Friday, December 13, 2013

The Mom's Perspective

There are times when it's hard to be a mom.  Yes, of course there are times when its easy, and things seem to go just right, and motherhood is nothing but pure joy.  But most of the time, being a mom is hard.  Juggling the schedules, car-pooling to activities, supervising the homework, calming the fears, drying the tears, planning, doing, packing, buying, cooking, checking, calling... sometimes it's endless.

One of the worst things, I find, is that inner critic.  The one inside that makes me question everything I do, all my decisions, my actions, my thoughts.  That mean voice inside that says, "You didn't play that right."  "You should have done more."  "You should have known." "Who are you kidding? You can't do this at all."

It's hard for me to quiet that voice and remember, I'm new at this.  I haven't parented a teenager before.  Yes, teenagers have come in and out of my classroom every day for the past 20 years give or take, and yes,  there have been quite a number who've lingered for a little of the "at-school mothering" I've been known to dole out.  But that doesn't begin to compare to the 24/7/365 job -- responsibility -- joy of being Lauren and Kaylie's mom.

I wish I wasn't so hard on myself.  Yet it seems to be a universal problem.  Moms everywhere feel inadequate, wishing they'd had more patience, paid more attention, loved more fully.  I'm only one of millions.  Watch, and you'll see what I mean.

I'm grateful to have seen this video today. It reminds me that my daughters aren't nearly as critical of me as I am of myself.  I hope my mom gets to see this, so she'll know it too.

Christmas. Logically.

I am really excited about this product.  It's the first thing I have sold on TpT that has really taken off!  I always loved logic problems as a kid, and now I am enjoying writing them.  So far they have been well received.  Of course, writing the problem itself takes some creative juice (which is lacking around here at times) a lot of scrap paper, and a boatload of patience to solve the same problem over and over again making the clues fit just right, but I have to say, it's really the graphics that illustrate the problems that make these puzzles stand out!  As always, my thanks to Ashley at for such adorable graphics!!

What product has been your biggest thrill to sell?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sigh. It's the letter e.

The notorious letter e.  I have a love/hate relationship with this activity.  I love it's so simple.  The materials are easy to obtain and put together for the kids to use.  I love that the activity WORKS.  The students actually learn to focus, move the specimen around and they clearly see the relationship between the slide position and the image orientation.  They practice moving the slide up and down, left and right, until they get the hang of how it works.  They're much better microscope users for having done this activity.

Letter e  100x

But I HATE this activity.  It feels like the OLDEST lab in the book.  There is nothing at all creative or interesting about it.  Every time I do this lab with a class I think about how fun it could be to have a different activity to accomplish the same goals.  But somehow I always rely on the old stand-by.

This is one reason I like blogging.  It gets me to sit down and actually THINK THINGS THROUGH.  Why exactly is it that this lab WORKS?  What is it that makes me feel so discontent with it when it WORKS??

One thing we're trying to do is use our iPhones, etc. to take pictures of what we see in the microscope.  Its harder than you might think.  I took this picture myself today during 7th period.  It looks pretty good, and almost captured the whole field.  This skill definitely needs practice.

What activity do you hate to do because its so dull, but it really works, so you keep doing it anyway?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New Winter Theme Freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers

Click here to download my WINTER FUN PACK

Includes some of the family party games we've been playing for years in a format for classroom use as partner games.  Also has some lunchbox notes, and some trading cards, a good sample of the kind of work I've been doing for TpT, all with adorable graphics from

Check out my store for the FREE FREE FREE download.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Divine Twine Giveaway at Whisper Graphics

Truth is... one of my favorite things about teaching is that I can often combine the things I love most - kids, science, and all-things-crafty - to make my day fun, interesting and happy.  People often think crafty projects are too "grade-school" for the kids in high school, but let me tell you, there are times that the high school kids love to be crafty just as much as I do!  I love seeing how crafty projects bring out the light in students that are otherwise hard to reach.  I love to allow my students to express themselves artistically.  It's especially wonderful when a student who has been struggling to learn science SHINES when focused on something visual and crafty.  

Starting today there's a giveaway of one of my favorite products - Divine Twine.  Its fancy enough to bring a little special zing to a project, but inexpensive enough to use in classroom quantity.  I have spools this size in about 20 different colors, and I use it all the time. Click here to go to the Giveaway registration page!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A couple of new things...

Okay I can't lie.  I am totally excited about this new stuff I have been working on - a bottlecap dangler for bookbags, backpacks or lunchboxes... a keychain and magnet for teacher.  Oooohhh ... I feel a giveaway coming up....

I jumped into this blogging and TpT with both feet and then I got run-down and not feeling well so I havent done much for a week.  But I'm ready to work a long time this weekend.. especially since my Best Buy shopping is DONE!  Thank you early access!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Reward Buttons in my Store!

I spent a long time tonight designing these so they are just right.  I have got to learn to take better pictures, because the photos do not do these rewards justice.  They would make awesome holiday gifts or treasure box rewards.  
See them at my store!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Moss, moss, and more moss.

