Friday, May 31, 2019

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/31/19

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

New York City and the Revolutionary War – “15 Historic Sites of the Revolutionary War You Need to Visit in NYC”  (L:G;SA:A)

Map Treasure Hunt – “Provide as many questions (clues) and answers (locations) as you like to create a virutal 'treasure hunt'. When you are finished you can save the game and share it with others. Players have to use each clue to collect the 'coins' that appear in each of your secret locations.” (L:T;SA:A)

Museum of Obsolete Objects – videos of obsolete objects (interesting how many are things I’ve used in the past!) (L:G;SA:A)

The Economics of Seinfeld – “It is the simplicity of Seinfeld that makes it so appropriate for use in economics courses. Using these clips (as well as clips from other television shows or movies) makes economic concepts come alive, making them more real for students. Ultimately, students will start seeing economics everywhere – in other TV shows, in popular music, and most importantly, in their own lives.” (L:H;SA:SS)

Headlines and Heroes – Library of Congress; “For centuries the stories of famous, infamous, and everyday people have filled the pages of newspapers while the pages of comic books are filled with the fantastic stories of superheroes and villains. Both provide us with a unique look into the past and how people interpreted the world around them. This blog highlights the amazing stories, both real and imaginary, that we find in our collections of newspapers and comic books.”  (L:G;SA:SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Travel Safely

When I first started traveling, I didn’t know how to travel safely and learned a lot by doing research and learning from experience. My parents did not travel much and did not have any advice for me. This made me realize that many of my students may be in the same boat as I was and it would probably be helpful for me to share some stories and tips for traveling safely.

First I will tell you some stories during our recent cruise in Europe.

After our first port, I saw a lady crying at the Guest Services desk because her purse was stolen and her passport and credit cards were in it.

In Sweden, a crew member went to the bathroom and had his friends watch his bag at the table. They were distracted and someone stole the bag off the table. In the bag were his passport, wallet, cell phone, and crew ID. He was sent home to Indonesia (at his own cost) until he gets his paperwork in order and may return after that.

We met another couple who spent a couple of days in London and her purse was stolen with her passport and credit cards. She had to go to the Embassy and get a temporary Visa for $100. When she gets home, she has to pay for a new passport! Then they stopped in Paris where the husband’s wallet was stolen. The next day his cell phone was stolen. They were so happy to finally get on the ship, but they had no credit cards or money other than what was in their pockets.

So, here are my tips:

·      I wear a travel waist belt under my pants. There is a zippered pocket to hold my passport and back-up credit card. Yes, it is a little bulky but worth the trouble.

·      I wear a small zipper pouch around my neck to hold my credit card, driver’s license, and a little bit of cash. This pouch drops down into my shirt and I can pull it out when I need it.

·      Always let someone know where you are going if you are alone. (But I don’t think it is ever a good idea to travel alone though.)

·      Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. If someone coming behind you and is getting too close when you are walking, step to the side and let them pass.

·      Be aware of large crowds which is a perfect place for pickpockets.

·      When crossing streets, be careful of passing people who may bump into you and try to pick your pocket.

·      Trust your gut feeling when you are in a place with few people around.  If it doesn’t feel safe or you feel a little nervous, turn back and go to a more populated area.

·      I carry a light nylon pack that cinches closed instead of a zippered pack. This is harder for someone to get into. The only way they can get in is to cut the bottom.

·      In the pack, I don’t keep any valuables. I have a very large plastic Ziploc bag in it that holds a bottle of water and a snack. If I buy small souvenirs, I drop it in the plastic bag in my nylon bag. I feel that if someone slices my bag open, this bulky plastic bag may be slower to fall out and I will feel it if it does. Plus, if it gets stolen, nothing except my souvenirs are of value so they won’t get much.

What other travel tips would you add to this list? Please share.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Sucking Energy

In Faucets and drains from Seth Godin's Blog , Seth Godin states,

“Some people, every time they engage with others, are an energy drain. They take persuading, cajoling and enthusiasm to get going, and require ever more of it to keep going.”

I think it is important to teach my students how to identify those that such the energy from them.

Too many times my students are spending energy trying to make friends and get others to like them. They want to belong. They want to feel less isolated and lonely, so their peers are important to them. The students need to find the right people who encourage them and help them move forward in their lives.

If there is someone who will “step” on me in order to move up in life is not the person I want to hang around with.

If someone belittles me in order to feel better about themselves, they are not the person to consider a friend.

If someone who constantly whines or complains a lot, it can suck the positive energy from me and infect me with this negative energy.

Someone who is negative all the time can suck the positive energy right from me and keep me from achieving my goals.

The hard part is that these energy suckers are sneaky. They can sneak into my life and hang onto me like Velcro without realizing it. Before I know it, I feel depressed and hopeless. I don’t want to take risks in order to learn new things because I’m afraid of failure.

The biggest skill is recognizing who they are and taking action to distance myself from them.

By modeling this behavior, I’m showing my students how to identify the energy suckers and try to find better friends.

How do you recognize and deal with the people who suck energy from you? Please share.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

10 Things I Know To Be True

In Poetic Postings Day # 3 from Sioux's Page, Sioux gave this prompt and shared 10 things she loves. 

