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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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Using the News in the Classroom for BellRingers/Exit Tickets

Thought I'd share two news stories which might be of interest to use in the classroom in the beginning of the class period or at the end of the class.

ESPN to Use DRONE for the First Time!
Drones are finding their way into our daily activities. For the first time ESPN will utilize drones in their coverage of the Winter X Games,to be held this week, in Aspen, Colorado.  ESPN has gotten permission, from the Federal Aviation Administration, to fly tiny drones over the athletes. The drones,with cameras, will hover above, aside and behind the racers during their the snowmobiling and snowboard events. In other uses, drones are being used to video some football teams' practices and  CNN is hoping to soon use drone technology during live news event. Amazon would also like to have the ability to use drones to deliver packages right to your home.

How might such drone usage be helpful in our lives?
Can you think of negative aspects about drone use?
Can you think of why drone use is being carefully monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration?
Photograph from

Out of this World Experiment!

Scientists plan to study two identical twins in an out of this world experiment. Astronaut Scott Kelly, will leave on a space mission lasting one year at the International Space Station. His brother, Mark, who is also an astronaut, will remain on earth. Both will be involved in the same experiments to see the effects that long periods in space may have on the body. They are the only identical twin American astronauts(of the 2.25 million sets of American twins).For future long distance space missions such as Mars,which will take an estimated three years for the round trip, scientists want to study the effect of lack of gravity on human bones, the heart and other organs. Scott will travel to the ISS on March 28th, with another Russian astronaut(called cosmonaut in Russia) named Mikhail Kornienko. It will be the longest space time of any American astronaut.

Despite the experiments,you would have some "free" time. What would you do for a year in space? What would be three things you'd pack along to bring with you?
Other than family and friends, what would be some things you'd miss about being away from Earth?

Photograph from

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Perhaps, you'd like to share the following with your students on Tuesday,Groundhog Day, February 2nd.

Groundhog Day is Tuesday,February 2nd. It is celebrated in the USA and Canada. It’s a time when people look to a groundhog to find out whether or not we will be having six more weeks of winter. The idea dates back hundreds of years when people looked to hibernating animals such as badgers, hedgehogs and bears to see when they might wake up from their winter sleep.  According to the tradition, if the animals saw its shadow, winter would last several more weeks.  If it didn’t see it’s shadow, spring would be soon arriving.
When Europeans, especially the Germans, came to the United States, they brought the tradition. The groundhog became the animals of choice as it hibernated and looked something like the European hedgehog. Groundhog Day started back in the 1880s with the first official celebration on February 2, 1887. The most famous groundhog weather forecaster is Punxsutawney Phil, of Punxsutawney, PA. On February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil , who lives at  the  Punxsutawney Library is taken to Gobbler Knob and placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on the stage near where hundreds have gathered. At 7:25 if Punxsutawney Phil comes out to make his weather prediction. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is on its way!

Did you know that the groundhog, also called woodchuck, is a  relatives of the squirrel? Learn some additional Fun facts about groundhogs at this link:

Read more about the groundhog. Draw/color a picture and write 5 facts learned about the groundhog( in complete sentences).

Check out my latest Reader's Theater Script, A Visit with a Groundhog!

Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee Talk Show series of Reader' Theater Scripts, her guest is Sarsaparilla, the groundhog! Kids will learn about the groundhog and a bit of history about Groundhog Day. There is a Did You Know? section,ten comprehension questions, a teacher page with extension activities and links and the key.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

President Proposes Free Tuition to Community Colleges

Last week, President Barack Obama proposed free tuition to students at community colleges(two years). Students would need to keep a 2.5 GPA to qualify for the free college program.  The President said ,”No one should be denied (a college education) because they don’t have the money. I want to bring (the cost of community college) down to zero. I want to make it free””.  President Obama also would include technical training schools, too. A this time, specifics as to how the possible $60 billion(over 10 years) will be paid and more details will be forthcoming. Already, I have read people complaining that we “can’t afford” another Federal program that would increase our national debt.  I’ve read some people say, that if kids wish to get an education at a higher level, they can pay for it themselves. 

My thoughts are,  what better investment can we make in the future of this country if we can’t offer young people, no matter their financial status, a change at an education?  We are one of the only industrialized nations that does not offer free college to their young people.
I support such a program being implemented in this country.  There is a petition you can review if you share this opinion: