Get This

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nature-Starved, AKA Nature Deficit Disorder

Two words have been haunting me since my last post: "nature-starved."

I think there are many people out there who are afflicted lack of time outdoors, communing with nature.

Some might call it a "disorder."  In fact, "disorder" is exactly what Richard Louv, champion creator of  the concept "Nature Deficit Disorder" would call it.  He's written about it in two books:
And I've written about Richard Louv & Nature Deficit Disorder a number of times here at GTG.

Looking at the publication dates of Richard Louv's books, you'd think we all should know well by now that "Vitamin N" (aka, Nature) is the cure that magically could soothe our disconnected souls. Yet, we are all still here in this same disconnected place, years later in 2015.  Articles continue to be written on the topic, as tech addiction and waist lines continue to grow.

If you haven't read either of Richard Louv's books, you really should.  I'd recommend starting with Last Child in the Woods, perhaps because it's my favorite of the two (& my first read of them both).  If a book isn't your style, here are some other good places to start.

May these sources inspire yourself to get out and about and get your daily dose of Vitamin N.  It's easy to start small. Go take a walk. Read a book outdoors. Sip something refreshing on your back patio and soak it all in.  Write a blog post outdoors while sitting outdoors. (Oh wait! That's what I'm doing right now!)  Go out in the world to explore & have an adventure.

Let me know what it is that you are doing!

Images from,; video from 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nature-Starved? It's Not too Late to Get Thee Outside

David Suzuki recently wrote a great blog post entitled "A Term for that 'I Need Time in Nature' Feeling."  In it, he invited readers to write in their thoughts on what that term would be.  As David posed, if "hangry" is "hungry & angry" then what might be the right term when you are nature starved?

All of this got me thinking about my last two weeks.  I was struck by the fact that a majority of it has been sponsored by the great outdoors.  These are the perks of summertime--the freedom of schedule to be able to go out and about to do these things.   I've found myself...

Beach combing for shark's teeth in Chesapeake Beach:
Sunset sailing in Annapolis on the Windward Schooner (followed up by walking about downtown, ice cream cones in hand!):
 Hiking the Billy Goat trail in Great Falls:
Swimming in our backyard pool:
Even hanging out with Billy Joel, moving and grooving to some of my favorite songs during his outdoor arena concert.

And let's not forget:  mowing the yard, pulling weeds, biking the neighborhood, reading under the trees, & dining al fresco after dinnertime grilling.

If you still need a little encouragement, watch this Clif Kids video

So are if you are indoor-i-fried, "denatured," or feeling overly AC'ed, it's not too late to get out there, troops.  There's still plenty of summer ahead, and many opportunities to get outdoors.

What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate the great outdoors this summer?

Images from my camera & Video from

Saturday, July 25, 2015

EPIC! For Educators eReader App--Bringing A Bounty of Books To Your Young Readers

Kindle.  Nook.  Kobo.  Sony. 
Stand-alone eReaders, and apps on iPads & Androids alike. eReaders are here, there, and everywhere. 

eReaders make it possible to carry a bounty of books wherever you go. It's revolutionizing the book publishing industry and the way many of us read.

With them, you can carry a stack of books in your hand (on your tablet), saving trees-worth of paper. eReaders are not only a techy alternative, but an environmental one as well!!  Especially if your kids eat books for breakfast like mine!

As youngsters are embarking on the eReader route, teachers are finding them to be a classroom treasure as well.  The EPIC! app is one of my latest #EdTech discoveries that puts an endless number of books in your child or student's hands.  My favorite feature is that they have opened up their entire library for free to educators. Yet, even at the parent subscription of $4.99 per month, it's still a great economic deal for book lovers!  Check out my screencast movie below to help you learn just how epic the EPIC! app is for Educators.

A short synopsis on the merits of EPIC! for Educators 
(an iPad book reader app for teachers and students up to 12 years old)

EPIC! image from; Vimeo video from (created using The Explain Everything app, iMovie, GarageBand, & Pic Collage)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Eco Leaders: Starting Young & Leading the Way

It's never too early to start making a difference.

Just take notice of these 12 young men & women.
They know that, and have led the way in environmental activism:

I came to learn about this dynamic dozen in my son's 3rd grade class this past year. Moving away from researching historic leaders like Theodore Roosevelt or Leonardo da Vinci (who are great and important leaders), the teachers compiled a list of 30 contemporary young leaders. Kids and teens who followed their passion to make a difference.  Social & environmental leaders who were struck with inspiration, then made a major decision to do something to take action & engage others.

The enthusiasm about these young leaders was "sparktastic" within my son's class.  The students compiled their internet research and were abuzz about the TED talks they watched the GoFundMe pages some of them visited. They researched, wrote, presented, and created amazing 3D structures to showcase their Leader.  They then shared it all out to parents and students by way of their class-created Leadership Museum.

The interactive infographic above will introduce you to 12 of the 30 young environmentalists my son's classmates studied.  Kids, teens, & young adults who followed their passions, making a difference.  But 12 is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the Kids Are Heroes website to be inspired by a slew of other young people who are indeed heroes, leading the way!!

If kids can do it, so can we!
Big or small, it all counts.

Interactive infographic made with the Pic Collage App & Thing Link; snapshop at the Leadership Museum from my camera.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Embarking in Infographics 101: Presentation Station

I kicked off the summer in "presentation mode."  There was certainly a level of "no rest for the weary" with that game plan!  But the good thing about starting the summer that way is that relaxation follows along with the bulk of the summer.  As I ponder that (from a pool floaty), I'm pretty happy with the timing!
As I mentioned before, my school offers an optional "Summer Institute" to it's PS--12th grade faculty and staff during the summer.  A place to come, to learn, to build & enhance our craft as educators, to strengthen our teaching skills while following the trends of current education.  As we pursue the "love of learning" and the "pursuit of knowledge," our teachers are our colleagues, and in turn they become both our mentors and our learning mates.

This summer, I got the opportunity to co-teach the Summer Institute class "iMovie for iPads" and solo-teach "Infographics" the first week of this summer. As I prepared for my "Infographics 101" class, I got the chance to massively grow my infographics Pinterest board, investigate 5 online infographic creators along with the iPad app "Pic Collage." I also got to be energized by my learning colleagues in class.  One day (6.5 hours) and I got to witness so many great ideas, so much electric energy and enthusiasm!

Along the way, I found a slew of environmental (and other) infographics to share my message. There's a lot you can do in your classroom, both teaching with infographics, as well as creating your own. I look forward to sharing them with you!

Check out my presentation below or at Slideshare.

Slideshare "Infographics 101" presentation created by me, at; image from

Saturday, July 11, 2015

#10 Reasons (+11 More) Why LEGOs Are Eco Awesome

If you are a parent of builders, or a builder yourself, you don't have to be convinced of the magic of LEGOs. But in case you do, here are #10 reasons (+11 more) why LEGOs most certainly are awesome! Eco & otherwise!

1. Lego is Pursuing a Move Away from Plastic:  
At the tune of $150 million, LEGO is hot on the pursuit of a sustainable, bio-based material to replace of the iconic plastic block.  After 65+ years of parents stepping on carpet-hidden plastic blocks, it's hard to imagine LEGO stepping away from the 6,000 tons of plastic they use annually in production. Their goal is to make this move by 2030.

2.  Female Scientists Make the Mini figure List:
For the 2nd year in a row, female scientists have made the roster of notable minis.  This year's biggie on the list honors oceanographer Sylvia Earle.  Other key female players include veterinarians, aerospace engineers, mechanics, & members of a pit crew.  In 2013, the first female lab scientist surfaced; and in 2014 a female paleontologist, astronomer, & chemist cropped up.  More female kits and sets are in the works (including a proposed Jane Goodall)! 

3.  "Big Bang Theory" makes the LEGO Set & Mini figure List:
Additionally, there's an August 1st release next month of the cast/set of Big Bang Theory.  In addition to Sheldon & Leonard [the male theoretical physicists], Raj [astrophysicist], & Wolowitz [aerospace engineer], there's also some pretty sharp ladies in the mix.  There's Penny [who has risen from actress/waitress to pharmaceutical salesperson], microbiologist Bernadette, & neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler.  Bazinga!

4.  LEGO Says Adios to Shell Oil:
Greenpeace put the pressure on with their 2014 video showing a plasticized Lego arctic being buried under oil.  This outrage against the continued Shell Oil drilling of the arctic is what cause LEGO to quit their long-time ties with Shell.

5.  LEGO Rental & Reuse Sites Are On the Rise:
Sites such as Pley and Rebrickable are on the forefront of acknowledging that LEGOs, though great, aren't cheap.  So, rather the purchase them all at a minor mint, these rental & reuse sites bring about the green cycle of "reduce, reuse, recycle."
6.  There's a LEGO world out there, possibly bigger than LegoLand: is a major LEGO fan community."MOC" (or "My Own Creation") pages is where you can go to record images of what you have made via your LEGOs, and it serves as a great digital show and tell. Founded by LEGO artist & aficionado, Sean Kenney, it's a free community, available to and for all.

7.  LEGO Itself Knows How to Do Education:
Where MOCpages is not affiliated with LEGO, this LEGO Education portal is.  Here you can find the most recent online catalog, any late breaking news & events, check out LEGO education, and also dive into LEGO Education Global. Find also grade level resources, specialty kits, after school programs and more.

8.  LEGO Artists & Sculpturists Showcase the Magic of Making
Nathan Sawaya & Sean Kenney are a mere two who prove that LEGO's aren't just for kids anymore.  These two artists have taken LEGOs to new heights, taking designing and LEGO artistic engineering to new heights. I wrote about Nathan Sawaya this past Earth Day when I used his Philadelphia Franklin Institute Exhibit "Art of the Brick" to a kindergarten LEGO activity with our Earth Day Maker Night & iPads. Sean Kenney also has internationally touring exhibits, 8 best-selling children's books, & many original designs for sale. His "Nature Connects" series (currently at a number of arena's in North America) puts 1.6 million LEGO's to work creating life sized nature-oriented sculptures, many life-sized or larger, bringing "nature's beauty & whimsy to life."

9.  And in Honor of the 4th of July...
... and through this September, you can see Old Glory, waving her LEGOs & her red, white, and blue.  At the Smithsonian American History Museum in DC, our American flag is being built from the ground up.  Super-sized.  I wonder how many people can actually walk by and NOT take part!

10. The 2015 Academy Awards
It's not often you see not only a LEGO animated movie, but a live-actioned replica of the movie.  But that's exactly what the Academy Awards did during their Oscar's presentation.  "Tegan & Sara" sang their "Everything Is Awesome" LEGO Movie theme song, with real life singers and dancers bringing the music and Movie to life  Add in that Nathan Sawaya created golden LEGO Oscar Statuettes.  Outstanding!

#11--21.  But Wait! There's More!
+11 Awesome LEGO Facts That Will Make You Want to Break Out the Bricks Again from The Huffington Post.

Do you have a favorite way LEGO has made your day--
eco-wise, or any other way?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Time Is Professional Development Time

Anyone who is a teacher knows two things:

1.  Summer is a long awaited gift.  A time of decompression, reflection, & rejuvenation.

2.  Summer in NOT totally relaxation & time off.  Minds are a-whirling for the year ahead almost before decompression truly sets in.

It is in that gift of summertime (where 12 months have been jammed packed into 9-10 months of late night paper grading and weekend lesson planning) that a bounty of professional development can occur. Likewise, some amazing summer opportunities of workshops, conferences, continuing education classes, professional development, and books on bed stands or in Kindles, waiting to be read.

At my school, each summer we have a "Summer Institute" of optional all day professional development educational opportunities, with a complete course selection set up throughout the summer.  The main reason is to help PS--12th grade teachers at our school grow in our craft and stay in touch with educational trends.  (More on that later!)

Here's some of the #EdTech professional greats that have been happening out there already this summer.  Even if you missed them on the front end, you can catch up on the learning that happened here:

When & where was it:  June 23rd--25th at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas
Ways to learn, after-the-fact:
     --iPadPalooza Presenter Resource Page
     --Creativity is Key" post at ZigZagging Through Education & Technology
     --Check out @iPadpalooza or #iplza15 on Twitter

ISTE 2015:
When & where was it:  June 27th--July 1st in Philadelphia, PA
Ways to learn, after-the-fact:
     --Google Doc of Session Notes
          (tons of links!)
     --#NotAtISTE2015 Livebinder 
          (again, tons of curated content)
     --TeacherCast video of ISTE 2015
           Pre-Show Podcast
     --Check out #ISTE2015 and
           #NotAtISTE2015 on Twitter

EdCamps 2015:
When & where:  ongoing in many locations, just check the website of upcoming free one-day camps to find one near you.

