Friday, February 26, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2/26/21

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

Mindblowing Map Quiz – “Map makers use map projections to transform the Earth onto a flat surface. One of the most popular world map projections is known as the Mercator Projection. You’ll have seen it loads of times and likely thought it looked perfectly normal. It was originally invented by Gerhardus Mercator in 1569 to allow sailors to plot a straight course between ports. So just how misleading can this map be? Take our quiz to find out.” (L:M,H;SA:SS)

Geography Crash Course – Great YouTube videos on geography (L:G;SA:SS)

Scratch Pals “Creating Global Classrooms by connecting teachers and students via Scratch” (L:E,M;SA:A)

Two Ways to Make Progress Trackers – “In my previous post I mentioned that Google Sheets can be used for all kinds of interesting things. It can also be used for practical things like keeping tally of your progress or that of your students toward a goal. There are two ways that I usually recommend doing this. The simplest way is to use the progress tracker template available at The method that offers more options is to use a pivot table in Google Sheets.” (L:T;SA:A)

Dystopia2153 – “Dystopia 2153 is an all-in-one resource that combines coding games and graphic novels. Dystopia 2153 connects 21st century skills with the love of reading and hopes to inspire the next generation of coders and storytellers.” (L:M;SA:C)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Art of Multitasking

When I was growing up, I remember my mother always talking about someone who was a “jack of all trades but a master of none.” She would then tell me that this person was always dabbling into many different tasks at the same time but never really doing a good job with completing any of them well. I also remember my parents instilling in me the idea of “if you are going to do a job, then do the job the best that you can.”

In reading “The Myth of Multitasking,” Nancy K. Napier shares,

“Rather than saving time, it costs time (even very small micro seconds). It’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time, it can sap our energy.”

I know when I’m hiking and I’m going up a steep hill, it is easier for me to go up slowly but steadily than to stop and start every few minutes. I think multitasking affects me the same way.

When I’m cleaning the house, I used to work in one room, and then whenever I found something in the wrong place, I would stop and take it to where it belonged. I thought this was multitasking but it was more like spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. This caused me to feel very frustrated and tired. Cleaning a room took twice as long. Then I decided that I would put all the misplaced items in one spot and concentrate on the room I was working in. I finished the task more easily and quickly. Then I was able to gather the misplaced items and put them where they belonged. I felt happier when I was done because I accomplished what I intended to do.

When I am working on something and I get distracted or interrupted, I find myself having to take the time to refocus on the task I was doing.

When someone tells me that they can multitask, I know that means that they aren’t accomplishing one of the things very well and it will take them twice as long to finish all of the tasks they are trying to do.

In fact, some of my students become so overwhelmed when they try to multitask that they shut down and nothing gets done.

One way to fight the war on multitasking is to have my students make a list of what needs to be done. Then prioritize the list in order of what needs to be done first. Then tackle each task one at a time. I believe they will find more success with this process than multitasking.

How do you feel about multitasking? Please share.

Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Teach Someone Else

When I was a little girl, I remember my mother getting me to read aloud to her. She would say she wanted to hear the story but was too busy to read it. So, I helped her by reading my stories to her.

When I learned something new, she always was so interested in what I learned and asked me to teach her what I learned. I really believed, as a little girl, that I was teaching my mother something new. I was so excited.

Now as a teacher, I look back and see the many ways that my parents reinforced my new learning.

I thought about how I could do the same things in my classroom.

Math is an easy subject for teaching someone else. Once a student learns a new skill, have them take turns teaching a partner.

I think peer tutoring is a great way to reinforce skills. If I have someone who understands the new concept, I can let them help someone else who is struggling. Sometimes it is easier to understand their peers than their teacher.

Another way is to have a student get up and teach a new skill. I would have my students decide what they want to teach the class and then plan out their lesson. I would have them write out the steps and practice it first. I’ve had students teach how to use chopsticks, how to make chicken salad, how to make pudding, and even how to skateboard. The “teachers” were excited to be sharing their lessons and the learners were excited to learn something new from their peers.

Another good activity would be making a video on different ways to act. Many of my students with autism have difficulties with social interactions. They might have trouble having a conversation, meeting someone new, asking for help, acting appropriately when upset and many other social interactions. It would be helpful for others to make a video that the student can watch and learn how to act appropriately.

By teaching someone else, skills are reinforced and retained for the future.

What other things do you think students can teach someone else? Please share.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Benefits of Chunks

I believe it is better to teach in small chunks than a huge big piece.

If I expect my students to learn the big picture, they have to remember a lot of different pieces all at one time. When I’m learning something new, it is hard to learn all the pieces at once and then be able to put them all together.

I have played the accordion since I was four years old. I was given a piece of music and thought that I would never be able to play it. I was so overwhelmed and intimidated by the piece. I remember my teacher breaking a huge piece into smaller pieces for me. I just had to learn and practice one part during the week before my next lesson. As I mastered each part, I was given an additional new part to add onto the part that I already knew. Eventually, I was able to play the whole piece easily and I felt so proud of myself.

I want to teach my students how to achieve their goals in the same way that my accordion teacher taught me to play new songs.

I like to look at the big picture as the long-term goal for my student. Then I want to break it down into smaller pieces or chunks for my student to learn. This way, the student can learn and master one piece at a time. Learning is easier and the student usually succeeds in mastering the smaller piece.

With each little step that is mastered successfully, learning the next step is a little easier and less scary. Once the student learns all the small steps, it is easier to put it all together and create a bigger piece.

The important thing that I need to find, like a good detective. is how to teach the small step in a way that works for the individual student. Each student learns differently so one size does NOT fit all. By teaching to the student’s learning style, the student will be more successful with the learning.

How do you feel about teaching n small chunks? Please share.

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Monday, February 22, 2021

Adding Yet to Your Sentence

In A simple missing word from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“And along the way, “Yet” turns “can’t” into “haven’t.””

It is too easy to think we can’t do something. Many of my students quickly tell me why they can’t do something. They immediately have the mindset that they are not capable of doing something. I think it is the easy way out.

If we really want to do something, we need to add the word “yet” to the end of our sentences.

By putting the word yet at the end, it changes my mindset that anything is possible if I want to pursue it. I might learn how to do something and then decide that I don’t want to continue practicing it but I can learn how to do anything if I put my mind to it.

I don’t know how to quilt…yet.

I don’t’ know how to fix a screen…yet.

When I teach a new skill, I need to have my students put their thoughts in a sentence and add the word yet to the end.

I think this gives the learner hope. It says the learner is capable and can achieve the goal eventually.

I might learn how to do something and then decide that I don’t want to continue practicing it but I can learn how to do anything if I put my mind to it.

By putting the word yet at the end, it changes my mindset that anything is possible if I want to pursue it.

Photo by John Benitez on Unsplash

Friday, February 19, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2/19/21

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

Same But Different Math – “Same But Different is a powerful routine for use in math classrooms. The activity of same but different is an activity where two things are compared, calling attention to both how they are the same and how they are different.” (L:G;SA:M)

Would You Rather Math – “Asking students to choose a path and justify it with math” (L:G;SA:M)

Visible Learning Meta – “Through the Visible LearningTM research, John Hattie has identified more than 250 factors that influence student achievement. He then set about calculating a score or “effect size” for each, according to its bearing on student achievement. The average effect size of these 250 factors was 0.4, a marker that can be shown to represents an (average) year’s growth per year of schooling for a student. Any factor that has an effect size above 0.4 has an even greater positive effect on student learning.” (L:T;SA:A)

GameStormEdu – “GameStormEDU is a way of thinking - how could I take an idea, a lesson, or a concept, and turn it into an experience for others? How can I turn it into a game?” (L:T;SA:A)

Pick Your Plate – “Travel around the world with Plato to learn about building healthy meals. Eat avocado toast in Australia, baobab fruit in Benin, and saut√©ed reindeer in Finland! Yum! Pick your favorite plates for morning, midday, and evening meals. Be sure to meet your daily nutritional needs while not going over your budget! Pick Your Plate! A Global Guide to Nutrition is an educational nutrition game that will help teach students about building healthy meals while using nutritional guidelines from countries around the world!” (L:E,M;SA:S,SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Time Management When Teaching

I was recently asked this question and thought I would answer it here.

“I am a student teacher in a second grade classroom. I am currently teaching math and reading. Math is about an hour and a half long and reading is about an hour long. Right now I am struggling with time management. When I am teaching I either go over the time or I am not reaching the time by a good chunk. What are some strategies that I can use in the classroom to help with time management?”

