Wednesday, January 20, 2021

School of Life

In The “Short” Guide to Life from Engage Their Minds, the author shares about a podcast that he was listening to and something that stuck with him.

“Short reminisced about a tough period he was going through in his late twenties when he first asked himself, “What if your career was one of nine courses you took?” He explained that you could still get a “good GPA” even if you didn’t do well in one of the categories. You can read about the categories in this article by Ben Carlson. The comedian/actor reflects on his performance in each category about once a year.”

The article states these are the nine categories that Martin Short used to review his life each year:

“Category 1: Self. Your own personal health and safety.
Category 2: Immediate Family. The proverbial spouse and children.
Category 3: Original Family. The people you grew up with.
Category 4: Friends. The health of your friendships.
Category 5: Money. Right or wrong, the scorecard most people pay attention to.
Category 6: Career. How fulfilling your work is.
Category 7: Creativity. Your innate creativity outside of work.
Category 8: Discipline. Having the self-control to implement your goals.
Category 9: Lifestyle. Are you actually having any fun?”

I thought it would be fun to have my students do this review along with me.

Looking back at 2020, I think I did pretty well.

Cat. 1 – Grade: A. I self-quarantined with my husband for 9 months. We wore masks when we went out in public and we only went out when we needed groceries or had a doctor’s appointment. We did not do any large social gatherings. In December, we did go to stamp club meetings in person but there were only about 10 people in a large gym and everyone maintained social distancing.

Cat. 2 – Grade: A. I love being with my husband 24/7 and we have been this way for the past 13 years since we retired.

Cat. 3 – Grade: B. My sister lives hundreds of miles away and I have seen her in person for years. We tried to take the Amtrak train up to see her but had to cancel due to Covid. Her husband of almost 50 years died suddenly of heart failure in July and I couldn’t go in person to support her.

Cat. 4 – Grade: B. I didn’t keep in regular contact with some friends that I should have.

Cat. 5 – Grade: A. We spent a lot less because we weren’t able to travel. We were able to save a lot of money and buy my parent’s house after they died.

Cat. 6 – Grade: A. I’m agreed to teach 2 more courses for Furman even though I’m “retired.” The 2 courses are fully online. I’m still teaching 1 course every July and this past July the course was taught online which was extremely challenging.

Cat. 7 – Grade: C. I’m not very creative and I need to work harder on that. I want to do more knitwear designs this year.

Cat. 8 – Grade: A. I accomplished the goals that I set for last year and I’m extremely proud of that. This is the first time I was able to meet all of my goals.
Cat. 9 – Grade: A. I am enjoying my life. I have several hobbies that I can choose from at any time. I love to read, knit, crochet, spin yarn, and garden. I also love to travel which I have really missed this year but I‘ve been able to do other things anyway. I also love being able to get on Zoom to meet with others.

So overall, I did okay but I can do better. Now that I know what categories I will evaluate, I may do a better job this year.

I always think it is a good idea to teach students how to reflect on their behavior and actions. The more we are honest with ourselves about how we have done, the better we can be in the future.

Give this a try. How did you do in each category? Please share.

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

It’s All in Your Perspective

I never really hated the cold weather until we have spent a few months in Florida where cold means turning off your air conditioning. We came back home to South Carolina and I have the heat on full blast. When we were in Florida, we still wore shorts and t-shirts while the locals wore long pants and coats. Since we’ve been back home, I’ve worn layers of clothes, wool sweaters, wool socks, and a jacket but I still feel cold! Yet everyone here says the weather is mild for this time of year.

It’s all in your perspective.

This also applies to the classroom. As a teacher, I feel that many skills should be easy for my students and I take a lot of things for granted. I need to remember what it is like for a new learner and plan as if everything is going to be hard. I make sure that I include every step even if I think the student already knows how to do that step. This way, if they don’t know the step, it will be there to help them. If they do know the step, they can skip it and go on to the next step.

Another way that has an impact is how I introduce the new skill. I let students know why they are learning this skill and how they will use it in real life. I let them know that I believe they can do this easily if they follow the steps. Plus, I let them know that if they have any difficulty, I will be there to help them. I set the stage for their success. The belief that they can succeed can make a big difference in their mindset. If they believe they can do it, they will put a bigger effort into it. If they believe it is too hard for them, they will give up before they really give it a try.

During the learning and exploration stage, I encourage my students to help each other. They are seeing this lesson from a different angle than I am. Sometimes they will have a helpful suggestion for someone else that worked for them. I might have overlooked something because I am able to do the task but as they are learning it, they might see a step that I had left out. They also might see a shortcut that might help someone else.

Allowing different perspectives can help everyone be successful in learning a new skill.

How do you allow for different perspectives? Please share.

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

Monday, January 18, 2021

Doodle for Google Contest

The Doodle for Google contest has started again. Grades K-12 can enter the contest.

“We're excited to see some strong doodles this year! Students can work with any materials they want, but all doodles must be entered using the entry form. Parents and teachers can mail us the completed entry form or submit it online as a .png, or .jpg. The contest is open for entries until February 26, 2021 11:59pm Pacific Time (PT)…

Doodles will be judged on the following parameters:

Artistic merit: Based on artistic skill

Creativity: Representation of the contest theme, use of the letters in the Google logo, and the unique approach to the doodle

Theme communication: How well the contest theme is expressed in both the artwork and the written statement

Doodles will be grouped and judged by the following 5 grade groups:

  • Grades K-3
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 6-7
  • Grades 8-9
  • Grades 10-12
Finalists will be judged on a state-by-state basis as described below.
  • State and Territory Winners:10 or more winners for each grade group, 54 in total
  • National Finalists:1 finalist for each grade group, 5 in total
  • National Winner: Featured on”

Friday, January 15, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/15/2021

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

Time Capsule – “The National Postal Museum recently worked with artist Bel Mills to create a video tutorial on how to make your own time capsule using household items, including business return envelopes. This project is one way to create a unique version of mail art, which is art that can include postal items (such as envelopes or stamps) or is sent through the mail. For many of us, our worlds have become physically smaller in the past few months, which gives the everyday objects that surround us even more significance. Objects tell a unique story, and a time capsule places this story in a personal or historical context. To help you understand the history of time capsules and the impact they can have, we created a Learning Lab collection about time capsules. This resource guides learners of all ages through the background of time capsules and the steps you could take to create your own, including ideas for what contents to include.” (L:G;SA:A)

Zooniverse – “Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects. Work with 1.6 million registered users around the world to contribute to research projects led by hundreds of researchers.” (L:G;SA:A)

Financial Literacy – “This post shares 15 carefully selected games and activities to teach kids of all ages money management best practices to make more confident decisions when it comes to their wallets.” (L:G;SA:A)

Petra – “Over 2,000 years ago, the Nabataeans created Petra—the city of stone. Journey with us behind the iconic facade from the movies, and discover one of the great wonders of the world, forgotten by time itself.” (L:G;SA:SS)

How China Is Using Artificial Intelligence in Classrooms – “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.” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Peace of Mind

In What gives you peace of mind? From Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares what gives him peace of mind. He states,

“Increased anxiety seems to be a common symptom of the CORONA virus and the isolation many people feel because of it.”

This would be a good story prompt for students.

What gives you peace of mind?

I remind students many times that we can’t control what other people do or think but we can control our own actions and thoughts.

So, the things that give me peace of mind are the following things:
  • I keep in touch with family and friends.
  • I keep a prayer journal and I pray several times a day.
  • I keep a bullet journal and try to be productive every day.
  • I exercise regularly to stay healthy.
  • I choose healthy things to eat.
  • I avoid eating many things that I know are bad for me.
  • I keep track of the foods I eat.
  • I read every day.
  • I pay my bills on time.
  • I don’t spend more money than I have.
  • I keep my house clean.
  • I work on having positive thoughts.
  • I look for the good in people instead of the negative things.
  • I only watch the news on TV once a day.
  • I encourage others as much as I can.
What gives you peace? Please share.

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


It takes courage to learn something new. I know it takes a lot of courage for my students at their young ages because they have faced failures and disappointments so much. Many students do not have a strong emotional support system to help them face these obstacles so they shy away from learning new things.

Many believe that being courageous means that you have to be a superhero with superpowers. Maybe courage is a superpower, and all people have it, but most don’t know how to develop it.

How can I help my students have the courage to face new things that come into their lives?

First I need to help them define the word courageous.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Courage means mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

One way I can help them is by sharing everyday stories of people who do courageous things every day. I can have them look in the news to find everyday people who have done something courageous.

People who have terminal illnesses and who are fighting every day to stay alive are also great examples of courage. Despite how miserable they feel, they continue to fight, and I have seen how hard it is. It is much easier to give up but many of them don’t.

I have a friend, P. that is very courageous. She’s had a few rough years dealing with personal matters and has decided to start a new chapter in her life. She is going to move to a new place, get a new job, and work on her personal happiness. I know this wasn’t an easy decision for her and I’ve watched her plan to make this happen. In spite of her doubts and fears, she has pushed forward to making her dream happen and I’m so proud of her. It is hard to start over but her desire to be happy has given her the mental strength to persevere. She is definitely a great example of courage.

To face failure takes courage.

I have a crafting group that is taking January to try something new. The goal is not to succeed at what they are trying to do but to just try it. It can be new crafting techniques, or cooking, or anything in their life that is new to them.

I would have students ask their parents to name something new that they tried recently. Students can also ask other teachers or even friends with this question. In class, they can discuss the different things that people have tried. They can also share if the person succeeded or didn’t.

This would be a great exercise for students to do. They need to find one thing that is new to them (that is not illegal or dangerous) and give it a try. It would be fun to have this discussion in class and teach students how to support each other with encouragement. There may be some students who have done something already that someone hasn’t done before and is going to try. I would explain to them that this is a lesson in courage and how I am so proud of them for giving this a try. At the end of the month, we will discuss how things turned out.

What is something new that you have tried? Did you succeed? Please share.

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Hickory Knob State Resort Park

Hickory Knob State Resort Park is located in McCormick, South Carolina. It is the only resort park in the state park system. I have been to this park several times and it is a very nice park. The views are fabulous!

There are a lot of activities available at this park. There is a playground, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a horseshoe pit, tether and ladder balls, and a putting green. You can also make a reservation for archery or skeet shooting. There is also an 18-hole championship golf course.

Water sports include swimming in Lake Thurmond or the swimming pool if you are staying in a cabin or the lodge. You can rent a canoe, kayak, rods, and reels at the park office. The boat ramp for the lake is also available.

Accommodations include rooms at the lodge, 16 cabins, a group lodge, and a campground. There is a restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A historical house, the Guillebeau Houses is located at the park.

There are 3 bike/hiking trails that go along the lake’s edge. The Beaver Run Trail is 2.5 miles, the Lakeview Loop is 7.2 miles, and the Turkey Ridge Trail is 1.7 miles.

Map of the park

Monday, January 11, 2021

2020 by the Numbers

I love numbers and I like to look back at the previous year and see how I can incorporate numbers into a review of the year. I enjoyed doing this and I hope you enjoy seeing it with me. 


0 - cruises

1 - a conference I attended (SCCEC in February, before the pandemic, closed everything down)      

1 - new roof put on the FL house

1 - graduate course taught online

2 -trips to Florida

2 - camping trips

2 - trips canceled (Amtrak to NY, a road trip to MN)

2 - Christmases without my parents

3 - new knitting patterns published

6 - Sweaters knit

7 - pounds lost

10 - months in self-quarantine

26 - Ornaments knitted

39 - squares completed on my National Park Blanket

61 - my age

68 - Husband’s age

78 - Projects knitting/crocheting/spinning

102 - Books read

262 - Blog posts written

267 - days I walked over 10,000 steps

365 - wonderful days spent with my husband

1775 - Miles walked


Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

Friday, January 8, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 01/08/2021

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

Sworkit – “A variety of fun kids workouts to help get those wiggles and giggles out or use them as a warm-up/cooldown for more vigorous activity.” (L:E,M;SA:A)

Blob Opera – “Create your own opera inspired song with Blob Opera - no music skills required ! A machine learning experiment by David Li in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture” (L:G;SA:FA )

Wheel of Names – add names and the wheel will randomly pick a name. You can choose to throw out the name once used or keep it on the wheel. (L:T;SA:A)

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. THROUGH WINTER AND SOME NEW JAMBOARD UPDATES – “S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a creative thinking tool developed by Roger Eberle, and each letter stands for suggestions to spark innovation: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange. I am working on revamping all of my S.C.A.M.P.E.R. materials, but currently have S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Through Winter available on Jamboard for you to copy and use.” (L:T;SA:A)

An Easy Way to Find 360 Videos to Watch in Google Cardboard or Other VR Headsets – “Select "360" in the search filters to find 360 videos on YouTube.” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Lace Making – First Day Cover

Lacemaking has been around since the 1500s. There were two main types of lace: bobbin lace and needle lace. Lace was first produced in Belgium and Italy, but no one knows which type was first. Lace was portable and could show a person’s wealth. Even Queen Victoria in 1840 wore a white wedding gown covered in lace. Machine lace didn’t happen until the Great Depression and during that time, all luxuries were put on hold. Lace is made by interlacing threads of cotton, silk, or wool into beautiful patterns. In the beginning, lace patterns involved geometric designs and symbols of animals and humans. Eventually, new patterns showed florals.

Today, there are several different types of lace. Bobbin lace is made by using bobbins of threads and pinning them into a pattern. Needlepoint lace uses a single thread and making embroidery type stitches. Crocheted lace is one of the most popular and uses different crochet stitches in an intricate design. Darned lace uses a darning stitch with a needle to make the designs. Knotted lace involves covering lace with different types of knots. Macrame and Tatting are types of knotted lace forms.

The 22 cents lacemaking postage stamp was part of the American Folk Art Series. It was issued on August 14, 1987, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. There was a block of four designs created by Michigan lacemakers and each design shows a different lace pattern.

Class Activities:

  • Make a simple lace item.
  • Research one type of lace and give a presentation to the class.
  • Make a poster showing images of the different types of lace.
  • Find fashion images of people wearing lace.
Original photo of a First Day Cover from husband’s collection by Pat Hensley

Principal Sources:

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021 Goals

Last year I achieved all of my goals and I’m so proud of myself! I hope to do the same again this year.

My weight loss was a priority last year and it will be again this year. I didn’t start to eat healthy until the middle of the year so I hope by starting earlier this year, I will be able to achieve my goal again.

My word of the year this year is mindfulness. I am going to try to focus on the present and not worry so much about the past or future. By doing this I hope to be able to be mindful of my actions as I work towards my goal.

1. Lose 5 lbs. – I think keeping this goal small, it makes it more realistic for me. I don’t feel as overwhelmed.
2. Knit 12 squares on my national park blanket. I have a total of 39 completed already. (There are 60 squares in the pattern and this is year 4 of the project.)
3. Knit a sweater.
4. Design 3 new patterns
5. Read 12 nonfiction books.

What are your goals for this year? Please share.

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

2020 Goals Review for December

This month was a really hard month for me. Dyanna and Earl came to visit for a week so our exercise and eating healthy went out the window. The holiday was tough for me because this was the second year without my parents. Then we had a bike hit us in the back of our car and we had to deal with insurance companies which stressed me out and caused me to overeat.

In spite of all this, I feel like I accomplished all of my goals this year and I’m so proud of myself! I really worked hard this year to accomplish this.

1. Lose 5 lbs. – I met this goal! – I have lost 7 lbs. this year! I’m so pleased with this!

2. Crafts – completed 4 out of my 5 goals. One of them was unattainable after further investigation.

3. Read 12 nonfiction books that are related to nature. – Completed.

How was your progress towards your goals for last year? Please share.

Photo by 30daysreplay (PR & Marketing) on Unsplash

Monday, January 4, 2021

Word of the Year – Mindfulness

My word of the year for 2021 is MINDFULNESS

According to

The definition of Mindfulness is

“the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.”

I know there are things I’ve done in the past that I wish I hadn’t done. I know that I miss my parents and all the things I miss telling them.

I know that sometimes I worry about the future and things that may happen. I worry about a lot of “what ifs” that may never happen.

By worrying about the past and the future, I miss out on stuff that is happening now. I hope to focus on things that are happening in the present time so I can appreciate it more.

I want to be more mindful of my surroundings, emotions, and situations as they happen.

What is your word for the year? Please share.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year 2021

 I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope this year brings you good health, joy, and lots of love.