Monday, May 31, 2021

Gardening and Horticulture Stamp

I saw this stamp in my husband’s collection and I really liked it. During the spring and summer, I do a lot of gardening so this was a perfect stamp to reflect one of my hobbies.
The three-cent green Gardening and Horticulture stamp (US #1100) was issued on March 15, 1958, in Ithaca, New York. It was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on a rotary press. The stamp was issued in conjunction with the one-hundredth celebration of Liberty Hyde Bailey’s birth.

Liberty Hyde Bailey is known as the Father of Modern Horticulture in America. He was born in Michigan in 1858. He studied botany during his college years at Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) which is now known as Michigan State University. He graduated in 1882 and went to Harvard University to work as an assistant to Asa Gray. Asa Gray was a famous botanist known around the world.

In 1884, Bailey went back to Michigan Agricultural College and started the first horticulture department in the United States. He established the first horticultural laboratory in the United States in 1888.

He served as a professor of botany and horticulture at Cornell University from 1888 to 1903. When he was at Cornell University, he started an extension program to teach people in rural areas about agriculture. This motivated New York State to open the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell that was run by Bailey. Bailey created the Bailey Hortorium which houses one of the largest collections of preserved plant material.

The Bailey Museum and Gardens are located in South Haven Michigan. The homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home was built from 1853 -1856 and is one of the oldest standing homes in South Haven Michigan. The museum’s grounds feature gardens with interpretive signage, community garden plots, an old smokehouse, a blacksmith shop and carriage barn, and a nature trail.

Class activities:
  1. Who is Asa Gray and why was he famous?
  2. Identify an artifact from early horticulture. Describe its function.
  3. Find a plant and share more about the plant.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, May 28, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/28/21

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

How to Use Home Assistant Devices as Assistive Technology - “These devices can help with spelling and sounding out words, solving basic math problems, and staying on schedule. Hear from AT consultant Jamie Martin on the whys and hows of using these tools. Then find out why he thinks home assistant devices are the future of AT.” (L:T;SA:A)

To Accomplish Great Things You Need to “Let the Paint Dry.” - “As theaters closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the creatives who populated their stages were plunged into a state of seemingly endless uncertainty. Aided by a delightful and metaphorically resonant piece of performance art, multidisciplinary artist Daniel J. Watts shares a personal perspective on reframing this moment of global stasis as an opportunity to reset and reflect on the potential of what comes after.” (L:T;SA:A)

Fling the Teacher - create your own review game (L:T;SA:A)

Educandy - “With Educandy, you can create interactive learning games in minutes. All you need is to enter the vocabulary or questions and answers and Educandy turns your content into cool interactive activities.”(L:T;SA:A)

Tailor- Ed - “Tailor-ED is now free for all teachers!You will now be able to create limitless lesson plans, exit tickets, gain access to our 5000+ resources and have all the premium content Tailor-ED offers- with no extra charge! Enjoy!” (L:T;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Asian Americans TV Series

Check out the Asian Americans TV series that is free to watch online on PBS.

From a press release in 2019:

“Beverly Hills, CA; July 29, 2019 – Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS and WETA announced ASIAN AMERICANS, a new five-part documentary series currently in production and expected to broadcast in May 2020 on PBS. The series examines what the 2010 U.S. Census identifies as the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States. Told through individual lives and personal histories, ASIAN AMERICANS explores the impact of this group on the country’s past, present, and future.”

About the show:

“Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that will chronicle the contributions, and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. Personal histories and new academic research will cast a fresh lens on U.S. history and the role Asian Americans have played in it.”:

This would be great for students to watch and gain a better understanding of the Asian American history and culture.

If you watch it, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

One Good Thing

This past Sunday, I was the Sunday School leader and had to lead the group in exploring how God can use the smallest gift dedicated to God’s service to make a big impact in the world. I think the questions in the lesson would be a great discussion to have with students.

