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 …

Who Should Evaluate Teachers?

When kids and parents and community members comment on a particularly gifted teacher, it's the ability to light a fire around learning, through passion and compassion, that they're identifying. In fact, when even the most punitive and pro-privatization legislator rhapsodizes…

Teacher in a Strange Land

The 3 Things We Can Do To Reach Every Child

As long as we talk about reaching every child – it is someone else’s problem. Instead what we should each be asking ourselves is how to reach that child right in front of us. Then we reach the child sitting …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Save the Rhino: Join Karen Stadler and The Traveling Rhino Project

Karen Stadler @ICT_Integrator , from South Africa, is an educator on a mission to save the rhino. The Traveling Rhino Project creates awareness one child at a time. She was in a local reserve in South Africa when she …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

I Wish I Could Clone You: A Teacher’s Dream Child!

I have at least one every year. That child  I wish I could clone. The kid that is so sweet, respectful, polite, works hard, helpful, gets along with their peers, an absolute delight! READ MORE… photo credit: Blue Skyz Media…

Diary of a Public School Teacher!

AdvancED Wyoming: Slides, Free Internet Safety Poster, Free Chapter [Link]

AdvancED Wyoming: Slides, Free Internet Safety Poster, Free Chapter AdvancED Wyoming Conference March 3, 2014 Today in Wyoming was incredible. Such wonderful educators working hard to do the right thing (and I saw the best speech I’ve ever seen given …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

And the Root of the Word is…

Entertaining is trying to explain the meaning of the word "homozygous" to a class of 22 boys.Use your imagination.Can't wait for the body systems unit.…

Bluebird's Classroom

Where is Spring?

Our district only gives us three snow days.  Every other district around has something like ten, but no, we have three.  They always trot out a long-winded explanation about how we use these stockpiled days for in-service and early release…

Bluebird's Classroom

A Guidebook For Social Media in the Classroom [Link]

A Guidebook For Social Media in the Classroom Edutopia February 27, 2014 The purpose of the Social Media Guidebook that I wrote for Edutopia is fourfold:… To help educators understand why social media writing styles are appropriate for teaching in

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Geocaching : How To Use Technology To Get Into Nature

There are 3,673 of them hidden within 30 miles of Pelham and at least 2,015 hidden within 30 miles of Camilla. They are on the river, they are hidden beside the road, one is even hidden near Debbie’s Restaurant, but …

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Reflections on the State of Writing Instruction

Over at Writers Who Care, Kristen Turner and I have shared some thoughts from our recent experience at Writing Research Across Borders III: Arthur Applebee, a leading scholar in the field of writing instruction, shared some new research during …

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching