Friday, February 23, 2018

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 2/23/18

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

Blue Whales VR – “Discover a blue whale facts through an immersive underwater exploration.” (L:T; SA:S)

Pixorize – “Create, share, and browse annotated images online.” (L:T; SA:A)

Free Math – “Meet Your New Math Classroom. Students digitally record step-by-step math work. Teachers simultaneously review all assignments with complete solutions grouped by similar final answer. Free for teachers and students. No account setup required.” (L:T; SA:M)

Math in Real Life – TED-ed lessons showing videos using math in real life. (L:T; SA:M)

Newspaper Templates – for Google docs; “If you are doing any kind of assessment or task for a subject that requires you to produce a newspaper looking document, there are google docs templates that you can use to save you time.” (L:T; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, February 22, 2018


In Handle Criticism Effectively from Cool Cat Teacher Blog by, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher states,

“You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle criticism. Those who immediately dismiss criticism neglect the fact that most criticism, even that from an enemy, carries with it a grain of truth or no one would believe it.”

I think this is the hardest thing for most people to handle.

Let’s face it, criticism hurts. Whether it comes from family, friends, co-workers, or supervisors, it hurts. Whether it is nicely said or meanly said, it hurts.

Sometimes I feel the criticism is justified, and even true but sometimes I feel it is done out of meanness or even revenge. The trick is to get over the hurt feelings and try to decide if there is some trueness in it and what I can learn from this information.

But I feel that in order to learn and to grow, criticism is necessary.

But when I am the person being judged, I tend to react in different ways. When it is my family, I tend to get angry and defensive. When it is friends, I tend to withdraw into myself. When it is a person of authority over me, I tend to feel bad and beat myself up over something I did or didn’t do.

Yet, when I began teaching, I wanted someone to criticize me. I knew I wasn’t doing the best I could. But everyone I met kept telling me what a great job I was doing because I was working in special education. When I first started teaching, special education was still a new field and not a lot of people knew enough about it, even administrators. So, I felt like everyone was “patting me on the head” and hoping I would just keep my kids out of the office for bad behavior. It was a frustrating time for me.

When I am working with my students or other people who are learning something, I try to phrase it differently so that it doesn’t come across as much as criticism as much as a suggestion for a better way. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings but sometimes it is necessary.

When I am observing a teacher in a teaching situation, I try to see something that didn’t go well and come up with a suggestion that might help. I don’t just want to say a negative without giving a positive.

When I am helping a student, I try to avoid helping them too much because they need to learn from their mistakes. When they do make a mistake, I try to help them find a better way they could have solved the problem.

How do you handle criticism and how do you dish it out? Please share.

Original photo by

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


“How do you disagree? Do you express your disagreement with the person’s actions but affirm that you care about the person? Or, do you defend your opinion so profoundly that you leave the person feeling that you only love them if they agree with you?”

When I was growing up, my parents did not argue in front of us. I never saw them have a disagreement. So, when I got married, I had a problem arguing with my husband when we disagreed. I saw arguments as a sign that something must be wrong with my marriage, so I didn’t argue and figuratively set all my problems in a closet. Then one day, I couldn’t take it anymore and the closet opened. I let my husband know I was unhappy with his action from two years ago! He was shocked. Finally, I learned that I couldn’t achieve any results if I waited that long and we needed to argue to work things out. Now, 36 years later, my husband thinks I do this way too well!

I also feel that I don’t have to agree all of the time with my friends. If they are my true friends, they will like me even if I don’t agree with them on certain things. I know that many of my friends have different political views than I do and they feel as strongly as I do so why argue about it. I know that I can’t change their view and I know they can’t change mine. So, when we get together, we avoid that topic. There are so many other things that we do agree on that I don’t let the things we don’t shape our friendship.

I think many students have trouble with this idea. Many students have not reached this stage in development where they can do this, but I think it is important to be an example for them and keep sharing this. I see students thinking they have to agree with everyone or they won’t be like. They think that they won’t be part of the group if they don’t agree with everyone. It is important to teach students to think for themselves and not have the “crowd mentality.”

I think a great activity would be to role play how to disagree. Have students come up with real situations that a student might face and role play how to handle the disagreement. This is like having a fire drill and being ready in case an emergency comes up. If students can practice what they will say before something happens, they can be prepared.

How do you teach students to handle disagreements? Please share.