Monday, August 31, 2020

Investing in Learning

In The 100 hour asset from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“If you invest 100 hours in a rare skill, you’re likely to acquire it.”

I played an accordion since I was four years old and I still play it occasionally. I have invested over 100 hours in learning this musical instrument.

I have been writing since I was a young child and I really enjoy it. I would say that I have over 100 hours invested in it also.

In 2007, I started working with fiber. I began crocheting, then knitting, and then spinning yarn. I still love it and do it daily. I can’t imagine not doing this and I like creating new things.

I have tried several things that I didn’t invest the hours into it. Either I didn’t like it or it didn’t hold my interest. Obviously, I didn’t acquire the necessary skills to be good at it.

I have spent my entire life invested in learning. As a young child, I liked learning new things and getting better at some of the things. As I grew older, I became more specific in the things that I wanted to learn. Even now, I find things that I’m interested in learning how to do. Some things I want to continue to learn about and others may fall to the wayside.

I want to help my students learn that they need to invest the time into a skill if they want to get better at it.

If they want to get better with a musical instrument, they need to consistently practice at it.

If they want to be a better athlete, they need to put in the hours of training.

If they want to be a better reader, they need to read more.

If they want to be a better artist, they need to work hard on creating art.

If they want to get better at gaming, they need to put in the hours of practice.

In this age of instant gratification, most skills do not get perfected immediately and many people get disappointed in this. Usually with patience and hard work, the skill is perfected, but it takes time. Time may be days, months, or even years.

Students seem to think that everything comes easy for everyone else than themselves.

One way that I like to show this to students is to model my learning process. I like to take photos and reflect on my learning from the very beginning. I monitor my progress with more photos and more reflection either on a weekly or monthly basis. When I look back at my starting attempts, I can feel proud of my progress and see how much I have improved.

How do you help your students learn that they need to invest their time into learning? Please share.

Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

Friday, August 28, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 08/28/2020

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

Poetry Sound Library “The Poetry Sound Library is a world map of poets reading their own poems. You can listen to hundreds of poets from the past and contemporary ones from all over the planet. Choose one name on the list or a marker on the map and click twice. Wait a few seconds and you will soon hear the voice of the poet selected. Each poet reads in his\her own language. The Poetry Sound Library is a non profit project which promotes the voice of poets. No written text of the poem is provided. We provide a very short biography of the poet, in some cases a website. Usually each poet reads one poem but in a few cases you can listen to more than one.” (L:G;SA:LA)

The power of the placebo effect – TED-ed lesson: “The placebo effect is an unexplained phenomenon wherein drugs, treatments, and therapies that aren’t supposed to have an effect — and are often fake — miraculously make people feel better. What’s going on? Emma Bryce dives into the mystery of placebos’ bizarre benefits.” (L:H;SA:S)

Tour de France: The 6,000 Calorie Challenge – “Could you burn through 6,000 calories in a day? That's how much energy the average Tour de France rider requires to complete each stage of the race. WSJ's Joshua Robinson takes on the challenge and goes "bite for bite" with some of this year's cyclists.” (L:G;SA:S)

Treasure Hunt – “Number Recognition Games for Kids. Skills: Number Sense, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division. Help the pirate find his lost treasure by clicking on the island that shows the correct number.” (L:E;SA:M)

Quick Rubric – create your own rubrics (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 27, 2020


In The magic of the countdown from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“It focuses the attention of everyone involved and ensures that we’re truly alert for what’s going to happen next.”

I tend to use the timer for myself on a lot of personal things. I used the countdown timer when I’m cooking or a reminder to turn the stove off. I tend to get consumed in an activity and forget about other things. This has resulted in a few burnt hard-boiled eggs! I use the countdown timer to remind myself of a webinar that I want to attend. I also used the countdown to motivate me to do the chores that I don’t like to do. When I have a timer on, it helps me do the unpleasant things in small chunks.

Countdowns are a great tool to use in the classroom. It helps students transition to the next activity.

At the start of the day, it is good to have a countdown before class starts so students can prepare to settle down. I like to remind them to use this countdown time to get their materials together such as paper and pencils. This helps me from wasting time during instructional time.

