Monday, November 30, 2020

My Self Awareness

Recently I got an email from Angela Maiers who encouraged her readers to do this exercise,

“One of my absolute favorite exercises to help bring the awareness of our talents to the forefront and to set us free of their self-imposed limitations is called “Give Me 10”

1. We are going to share how you feel, how you see others and ourselves is in the form of a poem.

a. Write these two words on your paper: I AM…
b. There are no rules except that each stanza and statement will begin with “I am…”
c. Write ten "I am" statements on your paper
d. Statements can be positive, negative, or neutral, but they should be true.

2. Hold a mirror and say those ten statements to yourself. Give me ten qualities of YOU and what makes you unique!”

Angela is such an inspiration to so many people that I had to share this exercise with you. I am going to give it a try and I hope that you do too.

I AM a good teacher.

I AM happy when I can help others.

I AM a person who loves learning.

I AM able to do many things that I want to do.

I AM happy with my life.

I AM lucky to have people who love me.

I AM a spinner of yarn and I use it to knit things.

I AM a person who loves nature.

I AM a shy person when I’m in a group.

I AM a person who enjoys being around other people.

This was a fun activity and it really had me thinking about what I am. I wrote some statements and then realized that they weren’t really what I wanted to say about myself. I don’t think we stop to reflect on this enough and we should encourage our students to do this. It might be a fun lesson to do at the beginning and the end of the year to see if our views of ourselves have changed.

Give this a try and see how you do. Share your results on Twitter with @angelamaiers.

Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

Friday, November 27, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/27/20

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

#YouCanBeABCs from Sam – “6 year old raps about careers A through Z” (L:G;SA:C)

Good work toolkit – “The GoodWork Toolkit engages individuals and groups in reflection and conversation about good work. The Toolkit consists of flexible set of materials, including vignettes of individuals who struggle to carry out good work, and accompanying questions and activities. Since 2007, educators at all levels—elementary school to graduate school—from around the world have implemented these materials in their coursework in a variety of ways. The Toolkit is not a prescribed curriculum; it is called a “toolkit,” because it contains a variety of tools” that may be used in a number of combinations. The materials are meant to be adaptable to a variety of contexts; in other words, the Toolkit can be used as part of a retreat, as a year-long theme in a particular class, as the basis of a two or three day seminar. There is no need to follow these chapters, in order, from beginning to end. Facilitators should feel free to pick and choose and adapt these cases and activities as best suits their goals and needs.” (L:G;SA:A)

Beating Pandemic Burnout – “In this spirit, I offer four reflective pillars that were crucial to my own recovery from burnout: focusing on purpose, compassion, connection and balance. Each pillar is a way to reflect on your well-being, consider ways to understand and address your reactions to the added stress, and experiment with curiosity and hope in these unprecedented times.” (L:T;SA:A)

A Teacher’s Experience With Vicarious Trauma – “When you teach students who have had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), you feel a double-edged sword: You care deeply about your students, so it’s easy for their pain to become your own.” (L:T;SA:A)

Secondary Traumatic Stress - A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals – “Our main goal in preparing this fact sheet is to provide a concise overview of secondary traumatic stress and its potential impact on child-serving professionals. We also outline options for assessment, prevention, and interventions relevant to secondary stress, and describe the elements necessary for transforming child-serving organizations and agencies into systems that also support worker resiliency.” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

There is so much that I am thankful for every day.

I’m thankful for:
  • My family
  • My friends
  • My physical health
  • My financial health
  • Eating healthier
  • Exercising regularly
This year has been an awful pandemic year but there is a silver lining this year.

We have been able to do things around our home that we haven’t taken the time to do. We’ve always put it on the back burner to do when we have time. So, this year, we had the time and we did a lot of things on our list.

I was able to finish probating my parent’s estate and finalizing all the legal stuff.

We bought my parent’s house after they passed away so we were able to go to Florida and quarantine there where the weather was nicer. Now that the probate stuff is complete, we were able to enjoy our time in Florida.

I decided to learn something new and I’m trying to learn how to quilt using English paper piecing.