“Today's prompt involved a list. Some suggestions: 10 things I'd change... 10 things I've learned... 10 things I know to be true.”

1.     I can’t expect others to respect me if I don’t value myself.
2.     I can do more things than I realized I can.
3.     If I believe I can’t do something, I won’t be able to do it even if I try.
4.     The only person I can always count on is myself.
5.     Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed about.
6.     Limits that others put on my ability may not be accurate and if I want to try something, I should find out my limitations on my own.
7.     Mistakes are real opportunities for improvement.
8.     Killing people with kindness goes further than revenge.
9.     My mother always told me, “What goes around, comes around.” And she was right.
10.  I am a lifelong learner and I learn something new every day!

This would be a fun activity to do with my students. I like that I was able to choose what ten things I wanted to list. I would give my students a choice of three things but not more than that.

What 10 things would you list? Please share.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Traveling to Foreign Countries

As I’ve mentioned before, we love to travel and recently we have visited countries that we have never been to before.

Even though we like to visit the tourist spots, we also like to see the areas outside the tourist spots. I like to see how the average person lives compared to my own country. One way to do this is to visit their local grocery store. We look at produce and candy to see what different items we can find.

When we go to different countries, we try to learn how to say thank you in their language. This can really go a long way to making locals feel like you are making an effort to be polite. If I forget to look it up, I usually ask a police officer we see or at the first place we buy something. When we get off the bus, we thank the bus driver. If we buy something in the store, we thank the cashier.

I also ask if I can take photos if I’m in a specialty shop and tell the people that I want to share this lovely place with my friends back home. Usually, they have no problem with this and appreciate that I ask in advance. If you are in a museum or tourist place, make sure you are allowed to take photos before you take them.

Try to use the local currency if possible. Usually, it is cheaper to use their currency than using your currency. You seem to get a better exchange rate when using their money.

Keep in mind that there are many places where you have to pay to use public toilets. Usually, if you buy something from a fast food place like a drink, there is a code on your receipt that allows you to use the bathroom. Sometimes we have found a tourist information place or a library that has a free public bathroom. Recently we went to a Hard Rock Café in Helsinki, Finland and they had a free bathroom.

Have you traveled to a foreign country? What advice would you give?

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, May 24, 2019

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/17/19

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

Wizard School – “ We developed this app with educators, who have taught elementary and middle school, specializing in science, writing, math, geography, music, sports, and design. They created and reviewed all content in Wizard School (over 3000 videos, maps, images) for all grades and ages.” (L:E,;SA:A)

Fun Facts about the US National Parks – “Here are some surprising facts about each of the 59 parks.” (L:G,;SA:A)

The Power of Sunlight! | Science Project for Kids – “Jessi and Squeaks use the power of the sun to conduct a cool science experiment!” (L:G,;SA:S)

Novels on Location – find a location and see what novels are set there or look up novels to find out their setting. (L:H,T,;SA:LA)

Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature – “Listen to audio-recorded readings of former Consultants in Poetry Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Frost; Nobel Laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Czeslaw Milosz, and renowned writers such as Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, and Kurt Vonnegut read from their work at the Library of Congress. The Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress dates back to 1943, when Allen Tate was Consultant in Poetry. It contains nearly two thousand recordings—of poets and prose writers participating in literary events at the Library’s Capitol Hill campus as well as sessions at the Library’s Recording Laboratory.” (L:G,;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tell Me A Story

In The repetition of stories from Seth Godin's Blog , Seth Godin shares,

“And the same approach works for a feeling of optimism and possibility. Repeating stories (to ourselves and others) about good fortune and generosity makes those stories more powerful.”

I’ve said this opinion many times but I think it bears repeating. We focus too much on negativism in society and not enough time sharing the positive stories. Negative stories seem to promote depression, intolerance, and sometimes even violence. The media tends to promote this especially because negativism sells.

I’m not saying that we should paint the world as a nice pretty place all the time, but we should be realistic. There is probably a positive story for every negative story told.

I think so many of my students struggle because they have told themselves a negative story to themselves so many times that they start believing it. It starts with peers ridiculing them when they struggle. Maybe an adult has suggested that they were lazy or not putting enough effort in to explain why the student is struggling. Parents might complain and reinforce the teacher’s opinion.  When this story is constantly repeated to the student, they start believing it when they may actually have a legitimate reason for their struggle.

I feel it is my job to give my students a new story. I want them to hear a story about success and happiness. I want them to see that it is possible for them to overcome the obstacles in their life and that they are not lazy or incompetent. I want them to see that there are many different ways to conquer the “monsters” that seem to keep them from reaching their goals and that I am here to help them. I will walk beside them in their struggles and be there to support them when they need it.

At first, they are reluctant to believe this story because they have been tricked too many times by the hope for success. I have to show them that I mean what I say and I convince them to take the risk in trusting me. Little by little, I show them that they can be successful and with each positive step, they are rewriting the stories in their minds. I remind them of their success stories when they get discouraged. Eventually, they will have more recent success stories than past failure stories and can progress more easily.

This may be a slow process but I think it is possible to rewrite the stories we tell ourselves. We owe it to ourselves to write a story of success for ourselves and to make it happen. We owe it to our students to help them make their stories happen and learn how to make new stories for themselves.