My Teaching Quote

I have to admit – I love quotes.  Words that are meaty enough that they serve as inspiration or make one pause to reflect.  I think about this every once in awhile when I come across an inspirational quote – choosing my signature classroom quote.  Professors encourage reflection so I encounter a bounty of quotes each semester.  Kids, well people of all ages, are motivated by wonderful words.  How do you think so many self-help/motivational books sell?  Here it is – THE ONE I HAVE CHOSEN 🙂

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
— Dr. Seuss

From Oh the Places You’ll Go!

It’s the idea of taking responsibility for your course in life which is so appealing.  Confucious, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, oh the list is long of those with much to say, yet children respond to what they know.  Most American children have been introduced to Dr. Seuss books and the children in my classroom will certainly know him.  Though the simple rhyming words are usually read to preschoolers, notice the magnitude of thought in Seuss books.  Consider Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, a story which recently sparked controversy in Canada, yet still has topics worthy of discussion: individual rights and bullying come to mind. To clarify, the book was not banned, only the use of its quotes as a political tool in a labor dispute, but it bears interesting reflection on the potential dangers of dramatizing a single event/issue.  Regarding Yertle the Turtle, the book provides a starting point to discuss government.  Our youngest recently researched socialism.  The entire  5th grade at her school (3 classes) was broken into groups to research various forms of government then discuss advantages and disadvantages of each.   The experience opened my daughter’s eyes to different countries and ways of living, especially now with so many governments going through dramatic changes.  Messages of any book can be twisted; it’s our responsibility to teach kids to critically examine what they read.  Yes, Dr. Seuss admitted to subtly including political beliefs, but so subtle that it is insubstantial unless intentionally raised to one’s attention.  His books aren’t promoting anarchy.  They share ideas of caring for our environment, treating all people/creatures with respect, and perseverance.  Ideas worthy of sharing.

Google Drive


I recently began using Google Docs, then Google Drive once it changed, to store documents.  I like the idea of comments being used to suggest editing, rather than editing over someone’s work utilized in a wiki.  Don’t get me wrong, wikis still hold a valid place for collaborative work, but it seems both tools, wiki and Google Drive, may have advantages over the other dependent upon the assignment.  I need direct experience to gain better understanding, but now I can learn from others already experimenting with these tools in the classroom.  So what do you think?  Best uses for each?  Pros and cons specific to learning objectives/use?

Disregard: to prove I’m the author of this site for another organization: GVW3JN2SXW3S


Egg to Chick Project

What do you call a city of 20 million eggs?  New Yolk City

We are on Day 13 of our annual home “egg to chick” project.  It’s so easy to do, plus your local 4H chapter will help you find proper homes for the chicks; we keep ours. Eggs are turned 2-3 times daily.  The penciled “o” on the single egg picture marks the egg to ensure all eggs are turned each time.  One side has an x while the opposite side has an o.  I hope to incorporate this activity every year in my class.  We buy a dozen fertilized eggs online for approximately $4.  In the past, we borrowed an incubator from our county agricultural extension center.  This year we bit the bullet and purchased one.  It coordinates well with many science concepts and processes.  It’s  an exciting project for the children and teacher too!

A Side Note

This calls to mind something I read in Teach Like a Champion, a book I highly recommend.  At the beginning of chapter 2, Lemov suggests teachers need to teach with a “Begin with the End” in mind, the concept being to tailor lesson plans to objectives rather than vice versa.  I agree with this, however feel there are special lesson plans that are meaty, flexible, or worthy enough to incorporate as long as one primarily teaches according to objectives first.  As an example, the egg to chick project naturally coordinates with many elementary science concepts (living or nonliving, classification, adaptation, basic needs, environmental factors) or the project could simply incorporate scientific investigation objectives to encourage the wonder of life/learning.  Wanting to use an exceptional lesson plan doesn’t have to mean one is trying to push the square peg into the round hole when handled appropriately.  Always the safety and needs of the animals are met; we have local ranches willing to take the chicks where they live their lives happily as free range chickens.

Here are some helpful links:

Lancaster County 4H chick project

Sarasota County 4H chick project

Poetry reading of “Trees”

First Video Podcast

Improvements have been made to the first audio podcast, but I still don’t seem quite like myself.  I’d like to put a little more oomf into it – hmm not sure oomf is a word.  🙂  Zest works.  Voice is not as monotone.  Surprising obervation?  Video podcasts are easier than audio podcasts – at least for me.  In this video, I read “Trees” by Harry Behn in my backyard.  At one point, a chicken can be heard clucking, but I thought it added some fun to the video so I kept it.  The chosen assignment for this is to walk outdoors to find inspiration to write a poem.  It seems fitting since Earth Day just passed.  I also describe a future Venn diagram assignment comparing “Trees” with the student poet’s own poem.  Hope you enjoy!

Tree Poem2