August 21, 2019

10 Classroom Management Strategies to Promote Full-Class Participation

Keeping all your kiddos on point is no small feat.  Wandering minds and fidgety bodies can interfere with even the best laid instructional plans. [Read more...]

Greener Living with Environmental Education

With oil spill issues in the news hourly due to the Gulf Coast oil spill it’s a great time to strengthen your children’s and students awareness of  how disasters such as the oil spill happen and how to protect the oceans and our planet from an overflow of contamination and pollution. [Read more...]

Survival Science Unit Part 2


This is part two in a series Survival Science

Day 7  Students choose a partner to work with on a Survivor experience.  Students discuss and compare their survival lists and combine lists and create a final list of fifty items that they will take to the island. They may choose six luxury items for this list, three for each student.

Day 8  Discuss survival items students could make while on the island using basic items found on the island combined with selected items from their list, such as  string, net, wire, or duct tape .  Each student is then instructed to create an invention item. They are instructed to complete the project in one week and required to demonstrate it’s purpose in class. Students are to include a list of items used to determine that each item was actually on the final list.

Day 9-10 Class time on projects. (Another three school days were given to complete the project at home as homework.)

Upon completion of projects students demonstrate them in front of the class. I also recommend allowing time for other students to view them and explore how they work after the presentations. We then displayed them in a  display case in the school lobby. Students included a description of each item and what it would be used for.

I’ve discovered options to expand the unit. Reality shows like Survivor certainly have expanded older students knowledge of survival in extreme conditions so in appropriate grade level settings such as high school an episode (that has been pre-viewed) could be used to discuss  shelter building, protecting food from the elements, fire starting with flint and fishing techniques. Another resource would be Boy Scouts. These students would be an additional resource for the unit as they often learn survival and camping skills.

Students could make videos of the building process as they create their survival item. Here you can read about other Lesson Machine Teaching in the Trenches tips including video projects and web projects to use for special school events as well as other helpful advice.

Students could pack and prepare a backpack with their listed items (provided their family owns these items already.) If they don’t then you could bring in the items as a class and have the students pack them in class to see just how such a task would be completed and the skill necessary to make such a pack hold what you need while being light enough to handle.

Photo Credit Edyta Materka

More Teacher Discounts

Saving Teachers Money

South Florida Museum is also offering teachers free admission to the Museum, Planetarium and Aquarium with ID.

Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center offers discounted tickets to county employees from all counties. Two tickets to select shows.

Mote Aquarium offers teachers one free admission with a pay stub.

The Limited offers 20% discounts  on all purchases to teachers with ID.

Jo Anne Fabrics offers an annual discount card, show your teacher ID to receive one and you will receive a one time discount of 20% and the annual discount card which gives you 15% off the rest of the time.

Sonnys BBQ offers a $5.00 off coupon on orders of $25 dollars when you join their online club.

*These are Teacher Deals I discovered through Florida Department of Education’s Just For Teachers as well as through online searches. Check with your School District website for special deals in your area.  Have a great summer!

Other Freebie Resources


Mouse Savers (This one shows deals for Free Passes to Sea World for Teachers with a valid Florida Teaching certificate and a full time teaching job.)

Free Busch Gardens Pre School Passes.These are children’s passes which are  part of a promotion for Sesame Street Safari of Fun. The passes are good for any children 5 and under until Dec 31, 2010. Children must be five or under when you register.

Photo Credit: Tony Crider

Edible Schoolyard: A Book Review

This review is for the title Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, by Alice Waters. [Read more...]

Science Survivor Style for the Classroom

Cast Away

This is part one of a two part series on Science Survivor Style

As a teacher it’s important to find projects and units of study that keep students interested and motivated. One unit of study I used with Science students in sixth grade was a Survivor Unit. This unit can easily be adapted to upper level students.

Day 1-3. I began the unit by showing the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks. We then had class discussions about the experiences and situations that Tom Hanks character faced.

Day 4 I assigned the students to make a list of 1oo items that they would want to take with them to an uninhabited island. I instructed them to think carefully about what they would need to survive and thrive in such a difficult environment. I allowed them to talk in groups of four about their ideas for fifteen minutes before making their list. I also suggested to them that they should include at least a few luxury items such as as sport gear, books, a journal, a camera etc. It would be their choice which  luxury items were included, but they were limited to ten.

