Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Alphabet Soup in Education

In the following weeks, I plan to come up with a word or phrase for each letter of the alphabet to describe something in education. I’m not sure what words I will come up with and I may have a hard time choosing one over another but I think it will be fun. I think it would be a fun way to challenge myself and I would like to challenge my readers to do the same thing. If you do this and write a post, please link to it in the comments or post your remarks in the comment section. I hope you take the time to join in.  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day! 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/27/16

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

Hopscotchfree app for iPhone or iPad; “Learning to code? You've come to the right place! 
This award-winning app lets you make your own games and publish them instantly for anyone to play. Use our super easy-to-follow videos to make games like Angry Birds, create pixel art, or build something brand new.(L:M,H; SA:A)

Geogebra- adynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package.” (L:G; SA:M)

ReadWorks.org Poems – Poems and questions are given. (L:G; SA:LA)

Stupefix – “Just add photos, videos, music, and text. It's very easy, and super fun!” (L:G; SA:A) Update (11/21/2020): What happened to Supefix: 

Adobe Illustrator Draw – “Draw puts your favorite vector drawing tools and features into a simple, modern interface so it’s easy to turn any idea or inspiration into a gorgeous design. You can even launch Adobe Capture CC from within the app, create a new shape and have it immediately appear on your Draw canvas. And because Draw is part of the Adobe Illustrator family, you can send your designs directly to Illustrator to refine on your desktop.” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Making Changes

“How are you adapting as an educator and as a learner? What have you done to step out of your comfort zone?”

It is so easy to fall into a comfort zone as both an educator and a learner.

As an educator, your lessons go well so you use them over and over. They worked for previous classes so why won’t they work for the new ones. But over time, information changes and our student’s change. Some of the information may be outdated or the presentation itself may be outdated. I may use a lesson twice but after that, I try to take a close look at it and see if there is a way to make adjustments in order to bring it up to date. Besides that, after two times, I tend to get bored with it and feel that my delivery is kind of stale.

In the same way, I try to constantly learn new things every day. It doesn’t have to be something complicated but I think it is important to learn something daily. I might learn more about another person or learn how to do something little. I might learn that I don’t want to do something or don’t like something I’ve eaten. I like to watch others do something that I don’t know how to do.

My favorite way of learning is by reading. By reading, I can go at my own pace and reread parts that I’m unsure of or I don’t understand. Growing up, I read all the time and was considered a bookworm. As an adult, I still tend to read a lot.

But now I have found videos online that help demonstrate some things that I’ve read. I’m learning that seeing someone show how to do something is great to go along with my reading.

I need to do that more in my classes. I still think reading is important and it is important to encourage my students to read. I feel that if they can read, they learn about anything that interests them. Then I can enhance the lessons with videos that demonstrate what they have read. I could also encourage my students to make their own videos to demonstrate their understanding.

Not only is it important to show students that learning is important but it is also important to learn that there are many different ways to learn. Trying different ways to learn can be enlightening. A person might even learn that there are better ways of learning than the same usual way.

What do you do differently to vary how you learn? Do you vary your lessons from year to year? Please share. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Favorite Childhood Book

My favorite book (and earliest book that I remember reading) is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

I think I felt it was my first story book that I ever read myself because it wasn’t written in rhyme. I think at the time I felt that hats were magical. If you put on a different hat, you can be someone else. I think I read it more than once over time. For some reason, that book still stays with me some 50+ years later.

I found this book and I read it to my children as they were growing up. I liked sharing a part of my childhood with them. I even read it to my high school students because I liked sharing a part of my childhood with them too. I liked talking about why I liked it and asked my students to share their opinions too.

I think this would be a great activity for students because not that many years have gone by since they first started reading. I think it would be good as a way of getting to know my students too and allowing them to share a part of their childhood with me also.

I would ask them the following questions:
·      What is the first book you remember reading?
·      Why did you like it?
·      Would you read it to your children?

What was your favorite childhood book? How would you answer the questions? What other questions would you ask your students? Please share.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Don’t Wait To Change

You don't need to wait until your decision makes sense to other people. Decisions made on behalf of your own sanity and happiness is reason enough. After all, it's you that actually has to live your life every single day. So why not make it awesome?”

I am always trying to justify changes to a specific time.

I’ll wait until the first of the week to start dieting.

I’ll start my running program on Monday.

I’ll make changes to my lessons next year.

I’ll do… at the start of the school year.

I’ll throw out unused clothing when school ends.

I’ll clean out…at the beginning of summer.

Does any of this sound familiar? I guess it is a form of procrastination and putting off the undesired until a later time.

Now I’m trying not to wait until I decide to do something. I’m trying to live in “today” and not “tomorrow.”

If I’m going to start watching what I eat, then I’m going to do it today. At that time, I’ll also start exercising. Why wait until the beginning of the week or a Monday if I’m ready to start now. There is more likelihood of me following through if I don’t put it off.

I am making changes in lessons as I think of them and not wait until another time because I usually forget to change them then. Then when it is time to reuse the lesson, I can’t always remember what I wanted to change.

I’m trying to throw out or donate at least 5 items of clothing a week. That way I don’t have to waste a chunk of time doing it all at once. This also ensure that I’m moving forward in my actions.

I’m learning that it is best for me not to wait to make changes that I want to make. I’m more likely to do something when I think of it instead of postponing it.

I think this would be good to teach our students. Don’t wait until the next grading period or the next year to start changing your study habits. Don’t wait until the weekend to start on that major project. Instead, start planning your strategies now. Don’t wait until the end of the week to organize your papers. Don’t wait until next year to start doing better. Do it now.

What changes do you want to make that you can start now? Please share. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Back of the Book Blurb #15 Challenge

From Sioux's Page, Sioux offers this challenge.
She posts a picture and you need to imagine it as a graphic for a book. You choose the genre and book title, and then write a blurb that might appear on the back of the book.

·                The blurb should be 150 words or less (not including the title).
·                The genre is wide-open.
·                Each blogger should include their blurb on their own blog, and link back to this post.
·                Have fun with it. Go to the other posts and comment on the other blurbs. 
·                You can do fancy techy things with the photo.

(Join in if you dare...! It sounds like fun! I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students especially since they would be expected to write 150 words or less!)


Everyone gathered at the town meeting in order to vote on some charges being made to their town. Marvin had always been in charge. Now that the young whippersnapper has shown up in his fancy Corvette talking about what he was going to do to improve the town. Marvin was getting angry about all these crazy ideas but Martha was looking at this young guy as if he was wonderful. Marvin didn’t like it and was going to take action. Marvin went up to the new guy and told him not to plan on getting his way without Marvin’s approval. When the new guy asked what made him the boss, Marvin pointed to his car. The tag read HCTM-01 which stood for Here comes The Man #1! Read some more to find out how the new guy reacted to this information!  (141 words)