Friday, May 25, 2018

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/25/18

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

Class Pulse – “ClassPulse allows instructors to collect student feedback throughout the semester, while it is still relevant and actionable. Instructors should not have to wait until course evaluations to understand what worked and what didn't. ClassPulse helps them make adjustments while they still can.” (L:T; SA:A)

TinyTap – “100.000 educational games made by teachers.” (L:G; SA:A)

Typetastic – “Are you ready to set your students into a thrilling typing adventure? Look no further, since TypeTastic will get their typing going with a series of fun and engaging games. Based on our unique pedagogical approach, these games have been created in real classrooms together with teachers. You'll be as amazed as we are; just after a couple of hours practice, children find the right keys much quicker and are well on their way to effortless typing. The best part is that they really enjoy it, and look forward practicing more. So why wait – come and join us on this amazing typing adventure!” (L:G; SA:A)

Draw and Tell – free iPad app; “Draw and Tell is an award-winning creative tool for children of all ages that encourages imagination, story telling and open-ended play. Use the tool to draw, color, decorate with stickers, create animations and record stories. AGES: 3-9.” (L:E; SA:A)

TinSnips – “When I started teaching students on the autism spectrum instructional materials were scarce, so I made my own. Things are better now, but busy teachers always need supplemental ideas. Products for sale support this site, but most activities and worksheets are free. I hope you can find things that will suit student needs. Like we tell our students, "It's good to share!".” (L:T; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Procrastination is My Enemy

“Do you find that perfectionism holds you back from being successful in life? You get that done is better than perfect. But despite your desire to do the very best work on anything you complete, trying to make it perfect actually ends up backfiring majority of the time.”

I really fight Procrastination!

I really want to keep doing this blog and I only post on Monday through Friday, but I tend to put the writing off. I have some great ideas, but I need to get the ideas written down and posted.

I even thought if I knew why I procrastinate, it would make it easier to fight it. I can list the reasons why but that only gives me more reason to procrastinate. Knowing the reasons doesn’t seem to help me.

I want it to be perfect. Many times, this would be the reason if I had gotten my rough draft done first.

I feel I should be doing other things instead of writing. I need to set my priorities.

I’m not in the mood. This is a common emotion when I really want to avoid any task.

I feel guilty. This is a vicious cycle. I feel guilty, so I don’t write and I don’t do the other things I should be doing because I feel guilty that I should be writing.

I don’t have a good topic that I think others might be interested in. This is just an excuse. I have many topics come up in my head when I’m not ready to write.

More importantly, despite the reasons, how do I fight the urge to procrastinate?

·      I think about what the main reason for why I don’t want to do a task. Then I try to overcome that obstacle. Once it is out of the way, I should be able to finish the task.

·      I make a list of all the things I need to do for the day. I love checking each thing off as it gets done.

·      I try to do the things on the list in order of the least desirable first. Once I get them out of the way, the easier the rest of the list gets done.

·      Sometimes, I will give myself a fun break for 10 minutes in between the things on my list. I don’t do this too often because they I find it harder to get back to the things on my list.

·      I try to come up with a reward for accomplishing all of the things on my list.

·      Sometimes I just have to bite the bullet and get started. Getting started is one of the hardest things for me to do.

How do you fight procrastination? Please share.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Making Professional Development Better

In Bad PD is Sometimes Your Own Fault from  Ideas and Thoughts, (Dean Shareski) asks,

“What examples do you have of being able to turn a bad or perhaps seemingly irrelevant PD session and finding value for yourself?”

I believe that some professional development sessions are better than others. Not all professional development needs to be a waste of time, even if it is boring. I can always learn something new, no matter what.

Before the session, I remind myself that I can’t learn everything about a topic in the time allotted. I need to list things down during the session that I would like to explore further.

During the session, if the presentation isn’t meeting my needs, write down questions that can steer it to my needs. How can this information be used with my students? How can it help me in the classroom? By making it more personal, it can help me have a different perspective. If I can’t figure out the answers to this question, try asking the presenter to help answer the questions.

After the session, think about how I actively use the information to make my teaching better.

If I go into the session thinking it is a waste of my time, it will feel like it no matter what the presenter says or does. The same goes for my own lesson and students. When I teach, I need to figure out a way to show the learning is relevant to my students.

I would like to teach my students to ask the questions they need to ask in order to make their learning more relevant. They need to learn to ask these questions of the teacher if necessary without it sounding disrespectful.

How do you turn a boring PD session into something meaningful to you? Please share.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

I recently heard a podcast that talked about resilience. It talked about how when we were more of an agricultural society, children learned about resilience and handling things that they couldn’t control. In today’s society, children tend to have life much easier and aren’t learning how to be resilient. This had me thinking about what I do in the classroom to help students learn to be more resilient. Instead of always solving problems for them, I need to help them figure out ways to solve their own problems.

As a society, we work too hard to make sure our children are comfortable. We don’t want them to want for anything, so we give them too much. It is time to take a step back and help them become more independent.

When my children were growing up, I had a really hard time letting them face natural consequences as long as it didn’t put them in fatal danger.  For example, I wanted to tell them to put a jacket on if I knew it was going to get cold. This sometimes led to arguments and tantrums. Once I learned to back off, they learned to get a jacket in preparation of being cold, because they learned that the last time they forgot, they had to deal with the cold. We weren’t able to return home for them to get their jackets. Natural consequences are a good teacher and it kept me from being the bad guy.

When students forget their school supplies, I can have them discuss ways to solve this problem instead of just giving them what they don’t have. They could borrow from someone else. They could buy some from the school store. They could call home and ask someone to bring them their supplies.

When students don’t turn in their homework, I can find out why they don’t have it and how to fix this in the future. If they did it but left it home, they could call and ask someone to bring it to school. They could take a low grade and turn it in late. If there is an organizational problem, I can help them work out a process that can become a better habit for storing their homework. If they are having a time management problem, I can help them work out a homework schedule.

If they are having a conflict with another student or teacher, I can have them write out the problem. Then they can list possible solutions that would end the conflict. By brainstorming possibilities, it might open up new possibilities. It might also help any future conflicts that might happen.

When students have problems with their classwork, I can help them verbalize their problems instead of letting them just feel frustrated. Once they can understand what their problem is, they can start looking at ways to solve the problem. If they just ignore the problem, it will only get worse.

What are you doing to help your students learn resilience? Please share.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Royal Wedding

I am sitting here watching the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and wondering why I’m so fascinated about it. Why are so many people fascinated about it? Why is it so exciting?

I think I am fascinated by it because it is exciting. All weddings are exciting but royal weddings are extra exciting. I have always been fascinated with the royal family and the British castles. I love the British accent too. I remember watching Charles and Diana get married. I remember when William and Harry were born so watching them both get married is another milestone of their lives that I get to see. I love the pomp and circumstance. It warms my heart to see the public in England so excited for them also.

It is fun to see what the guests are wearing as well as the bride and groom. How detailed all the arrangements are is mind boggling. I can’t imagine planning this wedding!

Weddings give hope for the future. It is hope for love and happiness for all. Weddings warm the heart.

Did you watch the wedding? What did you think? Please share.