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 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

Congrats Steven Trust! His student-created dystopian fiction project is the #WorkWonders winner

Judging the #WorkWonders contest was so challenging. There were so many stand outs! In this contest, educators made ebooks with Powerpoint (a common trend) and tracked data in Excel. Additionally, others are using Microsoft Word for learning and One Note to write …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

PREPS: 5 Steps for Electronic Notetaking Success #reinventingwriting

Want to know how to take notes electronically? Frustrated because students can never find their notes or pictures they take of the board? There is a solution but we have to move past the (awesome) Cornell notetaking system and other …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Men Explain Things to Teachers

There are so many critical power struggles in the educational sphere, it's easy to overlook gender bias. But it's there. And it explains a lot. …

Teacher in a Strange Land

Improving as a Teacher: Reflecting on Student Responses to Class End of Year Survey!

 I got the idea to create surveys from Pernille Ripp. She is a huge fan of using surveys to help her reflect on how to gauge just about anything. I created a beginning of the year survey based on questions she wrote, putting…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

Ideas for Summer Learning from #KCDTTL

Today I’ve been at Kentucky Country Day School at the Teach Tech Learn Conference. More than 200 teachers from around Kentucky and few from outside the state have come together to learn best practices for promoting 21st century learning. I …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Connected Learning Webinar

Today, I enjoyed a conversation with a number of colleagues about the “The Digital Influence on Looking Closely at Student Work.” Definitely worth a listen, and be prepared to write down lots of ideas about how to engage …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

Making “Tenure” a Bad Word Helped Steal “Due Process!”

  If you say something enough times, most people will believe it.   Not only will they believe it, but they will embrace it, passionately.   They will, foolishly, repeat, word for word or maybe improvise with their own words…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

Reinventing Writing Webinar on Classroom 2.0 [Video]

Classroom 2.0 is a fantastic community for learning and sharing. They have webinars throughout the week and you should join their community. Recently, I shared the 9 ways writing is reinvented with show hosts Peggy George, Lorie Moffat…

Cool Cat Teacher Blog