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 …

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Angela Maiers, Speaker, Educator, Writer

“It’s only when I’m truly scared that I know I am being audacious enough.” #Choose2Matter

  I was recently interviewed by Anita Stout, author of Life Isn’t Broken, a blog that celebrates “all that’s good in life.” Anita was kind enough to include me in her “Moments of Creation” series, which asks entrepreneurs how they …

Angela Maiers, Speaker, Educator, Writer

And Bam! We’re back!

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I've neglected you.Sorry.But last year, well, it just sucked.  Between dealing some more with my Dad's estate (finally, finally, finally finished that up a week ago), and the absolute amazing amount of stupid crap that is…

Bluebird's Classroom

5 practical lessons for elementary classroom inclusion

In the essay Helicopter Parent in the collection Dads of Disability I recount the events surrounding my then third-grade son Alexander’s experience dressing up as Igor Sikorsky, the father of the modern helicopter, and giving a presentation to his class. …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Ready, Set, Teach: Thoughts on Beginning the School Year Well

And thus it begins, I am in the office listening to Josh Groban croon as I try to grapple with the music of life. In less than two hours I’ll be in the first faculty meeting of the year with …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

One Hundred Kindergartners, One Room, Three Teachers

Why is the second-largest daily newspaper in Michigan buying into what is obviously high-grade baloney? As "big teaching experiments" go, the 100-kid kindergarten is not based on anything resembling quality research on early childhood education. It's 100% propaganda. There were…

Teacher in a Strange Land

Mattering IS the Agenda – a Toolkit for Transformation

As a young teacher, I had an epiphany: people need to matter. They need to be noticed, valued, and honored. Ever since, the “You Matter” message has been changing hearts, minds, and lives. This toolkit curates the best of my …

Angela Maiers, Speaker, Educator, Writer

“Real Life” Vs. Technology!

Saturday was our annual cookout. Fun, food, family, and friends! Good times.:) As I was walking past the group on the deck, I noticed they were passing around a tablet. When I asked what they were doing they replied that…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

Race to the Top: A Five-Year Marathon Slog With No End in Sight

There's plenty to write about how the Race to the Top is playing out: the Common Core State Standards debacle, millions spent to develop "better" teacher evaluations which show that most teachers are doing a pretty job, policies that have…

Teacher in a Strange Land

Digital Literacy Leadership Dare

Looking to the future of digital literacy (Flickr image from by Schlüsselbein2007) This morning, on the final day of our digital literacy leadership workshop, we watched Chris Lehmann’s Ignite talk about “School 2.0,” and I borrowed some of his ideas …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching