to ‘how can we?’ and ‘why not?’ from Dangerously Irrelevant by, Scott states,

"We give too much attention to yes, but and rarely, if ever, embrace the more powerful questions of why not? and how can we?”

When I stop and think about this, I realize that I do spend too much time with the “yes, but…”I use that as an excuse not to try new foods or try new things which keep me from having new adventures.

I think I need to train my mind with a new thought such as “Why not? What is the worse that can happen?” If the worse is not severe illness, injury, or death to myself or others, I need to move forward.

I remember years ago when I was in Nassau, Bahamas and allowed this man to put a boa constrictor around my neck. No, I had not been drinking and I wasn’t mentally incapacitated. I didn’t event think about “yes but” or “what if” at the time. It was more of a Star Trek - “boldly go where no man has gone before” kind of attitude.

Over the years I have let the “yes but” stop me from trying things like rock climbing or roller blading. Now the worse that can happen at my age is severe injury and I’m not willing to risk it.

How many times have our students felt in this same predicament? How many times are they not willing to risk being told they are lazy or a failure because it has happened so many times in the past. For some students, this shot in their self esteem is a severe injury and they aren’t willing to risk it. I have to figure out ways that I can protect my students so that they can make mistakes without causing severe injury to them emotionally. Not one way will work for every student but I need to be there to catch them when they fall and keep them from getting hurt severely. I’m not saying I can keep them from getting hurt, any more than a parent can protect their own child all of the time. Sometimes the small hurts are actually important lessons. But we can keep them from getting severely hurt which is even more important.

Sometimes by building them up so the setbacks don’t hurt too much is a successful strategy. Sometimes preparing the students for possible setbacks and talking about how to respond to setbacks can also work. Sometimes by giving them strategies to deal with setbacks and teaching them how to move forward will help them.

How do you help your students get past the “yes but” and move to the “why not”? Please share.

Image: '...Just a Little Girl, Lost in the+Moment'
Found on

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

31 Years Ago

Love31 years ago today, I married my best friend! It was a hot humid day but the sun was shining and we were married at the Furman University Bell Tower. Life was good and just beginning for us as a couple. I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time but looking back now, I truly can appreciate what that monumental step led to. We continue to have a rich and wonderful life together and look forward to many more years in the future.

Every year has gotten better and better and I’m so lucky to have found someone willing to put up with me all this time. We balance each other and together we are better people.

Anyone who thinks a good marriage is easy is wrong. Every year we work on keeping our marriage strong. We don’t keep secrets from each other and we make sure that we are the most important person to each other.

I can’t imagine life without my best friend! I love you Don!

Original image by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Testing Affects Teachers

testingIn Is Standardized Testing Changing ME for the Worse? from The Tempered Radical, Bill Ferriter shares,

I'm starting to realize that standardized testing isn't just changing EDUCATION for the worse.  It's changing ME for the worse.”

The problem is that parents can see this too but unfortunately they are blaming teachers.

Last night I had a discussion with a parent who was quite disgusted with the school system. He didn’t like what was being taught and was blaming the teachers.

Now as a teacher, I agree that there are some good teachers and there are some bad teachers but I don’t believe you can blame the curriculum on the teachers.

Parents don’t seem to realize that in most cases, teachers’ hands are tied. They are told what to teach and many times there are pacing guidelines and teachers need to follow these guidelines. Many times these guidelines are put in place so that the students are prepared for the gosh-awful TESTING!

It seems like our lives in the school revolve around the word testing. In fact, it makes me think of the Harry Potter stories and the one-who-shall-not-be-named. Because, even though we don’t always admit it, most of our behavior is centered around one major focal point - testing. It seems like testing is the only thing that is important in the school system anymore.

· I need to make sure all the students meet standards on the test.

· I need to make sure that all of my students are on the same level as other students in the same grade.

· I need to make sure that the students in my school are the same level as other schools in the county, state, and nation.

This puts so much pressure on the students, teachers and administrators.

Let’s face it. No one is going to be the same all across the board. And if people actually believe this they have no clue as to human behavior and human development. I sometimes wonder what planet the policy makers come from!

They use the excuse that these tests will show competence of students and teachers. Hogwash! The tests just show what students can do well on tests and how well the teachers can teach to the test.

This parent complained that students can’t compute numbers in their heads and have to use calculators for basic math. One of the reasons teachers push calculators is because the test is timed and students need to use them for the test in order to speed up the process. Remember, they don’t want to know how well you can do the skill, they just want to know how well you can pass the test.

There are lots of complaints from the community that we don’t teach the basics anymore. I believe that many teachers have a lot of common sense and given the freedom to teach, there would be a lot more teaching of basics in the classroom. Unfortunately teachers no longer have that freedom and have to do what they are instructed to do in order to keep their jobs.

Until we can make the policy makers realize what a disservice they are doing to our children, this kind of teaching will continue and probably get much worse.

How do you feel testing has affected your teaching? Please share.

Image: 'Students taking a computerized exam'
Found on

Monday, June 24, 2013

Attitude Control

attitudeIn The Key to Staying Positive in Your Classroom: Throw Away Your Depends from Cool Cat Teacher Blog by (Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher), she asks,

“Does my attitude depend on others? Be careful - there are always reasons for having a bad one.”

What a great post and I hope if you have the time, you will read her entire post! She is right on target with what she shares.

Too many times we use others as an excuse for our attitudes. It is everyone else’s fault that we are feeling the way we do. We think that if others would do things the way we want, then we would have a better attitude.

The problem is that I don’t control other people’s actions or thinking. But I do control my own behavior and thoughts.

I can decide each day that I will try to do what is right and have a good attitude. I can decide that I will not let other people’s behavior and thoughts control my own.

I also need to have a plan when that “stinkin’ thinkin’ (my friend always calls it that) comes into my head. This may be thoughts that I’m not good enough (because I feel that others see me as incompetent) or I can’t do something (because others aren’t doing what I need them to do) or I’m not going to do something (because others made me mad). Instead I need to remind myself that I’m capable of doing things if I try and if I’m not successful, at least I tried and I need to find another way to accomplish what I want. I need to remind myself that if someone hasn’t done something which becomes an obstacle for me, I need to either do their part myself or find something else I can do while I wait for them to do their part. If I’m stubborn and refuse to do something because someone made me angry, then I need to remember that this doesn’t accomplish anything and if they are stubborn for the same reason, then nothing will get done. Someone needs to start the ball rolling and that someone might as well be me.

I have to make sure that my attitude reflects my own thoughts and actions and is not a reflection of others. When I look in a mirror, I need to be proud of who I am seeing.

By having an attitude that depends on me and not others, I actually feel better about myself. I feel more confident and sure of myself. Hopefully this will shine for others to see too which will improve my relationship with others.

How do you feel about your attitude? How do you deal with a bad attitude when you have one? Please share.

Image: 'india'
Found on

Friday, June 21, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/21/13

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

Draft - “Easy Version Control and Collaboration for Writers” (L:M,H; SA: LA)

The Power of Wind - See how wind energy works (L: M,H; SA: S)

Room Recess - “collection of math and word games for elementary children, developed by a 3rd grade teacher” (L:E; SA: LA, M)

Under His Hat - “Discovering Lincoln’s story from primary sources” (L: G; SA: LA, SS)

Try Engineering - “ is a resource for students, their parents, their teachers and their school counselors.” (L: H; SA: C)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Solstice 2013

summerTomorrow begins the official summer season. It is also the summer solstice which is the longest day of sunlight we have in the northern hemisphere. In the past, I have had a friend who always celebrated the day with a party.

The weather has been kind of wacky this year. It seems like we went straight from winter into summer and skipped spring. We have also had a great abundance of rain which has about gotten rid of our drought status. With all this rain has brought an increase in mosquitos which love my hubby so he is miserable outdoors. I have not been able to do a lot of hiking because we don’t like to hike in the rain and I don’t want to slip and get hurt on the wet trails.

