Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Reasons and Assumptions

“The NVIV (Next Vista Inspiring Video) series of posts are written by Rushton Hurley and designed to provide students and teachers with fascinating discussion prompts.”

In Reasons and Assumptions, Rushton features Victor Hubbard, a homeless man in Texas and how the community found a way to care for him. 

Rushton gives the following prompts to accompany this video:

“Do you know people who have special challenges, but most people don’t know the reason why? How do you learn more while still valuing that person?

What do you assume about yourself? Are there people trying to help you see yourself from new perspectives? Do you let them?”

This video hit close to home. I worry about my students with special needs and what will happen to them when they leave school. Will the community step up when they see my student in need or will they shun and ridicule him. By making people more aware of the possibilities, it might make communities realize how they can help someone like this. Another concern is that will my students accept the help offered to them? Will they know the difference between being helped and being used? I guess I'm a mother hen and will always worry about my students. 

Please check out the video and think of other prompts you might come up with. Please share.

Monday, January 30, 2023

MSC Divina

Click here for pictures


The MSC Divina can hold 3502 passengers and 1388 crew. Our captain was Christopher Pugh, the hotel director was our friend, Guglielmo Gargiulo and our Cruise director was Pedro (the voice from the ceiling).Our balcony cabin was 12133 and our cabin steward was Shirley. We had dinner at table 615 in the Black Crab Restaurant. Our servers were Ryan and Wayan.


Day 1 Monday, January 16, 2023, Embarkation

We left the house at 7 am and went to Bagels & for breakfast. We left there at 8:15 and got to the port at 9:30. We were worried about hitting rush hour traffic, so we left early but forgot that it was a holiday, and the traffic wasn’t too bad. When we got to the port, there were no signs telling us which terminal to go to at all. So, we parked the car in Lot C and took our suitcases with us to find the ship. The ship was in Terminal E and we went right in through security and checked in. We only had to wait about an hour before we could get on the ship.


When we got on the ship, we found our cabin and put stuff in the safe, and left our bags in the closet. When we left the room, the cabin steward said our cabin wouldn’t be ready until 2 pm. Then we went to the Calumet Buffet (Deck 14) for lunch. After lunch, we walked around and drank a lot of beer. We were able to put some beer and sodas in our refrigerator at 2 when we could go to our cabin. Waiting for us was a bottle of Prosecco and some meringue cookies. We walked and drank some more but went back to the cabin at 4:30 for our Safety Drill. We watched a video and then called a number to verify that we watched it. After that, we had to go to our muster station and check-in. Once that was done, we got ready for dinner.  Our dinner mates were Philip and Jackie (Morganton, NC), and Kevin and Susan (Ocala, FL). We enjoyed dinner with them. Service was a little slow, but it was the first night and we expected it. I like that we had paper menus to look at (and didn’t have to use our phones to read a QR code to get the menu like on the MSC Seaside). After dinner, we walked around and then Don had a cappuccino while we listened to music at one of the entertainment spots. When we were getting ready for bed, we got a letter under the door that we hadn’t watched the safety video so I’m glad I took a picture of the screen at the end that shows we watched it. When I called the number on the letter, she told me to disregard the letter. They must have had some technical difficulties.


Day 2 Tuesday, January 17, 2023, Freeport

We arrived in Freeport around 9 am. It looked different than we remembered it so we got off the ship and walked around for an hour. I was surprised that it was hotter than I expected. Then we got back on the ship and relaxed until lunchtime. After lunch, I read while Don did his exercise walk on the deck. At 5 pm we had the Welcome Back party in the Black and White lounge which was very nice and classy. The musician was great too. I was very impressed with the way they did this! I stopped at Guest Relations and asked for a copy of my account and I noticed an odd charge of .83. The girl said it was a mistake and would get it taken off. Dinner was excellent and our servers were extremely attentive which was nice. We went to the show, Autumn in Paris which we really enjoyed. I thought the dancers were amazing! I love the shows on MSC ships, and I was glad to see that they weren’t the same shows that were on the MSC Seascape that we saw last month. Before returning to our cabin, we stopped at the Divina bar for cappuccinos, which were wonderful. When we got back to our cabin, we were surprised with gifts from the hotel director, our friend, Guglielmo! It was a wonderful day!

Day 3 Wednesday,  January 18, 2023, Ocean Cay
At 10am, we had the Diamond Party and we got to see our friend Guglielmo again! He introduced me to the Captain, and I got pictures with them both! I gave Guglielmo another gnome for his daughter. We also met a nice couple, Dan and Ann during the party. I stopped by the Guest Relations desk again and got a copy of my account. The odd charge was still not taken off but Angie said she would take care of it. Then after lunch, we arrived at Ocean Cay and we spent the day sitting on the beach. The water was too cold for us to go swimming though. We got back to the ship around 4:30 and got ready for dinner. After dinner, we went to the show Grande Amore. After the show, we went to an outside deck so we could see the light show from the Lighthouse. It was pretty cold outside with the wind blowing.


Day 4 Thursday,  January 19, 2023, Ocean Cay

We got off the ship at 8:30 and walked around the island. When we got to the bridge, we saw a huge sea turtle and enjoyed watching him swim around. The staff told us that he can get in and out over the netting and eats the jellyfish. We also saw a stingray. It was still too cool for us to go swimming. We got back to the ship around lunchtime and then relaxed until dinner time. After dinner, we went to the show Extreme which was very good. Then we went to the Atrium and enjoyed the music and some drinks until midnight.


Day 5 Friday,  January 20, 2023, Miami

We ate breakfast early and then stood in line at guest services to get new cruise cards. We had gotten a letter yesterday that told us to do this. When we got to the desk, we were told that we didn’t have to do this. Then we went to the Black Crab restaurant at 8:30 and waited to be escorted off the ship through customs and then back on the ship. We were back on the ship by 10:30. After lunch, we returned to our cabin and relaxed. We got a gift of Prosecco and appetizers, so we enjoyed them on our balcony. We also had the safety drill at 3:30. We went to dinner at the same table (same servers) and met new tablemates. They were a couple who live in Montreal and spoke mostly Chinese. My prime rib was cooked perfectly. Don had to leave suddenly because he had severe heartburn from eating the blackened grouper. I finished my dinner and dessert hurriedly and went back to the cabin to check on him and he was better. We had an early night.


Day 6, Saturday, January 21, 2023, Sea Day

It was a lovely day at sea! After a relaxing breakfast, I went to an Arts and Crafts session where we did an Iris Folding Project (It had nothing to do with flowers). It is a card-making technique and it was fun. In the afternoon, we went to the Master Chef show which started off with everyone answering 10 cooking trivia questions. Those who wanted to participate onstage turned in their answers and the 3 people with the most answers were picked as contestants. The 3 people were given a mystery box of ingredients. Once the timer started for 10 minutes, each person had to make something with the ingredients and then the judges picked the winner. The ingredients were whipped cream, profiteroles, chocolate, raspberry filling, and sprinkles. Three men were picked and 2 of them had no clue what they were doing! It was really funny to see their finished food.  Dinner was very good, and it was Gala night so we dressed up for dinner. We had the Surf and Turf which was Lobster tail and Chateau Briand. The dessert was Baked Alaska. After dinner, we walked around the ship and enjoyed the music, and had a nightcap.


Day 7, Sunday, January 22, 2023, Costa Maya

We got off the ship around 9:30 and walked around the port area for about 90 minutes. It was pretty hot out there. The port area was very different than the last time we were there so I’m glad we walked around. We did get outside the port and walked up the street a little way and saw the path toward Mahahual but we didn’t go there. After lunch, Don did his exercise walk on deck 7 while I enjoyed sitting on the balcony. At 5 pm, we had a Welcome Back party in the Black and White lounge which was very nice. Then at 6 pm, we had dinner at the Butcher’s Cut restaurant which we always enjoy. The food is delicious there! After dinner, we went to the Divina bar and had some cappuccinos until bedtime.


Day 8, Monday, January 23, 2023, Belize

Since we have to take a tender to go ashore, we decided to stay on the ship. We have been here many times so it was a good day to relax. After breakfast, we went to deck 7 and did our exercise walk. Then we came back to our cabin and relaxed on our balcony until lunch. After lunch, we relaxed on our balcony until dinner. Since we weren’t thrilled about the menu in the dining room, we decided to eat at the buffet. After dinner, we went to the show that featured magician Jeff Peterson. He was pretty good!


Day 9, Tuesday, January 24, 2023, Cozumel

We docked right downtown which was wonderful! Usually, we dock about 3 miles away and walk into town. While we were walking around, I stepped off a curb and strained my Achilles tendon. Even though it hurt, I was able to walk around for a couple of hours. We came back to the ship for lunch and then we relaxed in the cabin. There was another bottle of Prosecco and sweets sent to us so we enjoyed them as we sat on our balcony. I rested and elevated my foot along with taking some Tylenol and using Voltaren gel on it. Before dinner, we had a couple of cappuccinos and then went to the top decks to look at the NCL ship, Prima which was docked beside us. It must have been an all-male cruise because we didn’t see any women on the ship. There was a tube going from the top down a few decks that people would get on some kind of cloth “boat” and ride down, but we watched some people get stuck in the clear section and had to shimmy and wiggle to continue through. I would have had a heart attack! Finally, a crew member came through and where he got stuck, he was waxing that area. They also had a go-kart track on the top decks which looked like fun. We had dinner at the buffet but for some reason, none of the food seemed to excite me. When we got back to our cabin, we had a phone call. Head waiter, Ricky Lewis was calling to check on us since we hadn’t been to the dining room in a few days. He wanted to make sure we were okay which I thought was very nice of him!


Day 10, Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Sea Day

 After breakfast, Don walked while I rested my ankle and did a little packing. At 10 am, I went to the arts and crafts session where I painted a t-shirt. Then we went to the Diamond party. After lunch, we relaxed until dinner time. Since it was an Elegant night, we had dinner in the dining room. The head waiter, Ricky Lewis, hugged us and was excited to see us. Another couple had dinner with us (Ernest and Justine from Cleveland, OH) and we had a wonderful conversation. Don ate the Fish and Shellfish skewer which gave him heartburn again. After dinner, we stopped for a drink but he was so miserable that we had to return to our cabin.


Day 11, Thursday, January 26, 2023, Ocean Cay

We arrived at Ocean Cay around 7 am (our Daily program said we would arrive at 8, our itinerary said 9, and the Daily schedule said 10). Our itinerary said that we would stay there until 10 pm but the cruise director announced that we had to be back onboard by 6:30 pm. We got off the ship around 8 am. We usually go to Lighthouse Bay but this time we decided to try South Beach. We found a couple of chairs in the shade of a palm tree which was between a bar and the restrooms. We got in the water for a little bit but it was a little too cool for Don, so we spent the day relaxing in the shade. After cleaning up when we got back to the ship and packed our suitcases. We had a few cocktails and then went to dinner at the Buffet. During dinner, there was an announcement that we were leaving immediately for Miami due to a medical emergency and should arrive by midnight. We still couldn’t get off the ship until the morning because there wouldn’t be any customs agents on duty. He must have been going at a fast speed because the empty hangers in our closet were banging around and I had to take them all off and lay them on the floor of the closet.


Day 12, Friday, January 27, 2023 Disembarkation

I got up around 4 am and noticed we were docked in Miami. I woke Don up around 5:15 and we were at breakfast by 6. After breakfast, we went to the Pantheon theater where we were supposed to meet by 7:45 am. We were there at 7:15 and were surprised to hear our number #4 – Diamond members) were allowed to get off the ship. We got our suitcases easily and went through customs using face recognition. Disembarkation was extremely smooth and well organized! We were in our car and heading to the interstate by 8:10 and was home by 9:30.


Things I Learned:

  • We have learned that any ship that Guglielmo is on the cruise is usually exceptional! Service is excellent. 

  • Learn the bartender’s name that you like and use that bar often. You usually get good service there.

  • It is always good to let the maitre’d at dinner know how great the service was. They appreciate hearing something good.

  • I love chocolate-covered strawberries!

  • You should check your account every day to make sure you don’t have any inaccurate charges to your account.

  • Bring a long sleeve shirt to the beach when it is cool outside because when the wind blows, you will need it.

  • When my foot hurts, don’t ignore it. I ended up with a huge blister on the ball of my foot! If I had checked the hot spot earlier when it first hurt, I might have avoided the blister.

  • Internet costs: $12.99 per day per device (browsing); $17.99 per day per device (browsing and streaming).

  • Iris Folding has nothing to do with flowers and is a fun card-making technique.

  • I like when our ship docks downtown in Cozumel (Punto Langosa).

  • Parking at the Port of Miami is $22 per night.


 Original Photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, January 27, 2023

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 01/27/23

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

Anchor - free podcasting platform (L:T; SA:A)

- “Unclutter articles, right in your browser.” (L:T; SA:A)

January Holidays/Winter - resources Curated by Terri Eichholz (L:T; SA:A)

The sonic boom problem - “Objects that fly faster than the speed of sound (like really fast planes) create a shock wave accompanied by a thunder-like noise: the sonic boom. These epic sounds can cause distress to people and animals and even damage nearby buildings. Katerina Kaouri details how scientists use math to predict sonic booms' paths in the atmosphere, where they will land, and how loud they will be.” (L:H; SA:M,S)

Pixabay Sound Effects - “Royalty free sound effects for download” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Kansas Day

Sunday, January 29 celebrates Kansas Day. This is the day that Kansas was admitted into the union in 1861. It was the 34th state.

Kansas became a territory of the United States in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed. The issue of slavery was conditional to the popular vote and most of the people were in favor of abolition. Since Kansas bordered Missouri, many people from Missouri, who were pro-slavery, cast fake votes to keep Kansas from becoming a free state. This caused a lot of violence during that time. In the 1857 election, those in favor of a free state won control of the legislature and passed the Wyandotte Constitution in 1859. It was approved in 1861 so Kansas became a new state in the Union.

Kansas is called the Sunflower State because sunflowers are grown in every county in the state. Dodge City is considered the windiest city in the US. It is also the second state with the most tornadoes. Most of the land in Kansas is farmland. At one time, it was illegal to serve cherry pie with ice cream there.

Class Activities:
  • Find Kansas on a US map. What other states border Kansas? Draw a map of Kansas with the largest 5 cities.
  • What crops are grown in Kansas? Make a brochure promoting farming.
  • What other funny laws were followed in Kansas? Make a list of them.
  • Find out more about sunflowers. When is the best time to plant them? How long does it take to get a sunflower? What can sunflowers be used for? Make a poster or a brochure promoting sunflowers.
What other prompts would you suggest? Please share.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Learning from Our Mistakes

In There are no stupid mistakes from •Seth Godin's Blog by Seth Godin shares,

“There are mistakes. These are moments when reality teaches us something.

And there’s stupid. This is what happens when we refuse to learn from our mistakes.”

Most of the time, my students are afraid of making mistakes. In fact, most people are. I feel like it is the elephant in the room and I try to address it. I explain that even I make mistakes (and very often too). The reason that some of our peers may ridicule us when we make a mistake is that they are afraid they will make the same one or they have already made the same mistake. Those that aren’t afraid are the ones who will support you and try to help you overcome that mistake.

An error should not be a terror. Instead, it should be an opportunity for learning. We do most of our best learning because we have made a mistake. We try hard not to repeat the mistake and change the way we are doing something.

Once I can help my students get over the fear of making a mistake, they are more open to trying new things and taking risks. I play the game that my husband does with me when I’m afraid of making a mistake. I ask the question: What is the worst thing that can happen? As long as it doesn’t cause bodily harm and isn’t anything illegal, why not give it a try.

I think it also helps if you know that you will have some kind of support or backup if you do make a mistake. I try to let my students know that they are not alone. If a mistake is made, I will be there to help them try to figure out what went wrong and how to change it so they can try again. It is through these mistakes and attempts that will help them be successful. As they become more confident with this process in the classroom, they can apply it to their lives outside of the classroom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

National Compliment Day

Today is National Compliment Day.

Giving someone a compliment can brighten their day and make them happy. I believe people have gotten out of the habit of complimenting others.

You might tell family members hat you like something that they do. Too often it is easy to overlook family members and take them for granted. We don’t always notice the good things they do. We sometimes joke with them and it is easy to insult them or ridicule them when we think we are just being funny. These comments can actually be more hurtful than we think.

You don’t have to know someone in order to compliment them. You might pass a stranger in the store and like something they are wearing. It is alright to tell them that.

It would be good to have students brainstorm compliments that they can give. Maybe if they think of them as a group, it would be easier for them to do them. Ask students to give at least 3 compliments that day and report the next day how it went. Have them tell who they complimented and how the person reacted. As students get more comfortable with this, they may start doing it on their own.

Do you do something like this in your class? Please share.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Trying New Things

In Three more questions from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin suggests,

“If you’re actually proposing something thoughtful and practical, perhaps you could answer three questions:
  1. And then what happens?...
  2. How will that work? …
  3. Why?...”
It seems like at the start of every school year, a new program or strategy is introduced to the faculty. It gets everyone excited and may involve lots of training and changes which can be very time-consuming. Then, as the year continues, people get busy or overwhelmed and these new things fall by the wayside. It seems like such a waste of time, money, and energy.

Maybe someone should ask these three questions before introducing it to a group of people. It seems like if more time was taken to think things through rather than just jumping in with both feet with excitement to try this, new programs or strategies would be more successful.

I confess that when I see something new, I get all excited and want to jump in to try this. Luckily I have a husband that will slow me down and try to discuss things first. He is the type that will ask those three questions (and probably more). He is the reason that I didn’t buy an iguana for the class to keep as a pet (thank goodness).

It feels like when something new is introduced, the group should stop and ask these questions. Then everyone should take some time to think about the answers before making any decisions. I also feel like all the stakeholders should have some say in this since it will affect everyone.

What other questions would you ask? Please share.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 01/20/23

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

NearbyWiki - “Explore interesting places nearby listed on Wikipedia.”(L:G; SA:A)

Virtual Manipulatives - “These virtual manipulatives support teachers to model abstract mathematical concepts for deeper student comprehension.” (L:G; SA:M)

Homemade Bicycle Generator - “I built a bike powered generator to watch youtube in the woods!! Stay energized during a blackout or burn some calories while watching tv!” (L:G; SA:S)

Flip - “Flip is a video discussion app, free from Microsoft, where curious minds connect in safe, small groups to share videos, build community, and learn together.” (L:T; SA:A)

Drawings Of - “This site is bursting with entertaining educational cartoons — from English lessons to art and life inspiration — for anyone of ANY age.” (L:T; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 19, 2023

National Pie Day

January 23 is National Pie Day! This day was created by a teacher in Colorado in 1975. He loved pies so much that he declared his birthday as the day to celebrate pies. He even wanted birthday pies instead of birthday cakes. In 1986, the American Pie Council began sponsoring this day.

Written recipes for pies go back as far as ancient Roman times. They filled their pies with fruits, meats, and seafood. The oldest pie recipe uses goat cheese and honey. The Greeks their pies with meats, fruits, and honey. During the Middle Ages, pies were filled with meats and vegetables. The dough in pies kept the filling from drying and made it easier to transport. Usually, the dough was inedible and people just ate the filling. The PIlgrims and English settlers brought pies to America. Pumpkin pie and pecan pie were popular during the 17th century. Soon they started making pies with whatever ingredients they had.

My favorite pie is apple pie. My husband like pumpkin pie and pecan pie.

Here are some prompts to use with students:
  • Do you like pies? Why or why not?
  • What is your favorite pie and why?
  • Create a new pie with your favorite filling.
  • Draw a poster promoting National Pie Day.
What other prompts would you use? Please share.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

NPR Podcast Challenge



“ We're inviting students from around the country to create a podcast and compete for a chance to have your work featured on NPR!

Students from 5th grade through college are eligible to participate, but the rules vary depending on your grade. RSVP below to learn more. 

Make your voice heard — become a part of NPR's Student Podcast Challenge!

Grades 5-12:

We'll begin collecting submissions on January 6, 2023. Teacher involvement is required.


The deadline for submissions is April 28, 2023.” 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


The 18th Amendment of the US Constitution states, “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.” This led to the Volstead Act which is known as the National Prohibition Act. This act was vetoed by Woodrow Wilson but was overridden by Congress.

Prohibition began on January 17, 1920, and lasted until 1933. This led to illegal sales of alcohol, bootlegging, and illegal drinking spots. This caused so much crime that this era is known as the era of gangsterism.

Supposedly, Prohibition would cut down on crimes, corruption, and social issues, and improve health and hygiene in the US. It decreased the consumption of alcohol at first but then increased later on.

Many restaurants had to close since they longer made a profit from liquor. Thousands died from drinking cheap moonshine filled with toxins. States that relied on liquor taxes no longer had funds for roads or schools. The need for revenues increased during the Great Depression which caused the end of Prohibition.

Congress passed the 21st Amendment in 1933 which repealed the 18th Amendment and Prohibition ended.

Class Activities:

  • Research “Al Capone” and gangsterism.
  • What was a “speakeasy” during the Prohibition era?
  • What was bootlegging and what were the penalties for it?
  • Pretend to be a citizen during that time and write a letter to the newspaper either in favor or opposed to the 18th Amendment.

Monday, January 16, 2023


V-mail is short for Victory mail which was started during WWII. The name came about from the “V for Victory” symbol used during that time. It was used between June 1942 and November 1945 and over 1 billion items were sent this way. It was a way to provide quick mail service to and from soldiers overseas.

This way to deliver mail was new but the technology wasn’t. Microphotography had been used for business and banking since the 1850s. In 1935, Kodak began filming and publishing the New York Times on microfilm. The US Postal Service was keeping an eye on Britain’s mail service at the beginning of the ear. Britain used microphotography since 1941 and Queen Elizabeth sent the first Aerograph letter. That is when the US developed the V-mail system. In 1942, the US and Kodak had a contract for V-mail microfilming. President Franklin D. Roosevelt received the first two V-mails in June 1942.

The letter was written in a special form and photographed in microfilm. Then it is sent and reproduced and delivered. V-mail was given preferential sorting and transportation. On one side of the form, there was space for the message and on the other side were instructions for sending the letter. Writers had to use dark ink or a dark pencil, then fold and seal the envelope and apply postage. No enclosures were allowed but eventually, pictures of infants under a year old or born after the soldier had gone overseas was allowed.

V-mail reduced the weight of military mail which allowed more space for important cargo. Machines at V-Mail stations opened the letters and filmed at 2000 to 2500 an hour. Approximately 1600 letters would fit on a roll. Normally the letters would weigh 1500 lbs. and fill 22 mail sacks but the microfilmed letters only weighed 45 lbs. and fit in one sack.

Authorities would censor the letters and decide if the letter would be sent as is or filmed depending on the distance, mail volume, and space. When the V-mail was reproduced at the destination facility, it was printed out into 4x5 inch photos and forwarded in special War-Navy Department V-Mail penalty envelopes. The film was not destroyed until they were sure the letters were delivered and if they weren’t, they were reprinted and resent.

The Post Office separated mail by Army and Navy units and then delivered it to the appropriate V-Mail stations. V-Mail stations were established in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and different places overseas. Soldiers could send personal letters including V-mail for free because of an Act of Congress in 1942. It cost civilians three cents to send a V-mail letter by surface mail or six cents by airmail to domestic V-mail stations. The airmail rate was raised to eight cents in 1944. The Post Office offered two sheets of this special stationary free each day per customer or customers could buy material from stores.

Many didn’t see V-mail as sending real letters though because it had its drawbacks. It limited the number of words that could be used so writers had to choose their words carefully. Also, since the photos were much smaller (about ¼ in size) than the original letter, sometimes the print would be unreadable if the print was too small. Some places sold magnifying glasses so readers could read the small print. Not only were enclosures not allowed, but lipstick kisses were also not allowed because lipstick would gum up the machines used to film the letters. Any dirty, damaged, or crinkled letters could not be microfilmed and had to be sent in their original form.

V-mail service ended on November 1, 1945, but customers could still use the V-mail stationary until supplies ran out in March 1946.

Class Activities:
  • Print out the V-mail stationery and have students write their own letters on them following the instructions. https://postalmuseum.si.edu/sites/default/files/victory-mail-vmail1.pdf
  • Research “microfilming” and see how the process works.
  • Find the location of the V-mail stations on the map.
  • Make a visual of the difference in weight of regular letters vs. V-mail letters.
United State Postal Service

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Friday, January 13, 2023

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 01/13/23

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

Compound Interest Calculator - “This compound interest calculator is a tool that you can use to demonstrate how compounding can affect your monthly savings over a set period of time. You can run this calculator by setting the age, annual interest, and entering "Initial Investment" and/or "Monthly Savings." (L:H; SA:M)

Physics of Roller Coasters - “Students explore the physics exploited by engineers in designing today's roller coasters, including potential and kinetic energy, friction and gravity. First, they learn that all true roller coasters are completely driven by the force of gravity and that the conversion between potential and kinetic energy is essential to all roller coasters. Second, they consider the role of friction in slowing down cars in roller coasters. Finally, they examine the acceleration of roller coaster cars as they travel around the track. During the associated activity, students design, build and analyze model roller coasters they make using foam tubing and marbles (as the cars).” (L:H; SA:S)

The Mystery of Motion Sickness - “Although one third of the population suffers from motion sickness, scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes it. Like the common cold, it's a seemingly simple problem that's still without a cure. And if you think it's bad on a long family car ride, imagine being a motion sick astronaut! Rose Eveleth explains what’s happening in our bodies when we get the car sick blues.” (L:E; SA:S)

The WWII Rumor Project - “The World War II Rumor Project collection contains documentation compiled by the Office of War Information (OWI). Although the project was often described as a “rumor control” effort, the researchers were well aware that control of rumors and misinformation in a free society with a free press is extraordinarily difficult. The project was an opportunity to study the spread of rumors, to learn about rumors circulating that might have an impact on national security, and to create educational outreach to help head off rumors in the first place.

This collection includes documentation of the project administration as well as the rumors gathered in two different efforts -- from individuals and schools. Private individuals were enlisted to write down rumors in their communities and send them to federal agency field representatives. These individuals or "correspondents" included dentists, beauty shop operators, policemen, proprietors, and librarians who had access to rumors in their communities. The second rumor source was teachers who collected rumors, jokes, rhymes, and anecdotes about the war from high school and college students. Subjects include Adolf Hitler, Japan, rationing, and rhymes and stories composed or recorded by students.

Content Advisory: Because of potentially offensive and racist language and views, which reflect both their time and circumstances, this transcription project may not suitable for all volunteers.”(L:H; SA:SS)

AR and VR in the Classroom - “Resources and apps for AR & VR for immersive learning opportunities.”(L:T; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Happy National Pharmacist Day

January 12 is National Pharmacists Day. Pharmacists dispense medicine, provide advice, and even give vaccines. This day was probably founded by pharmaceutical organizations that wanted to show their appreciation for pharmacists.

There are over 300,000 pharmacists in America and they are very important to the healthcare system. This profession is considered one of the most trusted professions in America.

In Egyptian times, priests were also doctors, and many prepared medicines to treat their patients. During the time of ancient Greece and room, the professions of doctor and pharmacist became separate. Pharmacists used to make medicines themselves until World War II. At that time, the pharmaceutical industry was created. Medicine was made in factories and pharmacists filled prescriptions.

Take time to thank your pharmacist for the great job they are doing.

This would be a great day to do some research into being a Pharmacist.
  • What education requirements are needed to be a pharmacist?
  • What average salary does a pharmacist make?
  • What are the pros and cons of being a pharmacist?
  • What hours does a pharmacist work?

What other questions would you ask? Please share.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Scrapbook Pages from December

Digital scrapbooking is a great activity to use in the classroom. It can be used to capture memories, share important information, or focus on a specific event. This would be a great alternate activity for book reports and even group projects. Here are some examples that I made in December. I use the website Gingerscraps for ideas and even free digital kits. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

2023 Photo A Day Project

This year I’m participating again in the Flickr Photo a Day project. I think this helps me look at my photos more critically when I’m trying to choose the best picture of the day. I also think it helps me to look at photos that other people submit online.

I think this would be a great project to do with students. They could do a photo a day for a week or a month and share their photos with their classmates. They can explain why they chose the photo for that day and they can also tell why they like someone else’s photos.

Do you do this project in your classroom? Please share.

Monday, January 9, 2023

2022 Goals Review for December

December went by so fast. We ended up booking two cruises for the month thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Then when we got home, we both were recovering from colds that we caught.

1. Lose 5 lbs. – I gained weight this month.


2. Finish my national park blanke - complete! I also finished my Camp Along Blanket.


3. Year of the Gnome – complete! I knit at least one gnome a month. Completed 12 gnomes.


4. Knit a sweater. - Complete!


5. Yarn - more out than in (use more yardage than I buy) – Due to Black Friday sales that I couldn’t resist, I bought 3636 yds. of  Knit Picks yarn. I used 578 yds. up in projects.

-Yarn used - 14565

-Yarn bought - 17626


6. Design 3 new patterns. – Completed 3 designs but I only published 2 this year.


7. Learn something new. -  Complete! I’m mosaic crocheting a blanket and dabbling with watercolor painting. I’m still working on my embroidery project.


8. Read 12 nonfiction books - completed.      

-A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

-Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

-Captive: A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult by Catherine Oxenberg    

-That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life by Garrison Keillor

- The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Laura Sullivan

-The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

by Erik Larson

-Live Fearless: A Call to Power, Passion, and Purpose by Sadie Robertson

-Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult by Robert Lacey

-The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan

-Going Solo by Roald Dahl

- Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers by Valerie Lawson

-Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss by Jenna Bush Hager


How is your progress toward your goals? Please share.


Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash