Friday, March 29, 2019

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 3/29/19

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

Sketch – Draw & Paint - This is the official Sketch app from Sony. Sketch brings a fun drawing and photo editing experience to anyone who wants to be creative, regardless of skill level. If you need inspiration, the Sketch community is an endless source of digital art for you to explore and enjoy. You can then inspire others by sharing your own art and be a part of the community. (L:G;SA:A)

Red Herring – “In this Wireless Philosophy video, Joseph Wu (University of Cambridge) introduces you to the red herring, a rhetorical device and fallacy that is often difficult to spot. A red herring occurs when something is introduced to an argument that misleads or distracts from the relevant issue. Wu walks us through this rhetorical device and shows us how to avoid committing a fallacy.” (L:H;SA:A)

Use Comics in SS Lessons – suggestions from Richard Byrne on how to use comics in your lessons. (L:G;SA:SS)

Street View and Polar Bears – “Explore Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, the polar bear capital of the world, and surrounding areas on the shores of the Hudson Bay using Google Street View. Get a first–hand look at what it’s like to live on the subarctic tundra—for both humans and polar bears.” (L:G;SA:S)

Aquation – “Choice, strategy, balance, and . . . water equity? Parts of the planet are struggling to get enough water. Use each region's wealth to build pipes, desalinate water, and conduct research to bring water where it's needed most. Monsoons, dry spells, disease, and even cursed lawn sprinklers can help or hinder your progress. Manage your wealth and water carefully to solve the world's water crisis!
- Take actions to balance global water resources.
- React to global events.
- Make discoveries through research and recruit investors to share in the profits.
- Review and reflect on your strategy.
- Build, upgrade and use desalination plants to create fresh water.
- Play in the classroom or at home.” (L:G;SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Writing Time

“What is your favorite time or space for writing?”

My favorite time of writing is early in the morning when my husband is not awake and I’m all alone in the quiet of the house. For some reason, it lets my thoughts flow easily and I can express myself freely. I feel like it is a fresh day and I have a fresh new start. My ideas are overflowing in my brain and can’t wait to be put into words. I may choose to use a pen and paper or I may just type it into my computer. It all depends on my mood and whether I have my computer handy or not.

When I was writing my book, I was on a cruise ship and I got up very early in the morning and went to the upper deck where there were hot tea and coffee available. Usually, the lights were still dim, and the night cleaning crew was working quietly. I found a table to sit at to right and no one bothered me for a few hours until other guests started waking up. Before long, my husband was awake and ready for breakfast. Then it was time to put my computer away and enjoy the day.

Sometimes I like to put soft meditative music on that also calms me and lets the words move through my head without any trouble. It also helps keep distracting thoughts from entering my head and block my writing.

When I decided to get in shape in the winter, I started walking on the treadmill. I walked when I felt I was at my best and kept the temperature in the room pretty cool. As the weather started getting nicer outdoors, I would walk in the neighborhood when the temperature warmed up but wasn’t too hot. I also liked to walk when it was not raining.

I wonder when we ask our students to write on demand, whether we think about the environment that works best for them. I know that during testing, they will have to write when and how they are expected to write. But when they are training for the test, maybe we should help them write in a way that suits them.

While they are getting comfortable with writing, let them have music of their choice playing if it stimulates their writing muse. Let them choose when they want to write such as when they start the class or near the end of class. While they are writing, have another activity for those who are not writing at that time.

What is your favorite time and space for writing? How do you accommodate your student’s needs for writing? Please share.
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Squeaky Wheel

In Loud voices vs. important ones from Seth, Seth Godin shares

“Broken systems get worse when we confuse the loud voices with the important ones.”

I see a lot of this in the media. The negative stories, the most sensational stories, and the gossip stories seem to get the most attention. These stories are not necessarily the ones we should be paying attention to. It sends the wrong message to our young people. It says that they will get attention if they act bad, act crazy, or act irresponsibly.

When I watch the news stations on TV, I’m always surprised how little news they really report. If they aren’t promoting some political agenda or asking people to donate to a charity the station supports, we end up looking at commercials which pay for the news show. I wish I could watch one station where the news is reported the way it happens without any bias to slant the story. I’m not sure that is possible.

As human nature works, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. As long as we pay attention to the stories and buy the products that support these stories, they will continue.

I’m not even sure who to believe anymore. I’m not sure how true news stories are. I’m not sure who to trust either.

But I’m almost sure that when I hear the squeaky wheel, I will head the other way. I refuse to give them the attention they want. I will work hard to look for positive stories that are hidden. I want to look for the stories that are heartwarming and convince me that there is hope for mankind in today’s world. I will not support stories that extol the recklessness or carelessness of celebrities or sports figures.

I hope by doing this, I’m setting a good example for my students. If they have a role model that they could follow, maybe eventually the squeaky wheels will quietly get pushed to the background. They will never actually disappear, but we can keep them from being the front and center of attention.

How do you quiet squeaky wheels? Please share.

Photo by Edward Stark on Unsplash