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 …

Rather Stand

I’d rather stand alone for the right thing … than be popular for the wrong one. I’d rather be wise than smart. I’d rather find a child’s strength than point out her weakness. I’d rather find a child crying than …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

When Grading Meets Technology: Not Necessarily a Match Made in Heaven

When it comes to online gradebooks, I believe there is a misguided faith in the magic of technology to "streamline" routine tasks and "solve problems" (even things we didn't realize were problems beforehand). Here's one: if parents weren't allowed to…

Teacher in a Strange Land

To Snow or Not to Snow

For as long as I've been at The District, we have had a total of 3 inclement weather days.  What's amusing about this is that every single district around us geographically have anywhere from 5-10 inclement weather days.  It's a…

Bluebird's Classroom

Yeah, I’m neglecting ya’ll

But I'll try to be better.In the meantime, the best kid comment of the day from one of my homeroom darlings who actually has parents who came to conferences."My mom and dad really liked you.  They said you…

Bluebird's Classroom

Taking Risks to Engage Students with the @BedleyBros

Scott and Tim Bedley discuss with Vicki their secrets to teaching. These brothers are at different schools but both were voted Teachers of the Year! They challenge themselves daily and use ‘fail’ as a verb not a noun. Listen to …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

From Sentence Combining to “Revision Decisions”

Image courtesy of Stenhouse This week, I am happy to be one stop on the blog tour for Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean’s new book, Revision Decisions: Talking Through Sentences and Beyond (Be sure to visit stops one, two, …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

Why tweet children’s learning? This tweet says it all. Why tweet children’s #learning? Loved this thinking by @tambotaylor – so I remixed it. #SLTchat #ukedchat #feltag pic.twitter.com/slwt4UUmUk— Bryan Mathers (@BryanMMathers) November 7, 2014 [Tweet]

“Why tweet children’s learning? This tweet says it all. Why tweet children’s #learning? Loved this thinking by @tambotaylor – so I remixed it. #SLTchat #ukedchat #feltag pic.twitter.com/slwt4UUmUk — Bryan Mathers (@BryanMMathers) November 7, 2014 ” @BryanMMathers November 7, 2014 …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Social Entrepreneurship: 7 Ways to Empower Student Changemakers [Link]

Social Entrepreneurship: 7 Ways to Empower Student Changemakers @edutopia blog – by Vicki Davis November 11, 2014 Tired of disheartened girls thinking they didn’t match up to the divas on teen beauty magazines, Grace Miner started Real Girls Matter. …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

The Secret to Successful Innovation: Thrash Early

Does your organization need help being on time and on budget? There is an older video where Seth Godin talks about “shipping it”. We can all do with re-watching this video. We need more successful innovation. So many teachers have …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Teaching By Due Date: Data Vs. Students!

I am tired of receiving emails that ask me to attend meetings prepared with the data of the Formative Assessment of the Week. Performance Task of the Month. Benchmark Entries, common assessments, you get what I’m saying.READ MORE…Filed under: Education…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!