* Three Things Thursday

Three things Thursday.png

Many thanks to Nerd in the Brain for her inspiration to stop and enjoy the week that has flown by!

First, although I never got as far as entering Hugh’s photo challenge “After,” I did take a picture of our family room AFTER I finished my lesson plans.  It still looks about the same, days later.  Or perhaps worse.  I love the creative part of planning but the cleaning up?  Bleh!


Second, a student and I continue to struggle valiantly with the art of bonsai.  The unlucky Lucky Bamboo (on the right) has been transplanted multiple times, barely clinging to life.  The other raggedy bonsai is being overtaken by some kind of succulent.  At least we have pretty blossoms!

bonsai 4

Finally, my dearest widower brought me a package of pralines from New Orleans.  Although I was sad that he immediately left on another trip,  I was kinda thrilled to have those pralines all to myself.   I have no photo because I promptly ate the lot!  Yum!  You cannot eat too many pralines, BTW.

* The Power of Clothing — Staycation Atlanta

I could learn a trick or two from these fashionable critters.  Adorable and hilarious!

Never underestimate the power of clothing…

via The Power of Clothing — Staycation Atlanta

* The “Nedinator” special anniversary edition no one asked for — Ned’s Blog

You gotta love this guy!

A year ago today, hundreds of people tragically lost their eyesight as a result seeing me in a red thong for my role in “The Nedinator,” a 6-minute movie spoof that premiered in our local theater the same night as “The Terminator: Genysis.” The movie was heralded by critics as “Ned’s best 6-minute performance.” And my wife agrees. For anyone who started […]

via The “Nedinator” special anniversary edition no one asked for — Ned’s Blog

* Raisins that don’t dance?

In a recent post, I mentioned the value of teaching magic tricks to kids for both social credit and to improve task engagement.  Science experiments play a similar role, especially for students for whom science reigns in their narrow range of interests.  So what to do when experiments flop?  Take advantage of the learning moment.  Teach words like “replicate” and “hypotheses.”   And if your raisins do not “dance” in carbonated water, as they were supposed to, at least they look like cool underwater creatures!


* Room Recess: Playing and learning

Room recess

Wow.  I just discovered Room Recess!  What a gem of a site!  Room Recess is the brainchild of a single teacher who creates an amazing array of reading, math, spelling, and “computer lab” games.  It’s FREE and tremendously engaging.  Most importantly, the skill practice is high quality.  I have never seen so many excellent games on main idea, cause and effect, and inferences.  Those are always difficult skills to find online and Recess Room provides a treasure trove of excellent practice.   Other unique literacy skills include practice on prefixes, parts of speech, and vowel sounds.

If your students enjoy video and computer games, they will dive into this site with glee.  In fact, kids may not realize they are working!  The site is divided into academic categories, with specific skills listed by topic and/or grade level.  Room Recess games are typically timed or leveled, with some opportunities to regain lives.  The daily high scores are listed, along with first through fifth place winners.  Even for kids who cringe at timed activities, there are plenty of games that require more strategy than speed.  Again, I can’t say enough about the variety and quality of this resource.  The creator also encourages educators to suggest topics for games.

Can you believe this site is AD-FREE???


* WQWWC Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – #cat Happiness — Two on a Rant

CATPPINESS Happiness is like a cat sleeping on your lap. You can’t force it to come to you and you can’t force it to stay with you.” -Pierre Foglia Greetings unworthy humans. My name is Coon Cat. The useless bag of fur next to me is Other Brother Coon […]

via #WQWWC Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – #cat Happiness — Two on a Rant

* Answer Garden


Looking for a clever FREE way to poll your class?  Want to generate student ideas for your next unit of study?  Curious about how many students “got it” in your last lesson?  Want an exit “ticket?”  For these responses and much more, AnswerGarden is a clever tool for educators.  If you’ve used Wordle and Padlet, you’ll find that AnswerGarden combines their features (and your responses can be imported into Wordle).  Never heard of either?   That’s OK.   I’m here to answer all your questions.

Go to the AnswerGarden site and check out their tools and video tutorials.  Then click on Create An AnswerGarden.  (That’s a plus sign on most of the pages).  Then type your question and decide how you want the site to function.  I have created a question for my blog: What should I blog about?  Click on that question (PLEEEZE!) and you will be taken to my AnswerGarden page.  AnswerGarden creates a unique page anonymously for every user.  No registration or fees.  Just ask a question!  I have limited answers to 20 characters. A spam filter is on to keep bad words out.  You reply anonymously.  No registering.  Repeated answers will start to grow in size.  The more frequently the same response is given, the larger and more centrally located it will become.  I can hover over each response to see the number of times it was given.  But I can’t see WHO typed it.  I have set my AnswerGarden to remain open for a week.  After that, poof!  I can make it disappear anytime I want, too.  Here’s what I have so far (thanks to my anonymous helpers).

answer garden capture


An optional geo feature uses your IP address to make your AnswerGarden easily discoverable by nearby participants, which may be more valuable for conference participants and businesses than classrooms.  An ad-free iPad app is available in July for $1.99 (and their regular app is available for free).   There are Apple educator discounts for 20+ purchases of apps.

Some stats about AnswerGarden: Over 8 million answers were generated last year.  The website has 2.3 million page views per month, and growing.  It’s used worldwide, with the top 3 countries being the US, Netherlands, and Australia.

Once again, here’s my question:  What should I blog about?