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Great Video

Share, educators! I’m in love with this video I saw on DanceEducator via Free Sprit Publishing (whom I’m obsessed with)! It focuses on the positive, and really speaks in a clear voice that is empowering without encouraging aggressive retaliation or internalized angry motivation. Bravo!

A Trophy for Everyone

I read a great blog post on challenging students. I really believe that our notion of placement in middle and high school seems to have progressively become skewed towards the easy. I say often in P/T Conferences that when a student struggles, pushes themselves, and grasps the concept in a developmentally appropriate way, they are placed in the right class. Straight A’s are not necessary, or always appropriate.

Information like that is often met with silent blinking. And sometimes crickets (once, an actual cricket that mocked me in my office for a week like some sort of investigative torture to break me).

Students so quickly ask to be dropped down in classes, and it makes me wonder: at what point did challenging students become a bad thing? I had always figured that true learning is occurring when there is some struggle. If a placement is easy for a student, perhaps they are placed below what they are capable of learning. Is this a result of standardized tests and pass-rate chasing, or the outlook that “everyone should get a trophy” so that failure does not deplete confidence?

Wow, I am getting deep so quickly after the big return.

For the record, my own 7th grader last year struggled in Algebra, and told me often how difficult the teacher/material/homework/class work/pencil sharpening/paper organization/and overall existing in that classroom was. She talked pretty confidently about dropping that year, or retaking it the next. All year. Everyday. Well, that was dramatic, it was every other day because their schedule alternated. Anywho, her Algebra’s year-end test ended up being her highest. Bam. Turns out the teacher was, well, teaching.

The Summer Has Passed

So…I was posting, and the state testing came, and then end of the year madness, and summer passed, and now…can I come back?

Writing Project! Whoop!

I’ve got another little freebie to add on here, this time, I’m posting a little project I’m going to try out in small groups.  It’s for my girls, in celebration of Women’s History Month. Go chicks!  Basically, I’d like for them to sign up, come in small groups and fill out the worksheet after a brief conversation about the Women’s Movement.   Should that be capitalized? Not sure, and I’m OK with that (you know the saying, “those who teach, should know things like that.”).  SO, below you will find a copy of the pass and the worksheet.  I am attaching this great timeline to the pass as well for some inspiration (I mean, I know they probably won’t read it, but a girl can dream). My goal is to make a book that can be given to the school, or kept in the Guidance office.  Anywho, enjoy! And let me know if you have any ideas!

I love the look of the pass, and will probably alter it for the book’s cover.  The picture is from Edutopia’s amazing page on Women’s History Month, where I initially got my inspiration to do something.  The lovely tag on both the pass and the worksheet were snipped from the always amazing Kind Over Matter. You can get the PDF by clicking the picture, or here and here.

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worksheet

Patchwork Therapy

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An impromptu long snow weekend led to lots of crafty therapy.  I finished a quilt that had been in -ahem- progress for about a year now.  After some serious consideration (not really, it was more like productive procrastination), I decided to use this method that I saw some time ago on Whip Up.   It saved so much time!  Basically, I had all layers together (sandwiched right side down, batting, right side up), and then quilted everything together as I attached each line.  To take out a step in the quilty process (having to construct the top and then quilting the layers together) worked perfectly, especially since it will be an everyday couch quilt.  Here are some  in-progress pictures:

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Everything is quilted together- starting at the top, I laid out the bottom (RSD) with batting on top (using a few safety pins here and there).  I put the first line down RSU, and the next line RSD on top of it.  The I sewed all layers together.  Next, I folded over the top strip RSU, and laid the next strip on top of it RSD.  Going over and over until… voila!  Then I edged and was all done.  Sadly, all of the ups and downs on the floor to lay it out has me totally sore today.  The hazards of quilting are real people.

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I also finally finished a square by hand from the amazing Wombat Quilts.  I cannot put the fabrics together quite as well she does, but with her pattern it’s hard to mess it up!  Now, I am far too lazy to make an entire quilt, but I think it will be a lovely small something-or-another.  I just need to add an edge and back and I’ll be donezo.

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More for Career

So, as I said earlier, I have been working on a small career lesson for my 8th graders.  I found some awesome videos to use, and I was stumped trying to avoid yet another assessment to tell the babies what they must be when they grow up.  Those things still make me nervous when I take them recreationally, and I am actually in my meant-for-me profession; I can’t imagine how it must make them feel.  Granted, if presented correctly (which I think I’m still working on), I understand kids can get the point that career assessments are meant to simply explore the broader idea of what they might like.  But in the age of so many serious tests and exams, I can’t imagine they would be able to relax enough to not feel like they would be banished from all educational rights if they answer incorrectly.    Luckily, I found this really cool diagram from Willo O’brien (which turns out is actually a pretty inspirational and cool bog too):

sweet-spot-ven-diagram-willotoons1

I’ve seen this before, but I thought this version was especially appealing.  I remade it by middle-school-izing the verbiage and adding blanks so that they could fill in the information.  You can get the PDF of the Career diagram by clicking the jpeg below, or you can snip the image to re-size if you’d like!

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Now I just have to cross all of my fingers and toes that I can get the point across to a classroom of pre-teens before the 8th grade minds start to joke about my using the words “sweet spot.”  I’ll have to work fast.

Weekend Therapy

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This weekend, my therapy was totally retail-related.  But by way of magazines…the best kind.  I have long been a fan of Euro-import crafty mags, but this weekend it was brought to a whole new level when I brilliantly thought to myself, “Self, what the hey?  I wonder if there are any super-cool quilting magazines.  Could it be?…this one looks…yes…it is larger than the other magazines…yes…QUILTY GOODNESS EURO-STYLE??!!?!”  I apologize if the picture is, in fact, as fuzzy as it looks to me, but my excitement is clearly difficult to contain.  I went with Patchwork and Quilting and Popular Quilting (I’m not really sure how I missed Popular Patchwork, except for that I must find it).  I cannot be happier with these magazines, and just feel like there is something about the Euro mags that are more current, and way mare tutorial-ish.  I have even already found a new awesome sewy blog at Diary of  a Quilter from Popular Quilting- PLEASE check it out if you haven’t seen it yet…I would say it is imperative.  It’s pretty and helpful and inspiring.

I am sure that it is noticeable that I keep posting about  sewing blogs and magazines and haven’t posted any projects.  That’s because it is very time consuming to collect all of the “data” which means I’m not actually doing anything.  I’m ok with it though, it’s part of my process (and “productivity” is relative).  On the work-front, I have been stalking Kate’s Science Classroom though, who seems to take her class beyond typical Science lessons, and integrates some really great concepts for personal growth.  I admire her going above and beyond subject matter for her students, and find there are some great ideas here that can easily fit into the Counselor’s office as well!

One last note:  While perusing the crafty book section at my local book store, I couldn’t help but notice this precariously placed self-help book.  Regardless of the fact that I mix therapy and crafties right on this here blog thang, I had to refrain myself from leaving a note that says, “Crafting is in again!  Just because I’m crafting on a Saturday night doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem!  I choose this life! I have friends (friend) and everything!”

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