This weekend I collected these three moss specimens.  The light green one caught my eye, and I took a couple of samples each one of these to see what I can grow in my classroom.

I really know very little about moss, but I suspect its time to learn!

This blogging stuff is motivating me to be a better teacher every day.

What do you know little about, but are feeling motivated to learn?

What things are Living? What things are Non-Living? Now in my Tpt Store.

I am having a ball creating adorable science activities for younger students.  I do plan to share these with my 9th and 10th graders, too.  They'll enjoy having the opportunity to critique my work  Starting tomorrow, maybe.  After our Biochemistry test.

I am looking forward to translating these activities into SmartBoard activities.  That will give me the motivation I need to learn SmartNotebook... something I have been resistant to up til now.

What new thing do you need to work on, but you're dreading it?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Too good not to share...

Hugh Jackman in the 1999 production of Oklahoma! is on PBS RIGHT NOW!

THANKful for Kind-hearted Teachers BIG GIVEAWAY

I am so thankful that I ran across this Blog Hoppin' linky party this week.  I have read so many inspiring posts, made lots of new friends, and HOLY COW have I learned a lot about blogging!!  It feels like a slow learning curve, but I am getting there slowly. Now I have to think more about the content I want to share here, and someday throw a linky party of my own.  Gotta pay it forward when you can, right?

Still thinking that's a long way off for me, but the only way to go is up!

SO what new addition to your life are YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Activities like this make science fun and memorable.

I'm participating in the We are THANKful blog hop from Blog Hoppin'.  Yesterday's task - Activities like...

Ask anyone what they remember about their biology class.  Betcha' they say it was the dissections.  I know, its not the most "politically correct" activity, but we don't study science to be politically correct.  We study science to learn new things and have new experiences.

Frog dissection brings out something special in students that can be hard to reach.  With tools in their hands they are free to explore and investigate in a way they may not do again, ever. It makes them curious, motivated, and happy!  Of course, an alternative assignment is always available for students that have objections to dissecting an animal, but in 22 years of doing this activity, I've only had a handful of students that chose to do the alternative.

Hanging up helpful anatomical diagrams is a good way to encourage student independence.  They match what they see to the diagram to identify the parts inside on their own. This really cuts down on their dependence on the teacher as a resource.  Your role should be to guide the students!  You can see they really are happy and involved!

Dissection promotes teamwork! I pair reluctant or squeamish students with an eager partner.  Some students look forward to this activity all year!

Dissection of animal specimens make my biology class fun and memorable.  If I can help you incorporate a dissection demonstration into your class please let me know!

What do you remember most about your biology class?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Newest Product for Studying Heredity

I just uploaded a really cute activity to Tpt!  

I am having so much fun designing products, and working on my blogging and reading other teachers' blogs... I have little time for much else this week!  Have to make better use of my time.  I love designing activities!!

xox Terri

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

H is for Helpful Hints

I am trying to learn this blogging thing by jumping in with both feet.  I hooked up with an incredible group of teachers for a blog hopping extravaganza - well, at least to me it's an extravaganza!  

Today we are to post a helpful hint - and JEEZ do I feel inadequate compared to all the amazing helpful hints and awesome blog posts I have read all evening!

So I think what I will do is post the hint that I am finding the most helpful right now.

I am just at the beginning of this blogging adventure, and I know I have so much to learn and so far to go.  Its really hard for me not to compare myself with others.  I am usually pretty competent, and this blogging makes me feel pretty challenged!

So I'm curious to know - for all of you who might saunter by here from the blog hop link -what are you beginning that intimidates you?  How are you coping with the stress of it all?  Do you jump in with both feet like I am trying to do here?  Or wade in slowly testing the water as you go?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My TpT store is now open!

Exciting day today!  I opened my TpT store.

I've been thinking about doing it for a very long time.  Mostly because I have been looking for a set of Lab Safety posters for my classroom, and I have been unable to find any that I like enough to buy.

My classroom is all new - finally got remodeled over the summer - and I only want to put things I love in it.  And since I couldnt find posters I love, I decided to make my own.  So I bit the bullet and purchased some of the cutest graphics out there - drawn by Ashley at  Ashley has been very gracious and has helped walk me through the beginning stages of creating my own teaching materials using her graphics.

I have three thousand ideas spinning through my head!  I feel like I have so much opportunity to create lessons and really cute materials!

I must admit I am a little worried that people will think the graphics I chose to use are too cutesy for high school.  But the truth is, the kids love that kind of thing.  I never saw so much envy as there is in my classroom when some students get stickers on their quizzes!

This is my first offering at TpT - its the free one.  It includes a lot of different games for students and families to use at Thanksgiving.  I remember going to my Aunt Ginny's house when I was a kid.  Someone always brought color by number for the kids to do.  And any time we are with Uncle Frank, we play a question and answer game that is the basis for my Name Five game.

Go on over to and download it.  It's free!