Monday, April 19, 2021

The Lucky List– Book Review

I recently read The Lucky List by Rachael Lippincott.  I read a review copy compliments of Netgalley and I am not being paid to give this review.

Emily is about to become a high school senior and is having the worst summer ever. She is dealing with the death of her mother, breaking up with her boyfriend, being away from her best friend, and reuniting with her childhood friend. She is trying to find a way to fix it all and ends up finding herself.

 

I could see this book in a high school library. It deals with topics of death, peer relationships, communication with others, and sexual orientation.

 


Friday, April 16, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/16/21

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

Don’t Gross Out the World – “Dont Gross Out the World is back! Learn about dining customs from around the world in this updated version of one of our classic games” (L:G;SA:SS)

Social Emotional Learning Activity Templates for Google Jamboard - “Have you been looking for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) activities to make a part of your regular classroom routine? If so, I can’t think of a better way than to utilize Google Jamboard with some pre-made templates that you can share with your students.” (L:G;SA:C)

Perusall - “The Perusall platform is free for students, instructors, and educational institutions.We aim to change the nature of reading — from the traditional solitary experience to an engaging and collective one. We aim to change education — so all students do the reading, come to class prepared, and are motivated to do so because they care about the content.” (L:T;SA:A)

Adobe Color - “Color wheel (or image in Extract Theme tab) can be used to generate color palette, which can be saved into Creative Cloud, after signing in. You can then use your saved color themes, in Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco etc.), via Adobe Color theme panel or CC Libraries.” (L:T;SA:A)

Forky - mindmapping (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Making Things Equal

In All things being equal from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“All things are rarely equal.”

Too many times, students complain that things are not equal. They need to learn that usually, nothing is equal. Unless we are all made the same with the same attributes and are carbon copies of each other, there is no way that anything can be equal.

What students need to discover is how to come to terms with things not being equal. Many times schools call this “leveling the playing field.”

This occurs a lot in the workplace. Picture someone who cleans windows. One person is 6 foot 5 inches and the other person is only 5 feet. Can they both do a good job? Yes, they can. The shorter person may have to use a ladder to get to the higher windows but they are both capable of getting the job accomplished.

Many times we shop for things by comparing prices. Advertising experts for certain items do not want you to compare things so they change how they share certain information. My husband says it is like comparing apples to oranges and is impossible to see if they are equivalent in attributes but different in price.

Too many students feel like they should be equal to everyone else. I want to impress on my students that everyone has various strengths which don’t make them equal but if they work together they can be stronger and better. My husband can assemble things without ever reading the directions and I have smaller fingers to get into tight spaces. Apart, things may not get assembled quickly or correctly but together, we can put something together and enjoy it faster.

We need to embrace each other’s differences and encourage each other to discover our strengths. Once we recognize that usually “equal” doesn’t exist, we can move forward and be more productive.

How do you teach your students about making things equal? Please share.

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Earth Day Virtual Event


April 22nd is Earth Day and NASA is hosting an Earth Day Virtual Event. I think there are great opportunities for students and I wanted to share this with you. 

“A variety of Earth Day activities, including live talks, games, videos, and great downloadable posters and books, is now online during NASA’s Earth Day Virtual Event.

From April 21-24, anyone can join the free, online event that includes live panel discussions and chats with NASA Earth science experts, as well as on-demand content, such as coloring pages and activity sheets, eBooks and downloadable posters, Meet a Scientist videos, and information on how you can be a scientist for NASA. There’s also an online scavenger hunt to kick off #GrowForLaunch, a chance to learn more about the plants grown in space and how you can start your own garden.

Online registration is free and open now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Library

In The library: my home away from home from Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares,

“As I look back on my 40+ year career as a school librarian/library supervisor, I take the greatest satisfaction in knowing I created or helped create places for children in schools where they felt safe, welcome, and affirmed.”