Educational Trend Websites:
     --Mindshift  (Future of Learning)
     --Edutopia  (K-12 Tips & Strategies)
     --The Learning Network (from NY Times)
     --Educdemic  (Connecting Education & Technology)
     --Education Closet  (Arts Integration & STEAM)
     --Education World  (Ed resources spanning the disciplines)
     --Make Magazine  (Maker Movement)
     --Brain Pickings  (Cross Disciplinary Treasure Trove)

Podcasts & Webcasts:
      --TeacherCast University
      --Michael Hyatt (not related to #EdTech, but more to leadership,
           and fabulous with every listen!)

What are some of your favorite summertime professional development offerings?

Images:  Summertime: pic from my camera, created using the Motivational Poster app; ISTE by Numbers infographic from

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Freedoms, Flags, & the Fourth

No, I'm not bellowing "Braveheart's" iconic sound byte: "Freeeeeeeeedom!"

But, that being said, the 4th of July is upon us, and it brings about thoughts of our freedoms.

It's been a week and change here in the grand ole U.S. of A. A week+ OF change!  "Freedom" has taken new heights.  Unless you have been living under a rock the last 7--10 days, the Supreme Court has aok'ed and authorized gay marriage in all 50 of the United States.  Rainbow flags are a-flying.  As they should be.  Let's vote in honor of "happy."  ALL people are entitled to the right to be happy! We all deserve to be happy, especially as life is hard enough.

There's also the counter-flags, the ones that are NOT a-flying. The move to bring down the Confederate flags in the aftermath of the Charleston church massacre is a good one.  President Obama excelled as an orator during his eulogy at Rev. Clementa Pickney's funeral.
"It's true, the flag did not cause these murders... but we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now....By taking down that flag, we express God's grace." ~Pres. Obama
There's even the new freedom to take pics at the White House.

Then, there's the "green" flag that was flown symbolically by way of The Pope's Encyclical!!  Way to go, Pope Francis, defender of our planet!

Yes, freedoms abound.  
And with that comes responsibility.

As a long-time liberal, I have always been in favor of "happy." I see the "freedom of happy" as extensive.  I think of conversations I've had with people who feel others "should" & "could" be doing things differently--for reason A, B, C, X, Y, Z. Given the very recent history of the US, it causes me to ponder: "Why do we all care what others are doing or what others are caring about?  Does it matter to us?"

The answer is no--others' lives are theirs. Our business is ours.  

We all have the right to be free, to go forth, and to...
  • love one another,
  • love ourselves,
  • help our planet,
  • refuse,
  • reduce,
  • reuse,
  • recycle,
  • take responsibility,
  • take action,
  • make a move, 
  • make a motion,
  • fight for what we believe in,
  • share what's good,
  • not get sucked into the vortex,
  • turn on our minds,
  • turn off the social media influences,
  • fill ourselves with the power of good versus the power of evil,
  • make healthy choices,
  • share our messages,
  • pursue happiness,
  • take part in incremental change,
  • learn something new,
  • be true to our friends, family, and selves,
  • be innovative, be creative, be inspiring, and be connected.
This 4th....go forth & be happy.  
Embrace love, embrace each other, embrace what surrounds you.  

What makes you happy, and what freedoms inspire you?!

Freedom Wordle: ;  flags:; freedom & happiness:, Sparkler heart:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Say It Loud, Say it Proud: Plastic Bag Free Day 7/3/2015

'Tis the season, in good ole USA to be readying for that red-white-and-blue day, Independence Day. A day of well as festivities, BBQ's, pool time & picnics, fun, frivolity, and fireworks. Hamburgers, hotdogs, & apple pie.

In order to plan for such yummy kind of fun, you need to go shopping.  Grocery stores do well, no doubt, here in this week before the 4th of July.  Think about your 4th fun prep, or even your last supermarket run.  If you are like me, you came home with a bunch of bags of food and a sundry of other household goods.

Ask yourself:  Are you a paper, plastic, or reusable bag kind of person?

Well, the push this week, especially Friday, July 3rd, to go plastic bag free.  Grab your reusable bags and get thee to the store, loaded and ready to go shopping.  Why?  The reasons are numerous (many of which are detailed in the infographic below, as well over at the International Bag Free Day website.  My favorite plastic bag fact happens to be that plastic bags, which take potentially 1000 years to biodegrade, have a typical life span of about 25 minutes of use--from store to door.  That's a lot of lifetime of waste for the minutes of convenience they provide.

