Friday, February 27, 2015

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2/27/15

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

Heganoo - Creating beautiful maps with your personalized rich-content points of interest, is now easy as blogging. Include Sound Video Forms Links Text & Images. (L:G; SA:A)

Words Mine – free iPad app; spell words quickly before the screen fills up with blocks. (L:G; SA:LA)

Ecosystem Explorer – “the Ecosystem Explorer is a collection of videos, games, and infographics designed to take students deep into the ecosystems of three thrilling animals: vultures, wolves, and sharks. Use the related videos highlighted below to introduce each ecosystem and discover that the relationship between animals and humans is often much more complicated than we realize. Then, encourage students to play through the interactive and discover more exciting science about the ecology and conservation of these three worlds.” (L:M,H; SA:S)

Connect Four Review – a game in which that you have to create four sets of four related terms from sixteen terms displayed on the game board.” (L:G; SA:A)

 10 Monkeys – free android app; elementary school students can practice their multiplication skills (L:E; SA:M)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What I Do When I Fail

In What to Do When You Fail from Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher shares,

When you lose, you only have one option. Take the challenge and change. Get up and move forward so you can win. Falling down doesn’t have to be your permanent position if you get up and keep running. Getting told “no” is just one more “no” that you have behind you as you move to “yes!”

This reminds me that someone once said (I can’t remember who so if you know, feel free to let me know) that failure is not an important thing. It is what you do after you fail that is the most important thing.

When I fail at something, my first reaction is to quit. I’m hurt and I’m discouraged and I don’t want to face up to my failure.

Once I lick my wounds and calm down, I start analyzing my failure. What caused the failure? What did I do wrong? What obstacles stood in my way?

Then I start thinking about what I could have done differently? How could I have overcome those obstacles?

When I have all these thoughts asked and answered, many times I feel energized and can’t wait to try to face the challenge again. I am determined that I will overcome this failure. I put the hurt and disappointment behind me and then I charge on ahead.

I fight the tiny words in the back of my mind saying that I will fail again or that I won’t be able to overcome the obstacles. I remind myself that not trying is worse than failing. What is the worst that can happen? I fail again and then look for another way to succeed.

A friend of mine used to coach basketball at the high school and I asked him if he got upset when his boys didn’t make a basket. He told me he got more upset if they didn’t try because you can’t make any points if you don’t try to make a basket. Just holding on the ball, passing, and dribbling the ball won’t win the game. I try to remember this when I want to keep thinking about trying and not really making the attempt.

What do you do when you fail at something? Please share.

Image: 'Tension (lock screen)'
Found on

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Google Science Fair

The Google Science Fair is now open! Here is some info from their website!

“The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13 to 18 from around the globe. It encourages them to change the world through scientific inquiry. They’ll learn about their chosen topic and develop key skills along the way.

Every year, teachers play a huge role in the Google Science Fair. Many past finalists and winners credit their teachers with telling them about the competition in the first place and supporting their participation. We’ve put together some resources so you can involve your own students, build on existing classroom learning and contribute positively to their experience.

Join us in helping to champion a new generation of innovators.

Students sign up for the Science Fair with a free Google account at They’ll then carry out a test or experiment on a subject they’re passionate about, and submit their project online. The submissions deadline is 18 May 2015. There’s a whole section of our website dedicated to helping participants through the competition.

After the first round of judging, we’ll announce 90 regional finalists whose work will then be reviewed even closer by a panel of judges. The top 20 students, or teams, will be invited to our finalist event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Here they’ll get to present their work to a group of distinguished scientists and tech innovators.

In the end, we’ll be honoring 5 category winners, a Community Impact winner, an Incubator award and the Grand Prize Winner. Whether or not they win, we hope your students’ participation in the Google Science Fair will enrich their learning and give them a new appreciation of science and technology.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Use of Social Media

In 5 Ways To Use Social Media as Time Saver at Work from Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator, Lisa Nielsen shares,

“While for some social media has the unfortunate reputation of being a time waster, it can be used as a tool to increase efficiency and support learning for self and others.”

I hear a lot of people resistant to social media saying all the negative things about it. I bet the people with horse and buggies said the same thing when the automobile came out.  People with kerosene lanterns probably said the same things about electricity. But eventually, people get used to it and it becomes the norm.

Social media is like anything else in our lives and if abused, it can have a negative effect on anyone’s life. But if used in a way that it helps you, it can have a positive effect on anyone’s life.

Here are the social media I use daily and how it helps me:

Google Calendar – I can put events on the calendar and since I share it with my husband, he can access the calendar on his laptop. I also can access it on my phone and my iPad if I need to add things to it while I’m not at home.

My Blog – I write on my blog every Monday through Friday and have been doing this for almost eight years now. I hope that some of the things I share will help new and struggling teachers.

Facebook – I have grouped people into several groups and can click on specific groups for messages that I want to share or read. I can share links to educational posts with other educators and knitting links with fellow fiber crafters. This helps me stay focused on one topic rather than reading all of them in a linear fashion and having to switch my brain into different gears constantly.

Feedly – This is where I group all the blogs that I read. I then put them in different groups and like Facebook, I can read all of one topic at a time rather than having to switch gears for each different post. This also helps me know when a blog has been updated so I don’t miss anything.

Ravelry – This is a social media group for fiber crafters. I found a group that mixes special educators and knitting and crochet so both hobbies are combined!

Twitter and Plurk – I can post one message and it goes to both places. I like to share links this way and I also find many useful resources this way.

What social media do you use and how does it help you? Please share.

Image: 'Social Media ROI'
Found on