I learn so much from my grandchildren. They teach me how to enjoy the moment. They teach me to be still and absorb sights and sounds that I have taken for granted. I have learned to see nature through their eyes. It fills me with optimism and hope that the new generation will not take for granted the splendor that is all around them. My grandson is fortunate to live close to a nature preserve that he and his dad walk to often. On this particular day he was very still and watched as a deer crossed his path. He noticed everything about the deer, but knew to be very quiet and very still. He just stood there and looked on with awe at this beautiful animal. Such restraint from a two year old! I would have scrambled for my phone if I had been there. Obviously my son did just that. Not my grandson. That moment is in his memory bank.
Children learn through experiences. New information is stored in longterm memory when it is connected to multi-sensory experiences. These walks to nature are such good learning opportunities. Perhaps next time I will join them and leave my phone in the car.
I spent eight days in the hospital with covid and pneumonia. Despite being fully vaccinated, my age and being vulnerable with a pre-existing condition contributed to covid finding me. I found myself unable to breathe and completely exhausted. A trip to the emergency room resulted in my admission to an isolation room for covid patients. I was joined by two women, one who moaned, “Help me, help me” continuously. The woman next to her tried to soothe her without success. Nurses came and went, but once they left, she would call out the names of what I assumed were family members. She was transferred to “another level of care.” That left me and the woman across from me who got to go home. You don’t know loneliness until you are by yourself in an isolation room. The staff that entered looked like beekeepers or those sci-fi people who are examining an extraterrestrial creature.
I was told that I needed to be flat on my stomach at least three times a day to help my lungs. I did as I was told. When the nurse left, I fell asleep. My arms were pinned down and the canula that supplied oxygen had somehow moved while I slept. I was breathless and began to panic. I reached for the nurse call button that I was told would be right near my hand, but I could not reach it. I struggled to breathe as my fear grew. I tried to locate the call button, unable to turn over or pull my arms up. I was the most helpless I have ever been and cried out just like the woman who moaned so much. Frantically I felt around near my hands and found the call button at last. I pushed and pushed to no avail. I cried and asked God to please let me live. I kept pushing areas of the nurse call button and realized as I fumbled with it that it was upside down. I flipped it over and pushed the whole thing until I heard a nurse respond. I cried out, “I can’t breathe. Help me.” The nurse arrived and helped turn me over. She put the canula in and the life-sustaining oxygen flowed. I cried, this time tears of gratitude.
I am grateful to the nurses who cared for me. One nurse noticed that my hair was a tangled mess that looked like birds were nesting in various spots. She brought a can of shaving cream and told me that after many years she discovered that it helps remove tangles. She sat and brushed the knots out of my hair. She then braided my long hair. The last person who did that was my great-grandmother.
Another nurse brought me chocolate ice cream and I don’t think ice cream ever tasted that good. A stocky nurse on night shift helped get me upright on a chair so he could change my sheets. These nurses are heroes. They are angels.
When my oxygen level was stable I was allowed to go home with portable oxygen. My bed never felt so good. After about two weeks I was able to walk to the kitchen. Another week and I could sit on my little deck for a few minutes without getting tired and out of breath. My heart filled with gratitude for the fact that there was enough oxygen in my lungs to sit on my deck. I have a new found love for oxygen, for life.
Student engagement is a vital component in any classroom. Over the past year, remote learning has become a reality for most students around the world. As many students return to in-person learning, or any number of hybrid learning environments, here are some ideas to keep engagement rates high and help maintain student learning in any environment.
Virtual, In Person, & Hybrid Learning Environments
Nearpod: Software to create lessons with informative and interactive assessment activities.
Netboard.me: collect, organize and share any web content. Create Web pages with texts, links, documents, videos, photos, presentations, etc.
Prezi: with a basic subscription and a profile that states you’re in Education, you get PreziNext and PreziVideo for free. Access to designer templates, millions of reusable presentations, etc.
Slidesmania: Free PowerPoint templates or Google Slides themes for education. You can find simple, formal and even fun templates.
Sutori:organize, plan and center instruction. The collaborative nature and ease of use makes Sutori the perfect companion for student and teacher presentations.
Symbaloo: is a cloud-based application that allows users to organize and categorize web links in the form of buttons, offering its PRO version to all educators at no cost.
Creating Digital Lessons
EdPuzzle: Video lesson creation software with lots of usable content.
Kahoot: A game-based learning platform that brings engagement and fun to players at school, at work, and at home.
Loom: Instantly shareable video. Capture your screen, record your front-facing camera, and narrate it all at once, then instantly share with a simple link.
Pear Deck: Facilitates the design of engaging instructional content with various integration features.
Squigl : Content creation platform that transforms speech or text into animated videos.
Thinglink: Tools to create interactive images, videos and other multimedia resources.
Management and Brain Breaks
Go Noodle – GoNoodle is a fun website with a variety of brain breaks and indoor PE fun right in one place!
Whole Brain Teaching – The teacher breaks up information into short chunks, using large hand gestures, varying the intonation of her voice by speaking loudly and then softly, quickly then slowly. The greater the variance, the more likely students are to recall and use the information. It activates various parts of the brain, locking information into long-term storage.
Class Dojo – Encouraging and supportive behavior management device. Teachers can encourage and support students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, helping others, staying on task, etc.
Mapping Your Heart– view this video to learn about Heart Mapping, invented by Georgia Heard, as one strategy to begin building an inclusive classroom community.
Strategies to Build Rapport with Students:
Building rapport with students from the beginning of a placement allows Teacher Candidates to make connections early and start forming relationships, even in the Virtual Teaching & Learning Environment.
Ask students to share any extenuating circumstances you should be aware of regarding their learning. Students can submit their response in writing, or as a video or audio recording. Flipgrid is a user-friendly video-based platform to use with students.