I like to teach in small segments which helps to hold a student’s interest easier.

I would give an introduction to the lesson and catch their interest for about 5 min. This might involve a short video that gets them interested in the lesson or the use of puppets or anything that will make them interested in learning this skill.

After that, I would show the steps written out for the skill that I’m teaching. I would explain it is like a recipe that we follow when we cook. This might take 5 minutes. (I like to write out the steps and practice it with a friend or family member to see if I missed any steps.) This procedure would be posted for all to see and use as a visual aid if needed later.

Then I would plan on modeling the skill I want them to learn. I would go through each step as if I was the student. Next, I would have a couple of students go through the steps for everyone to see. This might take 5 - 10 more minutes.

After that, I would plan for each student to complete at least three 15-to-20-minute activities in order to practice the skill. I like to use several numbered learning centers located around the room. This would allow young students to move around the room and not have to be still. I would have different centers for students with different abilities. Each student would be given a list of the 3 centers I want them to go to. The students can move to the next one on their list after they finish one. You would move around the room and monitor progress and offer help as needed. If there are two or more students who are finished with all of the activities, let them pair up and compare answers. If they have a different answer, let them figure out which one is right or they can ask you for help. If you run out of time, you just have them finish the last activity they are working on without going on to the next activity. Collect all work so you can evaluate their progress later.

Leave the last 5 minutes to review what was learned. Have everyone return to their desks. Review the procedure one last time. Have the students give you a thumbs up or thumbs down on whether they feel they did well with the lesson.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Umbrella

In Students’ Experiences, Students’ Actions, Rushton Hurley shares,

“There is something about great animated stories that allow us to work with our feelings in ways sometimes different than seeing footage of actual people. This award-winning story is called Umbrella, and it’s a reminder that we don’t and can’t know all the stories behind why students act the way they do.”

It was such a moving story that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you are moved as much as I was!


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Beating Zoom Fatigue Strategy – Icebreakers

In 10 Virtual Meeting Icebreaker Activities, the author gives 10 great icebreaker activities. The author states,

“Virtual meeting icebreaker activities are a great way to strengthen your bond as remote teammates, create camaraderie amongst new coworkers, and kick off a remote meeting with a creative flair.”

I think this would be great to do at the beginning of a virtual class to warm everyone up. It is hard to jump onto a virtual meeting and just start having a conversation.

Depending on how long your class is, you might want to do one of these activities midway through the class as a class break. I notice that when I’m looking at the screen and concentrating for long periods of time, I become mentally exhausted. Having this brain break would come as a welcome relief to intense concentration.

I plan on using these icebreakers in upcoming classes and see how my students like them.

Do you have any other suggestions? Please share.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Monday, February 15, 2021

Beating Zoom Fatigue Strategy – Silent Meetings

I recently attended a seminar dealing with Zoom Fatigue and I wanted to share one of the tips that were given.

Instead of reading something ahead of time and then meeting to discuss it, devote some of the time to read silently together and then discussing it with an agenda and discussion questions in mind.

At first, I wasn’t sure what the difference was and then realized the big thing was having an agenda and prepared questions ahead of time.

I know that many of my quieter students tend to let the stronger students lead the discussions. Some students just fade in the background but may have useful meaningful ideas that they just aren’t sharing.

By having the questions ahead of time, it gives everyone time to prepare what they want to say or contribute. I know as a participant; I really appreciate this preparation. By just having an open discussion, many people tune out if they don’t think they have anything to share. Others may take over the whole conversation which may put off others. Without an agenda or set questions, the discussion could seem chaotic or pointless.

One of the things we did in this seminar was to participate in a padlet. We were able to put our ideas down and share them. I think this would be very useful for students and would give many a voice that they don’t usually use in the discussions. Then the person could have a turn to elaborate more about what they added.

I hope to be sharing other tips and tricks to combat zoom fatigue in the future. Do you have any? Please share.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Friday, February 12, 2021

Chinese New Years 2021

Today is Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Ox.

On this day, I will wear red for good luck, and not argue with anyone. I want to have good luck the rest of the year.

Happy New Year to all my Chinese family and friends!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Covid Attack

Well, we finally became part of the statistics. It has been determined that we have covid.

