Tuesday, January 23, 2018


In The Process of Success from  Cool Cat Teacher Blog by coolcatteacher@gmail.com, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher, shares,

“Champions are made during the preparation process. The true work happens not at the state or national game – although that is very hard – most of the work happens before.”

It is all about the preparation.

We prepare for bad weather when we had the weather forecast. We keep a spare tire in the car and jumper cables in cease of an emergency. We have a savings account with money in it in case some emergency comes up.

The same thing applies in the classroom. Effective teachers are prepared.

Lesson plans are prepared in advance. Materials and supplies are gathered in advance. Contingencies are well thought out and prepared for in advance. Students are even told in advance what to expect and what is expected from them.

Sometimes things happen and I seem to fly by the seat of my pants but actually, many things I do are done from previous experiences. I have tried things that have worked in similar situations so I believe they will work in this situation.

My best lessons are the ones that I’m well prepared for. If I see that students are understanding the concepts faster and better than expected, I can move forward because I’ve prepared for the next step. This will keep students from being bored while I continue to teach something I already understand. If students are struggling with the concepts, I have an alternate activity that might help them understand things better along with extra practice activities for them. This keeps them from getting too frustrated.

I know that I get nervous if an administrator comes to observe me so I also plan ahead for that situation. I prepare my class for this possibility too by letting them know that I tend to get a little nervous and may change up the lesson a little bit. I have a script prepared so I can make sure I do all of the things I normally do but may forget due to my nervousness. I also have a regular routine posted in the front of the room to help my students and myself follow the procedures that I normally do in my classroom.

If I am unexpectedly called out of the classroom or if I’m absent due to an emergency, I have 3 days of emergency lesson plans ready for the substitute. I update these at least once a month to make sure no procedures, roster, or schedule changes have happened. I also update these immediately after I return back to school.

I don’t wait until something happens to wish I had prepared for in advance. I hope sometimes that I won’t need these advance preparations but at least I have them if I need them.

What do you do to prepare in advance? Please share!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Back of the Book Blurb #94 Challenge

From Sioux's PageSioux offers this challenge.

She posts a picture and you need to imagine it as a graphic for a book. You choose the genre and book title, and then write a blurb that might appear on the back of the book.

The blurb should be 150 words or less (not including the title). The genre is wide-open.
Each blogger should include their blurb on their own blog, and link back to this post. Have fun with it. Go to the other posts and comment on the other blurbs.  You can do fancy techy things with the photo.

(Join in if you dare...! It sounds like fun! I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students especially since they would be expected to write 150 words or less!)

Winter Break

Alyssa and Amanda were so excited! This was this first winter break and they were staying at Daytona Beach for some sun and fun. Both girls promised to take photos and keep in close contact with their parents all week.

When they drove up to the hotel, they saw gorgeous looking guys hanging out on the balconies. Then they saw the signs hanging down the walls. They looked at each other and silently agreed not to take any photos of the signs!

Alyssa parked the car and jumped out of the car. Looking up, she cocked her hip and waved flirtatiously with all the guys. The guys sent back wolf whistles and cheers when they saw her! All of them were issuing invitations up to their rooms.

Little did the girls know that their fathers had gotten there ahead of time and were watching from around the corner. (148 words)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 1/19/18

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

Doodle4Google – “Students in grades K-12 are invited to take part in the 2018 Doodle 4 Google contest, and create an uplifting doodle that tells the world “What inspires me.” From crayons to clay, graphic design, or even food, young artists can utilize any materials to bring their creation to life. Like all Google Doodles, each doodle must incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e. One national winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school/non-profit organization, and a behind-the-scenes experience with the Doodle team to transform their Doodle into an interactive experience on Google.com. The contest is open for entries from January 8th – March 2nd, 2018 – only 8 short weeks!” (L:G; SA:A)

Fire Forensics – “Join us at UL’s Fire Lab to work side by side with fire scientists through a series of videos, interactive tools and experiments. You’ll learn how fire is defined, how it develops, and how the evidence left behind suggests how and where it started. Once trained, you become the fire investigator who determines the cause of a fire using the scientific method to establish a claim based on evidence from the scene!
Do not try this at home. Fire testing is done by trained fire researchers, fighters and engineers. Testing is performed in a controlled environment with proper equipment and ventilation.” (L:G; SA:S)

Flippity.net – “Easily turn a Google™ Spreadsheet into a Set of Online Flashcards and Other Cool Stuff” (L:G; SA:A)

Toontastic – “With Toontastic 3D, you can draw, animate, and narrate swashbuckling adventures, breaking news stories, science reports, and all your other wacky ideas” (L:G; SA:A)

Scratch – “”With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.
Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.” (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, January 18, 2018

3 Aspirational Words

“What are your three aspirational words?

I really had to think about this and it was harder than I thought it would be. I finally came up with my 3 words: Positive, Happy, Inspirational.

I want to start out each day being positive and optimistic. I think I can control how I see my life around me and if I see it as negative, it will be negative. If I am positive and look for the good things around me, my life will go smoother and I will be able to handle any obstacles that come my way. I will have a better frame of mind to problem solve and problems if I’m looking at the positives than the negatives.

I want others to see me as a happy person. I like to smile and laugh. I see too many people with frowns on their face and they look so unhappy. I don’t want to be around unhappy people and I would not want people to avoid me. I think people like to be around me because I’m a relatively happy person.

I hope by writing this blog about my classroom experiences, travel experiences, and opinions, that I can be an inspiration to others. I hope that I make people think about how they feel about different topics. When I write and opinion, I don’t want people to just agree with me but would rather open up a dialogue for why they would disagree with me. When they read about my travels, I hope it makes others want to visit the same places I’ve been and that it helps them with their planning. When I write about my classroom experiences, I hope that it helps teachers not make the same mistakes that I have in the classroom and that their experiences can be successful. 

Now, I have to ask you, what are three aspirational words that describe yourself?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Is Working Hard Good Enough?

“Just like working hard at pointless work does not bring success — working hard at pointless conversations doesn’t make successful relationships.”

This really made sense to me and if you have time, please go read her whole article! It is motivating and inspiring!

My husband and I call pointless work as “spinning our wheels.”

Too many times I’m caught doing things and I guess I’m a slow learning because sometimes it takes me a while to stop and think, “Why am I doing this? What is the purpose?”

Many times, I do something because that is always the way I’ve done it and I hate it. So, why not think of a different way to do it?

For example, I used to clean house on Saturdays and spend hours doing this, whining the whole time. Then I decided that there had to be a better way. I wrote a list of all the regular cleaning that I do and spread it out over 2 weeks. Some things I needed to do every week, some only every other week, and some every day. By doing this, I’m only spending about an hour each day doing something I hate but I’m getting more accomplished than when I save it all for one day! At first I felt guilty that I wasn’t spending hours cleaning because I didn’t feel like I was working hard enough. Then I realized that working hard enough doesn’t mean the length of time but the quality of work involved. I was doing much better work this way than the old way. So, what I first thought was “hard work” was not only not efficient but it also wasn’t effective!

So now, after reading this article, I am going to be more aware of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. What is the purpose of what I’m doing? Am I doing it out of habit or does it have real meaning?

I think this is important for students to learn this also. I feel that students especially have trouble deciding why they act the way they do. Sometimes their body acts before their mind does or vice versa. It would be good for them to practice this mindfulness and it might help them be more successful in the things they do.

How do you feel about working hard? Please share?