For more resources, check out Plastic Bag Free's Resources.

So your challenge:  can you embrace the freedom of the Fourth of July, and go plastic bag free this holiday?  I think you can!  So, armed with knowledge, your next stop should be your grocery store.  Shop 'til you drop for your Independence Day extravaganza, bringing in your own bags, so you can come out without the additional plastic waste!  Then picnic and party on in style!

For more resources as to how to have an additionally eco-friendly 4th of July, check out Sprout's 2014 post on the subject.

Images from:;; infographic from; Bag Free World Logo

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bill Nye, Emojis, & Climate Change! Oh My!!

It really doesn't get much better than this:  It's like the ├╝ber Reese's Peanut Butter cup where a whole lot of great tastes taste great together!!

Working with GE, Bill Nye (yes, "the Science Guy") has begun a web science series.... with a little help from his Emoji friends. First tackle: holograms. Second tackle:  Climate Change.  (It's real, we can use those words, Florida & Wisconsin & other climate denier states.  Just because you don't want to believe it doesn't mean it goes away!)

This is all a part of the bigger idea that Bill Nye & GE have co-constructed.  #EmojiScience is a 5-part series that will (as Jeff Beer says in his Fast Company article) "hit on topics like energy efficiency, mapping the mind, and materials science, in which recent discoveries show serious potential to impact the world."

Also featured on the EmojiScience website is the "Emoji Table of Experiments."  Might just be what the doctor ordered to spice up your child's summer for those blissful moments of boredom when true creativity & exploration happen!

Video from and can also be found at
Emoji Periodic Table from

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The States of Climate Change Denial

I thought only Florida & Wisconsin were the bad guys.  The ne'er-do-well states that this year have forbidden the words "climate change" and "global warning."

My new realization:  But wait!  There's more!

What the....?!?

While Florida is definitely getting the bad rap in the news this year, Wisconsin has followed along--but it hasn't gotten as much media attention as Florida did.  (For a humorous, but not fully appropriate video for the kiddos in the room, check out Jon Stewart's very snarky mocking of Florida's banning of the terminology.)

As this infographic shows, Florida & Wisconsin aren't alone:

Luckily for the climate change deniers and politicians out there:  
Only 97% of climate scientists agree:
"Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position." ~Quoted directly from
It's leaving me to want to make some snarky, mocking comments of my own!!

Calvin & Hobbes Image from; States map from; Jon Stewart pic from 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Summer Solstice

There's something magical about that first day of summer  The longest day of the year.  "Longest," of course theoretically givent it's the day of most daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.  Coming right after school gets out for the summer, it's well at the beginning of all there is ahead for those lazy days of summer!

Here's an interesting map from USA Today of just how many hours of sunlight we had in a variety of American cities last year, Summer Solstice 2014:

To learn a little bit more about Summer Solstice, check out these links:

Summer Solstice Pic from; Map from

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Today: That Time to be Reflective in TeacherLandia

There are always a few pivotal times of the year when we humans tend to get introspective and reflective.
  • Birthdays (especially the decades & milestones ones!)
  • New Years ("Old Lang Syne" can always do that to you.)
  • And for the student and teacher:  the end of the school year!
Today was my last day of school (which means last day of teacher meetings, packing up, and end of the year luncheon).  It was a lovely day (with amazing food) paying humorous homage and honored tributes to those folks who are retiring or moving on.

It was a day of happy dance ("Woohoo! Summer ahead!") and a day of reflection.

Today was the last day of my 22nd and a half year of teaching. (Yes, there's a "half" and it's a story for another day.  Along those lines, this whole 22.5 thing elicits the punch-in-the-gut feeling of "How on God's green Earth have I been teaching that long!")

Today was the last day of the first year at my current school.  I survived being a newbie!  I never would have been here had my previous school not closed.

Today was the last day of the first year I have ever been "a special" versus "a homeroom teacher."  (There are definite things I miss in setting up the routines and camaraderie of my own classroom, but definitely perks as well.)

Today marks my last day of school, after teaching in 6 schools total, in 3 different states.

Today is my official start to summer.  Complete with goals of both relaxation, accomplishment, parenting, blogging, learning, environmental visions, and health on the horizon.  And pool time.  Definitely pool time!

Today I reflect over my years of teaching, and my many schools, and I feel an enormous sense of gratitude. I have been fortunate enough to be in 6 truly dynamic schools.  Public and private, with mentors every step of the way. People I love, adore, and treasure. Amazing teachers, amazing people.  I have learned and grown and made incredible friends along the way.  I have refined my craft, found new interests, and sharpened new talents as I have trekked along.  I have met phenomenal people.  This year I was in a situation to have many of my former colleagues embarking upon "the new," and I have seen how lucky I really truly am. Public & private & then some.

Today I am blessed.

Today I sit at the cusp of 2 and a half months of summer ahead.  What I do with it is up to me!

May you be faced with the same challenge, whether you work or not, whether you are a teacher or not, whether you have the summer off or's still your summer.  Go forth and make it amazing.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glass: Where Sand, Limestone, Soda Ash, & Heat Unite = Glass Is Life

In my reflections on seeing Celine Cousteau speak earlier this spring, I started bouncing around internet--which is where moments of magical connection often happens.  From there I found the "Glass is Life" website and Celine Cousteau's PSA for them as spokesperson.  I was instantly washed back to seeing her in person, as so much of this message is her message.

Fitting that I am writing this on what would be her grandfather, Jacques Cousteau's 105th birthday!  (born: June 11, 1910)

In a world where waterways seem to become more polluted daily by plastic waste, and containers seem chemical-bound through the BPA-leaching of plastic, glass (along with stainless steel) is a viable and vital option.  Glass Is Life is glass manufacturer's O-I Inc's 4-pronged environmental and health platform of the merits of glass:  taste, quality, sustainability, and health.  Each prong on the Glass Is Life website has a short video like Cousteau's above that sing glass' praises as the purest packaging material, made only from sand, limestone, soda ash & heat unite.

Be sure to check out O-I's 5 minute video on the making of glass.

Then go raise your glass, feeling good about what you are reusing and what resources you are saving.
"Glass says quality all by itself. It’s the only packaging material that people are inspired to save, re-use, collect and display. Smooth or rough, blue, green, black, or iridescent, glass comes in a wide variety of textures, shapes and colors. It’s beautiful. It’s memorable. It’s iconic."   ~From the Glass Is Life website.

Celine Cousteau pic from

Friday, June 5, 2015

Casting Away with Celine Cousteau on World Environment Day

June 5th annually is World Environment Day.  Given that, this post seemed to be ideally timed!

In the middle of April, we were privileged to get an early Earth Day present--Celine Cousteau was part of a lecture series at our school--a free presentation for the greater community.

Cousteau, you may be asking yourself--gee, that sounds familiar. Of course it does.  Granddaughter to the infamous oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau & daughter to filmmaker/ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, Celine comes from quite the aquatic family line.  An explorer and communicator herself, Celine spoke about bringing the stories from the field and being the megaphone who put the message into story form--a form that people can truly here and understand.

In the hour that she spoke, to the oldest in the room, and in stories even my 3rd grader could relate to, there were many take-aways.  My favorites (written as quotes, but mainly paraphrased as I was writing fast and furiously) are here below.  As you can tell, there were a lot of take-aways.  Things I'm still thinking of more than a month and change later.
  • "I'm a communicator, it's what I do.  I do 'storytelling.'"
  • My grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, is known for his time on the Calypso.  Yet he was a smart leader.  He surrounded himself with people who enabled him to be who was.  It takes a whole group of people to make it happen so that he could do what he did.  He was the front man, but by no means the only one."
  • "Be excellent at what you are and what you can do."
  • "What we do with and for our children stays with them.  You don't know what inspires them and leads them to who they will ultimately become."
  • "You do need the bad to appreciate the good.  Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of pollution around the world. What can we individually do to help it."
  • "Change only comes with action and action comes from the heart."
  • "Education is responsibility, and you can't take that knowledge away. Likewise, once you have the knowledge, you cannot ignore it.  It is part of your life."" 
  • "Change your mindset by changing the way you see yourself in the world.  We are all connected.  Once you see that, it's hard to not care about what's going on around you."
  • "You are not apart from nature, you are 'A PART' of nature."
  • "We need to be rethinking what we think.  Pause amidst the automaticity."
  • "I can't save the world, but I can do my part."
  • "I want to live a life with purpose, not just merely exist."
  • "We are all part of the human tribe.  Over time, we are losing a sense of community--but also building it in other ways, through social media."My tribe is my family.   My 3 year old son deserves to have a mom who says I did everything I could do.  But we all also need balance. How much good can I do if I'm not there?  What are we sacrificing? I need to be there for my son and my family too."

Portrait Image from; group photo from my camera (April 2015).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Putting An End to Poverty Infographic

As I mentioned last time, infographics are embedded in my world at every turn these days.  Here's an interesting one that invites you to take a stand, and raise your hand, and take a hard look at what you can do to power down poverty.

Infographic from

Friday, May 29, 2015

African Endangered Species Infographic

I've been doing some research as of late on infographics for a summer professional workshop I'll be presenting at school.  There are some really amazing ones out there.  Here's a great one I found on Endangered Species over at Pinfographics.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Earth Day Family Maker Night 2015

A few weeks ago, at the start of May, I went to a Maryland Educational Technology retreat.  While there, one of the Keynotes, Danielle Martin, shared this image in her presentation which served as a wonderful wrap up to the conference where so much of the focus was on "The Maker Movement."

At our school, we are not new to the "Maker Movement," as it has been a theme for our year.  We have been inspiring creativity and innovation with STEM & STEAM challenges.  Our "Computer Lab" has been transformed with new furniture in invite a more open, new mindset; it is now known as "The Maker Lab."  No longer are students merely learning how to format Word documents, create Power Points, and learn keyboarding.  Yes, that is a part, but much of that integration is happening in the classroom (and why I have my current position).  They are also learning introductory coding, how to create multi-dimensional objects through 123D Design for the 3D printer, and how conductive playdoh works.  Yes, these are elementary students.

This Earth Day, we combined the Maker Movement with a slice of environmentalism.  The task put forth to the children was to use the Design Process to create an at-home, "Family Maker Night" creation (as a family team), making something with Earth Day in mind, through creativity and upcycling. Then, students were to bring both their project in as well as their reflection sheet of how their family worked through the challenge.

The results?  Pretty fabulous.  The tables were filled with a sundry of homemade items.  Class projects were also displayed:  3rd graders had a table of pioneer settlements. 5th graders created interactive games using MaKey Makeys, where they programmed cardboard creations to perform with the help of laptops & the online programming website Scratch).  Kindergartners used iPads & the ReadWriteThink app Timeline to document the Lego building of world structures in the vision of Lego Sculpturist Nathan Sawaya.

To get a taste of what Earth Day looked like in our neck of the woods, check out this Smilebox. Additionally, click here for the Flickr Page of even more--78 more--marvelous pictures from our Earth Day Maker Night.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Free digital slideshow customized with Smilebox

"I am a Maker" photo from a snapshot of my conference, but also found here:

Additional pictures from my own camera and put into a Smilebox video presentation.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy World Turtle Day 2015

You say "to-may-toe," I say "to-mah-toe."
You say "turtle," I say "chelonian" (which sounds remarkably like "colonian").

I don't, but I could.   Especially on World Turtle Day:  May 23rd annually.

World Turtle Day originally hatched in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue (which itself began in 1990).  Given that turtles and tortoises have a number of threats--mostly human instigated--raising awareness is always a good thing.  Threats include:
  • exotic food trade
  • illegal pet trade
  • habitat destruction
  • climate change
  • bycatch from fisheries
  • consumption of marine debris
According to NOAA, all seven world species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered.

To enhance your inside information about turtles & tortoises:

1.  Watch this 2 and a half minute video from The Guardian.
2. Read a good turtle book. My favorite? Turtles in My Sandbox, by Jennifer Keats Curtis. You will find some engaging activities to go along with this book from the publisher Sylvan Dell

3. Check out to learn more about animals of any species--especially if you are curious about their conservation status (vulnerable, critical, or endangered). Here with these links, you are a mere click away from creating your own archive of chelonian knowledge at ARKive:
4. For Lesson Plans, World Turtle Day or any other day, check out the following links:
5. Looking for ways to help out our shelled reptilian friends? Huffington Post's "World Turtle Day" article lists some ideas for what you can do to help.

-World Turtle Day Photos from
-Chelonian definition a screenshot from
-Video from