Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

If You See Something that Looks like Bullying....Say Something!

I'd like to know who coined the saying,"Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you."? I've never found this to be true. Words are very powerful and negative words can hurt...a lot!  I have found some  helpful resources which teachers might wish to review on the topic of bullying. Go to my website to see the list of resources(stories, links, video clips,etc.) I have compiled.

A great  start to discussing bullying  might be to read Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling and read about the author himself( I've written a play for kids on Hans Christian Andersen which you can find at this link:

 Hans was often teased as a boy. He was very tall and skinny. He was called "scarecrow" by neighborhood children. One day, he actually climbed a tree to get away from bullies who were chasing him!  Once in the tree however, he got tangled and stuck. Hans' dad had to come get him down.

Most kids say they have been bullied at some point. And, many children admit that they have bullied other children... The resources I have gathered might be of interest for teachers.
Gail Hennessey

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Need a short activity for your students: In the News...
NASA has announced that the first man-made object has left the solar system! The Voyager 1 launched in 1977(along with the Voyager 2 sixteen days later) has left heliosphere and is now zooming into interstellar space. The heliosphere is the boundary separating our solar system including the sun, planets and solar wind from the rest of the galaxy. Some say the solar system contains the orbits of  distant comets so if this is included, the Voyager still has thousands of years to go to exit the solar system. Either way, it's an amazing triumph for the space probe, which with memory less than a smart phone is still working! Traveling at more than 28,000 mph, the Voyager carries what is called the "golden record", including sounds and photographs of our word so that if alien life forms are out there and come into contact with the Voyager, they can learn a bit about our world.

NOTE: Illustration of The Golden Record from NASA. gov

Extension Activities:
Pretend you are the Voyager 1 and write a diary entry as to what have you seen along your journey?
Make your own "Golden Record". What would be 7 things you'd want aliens to know about earth and its live forms?
Learn about a planet, comet, asteroid or meteor and create an illustration. Write 4 facts learned about your topic.
Learn about space junk:

Resources for Kids:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In a world where beauty is highlighted, a unique organization wants people to think about creatures less cute. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, located in Great Britain,has just selected a new mascot-the Blobfish, as the world's ugliest creature! Found in the deep ocean waters off of south-eastern Australia, the Blobfish is really a creature only a mom(or dad)could love! A world wide competition was recently held with thousands of people voting on the ugliest animal. Other creatures up for selection included the kakao(a non flying parrot), the Titicaca(water frog), the purple pig-nosed frog, the giant Palouse earthworm, the proboscis monkey,and Axolotl(salamander). The society is "dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mather Nature's more aesthetically challenged children." All creatures cute and ....ugly,need to be remembered when it comes to being in trouble of endangerment or extinction. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society hopes that such a contest will help to shed more light that "challenged looking" creatures need our concern,too.
 Extension Activities:
Have students write a poem describing the Blobfish.
Learn more about the Blobfish.
Create a poster of one of the creatures in the contest. Explain why you should be selected for the "World's Ugliest Creature".
Write a persuasive paragraph explaining why you should be remembered when it comes to being endangered and not just the cute and cuddly creatures. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dusting off my soap box....
On the first day of every school year, my husband would don what he called his teacher uniform. He wore a suit and tie and his dress shoes. He always felt it was important to start the school year dressing accordingly.  From that day forward, he'd always wear a pair of slacks, dress shirt and tie and sport's jacket.

I also felt the need to dress what I felt was professionally for the my students,wearing one of my skirt sets or dresses. I never would think to come to school in jeans(unless it was a special dress down day or field day activity), wear a dress showing cleavage or a top that was especially formfitting. Thus, I was amazed by a headline that stated a school district in Little Rock, Arkansas, is requiring its teachers to wear... underwear!

Just where have we come when a teacher needs to be reminded that see-through tops, showing their midriff or wearing form fitting clothing(especially in middle school), might not be appropriate?
For many young people, teachers are about the only role model they may have. It is important that in addition to teaching about social studies and grammar,that we model behavior that our students can emulate. Note: I understand that primary teachers may need to alter their dress code for the different activities they will be doing with their students, however, to me, spaghetti-straps, cut off shorts, form fitting clothing, still isn't proper to this "veteran" teacher, at any level.

The article about the Arkansas School district's dress code also caused me pause when I read that the teacher's union was voicing opposition to the dress code(to include wearing underwear),stating it was  a violation of the teachers' rights and that the policy was condescending.  Such comments are just fuel to the fire for television networks like Fox News that see little value in what a teacher does(based on their many previous story topics). This news story is just what they want to share with their viewers to give validation to the quality ,or in their minds, lack there of, of the teaching profession today!

So, in my opinion, don your underwear when you are heading off to school this year. As I used to say to my student teachers. Dress professionally. What does this mean? I guess the best way to answer this is the following: Are you wearing what you’d wear to go with your friends to the movies or hang out on the weekend?  Or, are you wearing what you’d wear to a job interview? The latter should be what you’d wear as you enter the classroom  each day.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Starting the school year and need an activity? I have just added another topic at my website for teachers/kids, FACTS to Wow your Friends! This time, the information is on bees. Did you know that bees can actually sense the location of land mines or that a honeybee can move its wings about 11,400 times a minute? Read these and about 20 other bee facts under the BUZZ about BEES at this link:

Five Extension activities are included as well such as the following:

Facts at my website for teachers/kids.   Learn more about bees

 Illustration from: