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 …

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

The Return of My Red Headed Fireball

Last spring a new student arrived from Another Southern State who made quite an impression.For one, he some of the reddest hair I have ever seen.  And a personality to match.  To say that the Red Headed Fireball is…

Bluebird's Classroom

Ah, The Smell of Seventh Graders…

Friday was a weird freaking day.Friday was going to be our first early dismissal where the kids get out two hours early so teachers can have meetings, in-service, training, blah, blah, blah.As such, it was the first early…

Bluebird's Classroom

Wanted:A Great Year! Teachers and Parents Working Toward the Same Goal!

Every year, at the beginning of the school year, I send this form home. I ask my parents to fill it out in their interest of learning what they want from their child’s teacher. What can make this a great…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

Chromebook Resource Center by Intel

Do you have Chromebooks? These handy devices can do so many things in the classroom. Intel has put together a community for Chromebook users at intel.com/ChromeEdu. There are already some powerful resource guides including the Ultimate Resource (by Naomi …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Contributing to the Conversation: Pre-Service Teachers Get Started on Twitter

“A Conversation” by Flickr user Khalid Albaih. Over the past week, my ENG 315 students have been joining Twitter and using the #eng315cmu hashtag to start discussing ideas related to teaching writing and creating their own PLNs. I provided them …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

What Makes YOU Fabulous?

For the last few years (minus those periods of time when I dropped out of the blogosphere to, you know, have babies and all), I have not been shy about naming what makes a teacher fabulous.  Okay, if I'm really…

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages