Mars Science Laboratory: Curiosity Rover

Because my neighbor is a dairy farmer, I’m familiar with methane and other organic compounds, so a recent article in the NY Times about the mission of the Mars Science Laboratory’s (MSL) rover named Curiosity that began with the sentence …

Student Gifts Come From the Heart

What’s so special about two green candles? If you are Alabama teacher Kristy Terry Black, the answer is simple – everything.

It was more than a decade ago that a student with extremely limited financial means cleaned out two used …

Idle Minds — Word Games and Puzzles as “Brain Training”

My 7th grade math teacher used to say that idle minds are the devil’s playground. She must have repeated it often because I remember it. She was an old fashioned teacher from New England who amused us with arcane vocabulary: …

A Holiday Writing Project

Late Christmas Eve in Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” Buddy’s older cousin tells him that she can’t sleep: “My mind’s jumping like a jack rabbit.” My mind jumped for weeks before Christmas when I was a kid. I knew I’d …

Archaeology: Online and Hands-On

A colleague and I used to simulate archaeological digs in our social studies classes. Students created artifacts, wrote descriptions of their significance or use, and then buried them in designated areas on the school grounds. We taught in a rural …

What We Gain from Reading Fiction — Lesson Plan Ideas

When I began reading fiction, I read for adventure. Adventure fiction let me experience things virtually that I couldn’t in actuality. I progressed from Franklin W. Dickson to Ian Fleming to Hemingway. Non-fiction narratives provided a similar experience. There’s plenty …

When Nature Gives You Leaves, Make Compost

Autumn has always been my favorite season. Here in Central New York, the leaves turn and for a short while the hills glow. Harvest and food is another part of my liking. I’ve discovered that a pie or cake can …

How to Teach Students About Sunprints and Pinhole Photography

I had three friends in high school who were photographers. At least one became a professional. All three built darkrooms in basement corners and developed and printed their own 35mm B&W film. I spent many hours in the dark agitating …

Halloween Ghost Story Resources for Teachers

Years ago, a good friend gave me a copy of Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories by M. R. James. I’d read “The Mezzotint” before, but the remaining stories were all new to me. It was a happy meeting. …

Why I Became an Elementary School Teacher

Each Monday, my ninth grade English teacher assigned twenty-five vocabulary words. On Friday, we had a test. In between, we defined the words, used them in a demonstrative sentence, and learned how to spell them.

My mother thought I spent …

What To Do When Someone Hates You

“There is one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing. Say nothing. Be nothing.” says Aristotle. Criticism comes with breaking new ground. Criticism comes with putting yourself out there. But how do you respond when that criticism turns to hatred? Hatred is …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Lack of Staff Professional Development (in 1:1 Implementations) is Like Tossing Money Away [Quote]

As the owner of a company that now consults school districts in their technology plans, I have zero patience for administrators that fail to see the importance of professional development when new tech is welcomed. My feelings have been hardened …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Shutting Teachers Up

When practitioners aren't allowed to openly share their critical perspectives, they lose the ability to speak their own truths and use first-hand experience as a lever for change. …

Teacher in a Strange Land

Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers

During summer days, if you’re a top teacher, you’ll take time to improve your best asset — you. If somehow it’s not clear why that’s so important, look at it this way: when financial times are tight, our schools can …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Tablets and Toddlers: How Much is Too Much?

Toddlers are engrossed in Ipads as butterflies land on their shoulders unnoticed. Parents are texting as their tots engage with tablets. Is this healthy?  Patti Wollman Summers, a 30 year educator with experience in early childhood education, discusses …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

10 Ways Social Media Can Improve Writing (on @InnovativeEdu)

As hall of fame baseball player, Babe Ruth said, “Yesterday’s home runs won’t win tomorrow’s games.” To level up writing, we need to take advantage of the out-of-the park features and capabilities that social media inspired concepts give writing instruction.…

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

12 Great Ways to Use Google Drive in Education with Susan Oxnevad

IT Integrator Susan Oxnevad uses Google Forms to train parents about the school’s iPad program. Even though she’s an advanced user, she also has practical advice for getting started. Chock full of Google goodness and best practices, this show is …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

10 Things That Stand Out Because I Joined the #NotatISTE14 Community!

I am not at ISTE2014. :( I planned to go since my sis lives in Atlanta, but I figured the wedding of my teammate was much more important. AND, I heard ISTE2015 will be in Philadelphia next year, 30 minutes…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

How I Lead (Professional Development)

Writing about myself is always a challenge (evidenced by the fact that I instinctively wrote “oneself” at the beginning of this sentence, then went back to revise it). Here on my blog — as well as in my books and articles, and throughout …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

How Companies and People Must Adapt In the Social Age

In 2008, a new era began – the Social Age. That’s the message of Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt, the authors of an upcoming book, “A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.” I recently spoke with Ted …

Angela Maiers, Speaker, Educator, Writer