We have also bought a new camper and have been itching to go camping a lot. Unfortunately the weather has not been the best for camping. It isn’t bad if there are short showers which is usual here in the south during the summer but lengthy days of continuous rain is not fun. If I have to sit all day in the camper, I might as well stay at home.

The rain has been great for my lawn and my gardens though. My lawn has looked the best it ever has and my gardens (with lots of weeds) are flourishing.

The summer solstice is a good time to get out and be grateful for all that surrounds me. I’m thankful for the sun and the rain. The long day makes me appreciate all the waking hours that I have. It also makes me realize that the days will be getting shorter after that and I need to make sure I make the most of all the daylight!

Do you do anything to celebrate the summer solstice? If so, please share.

Image: 'Flight Of The Solstice Dawn'
Found on

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Giving Choices

choicesIn Choice - how much is just right? from Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education, Ewan McIntosh asks,

“So here's my question: do you offer at least three choices to students in every piece of thinking, learning or 'work' that they do?”

I’ve heard some of my friends call it “analysis paralysis” because when faced with too many choices, it is hard to choose just one. I have been a victim of this many times and I’m sure that my students have felt the same way.

I don’t think I’ve always given my students at least three choices but I try to give them choices as much as possible. When students are given a choice, they feel more in control of their situation and tend to complete assignments more, engaged in learning more, and find the learning relevant more. This is what I want them to feel because in real life (or life outside of school), this is what they will need to feel in order to succeed and feel fulfilled in their lives.

When I start the year off, I don’t always give three choices. If students have never been given this option, giving them too many choices can throw them into “analysis paralysis” and then nothing gets done. At the beginning, I start off with giving them two choices. They can do either assignment for a grade. Later in the year, I might add a third choice. If I try to give them a list of options to choose from, they are unable to make a choice. It is better if I don’t give them more than five choices. Sometimes, depending on the student, I may decide that no more than three choices are appropriate.

Not only am I hoping that they will complete the assignment(s) as asked, but I hope they learn more about decision making. I try to teach them to look at the end product or goal and see which assignment appeals to them in order to reach the end. If I plan properly, either choice will show me the same assessment results but may appeal to different learning styles or behaviors. It is my job as a teacher to make sure these assignments have the same end result (determined by the goals and objectives of my lesson).

Do you give choices? If so, how many? How do you structure the environment? Please share!

Image: 'Information overload'
Found on

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cradle of Forestry

029Last week we went to Pisgah National Forest and visited the Cradle of Forestry. This was the birthplace o the US Forest Service. Along with a wonderful interactive museum, there are 2 hiking trails to explore. We took one of the hikes with a volunteer tour guide who made the story of how everything started come alive. You could tell that he enjoyed telling the story as much as we enjoyed hearing it. Even though we have been here many times and watched the old movie about this, having someone share stories about the school made it more exciting. All of the characters seemed to come alive because suddenly they weren’t just pictures on a screen or a display. These stories made them like real people with real emotions.

It made me realize how important it is to share some personal stories when trying to get students to learn about a time in history. Just knowing the facts doesn’t make it seem like an event actually happened. By adding emotional impacts to the story, really helps to learn new information and retain it.

If you ever get to visit this place and take a guided tour with Richard, I would highly recommend it! We bought an annual national park pass, so we can get visit as many times as we want and I know we will. I like to see this area in different seasons because there are also many different wildflowers to see! They also have a new movie but I don’t think it gives as much information as the old one.

Have you ever been here? If so, please share about your experience!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Unraveling - A Book Review

Unraveling jkt des5.inddI recently read the book Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris which was mentioned on The Picnic Basket. This is the review that I gave the book (I am not being paid to give this review):

This young adult fiction was an awesome novel! Once I started reading this book, I found it hard to put it down. The story was so exciting that I didn’t want to stop until I knew how the story would turn out. It starts off exciting and continues throughout the whole story. This high school girl dies and is mysteriously brought back to life by another student. The mystery of what happened is fascinating and the plot twists are brought together in the end which was masterful writing by the author and I can’t wait to read the next book: Unbreakable! There are so many topics that could be used in a class discussion such as mental illness, bipolar disorder, work ethic, sibling relationships, date rape, drugs, chemistry, parallel universes, honesty, friendships and so much more! Enclosed with the book is a discussion guide that would be extremely helpful to teachers. This would be a great addition to a school library.

I definitely give this book a 5 out of 5!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/14/13

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

ReadWorks - “ReadWorks was founded in 2008 to help teachers meet the nationwide crisis in reading comprehension. We help teachers improve their effectiveness through research-based, classroom-proven practices and curriculum. ReadWorks is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. We deliver lesson plans directly to teachers online. There is no cost to educators or their schools.” (L:T; SA:A)

Career Sighted - “ watch 3-minute videos about real people who truly love their careers!” (L:G ; SA:C)

Celestia - The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. (L:G; SA: S)

Exam Time - Great resource to help students study. (L: G; SA: A)

Wonderville - “Boost reading and language skills for kids K-5” (L:E; SA:LA)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Recycling Myself Part 4

recycleThis is Part 4 of Recycling Myself and here is another popular post from the past:

Time Management for Teachers

As I reviewed the suggestions that I gave five years ago, I still think everything that I said applies to today. It was good to look at them and see how many things I have incorporated into my life and has become a habit now. I no longer have to consciously make myself do some of these things.

Do you have any more ideas that you think should be included? Please share.

Image: 'Recycle Logo From Recycling Bin'
Found on

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recycling Myself Part 3

recycleThis is Part 3 of Recycling Myself and here is another popular post from the past:

My Ideal Classroom

Wow! Things sure have changed in 6 years! My Ideal Classroom would be so different from back then.

Here is my ideal classroom now:

I still would like to have no more than 15 high school students and 1 full time paraprofessional. Each student would have their own personal iPad that they would bring to school each day. We would be doing project based learning so students would be allowed to use their cell phones in order to work on their projects. After discussions and investigations, students would come up with projects on certain general topics that I would introduce to the class. Students would improve their reading, math, writing, communication, and social skills by completing projects. By doing this, I hope the students would find their learning meaningful and exciting which would take care of behavior issues that they might have in other classes. In my Ideal Classroom, learning would be fun for all and all of the students would be engaged.

What would your ideal classroom be like? Please share!

Image: 'Recycle Logo From Recycling Bin'
Found on

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recycling Myself Part 2

recycleThis is Part 2 of Recycling Myself and here is another popular post from the past:

What Does Administrative Support Mean?

I still think that teacher’s views and expectations about this are different than an administrator’s views and expectations. Without more communication between the two, there will always be misunderstand and discontent on both sides. But, how do we open up the lines of communication and how do both sides compromise to come to a common understanding? That is up to each individual school and I don’t think there is a specific recipe for solving this problem.

I’d love to know if you agree or disagree and why! Please share!

Image: 'Recycle Logo From Recycling Bin'
Found on

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recycling Myself Part 1

recycleIn Recycling Yourself from Thoughts By Jen, Jennifer shares,

“I began with twitter in 2007 — (ISTE GA conference) and had been blogging for 2 years before that and have been hosting projects since 1999.
However, many many of my “followers” and participants are relatively new to all this — perhaps 2 years OR LESS.
And some things I have done, some things I have shared, some things I have created……are unknown.”

Jennifer suggests that she starts recycling some things from the past for her new readers/followers and I thought it was a great idea! So for this week, I will share some of the posts that have had the most views or the most comments. Maybe you will find the ideas helpful if you haven’t seen them before. Maybe if you have seen it before, your views might have changed or you have something you want to share or comment. You might want to add something that you have learned since the time it was first posted.

Check out this post from the past:

The Best Teaching Method

I’d love to know if you agree or disagree and why! Please share!

