The Next Page Entry 26: Field trip, a look back

The Next Page Entry 26: Field trip, a look back

girl holding dandelionThe good:
1. Kids loved taking turns at the head of the line AND following my safety instructions. I think they liked feeling the power of the ‘raised flag’ [our signal to stop].

2. Only two kids complained about the ‘long walk’ to the park.

3. The wearing of the gloves– perfect for  a. picking up litter along the way and at the park.   b. pulling back bush branches in their search for colors in nature

4. The diligence in sketching.

5. The cameras: Pics of—

  • artifacts [rocks, plants] that needed to be left where they were found,
  • their adopted trees,
  • their designated study areas for seasonal comparisons,
  • their work groups -they learned how to use the timer function [and taught me]

The not-so-good: The messages awaiting me when I returned. 1. From parents of student I had to leave with Mr. Taylor.  2. From Mrs. Nix.

The Next Page Entry 25: Some intriguing online content…

The Next Page Entry 25: Some intriguing online content…

So, ramping up my tech skills can be a dangerous thing. I’m actually spending time online looking for inspiration and ideas. Mission accomplished…but nestled amidst the creative stuff are interesting comments by other teachers…


“I love my kids, but I’m run-down by the constant documentation and data-drivel I’m expected to produce.”


“We are expected to be eloquent and expansive, but tongue-tied and even muted when it comes to the current system’s problems and challenge.”

The Next Page Entry 23: Overheard in the staff room

The Next Page Entry 23: Overheard in the staff room

“It’s a beautiful day! One filled with sunshine…a temptation to escape to the beach.”

“Ah yes, the ‘other’ white meat…cafeteria hot dogs.”

“The best way to teach angles? Take aerial photos of us walking in from lunch after I’ve asked them to form a straight line.”

“I know I’m off by about four months, but I could really go for a box of Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts.”

Your virtual teaching assistant…

Your virtual teaching assistant…

hands keyboarding on a laptop computer
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my last 12 years in schools supporting teachers’ work with instructional technology.
Fun and rewarding.

As a classroom teacher for 22 years, I knew the challenges and time constraints teachers faced and I wanted to bridge some of those gaps.

Plus, it opened up some avenues for creating my own content to help them out.

So, why not see if I can help teachers from my home?

And under the watchful eye of my own teaching assistant…

Here is my FIVERR gig page where I offer my services.

I am offering to:

— create curate-compile-and-post digital resources, photo libraries [public domain/copyright-free]

— write and publish short ebooks

— create short tutorial videos, including tools such as the iOS Clips app and Doodly. (Scroll about 2/3 down the page for samples.]

— include art lessons/sample projects offered by my wife, an art teacher in the local school district

— produce digital content tailored for a specific audience [i.e. your students]
— — — slide decks [PowerPoint/Google Slides]
— — — creativity-based activity guides that you can reuse/customize for your topics of choice.
— — — concept lists [i.e. brainstorming lists] Here is screenshot of about 5% of what I usually generate.
— — — end-of-unit culmination collections of your students’ content. [No student names, please. If they slip through, I promise privacy and confidentiality.]

The Next Page Entry 22: Cooling Off Room 36

The Next Page Entry 22: Cooling Off Room 36

Mr. Taylor: Ms. Page, what’s with the fridge tucked away in the corner?

Ms. Page: Is it that obvious? 

Mr. Taylor: I’d say draping a rainbow-colored towel over the thing doesn’t exactly hide it.

Ms. Page: Yeah, I guess I should go for funeral-gray, shouldn’t I?

Mr. Taylor: So, a fridge?

Ms. Page: Here’s the deal. Last week, Max came in after lunch recess with a nasty bump on his elbow. He was in pain and you could almost hear the fluid and white blood cells rushing to the bump.

Mr. Taylor: Well, as long as you’re not exaggerating…

Ms. Page: Okay, okay. But it was swelling up and I sent him to the office with Jeremy and, like I said, he was in pain. And 15 minutes later, he came back with the typical sandwich bag of ice. And I figured, we’re so far away from the office, why don’t I just keep my own ice blocks ready for something like this? So I wheeled one in over the weekend.

Mr. Taylor: Whoa, whoa, I’m still stuck on your sending Jeremy with Max. Wasn’t Max already in enough pain?

Ms. Page: Just an experiment. I’m thinking Jeremy just needs a few responsibilities to distract him from his bullying.

Mr. Taylor: Orrrr, you’re opening up another opportunity for him to torment a kid.

Ms. Page: Just give me time. Besides, I thought you were interested in the fridge.

Mr. Taylor: Okay, back to the fridge. Can I keep some stuff in it?

Ms. Page: Of course, but it’ll cost you.

Mr. Taylor: No way! 

Ms. Page: Just kidding, but I did send the district $50 to pay for Frieda’s estimated electricity costs.

Mr. Taylor: Frieda? You named your fridge?

Ms. Page: What can I say? I’m already attached to it. Besides, I have a whole ‘states of matter’ science unit planned where the fridge will be really helpful.

Mr. Taylor: So you sent the cash straight to the district office. Aren’t you going over the boss’s head a little bit?

Ms. Page: You know how that goes…better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? And I’m not sure it will reflect well on her if I ask the district office for my money back because my administrator wants the fridge removed.

Mr. Taylor: You’re just evil. 

Ms. Page: I prefer the word ‘resourceful’, thank you. And, if you’re interested, there might be some juice bars available after school on Friday.

Mr. Taylor: Okay, now you’re not even playing fair.

For the first 20 entries to this writing project, click here.

The Next Page Entry 21: 10-Minute Field Trips

The Next Page Entry 21: 10-Minute Field Trips

boy with cameraSo, here I sit at the end of a Monday.

New policy: Do something entirely new each Monday so I have something to look forward to on what used to be my least favorite day of the work week. Today, we took a 10-minute field trip.

Mrs. Nix is gone through Wednesday so I’m taking liberties with the schedule. It’s entirely possible she has a staff member [or three] keeping an eye out for scofflaws like me. Or am I just being paranoid?

No matter.

So, 10-minute field trips. Striking a blow for actual science experiences, as opposed to the current approach of ‘Hey, if what you’re reading for language arts mentions spiders or planets or the ocean, that counts as science!’.

We fanned out with our journals, rulers, and cameras and aimed to complete three mini-tasks:

  1. Find a ‘plant population’ within an area of three square feet.
  2. List five different colors in nature.
  3. Sketch one of the plants.

Goal: Build up their observational skills. Get them to sketch.

And so…I should have confined their ventures a bit. A fair amount of craziness. Decibel level higher than I’d expected, but we were out on the frontier, so not too worried. Got my exercise for the day. Haven’t seen the photos yet. Mr. Taylor and his kids took a break to watch us. A decent first step toward our trip to the park.

For the first 20 entries to this writing project, click here.