Its a Snow-Day now what should we do?

YEAH! Snow-day!!

Of course that is our children’s first reaction. Then when they finally wake up to the day, we get,”I am bored.” Happens every time. As parents we ask “What do you want to do?” After wearing out the screens in our house and bumming around the house utter boredom quickly follows.

Here is a quick list of things to do on a snow-day: (Non-tech)

1. Make snow Ice Cream; most of the things you have in you cabinets just need fresh, clean snow from outside! Recipes are all over the internet and easy to experiment with. Here are a few.  Basic formula is:

  1. Snow- about 4 cups – make sure it is clean, don’t want yellow snow!
  2. Sugar- to taste about a cup
  3. Vanilla or cocoa- TSP
  4. Milk or cream if desired

Short video showing how to do it!


My kids wanted to add Maple syrup and wife added coffee, all turned out well

2.Conduct cold weather experiments like these. My son Griffin had tons of fun with the boiling water as seen in this video:

Or you could set up a green-house and melt frost as described here.

3. Build something cool out of the snow!

Let your child’s imagination run wild!! I even saw a snow alligator once.
4.  Books, puzzles and board games- What we did before technology. Our children can greatly benefit by being exposed to tools of the past.
5. Expose your child to crafts or your hobby. When I was a child my grandfather introduced me to coin and stamp collecting. My mother exposed me to cooking and crafts. During a snow-day spend time and share your crafts and hobbies with your child. Build or make something that allows you to make a connection with your child. A good place to start is spoonful’s website.
If all else fails, helping out with chores around the house keeps the children busy and helps them learn about shared responsibility. They can help shovel the snow, clean up room, sort through toys, and put away laundry.
Enjoy the snow-day with your children by giving them meaningful things to do. Have fun, stay warm and safe!!

Snow Day Fun!!

For most of the Midwest tomorrow is going to be a snow-day. I saw a tweet the other day about tossing boiling water up into the frigid air. I tried it with my son. Should be something you try with your child on a snow day.

Here is a video of my son doing it.

If you are still looking for ideas you could also try blowing bubbles out in the cold and watching them freeze as explained in this story: .

Have fun! Learn on the snow-day! Stay safe and warm!!

2014 Resolutions … or are they really goals?

So it is a NEW year, 2014! As tradition most people make resolutions for the new year.

What is a resolution anyway? As defined by Websters: 

  1.  the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something
  2.  an answer or solution to something
  3.  the ability of a device to show an image clearly and with a lot of detail

Usually our New Year’s resolutions don’t fit any one of these categories. Mine typically have been simple statements, based on perceived  areas of weakness to foster improvement. Examples of past resolutions have been: Exercise more, Loose weight, get organized etc.  Seems that too often these generic resolutions fail. Oliver Burkeman does a good job explaining in this Newsweek article. Resolutions in general seem like a good idea. We reflect on our weaknesses and resolve to fix them. The problem is that many resolutions are vague, give us no plan but to just change and don’t hold us accountable. Most people just give up on the forgotten resolutions by February moving on with life as they knew it. “Can’t teach and old dog new tricks!”

I resolve to give up resolutions! If we can’t keep them then why make them? Instead I am setting goals.

Defined as – something that you are trying to do or achieve.

Goals seem more focused and measurable. Instead of resolving to get in shape. A goal would be to work out 3 times per week. Goals are measurable and often don’t give individuals a sense of failure. Goals help us focus on the process of achievement not the end result. This year I am setting goals and seeing how I do. Not making resolutions that I can’t keep.

My 2014 goals:

1. Writing more meaningful blogs that reflect my teaching – Over the past year I doubled my blogs output. I noticed that many of my posts are reflective but I need to add more examples from my classroom. Sharing what is working for me and what is not. This will allow others to see what I am doing and allow me to reflect on my teaching later.

2. Collaborate with other teachers – I need to make connections for my students outside of our classroom. I plan to use technology tools to allow us to reach out and collaborate with other fantastic classes around the world. I hope next year to see blog entries about lessons that reach out into other classroom. Also stories about lesson that were shared between teachers.

3. Create more exploration lessons- Students learn my exploring ideas not by just being presented them. I need to do a better job of creating lessons that give student time to explore the standards. I have been lucky enough to see Gary Abud present on Modeling Science instruction. I hope to take the time and explore it more for my students benefit.

4. Eliminate the fear of failure in my classroom- Failure is where the growth occurs. Nobody learns by being successful. When you are successful you gain a feeling of: “I got it!, I don’t need to learn more!” I feel a vital part of this goal is a move to standards based grading. My 2015 I plan on using a system of grading that helps student focus on their failures to grow.

5. Take care of myself- I often forget about my health and well being. I need to make sure I am here for my 3 children as well as every student that walks into my classroom. I can’t give them my best if I am not healthy. Exercise is my weakness. I neglect myself often to help others. I need to dedicate time to take care of my body as well as mind. (This blog helps the mind too bad I can blog for my body as well.)     Been seeing the awesome #500in2014 challenge on Twitter and wish I could run, unfortunately my body can’t handle running, need to walk 500 miles in 2014.

Goals are written, Now I need to check back frequently, see if I measure up and adjust as needed.

Did you set 2014 resolutions/goals?

Hold yourself accountable by posting them and reflecting. Don’t be stuck in the rut of forgotten or blown resolutions by mid-year.

Here is to an awesome 2014!!