Infographic from https://www.brownrecycling.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/plastic-recycling-code-infographic-877x1024.jpg, "What Do They Mean" image created at canva.com
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Infographic from https://www.brownrecycling.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/plastic-recycling-code-infographic-877x1024.jpg, "What Do They Mean" image created at canva.com
Saturday, September 18, 2021
I’ve gone back and forth between “real” books and e-books. For a long time, I needed print books because I allowed myself to get too distracted by emails, texts, Facebook, and more when I was reading online. But I've ebbed back and now this year, I’ve almost exclusively been reading books digitally on my phone. In some ways, the more I read, the more it has actually kept me off social media**. That's the beauty of a good book!
There are strong arguments that print books give your eyes a break from screens and the blue light and the fact that you process information more critically and slowly when reading print. We tend to skim more on devices (think texts, emails, and Facebook posts), so the content makes its way more into your memory when reading it on paper. The conversation broadens when you consider platforms such as Audible too, but that's a bigger topic than for here right now.
"A typical paperback book has a climate impact similar to that of watching 6 hours of TV, at around 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This unit is a measure of carbon footprint, expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide that would have the same impact over a 100-year period.
E-readers are slightly better than paper books, as long as you use them many times. In my book How Bad Are Bananas?, I estimate their carbon footprint to be about 36 kg CO2e, so you have to read the equivalent of at least 36 paperback books (bought new, then recycled)in e-book format before the paper saving outweighs the emissions embodied in the device." ***
So, whichever way you go about it, just read! For information, for new ideas, for the love of a good story, or just plain for fun!
#Hike32 last week was beautiful but also made me very, very sad.The state park I have frequented often over the last 2 years has been one of my favorite places to hike when I just want to do a short hike close to home. I've hiked there regularly, and I know the trails there better than I know my way around my neighborhood!
If there are faster hikers that you want to allow to pass you, try to step to the side in an area that isn't too fragile. And just step to the side and STOP - don't keep frolicking through the forest off of the path! And if you are the one doing the passing, please avoid just traipsing through the forest on unmarked paths to do it! Wait for the people in front of you to step aside! It's also totally fine and appropriate to ask nicely if you can pass. We're actually all totally capable of sharing the trails in a respectful and responsible way!
Anyway, for now I think I'll be seeking some less trafficked trails but I will still be making every effort to take care of every trail I set foot on!
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
For 4 years now, I've been keeping track of my hours outside during the summer. The idea came from the concept of 1000 hours outside being optimal over a year. Seasonally, that accounts for 250 for a summer (1/4 of the year), which fits nicely into a teacher's lifestyle of June, July, and August.In addition to notating my hours outdoors for 4 years, I've been accounting and measuring my days of planned, intentional days near/in water for 3 years (aka: #BlueMind). Both of which have now officially become an annual traditions.
Here are my stats for Summer 2021:
My Goals...250 hours outdoors and 65 days in/near the water. Looking at my numbers--pretty happy with the outcome!
This summer, I hit my "grand prize win" with 64 #BlueMind days and water-oriented activities, and I hit my 2nd highest summer for hours outside with 297 hours. (If I would have counted Labor Day weekend, which apparently I have done some years in the past, I would have topped 300.)
Here are my stats for the past:
2019 was my big win of hours outside during my summer months with 326 hours--but it did include the first two days of September due to Labor Day weekend. Close second with my 61 #BlueMind days of being in the water.
2018 (when I was only measuring hours outside), I clocked in with 269, putting it at my 3rd place stance.
2020 I wasn't far behind with 258 and 56 days of water-centric focus. Kind of surprising given it was smack dab in the middle of a pandemic--I would have expected more...but sometimes air conditioning is for the win!
But, in view of the goal of 1000 hours of outdoors time over the course of the year, I'm pretty darn proud of myself for topping 250 for the season of summer--1/4 of the year.
The takeaway: I feel more centered when outdoors and/or in the water. A lot of times, that's my backyard pool when it comes to water. Of course, there is the overlap between the two, but no matter what, it helps to keep me more centered.
I'm always more pulled to those indoor activities of work once school starts. But every year I continue to do this, I'm shown the value and downright necessity of equilibrium that comes from being either outdoors or experiencing water. It's more than just what feels good. Yes, certainly it is that. But it is always science. And it is what helps to keep me running on all cylinders.
These are the things that are wholeheartedly important to keep in mind...because they are the things that keep me going!!
Image screenshots from my calendar. Promo code, should you choose to dive into Artful Agenda (which I love), is RV272257.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
This year, with the final withdrawal of our troops in Afganistan a month ago and now here on the 20th anniversary of 2001, it certainly is felt in a stronger way than ever.