Image: 'Recycle Logo From Recycling Bin'
Found on

Friday, June 7, 2013

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/7/13

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

Backpack TV - “find education videos to help you with math, science, and other academic subjects.” (L:M,H ; SA:A)

I Could - “icould gives you the inside story of how careers work. The icould storytellers relate, in their own words, their real life career journeys. There are over a thousand easy to search,varied and unique career videos as well as hundreds of written articles. From telecoms engineers to police officers, from landscape gardeners to web designers, from engine drivers to zookeepers; they talk about what they do, what it’s like, how they came to be where are and their hopes for the future.” (L:G; SA: C)

Depression Quest - “Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment. This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people.” (L:H ; SA:S)

Gamemaker - “Immediately get started creating a high quality game then publish native executables for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X with aresource limited FREE version of GameMaker: Studio™.” I haven’t tried this but it seemed interesting to try and possibly some students would find this challenging. (L:H ; SA:S)

Nearpod Homework - “Your students can now navigate your Nearpod Presentations at their own pace. With Nearpod Homework, teachers can share their NPPs with their students via email, and students can review them at their own pace by simply swiping through the slides. Once at home – or even on the go – students can launch the presentation from their own devices and interact with it by reviewing videos, slideshows, and webpages. Students can also submit responses to teacher-made Q&As, Quizzes or Open-Ended questions. Teachers can later run the corresponding report to access all homework data and assess each student’s performance.” (L:G ; SA:A)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Take Time to Recharge

rechargeAs summer vacation approaches, teachers need to think of ways to recharge. Too many times I have heard that teachers spend their time in classes, training, or planning for the next year. That is great if teachers spend some of their summer and if that is what they want to do. But there should be a balance between teachers’ professional time and personal time. It is this time off from work that teachers need to find ways to recharge. This is vital in order to avoid burn out from a rewarding but challenging career. Here are some suggestions:

1. Be lazy. Give yourself permission to not do anything. Take a break from household chores and responsibilities. Do something that you (or others) might consider being lazy.

2. Learn a new hobby. Is there anything you wanted to learn but never had the time? Make the time now and give it a try.

3. Read a book that you have wanted to read.

4. Take a bubble bath, turn on some music, and pamper yourself.

5. Get your hair done or get a manicure/pedicure.

6. Get out and walk in your local park or even in your neighborhood.

7. Renew friendships with those who have taken a backseat to your career. Meet them for lunch or dinner.

8. Plan a fun event with friends or relatives like a reunion, or a party at a location near you.

9. If you like entertaining, plan an evening for your close friends because you never have the time to do this when you are working. Planning and then doing can be invigorating.

10. Volunteer with a local charity (Red Cross, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, habitat for humanity etc.) Helping others always will make you feel good.

What other suggestions do you have for recharging? Please share.

Image: 'Plug your car in here'
Found on

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lessons Learned in the Smokies

059Last week we went camping and hiking in The Smoky Mountains National Park. It is one of our favorite national parks! Here are some observations or lessons that I learned last week.

1. I was glad to see so many families on the trails.

2. Read the information about the trail before you start. It probably isn’t smart to bring a stroller and wear flip flops on a trail that is not paved. Notice other people coming off the trail. If they are wearing hiking boots and caring hiking sticks, it may not be a “walk in the park.”

3. Bring a bottle of water and a small snack no matter how short the hike is. You never know if you will get turned around or your blood sugar will drop.

4. One family had a positive approach to hiking with their young children. One small child was carried in a baby carrier on the dad’s back. The other little girl, about 5 or 6 years old, was encouraged to look around and notice things. I heard the mom offer the little girl some grapes if she needed any. Then she told the child to let them know when she was ready to move on because it was all up to her. The child seemed happy and enjoying herself. This child will probably love the outdoors and hiking.

5. Another family had a negative approach. It involved yelling and threatening the child to keep up and continue walking. The child was crying and just plain miserable. He probably will hate being outdoors and hiking when he grows up.

6. Know the rules in the campground. When we registered for a site, we had to sign a paper to show we understood that all food and anything associated with food should not be left unattended or it needed to be stored in a hard shell vehicle. Failure you to do this results in a $75 fine (not sure for one item or for each). We watched a ranger collect 4 coolers left out at one of the camp sites which I’m sure was a real bummer when the campers returned.

7. Quiet hours should be adhered to when in a campground. There were several large groups that took a few sites so they could camp together. At night, it seems as if sound carries and when people are in a tent or a pop up camper, there is no way to block out sounds of large groups partying. Large groups need to be sensitive to those around them.

8. People with dogs should clean up after their dogs. Nothing is worse than to come back to our site and see that somebody let their dogs deposit a “gift” on our site. If they don’t want the “gift” on their own site, why would they think I want it at mine? I could go on but I’ll stop there!

9. Teach children to keep their distance from all animals no matter the size. I’m glad when we saw the bear and her cub that we had not gotten between the two or it might have been a bad situation.

It is amazing how much I learn by observing people when we travel. Do you do this too?

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Reading Plan

LittleHouseintheBigWoodsI decided this summer that I want to reread the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There are nine of them and I look forward to spending my summer reading them. I read them when I was still in school (many many many years ago) and I decided I wanted to read them again as an adult. I am interested in seeing what lessons are in them which I didn’t notice at the time. Back then I read for pleasure and just enjoyed the interesting stories. Now I wonder how these could be used in a classroom. Feel free to join me!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monthly Review of Goals from May

GoalsWow! Where did May go? It seems like I was just reviewing April’s goals and here it is June! I am kind of looking forward to seeing how I have done so far. All of my goals can be found here.

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 am finished one and now I’m working on another one - The Old Man and the Sea cardigan by MSkiKnits!)

3. I want to dye yarn. (Now that it is warming up, I need to get serious about doing this. I have already purchased some bare yarn and still need to get some other supplies.)

4. I want to spruce up my gardens this year. (My lawn is looking better than it ever has but I guess that expensive fertilizer did the trick. Now I need to get weeding! My perennials are blooming and things are shaping up. )

5. I won’t commit to more to more than I can handle. (I continue to watch what I agree to do. There are so many neat opportunities that pop up but then when I have time to process the information, I realize it sounds good but I would end up feeling trapped if I commit to doing it.)

6. I will find something good in each day. (It has been another great month!)

7. I will learn archery. (I still haven’t signed up for my lessons yet but we need to do this before August.)

8. I will nurture old friendships. (We have gone out to dinner with several friends and really enjoyed it.)

9. I will lose at least 20 lbs. this year. (I have lost 7 lbs. so far and really happy with it. I’m trying to walk 10,000 steps each day and eating no more than 1500 calories.)


1. I will eat healthy. (I am eating healthier than I ever have. It is getting easier to do this and I don’t seem to have to work so hard at it. Many of my decisions are becoming natural.)

2. I will exercise. (Now that it is warming up, we have started walking in the park again as well as using the treadmill.)

3. I will stretch. (I am doing squats, crunches, and curls every day.)

4. I will read my bible. (Since we have started camping in places that I don’t have a cell or internet service, the online bible is harder to access. I had to pull out my old bible and use it. So there were many days this month that I missed reading. Hopefully I will get back on track now.)

5. I will do something that I have been avoiding. (I have been avoiding weeding and now have to make myself get off the computer to weed and use computer time as a reward.)

6. I will contact a friend and let them know I am thinking of them. (I need to do better with this.)

7. I will be happy. (Life has been good. I don’t have to work very hard on this.)

Overall, it has been a great month. I’m really happy with my eating and exercise habits this month. We just bought a new camper and it is a fun adventure which makes us happy.

Have you reviewed your goals or resolutions you made at the beginning of the year? How are you doing? If you haven’t achieved something yet, don’t give up. Just begin now.

Image: 'La Jolla Goal Wall'
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