If I put students in groups, I like to set a specific time limit for group time. I usually find an online timer so all of the groups can see how much time they have left whenever they need to see it. This keeps them from asking me how much time they have left. When there are only 5 minutes left, I like to announce to the groups to finish up and clean up if needed.

If the student change classes, it is good to have a 5-minute countdown before the end of class. This is a good time to answer questions and allow students to organize their materials before they leave.

If I plan on changing to a different activity, it is good to give a countdown before the change. This allows them to finish up what they are working on and give them time to make a mental transition to the next activity.

Do you use a countdown timer? If so, please share how.

Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

First Block of Four Different Designs

In the 1964 Christmas issue, The Postmaster General decided to try something new in the form of four stamps with different designs. The four stamps would show holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, and a pinecone. These were issued in sheets of 100 with each sheet having 25 blocks of the four different designs. This first US se-tenant printing of stamps was an important event in philatelic history. The word “se-tenant” comes from a French expression meaning joined together. It refers to an unsevered pair or group of stamps that are different in design, denomination, surcharge, or overprint. Each stamp is printed in holiday red and green against a white background.

The mistletoe symbolizes peace, the holly symbolizes the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head, the poinsettia is the traditional Christmas flower, and pinecones represent evergreen trees which are symbols of eternal life.

Christmas stamps have always been popular with collectors and the general public. When these four-in-one block of holiday stamps were issued, collectors were excited that they could make up several combinations of the se-tenant pairs either vertically or horizontally. This was the third Christmas issue but the first se-tenant issue.

The US did have stamps with different designs from 1930-1950s. Even though these sheets had different images, they were considered souvenir sheets or miniature sheets that were imperforate and they showed reprints of previously issued stamps.

These four stamps were designed by Thomas Naegele. It was issued on November 9, 1964 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This was the first time the post office issued more than one stamp design on one sheet.

Classroom Activities:

· Have students design four Christmas stamps of their own and color them in.

· What other symbols could be used on stamps that represent other things.

· Find Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on the map. What is the city’s population and any other interesting facts about the location?

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Do It Differently

Recently I finished knitting my first pair of color work socks. I enjoyed the pattern but when they were done, they did not fit my feet. I normally knit toe-up socks and this pattern was cuff-down. I also changed the heel which meant I had to rearrange the order of the charts. The heel was too baggy and the foot was too long. I entered the picture of the finished socks into a Knit-a-Long so that I would be eligible for prizes but I was not happy with the finished product. I liked the pattern and my yarn but I was so disappointed.

At first I thought that they would sit on my shelf of finished projects but I knew I would never wear them. Then I decided to rip them out and knit them from the toe up. This involved turning the charts upside down. I also cut apart the charts and taped them in the order I needed so that I would find them easier to follow instead of having to constantly remind myself not to do the order it was in. I am so much happier with the final product! The socks fits me the way I wanted them to do!

I’m so glad that I didn’t give up. I would have wasted some beautiful yarn too.

The designer of the sock pattern wrote it in a way that worked for her. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean that the design is wrong or poorly written. I just had to tweak it so that it would work for me. I just had to figure out a way to do it differently to make it fit my needs and wants.

That is what I want to teach my students. If they don’t understand something or the final result doesn’t match their expectations, then they need to think about doing it differently. Find a way that works for them. Just because they do it differently doesn’t mean that it is wrong. It means that they have found a way to make it work.

The problem with trying to do it differently means that we take a risk. I took a risk by trying the pattern the first time since I’ve never done color work or cuff-down socks. Then I took another risk by ripping it out and trying it a different way. I’m happy that it worked the second time. If it hadn’t, I may have tried it a third way if I thought there was another way to figure it out. Sometimes challenges can motivate me to try different things.

What is something that you have had to try in a different way? Please share.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 24, 2020

Be A Wildflower

In Spreading like wildflowers from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“Build an idea that spreads like wildflowers instead.”

I want to help my students feel comfortable coming up with ideas to share with everyone. Sharing ideas with others helps a concept grow into a real thing. Yet, it makes students feel very vulnerable when they share an idea . They are afraid that someone will make fun of the idea or ridicule what they're thinking. I encourage my students not to have those negative thoughts when they are presenting an idea and I like to train my other students into not projecting negativity onto the person sharing the idea.

