Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Teacher blogging challenge .

I may not be doing this in order, however, here we go.

Day 13: Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

Number 1 Google classroom.  I use this with our classes.  Students get email where there are tests and assignments on it.  I am currently redoing my web page using Google site.  Which is pretty much the same thing.

Number 2.  Educreations.  I put the videos in using my Ipad.  I am about ready to shell out my money to get the upgrade.  You can edit it, give voice over, and use images as well as writing and texts for students.

Number 3 Kahoots.  This is a good way to have students drill and practice.  They love the games and are competitive.

Number 4  Phet   This is a simulations of scientific concepts.  This is good for students to use, before a lab so they have the feel for it.  I do have to fight it sometimes since our students have chromebooks and it does not always work on them..

Number 5 Pikochart.  I am just starting to learn how to use this.  Since I read so much and think in words, this is a good way to help students who are more visual learners.

Monday, December 28, 2015

post its

I added to post it collection to upgrade my analog calendar. Since I hate looking for things I attached some of them in my notebook.  Some others I put on my podium.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

This is the business card of Kevin Mitnick.  Mr. Mitnick is a security consultant.  What makes him qualified for this?  He is a convicted, did prison time, dark hacker.  I do not mean he went in and looked around...he stole.

Now look at the card.  It really can be used to pick locks.  It is available for five dollars.  As a business card it is genius.  You know the man, you understand his business, and for the card you get something useful.  I showed this to my students.  They want one.  And classes how to pick locks.  How do I explain to my principal that the afternoon STEM class is on security.  That and I would have to get practice locks and such.  Maybe see if a locksmith can do a class.  Granted many STEM businesses sell practice sets.

Then there is this card.  The design company shows what it does.
 Simple, easily rememerable.

Your card is you.  Many teachers do not have a business card.
Many online card makers will offer free cards.  I bought some.
If I do again, I will make it simple, just my name, job and contact information.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

they are still children

fight at school yesterday. we have a policy, get into a fight we arrest you. The parents have to get involved so it solved many problems. Still it bothers me, to see one of my problem students in cuffs with a large county deputy. She's 14 years old and still a child.

I went to a football game a while back. One of our running backs had several problem. Leg cramps which they had to stretch out. Then shoulder injuries which required ice packs on both shoulders. No matter how big and strong they are they are still children.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Washi tape is like mini duct tape.  I started using it to focus on my things...

My students use the washi tape I give them to decorate their notebooks.  I do not mind.  They take pride in their work, can use them to organize and personalize.  The one who used all my tape to cover the front of her notebook bothers me.  "you could have used Duct tape...!"

I have some more I'm taking in to try to get my ...lazy...erhmm. challenging class working.

I also have some bought for my students as christmas presents.

old school

Why I practice writing now.

I have loved looking at people's journals.  I wondered why I could not do it.  Then I realized.  Try.

My handwriting has been bad, but the adult realized, practice, analyze.  Make it better.


I am trying to get my students organized.  This means I have to be more so.

Here are some tools I use.  Many are from David Seah.

A Storyboard for films.  I use this to plan out any videos I make with ShowMe or Educreations.

Book outliner.  I use this when reading non fiction.  It really helped me to enjoy reading more and to make notes.  These I put into my personal journal for reference.

ATP, for Annoying Task Planner.  I have not used it much, but it is fun.  None of this "happy" thing it justs lists reasons for doing things.

Dream Maker.  I think I will lead my students through this.  It is a good planner
Part of doing a job is to make the plan.  Then follow through.

Emergent Task planner.  I realized I should use this for things I do.  Such as how much time I take making AIPs which takes no skill whatsoever.  There is a mini one too I put in my calendar.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

RPg storage

I made the stencil from online and used craft paint with paper towels to make a griffin.  It is a book storage box. I used foam from work, that they donated along with the book/boxes my son gave me.  A kickstarter of gaming stuff inspired me.  this looks better than what photos show.  It has my dice, a journal, pens and minatures along with another slot under the journal.  The BSG journal is the smalled I have.  It took me time, gluing the leather cover, getting the foam in place (it involved a clamp) and lots of setting and covering.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

paracord jig

From Instructable.

I plan on having an afternoon project for my students.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

New map

Our maps have been wrong

Peters projection map

I love this graphic showing relative size of things.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'm slow

Why did I not do this before?

Print the elements, laminate them, use the selection for differen assignments.  Our specilist will be happy to laminate them.  And you can customize them.  I will only print the ones I normally use, not the synthetics.

element cards
I am looking around the web for ideas.  I came up with this for printing on business card stock to give to students.  Lets see what happens.

interesting idea from the web.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

oooh only if we could...

I am having my chemistry students make a slide presentation of a chemical environmental hazard.  Possible subjects are "phossy jaw",  "radium girls", Bhopal India battery factory accident, etc.

I was helping a student get some ideas by suggesting Brownsville, Texas.  A town with a high rate of babies born without brain stems.  Students were asking questions while student was looking up the information.  I opined that the child of the singer Prince had that malady and the hard decision of letting the child die without heroic measures was done.

My beauty pagent, cheerleader, black barbie student was appalled.  "couldn't they do something?  Like a brain transplant."  I understand that she really meant she wanted a place where no children would die.

I have rarely held my tongue so hard....*no darling, if they could you'd be first in line.*

Sunday, November 8, 2015

product review for those with old eyes

I have had to wear glasses since I was in first grade, a short break as my far sighted became nearsighted.  After my cataract surgery last year, there was a price.  I do not have to wear glasses but close up was sacrificed.  I have reading, which I use when I have to, and then when I think about it; and distance for driving.  One doctor says I'm okay the other says no.  Oh well, I bought the glasses and they are in my car and the reading in my carry bag.

But still since I teach science I have to look at small things.  And I want to excite my students

hence this...

Satech LED magnifier.  I bought it through Amazon.  I thought it was smaller, but it definitately does the job.  My husband wants one of his own when he is going through small print, so I have one in the Amazon cart.  I am thinking about putting a paracord knot around the outside.  Look at the difference in the magnification and the ease of seeing.

The LED light turns on when you push down.  push light on.  push light off.  and there is a control to turn it off so it does not turn on in a bag.

If  and when I show this to my students tomorrow, I will have to pry this out of their hands.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

rural town

Student in the morning, "I hit a duck driving to school."

(relax according to student the duck just stumbled away.)

Sunday, November 1, 2015


In spite of my poor handwriting, which I'm trying to fix, I have a fascination with pens.  Normally I use the micron's but the 0.8 size I have to order online.  I found some at an office supply store.  Interesting green color, with mile ergonomics.  I'll see what they do this week.

The fountain pen is a faber which I use in class when I can.  Students are fascinated by it.  Then astounded by the price.


I decided to organize my stuff.  I'm encouraged by the stuff of Adam Savage of Mythbusters on the Tested youtube.  A person must simply get some system.  I looked at several boxes and bought some at the local (2 hours away from my rural town) office supply store)

This is what I started with.  Books, modeling stuff, ink for our fountain pens, glue, shoe polish and pens.  And leave us not forget that you could not walk to the shelf

I bought different sized boxes, without a plan and simply started.
Markers and highlighters on top.  Pens on the second, and pencils below.  They can be seen and easily put back.  The other box has my small drone in it.

It is not perfect.  Many boxes are much too large for the objects.  But it is a start and working on.  I am taking the extra boxes to work, ordered some more and the floor is picked up.
May things are better.  In part this is not everything that is on the shelf.  Other parts were organized.  Many things here were not on the shelf but in other rooms.  After the new boxes come in, I will organize and label things. What is in the box and what shelve that box goes on.

who voted on this?

I got a flyer for Judge elections.  This candidate has been "regularly voted best lawyer," in county.

For environmental science and AP chemistry

This is from the blog We Teach High school.

It took me a long time to find this again.  The problem was although it was for AP, it was AP Biology, not AP Chemistry.

Also this site has a different way to make syllabi.  I may use this idea for my goals sheets for Standards Based Education class instead of a dull spreadsheet type thing

Things I'm adding

I love viewing peoples annotated notes for science, work and planning.

I have had my students keep notebooks with ideas and concepts.  They are beginning to look on this.  So far in my unit on periodic trends, there has not been a graded assignment.  Just notes.

Periodic trends.

A foldable from Bonding with James on periodic trends from his Teachers pay teacher page.  It is well worth it.  The students identify the parts of the periodic trends, then write the characteristics.

The next is a blank periodic table that has the parts labeled along with the ionization, radius, electronegativity trends.

So far so good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


A student was diligently writing in a pack of papers.  I go to look and it is not my work.  She asks that I let her finish.  She generally does her work and is earnest in her plea, so I agree.  I lap around the room later and she is copying from a photo on her cell phone. "Are you copying?"
"No," she explains, " it is my work but I lost it."
"Why don't you just print it?"
"It is on my cell.."
"Does it have wireless? Can't you email it to your school account and print in the library."

"I'm almost done"

Digital natives no.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Breast cancer awareness

Friday was pink out day.  Even Rufus the Lab Rat participated.

things from pinterest

I need to put this above my desk.  Not that I ever sit there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

christmas for my father

My father was a NASA fan.  I remember the days of the Apollo program.  He would watch the cardboard animations for hours.  I stayed up late to watch the Lunar landing.

I remember building one of the gas stations modules.  I think I had two.

My father does not need anything.  Anything he wants he can buy.

But I can give him my time.  I can reprint this, build it and tell him I remember the NASA program with him and how much I remember it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

home visits

My daughter and many of her coteachers did this.  They visiting students' home to encourage them to go to open house.  They think it worked.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rise above

My brother teaches math in another state.  He teaches an AP class.  There was a mistake in ordering the books.  He needs 60 and 40 was given him.  Since it is a large district, there is a person in charge of book orders; instead of mine where I can just talk to people.

One comment he heard was "she's busy."

He has a valid comment.  "who's not?"

Sunday, August 30, 2015


After a full saturday of work in the shed, dinner and quality time with friends.  Hubby is not feeling well this morning.  He is gently resting in his chair.  It lets the pain from kidney stones be better.

I'm grading using the awesomeness of google classroom.  I'm typing grades and comments into their reports.

hubby..."can you type quieter?"

Monday, August 24, 2015

questions they ask

"can we listen to music while we work?"

Sure no problem.  Pachelbel it is.

future businessman

Our school has very popular football.

After all this is the south.

It seems that before I arrived, a student had his flashlight, sign and receipt book.

He was selling parking spots near the game.

The issue was it was the free spots on campus.

He needs to be in my husband's college business class.

Things they always tell me

"I don't have time to study. "  because..."I have a job."

your job is to go to school.

"I work better listening to music."

Go to the counselor, have her give you the test for this.

"are you going to issue books, or can we have a class group."

you have to carry them, I don't have room just because you are lazy.

"are you going to give a lot of homework."

*evil smile*

Saturday, August 15, 2015

school copier

There were some deranged teachers this Saturday setting up the classroom.  And the copier ran out of paper.  Paper is locked in the principal's office.  Somebody, who will remain nameless, had pointed out the issue and had gotten some permission to have extra paper (extras were to be returned)
After ethics training this week, I don't think I can put this in the power point for the first day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chemistry and fiction

As a geek of science fiction, there are certain things that drive me nuts in a sword and sorcery tale.  The new Conan movie.  I loved the ship, it was more Oriental style; but nothing on the ship was secure, one breeze and everything goes.  And he kept putting the sword in the ground, that ruins the edge.

Poisons.  Natural poisons are readily come by; the problem is, getting it in the person.  Now this is old types, not some of the modern ones.  Cyanide is available natually, you can find it in pit fruits.  Arsenic was popular too.   Some from mushrooms.  Getting somebody to eat enough of it without noticing the flavor is the problem.  Supposedly, Claudius died of poison.  Quite of few rulers had been poisoned.

Now, this...*Spoilers* from Game of Thrones.  (not safe for work)

Yea, right, one drop.  How did you make this and how do you control it?  How do you put it on your weapons and not worry about getting it on yourself?  Wait she had the antidote.  There really are not that many, mostly just stay alive until the body deals with it.

Then there was Killjoys on SciFi channel.  Woman gets nicked with a poison dart.  But it slices her arm and goes on to somebody else.  Where upon she tastes it, identifies the poison (okay seems she was raised to be an assassin)  then ties a scarf over the wound.  What?  tie above the wound and let the blood wash it clean.  The way to use poison on weapons is to get into the system, hence the phrase "cloak and dagger."

Friday, June 19, 2015

I am not a bot, I am a free fan

Many people know about the Sad Puppies issues.  If not look up and find your own opinion.  One thing suggested was people mail Tor books with pictures of books from said company.  Here are some of mine, along with Rufus the SafetyLabRat.

Monday, June 1, 2015


School is over.

I have to work on lesson plans.  Our school is totally changing how we do things.

I am picking up my classroom.

There is no training this summer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


As I tell my students

If we are driving on some kind of a trip, and the bus breaks down.

We will not...
Stay at the creepy house.
Nobody's leaving the group.
I will never say, "I'll see what that noise is, you guys stay here."
Nobody's having sex or heavy petting.
Nobody's bathing, swimming or showering.
Nobody's reading aloud any mysterious books.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

From MathCurmudgeon,

He talks about teacher and students use of technology.  I have had colleagues who have no clue about technology.  I recently helped a colleague get her printer up,..."your printer is not installed."

"yes it is, it's right here."  *bang head*
"I mean your computer doesn't know the printer exists.  You have to install the printer on your computer."  I showed her basic installation and how to use the troubleshoot program.

I have known teachers who do not use the electronic grader, use a traditional gradebook and have the student put the grades in.  Did not use email, had a student do it.  In the real world if you do not use required tech, you would be fired.

I did a quick scan of teacher classes.  There is no computer use program.  My school is fairly tech savvy.  Many of my colleagues use web pages, google classroom.  We email regularly.  I told my husband that I am loosing my "leet" status simply because my colleagues are doing so much more.

Yes, I said it. The students are not "digital natives" endowed with magical tech-fu. They are mostly clueless about useful tech of all kinds. They're great at plugging in the computer and playing a video game, or installing Candy crush on their phones and mindlessly playing for hours, but that's not tech literate.  Sure, there are some who know more than I do, but not very many, and I'm not setting a particularly high bar.

 I will agree with that.  Our principal is a big "digital native" quoter.  I have come to the realization that they are simply used to some of the tools.  I watch them struggle to log in, if there is any variation they are stuck.  I cannot convince them that they do not have to put "http" in every time.  One student argued with the ipad that did not have her logged into her google account. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

like chicken

As is my habit, I showed my Environmental Science class Soylent Green.  It can open up discussion on class system, poverty, wealth, population.  Once a student challenged me on the blurb about how many people lived in New York and we did a geometric progression.

At the reveal scene, students flinched, as normal; cries of "That's so wrong."

I had to stop the film for it to settle in.  Once student, horrified of it. "What does it taste like?"  I died laughing.

(okay his real question was "didn't people notice that it tasted like meat?")

Friday, April 17, 2015

digital natives

Digital natives,....bang head on natives....bang

"Ms W?  can I go to the other know the other one,"  gestures in direction of admin office.  "So I can get my password."

"Mrs Book?"  I respond.  Our awesome media specialist/librarian who is the keeper of all the computer passwords.

"no, I need my locker password."

"what?  your combination?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

we cooked Coke

The AP Students distilled Cherry Coke.  For once I was able to tell the principal that there was a good smell coming from class, as the ester of the Cherry flavor drifted through the

The students and I did this the first time.  It has been a long time since I distilled anything.  There are many good lab instructions on how to do this.  We just appealed to internet age and said "make your set up look like this." 

This is after we finished and the thick syrup is in the distillation flask.  The extra beaker were catching the water from the condensor as it had a small leak.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

actors should stay out of politics

Gwyneth Paltrow is raising awareness about food stamps.

One thing is the picture.  Go ahead. 

Now look at the blurb.  "families"

She is mistaken.  That amount of money is for one person.  Say there is a family of five; as we were on food stamps, that is  150 dollars per week.  Funny, before my kids moved away, we spent about 250 dollars a month in the general buy.  Milk, eggs and bread were bought later as needed. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

the future

At our school many of the ninth graders failed English, Math and CBA (computer business applications).  We came up with several options for the parents.  The best line was our principal with the parents who told them "you need to stop making excuses for your lazy children."  One option was to drop an elective this semester and "double block" that is, in the spring the student takes 2nd semester course and the first semester in two different periods.  Teachers were shifted and help was called for.
Our literacy coordinator was tasked with teaching first semester.  The other day she interviewed for the principal's job at the middle school.  She had made arrangements for a secretary to cover the class, but the secretary forgot, and nobody else knew the plans.  Another english teacher was asking the librarian if the students could wait in the library, she did not want them in the classroom by themselves.  I was there, heard the conversation and "This is my conference, I can cover them."
We walk in and chivy the students in.  English teacher starts "Mrs. W will be watching you.  What were you doing yesterday?"
Students, "nothing."  (remember they are repeating the class, consider the types of students they are )

Me, "no problem, get out a blank piece of paper."  Realization, she's going to make us work.

"We were reading a novel."  And they did and settled down to it.

When I talked to the coordinator later, "yea, no problem, I just scared the hell out of them."

Her comment, "good, they need it."

Friday, March 27, 2015

range time

First time I was at the range since my eye surgery.

I could not get my rifle scope to zero.  Part of the problem without my reading glasses I had trouble seeing to make adjustments on the scope.  Eventually I ran out of rounds. I will go back later after practicing unloaded with the scope.  And then make sure I have my reading glasses.  That and have a target with multiple sites so after a time I can shift instead of "did I just do that or was that the old one?"

I felt good though.  I shot over a hundred rounds so I'm more comfortable with the rifle.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

geek on

I went to a science fiction convention while visiting my father.  I would not spend as much time as a might, family obligations.  But also I did not want to veg in his room while he took his afternoon nap or his morning nap.

So I am finally finishing up my projects.

Costuming is cool, but since I am large and middle aged, there are few things I will not wear. 

I do have a Star Wars Rebel Trooper costume.  (anybody asks, I'm a cook)

The obligatory Jedi outfit.

I am now finishing up my Battlestar Galactica costume.  The shirt is done and the pants need to be cuffed.  A few more easily purchased items, belt, tshirt boots and it is done.

Monday, January 19, 2015

book of the day Star Wars tarkin

When I first saw Star Wars years ago, I always felt that Tarkin played by Peter Cushing, was a better villain than Vader.  "You're far too trusting."

So I am reading Tarkin.  There is a challenge in showing tactical expertise in a technology that does not exist.  The author does that.  But the problem is I don't care about anybody.  Not even the good guys. None of the characters have any emotions.

this is going in the rid of box.