The lesson starts with an article, Heart Lady Uses Art to Spread a Little Love Around. It talks about the artist Deirdre Freeman who makes vibrant paper hearts with messages of love and encouragement on trees and telephone poles. Some of these have stayed up for months. Another artist, Kristina Libby creates large floral heart wreaths and places them around the city. These give people a way to grieve, pray, and heal.

The Associated Press shared over 200 stories of people who have given of themselves. The series was called One G

In 200 stories over this pandemic-ridden year, The Associated Press has celebrated selfless people who have given of themselves in trying times. The series call “One Good Thing” was great to read.

Here are some examples.

“The 79-year-old widow battling Stage 4 cancer had planted hundreds of tulips along a road in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Tammi Truax, the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, poet laureate who writes weekly pandemic verses for her community newsletter.

Emiliano Moscoso, a restaurateur delivering meals to poor families in the Colombian capital of Bogota, among them Venezuelan refugees, Moscoso said he closed out 2020 with a little over 40,000 meals delivered.

Bonnie Matthews’ 6-year-old son Chip got a birthday gift of $2 from mail carrier Tawanna Purter after the two struck up an unlikely pandemic friendship.

Former Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was overjoyed by the response to April’s story on the daily notes of inspiration, encouragement and wisdom he was sending to some 5,000 subscribers.

There was the Texas principal whose school runs a free store providing food and goods to the community

Now the lesson asked some questions that I thought I’d answer here.

1. What is the impact of small gestures done by others in your life? (I try to pass it on when a stranger does a kindness to me.)

2. How are we changed as individuals when we use our talents for the benefit of others, expecting nothing in return?

3. When, if ever, have you seen God use a person whose gifts were not particularly remarkable to accomplish amazing things? What does that suggest about how God work? (Years ago, I had to place some students with intellectual disabilities in an internship. I worried that they wouldn’t have a lot to offer and that the employer might call me to remove them from this placement. Within two weeks, I heard reports about how much joy these two students gave to the residents in this nursing home. It humbled me to realize that everyone has a gift to share.)

4. Robert Brault said, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” What are some “little things” that you didn’t necessarily appreciate at the time, that you now realize were really important in your life? ( I look back at the many sacrifices my parents made for me that I didn’t appreciate at the time. Now when I look back and realize that we didn’t have a lot of money and no health insurance so my parents sacrificed a lot of things they wanted so that their children would have what they wanted.)

How would you answer these questions? Please share.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Respecting Other People’s Decisions

I recently posted this on Facebook and I thought I would post it here because it really explains what I feel. I believe that as an intelligent person, I can make my own decision about my health without being pressured by others. I will do what is right for myself and my family. Whatever health decision I make will not be motivated by politics or peer pressure.

(I don't usually copy and paste but I liked and agreed with this message.)

For my friends who have recently gotten their shot or who know they will get one soon, I’m happy for you. I can see how relieved you are and I’m so glad that this option is available!

For my friends who are in the hellz no group, I want to throw some love and respect your way, too.

The wonderful thing about informed consent is that two people with the same information, can make two completely different choices and neither of them is right or wrong

There are benefits and risks to every medical procedure. Doing the “right thing” means you’ve weighed the risks and benefits for yourself, and are making an informed decision! The only wrong decision IMO is made purely out of fear, social pressure, or emotional reactivity.

What’s right for one person, maybe wrong for the other. Both, on an intuitive and biological level. We’re all doing the best we can with the information and we have been given, so can this just be a gentle reminder *for all* to please respect each other and be mindful of the message we put out there making others “wrong”?

Reminder - this information is also part of one's personal health information act and you have the right to not answer when asked whether you choose to get vaccinated or not

So whether you choose;
CV shot
No shot
Tequila shot
You’re okay in my books and I respect YOUR DECISION

When I’m asked if I had the vaccine or not, my answer is this:

I have stopped answering that question because it is a personal decision and no matter what my answer is, it will create controversy from one side or the other. I do not want to have any more contention in my life than I already have. Asking this question ranks right up there with asking me my political affiliation or my religious beliefs.

So, let’s talk about the weather…

Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

Monday, May 24, 2021

Laurence Yep

Laurence Yep is an American writer of children’s books. I have read many of his books and even today, I can relate a lot to his stories! I like to share these books with my students who may be struggling with cultural conflict. One of my favorite books is The Star Fisher. It features a 15-year-old Chinese American girl who has just moved to a new home in West Virginia.

Yep has authored numerous children’s books but one collection that is well known is The Golden Mountain Chronicles. This a collection of works featuring the Young family from 1849 to 1995. These are well worth reading! He has earned the Newberry Honor award twice and also received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his contribution to American children’s literature.

Laurence Yep was born in San Francisco, California in 1948. He grew up working in his family’s grocery store. As a child, he commuted to a Catholic School for Chinese children. Many of the children there made fun of him for only knowing how to speak English. He struggled as a child to fit in because he had one foot in the American world and one foot in his Chinese roots. A lot of his work deals with this conflict.

He published his first story when he was in high school because his teacher persuaded him to submit the story. This helped encourage Yep to consider being a writer. He was also interested in machines and chemistry.

Yep went to college at Marquette University where he became friends with a literary magazine editor, Joanne Ryder. She encouraged him to write the children’s book, Sweetwater. Later, he transferred to UC Santa Cruz and graduated in 1970 with a BA. He went on to SUNY Buffalo where he earned a Ph.D. in English.

He lives with his wife, Joanne, in Pacific Grove, California.

Friday, May 21, 2021

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

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

Connect Students with Nature - “The series is produced by, a philanthropic media organization and a multi-media division of the Annenberg Foundation. Created by filmmaker and philanthropist Charles Annenberg Weingarten to champion the selfless acts of others, inspire lifelong learning and help people fall in love with the world again, is home to more than 300 original films and a massive library of world-class photography from all over the globe.” (L:G;SA:S)

Sherlock Bones - dissect an owl pellet (L:G;SA:S)

Chatterpix - “Simply take any photo, draw a line to make a mouth, and record your voice. Then share your Pix with friends and family as silly greetings, playful messages, creative cards, or even fancy book reports. And best of all, it’s FREE! AGES: 6-12.” (L:G;SA:A)

Structure Strips - “A Structure Strip is a simple but powerful scaffolding tool that can help kids focus on organizing their thinking and written responses to prompts. Kinda like training wheels.” (L:G;SA:LA)

Who owns the "wilderness"? - Explore the creation of national parks and the importance of finding a balance between public use and ecological preservation. (L:H;SA:S)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Edwin Chang

Edwin Change was a simulation technical director at Pixar. He submitted his idea for Wind and then took time off from his job to create the animated movie. It was inspired by his family’s story.  Wind is a love letter to his grandmother. His grandmother raised Chang’s father as a single mother. Eventually, she saved enough money to send him to the United States for a better life. It was a huge sacrifice to let her son so that he could live better.

The Making of Wind


Wind – A Pixar short

If you haven’t seen the Pixar short,  Float, I t is worth seeing. It would be great for students to see and realize that it is okay to be different  “Pixar Animation Studios and the SparkShorts filmmakers of FLOAT are in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities against Anti-Asian hate in all its forms. We are proud of the onscreen representation in this short and have decided to make it widely available, in celebration of what stories that feature Asian characters can do to promote inclusion everywhere.”


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Being an Educator

In Investments and expenses from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“One goes up in value, the other doesn’t. One creates value over time, the other doesn’t.”

Being an educator means we are investing in the future.

Giving time and energy to educating students is making an investment. There is no daily time clock for a teacher’s schedule. I spent many hours outside of the school day thinking and planning for my students. I spent my summers in professional development and dreaming of new lessons or projects for the upcoming year. I worried about my own shortcomings as a teacher and I worried if my students were having problems outside of our class. My day did not end just because the school day was over.

I am always hearing that we are having a teacher shortage. Even before the pandemic, we were having a teacher shortage. Now after the pandemic, many teachers are retiring or not even returning and finding employment elsewhere.

Overwhelming paperwork has always been a problem. Whenever the legislature talks about paperwork reduction, it somehow always adds 10 more pages to the work that teachers have to do! I really think legislators need to get out in the classrooms and see what is involved. Every time I hear them talk about paperwork reduction, I want to stand up and scream, “Please don’t do that! You are only making more work for us!”