This post reminded me of my younger days when I loved going to the library. I recall as a child in elementary school, I used to love going to the school library. My parents introduced me to the bookmobile from the public library and every week I anticipate the bookmobile coming to our neighborhood. I was so proud to have a library card.

When I got into junior high school, I had trouble fitting in with others. So, I discovered the school library. That was my refuge when I was feeling lonely or scared in junior high. Eventually, I got to know the school librarian and she knew what kind of books I liked. When I would enter the library she would welcome me and let me know what new books arrived that might interested me.

When I went to high school I didn't know many people there. But the public library was right next door to the school. When entered the library, I felt like I was among friends I knew and who knew me. I would go to the library right after school finished and then would get rides home near dinner time. I would get my parents to take me to the library and I would spend the day there many Saturdays. The books in the library were my friends.

Recently, we bought a vacation home in Florida. I couldn't wait to gather proof of residency so that I could go to the public library and get a library card. There are so many resources accessible online and at the library.

When my husband has a problem or wants to find out something, he says we have to go to the library. He feels that is the first place we should go to start looking for resources. It is the jumping-off place for finding information about any topic.

I want to show students that they have a friend in the library system also. I love to see young children at the library learning to love like I do. I'm so thankful for their parents who have introduced the library to their children.

I think it is important to take classes to the school library regularly. I would take them every other week. One week would be to find books to read for pleasure or look up information that interests them. The other week is for a specific purpose or assignment that I give them in class. They can find the necessary information at the library to complete the assignment.

Do you take your students to the library? How often and for what purpose? Please share.

Photo by Shunya Koide on Unsplash

Monday, April 12, 2021

Landsford Canal State Park

Landsford Canal State Park is located in Chester County, South Carolina. The part consists of 448 acres and includes the ruins of the Landsford Canal. Besides the canal, there are the largest remaining stands of the Shoals Spider Lily. The Spider Lily blooms from mid-May to mid-June.

There are also hiking trails in the park. There is the Canal Trail which follows the Landsford Canal. It is 1.5 MI. There is also a half-mile nature trail that goes along the Catawba River. You can see the Shoals Spider Lily from this Trail.

Utilizing slave labor, the canal was constructed to circumvent the rapids of the Catawba River. The canal was abandoned when the railroad became the better way to transport goods. There is an interpretive Museum in the former lockkeeper’s house. The canal was one of the best-preserved canals of the nineteenth century, and parts of its major structural features have been preserved. It was constructed from 1820 to 1835.

Land’s Ford Is also associated with the Revolutionary War. Thomas Sumter’s troops crossed here on their route to the Battle of Hanging Rock. The main British Army crossed the Catawba here in 1780.

I have been to this park to see the canals and the lilies. It is well worth going to visit! 


Friday, April 9, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/9/21`

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

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:A)

ThreadIt - “Short video recordings to share work, connect your team, and get your day back” (L:T;SA:A)

Connect Fours - You get 16 clues and have to put them into groups of 4. You can edit the template and put your own key words in. Great review for students. (L:T;SA:A)

Virtual Accommodations In Co-Taught Virtual Classrooms - “Tips on what a teacher can do while their coteacher is leading a virtual lesson” (L:T;SA:A)

Edji - “Annotate anything together. Whether its a PDF, image, web article, or GIF—annotation is better live and together. Edji works great in Science, Social Studies, and any content area, to shift the focus from "how to annotate" back to the material you are teaching. Use the content you already have, and use Edji to make it a collaborative, engaging experience while you get live data. (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Motivating Students

Recently I was asked this question about motivating students:

“I am in a 6th grade classroom. I have a couple of students who can do their work and succeed in their efforts, but just chose not to. I feel as though a lot of this is a result of the pandemic, and everything that went on with the pandemic, with the students thinking they can just coast by. My question is: What is a good motivating tool, activity, or any useful idea in general to help out with this dilemma in my class?”

Even as an adult, I sometimes hit this obstacle too and it would be good for students to know that it happens to everyone. But not doing what I need to do isn’t an option. Sometimes I need to jumpstart myself into getting things done.

I believe the students are old enough to have input into what would help them be more successful. Explain to them that you know they can do their work but just don’t seem to be motivated. Ask them what would help them be more motivated since not doing the work is not an option.

As you mentioned, this might be a learned habit due to the pandemic. If so, then they need to unlearn the habit and learn a better one. They might need to create a list of what needs to done and then check off the items as they finish them.

I would ask students to complete a survey that asks them what motivates them. Is it tangible rewards or movement activities? Try to find out what activities they like to do. Once you know what would help motivate them, have them help you figure out a plan on what it would take to get something as a reward. Write it out like a behavior contract.

It also would be a good time to involve the parents. They are part of the team to help your students succeed. They might have some insight into something that would motivate the students. Involving parents should not be seen as a punishment for the students. It would be good to involve the parents before the situation gets worse.

How would you motivate these students? Please share.

Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Observations

We can learn a lot by observing others. When we want to learn something, we should observe those who know how to do what we want to do.

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, so I was constantly observing teachers as I went through school. I noted teachers that I felt were good and helped me be a better teacher. I observed those teachers that I knew I wouldn’t want to be like.

When students think about careers, they should go shadow someone already in the field. They should learn about the pros and cons of that career so they know what they're getting into if they decide to pursue it.

When I want to try a new craft, I like to go on YouTube and observe someone else actually making what I want to make. I can observe what they are doing so that I could do the same thing. If I watch several videos, I'll get a better idea of the different techniques used so I can decide which one will work best for me.

I believe students learn a lot by observing too and we don’t remember how influential observations may be.

When students are observing me, I want to be a good role model. I want them to see how I can solve problems. I want them to see how I deal with my emotions especially frustration, disappointment, and frustration. I want my students to observe that I try to be fair and kind to others.

Knowing that students are good at observing others, it is important to take time to discuss their observations. This is an important way to show you are not ignoring their knowledge of what others are doing and how they behave. By talking about the positive and negative things they observe, you can help them process what they have observed. They can learn to decide what actions are appropriate or not appropriate.

Observation is a crucial strategy in learning.

How do you encourage students to use the power of observation? Please share?

Photo by Elisabeth Wales on Unsplash

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

East Asian Women Leaders in Educational Technology

In What I’ve been up to: Silver Lining for Learning by Dangerously Irrelevant, Scott McLeod, shares about the Silver Lining for Learning initiative and lists Year 1 episodes that are available on YouTube. He explains,

“The initiative was meant to highlight interesting technology-enabled learning around the world and to spark some discussions about schooling possibilities during the pandemic and afterward.”


Over the past year, I have been going to the Silver Lining for Learning website where the episodes are listed or you can go to their YouTube channel and subscribe. You can also attend the live YouTube meetings.

“Silver Lining for Learning is an ongoing conversation on the future of learning with educators and education leaders from across the globe. Hosted by Chris Dede, Curt Bonk, Shuangye Chen, Punya Mishra & Yong Zhao, these conversations began under the “dark cloud” of the COVID19 crisis and continue today. We see these conversations as space to discuss the creation of equitable, humanistic and sustainable learning ecosystems that meet the needs of all learners. These conversations are hosted live on YouTube every Saturday (typically 5:30 PM Eastern US time) and are archived on this website.”

I thought since violence against Asians has been in the news along with this past month being National Women’s Month, I would share a recent episode about East Asian Women Leaders.

Episode 52 | Reaching Out and Reaching In | East Asian Women Leaders in Educational Technology

They explain the episode as:

“This episode will explore the recent projects and initiatives of three East Asian educational technology leaders, Insung Jung, Ok-hwa Lee, and Meifeng Liu, within their home countries of Japan, Korea, and China as well as their work around the globe. What have they each done during the past few years? What have they each discovered? And where will they go next? This session will also highlight what the governments in Japan, Korea, and China have been targeting since they start of the pandemic and the associated successes and failures. What insights do these prominent woman leaders have for the world community as well as for young female scholars in the field of educational technology and distance education?”

