Thursday, January 31, 2019

January 2019 Books

This year my goal is to read at least 12 biographies. These are the ones that I’ve finished this month and my opinion about them.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
Reading this book was like watching a train wreck. I knew how it would turn out but I couldn’t stop reading. I was outraged on the girls’ behalf at the injustice of the system at the time. I was also horrified at the pain and suffering that they went through. I never knew about these girls or what happened to them so I’m glad that I read this.

High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband by Evelyn Husband.
This was an interesting book and I learned a lot about what Rick Husband had to go through to become an astronaut. Seeing the space program from a different viewpoint, it was very educational. I also enjoyed learning about the faith he had in God and how it helped him and his family deal with the many disappointments and struggles that they faced.
Miracles from Heaven by Christy Wilson Beam
This was an easy read and I finished it in one day. It is an amazing story about a young girl who suffers from a horrible disease and horrific pain. One day, while she and her sister are playing on a large tree, she falls into the hollow trunk and has to be rescued. What happens during and after this event is amazing.

If you know of any good biographies that I should read, please let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Growth Mindset Journal – Book Review

I recently read My Growth Mindset Journal by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley that was graciously sent to me by Ulysses Press to review. I am not being paid for this review.

Last year I reviewed The Growth Mindset Coach and the Growth Mindset Playbook. Please go read the reviews and see how much I enjoyed both of them.

The My Growth Mindset Journal is a wonderful companion for these books. The authors have given a lot of writing prompts to further inspire teachers. I believe we need to reflect and learn from our own teachings in order to be more effective in the classroom.

The prompts can be completed by a teacher each day and don’t take up too much time. I also think this would be a great book to use as a mentor teacher and would give a good jumping off point with your mentee. I think this could be used at department meetings and the prompt be given in advance. Then all members can take a minute at the meeting to share their responses. I believe these prompts would also be great to use during a professional development session. Give teachers the prompt at the beginning and before lunch, go over the responses. I also think this could be adapted to be used with students as writing prompts and improve not only their writing but teach them the art of reflection.

I plan to use many of these prompts in my bullet journal. I highly recommend this for the individual teacher and for the school library if they have a professional development section for teachers.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Being In Control

In Topping off the tank from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin  talks about “The appearance of control.”

There are many instances of this in the classroom.

An administrator asks for input from the faculty but never uses any of the suggestions and doesn’t even look at the input given. But the administrator has given the appearance of control.

They put thermostats in every classroom, but they don’t really work. I was told by a plant engineer that the climate is actually controlled by a computer from a place out of state.

You are asked to vote on things, but the outcome does not necessarily determine the results.

Teachers can see through this farce and I think it has really lowered morale across the teaching field. When people feel powerless, they go through the motions but have no incentive to improve their situation.

I have to admit that I’m a control freak. Sometimes it is easier for me to do things rather than to delegate it to others. I don’t mean to be critical but not everyone will do things that way I do or the way I want it done. If I have to micromanage, I might as well do it myself.

Yet, I know that I have to give up some of that control in the classroom and empower students to think for themselves. I have to give them choices so that they will learn the art of decision making.

Not only do I have to allow them choices, but I have to abide by the decision they choose. So, the important thing is to find the things that I can live with, no matter what they do.

One way that has been successful in my class has been to give my students choices. If there are more than one activity, let them choose the order that they want to complete them. I can give them a list of projects and allow them to choose which one they want to do. I can have a choice of three different types of assessment and let them pick which one they feel most comfortable completing in order to show me that they mastered the skill.

Giving students choices and allowing them to follow through not only gives the appearance of control but actually empowers students to make choices. It allows them to look at their own preferences and strengths in order to make their own decisions. The more comfortable they get at decision making, the more successful they will be later in life.

How do you give up control in your classroom? Please share.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Monday, January 28, 2019

Off the Beaten Path

Last week I attended the Upstate Master Naturalist Meeting and our guest speaker was Brenda Wiley. Her topic was about “Off the Beaten Path.” Here website gives “a list of day hikes and associated trip reports, trail descriptions, and pictures.”