Administrative support is vital to teacher retention. The problem with this is that the teachers and administrators need to be the right fit. If they aren’t, teachers need to keep moving to different schools until they find the right one. I was lucky enough to have two administrations that were perfect for me. When these principals left for a different school, the new principals were not the right fit for me. I don’t believe that an administration is bad but if we aren’t on the same page, it can affect my teaching and my attitude.

Having a support system is incredibly important. I don’t mean that one will do. I had several support systems set up depending on my needs.

My family was great for emotional support but they didn’t necessarily understand my workload. They helped balance me out so that I wasn’t totally consumed with being a teacher. They helped me relax and discover activities that I enjoyed doing.

My colleagues were wonderful for giving me support in the workplace but they didn’t necessarily understand the students with special needs that I taught. They helped give me new ideas for interesting lessons and brainstormed with me different ways to modify these lessons for my students. They commiserated with me over the overwhelming responsibilities we all had when being an educator.

I also had parents of my students who were a great support system but they might not have realized it. I kept in regular contact (every 2 weeks) with all the parents/caregivers for my students. I let them know positive and/or negative events that occurred with my student. Since I communicated with them so regularly, it was mainly positive comments that I shared. I never talked to them about another student and made sure I followed confidentiality guidelines. But when I was feeling discouraged or wondered if I was making a difference, I just called to chat with a parent. Their comments usually boosted me up and made me realize that I was doing a good job. The time and energy I was investing in my students were worth it.

So, if you know of anyone who is thinking about being an educator, tell them if they are willing to invest in the future, it is a career worth having. I have never regretted one minute of my teaching career.

If you are an educator, please share your feelings!

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Being Different is Okay

Every day I see students trying to fit in and be like everyone else. The sad part is that they don’t realize that no one is like everyone else. Like fingerprints, every person is unique and it is impossible to be exactly like someone else.

I want students to know that as they continue in life they will belong to many different groups, They might end up in groups according to work skills, hobbies, common interests, and even age groups. Yet, even though each group has something in common, every person brings their own individual strengths to the group.

I have a young friend that so comfortable in her own skin that she doesn’t mind being different than the majority. This doesn’t mean that she can’t fit into whatever group she wants to fit in with but if her goals take her in a different direction than her groups, she is willing to go on her own. She might even go in a direction that leads her to different groups. If she didn’t have the courage to face some times outside of groups, she might miss many opportunities to enjoy life. So, she doesn’t let being part of a group impede her joy for living.

However many people don’t realize this until they are much older and have missed out on many opportunities. I want my students to understand this and learn it earlier than I did. I want them to have more time to enjoy life than others who realize this later in life.

When I was teaching, I realized that I had a different philosophy than a lot of teachers in my school. This didn’t mean that I was wrong or that they were wrong. It just meant that we looked at teaching students a little differently. I liked being a facilitator in my student’s learning rather than the lecturer imparting all my knowledge. I liked having parents be a part of my time on a regular basis rather than as an observer looking in. I wanted my students to have input and choices concerning their learning rather than dictating what and when they would learn the material.

Even in the workforce, the employer is looking for someone who will fit in with the team. Are they able to work with others and pull their own weight? Yet, they are also looking for someone different who can add a new strength to the team. They are not looking for someone who is exactly like someone they already have because they don’t need another person like that.

How do you get students to understand that it is okay to be different? Please share.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Monday, May 17, 2021

Connie Chung

Connie Chung was born in Washington DC on August 20, 1946. Her family emigrated the year before from China and Connie was the youngest of ten children. Her father was an intelligence officer in the Chinese Nationalist Government.

She went to high school in Maryland went got her journalism degree from the University of Maryland in 1969. She married Maury Povich a talk show host, in 1984. When they married, Connie converted to Judaism. They adopted a son in 1995.

In the early 1970s, Chung was a correspondent for the CBS Evening News during the Watergate scandal. She left to anchor evening newscasts in Los Angeles. She also anchored primetime news updates.

Chung anchored NBC News at Sunrise in 1983. She also anchored the NBC Nightly News on Saturdays and filled in for Tom Brokaw at times during the week. She also co-hosted two news magazines with Roger Mudd.

Chung left NBC for CBS in 1989 and was the host of Saturday Night with Connie Chung and was the anchor for the CBS Sunday Evening News. She also co-anchored with Dan Rather. She became the second woman in history to co-anchor a network newscast in 1993.

In 1995, Chung left CBS and went to ABC to cohost 2020 with Charles Gibson. She began doing independent interviews. She interviewed Gary Condit on Primetime Thursday in 2001 about his relationship with Chandra Levi who had been murdered. Chung was also a guest host of Good Morning America but didn’t want to make it a permanent position.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/14/21

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

Short and Curly - “SHORT & CURLY is a fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids and their parents, with questions and ideas to really get you thinking. It asks curly questions about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future. Thanks to our two fabulous hosts, there’s lots of time for silliness too. We are also helped out by resident ethicist Matt Beard from The Ethics Centre, a brains-trust of school children and some special high-profile guests like sporting stars and famous musicians.” (L:G;SA:A)

Barrett Farm and the Start of the American Revolution - “April 19, 1775 is undoubtedly one of the most important days in American history, but how do we know what happened that day nearly two hundred and fifty years ago? Historians use primary sources as a clue to determine what happened in the past. Many of the events leading up to and on April 19, 1775 in Concord relate to town resident Colonel James Barrett. Using primary sources your students will become historians and answer the question, “What was Colonel James Barrett’s role on April 19, 1775?” (L:H;SA:SS)

Rebels, Redcoats, and Homespun Heroes Curriculum Materials - “These curriculum materials include key Revolution vocabulary words, and activities on soldiers, women, and the spread of the Lexington alarm. Activities included in these materials can be used in conjunction with a ranger-guided field trip or on their own in the classroom or at home.” (L:E;SA:SS)

Who Shot First? Curriculum Materials - “These curriculum materials ask students to read and analyze primary source materials about the Intolerable Acts and the Battle of Lexington. Students are challenged through the construction evidence-based arguments about the fighting at Concord's North Bridge.” (L:H;SA:SS)

Lexington and Concord: A Legacy of Conflict Lesson Plan - “Students examine primary source materials to better understand the events of April 19, 1775.” (L:E;SA:SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Giving Choices

Recently someone mentioned that I stress how important it is to give students choices and asked me for more examples of choices that I give my students. When I give the students choices, they seem more engaged and the amount of work that they complete is much higher. I do not usually give more than three choices because more than that can be overwhelming for the student. When they are overwhelmed, they tend to not do anything rather than making a choice.

  • Choose which order you want to do the assignments. All assignments need to be completed but you can choose which one you want to do next.
  • Choose if you want to sit at your desk or in the reading corner or a private area with the desk.
  • Choose if you want to listen to music while you work.
  • Choose one of three writing prompts.
  • Look at one of three pictures and write a story about it.
  • Choose one of three books to read.
  • Choose if you want to read alone or find a group to read with.
  • Read to yourself or record yourself reading.
  • Choose one of three assignments (all on the same skill) to complete.
  • Choose one of three projects to complete using math skills.
Social Studies or Science:
  • Choose a topic that we have studied so far and do more research on it. Present it to the class by making a brochure, poster, commercial, or movie trailer.
What other choices would you give students? Please share.

Photo by Burst on Unsplash

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Is It Working?

In “But how will you know?” from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

"So the question: “How will we know if it’s working?” is a powerful one."

I have helped a few teachers set up behavior management plans for their classes. Each one was different because each one involves various amounts of time and energy required by the individual teacher. Different plans work for different teachers. Some involve extensive planning before implementation and may involve a lot of record-keeping during the implementation. That is just the first part though. Just because a plan is manageable for the teacher to implement, it doesn’t mean that it works.

I also advise teachers that they may attempt one plan but it doesn’t work so they should be willing to try something else if needed.

Of course, how do you know if it is working or not?

I had one teacher that tried a plan for two days and scrapped it saying that it didn’t work. Then she’d try something different for two more days and be frustrated when that didn’t work.

Whatever you chose to try, you need to try it for more than two days! I would give a plan at least two weeks before evaluating it for effectiveness. During these two weeks, students will test you to see if you really will follow through with the plan. It is important that you be fair and consistent with all of the students while implementing your plan. Students will want to see if you let someone else get away with something but enforce it with them. If this happens, your plan will never work.

During these two weeks, keep a daily frequency chart of the negative behaviors that you want to get rid of. At the end of the two weeks, this will help you decide if the plan is working or not.

At the end of two weeks, you can look at the frequency charts to determine if your plan is effective. You may need to do some adjustments to your plan but make sure your students know about these changes before implementing them.

What else would you do to see if a behavior plan is working? Please share.

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Debra Wong Yang

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I am featuring another Asian and Pacific American that you might not know much about.

In May 2002, Debra Wong Yang was appointed the US Attorney for the Central District of California by President George W. Bush. She was the first Asian American woman to serve as a United States attorney.

Yang helped create the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles and served as President of the museum. She also was a founding member of the first Asian American Bar Association in Chicago.

Yang’s office was the largest US Attorney’s office outside of Washington, DC. It served about 18 million people. She served as an assistant US Attorney and prosecuted various crimes. She successfully prosecuted a person who got the longest prison sentence for computer hacking.

In 2006, she resigned from her position as US Attorney. She became a partner at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher’s Los Angeles office.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Book Fair Equity

In Book fairs - unfair? From Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares,

“In reality, book fairs will be just one of dozens of things that will bring the attention of children to economic inequity in our society.”

He asked for readers to share their thoughts about school book fairs. This is what I posted as my response:

I grew up as one of the kids who couldn't afford to purchase books at the book fair but my parents always gave me enough to get one book. When I became a teacher, I decided to let students go to the book fair and make a list of the 3 books they would want me to purchase for our class library. From that list, I would attempt to buy one book from everyone's list with my own money. Sometimes the kids had that same book on their list so that helped narrow the list down. Then I decided to do a book exchange at the time of the fair for kids who couldn't afford to get any books. I had colleagues and volunteers who were glad to get rid of their children's books that their own children had outgrown. I let my students get one book from the collection to bring home and when they returned it, they could get another one. They really enjoyed that.

It would be nice if every aspect of life would be equal but in reality it isn't. I don't believe that this situation should be made equal for all because it is just another example of real life. Some people can afford cars while others have to rely on public transportation. Do we stop selling cars because everyone can't afford to get one?

How would you respond? Please share.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Friday, May 7, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/7/21

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

Blackbird - “Teach coding to more students, more effectively” (L:G ;SA:C)

CRITICAL THINKING - Fundamentals: Introduction to Critical Thinking - “Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University) gets you started on the critical thinking journey. He tells you what critical thinking is, what an argument is, and what the difference between a deductive and an ampliative argument is.” (L:G ;SA:A)

Five Tools for Staying On Task - “Productivity Tools I'm Currently Using” (L:G ;SA:A)

Images of the Revolutionary War - “The selected pictures listed below are among the audiovisual holdings of the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives that relate to the American Revolution. The images document the progression of the war, after the Revolution, and portraits of prominent individuals. The records are photographic copies of works of art. The dates, mediums of the originals, and the names of the artists are given wherever it has been possible to determine them” (L:G ;SA:SS)

Where the "Park" Am I?
- “The are more than 400 unique national parks throughout the country and US territories that are home to iconic places of nature and history. If you closed your eyes and were transported to a park, could you guess to which park when you opened them? Try to identify which park each of these 360-degree images are from and check your answers in the dropdown menus.” (L:G ;SA:SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I thought I would feature some famous Asian and Pacific Americans that you might not know much about.

Noriyuki “Pat” Morita was born on June 28, 1932, in Isleton, California. His father immigrated to California from Kyushu in 1915. His mother immigrated to California in 1913. He had a brother who was twelve years older than him.