Day 5 We discussed and shared our lists ( I made one as well.) We noted items that we felt were essential and we discussed how people have different ideas about what might be essential and why.

Day 6  Narrow the  list to the top 30 items that will go to the island with you. The luxury items are now narrowed to three. ( I chose one tenth of the list.)  Finish with a class discussion about what makes the final list and why.

Science is a subject where scientific information and resources are always expanding and changing. One great option to expand your science content and knowledge is to use these online Science  News Services.

See part two of the series for the remaining unit and project plans.

Photo Credit Shayan USA Flickr

Grants, Grant Writers and Finding Funding


Finding funding for educational projects and professional projects can be challenging so these two websites and the resources within them should give educators interested in finding grants something to cheer about.  The first website for those wanting to find a grant is Grants Alert.  I actually found this one through the Florida Department of Education. This one is a great resource for finding grants; as well as finding grant writers through their directory or just educating yourself about how to find grants. This website has a help section, which contains useful articles including, ”Tips and Ways to Raise Funds, ” “Developing Successful Corporate Partnerships,” and a very useful article called “Two Most Important Words.” They are all worth a read and will further your knowledge about grants and grant writing.

The second website, offers a way to search for grants by category or agency or by more specific information such as funding type or eligibility. It also has very useful tools including, tracking your grant application and applicant resources. The site also links to the 26 federal grant making agencies through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Both of these websites should be instrumental in assisting people in finding grants, the grant application process and where to apply for grants. They each offer readers useful information that is well presented.

Photo Credit Allio

Environmental Education, Recycling and Trash Pickup

The Importance of Recycling

As concerns mount regarding the state of our gulf coast and the oil spill, it’s a perfect opportunity to increase our children’s environmental awareness and educate them further about  the ways our planet is being damaged. There are many great programs for recycling but there are many people who don’t participate.  A great student project to demonstrate the importance of recycling is to have the students collect various types of trash from the classroom and home and dig a classroom landfill in a school approved area. If your school doesn’t have an area where you can dig there’s another excellent options in this article to achieve similar educational awareness about trash and recycling.

Project 1 Take student collected trash (food trash, plastic trash, paper trash.) It works best to include all types of trash for this project.

Phase One: As a class dig the landfill hole and place your trash items in the landfill. Have students map the landfill area, so that you know where each type of trash is located, for the second phase of this project. Take photos of the trash items before covering your landfill with soil. Cover the landfill area and then have a classroom discussion about how long the trash items will take to decompose in the landfill. Discuss recycling options in your individual area. Field trip option; visit a local landfill in your area for students to see the reality of what our garbage actually does to the planet.

This is part one of a two part series on Recycling and Trash.

Recycling Photo Credit By: Bucklava

Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Cultural and Musical Diversity

Living and working overseas taught me the importance and joy of celebrating the cultural diversity of my students. Celebrating cultural events raises awareness among students and staff. Exploring the varied ethnic cultural diversity of students through cultural celebrations gives children a taste of ethnic customs,  food, dance, language and dress. It’s an  exciting way to involve everyone in a no pressure environment where learning  takes place naturally.

In Germany I included local celebrations in my plans.  Students enjoy sharing little gifts on December 6th, which is the European St. Nicholas Day. In German custom bad children receive a lump of coal and good children receive small gifts. Another special celebration that all small school children in Germany celebrate is the receiving of  their  Schultute , a giant cone filled with sweets and treats to take away the bitterness of school starting. Directions to make your own Schultute.

When I taught on the island of Guam we celebrated United Nations Day with  a day long celebration of costumes from cultures around the world and  a musical program where students and staff shared songs and instruments around the world. Through our experiences we learned about new foods, ways of life and activities that raised awareness of cultures different than our own. In each of these very different cultures teachers brought the culture of our “second home” to life through customs and experiences that drew children closer to each other, while teaching them more about their second home culture.

Photo Credit Secret Tenerife’s

Teaching Tools for Floating Educators

Are you an instructor with no space of your own? Stuck floating from room to room, finding an available corner to offer your support services from? If you’re finding it difficult to function on the fly, here are several teaching tools to get you on the right professional track. [Read more...]