She talked about what to bring when you go off the beaten path. You need to bring a topo map, a compass, and a 30 - 50 ft. rope. People go off the beaten path for different reasons such as looking for waterfalls, or rocks, or swimming holes, or for the sake of discovery. Brenda also shared beautiful pictures of what she saw on these hikes. Seeing these made me wish it was spring and summer so we could go hiking more! She recommended Astral water shoes for hiking and going through water. 

Someone suggested the app for your phone – Map My Hike. She said that it didn’t use too much  battery life on your phone. I plan to give it a try.

Carol gave the address for the Oyster Shell Recycling Location: 660 Mauldin Rd. and encouraged others to share this with their communities.

For  more information, she gave these websites:

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, January 25, 2019

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/25/19

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

Formatically – “The instant citation tool.” (L:H;SA:SS)

Designs for Democracy – “an exhibition of nearly 125 design drawings selected from the vast holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration and its Presidential Libraries. The designs, all permanently valuable Federal records, were selected to illustrate 200 years of Government drawings. They are also works of art. Displayed here are elegant watercolor paintings, exquisite ink and wash drawings, bold charcoal and pencil sketches, and finely executed engineering details. Some bear a well-known designer`s or artist`s signature or the imprimatur of approving Government officials, but many are unsigned and their creators unknown. This exhibit is organized chronologically to demonstrate changing styles and technological advances, as well as to illustrate the evolving role of the Federal Government in American life.” (L:G;SA:SS)

Draft – “when you share your document using Draft, any changes your collaborator makes are on their own copy of the document, and you get to accept or ignore each individual change they make” (L:G;SA:A)

eQuizShow – ‘eQuizShow is a free tool for educators. Create free quiz shows that engage students for test review.  Since all of your quiz shows live in the cloud, you never need to use PowerPoint!” (L:T;SA:A)

The Science of Baseball – “Throughout the Science of Baseball site, you’ll investigate the insides of that iconic leather-covered ball, test your reaction time with a bat, find a bat’s sweet spot and more. You'll discover how to throw a slider, what it feels like to soak in the adoration of a crowd, how come a baseball has stitches - as well as the history of this popular game.” (L:G;SA:S,M, SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 24, 2019


In What Goes On in a Writer's Head? From Sioux's Page, Sioux Roslawski asks,

“How about you? How do you handle having to wait?”

I hate waiting.

Things I’ve had to wait for or I’m currently waiting for:
·      Christmas (I love Christmas! Yes, I know it just passed but I can’t wait until it is that time again!)
·      My birthday (I just love knowing I’m alive another year!)
·      People that I’m meeting who are late (I have this fear that I’m at the wrong place or the wrong time.)
·      Upcoming trips
·      Meeting friends I haven’t seen in a long time.
·      Waiting until I can eat the other half of my meal (I take a 5 min. break in between so that my brain can have time to let my stomach know that I’m full or maybe it is the other way around.)
·      The next clue in my mystery knit-a-long
·      Spring (my favorite season)
·      My next camping trip (because it is too cold right now)
·      The ending of a good book (I’m so tempted to skip ahead to the ending just to find out how it turns out).

If it is a short-term wait, I usually knit to help the time pass quicker. I can get involved in knitting and it takes my mind off the immediate wait. I may do some baking like banana bread for the police and fire departments. I also watch a lot of YouTube videos, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. One good way to take my mind off of something is to listen to audio podcasts, and audiobook or to take a nap.

If it is long term waiting during the winter:
·      I try to do things that keep me busy like decluttering a specific place in my house.
·      I do some more knitting.
·      I spin my own yarn.
·      I do digital scrapbooking.
·      I read a lot of books.

In the spring and summer:
·      I like to do gardening.
·      I like to go hiking.
·      I walk around the neighborhood.
·      I like to read a good book outdoors.

Students also have trouble waiting for things. This would be a good thing to do with students and have them figure out ways that will help them during the waiting time.

How do you get through the “wait”? Please share.

Photo by Ethan Kent on Unsplash