My husband went to the doctor after having a fever for 10 days. He was also achy and having chills. One thing that concerned us was that he had an abscessed tooth pulled and we were afraid the infection had gotten in his bloodstream and had sepsis. He had been taking Augmentin meanwhile to fight the infection but he still had a fever. He was given the flu and covid test which were extremely painful for him. He tested positive for covid. When I asked if I needed to be tested since we were together all the time, the doctor said that I should assume I had it too since I was so congested.

We had very little appetite, and nothing tasted right. We ate lots of soup and made sure we stayed hydrated.

Finally, after 12 days of fever, his temperature started reading normally again. Hopefully, things will start tasting normal again.

We are lucky that our cases were mild enough not to need hospitalization.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Lake Hartwell State Park

Lake Hartwell State Park is located in Oconee County, SC on the South Carolina/Georgia border and was created in 1976. The park has 680 acres with 14 miles of shoreline on Lake Hartwell. Lake Hartwell covers 56,000 acres. There are two boat ramps that are accessible to the public.

There is also a playground, basketball court, picnic area, camping, and a hiking trail. Two cabins can be rented. A park store/gift shop is also to buy necessary items or gifts.

This park mainly focuses on water sports like boating and fishing. You can swim but you swim at your own risk because there are no lifeguards on duty. You might catch largemouth bass, crappie, bream, stripers, hybrid bass, or catfish in the lake but make sure you have a South Carolina fishing license.

You can also do birdwatching and geocaching here.

If you like boating and fishing, this would be a good park to check out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Learning to Disagree

In On Being Wrong from Engage Their Minds, the author shares,

“When we are certain we are right, we often make false assumptions about those who disagree.”

Everything is not all black and white and I believe I need to teach my students this concept. Sometimes a decision is based on surrounding circumstances and the individuals involved. We see that happen a lot in courtrooms where a judge makes a decision on a case-to-case basis.

Everyone in my life doesn’t have to agree with me or the things that I believe in. My friends can disagree with me and we can still be friends. I think too many adults show children that only people who agree with them are allowed to be a part of their lives.

I don’t mind having people disagree with me because they might have a different perspective on the situation than I do. I can hear their reasoning why they feel a certain way and I don’t have to agree with them.

My mother used to tell me, “We will have to agree to disagree.” I think she taught me a lot by drumming this in my head. We can agree to disagree and still be friends.

Lately, I have seen adults acting as “it’s my way or the highway!” If you don’t agree with me, then I don’t want you as my friend on social media or in my life.

What a sad commentary on their life! If I only surround myself with people who think like me, am I not losing the chance to have a richer life? Do I want this kind of future for my students?

I think it is important to teach my students to listen to others fully even though they might disagree with them. They need to listen with an open mind and not shut them out by thinking of their own arguments. They need to let the other person share all that they are thinking without interrupting them. If they need to write down the points the other person said so they don’t forget, then make a list. Explain that the notes are there so they don’t interrupt the speaker.

After the other person talks, then the first person can go over the points that they don’t agree with. The second person can repeat the process of listening fully and taking notes if necessary.

If you can’t come to an agreement on a point of view, it is okay. It is okay to have differing opinions. That is what makes the world a better place. The important thing is that people need to listen to each other and stop shutting each other out.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Say What You Mean

In Useful redundancy from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“Sometimes, we assume that the person we’re engaging with knows exactly what we mean and want to express.”

One of the most important strategies in the classroom is to say what you mean and to teach students to do the same.

Many of my students with disabilities had a major problem with reading people by their voices or body language. I couldn’t beat around the bush with them and hoped that they understood. I couldn’t give verbal hints in order to soften what I was saying.

If I needed them to do something, I just had to be straightforward and tell them what I expected. This really helped them because they were not spending unnecessary time trying to figure out what I was really wanting them to do. Once they knew what expected, they could work towards meeting that expectation.

I also couldn’t assume that they understood when I was frustrated or angry or sad. They had a lot of trouble deciphering the moods of others. So, when I was feeling a certain way, I tried to remember to share my feeling with them. Sometimes I would also get them to explain what they see when I tell them how I am feeling. Eventually, they could learn visual cues without me having to explain them to them. Unfortunately, different people have different visual cues so the same ones do not always apply to the same mood.

