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 …

How I #WorkWonders With Office Mix and PowerPoint

The #WorkWonders contest is in high gear. As a result, people are sharing how they #WorkWonders using Microsoft Office by posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram. (This morning’s post gives contest info.) Since I’m asking you to share how you #WorkWonders, I’m going …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Share how you #WorkWonders with Microsoft Office and Win!

The #WorkWonders contest is here! Quickly snap a picture of something you’ve created  in Microsoft Office and share it to me in Twitter or Instagram . To enter, include the hashtags #WorkWonders and #contest . At the end of the contest, the best …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a Copy of Reinventing Writing

Reinventing Writing, the print copy, will be shipping soon. I’ve worked so hard on the research and writing of this book to be helpful to the modern teacher. While the Reinventing Writing Kindle Version is out already, the print …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

5 Email Tips Everyone Should Know Before Forwarding Mail

Email is not free. It never has been. Surprisingly, the average office worker spends one fourth of their workday reading and responding to email. To stop one of the biggest culprits of wasted inbox space, help everyone understand five email …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

10 Important Password Tips Everyone Should Know

Your bank data, your accounts, your email, and your life are all wrapped up in your ability to create secure passwords and remember them. And yet most educators (and their students) struggle to remember passwords. With so many passwords stolen, …

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Buy the Book Reinventing Writing and Improve Student Writing Now!

Reinventing Writing is here — in ebook format at least. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook got the news last Friday that due to a glitch, the book was released early at a big discount. I’m …

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Winners, Losers and the American Way

Think about the race to get into limited-admission charters. Think about urban districts that hire Teach for America teachers, because of their competitive pedigree, rather than fully prepared teachers who grew up in the neighborhood. Think about pep assemblies to…

Teacher in a Strange Land

The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You can Use Now) and BYOD Influencers to Follow

Bring your Own Device (#byod) is a hot topic in education and one that many of us, including me, talk about often. It is challenge to bridge all the devices and teach. But, if you believe the SAMR model, …

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Parental Support and Involvement: Should Teachers Just Make Do Without It?

More and more, the buck seems to start and end with teachers.   We seem to be the only ones held “accountable” for all that goes on in our classrooms, and it is frustrating!   It’s become the norm to send…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

Research: INEQUALITY IN TEACHING AND SCHOOLING: SUPPORTING HIGH-QUALITY TEACHING AND LEADERSHIP IN LOW-INCOME SCHOOLS [Link]

Research: INEQUALITY IN TEACHING AND SCHOOLING: SUPPORTING HIGH-QUALITY TEACHING AND LEADERSHIP IN LOW-INCOME SCHOOLS Excerpted from A Nation at Risk: Preserving Public Education as an Engine for Social Mobility, Richard D. Kahlenberg, Editor 2000 by Linda Darling-Hammond and Laura Post…

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