Many times, my husband will share an idea with me, and I tend to knock it down. He calls me the naysayer of the family. I think of all the reasons why an idea won't work when I should think of the positives. I should think about why it is a great idea and encourage this idea to grow. A better way to have a discussion would be to ask if the person can think of any obstacles that might be in the way of this idea and help the other person overcome those obstacles. This might open the door to discuss other obstacles that I think might not have been thought of.

By sharing an idea, the student might actually inspire other students to build on that idea. This would make the idea spread like a wildflower. It just needs a little sunlight , water, and soil to grow. Wildflowers usually make people happy and they're so pretty to look at . If an idea can cause happiness and cause people to feel good about themselves then it would be a great idea.

Building an idea should be like planting the seed of a wildflower and watching it grow . It should be exciting and encourage. Waiting for the wildflower to bloom will be and exciting anticipation Just like an idea that comes to fruition.

Sometimes when you voice an idea it helps to visualize the final product. Sometimes when you voice an idea you realize that it is not realistic, but you wouldn't know it if you hadn't voiced it aloud.

I do not allow my students to make fun of or ridicule anyone who shares an idea or voices an opinion. Everyone has value. There are repercussions if someone ridicules or makes fun of another student . My classroom should be a safe place to share your ideas.

How do you get students to share ideas? Please share.

Photo by George Hiles on Unsplash

Friday, August 21, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 08/21/2020

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.

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

Flashcard Factory – “Flashcard Factory was designed to transform the way students engage with vocabulary. When you play Flashcard Factory students pair up and work together to create dynamic and engaging flashcards. Students collaborate to illustrate and define terms, making learning vocab an active and social experience! Flashcard Factory is free to use and works with Google Apps for Education. “ (L:T;SA:A)

Kami – “Kami is a leading digital classroom app built to transform any existing document into an interactive learning experience. Join millions of educators using Kami to improve engagement and collaboration while teaching in the classroom, or online.” (L:T;SA:A)

Goosechase – scavenger hunt; “Each GooseChase game has a list of missions for participants to complete. You can create your mission list using our bank of 100+ tested missions or by designing your own from scratch. Missions have a name, description, point value and an optional link or photo to provide extra information. For text & gps missions, the answer and target destination must also be provided.” (L:T;SA:A)

Why should you read "Hamlet"? – “Explore William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, “Hamlet,” a play about conspiracy, deception and the tragic consequences of indecision. -- “Who’s there?” Whispered in the dark, this question begins a tale of conspiracy, deception and moral ambiguity. And in a play where everyone has something to hide, its answer is far from simple. Written by William Shakespeare, “Hamlet” depicts its titular character haunted by the past, but immobilized by the future. Iseult Gillespie digs into the humanity and tragedy of Hamlet.” (L:H;SA:LA)

A Brief History of Yellowstone National Park - National Geographic; “Yellowstone National Park is epic, beautiful, and iconic. Find out how it became America's first national park.” (L:G;SA:SS, S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Would You Rather? Answers

Yesterday I gave suggestions for Would You Rather Questions and here are how I would answer them. 

· Win the lottery and take the money in a lump sum or in yearly payments? Lump Sum

· Go around the world on a cruise ship or plane? Cruise because I’d already have a hotel room to sleep every night.

· Eat a vegetable you hate or a meat that you hate? A Vegetable

· Stand in front of a group and give a speech or give your speech on a video? Video

· Have your leg or arm cut off? arm

· Lose your sight or your hearing? hearing

· Lose your sight or your speech? speech

· Live where it is freezing cold all the time or over 100 degrees all the time? Freezing because I could always add clothes on.

· Live in a cave or a treehouse? Cave because it couldn’t rot and fall apart

· Be poor and happy or rich and unhappy? Poor and happy

· Live a long life and never achieve your goals or have a short life but achieved all your goals? Live a long life and work towards my goals

· Work 4 days a week for 10 hours a day or 5 days a week for 8 hours a day? 4 days a week

· Write an 1000 word essay by hand or type a 4000 word essay on the computer? 1000 words

· Weed the garden or wash the car? Weed the garden

How would you answer these questions? Please share.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Would You Rather? Questions

I love playing this game. When we are hiking and I’m tired and feeling discouraged. It helps keep my mind off of things. My husband also knows when I start this, he knows I’m feeling miserable. He jumps right in and then we might have a lengthy discussion trying to choose the best answer.

I think students would enjoy this game also. It can be used as an icebreaker or a class discussion if it involves dilemmas.

Here are some examples of Would You Rather:

· Win the lottery and take the money in a lump sum or in yearly payments?

· Go around the world on a cruise ship or plane?

· Eat a vegetable you hate or a meat that you hate?

· Stand in front of a group and give a speech or give your speech on a video?

· Have your leg or arm cut off?

· Lose your sight or your hearing?

· Lose your sight or your speech?

· Live where it is freezing cold all the time or over 100 degrees all the time?

· Live in a cave or a treehouse?

· Be poor and happy or rich and unhappy?

· Live a long life and never achieve your goals or have a short life but achieved all your goals?

· Work 4 days a week for 10 hours a day or 5 days a week for 8 hours a day?

· Write an 1000 word essay by hand or type a 4000 word essay on the computer?

· Weed the garden or wash the car?

Come back tomorrow to see how I would answer them.

What other questions would you ask? Please share.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Teaching Your Own Children

I recently was contacted by several friends who plan on homeschooling their children. I have never homeschooled my own children so I couldn’t recommend any curriculum. I have had some friends who successfully homeschooled their children for all twelve years. Here are the curriculums they recommended:


Saxon Math

Memoria Press

Raising Little Shoots

In my special education self-contained classroom, I taught multiple grades in multiple subjects. I felt like I was homeschooling in a public school.

Most of the time I had to structure my own curriculum to fit everyone’s needs.

The best way I found to do that was what I always called “The One-Room Schoolhouse” approach and now is called Project-Based Learning (PBL).

I would create a project that dealt with current state or local issues and plan my lessons around that central theme. First, I figured out what my goal was and what I wanted the students to learn.

Then I figured out how I would be able to know if they learned the skills that I planned for them. Once I had that framework, I could build the lessons.

Using the state standards, I worked to see what instructional levels in reading and math my students were working on. This takes a few days, but it is essential to know these levels before beginning lessons. I didn’t want the students frustrated by making the lessons too hard, but I wanted to challenge them so that they weren’t bored.

After deciding on the instructional level, I could plan lessons based on the central project theme. I could incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies around the main project and it would all tie together. By doing this, it will help the student learn the relevance of the skills being taught. It will make learning meaningful.

I like that the students could work at whatever level they were on to accomplish a goal. There may be several students on different levels so I would just adjust their lesson and assignment to meet their needs.

By doing this, I was able to keep students engaged and had very little discipline problems.

I reviewed a book called “Project-Based Learning Made Simple” in a previous blog post. You might find it interesting.

Do you use Project-Based Learning (PBL) and in what way? Please share.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Monday, August 17, 2020

Learn from Lessons

In Don’t waste the lesson from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“If we find the lesson and learn from it, it might be even more valuable than if we’d simply gotten lucky.”

Right now, my passion is knitting. I’m not a great knitter. In fact, I’m not even a good knitter but I enjoy it. I like seeing the end product. Sometimes it doesn’t come out like I wanted it to but I’m usually happy with the end result. I might make a garment that is too big or too small but it looks like the picture in the pattern.

Recently I’m trying something new. I’m working on a colorwork sock and this technique is something that I’ve never done before. I finished one sock and I learned something valuable. I learned that I should have made a larger size for my foot. Even though the first sock looks great, it is really hard to get on my foot. It would probably look great on a smaller foot and luckily, my daughter has a smaller foot. When I finish the second sock, I will have her try it on and see if it fits her. If it does, I will give it to her as a gift. But I learned something important in this lesson about the size.

Since March, I have learned so many things about myself and my habits! I have learned to be a better shopper so that I don’t have to go to the grocery store as often as we used to do. I’ve learned to attend online workshops and focus more when I’m in these workshops. I’ve learned to organize my home better. I’ve learned how nice my yard and gardens look when I regularly work in them.

During this summer, I ran an online education program and I hope my teachers learned some valuable lessons that they can use in the classroom this fall. I learned what I liked and what I didn’t like so that next summer if we have to hold it online, I can make the program even better.

I hope students who have been stuck at home since March have learned to value in-person learning. I hope they learned to appreciate their teachers, their peers, their friends, and even their families.

What lessons have you learned recently? Please share.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Friday, August 14, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 08/14/2020

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

Digital Design Challenge – “To help educators across the globe cope with the changing and uncertain scenario, this two-week course is made available on the YouTube playlist above. Videos will be updated and added regularly. For easier access and detailed updates, make sure to register below!” (L:G;SA:A)

Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs (for free!) – “Welcome to the Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs List! I’m Kate Messner, the children’s author and educator who maintains this site. I started it because I’ve found that virtual author visits are a great way to connect authors and readers, and I realize that many schools facing budget troubles don’t have the option of paid author visits. With that in mind, this is a list of authors who offer free 15-20-minute Q and A sessions with classes and book clubs that have finished reading one of their books. As an author, I offer Skype chats for all of my titles – check out the “Books” tab above for a list!” (L:T;SA:A)

X-Stream Sundays - Welcome to STREAM Central! This document will bring you a different STREAM lesson each Sunday. The table below will link you to FlipGrids for each lesson. Remember to come back each week for a new activity! (L:E;SA:A)

Night Zookeeper – “Night Zookeeper is an amazing writing intervention that will boost attainment levels of even the most reluctant writers.:” (L:E,M;SA:LA)

Biblionasium – “Part kids social network, part parent’s guide, part educator's tool, Biblionasium blends technology with personal connection to create a supportive, engaging space for reading success. We use the metaphor of a gymnasium because we believe in and foster through our website, the importance of Discipline, Practice, Goal Setting, and Rewards in achieving success. Experts agree that community and consistency can be powerful in helping children become better, more passionate readers. Our mission is to instill good reading habits at a young age; to promote reading as a social activity, and to connect kids, parents and teachers to create a virtual “reading village.” We invite you to explore the site. And hope you’ll join us in a great book.” (L:E;SA:LA)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Keowee-Toxaway State Park

Keowee-Toxaway State Park is located in Pickens County, South Carolina, along Lake Keowee. The lands used to be owned by Duke Power. There is a 3-bedroom cabin for 10 people with a private dock that you can rent. There are also 24 campsites: 10 for RVs or tents, and 14 for tents only. Five picnic shelters are available for group gatherings and there are a couple of hiking trails. The Raven Rock trail is 3.1 miles and the Natural Bridge trail is 1.4 miles. There used to be a trail with four interpretive kiosks that highlight the Cherokees. Once they closed the trail, they moved the artifacts to the Cherokee Museum in Walhalla. There is a short half-mile trail to Lake Keowee, and you can fish there. At the lake, you will find boating access.

The Jocassee Gorges Visitor Center is located here and is the gateway to the Jocassee Gorges.

The words Keowee and Toxaway are Cherokee words meaning “place of the mulberry” and “place of thunder.” Before this area was settled by European Americans, the Cherokees hunted the area and built their towns along the river. Keowee Villages was the capital of the Lower Cherokee Towns in 1539. It was a large settlement that went about 10 miles along the river.

As more and more European Americans arrived and settled in the area, the Cherokee left the area by 1785. The area developed into farms and eventually developed into an area for the textile industry.

The area is rich in plant and animal species. Along with numerous species of fish in the lake and rivers, there are turkey, deer, and black bear.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Unusual Time for Teaching

In It’s okay to throw stuff out. Now’s a good time to rethink a lot of what we’re doing.

History Tech, glennw shares,

“Simply put, what we’ve always done in the past probably isn’t going to work today.”

With the unusual start of school where some people are going in person and others are virtual or part time virtual, it is time to do some unusual teaching.

We can’t go back to the “old way” of teaching. Gone are the lectures and the push information type learning.

Now is a good time to try all the new things you wanted to but was afraid to get away from the traditional way of teaching.

Now more than ever would be the perfect time for Project Based Learning. Within Project Based Learning, you can implement Universal Design for Learning.

If you are an elementary school teacher and you teach a variety of subjects, creating a project that would incorporate all of the subjects will make learning more fun and teaching easier. Students will be more engaged when they are going back and forth from virtual to face to face instruction. This project will be the constant that can tie all of the learning together. The teacher may have to do more work on the front end of the project but during the project, the teacher becomes more of the facilitator and helps to guide the learning. Teachers of the same grade levels can meet to share ideas and./or collaborate on projects.

In upper grades, teams of teachers can get together to create the project together and incorporate their different areas of study into the assignments. With a team, it will be easier to bounce off ideas and share the workload. The final assessment can include a finished project or presentation that incorporates all areas of study.

By doing a project that is relevant to the students, they will be more engaged and excited about learning. All of the negativity and the fear factor from the media has to weigh heavily on the teachers and the students. Something like a project can pull everyone together and help them less focused on the media.

How do you feel about Project Based Learning? Please share.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Caesar’s Head State Park

Caesar’s Head State Park is in Greenville County, South Carolina, and is well known for the granitic gneiss outcropping above sea level. that is 3208 ft. which gives the park its name. You can see all the way to North Carolina and Georgia if the atmosphere is just right. Caesar’s Head is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness and connects to Jones Gap State Park. There are 13,000 acres at Caesar’s Head State Park.

This park was one of the first places my boyfriend (who is now my husband) took me on a date in the early 1980s. The view is outstanding and when we have visitors from other places, we like to take them there.

As early as 1825, a state engineer referred to Caesar’s Head as a mass of granite. In 1848, Benjamin Hagood, a former state senator bought 2400 acres around Caesar’s Head and built a cottage and a hotel. The hotel closed in 1862. When Hagood died, the property went to his daughter Eliza and her husband. During the Civil War, many Confederate Army deserters stayed in the area. In 1876, Eliza Miles and her husband ran a health resort on the mountain.

In 1880, the hotel was sold, and the inn and cottages were enlarged but the owner was unable to pay off the mortgage. In 1885, the property went back to the Miles. In 1897, the Miles gave the property to Furman University in exchange for annuity and room and board for the rest of their lives. Furman sold the property in 1924 to a company interested in building summer homes. The hotel was still in business, but the land developer hit hard times during the Great Depression. Pet and Tom Marchant bought the property in 1946 and added tennis courts and a pool. In 1954, the hotel, cottage, servant quarters, and the original Hagood house all burned down. South Carolina’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism got the land from various owners between 1976 and 1986.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Camping in the Smokies

For more pictures, click here.

We spent last week camping in the Smokies. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is our favorite national park and we spend a lot of time there.

We got to Smokemont Campground on a Monday afternoon. It was so easy to set up our campsite (Site D38). This is our favorite campsite. It is across from the group campsite which was closed. The bathrooms were right across the road and this building has outlets. Since I get up so early, I can plug in my iPad and charge it up if needed. I can get it all charged up before most people are even awake.

We like to go to the Oconoluftee River Trail which is about a 3.2-mile roundtrip hike that starts at the Visitor Center and goes to the town of Cherokee. Every day, we came across elk under the shade trees. On one day, there were several people who were extremely close to the elk to take photos and the male elk gave a bugle warning a couple of times, but the people didn’t move. We went an alternate way off the trail to avoid the elk and the people. For lunch each day, we ate at Subway. They did a great job of wearing masks and gloves as they fixed our sub sandwiches. On one day, we got in the river and played in the water. The water was just like bathwater! (Well, bath water in the dead of winter if you have no heat and no hot water.)

After a few days, we headed to Cades Cove Campground. We had a nice ride over Newfound Gap and stopped to see the views and take photos. We stopped in Townsend for gas and supplies (ice was $2 at the IGA) and lunch at Subway. We camped at site B37 which was a nice site. It was further away from the bathrooms and I had to use our external batteries to charge our electronics. After we set up camp, we went to the camp store and got soft serve ice cream (which we have gotten there for about 30 years when we visit!). I was surprised how much the price has increased (about $5 for a cake cone.) On the first afternoon, it poured down rain pretty heavily. I was so glad we had our Clam screen room and had the optional walls up to keep out the rain. I also had my Little Red Campfire going which made the room toasty warm while it rained. One man called it a “frog strangler” kind of rain.