These students also had trouble expressing how they feel and sometimes I could not tell from visual cues from them. Many times, they would act out because they were feeling a certain way. It was my job to help them learn to use words to express their feelings instead of using negative behavior. I try to help them see that communicating with words will let the other person know how they are feeling so that help can be given. If I know how they are feeling when they use words, I’m not playing a detective trying to figure out if they are frustrated or sad, or angry. If they are frustrated because they are having difficulty with a task, I can help them work out the problem. If they are sad, we can talk and that might help the sadness. If they are angry, I might be able to help them fight an alternative to a problem that might help them feel better.

I think that is the hardest part about teaching a course online. I don’t meet with my students face to face and everything is done through emails or submissions online. I don’t get a sense of what they are really understanding because I can’t hear their discussions or read their body language. I don’t hear their tone of voice so I can’t sense frustration or anger or bewilderment.

Many teachers are teaching virtually and it is hard to get a read on a student’s mood through a computer screen. Parents are having to deal with these moods at home and are not trained to handle behavior due to education issues. Teachers are trained in how to teach and how to manage behavior.

How do you teach students to say what they mean? Please share.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Friday, February 5, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2/5/21

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

Geocaching – “…the world’s largest treasure hunt.” (L:G;SA:A)

Satellite Observations of Arctic Change – “The purpose of this site is to expose NASA satellite data and research on Arctic change, in the form of maps that illustrate the changes taking place in the Arctic over time. A high-speed internet connection is recommended for map viewing.” (L:H;SA:S)

Math Attax – app for mobile devices; “If you want to turbo charge your mental maths skills you’ve come to the right place with one of the best maths game, in our opinion the best maths game!” (L:E;SA:M)

MakeBeliefs from the Heart – “Come, enter this book to explore the wonderful mysteries of
your life. The illustrated writing prompts from the heart like the ones in this book will provide readers with hope and comfort as they escape into the rich world of their imaginations. The writing prompts offered are affirming and help us think more deeply about what is important in life. For example, how would you answer this prompt: Make believe you could write a message to heal the pains of the world. What would you say? Or this one: Make believe you were asked what is really important in life. What would you list? Author Bill Zimmerman (the creator of first started creating ‘’makebeliefs’’ many years ago as a way ‘’to imagine a better world and ease my heart. When you imagine you begin to view your world differently, you see new possibilities and make new choices. Each of us is capable of being our fullest selves if we can catch our breath for a while, lose some of our fears, and try to imagine what things would be like if such and such would happen.’’This book tries to help readers explore new possibilities and perhaps think about things which they may not have considered before. It will encourage you to deep deeply into yourself and make discoveries.” (L:G;SA:LA)

Stain Solutions – “We have put together a comprehensive list of stain solutions. Each solution contains the supplies you will need and the preferred method for cleaning the stain. You can browse through the list below or use our search toolbar.” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Discussions are Important

This semester I’m teaching two online special education courses. One assignment is to answer questions at the end of the chapter. One of my students answered the question and since it was an opinion question based on what she had read, I gave her full credit even though I disagreed with her. In the comment section, I posed a question that required further thought about her answer.

After seeing her grade and reading my comments, she sent me an email and I wanted to share one of her comments and part of my response.

She said, “I wanted to email my thoughts to you as we can't meet in class to have a face-to-face discussion, and we can't really discuss new perspectives as we move through this course.”

I answered, “I miss this kind of interaction and discussion that we would have had if we were in a face-to-face class…I think ongoing discussions like this are as important as the actual textbook instruction.”

I have a Discussion board set up with specific questions that they answer and discuss but there is something about a face to face discussion that is very different than this. It involves thinking and talking at the moment. People can read each other's body language and tone of voice. Others may feel more comfortable asking questions that they don’t have to write out in words.

I really miss having these in-person discussions because I think students really can get a lot out of it. I think I may set up a zoom meeting where we can just meet and have a chat online. We don’t have to have a formal agenda but I think it is important that we get together to discuss any concerns that anyone may have.

How do you handle online discussions? Please share.

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Valentine’s Day Activities

Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day activities. Hope you enjoy them!

Robot Valentine Heartbeat Card – “This fun valentine card uses Chibitronics circuit stickers to bring an adorable robot to life.” The stickers are expensive but the concept is cute. I think I would skip the circuit stickers and use pink or red paper for the heart.

Braided Heart – use clay to make a braided heart

8 Ways to Fall in Love with Dash, Dot, and Cue (Again!) – “Can you feel the love in the air? ’Tis the season! And robots are definitely worthy of love, too. Here are some fun Valentine’s Day activities for Dash, Dot, Cue, and your classroom Valentines. Turn your STEM efforts into STEAM by trying some of these crafty, “A”rtsy ideas.”

Digital Valentines for kids – “To use, simply create a “card” for each student in your class. Then, share the link with your class so each student can write a note on his/her classmate’s card!

Valentine's Scratch Lesson: Hearts & Arrows! – “The idea to create a ‘hearts & arrows’ game for Valentine’s Day came from my eight year old daughter!”

Valentine’s Day Breakout – “Your classroom Valentine's Day party is planned this week! Valentine's Day is one of your favorite holidays. Valentine's Day cards and candy are the best part! You have spent all week shopping and preparing for Friday. Not to mention, you spent two days hand making all of your Valentine's Day cards for each one of your classmates. On the day of the party, you want to make sure your cards are safe, so you ask the principal if it's okay to place them in their office. But, when you go to get them right before the party, you find the office door locked with your cards inside! You have 30 minutes until the party starts - do your best to solve these puzzles and unlock the office door!”

Will You Be My Valentine – “It's that time of year again! Valentine's Day is a festival of love that occurs on February 14th. On Valentine's Day many people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to family, friends, and loved ones. This year for Valentine's Day your teacher has assigned a creative writing activity. Every student must create a Valentine's card that rhymes for each student in the classroom; no two cards may be the same. Piece a cake, you think? The thing is that once you gathered your supplies, sat down at your desk, and began on your first Valentine's Card; "Rose are red, violets are blue, you sure are nice as a ....," oh no, you have forgotten how to rhyme! You only have 45 minutes to complete this assignment. Looks for clues throughout this page that might help with this assignment.”

8 Engaging ELA Lessons for Valentine's Day – “Valentine’s Day season is upon us, and it’s a great time of year to engage students in key skills exercises and lessons in a high-interest format. Check out these EIGHT activities and lessons for Valentine’s Day season in secondary ELA.”

How to Make a Scratch-off Valentine – “Today's easy peasy valentine could be adapted as a Valentine's Day card for anyone you love. This would be fun to make for your hubby, your kids, your parents, or even a friend! I created this card for my hubby, intending to give this to him on February 5. This way, he can scratch off 1 heart every day until Valentine's Day! (Of course you could start this at any time!)”

Makey Makey Paper Circuit Valentine Template – “Learn how to make a Valentine's paper circuit and test conductive materials!”

Valentine’s Day in the Classroom – “Free ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids at school. Easy and fun crafts, art projects, party games, videos, and engaging learning activities!”

Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Photo a Day – January 2021

Here is the link to my photos for January 2021 in Flickr:


I’ve really enjoyed taking photos and looking at the photos that others have taken.


This would be a great activity for students to do for the week or the month. The photos could be used as story prompts.


Original photo by Pat Hensley

Monday, February 1, 2021

2021 Goals Review for January

This month was productive. We spent half the month in Florida and half the month in SC which made it hard to concentrate on my weight. I did a lot of crafting though.

Mindfulness (Word of the Year) – I’ve been doing meditation exercises through the app Ten Percent (free phone app). I think it has really helped me focus on being in the present.

Goals: I didn’t do very well working on my goals this month. I’ve only worked on 3 out of the 5 goals so far.

1. Lose 5 lbs. –I haven’t worked well on my weight this month. We came back to South Carolina and it has felt so cold to me which has caused me to overeat. My husband has been fighting an abscessed tooth and we have been eating well in order to help him fight off the infection. I hope I will do better this coming month.

2. Knit 12 squares on my national park blanket. (There are 60 squares in the pattern and this is year 4 of the project.) – I knit 4 squares this month for a total of 43 completed.

3. Knit a sweater. – I haven’t started on this yet.

4. Design 3 new patterns – I’m working on designing a new cowl for Chinese New Years.

5. Read 12 nonfiction books. – I haven’t started on this yet.

How is your progress towards your goals? Please share.

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