It is a fantastic episode and very interesting. I hope you take the time to check it out.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Cardboard Inventions

When I was a child I used to love to play with old cardboard boxes. I guess I was just like a kitten who liked to use the cardboard box as a toy. Whenever someone in the neighborhood would get a new refrigerator or washing machine, the big box was given to the neighborhood children. I remember one year when we took all the boxes and put them together in a yard and made little cities out of the boxes. We decorated the boxes as individual houses and apartment buildings. We even cut doors into them and would go in and out of the different buildings. Then eventually we would make up stories of the residents of each building. This kept us busy and entertained for weeks or until it rained and all the boxes got wet and soggy. Then we would wait impatiently for someone to get another new appliance so we could begin a new adventure.

Recently I learned about this Instructables site that has a Cardboard Speed Challenge. So far there are only 13 entries and the challenge ends in 7 days but it was fun to look at the individual entries. There are some projects that I would never have thought about doing.

I believe this would be a fantastic challenge for the classroom. Let students use their imagination and discover what they could come up with. The main material would be cardboard which should be easy to get. Anything else the students would have to supply such as glue paper clips or any other material they might need for attaching things. I would give them a deadline on when their projects would have to be done and then have them present their project to the class. You could even have judges come and judge the best project with the winner getting a prize.

Or you could have students chose one of the projects already entered and have them try to make one of them. Students would follow the directions given and see if their project turns out like the original one. This is a great exercise for reading and following directions.

What would you make with cardboard? Please share.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 4/2/21

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

Museo – “Museo is a visual search engine that connects you with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rijksmuseum, the Harvard Art Museums, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the New York Public Library Digital Collectionmore to come! Every image you find here is in the public domain and completely free to use, although crediting the source institution is recommended!” (L:G;SA:FA)

Paygrade – “PayGrade is an immersive experience for students to learn everything related to personal finance like budgeting, paying bills, earning an income, saving, investing and more. Students learn to navigate the complex world of personal finance and experience real world money situations in a safe space - the classroom.” Disney Concert Hall.” (L:G;SA:C)

A Concerto is a Conversation – “A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family's lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.” (L:G;SA:FA)

Random Acts of Kindness – “We have taken our CASEL approved, highly effective, evidence-based Kindness in the Classroom® social emotional learning curriculum and made it better. By including a focus on equity, teacher self-care, and digital citizenship, we are excited to share a more engaging, relatable, and inclusive curriculum.” (L:T;SA:A)

Overcoming Obstacles – “Overcoming Obstacles is a free, award-winning, and research-based curriculum that provides educators with the tools to teach elementary, middle, and high school students life skills. With hundreds of activity-based lessons covering more than 30 critical social and emotional skills, students learn how to communicate effectively. They learn how to make informed decisions. They learn how to set and achieve goals, resolve conflicts, solve problems, respect one another, and more.” (L:SN;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, April 1, 2021

2021 Goals Review for March

We made it back to Florida where we were exercising more and eating better. I didn’t focus so much on losing weight because I was trying to just get back my energy level.

Mindfulness (Word of the Year) – I’m still doing meditation exercises every evening. I also added Square breathing to my daily routine.

 

Goals: I worked on some of my goals this month.

 

1. Lose 5 lbs. –.My weight went up this month. I walked over 10,000 steps for 14 days which is 12 more days than I did last 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.) – 43 squares complete but I didn’t work on any this month.  

3. Knit a sweater. – I started on the Nesting Cardigan and I’m finished with the body. I just need to add sleeves and pockets.

4. Design 3 new patterns – I published one design (The Chinese New Year Cowl) and I’m working on another one.

5. Read 12 nonfiction books.

a. Counting by Deborah Stone

b. My Paddle to the See by John Lane

c. Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl

d. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

e. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


How is your progress towards your goals? Please share.

 

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