The "Flight 93 National Memorial" Facebook page has been posting some resources to learn more about the history of 9/11. In addition, they are planning to do a live 20th Anniversary Observance at 9:30 on their site.
Here are some of the resources they have posted as well as some additional ones I have found to help ensure that we certainly "never forget."
- The Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial website has a virtual tour, education material, webcams and photo galleries. They also have hosted a Virtual Speaker Series and have archived material on that since 2017.
- The 9/11 Memorial and Museum website has multiple resources on education and commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the World Trade Center in New York City.
- The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial website has a wealth of educational resources. You can search by keywords, grade level bands (from PreK to adults), academic subject, and resource type. Additionally there is other information about the lives of those lost at the Pentagon, ways to explore the memorial virtually on the interactive map, information about the Visitor Education Center, and more.
- The 9/11 Day's website's mission is to annually create the September 11 National Day of Service & Remembrance as a tribute to those who where hurt, helped, or those periled on 9/11/2001. They have a 20th Anniversary video entitled "Our State of Unitedness" as well as lesson plans for grades K-8.
- PBS Newshour recently posted this article "The 9/11 Anniversary in the Classroom" along with accompanying lessons. In it they have detailed 9/11/2001 as well as the events from this past month.
- Time Magazine has an interesting article from 2019 by Olivia B. Waxman entitled "9/11 Is History Now. Here's How American Kids Are Learning About It in Class.
- Scholastic.com's 2019 article "Teaching September 11: Powerful Resources About Hope and Understanding" has some great resources for students in Grades 3-12.
- Parents Magazine's article "How to Talk to Your Kids About 9/11" is great for parents and teachers alike.
- Looking for even more? We Are Teachers website has a recent article entitled "22 Websites and Books to Teach Kids About 9/11" by Jeanne Croteau and published on August 23, 2021. Included Is a BrainPop video which could be suitable for 5th grade (possibly 4th) and up. It does have a disclaimer at the start of it (and lists it as "sensitive subject"), which suggests to kids to watch and discuss with an adult.
Photo from my camera, and my GTG 9-11-2019 and 9-12-2020 posts. This 9/11 monument was constructed from steel beams retrieved from the World Trade Center site from September 11th, 2001. https://www.greenteamgazette.com/2019/09/remembering-911.html
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
I'm always a fan of repurposing objects to turn them into something useful or something beautiful.
A nurse in Colorado did just that.
As reported by CNN's Lauren M. Johnson in her September 5th, 2021 article "Colorado Nurse Transforms Covid Vaccine Vials Into a Work of Art to Show Appreciation for Health Care Workers," retired nurse Lauren Weiss converted numerous Moderna glass Covid-19 vaccine vials into a a stunning chandelier. Not only did she want to see the vials not go to waste, but wanted to create something of meaning. Weiss purposely wanted to create something to bring about light, hope, and beuaty during a dark pandemic-filled year. Additionally, Weiss hopes it serves as a tribute to the healthcare workers who have done so much for all during the last 18 months.
May it shed some light onto the power, hope, and health that the vaccines have brought us all in fighting Covid-19 and its variants during this pandemic.
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Published by ISTE [International Society for Technology in Education] in 2019, Teach Boldly integrates technology standards for educators and students. The things I love about this book are the reasons I write this blog:
- it incorporates innovation and the design process;
- the importance of empathy and teaching for social good both in your classroom culture and on a global scale for building multiple perspectives and viewpoints;
- edtech as tools for being creating rather than solely consuming by way of digital storytelling and creating a natural application for digital citizenship.
- Jen William's Website for Templates & Other Resources
- ISTE Standards for Educators
- ISTE Standards for Students
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Adopted on December 10, 1948 to protect the rights of all humans)
- The Sustainable Development Goals (Created in 2015--our 5th graders have done Genius Hour projects based on these the last 3 years.)
- For an educator site with additional resources, go to TeachSDGs.org.
- Global Citizen: Take Action, highlighting defeating poverty, defending the planet, and demanding equity.
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC
- Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California
- Museum for the United Nations--UN Live in Copenhagen, Denmark
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Even this spring, depending on where I went , the sound of the cicadas differed. By my school, it was a complete roar that I didn't even recognize the first time I'd heard it. From my backyard, a significantly quieter buzz. Reports from friends in both Eastern Shore Maryland and downtown Baltimore indicated that cicada sounds were actually nonexistent.The reasons were many and they all make sense:
- sandier soil on the Eastern Shore was not a good place to dig deep and call home for 17 years;
- construction dug up the earth, destroying cicada nesting spots;
- the concrete jungle doesn't make for good digging and hibernating.
"One of the lasting impacts of segregation is environmental injustice, and it impacts humans and cicadas alike. Most of our city’s toxic brownfields are located in Center Township south of 38th Street and along the northern Mass Ave corridor, another line of segregation. The lingering arsenic, mercury, and lead in water and soil impacts human health while also sickening or killing cicadas gestating underground. These lands are often paved over to become asphalt deserts, and the compacted, rubble-filled soil that drives flood water into people’s homes also makes it harder for cicadas to burrow, let alone emerge. Trees are scarce, and greenhouse gases are abundant, creating urban heat islands that confuse the bugs and leave little room for cicada breeding, all while contributing to disproportionately higher asthma rates in people. Redlined housing practices forced a higher population density into racially segregated areas, which means less available land for cicadas to hatch."
image from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/5/5/2029108/-Environmental-Justice-Social-Justice-Economic-Justice-Intersection-of-schools-environmental-racism
Saturday, August 28, 2021
About 3 weeks ago we went to the Jimmy Buffett concert in Northern Virginia. My husband and his buddy have a long history of Jimmy Buffett concerts, so by marriage, of course, I too am a Parrothead, longing for Margaritaville.
Not only was it amazing to be back at a concert after the long sequester of Covid (and possibly before the next Delta-induced sequester), but it was wonderful to be soaking up the sweet sounds of familiar songs in the outdoor arena. During several of Jimmy's songs, he had a bounty of #bluemind scenes of as the backdrop on the Jumbotron.With a slight wind in the arena, breeze in my hair, and tropical tunes in my ears, I seriously had a blue mind moment with all of these pictures. A serious sense of peace.
I compiled just a few of the photos from the concert here, to share the wealth of that #BlueMindMoment.
Video created at canva.com from photos from the August 7, 2021 Jimmy Buffett Concert in Northern Virginia.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
School starts for me (by way of teacher meetingsI) today. Official school for our students starts next week, but first day photos on Facebook show me that schools have started back in action almost up to a month ago in some areas.
This year, school starts with some trepidation. Remote learning, hybrid school, and the pandemic the last 18 months have sent all of us spinning a bit. Variants are on the rise after we've all tasted the sweet elixir of freedom in June--it's leaving my colleagues and I wondering what the future holds. Mask? Zoom? Quarantines? Covid cases? Or are we all back to normal? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, let's all take a deep breath, muster our strength and stamina, pray for good wifi if we need it, and hope for the best for a good school year ahead, connecting with our students. In the last 18 months, students and teachers have learned to be flexible, to pivot when needed, and to be creative problem solvers. We can do this. May the rejuvenation of the summer stay with you, and may you always be a good trouble shooter with a good sense of humor. Stay healthy, stay strong, and have a great school year ahead! Cheers!
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Being out and about fairly early after dropping off my son at sports, I found myself pondering what to do with this now-rainy-day. Clearly not Plan A.
Not to shabby, all in all, and not too far from my original game plan. I’ll take it. Better yet, I’ll embrace it.
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Not far from Belgium's "Cycling Through the Trees Path" is "Cycling Through Water" in Bokrijk, Limberg, Belgium. Passing through the water on a path built below the water's surface, you can get more than a bird's eye view. It's more of a water level's view where you can put yourself right in the middle of the watery habitat.
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
One of our new experiences on our Outer Banks vacation in July was taking a wave runner tour on the waters of the Curritick Sound, seeing Duck and Corolla from the water side. It was more than just "driving to drive." It was an hour and a half game of "follow the leader" outside the partitioned areas to really see some of the surroundings and learn a bit of history along the way.
Now, out of full disclosure, I'll start by saying this. I do a lot of things well. Driving a wave runner is NOT one of them. I tried, I really did, and it didn't go well. I over-compensated with my steering. I was riding far too cautious to keep up with the group. Mostly, I couldn't get past the fear factor of impending doom and possible death. Luckily everyone else in my family are bigger adrenaline junkies than I am, so I could switch places with my teenage son and let him take over. That just left me holding on and getting to take in the scenery, fully enjoying the wind in my hair and the water spray on my face. A definite win-win for everyone!bird sanctuary from the bird's eye view, flying on the water, riding the waves, and running in the space between the grass.
No wonder that #BlueMind vision is still riding my heart.
Photos of our trip compiled in the PicCollage app, Travel quote created at canva.com
Saturday, August 7, 2021
When I was a kid, I had this jar of marbles. One of those really old fashioned jars with a wire-closing lids that lock in place. I have no idea where I got it (maybe my grandparents). Playing marbles wasn't really "a thing" when I was a kid in the '70s, as that was more the generation prior to me (or even prior to that one). I don't really remember what it's purpose was, other than decoration and fascination. Back before technology, looking at cool marbles on a summer day and sorting it, and pondering them as currency or whatever was just the thing to do.
But, it's got me thinking. Did I have any blue marble in there? Law of averages says yes.
But the bigger question is: What is the Blue Marble Project? The blue marble at arm's length represents the view of our blue planet Earth from space. Here's Wallace J. Nichol's to tell you all about it:
Still curious and want to learn more? Check out these resources. Maybe it'll encourage you to get a bundle of blues and start sharing it forward as a li'l random act of blue kindness to spread 'round the world. When we care about something, that's when we want to protect it!
Image found at https://www.coachmyrna.org/coachmyrna-blog/marble-jar-friends, video from https://youtu.be/NufUn2SPeHw
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
- Post-truth--Oxford English Dictionary's [OED] 2016 Word of the Year. Definition: When "objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
- Fake news--Added to the OED in 2019, yet even though it gained traction during the 2016 election season, it strikingly it's been around since 1890.
Disinformation (noun): "false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth"
Propaganda (noun): "ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause"
- SchoolJournalism.org's "6 Principles of News Literacy"
- Teaching Kids News "Fake News" Resources
- The Center for News Literacy
- News Literacy Project (especially Checkology & InfoZones from Checkology)
- Common Sense Media: Turn Students Into Fact-Finding Web Detectives
- Poynter.org's article 7 Games to Teach Kids Fact Checking
- How to Spot Fake News video from FlackCheck.org
- Seven Standards of Quality Journalism from the News Literacy Project
- TED-Ed's "How False News Can Spread" by Noah Tavlin
- PBS's News Literacy-Social Studies Shorts for grades 3-5, 6-8
- News Literacy Project's Classroom Activity: Is it “checkable”? for grades 4-6
- News Literacy Project's Critical observation challenge: Was Elsa really arrested? for grades 4-6
Fake news definition image from this OED tweet: https://twitter.com/OED/status/1181991604170694658, All other images created at canva.com
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Like most teachers, I love learning new things. I also often teach a class or two in the summer. This year, I co-taught a class called "Walk on the Wild Side: Integrating Environmental Education in Your Classroom" with an Upper School Science teacher. We taught it in Summer of 2019, and rebooted it this year. One of the fun perks is that we have all of the participants bring their bikes and we bike the 2+ miles between campuses on the community bike trail and picnic and geocache about halfway along the way.Florence Williams' book Nature Fix and the health benefits of why we need to get outside, we incorporated some tools such as scavenger hunts and nature observations which can help teachers get in touch with the outdoors. One of our activities was to inspire our participants to come up with a setting outdoors for a 2 inch Playmobil figurine using only natural items. (My kids loved these when they were little and we have a ton of them. They make the perfect teaching tool!) The neat thing about this activity is the curricular connections: it could serve as inspiration for a story students would then write;it could be to build and showcase a chapter in a book; or it could be a maker activity putting the design process to work solving a problem. Our adult creations and backstories were phenomenal. Plus, it got the juices flowing for other ways teachers could modify these (and other) activities in class.5-10 Minute "Walk On The Wild Side" Classroom Activities to get kids outdoors--Many at this time period could be"brain break" events:
- Hide and seek with objects or people -- especially in foreign language classes
- Pato pato ganso (Duck Duck Goose in Spanish) or on hot days, drip drip drop or tie in with new vocabulary (example: noun, noun, adjective)
- Numbers freeze dance on playground using sidewalk chalk and music
- Compare our weather to weather in target country
- Sidewalk chalk recording and illustrating the themes in the book as an anticipation strategy prior to reading
- An inside activity, but daily: tally the number of days or hours you DON’T need to turn on lights due to lights coming into the room.
10-20 Minute Activities
- Scavenger hunt with nature vocabulary, team building, or tie to concepts and bring it outdoors
- Bury magnetic letters in sandbox and have preschoolers dig out and identify letter
- Book Club Activity based on a novel about survival/nature
- How many triangles can you make with 9 sticks?
- Practice writing letters using water and paintbrushes
- Play season detective and scour the schoolyard for all the signs of the given season
- Use sidewalk chalk to create a grid where kids can count and sort objects
- Build a nature structure using “found nature” items outside for a “character” (Lego or Playmobile figure). Put a time period on it. Photo and share (or annotate), museum walk, etc. Put on parameters about how tall, wide, the perimeter, etc.
- Maximizing the exploding can (hydrogen coffee can experiment)
- Bohr Model of the Atom Amphitheater
- Build a Structure for Lego person and calculate “you size” (scale/dimensional analysis?)
- Soccer with language immersion (foreign language)
- Collect flowers and leaves and do leaf rubbings with crayons (younger students)
- Novel read aloud at outdoors- have the kids “act out” different characters and add stage directions to the text
- Shape walk, followed by sketching and labeling what you saw
- Write math problems on the blacktop with chalk and have students find pinecones, rocks, etc., to represent the answer.
- Build a model of a topographic map with natural items
30-45 Minute Activities
- “Escape Room” that takes place/incorporates outdoor space
- Have students chalk compass directions onto the blacktop and take note of what they see in each direction.
- Form adjective list, then go on a walk or on schoolyard nature trail and try to find an object that matches each descriptive word.
45-60 Minute Activities
- Kite flying (and making) for the Breadwinner chapter book unit
- Book-themed party hosted outdoors w outdoor challenges/activities
- Scavenger hunt from PD Day
- Solar Ovens/Wind Turbines
- Water Quality in pond or stream
- Carbon sequestration (tree diameters)
An Hour-long + Activities
- Itsy Bitsy spider unit
- Adventure Lab-History and English
- Sic Semper Tyrannis Adventure Lab (of Abraham Lincoln & John Wilkes Booth)
- The Wind in the Willows Adventure Lab
- Water quality analysis through precipitation reactions
- Combustion analysis of wood samples to determine empirical formula
- Library hosted day of reading outdoors. Set up blankets/snacks, provide magazines/books
- ecoMUVE virtual world for data collection. Useful for rainy days.
- Outdoor Backpacks to check out from the library
Apps & Other Goodies
- Cyanometer -- this is a tool that measures the amount of blue in the sky (which is tied to the amount of dust and water vapor in the sky)--on Apple App ($0.99)
- Merlin Bird App from Cornell Ornithology Lab--on Apple and Google
- Plant Snap App--on Apple and Google
- iNaturalist App--on Apple and Google
- CloudySky App--on Apple ($0.99) and on Google as Field Guide to Clouds App
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
- It's free to K-12 teacher's and their students--sign up just entails a teacher login on your school domain and verification.
- Teachers can invite students to their Canva classroom to assign and manage class activities.
- It works seamlessly with Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and more.
- It opens up pro features including fonts, icons, and images.
- The templates!! A wealth of customizable templates on every subject including social-emotional learning. Insert 3 thumbs up here!! Some of the broader category of school-specific templates include:
- Class Posters
- Graphic organizers & mind maps
- Lesson Plans
- Class Decor Kits
- Not to mention all the templates they already had which could be adapted to the classroom:
- Integrating Bitmoji's (just discovered that one!)
- Business Cards
- Even fun stuff like T-shirts, menus, postcards, and logos. Just think of the literature extension ideas you could use by assigning creative activities like these.
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Today's toe-dips include some really cool online edtech resources I've run across that would benefit any teacher. They include timesavers as well as other inspirational finds. May you enjoy toe-dipping into them at your leisure:
- Shake Up Learning with Kasey Bell is both a super podcast and a great website with loads of learning resources for teachers. I get the weekly email updates from and found her post on Free Templates for Teachers: Where to Find Them & How to Create Them fabulous. She references these sites that are definitely bound for your bookmark bar. You can learn more about them from her post or go to them directly here:
- Seesaw Connect, which is an online virtual global conference for Seesaw Teachers next week: July 26-30. Once you register (free!), you can can take a multitude of online, on-demand short courses to get your gears turning on how to incorporate Seesaw in many different ways. Access remains open until August 13th.
- Education World has a slew of templates, diagrams, forms and charts all classroom-centric that you can print. Great resource!
- Edutopia has a super article from April on "Powerful, Lesser-Known Tech Tools For Teachers." In it, they detail the following, which I want to look more into:
- Kialu Edu
- Adobe Capture
Art created on Canva.com (my next-time toe-dip tool to share!)
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Flash forward a handful of years.
Flash forward another handful of years.
Flash forward 16 more years.
It definitely shows you the power of nature, and leads you to a reverence where you honor that power. It causes you to take pause as you watch the events and intensity on the rise and breaking records. And it certainly has you counting your blessings.
"Tropical Storm Alert" image from https://www.chathamstartribune.com/image_0040049a-d587-11ea-b0c2-afda90ad2572.html, Hurricane Floyd weather map from https://www.weather.gov/ilm/Floyd, Category 1 hurricane chart from https://aerindustries.com/blog/2017/11/28/hurricane-categories-related-damage/, Wind Chart for Duck, NC from https://windalert.com/spot/40944, all other photos from my camera.