Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Writing Letters

My father will be 100 years old this year and communication with him has become very difficult for him due to his lack of hearing skills. He no longer wants to talk on the phone and when we visit in person, we feel like we are always screaming at him. Even though communication is difficult, I don’t want to lose the connection with him, so I’ve been writing to him every week. I tell him about what we’ve done for the week and some of my concerns and triumphs. I even decorate the envelope that I mail the letter in. My parents say they enjoy the letters and when they forget something, I’ve told them, they can look back at the letter. I don’t expect them to write back and mainly want them to know that I think about them often.

Writing letters is a great way for students to learn spelling and language skills as well as proper writing etiquette and communication skills. We have become so ingrained with using the computer that many younger people have lost the art of letter writing. They don’t write letters enough to know the different parts of a letter and the difference between a friendly letter and a business letter.

There are many different activities that could be done with letter writing in all subject areas for all ages. Here are some suggestions of letter writing activities for the classroom:

Write a letter:
·      To our favorite author, scientist, or even celebrity.
·      To a business asking for more information about their product.
·      To a company about an environmental issue.
·      To a legislator about a political issue.
·      To a newspaper with an editorial about a news article
·      To a  historical character and telling why you like them and ask questions you want them to answer (even though you know they won’t be able to answer).
·      To his family from a Revolutionary War soldier.
·      To his family from a Civil war soldier.
·      To his family from a WWI soldier.
·      To his family from a WWII soldier.
·      To his family from a Vietnam war soldier.
·      To a character in a book
·      From a character to another character in a book.
·      From an inanimate object as if it was alive to another person.

What other suggestions would you have for letter writing? Please share.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Monday, April 29, 2019

Writing Gloves – Product Review

I was recently sent these writing gloves from Literary Book Gifts and they sell for $52.

According to the website:

“Fingerless gloves for writing! These soft cashmere knit gloves are perfect for handwriting, typing, touch screens, and crafting. Warm cold hands with this stylish accessory available in a wide range of colors from heather purple to blush pink.

Made of a breathable knit of about 35% cashmere wool. Cotton, polyester, and microfiber are blended in for durability.”

I got my gloves in the color black and they arrived very quickly. I couldn’t wait to try them on because they felt so soft. My hands get very cold when it is damp, or it is cold outside. These are perfect for touch screens and for my knitting. I also spend a lot of time on my computer, and they do not hinder me in any way. They are warm but not bulky feeling. You hardly even notice they are on your hands.   

I’m so glad that I had a chance to review these! If you have a chance, please go check them out!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/26/19

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

Making Maple Syrup – great YouTube video on making maple syrup (L:G;SA:S)

Explore.org Live Cams – great selection of live cams in nature (L:G;SA:S)

DrawChat – “Draw.Chat is a free, anonymous, online drawing board. You can create your chat room with one click - without any registration. Every whiteboard has a unique, randomly generated URL which you can send to other people to start a real-time collaboration.
Users draw, chat, or communicate via audio and video conference, and easily drags and drop images from files, other pages, clipboard, and camera.” (L:T;SA:A)

Zapsplat – “Free sound effects & royalty free music” (L:G;SA:A)

Grow Your Own Potatoes – a SciShowKids video; “Potatoes are amazing! You can make them into french fries, baked potatoes, hash browns, potato chips, and tons of other tasty foods! And best of all, they're super easy to grow! Join Jessi and Squeaks to learn how!” (L:E;SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Tree Cutting

Recently we had a tree cut down in our yard and it was a very educational experience for me. This eighty-foot tree was between our house and the neighbor’s house. Unfortunately, it was dying and one of the limbs had already fallen and broken our neighbor’s window. After getting some estimates, we chose Southern Tree Experts. The price was right, and they were licensed and insured.

On the first day, the five men came and cut down the tree. It was amazing at the precision they used to cut it down. It took 8 hours but the finally got it cut down. One man was up in the bucket truck and trimmed the limbs first. It was fascinating to see how he tied the rope and then cut the limb so it would fall exactly where he wanted it to. You could tell that he had many years’ experience doing this.

After the one man cut the limbs, the others either cut them smaller with another chain saw or fed the smaller limbs into the wood chipper.

The next day they came out and used a stump grinder to grind the stump down. Then they cleaned up everything.

The only thing that couldn’t be helped was the ruts the trucks and equipment in the yard but eventually, I will have all of that fixed up. The other thing that happened was a corner of my walkway was broken when the tree fell. But no other damage was done, and I was happy with the job.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Poor Choices

Recently a man in our town was shot and killed by police after a confrontation. This young man made some poor choices such as stealing a car,  fighting the policeman, getting in the car and trying to run over the police, and then dragging the policeman with the car! This young man made poor choices that ended his life and impacted his family, the policemen and their families also. Many lives were changed that day.

Apparently, when this young man was pulled over, he panicked. He didn’t think about the consequences of his actions and what might happen.

In another story, a fifth grader was killed after a fight at school. I’m sure the other girl she was fighting with had no intention of killing her but because of the choices both girls made, one was killed. Both girls and their families were impacted by the choices that were made.

Students need to realize that a poor decision can change their lives drastically. I believe we need to talk about this more often with our students. They may have to make a split-second decision and if we talk about the “what-ifs” beforehand, maybe they can make the right decision when the time comes.

I remember growing up and my parents having these discussions with me. They were kind of like the “fire drill” discussion types. They would throw out some moral or ethical dilemma and we would have a discussion about the best way to handle it. Thankfully, I never faced most of the things that were discussed but some of them I have faced and easily did the right thing. I never question my actions because I knew what I had to do.

I’m not sure we have these discussions enough with our young people. We expect them to know what to do but they don’t if we don’t teach them.

I have had a lot of discussions with my own children as well as many teenagers that I teach about the proper behavior when pulled over by a policeman. Even if you don’t agree with what the policeman is saying, you stay polite and can debate about it in court. While the policeman is on “high alert” (which I don’t blame anyone because of all the recent cop deaths), it is not the time to argue with one. Keep your hands on the steering wheel where they can be seen and listen for further instructions from the police. Being polite can go a long way in not escalating the situation.

Running from the police or getting aggressive with them is never acceptable. No matter what!

Being disrespectful to those in authority is never acceptable.

Taking things that don’t belong to you is never acceptable.

Lying is never acceptable. If you have done something wrong, own up to it and do something to correct the problem.

What other situations would you discuss with your students? Please share.