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!