Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Benefits of Gardening

I am not a gardener, tho I am married to one and my dad had a massively green thumb and certification as a Master Gardener. But I do like the benefits of having always lived with a gardener.

I ran across this and found it a lovely follow up to my earlier "Nature = Necessity Not Amenity" post. If you aren't a gardener, maybe this will inspire you to pick up a trowel and plant something...or at least take advantage of a beautiful garden near you.

Photo from

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Virtual Field Day

Typically around this time of year we always have Field Day at school. It's always a perennial favorite in elementary schools. It's a grand opportunity to take advantage of a beautiful day, leaving the books, paper & pencils indoors.

This year, with most schools diving into some degree of remote learning, it's one of those annual traditions that just can't happen in the same way.

But, necessity is the mother of invention, and in the world where so much is going virtual, who is to say that Field Day can't either. I ran across this great resource that allows for you to have your very own Virtual Field Day! May it inspire you to get outside and move and groove!

Field Day logo from from

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Nature = Necessity Not Amenity

In reading a Business Insider article by Anna Mederis Miller entitled "Stop Shaming People Going Outside," I ran across the quote from University of Chicago physchologist Marc Berman: "Our research has found that nature is not an amenity — it's a necessity." It inspired me to make this graphic:

It speaks to the heart of "Green Team Gazette." There are numerous studies about the physical and mental benefits to children and adults alike about the reasons to be outside.

In this techie world, where "zoom fatigue" is certainly a thing this season. It requires more focus to read non-verbal cues, expression, voice tone, body language, and more. All of that require energy. For those of us who are not extroverts or fans of "selfie nation," there's also the added piece of seeing ourselves midst meeting. It's all an exhaustive zap on our energy, and the conversation (especially with larger numbers on a zoom call) feels stilted and unnatural.

We need to be out and about (while maintaining safe physical distancing due to maintaining good health in the pandemic) to help neutralize the negative effects of the home isolation and the tech saturation.

Another quote that struck me in the Business Insider article:
"The general principle should be: Outside is better than inside; open is better than closed; fewer is better than more people; and stay away from sick people," from Dr. Erich Anderer, a neurosurgeon and founding member of the North Brooklyn Runners.
So hopefully on the day you read this, you have a good outside-kind-of-day, and you can mark some time to spend outside. Kids aren't the only one who benefit from being outside! Happy Memorial Day weekend! Be safe out there and remember whatever your plans, be conscious of others by following your local safety and health guidelines, wearing a mask when needed as well as maintaining physical distance to keep help eliminate the spreading of this wickedly contagious coronavirus!

The Benefits of Outdoor Free Play - Bring Back Children’s Play
Source: Blog

Poster from; Zoom Fatigue image from; Nature = Necessity not Amenity graphic created at; Health Benefits & Suggested Dosage infographic fro

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Backyard Birding with Merlin

I've mentioned before that sitting outside here in the warming season and gazing about while typing is a favorite past time of mine. Along with the visual glories, there also comes a symphony of sounds--those human-made ones from the neighborhood and the busy street not far away, and also a bounty of birdcalls come sounding down on me from our tree-lined back yard. The bird feeder that my husband and son religiously refill also makes us a local hot-spot with our feathered friends.

On a beautiful day, I'd rather be outside than in front of our television and its full DVR or faced with the endless possibilities of Amazon Prime and Netflix. Now, with more of us at home than before, seems like I might not be the only one based on this Dan Friedell article I ran across: "Tired of Netflix? Birds Provide a Show Right Outside Your Quarantine Window"

As he details, this is the season for returning birds, he also mentioned that (of course) "there's an app for that." And who better to be from than Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. The app, Merlin, is your helpful, handy, pocket birding coach created for beginner and intermediate birders. Not only can you list descriptors to help you identify your newest flying friend, but there's also a photo ID feature built in. Additionally, you can download bird packs for your geographical region. Given they have content for over 6,200 bird types, narrowing down your local finds is a must. Once you start going through the descriptors, you can also click a speaker on the app for each bird for further identification by way its birdsong & bird call. I think my feathered-fellows this morning were a type of sparrow--House, Song, or maybe Chipping. It was quick, and still being a newbie, it was one of my first go arounds!

Merlin is a powerful resource right in your phone. Ultimately, it may serve as a good gateway to unplugging!!

Speaking of which....I have a cardinal hopping on my fence...gotta go and be a bird watcher!

Photo from my phone, and Merlin logo from

Saturday, May 16, 2020

60 Seconds with Jane Goodall

I started thinking about numbers, especially in relation to time:

60 seconds make a minute.
60 minutes make an hour.
24 hours make a day.
7 days make a week.
52 weeks make a year.
1 person makes a difference.
1000 people make infinite differences.

I think my numerical inspiration came from the episode of 60 Second Science Podcast with Scientific American's Steve Mirsky where he talks with Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall always seems to be my touchstone of environmentalism. In part, because she was a visitor to my long ago when I was teaching at Maryland Green School Gibson Island Country School/Eagle Cove... and partly because she exudes such grace, hope, optimism, and patience. She's been working on behalf of the environment and conservation for a long time... yet she never gives up the good fight.

In the podcast episode "Jane Goodall: We Can Learn from This Pandemic," her calm voice of wisdom continues to be the same direct and patient voice is always is. I was contemplating her thoughts on how she hopes we might change as a result of the pandemic. Her words about how we need to rethink and reconsider materialism and consumerism versus minimalism and living lighter on the land certainly struck a chord with me.  Imagine that world where true balance was achieved--economically, environmentally, inspirationally, spiritually, medically, politically, and more. Sounds rather healthy to me.

After weeks have now turned to months of sheltering in place and living more simply in order to maintain our health--all due to a virus that has run out of control and tackled our planet, maybe, just maybe, it is indeed time to reconsider, recalibrate, and readjust for the health and well-being of us all.

Quote Image from

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Virtual Classrooms

ClientmojiOn several educator boards I follow on Facebook, Bitmoji Virtual Classrooms have been filling my feed. They've become a delightful way to bring a little fun & flair into remote learning.

Being a Bitmoji fan, I decided maybe it was time to check it out, and add some of this flavor to my Technology classes by creating a few of these interactive boards.

Despite the fact that there's no one "app for that," there is luckily a great Wakelet board for it, created by Lindsay Toub. I've seen her "Create A Virtual Classroom" Wakelet board referenced on several sites, so if she's not a viral internet sensation yet, she soon will be. The resources on her board walk you through every step of combining the Bitmoji app with Google Slides or PowerPoint to create your own. Add a lot of your own personal touches plus resources for the lesson or activity you want, and you can do a lot to create a fun clickable for your class.

Here are screenshots of two I created for upcoming lessons:

Mini me Bitmoji and virtual classroom boards created using "wall and floor backgrounds" web search in Google Slides and Bitmoji.