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 Clueless Can D.C. Bureaucrats Be?

Nancy Ellington:Unfortunately this scenario plays out across our nation. In a country where standing among nations was built on the unique gifts and talents of individuals not fitting a “mold” our vision for progress has sorely dimmed. Originally …

Teacher View Today

Parents, community, and STEM

Looking for a jumpstart with STEM integrated instruction?  Think about involving parents and the community in classroom activities. 
Surveying parent talents and skills is a great place to start. You can actually find a place for all parents regardless of past …

Teacher View Today

Networked Conversations and Transformational Technology

CC licensed image from Flickr user Frau Hölle This past week has been a busy one for me, with professional experiences ranging from face-to-face workshops and two webinars, to our first school-based field experiences with pre-service teachers; additionally I met …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

Teachers Using What They Know

The level of take-sides aggression over education policy has come to an interesting place. You can't tell the players without a scorecard, in spite of partisan affiliation, union membership or aversion, the spokesperson's genuine level of expertise and experience around…

Teacher in a Strange Land

Note Taking Skills for 21st Century Students

Note taking skills aren’t just automatic. We tell students “take notes” but they have no idea what that means. What makes “good notes.” What do they write down? What should notes look like? Every since I went through the Writing …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

9/11- Feeling safe in the classroom…

I was with first grade students on 9/11, that tragic morning the Twin Towers went down. Within what seemed like minutes parents were rushing to school to sign their children out early. There sat twenty curious children wondering why everyone …

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Drama in the Classroom Activities: 2 Examples with Bellringers

Get a costume box. Get some creativity. Do drama and learn! Here’s how. I have a costume box in my room and it is AWESOME. This time of year is THE TIME I add to it because of all of …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

The H&R Block Budget Challenge: Giving Away Scholarships as Kids Learn Financial Literacy

The H&R Budget Challenge will teach US kids aged 14 and up about real world financial skills as they compete to win scholarships & learn about money. Students need to understand financial skills but it is hard to teach these …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Text Message Abbreviations Field Guide (IM Speak for Adults)

Do the text message abbreviations your children and grandchildren send leave you confused as a cow on astroturf? No more! While we shouldn’t use this in academic writing, learn to speak the IM (instant messaging) language to communicate with your …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

#YouMatter: Good For Your Heart, Good For Your Health

On September 7, I was the guest for a Twitter Chat titled, “When People Know They Matter It Changes Everything,” live from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation’s Transform 2014 Conference. It was so affirming to be invited to attend …

Angela Maiers, Speaker, Educator, Writer