Monthly Archives: November 2012

Cyber Monday Tears and Triumphs

Funny Mouse pads: Survived Cyber Monday


Black Friday Blues

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Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based learning- Teaching Method for The 21st Century Classroom

Project-Based Learning or PBL is“ an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom.” (Definition taken from  Problem Based Learning On Line).

Projects and activities are the keys to a better understanding of PBL. They are no longer tasks that students need to finish after a traditionally-taught unit but rather a set of learning experiences and tasks that guide students in inquiry toward answering a central question, solving a problem, or meeting a challenge. Research has clearly proved that projects that are well-designed and based on students’ experiences improve students’ motivation to learn, help them see how school connects to the outside world by making learning relevant and meaningful, and promote greater civic participation and global awareness.

As a teaching method, PBL is one way for educators to meet the objectives for 21st century learning that can be abridged in the 4Cs equation (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity).

Here is a list of some features that characterize PBL:

  • Focus on significant issues, debates, questions and/or problems through a central driving question or challenge.
  • Contextualizes learning and gives students driving motives and reasons to learn and understand the information and concepts before application.
  • Inquiry to learn and/or create something new.
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication.
  • Write or otherwise express themselves in various modes, and make effective presentations.
  • Educational engagement to make student choices and take responsibility
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and standards at the heart of a project
  • Rigorous projects help build vital workplace skills and lifelong habits of learning


  1. use higher-order thinking skills
  2. learn to work as a team and contribute to a group effort
  3. listen to others and make their own ideas clear when speaking,
  4. be able to read a variety of material

You can also watch these videos:

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Cool Websites

I don’t know about you but when I am looking for resources to use, I want teacher friendly, easy access and good material.  When researching 21st century skills, I came upon this website.  Out of all the pages,  I like the “cool website page”.  It has links, information, videos and resources for 21st century tools to use in the classroom or to gather information for curriculum. The work that you and your team will need to do is determine what resources are free to use, what tools are economical or could be considered, and what is applicable to your district or school.

Check this website out-

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November Guest

I remember reading Robert Frost when I was younger, but it seems now, it relays more meaning.

My November Guest

by Robert Frost
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me, Thinks these dark days of autumn rain Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the bare, the withered tree; She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay. She talks and I am fain to list: She’s glad the birds are gone away, She’s glad her simple worsted gray Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees, The faded earth, the heavy sky, The beauties she so truly sees, She thinks I have no eye for these, And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know The love of bare November days Before the coming of the snow, But it were vain to tell her so, For they are better for her praise.


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In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. ~William Blake


One kind word can warm three winter months. ~Japanese Proverb


There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter. ~Billy Connolly



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You’ve Been Flipped!

You’ve Been Flipped!!!

The Flipped Classroom offers a great use of technology – the goal is to get the lecture out of the classrooms and into the hands and control of the learners. It is an essential part of a larger picture of teaching and learning. Are you intrigued? Great, please keep reading…

The following videos explain flip teaching and allow you as the learner to be flipped!

(please excuse and disregard any advertisements or selling propaganda) Hit Control and Click!

The following is a background of how flipped teaching began in Colorado.

How the Flipped Classroom was Born
In 2004, at Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park, Colorado, flip teaching came alive. Jon came from Denver and Aaron from Southern California. They were both Chemistry teachers of over 950 students. Both teachers had similar philosophies of education. To make their lives easier, they began planning Chemistry lessons together. Aaron would set up one lab and Jon the next. Aaron would write the first test and Jon the next.

One of the problems they noticed in a rural setting is that many students miss a lot of school due to sports and activities. Students spent an inordinate amount of time on buses traveling to and from events. Thus, students missed classes and struggled to stay caught up. And then one day it happened. Aaron was thumbing through a technology magazine and showed Jon an article about some software that would record a PowerPoint slide-show including voice and any annotations, and then it converted the recording into a video file that could be easily distributed online. As they discussed the potential of such software they realized this path may be a way for students who missed class to not miss out on learning. So in the spring of 2007, they began to record live lessons using screen capture software. They posted lectures online so students could access them, in other words the use of YouTube and online video.

Flipping Increases Student Interaction

One of the greatest benefits of flipping is that overall interaction increases: Teacher to student and student to student. Since the role of the teacher has changed from presenter of content to learning coach, you spend time talking to kids. You will be answering questions, working with small groups, and guiding the learning of each student individually. When students are working on an assignment and you notice a group of students who are struggling with the same thing, you can automatically organize the students into a tutorial group. You can conduct mini-lectures with groups of students who are struggling with the same content, or the “just in time” instruction when the students are ready for learning.

Since the role of the teacher has changed, to more of a tutor than a deliverer of content, you’ll have the privilege of observing students interact with each other. As you travel around the class, you will notice the students developing their own collaborative groups. Students are helping each other learn instead of relying on the teacher as the sole disseminator of knowledge. The goal is to create a culture of learning, instead of striving for the completion of assignments or busy work. You will be the guide in their learning instead of being just a teacher in front.


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How Long Do I Cook It?


Herb Roasted Turkey —

Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey  —  Large Photo

Image © Diana Rattray

This turkey is roasted with a mixture of herbs and olive oil under the skin and all over the bird. Use small amounts of dried herbs along with the fresh herbs for more flavor. I used fresh dill, rosemary, and chives, along with about 1/2 teaspoon each of dried leaf marjoram and thyme.

Cook time: 4 hours                      Total Time: 4 hours


  • 1 turkey, about 14 pounds
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs, such as chives, dill, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 orange, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 1 apple, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • sprigs of fresh herbs

Preparation:             Heat oven to 450°.

Wash turkey inside and out; pat dry. Combine the chopped herbs with olive oil. Gently separate the skin from the breast and rub a few tablespoons of the herb mixture under the skin as far back as you can reach. Rub the remaining mixture all over the bird. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Put orange, apple, onion chunks, and herb sprigs in the stuffing cavity. Cover wing tips with small pieces of foil. Roast for 10 minutes. Tent foil loosely over the top of the turkey and reduce heat to 325° and continue roasting for about 3 1/2 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°.
Serves 8

Roasting times are for a preheated 325 degrees F. oven.

Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours


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Holiday Traditions

Make a Wish!

Does your family fight over the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey? Known as a “lucky break” the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl’s bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying “wish” dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.


Jim Samuels

This Thanksgiving is gonna be a special one. My mom says I don’t have to sit at the card table.  YEH!!!