I was able to use zoom to stay connected with many different groups. In fact, I feel more connected this year to others than I ever have before.

What are you thankful for this year? Please share.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dreher Isand State Park

Dreher Island State Park is located in Prosperity, SC. It is made up of three islands with a bridge. There are 348 acres and 12 miles of shoreline for visitors to go fishing, hiking, or camping. The island sits in 50,000 acre Lake Murray which is a reservoir of the Saluda River. It is named for Billy Dreher, the former owner of the island.

Some feel that it is the best spot to fish for striped and large-mouth bass and many major national fishing tournaments are held here.

There are five lakeside villas and 97 paved campsites for RVs and 15 tent sites. For picnicking, there 10 picnic shelters that are available. Scattered throughout the park are three playgrounds. There are also three fishing tournament shelters which include wi-fi service, a live well, and a catch and release tank. Three boat ramps are accessible for boaters. Three hiking trails are open for hikers.

You can also see a lot of wildlife here in the park. You can see white-tailed deer, grey squirrels, egrets, osprey, purple martins, Canadian geese, and mallard ducks. Aquatic species include hard/softshell turtles, striped bass, large/smallmouth bass, bream, crappie, and catfish. There are no alligators in the lake.

It used to be owned by SCE&G who created Lake Murray by building the Dreher Shoals Dam.

It is a beautiful park to visit and I would highly recommend people to check it out!



Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Small Steps Matter

In The ocean is made of drops from Seth Godin's Blog. Seth Godin shares,

“Even a puddle has more drops than we can count.”

I would show my students a drop of water and ask them if that is considered an ocean, or a lake, or a puddle. Of course, it isn’t. But if I collect many drops of water, it could add up to a larger volume of water and can keep growing bigger and bigger.

It is important to look at the big picture when I want to look at my goals. This helps me see where I want to go. Whenever I embark on a journey, I need to know my destination. Yet my journey is made up of the little steps. Each little step brings me closer and closer to my final destination. Without these little steps, I would never reach where I want to go.

Every major goal is made up of smaller achievable goals. Each smaller goal is necessary to reach a major goal. I need to make sure that each smaller goal is achievable before going on to the next step.

Sometimes in determining these smaller goals, I need to ask for help. There may be others with more experience or knowledge that can help me determine what smaller goals I need to accomplish. It is alright to ask for advice and help. This doesn’t mean that I’m weak or helpless, but it means that I want to follow the best course possible in order to achieve my goal.

I need to teach my students to have a long-term goal or a major goal that they can work for. Yet, in order to not overwhelm or frustrate them, I need to help them define the little steps in order to get there. I want to make sure that each step is achievable and can be done in a reasonable amount of time. If something takes too long, the step may be too big and need to be broken up even smaller. I need to be able to help them find others who might help them determine the smaller steps needed to achieve their major goal.

What major goal do you want to achieve? What smaller steps have you determined are necessary? Please share.

Photo by Omar Gattis on Unsplash

Monday, November 23, 2020


In An Experiment in Gratitude from Engage Their Minds, the author shares,

“In “An Experiment in Gratitude,” the host shares the results of a study devised to determine how much gratitude affects happiness.”

This is why I try to pay attention to at least one thing that I’m grateful for each day.

I feel like if I can at least find one thing, I know there are many others. Instead of focusing on the negative stuff, I want to find the good things in my life. I

It is always so easy to focus on the things we regret or the things we wish we had. It is easier to have a pity party than to see the good things in our life.

Sometimes we might have to dig deep to find the things we are grateful for but once we start this habit, it gets easier over time. The more I do this, the easier it is to find more than one thing. Before long, I start finding more things that I’m grateful for than things that I’m not. I started being thankful for the little things and not just the big things. I started realizing it is the little things that I take for granted but if they weren’t in my life, the big things wouldn’t happen. Suddenly I realized that I need to be thankful for all the little things that add up to the big things.

I also realize that the study is right. The more I’m grateful for, the happier I feel. The happier I feel, the more confident I feel that my life is going in the right direction. I’m able to make better decisions. I’m able to enjoy my daily life more and more. I think I’m a much happier person than I was and that other people see me this way too.

I want my students to feel this way. Many students are depressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. Maybe by focusing on gratitude, I can change their outlook on their own lives. Once they can start feeling better about their life, they can start acting more confident and making better decisions.

It would be good to have students start a gratitude journal. It is okay to be thankful for the same thing every day but if they put the same thing down, they need to add one thing new. I would explain that this will get easier as we continue to do this. After 3 months, I would have them reflect on whether it is getting easier. Then I would do the same after 6 months. It will be interesting to see how they respond. Then I will ask them if they think their life is better now or 6 months ago. I think they will even be surprised by their answers.

What are you grateful for? Do you think about this on a daily basis? Give it a try.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Friday, November 20, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/20/2020

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

The First Thanksgiving – activities to do for Thanksgiving (L:E,M;SA:SS)

Balloons over Broadway – “This is a roundup of Balloons Over Broadway STEM activities and lesson ideas – both with and without technology – to use the week of Thanksgiving, the week after Thanksgiving, or anytime in November!” (L:E,;SA:SS)

Thanksgiving Digital Breakout Box – A Thanksgiving puzzle to work out (L:E,;SA:SS)

Better Thanksgiving Potatoes Through Chemistry – “Making delicious roasted potatoes is all about finding the right texture and consistency. Here at Reactions, we were inspired to give it a go after seeing J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s delicious recipe on Serious Eats. Today we’ll use chemistry (are you surprised?!) to create the roasted potatoes of your dreams. Get ready to wow your family and friends this holiday season.” (L:H;SA:S)

The Truth About Tryptophan – “Enjoy this compilation of Thanksgiving turkey chemical deliciousness! We’re celebrating the holiday with our favorite food science bits and pieces.” (L:H;SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Emotional Support

Recently I attended a stress webinar that was excellent. Even though I knew a lot of the things shared, I was reminded that I don’t always do the things I need to do in order to help myself. Like being on an airplane where you put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others, I need to make sure I’m dealing with my own stress before I can help others.

One question asked was:

How many people are plugged into you?

This means - How many people do you support emotionally? Sometimes when you have too many people plugged into you, they are sucking out the energy and it is important that you replace this energy before you get depleted.

Giving occupations such as teachers, cops, firefighters, and medical personnel usually attract people who are very giving. They give so much that over time it can affect their health if they don’t practice self-care habits. When I was growing up, I was always taught that practicing self-care habits are selfish, I don’t think that people realize how detrimental that was, but I know that they hoped to teach children that giving was more important than taking.

I think we still can teach children the importance of giving but we need to teach them also about balancing with self-care. This is not being selfish. I think this will help people be more giving because they will have more energy and not feel overwhelmed.

I think it is important to find an outlet that you can do on a regular basis in order to recharge yourself. It may be a hobby or exercise, but you need to plan for it in your schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be huge amounts of time and can be as short as 30 minutes every day or every other day. There may be times that you skip it but make sure these times are rare and your special time is not set aside for other things. Your special time is as important or even more important than anything else. When you set aside these times, don’t feel guilty about taking “me” time and when you do feel guilty, remind yourself that you are just recharging your battery so others can plug into you.

I try to take time every morning to write in my bullet journal. I include at least one thing that happened the day before that I’m grateful for. I also have a prayer book and will add a few things that I’m praying for today. I try to exercise for an hour at least 4 times a week and if I do more, I’m ahead of the game. I also knit which I find very relaxing.

What do you do to recharge your battery? Please share.

Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Showing Work

In Show no work from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“Show us why the logic holds up. Tell us how this has happened before.”

Whenever I teach a math skill, I always want the students to show their work. This tells me that they aren’t just guessing an answer. I’ve heard this saying in several situations lately and it applies to this situation: Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and then. If you keep guessing at an answer, you might get the answer right some of the time and wrong some of the time without ever knowing why.

Many students find that having to show their work is tedious. They believe they know the answer and just want to write it down. Some students are in a hurry to finish the assignment and having to show their work takes longer. Some students don’t want to show their work because they really don’t understand the concept and aren’t sure how to show the work.

One way to help students with showing their work is to list the steps they need to follow in order to show their work. This list can be posted on the board or each student is given their own personal copy to follow. This will give them more confidence when they have to show their own work.

I think it is also important to explain to students why I want them to show their work. I think if they understand the reason why they should do something, the more willing they will do this even if they don’t want to do it.

Reasons for showing work:
  • I will know that you didn’t just use a calculator.
  • I will know that someone didn’t give you the answer.
  • You can show me that you know where to start in solving the problem.
  • You know the steps to follow in order to solve the problem.
  • You understand what operation you need to use in order to solve the problem.
  • If you got a wrong answer, I would know which step you used was the problem.
  • You will be able to see where you went wrong when we review the work you have given.
  • Once you are getting the right answer consistently while showing work, you will be allowed to stop showing your work.
Do you have students show their work? How do you get them to do this? Please share.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I Hope You’re Listening – Book Review

I recently read I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan. I read a review copy compliments of Netgalley and I am not being paid to give this review.

Something happens to her best friend that traumatizes Dee. Now Dee has to go on with life and we rejoin her ten years later. The story tells how Dee is still coping with what happened and how she is actively trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. Then something happens that brings the past into the present and Dee has to make some difficult decisions.

This is a great book for high school students to read. It can open up discussions about peer relationships, traumatic situations, kidnappings, podcasts, making differences, personal safety, and media involvement. I could see students acting out different scenes or maybe creating their own podcasts.

I enjoyed the book so much that I couldn’t put it down! The story was captivating and exciting. I wanted to find out what would happen and how Dee resolves her issues. I would highly recommend this for a high school library.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Silver Linings

Recently during our Sunday School online meeting, we talked about focusing on some of the positive things that have happened due to Covid-19.

I love attending Sunday School on Zoom and Church services are available through Facebook Live. In the past, when we have traveled, I would just miss Sunday School and Church service but now I’m able to attend both.

One doctor talked about how he thought telehealth was here to stay and how it made life easier for many people who had difficulty leaving work and could confer with the doctor online.

I have been able to connect more with my knitting friends than I ever have. I attend weekly Zoom meetings with knitters from 2 different yarn shops. My knitting guild meets once a month on Zoom which means I don’t have to worry about driving somewhere at night and getting home late. I also attend a knitting retreat in Minnesota in June and the participants are able to meet online once or twice a week. Participants may come from all over the US and other countries.

I am able to attend many educational webinars to improve my teaching strategies. I’m impressed with how more and more webinars are becoming available and how comfortable I am with attending online webinars.

I have also attended environmental webinars through the SC Wildlife Federation. These webinars are recorded and offered free on YouTube. They are educational and informative for me personally and great to use in the classroom.

I love using the internet to stay connected, but many colleagues, friends and family were uncomfortable using technology, so this has really pushed many of them into learning how to incorporate it in their lives.

I believe students are more comfortable learning online now because they have had to learn this way. Teachers are learning how to teach online which can change the way that they teach. This is good because teachers can get stagnant teaching the same lessons in the same way over and over. Even after students attend school in person full time, I believe a lot of lessons learned by students and teachers will impact how and what is learned in the future.

I think it is important to teach students to look for positive outcomes during difficult times. Sometimes if we can change our perceptions, it helps us have better attitudes for coping with the current situation.

What silver linings have you found during this pandemic? Please share.

Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

Friday, November 13, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/13/20

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


Thinkport Education – “Welcome to Thinkport's learning resources. Explore our digital activities and lessons for all ages, as well as support materials for educators. Browse by Grade Band below, and check out our Editors' Picks.” (L:G;SA:A)


South Carolina Affordable Learning – “Quality, low- or no-cost educational resources that encourage student success while lowering student costs. Resources can include textbooks, modules, lectures, labs, videos, and other pedagogical material.” (L:T;SA:A)


Kid Correspondent – “The Election Special! News by kids, for kids to help kidkind understand the bigger ideas surrounding elections, like having their voices heard, disagreeing respectfully, making tough choices and learning to have empathy.” (L:E;SA:SS)


Safe Space Teaching – “Within this space, you will find resources on teaching and living a life full of engagement. Each blog post and email you read and resource you engage with, stems from our motto of equal parts DO and FEEL.” (L:T;SA:A)


How China is Using Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom – “A growing number of classrooms in China are equipped with artificial-intelligence cameras and brain-wave trackers. While many parents and teachers see them as tools to improve grades, they’ve become some children’s worst nightmare.”


Original photo by Pat Hensley



Thursday, November 12, 2020

Johnny Appleseed – Postage Stamp

The American Folklore series came out on September 24, 1966. This stamp was issued two days before his 192nd birthday in Leominster, Massachusetts. This series featured things that made our nation unique and honored people who played an important part in our culture.

Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman. Chapman was born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts. He traveled down the Ohio River with apple seeds in two canoes. He traveled over 100,000 miles planting apples. People spread stories that he randomly spread apple seeds everywhere, but he really planted nurseries. Then he put fences around them to protect them from the animals and had a neighbor care for the nurseries. Every year or two, he returned to tend the nursery. He used the apples for cider because a lot of water was filled with bacteria.

As he traveled, he preached the gospel and converted many Native Americans. The Native Americans felt that he was touched by the Great Spirit so even hostile tribes left him alone. He cared a lot about animals, even insects, so he became a vegetarian. He never married because he believed that if he didn’t find his soulmate on earth, he would find her in heaven.

He died in Fort Wayne, Indiana on March 18, 1845.

Classroom Activities:

1. Research the different varieties of apples and the different uses for each variety.
2. Using apples, make apple stamps, and print them on paper.
3. Research growing apple trees. Where is the best place to grow apple trees? How big do they get? How long does it take to produce apples?
4. Plant apple seeds and document their growth.
5. Using a map, research the route down the Ohio River Johnny Appleseed took.
6. Locate Leominster, Massachusetts on a map and make a tourist brochure for the town.
7. Locate Fort Wayne, Indiana on a map and make a tourist brochure for the town.

Photo from

Principal Sources:

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day and was first celebrated on November 11, 1919, by President Woodrow Wilson. It was to honor the fallen soldiers of The Great War for their sacrifice and bravery during the war. In 1926, Congress requested that it be made a legal holiday.

In 1945, Raymond Weeks, a WWII veteran thought it should be a day to celebrate all veterans. General Dwight Eisenhower was in favor of the idea. Weeks organized the first Veteran’s Day celebration in Alabama in 1945 until he died in 1985. In 1982 he was given the Presidential Citizenship Medal by President Reagan and Elizabeth Dole named him the “Father of Veteran’s Day.”

President Eisenhower signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. Congress amended the Act of 1938 and changed the word Armistice to Veterans. On June 1, 1954, November 11th became the day to honor all American veterans.

I have had my students make flag pins for veterans and we have gone to Veteran’s Day ceremonies to pass out the pins. I think bringing pins to VA hospitals and VA nursing homes would also be a great place to do this.

Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

What One Man Can Do

In Forest Man from Engage Their Minds, the author shares a video about Forest Man. This man in India started planting trees in 1979 to save his island. His forest is now larger than Central Park in NY. I’ve been to Central Park and walked across it which seemed to take forever. This park was huge so to think that one man can grow a forest bigger than that is astounding!

I found the video so interesting! As his forest grew, animals started finding a home there. There are now elephants, rhinos, deer, and vultures. It is a growing habitat and he is trying to protect from people who want to poach or hurt his forest. Over the years, the country has given him many awards and he has started trying to get his ideas out to others but I’m not sure anyone has done anything with them. He says he will keep planting trees until the day he dies.

I’m amazed at the commitment this man has to continue to forest the land. His family seems very supportive of what he is doing. It also seems like he is very happy and at peace with what he is doing with his forest.

As I watch the video and see the expanse of the forest, I’m amazed at what one man can do. It doesn’t seem like he stood on the corner and ranted and raved about what everyone else should be doing. He put his words into action. He is showing the world what can be done. If one man can build a forest bigger than Central Park, imagine what many people could do.

I think this would be inspiring to many of my students. Many of my students feel discouraged and frustrated because they don’t feel that their actions matter. If they watch this video, they don’t see a man who talks about the things he can’t do or let other people influence what he can do. He just goes out and does what he thinks is right and continues doing it without giving up. He knows that he is making a difference and he is being a great role model for his own children as well as others.

This would be a great lead-in for a discussion about the things that one person can do in our own community. Things like picking up trash or volunteering to help elderly neighbors or giving food to a food bank or planting a community garden. One person can truly make a difference over time. We just need to be patient and keep focusing on what we are doing.

What are some things one person could do in your community? Please share.

Photo by Deglee Degi on Unsplash

Monday, November 9, 2020

When We Were Infinite – Book Review

I recently read When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert. I read a review copy compliments of Netgalley and I am not being paid to give this review.

This is the second book that I’ve read by this author and once again, I’m thrilled by the story. The main characters are Asian teenagers and how life seems from their point of view and cultural background. Yet, even though the Asian culture isn’t the main focus of the story, it does have an impact on how each character reacts to different situations.

The story can open up so many discussions among teenagers. Besides the cultural discussion, topics such as abuse, LGBTQ+, divorce, dysfunctional families, school pressures, college admissions, friendship, music, teenage suicide, depression, panic attacks, and peer relationships.

Beth is the main character and we see how she interacts with all of her friends differently. During her senior year, she wants to keep her circle of friends together even after they all graduate because she doesn’t want their closeness to ever end. As she struggles to hold everyone closer together, many changes take place. When something happens to one of her friends, they all react differently, and Beth feels like her world is falling apart.

This would be a great book for a high school library. I think many students would enjoy it and even relate to some of the characters. . It is a great way for students to get a better understanding of the Asian culture.

This book won’t be published until next year so keep it on your radar. It is well worth the wait!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 11/06/2020

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

Rabbids Coding - "Designed for kids 7 and older, the app introduces the concepts of sequential programming, loops and conditions." (L:G; S:C)

History Explorer - "Thank you for using Smithsonian's History Explorer! This page is designed to help you navigate the site and to provide you with additional teaching supports through our primary source guide, poster, blog posts, and information about the Museum's teacher professional development opportunities." (L:G; S:A)

Free Play Music - free music (L:G; S:A)

Camera and Locomotive - Trains bridged considerable distances with great speed. Photographs brought earlier events and far-off places to life for their viewers. Combining maps and pictures from the Library of Congress collections can deepen appreciation for the fascinating connections between the two technologies as both came into maturity during the race to construct a railroad to the Pacific in the years 1863–69. (L:G; S:A)

Why Do Leaves Change Colors in the Fall? - Autumn means leaves are turning different shades of red, orange, and yellow and falling to the ground. But why? Jessi takes you deep inside a leaf to explain! (L:E; S:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Skipping Steps

In A/B/C and the problem with skipping a step from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“Skipping a step is frustrating and usually futile.”

Many knitters have had the debate on whether they are a process knitter or a product knitter. A process knitter enjoys the process of knitting and likes the different stitches and techniques that are used. They are in no hurry to get to the end of the project. A product knitter likes to get to the end result. They endure the process in order to get the final product, Whenever I start a new project, I’m always anxious to get to the end product. I sometimes get impatient when I have to go through the process of getting to the end. I want the product now. I want to skip the steps I need to take in order to get to the end but if I do that, I won’t get the end result that I want.

I feel that many of my struggling learners feel the same way. They don’t like learning and endure it so that they can get to the end result of graduation. They just want to learn what they need in order to get the necessary credits they need.

I believe it is my job to try to help my students get through the process. If I can find shortcuts or ways to make learning easier for them, it will help make their journey more enjoyable.

One way I can do this is by helping them find their learning style. Are they auditory, visual, or tactile-kinesthetic learners? By finding which style usually works best for them, I can gear my lessons to meet their needs. By insisting that students learn in a style that doesn’t work for them can lead to frustration for everyone.

Sometimes a student will want to skip steps in order to get the end result which usually ends up wrong. If I bake a cake, I need to follow the recipe and not skip any steps or my cake will turn out to be a disaster! Imagine a student learning addition of 2 three-digit numbers and skips the lessons on place value or carrying a number. They will end up with the wrong answer and get very frustrated trying to master the skill.

I try to write out procedures for students to follow when they are learning something new. It is like a recipe for mastering the skill. I tell the students they are going to “cook” a new skill just like learning to cook a new meal. As they learn the skill, they can refer to the procedures until eventually, they won’t need to do that anymore. They will have practiced it enough that they won’t need to look at the recipe. This seems to really help them get through the process easier.

How do you help your students get through the process of learning? Please share.

Photo by Max Harlynking on Unsplash

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

First US Self Adhesive Stamp

Each holiday season, the Postal Service hopes to make holiday mail processing easier. One way was to try a self-adhesive stamp. The first US Self Adhesive stamp was a 10-cent dove weathervane stamp issued in 1974. It was produced by Avery Dennison and due to the instability of the adhesive, it quickly became discolored. It wasn’t until 1989 before another self-adhesive stamp was issued by the US Postal Service.

This stamp was pre-canceled to eliminate the cancellation process which would speed up season mail processing. The Post Office hoped it would also make it easier for customers to send holiday cards. This stamp was tested during the Christmas season in the Allegheny, Boston, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Tampa postal districts in 1974. Small quantities of the stamp were available to stamp collectors around the nation.

The adhesive was similar to labels used in the grocery stores or on bumper stickers. It was a complex process for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to make these because the laminated paper used had to specially prepared. The original release date set for the stamp was October 23, 1974, but they were unable to meet the deadline.

This stamp was finally issued in New York on November 15, 1974, as part of the Christmas series.

The weathervane on the stamp symbolizes the original one that was made by Joseph Wakestraw in Philadelphia. The design specifications came from George Washington for his Mount Vernon home because he was tired of war and wanted peace.

The stamp did have problems that made them impractical. The backings would come off easily and cause the stamp to get stuck on anything. Then the edges would often become frayed or rolled up and cause the cancellation and sorting machines to jam during processing.

Self-adhesive stamps are not easily removed from an envelope by soaking it in water. Some collectors use Bestine, benzine, or a natural-based citrus solvent containing d-limonene. It is suggested that the air freshener, Pure Citrus Orange works when doing this. 

Class Activities:
  • Have students design their own Christmas stamp. Have them present it and explain why they chose their design. 
  • Students need to research weather vanes and share the history of them. 
  • How do weathervanes work? Give a demonstration to the class.   

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day

Today is Election Day in the United States. It is a big year for us because we are electing our President this year and it has been a very contentious race. If you live in the United States, I hope you get out and vote!

I started wondering how Election Day was started and why it was this time every year. I want to share with you what I found out.

Congress passed a federal law in 1845 making the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day. Before this happened, states held elections any time they wanted within a 34 day period before the first Wednesday in December. Unfortunately, the early results in some states could affect the turnout and results in later elections held in other states. That is why Congress created one day for the nation to vote.

The reason they decided on that specific day goes back to the 1800s. People were farmers and lived far from where they needed to vote so they were given a two-day window for Election Day. They couldn’t do this on weekends since it interfered with church days. Wednesday was market day which was an important day for the farmer’s livelihood. So, Tuesday was the most convenient day for most people.

November was also the best choice for the month since spring and summer months interfered with the planting season. In November the harvest was finished and winter had not arrived yet.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Monday, November 2, 2020

2020 Goals Review for October

I really worked hard on my goals during October! 

 1. Lose 5 lbs. Hopefully this year I will be able to meet this goal. – I’m still doing well with my weight. I have kept up my exercising and eating right. 
 2. Crafts – I've met my 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 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. October – 5 NICU hats 
c. Knit a sweater. – Completed the Ground Pepper Sweater and Gardengate 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. 

 Photo by 30daysreplay (PR & Marketing) on Unsplash