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We have been discussing ENERGY in our class, and how it is made, and transformed, and where it comes from.  It isn’t matter, like everything else in the universe.  It’s energy.  We can’t hold it or touch it, but we can feel it’s power in everything we do.

There are many types of energy – magnetic energy, electrical energy, kinetic energy, caloric energy to power our bodies, solar energy, heat…pretty much all the forces that make our world go around.

The energy we use to power our bodies each day – calories – is a great one to talk with kids about because it directly relates to their lives.  They can feel and see the energy they take in and use every day.  They know what a hot dog is a lot more than an electric turbine.  So it’s energy in their own terms.

Talking about it really brings home for them the differences in the foods they eat.  Of course, it doesn’t usually CHANGE their eating patterns – no matter how much I tell them that sugar is a dirty energy that doesn’t fuel their bodies right, they still want as much candy as possible.  But at least they’re thinking about it and learning about it, and one day maybe the change will come.

But for now, it’s enough to let them know that, “Hey!  When you throw that paper airplane across the room, did you know you’re using muscle energy that is fueled by food energy you consume?  Isn’t that awesome!  Now go pick up the plane and throw it away.  Using energy.”


Keep Me Busy

I love the years/ages when kids are excited to go to school.  The younger ones get up every day pumped to get to school.  They can’t wait for the bus.  Can’t wait to get there.  It’s not WORK for them.  It’s exciting.  They get to do things and learn things.  Kids understand on a subconscious level that it’s better to be active and have things to do, than to not.  If they had to stay home all day, what would they do?

These days, I tend to never have a second to sit down and do nothing.  But I should count my blessings!  I’ve got things to do!

Many times I have bemoaned the fact that I’m so busy.  I think – “I’d be so much happier if I had a lazy day to do just nothing.  I’ll lay around all day.”  But if I think back on some days in the past where I actually DID do nothing all day, I think I felt even lousier at the end of those days than any other.  I wasn’t satisfied.  I just felt kind of numb.  I don’t want to be numb.

I want to be energized with life and challenges.  I think I know how the kids feel.  I WANT to go to school today.  If I’m not teaching, or learning, or challenging myself or others I’m just going to be numb.  And that’s no FUN!

Education is important

We NEED school.  With all the opinions and research out there, one thing doesn’t seem to be in doubt – education is important.  Some students receive home school education from their parents, and I respect that.  Some receive education from private schools and charter schools, but most of our population is educated in the public funded school system.  And it’s a fact – our kids need education, in some form or another.  I believe in the public school system because I believe that kids benefit greatly from the trained individuals that can give them the best education they can get.  I know I am much better equipped to teach my kids about the range of a set of data, or superlative adjectives, when I myself have been educated and trained and have experience teaching it.  It just makes sense.

Free public education is what we have.  That’s an awesome, powerful tool.  Our country, and democracy, relies on our citizens being uniformly educated.  Every kid is a future voter, and  our voters need to be knowledgeable to keep our country strong!

When I talk to my kids about what I do, I like to jokingly say that I fight evil.  In our society, ignorance leads to violence, crime, and hate.  By educating the future adults of our world, I’m helping keep them on the right track.  In addition, I’m educating the people who will become our future doctors, lawyers, police officers, road workers, and soldiers.  I’m educating the people who will help us and keep us safe.

Be thankful we have free education for all.  It’s a small price we pay for an educated country.  Not everyone  in the world has that luxury.  We need our schools.  No question.  Education fights evil!

Creative use of toys in children’s physical therapy!

Starfish Therapies

The stomp rocket is one of my favorite toys to use in therapy.  Initially we started using it to encourage standing on one leg, but over the years we have come up with a plethora of ways to create therapy uses for it!  Some of them are listed below:

Single Leg Stance – In order to step on the stomp rocket the kiddo will ideally have to pick up one of their feet while the other one stays on the ground.  Because they have to pick it up higher than they would for taking a step during walking, they leave their foot in the air for a little longer, also allowing them to get a better stomp!  Once our kids master the ‘stomp’ part we will have them hold it for a count of (pick a time) so that they have to start balancing on one foot.

Weight Shifting –…

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Valentines Day


Sometimes it seems our year is defined by the mile markers along the way.  Usually those are the special occasions, like parent teacher conferences, the winter music program, and the holidays.  You can tell what day of the year it is usually just from checking out the bulletin boards.

Of course, for a teacher or parent, each holiday seems to bring the inevitable – candy and sweets.  It’s almost as if the kids have decided that every holiday HAS to have candy associated with it to be at all special. 

“Oh yes!  Easter is coming up!” they’ll say.  I’ll reply – “Yes!  In Spring there is Easter, and often people go on easter egg hunts.” “To get CANDY!” the kids interject, always emphasizing the word candy like it’s a pirates treasure.

Of course, this Valentines was no different.  The kids all brought valentines for the class, most of them with some candy attached.  In addition to that, there were cupcakes brought, and brownies and cookies – I don’t think any of the kids finished everything they were given.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think holidays and rituals and “special days” where you get things you don’t always get are important.  They’re the types of things kids remember even as adults.  I just think we need to make sure they are memorable, by making them special.  And we make them special by making it not so frequent.  Don’t include a candy with every lunch each day.  Don’t keep eating on the Halloween candy until Christmas.

And let’s all stop sending candy on St. Patricks day.  I think that just goes too far. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day!


Berenstain Bears lesson added to the instant plans!  Get it while hot!

Boys are awesome (girls are too)


If you are a teacher, educator or parent, you know there is a big difference between boys and girls (beyond the obvious grass stains).  You know that boys deal with problems, handle stresses, deal with boredom, deal with friendships, deal with authority all differently.

I want to be up front about the fact that I enjoy teaching girls in my class – that’s obvious.  Most teachers will tell you that the girls in their class are fairly well behaved (elementary grades).  They sit still, do their work, and their handwriting is so nice!

I’ll contend that school is a place where a girl (for the most part – there’s always exceptions to the general rule) will do well.  The sit and be nice model works for the way a girl handles life (Brain Rules – Medina).

Boys don’t sit still as well.  They are wild and crazy.  They have too much energy.  They want to hit a problem with their actual head, rather than try and solve it with their mind.

But boys are awesome too.  They are fearless and boundless.  They don’t have the problems socially with cliques so early on like girls sometimes do.  And they are enthusiastic when they are interested.  So INTEREST THEM.

Do something to engage the boys in your class.  Do something messy.  You’ll both thank me for it (and you won’t have to wrangle Johnny into his seat for the thousandth time that day).

Entry Level Positioning

Technology integration – very cool! I love Grover and Monster at the end of the book almost as much as new technology!

Engagement is the key


We have the curriculum.  We have the great teachers.  We even have technology and district support.  But if the kids aren’t listening, there’s no point to the whole thing.  If the kids aren’t paying attention…if the kids just don’t CARE – there’s nothing in the world that can change it.

We need to get them engaged – engaged in the work.  Interested in the work.  They need to WANTto do it.   Without engagement, we’re knocking on a locked door.  Engagement is the key into their heads.

So, how do we engage?  There’s the old teaching tricks which still work well – use a “hook” to get them interested, discuss the stuff they are interested in (if I have to do one more problem solving problem having to do with candy or football, I swear…), use their names in the examples…those are all great and useful.  But we need to kick it up a notch with today’s learners.

1- It’s got to be relevant.  They aren’t stupid – if they know it’s something that really doesn’t MATTER, then it’s not going to matter how much you make it about pokemon cards.  They wont’ care, because it isn’t important.  You need to prove to them that it’s something they need, and can use in the future, and is RELEVANT to their lives.

2 – It’s got to be fun.  It won’t always be so simple, and nothing can be fun for everyone all the time, but it’s got to have an element of fun.  Let’s be honest – we like things to be fun too.  That’s really what FUN means.  And don’t you like teaching when it’s fun for YOU too?

3- Use technology.  Not embracing the current technologies – phones, pads, projectors, the internet…is only going to stifle a student’s growth.  The more they can control those technologies, the more they’ll be in a position to control the earth in the future.  They are the ones who’re going to be in charge of your life in 60 years – let’s make sure THEY understand how to program the VCR. 🙂 – besides, it will ENGAGE them (and it makes the work all the more relevant at the same time).  Don’t be afraid.  Use their smartphones.

4- Target instruction.  This is the toughest one in my opinion, because it takes a lot of juggling.  But if you can get the right learning targets to the right students, they are going to be motivated to be successful.  You lose half your audience when you’re targeting the instruction too high or too low.  It’s tough to do, but it’s worth it (and it IS possible – I have to give the same lesson to 1st graders, 2nd graders, 3rd and 4th graders at the same time.  It’s hard, but doable.  Trust me).


@MisterEdie on twitter – follow me! for more info!

Ha! Good post – great ideas about how to deal with the tech in your life.

Inspiration Files

These days, nerds are everywhere. Twitter profiles proclaiming oneself as a nerd abound. Ironic nerd eyeglasses have been popularized by celebrities and adopted by the masses. There’s even a nerd dating website, and I swear at least one of your colleagues is on it. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Nerd candy made a comeback. Blue tongues for everyone!

No longer confined to dusty basement computer labs and all-night LAN parties, one would imagine that the great 21st century nerd outage would result in all of us getting a little smarter when it comes to all things techy. Right? Wrong. Here are 10 things I’ve learned from having my very own live-in nerd. These may sound basic, but they’ve eliminated 90% of my tech problems over the past seven years.

  1. When there’s an update, do it. It sounds silly, but I used to think that those little updates…

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