teaching tools

Rosalind Franklin, chemist and X-ray crystallographer is next in my Women in Science Series. Often overlooked for her contributions to discovering the structure of DNA, she should have been awarded a Nobel Prize.

You can get one here:


Something Super Cool Just Turned Up in Your Digital Toolbox
The Smithsonian unveils a game-changing online tool designed to empower anyone to discover and use digital museum resources
By Darren Milligan

We’ve just launched an online tool to put more than 1 million digital resources at your fingertips. 

Learning Lab is designed for teachers and students, but it’s open to anyone to explore everything from botany specimens to blog posts, to customize personal collections, and to build on each others’ work with notes and education tools in a collaborative community. 

Discover, create and share at learninglab.si.edu.


This flower anatomy print makes a great gift for any botanist or garden enthusiast! Even if you don’t have a green thumb you can hang this little plant up instead. Print by Rachel Ignotofsky

Buy your own flower here at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/176262628/the-anatomy-of-a-flower-art-print?ref=shop_home_active_7

Business Spotlight: The Simple Gypsy Shop

Business Spotlight: The Simple Gypsy Shop

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The Simple Gypsy Shop Business Spotlight How would you describe your business? Romani Gypsy Spells and Treasures Store How long have you you been working in this field, and what sort of any of training have you had? There is no training in my field, as each of us are ancestral bond to pass down from generation to generation; the skills that I have been taught, have lasted thousands of years. We…

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Teaching Tips #1 - Students Turning in Their Work

I’ve noticed that many of my followers are teachers, so I’ve decided to start publishing tips every now and then that might help other teachers in their classroom.  For some of you, they might just be, “Of course, I’ve been doing that for years,” but for some of you that are newer to the teaching profession, I hope you find them helpful.

1.  When students turned in their final debate essay (speech), I had them write me a letter.  I called it a “love letter” at first just to catch their attention, but it was really a reflection letter.  They had to answer the following questions:  1)  What did you struggle with the most during this unit?  2)  What are you most proud of?  3)  What did you learn during this unit?  4)  What would you change about this unit?  

I attached the letters to the front of their final copy, and the letters helped tremendously.  I wanted to really pay attention to what they were proud of, and I wanted to make sure I took note about what they struggled with, in case they needed further lessons on it.

2.  I had them create a “key” with colored pencils, and they underlined certain parts of their paper.  They had to underline their thesis, arguments, counter, in-text citing, and transitions.  The color-coding definitely helped with the grading.

3.  I ran off the rubric on both sides of the paper, so that they could grade themselves before I graded the essay.  If we highly disagreed on a grade, I could make sure to write a lot of comments about that one area on their paper, or I set up an appointment with them to meet with them one-on-one at a later date.

4.  I am giving them their paper back before they give their debate speech in Social Studies.  FOR ONCE, I feel like they might use my comments to make their paper/speech better the second time around.

5.  My students and I figured out that these papers will have taken me about 40 hours of grading by the time I am done.  I am giving them a lot of feedback this time.  I  wrote more comments about what they did well, though, instead of always writing what needs fixing.  I don’t have a good tip of how to shorten my grading time, though.  Any takers?

Finally finished my plant anatomy series. These three art make a great gift for any botanist or gardening enthusiast. check out the deal for all three at my shop:


It’s the first day of school for most kids in the United States, and so a good time to highlight the resources the Digital Public Library of America has ready and waiting for students and teachers this school year.

Just like kids, DPLA spent the summer growing and maturing, adding new partners, new staff, and over a half-million items along the way. And we’ve been thinking a lot about how we can be most helpful in the classroom; this fall we will be talking to many educators from K-12 through college to get their advice.

Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to tell a teacher or student this week about some of DPLA’s handy features, a few of which are sketched out in this post from DPLA Executive Director Dan Cohen

Image credit: Detail of “Catherine M. Rooney, 6th grade teacher instructs her alert pupils on the way and how of War Ration Book Two,” circa 1943. Courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration (view original record).

New Teacher Book Giveaway: Open til July 13th

I was looking through my personal library and stumbled upon these two books:

I bought them during my teacher credential program and they served me well in giving me some basic tips on how to set up my classroom and basic management. I no longer have any use for them and have decided to pass them onto anyone who wants them.

They are slightly used but still in good condition and free to those that want them. 

I’ve set up a basic google form to fill out and after July 13th, I’ll use random.org to choose two winners.

If you’re interested in having one of these two books, please fill out the form by clicking the link below:


I am doing a deal on these two art prints until Valentine’s day! Usually you need to chose between your heart and your head (metaphorically) but why not have both (and save a bit of $$)

Get them here at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/177480999/valentines-heart-and-brain-anatomy?ref=shop_home_active_1


For me, the best thing is visibility - to continue to see things that break our ideas or assumptions about what’s possible or not possible for different races of people. T.V. is such a great teaching tool, because when you have, for example, a medical show where the chief of surgery is a black man - and that’s just the norm - or have a law show where the show is about this black woman who can be complicated and dangerous and sexy and isn’t just some caricature, then that helps to open people’s minds. But one thing that we need for sure is more people behind the scenes that are people of color, helping to make decisions and create the work so that we can get an array of all these different aspects of life, instead of one look at one particular side of life from one particular perspective.

Hey I’m making a thing

So I thought “hey, Rhythm Heaven might be a good teaching tool to teach people about music theory” and then I got to making videos. I made the first two over the past couple days, and I hope you like them! Whether you understand music or not, I’m trying to start as simple as possible and work my way from there.

I break down each game with the rhythms they use, and give a short lesson in each one.

The audio in the first video is a little inconsistent but I figured it out by the second.

A Handy Infographic Featuring 10 Things Every Teacher Should be Able to Do on Google Classroom

A Handy Infographic Featuring 10 Things Every Teacher Should be Able to Do on Google Classroom

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Here is a handy infographic we have been working on over the last few days. The visual features 10 of what we believe are basic things every teacher should be able to do on Google Classroom. Instructions included are only for Classroom on the web, check out Google Classroom Help to learn more about how to use these features on mobile devices. We hope you like the infographic and share with your…

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My 4 year old Niece is having a really hard time concentrating on learning her numbers. She can only get to 4 with flash cards, no matter how her mom tries to teach her the other numbers. BUT she can name every cutie mark of every FIM pony, so i got an Idea…  

These are her new ‘number ponies.’