Most of the trailheads were packed with cars and heavy crowds so we drove to Sevierville and went to the Tanger Outlet Stores. We both needed new tennis shoes and got some from the New Balance outlet store. Then we had a nice drive and lunch in Townsend. We found out our camper refrigerator wasn’t working so we had to put everything back into the cooler and buy ice from the camp store ($4.50). In the evening we walked around the campground and talked with other campers. When we went to bed, it was really hot, humid and miserable. We decided that we would leave in the morning and head for home.

The next morning, Don got up around 7:30 am and by 8:30 am we were packed up and heading home.

Things I Learned:

1. I really like Smokemont Campground D Loop (pull through sites).
2. Smokemont D38 is my favorite site.
3. I like playing in the river even if the water is cold.
4. It is good to have water shoes on in the river.
5. The Oconoluftee River Trail is a wonderful trail.
6. It is more crowded in the campground in the summer months.
7. People don’t wear masks even when asked that they should.
8. It is nice when people respect quiet hours in a campground.
9. There are a lot of mushrooms on the trails in August.
10. Thundershowers are expected in the afternoon during summer.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, August 7, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom

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

North Star Paths – free graphics (L:T;SA:A)

The 100+ Best Virtual Tours and Field Trips for Kids and Students [2020] – “We have compiled the ultimate list of everything from amusement parks to zoos so that you and your little ones can enjoy them from the comfort and safety of your own home!” (L:G;SA:A)

Empatico – “Empatico empowers teachers and students to explore the world through experiences that spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy. We combine live video with activities designed to foster meaningful connections among students ages 6-11.’ (L:E;SA:A)

The Inspiration Walk – “The Inspiration Walk is an immersive audio learning experience designed to help you see things differently. It's an exercise in observation and synthesis that gets your body and mind moving into unexpected territory. Use it to find inspiration on a challenge that matters to you.” (L:G;SA:A)

Sending Smiles – “Over 50,000 cards have been decorated and mailed across the United States to sick children in hospitals, 25+ different Ronald McDonald Houses, and to children fighting battles at home. This is a quick fun activity that allows you to make a difference in the life of a sick child at no cost to you. We mail you everything you need to be a smile maker! Teachers, this is a great lesson demonstrating compassion and caring for others. This is a fun service project for girl/boy scouts, sport teams, and youth groups. Organizational leaders, this is a great way to team with your staff. BELIEVE IN THE MAGIC OF A SMILE- You can make a difference!!!!” (L:G;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Online School

This summer I ran a summer program where my teachers taught children for 2 hours a day twice a week. The teachers did a great job but there were so many variables that cause a lot of obstacles for the children. I’m not sure they were able to absorb instruction like they did when we had face-to-face classes.

Even if they do some kind of hybrid school year, I fear that students won’t get the quality of instruction that is only possible by having face-to-face classes. Students will go face to face part of the week and the other days they will attend class virtually. Students and Teachers are going to find it very hard to remember which day they are doing which classes. Many will be unprepared and confused. Students will be extremely frustrated and this will affect their learning.

I worry about all these hybrid schedules that the districts are making. What about the parents who work? How will parents be able to get childcare for only a few days and those days can vary depending on the Covid-19 numbers in the community?

What will the schools do when most of the teachers test positive for the virus and are out for at least 14 days or more? Where are all the substitute teachers coming from? Will they be willing to risk their health for the low pay that they will get?

My husband believes that students are going to get lazy and not want to go to school. A whole generation of students will become lacking in an education!

I believe teachers are going to have to work hard to make online schools engaging and interesting. They are competing with gaming platforms and TV! Teachers are going to have to change the way they present material and think of ways to really hook students in!

How do you feel about online schools and hybrid learning? Please share.

Photo by Ozan Safak on Unsplash

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Recent Scrapbook Pages

I haven’t’ shared my recent scrapbook pages with you and thought I would. I have been enjoying doing these again. I get my kits from the website – GingerScraps. It is very motivating to belong to the group on GingerScraps because each month they have a monthly challenge. If you do 10 of the individual challenges by the end of the month, they send a free kit. I have gotten many free beautiful kits that way. It is very motivating and getting 10 pages done is very doable.

I also think this would be great for students to share their knowledge of a topic. It would be a great assessment tool.

I hope you enjoy my pages.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Summer Learning Place 2020 Review

This year my summer program – Summer Learning Place 2020 – was taught virtually. I had eight teachers and 32 children. There were 2 teachers and 8 children per classroom and each classroom was held on Zoom from 9-11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I asked the teachers to reflect on whether they achieved their goals, how they may have changed from the first week, a summary of the eight weeks, and whether it met their expectations. I enjoyed reading their reflections and I think everyone felt like they had grown professionally and that the whole experience was better than expected.

My goals were:

1. Help my students (the teachers) as much as possible to make this class meaningful.
2. Give constructive suggestions for online teaching.
3. Look at ways that I can make this online class better for the next time it is taught online.

I believe that I achieved all three of my goals and it was a very positive experience for me also. I think the program went well but I never had any doubts that it could be done.

It was very hard to not be in the classrooms face to face for me. Every year I get to know the children and enjoy seeing them every day. This year I didn’t get to know any of the children very well and I missed that part.

I think it was very hard to teach three subjects in a two hour period and if I have to do this again, I will only require them to teach reading and math. Time management was a major issue for everyone but it may be because they were trying to squeeze three subjects in. In spite of that issue, everyone did a great job of teaching. I enjoyed observing all of the lessons.

I learned a lot about teaching online and how there need to be some adjustments compared to teaching face to face. Here are some things I learned (not in order of importance):

· If using Zoom, set it up so everyone is “mute on entry.” This will help if there is anything inappropriate being said in the background.
· Have students use headphones or headsets. The children didn’t use them and there were a lot of background distractions. I should have enforced this.
· Take time, in the beginning, to go over a checklist of necessary materials (pen, pencil, crayons, blank paper, worksheets, manipulatives).
· Plan at least an hour for every subject. Make sure students have a break every 20 -25 minutes. It may be sooner depending on the age of the children.
· Incorporate as much movement as possible online.

If you have had to teach a class online, what other suggestions would you give? Please share.

Monday, August 3, 2020

2020 Goals Review for July

July was a busy month. I was busy working and then my brother in law passed away suddenly. That put me in a kind of funk, and I didn’t eat as healthy as I would have liked.

1. Lose 5 lbs. Hopefully this year I will be able to meet this goal. – I was better about my sugar and step count this month. I increased my exercise so I feel healthier. In the last 2 weeks, I really worked on my eating and exercise habits and it really paid off. I lost 3 lbs. I really think I can reach my goal this year if I keep this up. 
202010,000 Steps +25g of sugar or less

2. Crafts – I’m on track for accomplishing this goal.
a. Knit 12 squares on my national park blanket. I have a total of 35 completed now. (There are 60 squares in the pattern, and this is year 3 of the project.)
i. Completed 9 squares this year
b. Charity – I want to crochet at least 3 prayer shawls and make 10 more NICU hats.
i. January – prayer shawl completed
ii. February – prayer shawl completed
iii. June – prayer shawl complete
iv. July – 5 NICU hats.
c. Knit a sweater. – Completed the Ground Pepper Sweater
d. Knit a ZigZag scarf – Completed
e. Repair the neckline on the Henley sweater I made a few years ago. – I looked at the sweater and realized that to fix the neckline, I would have to rip out both button bands and at this time, I’m not sure I want to do all that work so this goal probably won’t happen. I should receive partial credit for at least looking at it and considering it.

3. Read 12 nonfiction books that are related to nature. – I’m on track for accomplishing this goal.
a. The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired A Nation by Elizabeth Letts
b. A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall
c. The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man's Unlikely Path to Walden Pond by Michael Sims
d. The Story of My Boyhood and Youth by John Muir
e. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
f. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf
g. The House of Owls by Tony Angell
h. Forces of Nature by Brian Cox
i. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams

How is your progress towards your goals? Please share.

Photo by 30daysreplay (PR & Marketing) on Unsplash