When he was two, he was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis and spent nine years in the Weimer Institute and Shriners Hospital. For long time periods, he was enveloped in a full body cast and told he would never walk. While in the hospital, he became friends with a visiting priest who told him that if he ever converted to Catholicism, the priest would rename him to "Patrick Aloysius Ignatius Xavier Noriyuki Morita". When he was 11, he had spinal surgeon and learned to walk. He was reunited with his family, who were interned at the Gila River camp in Arizona. Almost two years later, he was relocated to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center.

After WWII, Morita graduated from high school in the Bay area in 1949. The family ran a Chinese restaurant. Morita entertained customers. In 1956, his father was killed in a hit and run accident so his mother and him kept the restaurant running for four more years.

In the 1960s, Morita was married and employed as a data processor for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Eventually he worked for Aerojet General and then Lockheed. He was the liaison between engineers and programmers mapping out lunar eclips for the Polaris and Titan missile projects.

After he felt burned out, he decided to go into show business and worked as a stand up comedian in the Sacremento and San Francisco area. He took the stage name as Pat Morita. Eventually he moved to Los Angelos to try comedy there. In the early 1970s, he got a role on Sanford and Son. From 1975-1983, he played Arnold on Happy Days. He was also Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. He played many roles after this. During his life, he suffered from alcoholism.

He was married three times and had three children.

On November 24, 2005, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita died of kidney failure after a urinary tract and gallbladder infection.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Motivating Students

Recently someone asked a group of us for help.

“Looking for ways to motivate the unmotivated students who are struggling to pass 9th grade classes and some end up repeating those classes. Are there any best practices that you or others have used that have been successful?”

Here is my answer:

I think it is important to remember that all students are different and are motivated by different things.

I like to start with an interest inventory. I like to find out the things they like to do and things they like to eat or drink. I know when I have to do something I don’t want to do, I like to reward myself with something if I get the dreaded task completed. I’m sure that students can be motivated the same way.

Students this age also need to have some input. They already feel like so many things are not in their control so completing assignments is something they can control. Talk to students about what is keeping them from succeeding. Ask them what would help them be more successful. Maybe they are overwhelmed by the assignments and need them broken down into smaller steps. When students have input, there is a higher chance of them having success.

Offer choices. Students with different learning styles can be very creative. Look at what your objectives are and then give them different ways to show you that they understand the work. Instead of a typical written test, let them suggest other ways they can let you assess their understanding such as a brochure, PowerPoint presentation to the class, diorama, or poster.

What advice would you give? Please share.

Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of our favorite national parks is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We can be on the North Carolina side in about 3 hours and the Tennessee side in 4 hours. I thought I would share a little video of our trip last week. Students who have never been outdoors much might enjoy it. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

2021 Goals Review for April

This month was much better activity-wise. We also did a lot around our house that needed to be done as well as work on rental houses.

Mindfulness (Word of the Year) – I’m currently doing meditation exercises every evening. I also added Square breathing to my daily routine. This is actually helping me fall asleep and not let my mind go wandering.
Goals: I worked on some of my goals this month.

1. Lose 5 lbs. –. Rather than focusing on my weight this month, I focused on improving up my stamina and energy levels. I was able to walk 3 miles on the treadmill this month which is a huge improvement. I even incorporated intervals of jogging.
2. Knit 12 squares on my national park blanket. (There are 60 squares in the pattern and this is year 4 of the project.) – 46 squares complete. I’ve knit 3 squares this month for a total of 7 squares this year.
3. Knit a sweater. – I completed the Nesting Cardigan and I’ve started on The Rocket Tee.
4. Design 3 new patterns – I published one design (The Chinese New Year Cowl) and I’m working on a new sock design.
5. Read 12 nonfiction books.
    1. Counting by Deborah Stone
    2. My Paddle to the See by John Lane
    3. Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl
    4. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
    5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    6. The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan
    7. The Body by Bill Bryson
How is your progress towards your goals? Please share.
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash