Friday, October 30, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 10/30/2020

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

Jigsaw Explorer - free jigsaw puzzles (L:G;SA:A)

Airpano - A virtual journey around the world (L:G;SA:A)

Three Ways to Add Some Educational Fun to Your Virtual and Hybrid Classes - “Here are the things that I’m doing to try to add some educational fun into my hybrid classroom this fall.” (L:G;SA:A)

USGS Resources for Teachers - “Tap into over 140 years of USGS research in the natural sciences in the form of lesson plans and activities, maps, podcasts, online lectures, videos and animations, and much more. Browse thousands of ideas for using these resources in elementary, secondary, university, and informal education settings” (L:G;SA:S)

Skateistan - “By combining skateboarding with creative, arts-based education, we give children the opportunity to become leaders for a better world. Our focus is on groups who are often excluded from sports and educational opportunities, especially girls, children living with disabilities and those from low-income backgrounds. We provide safe spaces where children can have fun, build their skills and confidence and break down social barriers by making new friends.” (L:G;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Trick or Treating

Saturday is Trick or Treating and this year may seem very different than other years. 

  • Please help your children enjoy this day safely. 
  • Encourage them to keep their masks on. 
  • Try to keep socially distanced from the other children. 
  • Don't eat any candy until they wash their hands. 
  • When they get home, have them wash their hands. 

Have a good Halloween weekend! 

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Paying Attention

Recently, a teacher asked an educator group these questions:

“I am in a 6th-grade classroom. I have a couple of students who are not doing their work, and a student who will not focus in class, after being given multiple sensory items, and them either being lost or broken the following day. My question is: What have you found is a good way to get students to do their work, and what next steps would you take in order to get the student to focus in class?”

I would wonder why the students are not doing their work first. Is it too hard? (You may think it isn’t hard for them, but they may feel it is too hard, and rather than fail, they would rather not try.) Is it too easy? What is their learning style? (Can you give them choices to do an assignment in a different way?) Do they understand what is expected? If you know the cause of the behavior, you can try to figure out a way to motivate them. What motivates them?

For the student who won't focus, is the assignment too long? Can it be broken down into smaller tasks? Can you sequence the steps and have him check off each step as it gets completed?

Sometimes we try to solve a puzzle like this on our own, but it is okay to talk to the student and the parents about this. I would approach this as a team effort to solve a puzzle so that they don’t get defensive and shut down. Tell them you want to consider all suggestions and it is important that you work together so the student can be successful.

This will show the student that you consider their input valuable and that their feelings matter. It also shows that you care, and you want the student to be successful. They may have failed so much before that they don’t think a little more will matter. Your insistence on helping them may give them hope and a willingness to try harder.

Many parents will feel that you are implying that their student is lazy and just non-compliant. It is important that you keep those ideas out of the meeting. This will cause the student to shut down and become stubborn about learning. Explain that you believe that the student wants to be successful, but you are trying to find the key that will help this happen.

I truly believe that if you take the time to do this kind of investigation, you will be able to find a way to motivate these students and help them be successful in your classroom. It takes time and persistence along with an “I won’t give up” attitude.

Have you dealt with this in your classroom? What did you do? Please share.

Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Wanting Everything

In Wants and needs from Seth Godin's Blog by Seth Godin shares,

“You’re unlikely to get everything you want. That’s a good thing, because wants are part of what define us.”

Sometimes when we want something bad enough, we work harder to achieve it. My parents always felt that if I didn’t work hard for something, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

I saw this when I went to college and some of my classmates were given anything they wanted by their parents. One of them wrecked his new sports car and his parents got him a new one. He cut classes and spent a lot of time partying but not much time studying. By the end of the first year, he left with poor grades and terrible work habits.

Since I had to work hard and pay my own way as an out of state student at a private college, I was careful in making sure that every dollar was well spent. I didn’t cut any classes and I studied hard because I didn’t want to have to pay to retake the class. I worked towards a goal because I wanted to be a teacher. When I achieved my goal of teaching, I appreciated my hard work and I could feel proud of how much I achieved in order to get here.

I inherited my sister’s old car after she passed away. I took care of it because it was up to me to pay for care and maintenance for it. No one else was responsible for that. This means I had to take extra care of this car if I wanted to be able to use it. No one was there to give me a new car if this one quit working.

I know that my parents always warned me to “Be careful. You might get what you wish for.” What if I got what I wished for and then I realize that it really wasn’t what I wanted? Or I might get it and not know what to do with it?

I think it is important to teach our students that it is okay to want things and have goals. But we don’t get everything we want. This may be because we don’t have the money at the time or the skills to achieve that goal yet. Over time, our goals may change, and our wants may change.

My students need to learn that they won’t always get what they want but they can work towards that goal. Maybe with patience, they can get what they want and by then their wants will be changed. They may have new wants after they get what they were working towards. It is having these wants that move them forward and keep them from being stagnant. These wants will help them work towards success in their lives.

What want are you working towards getting? Please share. 

Photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash

Monday, October 26, 2020


In “That’s not what I meant” from Seth Godin's Blog,  Seth Godin states, 

"Disagreements among people who mean well usually begin with that emotion. Students can be very sensitive to words. Someone may say something that is totally innocent, but it can be taken the wrong way."

During this time of wearing masks, reading facial expressions and hearing tone of voice is especially hard.

Most people use these visual cues to go along with the words in order to understand the intent of the words. This is how we can tell if the speaker is angry, sarcastic serious, or making a joke.

By knowing the intent, we know how to respond.

I am suggesting to many people that are wearing masks that they need to add the intent at the end of what they say so that it can be taken in the right way. Don’t assume that the person you are speaking to can tell what you mean.

If I am going to say something funny, I will ask “Don’t you think that is funny?” or something to indicate that what I said should be taken lightly.

Maybe I will say that I’m going to be sarcastic and then say what I want to say.

If I’m angry, then I need to let the person know that I’m angry before I speak.

I think sometimes if we think of our intent before we speak, we might decide that it would be better not to say anything after all.

During these stressful times, more people can’t seem to help themselves by being more sensitive than normal. When times weren’t so stressful, words and statements didn’t bother them as much as it does now. We need to take in account that people may be more sensitive than we are used to and adjust our habits and ways of communicating.

Has this happened to you? Please share.

Photo by Pavel Anoshin on Unsplash

Friday, October 23, 2020

Stamp Show

This Saturday there will be a Stamp Show hosted by the Cresthaven Stamp Club in West Palm Beach, FL. It takes place at the Barkley Club House, 2605 Barkley Drive on October 24, 2020, from 11- 3 with an auction at noon. 

They hold meetings on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 1pm. If you get a chance to check out their website or come to a meeting, it is well worth your time. 

I think it would be a good time for teachers and students to attend a stamp show. If you don't live near this one, find one in your area and check it out. 

I think it would be a great research project for students. They can write about what they learn or make a brochure on stamp collecting, or make a photo display. 

Students can talk to collectors and find out why they collect stamps and what specific categories of stamps they collect. 

Students can learn how to start collecting and many collectors are more than happy to share their love of stamp collecting. 

Students can find stamps for a specific time in history and learn more about that time from the stamps. 

Students can find stamps on famous people or places. 

Students will learn how to organize their stamps once they collect them. 

Students will learn what supplies and tools they might need. 

Teachers will get ideas for different lessons that they can do by using stamps. 

Photo by Mason B. on Unsplash

Thursday, October 22, 2020


In The Delight Project from Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski shares, 

“So I want to think more about delight and I’m going to challenge myself to a delight project. I’m going to try and share something daily that brings me delight.”

Please check out his description of what delight is and the things that give him delight.

I don’t know how I missed this but he started this project five months ago and I thought it sounded like a wonderful project. I think this would be a great thing to do in the classroom. It seems like it is so much easier to find the negative things in the world or things that annoy us but it is much harder to find things that delight us and give us joy.

I am going to try to keep a journal and write down things each day that delight me and then share some of these things with you.

This would be a great writing project for students to do. Ask them to keep a journal and each day, write at least one thing that delighted them yesterday. Then once a week, have them write about one of the things. What happened that delighted them? Why did it delight them?

Maybe if we start looking at things that delight us and give us joy, we might find more happiness and hope in living each day. We might start smiling more. We might make being happier contagious.

What delights you and gives you joy? Please share. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Scary Stories

 One of my favorite times for creative writing in my classroom was during October and the Halloween season. For some reason, my students were at the peak of creativeness during this time. Monsters and unique situations were all in the land of possibilities. Nothing odd or unusual was off-limits (other than sex, drugs, or illegal activities) in their stories. This was the land of pretending for all ages. 

I usually set the mood off with some scary music. I played some of my favorite old songs especially Monster Mash. 

Sometimes I would give a list of scary story prompts to the students and let them pick one of them. Or they could make up one of their own stories. I had them first picture the scene in their minds and then I had them describe the scene.  I would do the same thing for their characters. Have the student describe them. They can jot down words on the paper or even draw a picture.  Once this was done, I would have them get out a fresh sheet of paper and have them start writing the story. 

I had a little recipe that would help them get started.

  • Write about the setting so the reader can picture what it looks like. Where are the characters? What does the surrounding area look like? What does it feel like? Is it cold or hot? 
  • What are the characters like? Describe them. Are they tall or short? What makes them look scary? What things do they do that scares others? 
  • Then I have them begin the narrative. Tell me what is happening. 
  • How does the story end? What happened? 

Usually, when students follow this recipe, they write very interesting stories. When they are done, I will help them make corrections and write up a display copy to be shown either on a bulletin board, or a newsletter or to parents. They can also draw an illustration of the story to go with it. 

Here are some prompts you can use: 

  • The Monster in the Closet. 
  • My friend, the Monster. 
  • The Scary Monster
  • The Friendly Monster
  • The Scariest Thing that Happened to Me. 
  • One Dark and Spooky Night. 
What other prompts would you add to this list? Please share. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Halloween 2020

I started thinking about how this Halloween is going to be so different than other Halloweens. Trick or treating in my neighborhood is almost nonexistent anyway. It seems it isn't safe anymore like when I was a child. When I was a child, we knew most of our neighbors but I still remember my parents going through my candy. Anything not wrapped was thrown away unless we knew the person well that gave it to us. 

When my children were growing up, they did a little trick or treating in the neighborhood but we didn't have a lot of neighbors so it was quick and painless (from a parent's perspective). Then the local malls started having Trick or Treat in the mall and it was so nice to see all the children in the mall stopping at each store for candy. It didn't matter what the weather was like because it was all inside. 

Over the past few years, our city has closed off our Main St. and how they have a "Trunk or Treat" which means the children walk up and down Main St. to stop at all the stores for candy. There is no traffic on the street and lots of people show up. It was fun to see friends and neighbors that you never have time to visit with during the rest of the year. 

This year I expect it will be somewhat different. I think our city is doing the Trunk or Treat again but everyone will be wearing masks. I know some places plan on having a table out with the candy on it so children can pick up their own candy instead of someone placing in their bags. This helps people keep social distancing in place. It will be hard to hold long conversations with friends because let's face it, it is hard to hear and understand people easily while they have their masks on. Elderly people who look forward to this day because it brings visitors and short conversations with others, won't give out candy because it is too risky for them. 

I see having conversations with young people about how we used to do it in the "olden" days. 

Yet, overall, it may be a good thing. Halloween has become way too commercialized with the price of costumes and candy increasing. 

Maybe now, it is a good time to think about decorating your classroom instead of focusing on candy. Have a neighborhood contest for the best decorated scary classroom. Have a separate winner for each grade level. Have students vote on the best decoration for each grade (great practice and lead up to the discussion on voting.) The winner of the contest is announced on Halloween.  Maybe have some kind of prize for each student in each winning class. 

What is something fun you can do in the classroom for Halloween? Please share. 

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Monday, October 19, 2020

Know Copyright Rules

As teachers, we should make sure that we know copyright rules and teach our students to follow them.

I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve attended to discuss upcoming presentations and I’m the only one who mentions that we need to make sure we are not using copyrighted images. People look at me with a blank face and insist that because we are educators, copyright doesn’t matter. This is so wrong on so many levels. I have to tell them that I won’t be part of the committee or sign off on the final presentation if they are using copyrighted material without permission.

Recently an online friend, Richard Byrne, talks about this in his blog post, Addressing Two Common Copyright Misunderstandings. He shares two situations where he has to help people deal with copyright issues.

From his post, I learned of a free webinar that he did with Dr. Beth Holland called Copyright for Teachers. I hope you take the time to watch this because it is informative. In fact, I think this should be shown on professional development days or at faculty meetings.

The pictures that I use in my blog and presentations are usually from Unsplash that offers free high-resolution pictures or I will use a photo I took myself. There are other sites that offer free pictures also. At the bottom of my post and on the corner of my slides, I always post the attribution details of the picture even though the site says I don’t have to do this. I think I would like it if someone gave me credit for a picture I uploaded even if I offer it for free. It’s just a nice thing to do.

When I link to other sites on my Friday posts sharing useful information, I usually make sure I put quotes around a description of the site that I took from their page. I don’t want anyone to think I’m saying the words are my own.

Sometimes I will link to Richard Byrnes site, Free Technology for Teachers,  about something because I couldn’t word it better and you should just go to his site because it is so good!

How do you teach your students and colleagues about copyright? Please share. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 10/16/20

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 

Printable Halloween Photo Booth Props + Zoom Backgrounds – “If you’re taking your Halloween celebration virtual this year, you can still dress for the occasion. Wear a fun Halloween t-shirt, keep some props handy, and change your Zoom background to impress (and possibly spook) the other guests.” (L:G;SA:A) 

Thinglink – “Easily create visual learning materials and virtual tours, empower students to work on projects and assignments using text, voice, photos, and video.” (L:T;SA:A)
Political Polls – from RealClear; daily results from political polls

Next Vista for Learning
– free webinars; “Concerns with the spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) have forced school leaders across the world to close their schools and dive into the deep end of the online instruction pool. We hope these free webinars provide ideas, guidance, and encouragement.” (L:G;SA:A)

Interactive Constitution – “Learn about the text, history, and meaning of the U.S. Constitution from leading scholars of diverse legal and philosophical perspectives.” (L:H;SA:SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Positive Attitudes

In Attitudes are skills from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin, 

“Once you realize that you can improve, amplify and refine the things that other people call attitudes, you may realize that they are skills.”

I think that people have the ability to develop better attitude skills. They can choose to have a positive attitude or a negative attitude. You are not born with this so it must be acquired. Attitude is closely connected to our perceptions. How we see things help us to improve our attitudes. Our attitudes can affect our work skills.

Negative attitudes can cause mistakes, imperfections, feelings of frustration and anger, and even lead to failure.

Positive attitudes open up possibilities. They give feelings of hope and anticipation of better things to come. It opens up options and can lead to success.

I thought I would list some positive attitudes that I thought I should help my students to develop.

  1. I am capable of doing many things. 
  2. It is good to work hard to achieve the things I want. 
  3. It doesn’t hurt to try new things (as long as they aren’t illegal).  
  4. I need to practice to get better at new things. 
  5. It’s alright to make mistakes as long as I don’t keep repeating them. 
  6. It is okay to ask for help. 
  7.  It is good to help others. 
  8. Teamwork can help hard things easier. 
  9. Accepting criticism helps me to improve. 
  10. It is okay to feel proud when I achieve something.
These are just ten things I would start with. I think it would be good to pick one for a lesson and open it up for discussion with the following questions:
  • Why is this hard for some people? 
  • How can I start to believe this? 
  • How can I help others believe this?
What other positive attitudes would you add to the list? What other questions would you add to the discussion? Please share.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Croft State Park

Another state park that is located near me is Croft State Park. I’ve hiked a little there and hope to do more hiking there in the future. 250,

Croft State Park is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. During WWII, it was used as an army basic training center and a prisoner of war camp. There are 20 miles of biking, hiking, and horse trails in the park. Also, there is a playground, picnicking area, shooting range, and a campground. Fishing and paddling can be done in the 165-acre Lake Craig. You might see white-tailed deer, raccoons, fox, coyote, waterfowl, and birds of prey in the park.

During the late 18th century, the land was farmed, and old farmsteads can still be found in the park.

During the American Revolutionary War, the Patriots and the Loyalists fought here.

In the 19th century, a hotel was built and attracted people to lithium springs that supposedly healed people. It burned in 1930 and some foundation remains are still visible.

While it was used as an Army basic training facility, 250,000 troops trained here. It was named for Major General Edward Croft from Greenville, SC, and former chief of Army infantry. By having Camp Croft here, the local economy was helped tremendously.

About a thousand German prisoners of war were held here during the last two years of the war.

When the base was deactivated in 1945, the government sold 7000 acres to the state of South Carolina for a park. The park opened in 1949. There are still warnings posted about possible ordnance found in the area.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


Last week my husband and I voted early (absentee – in person) because we won’t be at home on Election Day. We usually vote this way every year because we usually are never home on Election Day. 

I think casting my vote is so important. I think it does count and helps direct how our government should be run. It is so important that I’m afraid if people don’t exercise their right to vote that we would lose this right. I have visited countries where people don’t have a right to say anything about their government and are in fact worried about the consequences if they tried. How lucky we are that we have the freedom to gripe and complain if we don’t like how things are going in our country!

I hear many people who say that they won’t vote because it doesn’t matter. I say this is just a cop-out and these people are just plain lazy. The people who refuse to vote do not have the right to complain when things aren’t going the way they like in our country. Not voting is just outright laziness and these people should be ashamed of themselves.

I worry about the outcome of the election and I hope it comes out the way that I voted. If it does, I hope I can be graceful and not gloat about our success. But if it doesn’t, I did my part. I can complain and help the opposition try to win next time. Either way, I will have done my best.

I voted.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Monday, October 12, 2020

Podcast for Stamp Collectors

I love listening to podcasts on topics that interest me. I listen to hiking, knitting, literature, and travel podcasts. Then my husband asked me to find a podcast for stamp collectors. Since he has been listening to this, he has shared how much he has enjoyed it so I thought I would share it with you in case you are a stamp collector, or you want to be a stamp collector. So far there are 224 episodes on different topics. The last episode was on July 10, 2019, but it probably stopped due to the Coronavirus-19 pandemic. I think the older episodes though are still informative and interesting. 

Since we have iPhones, I was able to subscribe to the podcast on Apple Tunes. You can also listen to them on your web browser or download it to your computer and listen to it later. 
It is called Stamp Show Here Today podcast. 

I think students would learn a lot about stamps from this podcast. The episodes aren't too long and they are chock full of information. It might inspire students to begin stamp collecting. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 10/9/2020

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

Can you spot the problem with these headlines? - a TEDed lesson; In medicine, there’s often a disconnect between news headlines and the scientific research they cover. While headlines are designed to catch attention, many studies produce meaningful results when they focus on a narrow, specific question. So how can you figure out what’s a genuine health concern and what’s less conclusive? Jeff Leek and Lucy McGowan explain how to read past the headline.(L:G;SA:A)  

Spot the Troll - "Welcome, real human A troll is a fake social media account, often created to spread misleading information. Each of the following 8 profiles include a brief selection of posts from a single social media account. You decide if each is an authentic account or a professional troll. After each profile, you’ll review the signs that can help you determine if it's a troll or not."(L:G;SA:A) 

Searching for Sharks in Street View -  "For the past four years, The Ocean Agency has revealed the ocean to the world through Google Street View. Along the way, we've encountered a few unexpected guests. Follow along as our dive team encounters the world's largest, most dangerous and most surprising sharks." (L:G;SA:A) 

Modern Chalkboard - "Download from our large collection of professionally created SMARTBoard Notebook files for teachers. Most activities are common-core aligned. We have math, ELA, science and social studies lessons."(L:T;SA:LA,M) 

Knowt - "Download Knowt to automatically turn your notes into review quizzes!" (L:T;SA:A) 

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Being Perfect

In Walking away from the idée fixe from Seth Godin's Blog by Seth Godin shares, 

 “It’s going to be exactly like THIS. It has to be, and I don’t want to hear otherwise.”

This had me wondering about when people began to think that something has to be perfect. Are we taught this by our parents? Our teachers? Who instills this perception into our mind?

Do we think that if it is not perfect, we are a failure? If it isn’t perfect, something can’t work. How do we determine that something needs to perfect or that near perfect is just as good?

There may be times where perfection is vital. If someone is building my house, I would hope that the measurements are perfect, so my house won’t fall in on top of me. If someone is operating on my body, I hope that the surgeon has perfected his skills. That would not be a time that I want the surgeon to believe that near perfect was okay.

I remember when my husband was writing a paper for class and he agonized over it. He would argue that it just wasn’t perfect yet. As the deadline approached, he became more stressed and it still wasn’t perfect. Eventually I was able to talk him into submitting it even though it was just near perfect to him. I’m not sure all the time in the world would have ever been enough time for it to ever be perfect.

I know that when I was learning to sew something my seams were not perfect. But I accepted it because I didn’t think that anyone was going to look that closely and I know that I was still learning.

Even now that I’ve been knitting for 12 years, I have made many things and I don’t believe any of them were perfect. I could have improved each item in some way or I might have made a mistake that I noticed after it was completed.

I want to instill in my students that they should strive for perfection but not beat themselves up if things aren’t perfect as they are learning. But that when a life depends on what they are doing, they need feel confident that they can be perfect.

In order to get to the point where they can achieve perfection, there can be many attempts (over days, months, or even years) where they will not be perfect. It is from these trials that the real learning takes place. It is from the errors that we correct which help lead to perfection.

The most important thing to being successful is to not give up. Perfection will never come to those who stop trying.

Photo by Jonathan Hoxmark on Unsplash 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Only Chance

In One at a time, over and over from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin talks about a visit to a restaurant that was disappointing. 

He shares,
"All shift long, there’s a lot to do. Another plate to fire, another customer to serve, another plate to clean. And yet this customer doesn’t care about all of that. For any given diner, this may very well be the only time he or she will ever eat here. For any given diner, this dish, this interaction–that’s the only chance you’re going to get.” 

I feel the same way in about teaching my students. This may be the only chance I have to make a difference in my students’ lives. The student doesn’t care about all the other students I have to teach. The student’s parents don’t care about all the others I have to teach either. They just care about their child. 

No one cares about all the paperwork and the heavy-duty stuff I need to do outside of the actual teaching. They don’t care about the planning that goes into the lesson or the materials that I have to find.
They care about the outcome or the results. 

The student wants to know:
  • Why am I learning this right now?
  • If it possible for me to learn this without looking like a failure?
  • Will this be interesting to me?
  • Will I actually use this in the future? 
Parents and administrators want to know:
  • Will they learn some new skill?
  • Is this skill relevant to today’s world?
  • Will they be able to apply this skill to real life?
I need to make sure that I use this opportunity to make a difference. It is important to focus on each and every student as if they are my only priority. I need to make them feel like they are the most important thing on my mind right now. I’m not worried about planning for my next lesson or the paperwork the administrator wants by the end of the day or all the papers that I need to grade. I need to be present in the lesson that I’m teaching right now. I need to make sure each student understands what I am teaching them and is able to process this information in order to apply it when they need it. 

This may be the only chance I get. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Parents or Practitioners

A few weeks ago I attended a free seminar on Parents or Practitioners that was excellent and I wanted to share the information with you. 

Questions addressed: 
  1. What does IDEA say about the role of parents or caretakers should have in their child's education? 
  2. Have there been hearing decisions related to the role of parents or caretakers in remote and online learning environments? 
  3. What does research say about how parents or caretakers support their child with a disability in remote and online learning environments? 
  4. What are the differences between the duties of a special education teacher and parent or caretaker in remote learning environments?” 

If you have the time, please look over these materials. They give such great information and may help you in your remote classroom.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Reordering Our Lives

Recently I heard a sermon by my pastor talking about the pandemic and how it affected our lives. At first, we had order and then the virus hit. Then we had disorder because of all the changes. Then as we figured out what we needed to do to live safely, we made changes and this had reordered our lives. More than like we will not be able to go back to the way life was before the virus.

I think these changes (order, disorder, and reorder) happy many times throughout our lives.

As young children, we are cared for by our parents and a certain order and routine develops. Then we go to school, and disorder happens to our routines. We have specific bedtimes, new routines, expectations, and rules that we have to learn. Eventually, life settles down and we have reordered our lives to fit into this new change.

When we finish our school career we have to decide if we want to go out into the work world or continue our schooling. Whichever we choose, our life goes through another disorder as we experience major changes that affect us. Eventually, we will develop a new routine and schedule and our life is once again reordered.

If we decide to move in with or marry a significant other, we have to adjust to a new life with another person. Our life is in disorder until we adjust living with someone else we love. Their opinions matter to us and our decisions affect them as much as us. Once adjustments are made, our life together is reordered.

This applies to our classrooms. Many experienced teachers had an established routine and system that worked for them before the pandemic. Then the pandemic hit and scheduling became a nightmare which was a major disorder into our tidy lives. Now it is time to reorder our teaching lives.

During this time of reordering, we need to find out what works and what doesn't work. How can we be both effective and efficient with our time? How can we really make an impact on students when we are on hybrid schedules? If we go back to fully face to face, we need to remember these lessons in case we end up going back to teaching remotely or hybrid again.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 10/2/2020

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 

Bookshare – “Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.” (L:T;SA:A)

IEP Accommodations During Distance Learning – “To make accommodations work in an online setting, you’ll need some innovative thinking and an understanding of the tools available to you and your students. Take a look at the charts below for some examples of how commonly used accommodations can transfer to a virtual setting.”(L:T;SA:A)

Fall Foliage Prediction Map – “The 2020 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year.”(L:G;SA:S)

Teaching Online Masterclass – “TOM is a free online professional development resource for teachers making the leap into remote teaching and learning.”(L:T;SA:A)

Next Dollar Up – “The Next Dollar Up strategy is a great way to help students who can’t make change be able to make purchases independently. I love to use it for students in life skills. It’s important that students have an understanding of money in order to avoid embarrassment and potential temper tantrums when they don’t have enough to buy what they want.” (L:G;SA:M) 

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, October 1, 2020

2020 Goals Review for September

I really worked hard on my goals during September. We ate a lot of salads and I added interval jogging into my exercise workout. It was a really nice month! I enjoyed my birthday this year too!

1. Lose 5 lbs. Hopefully this year I will be able to meet this goal. – This month I reached my goal but I won’t count it complete until the end of the year. I want to make sure that I keep it off!

10,000 Steps +
Jan 48%
Feb 66%
Mar 77%
Apr 70%
May 19%
Jun 73%
Jul 94%
Aug 87%
Sep 84%

2. Crafts – Completed
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 13 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. 
v. September - 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. – Completed
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
j. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
k. The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May
l. Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool by Clara Parkes How is your progress towards your goals? Please share.