Friday Favorites and Great Gadgets!

Hello there!  I need and want to get back to blogging!  I am already making a New Year's Resolution as well as getting ready for the holidays!

Today I am linking up with Momfessionals and A Little Bit of Everything for:

The BEST News:  We adopted a new dog!

Here is my old dog, Gabi:  

After having Gabi the Dog for over 14 years and losing her in July, I was lonely and lazy.  Who wants to walk after supper in the dark when it gets cold?  Not me!  Who wants to come home to an empty house with no one to greet you with sheer happiness and love?  Not me!  

While browsing Facebook, a local dog rescue popped up:  Gal's Best Pal.  They were having an adoption Meet and Greet.  I convinced my husband, who definitely did NOT want another dog, to come.  That's where we met Truffles from Texas!  She is 3 to 4 years old and was found on the streets of Houston.

Cold Weather = Your tires need air!

Has this every happened to you?  It always happens when I'm on my way to school; when I do NOT want to go to the gas station to fill up my tires; when I need to track down 5 or 6 quarters,...  It is just an annoyance.  As soon as I saw this gadget, I put it directly in my Amazon cart:

Click on the picture to check this out on Amazon!

I am hoping to get good use out of this exciting gadget.  If you have tried it out, please let me know in the comments!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and a will have a great week ahead!  Thank you for checking in!


What's Up Wednesday = Trying Out a New Link-Up!

Happy Summer! Today I'm linking up with Sheaffer
and Shay for a new-to-me link-up:

Sheaffer Told Me To What's Up Wednesday


My Hello Fresh Box is arriving today!  In this box, we will be having:


I get Hello Fresh one week per month.  I always pick the "Easy Prep." meals because I am not into chopping, cutting up vegetables, etc.  Actually, you check out their blog  using this link to get meal and cooking tips! 


In August, my husband and I are going to London for one week!  I know that we will have plenty to do!


I am loving this book:

Click on the image to read more at Amazon.

This book centers around a young California girl, Rosie.  Here whole family is killed, and she taken in by a wealthy couple.  The wife turns Rosie into her maid to help her develop life skills.  I am still reading the book.

What I learned from the book is that so many people with disabilities were sterilized in our country for many years.


I spend my days cleaning and organizing my house.  During the school year, I manage to let everything get disorganized so then I spend my summer sorting through the disasters I create.  This summer I hired an organizer to help declutter the basement!  It was money well spent


I am still missing my dog, Gabi!  We adopted her and had her for over 14 years until Friday, July 21st, when she crossed over.  I still look for her in the house and the front yard.

Here is Gabi when she was younger!

Thank you for checking in today!  If you have any travel tips to London for me, please leave them in the comments!  I really appreciate your visit today!


Artificial Intelligence and Teaching: #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge

Week 1: Artificial Intelligence in the form of Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT appears to threaten some educators or educational institutions. Share your perspective to the perceived threat.

*What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

For older adults (this is the politically correct term for people older than 65) or just people born before computers were in every house, AI happens when a computer thinks like a person.  Some examples include talking to "Alexa" or when a computer recognizes your face.  

*Do I think AI is a threat to education?

After Covid and the failure of virtual learning, I think AI can be helpful but in moderation.  My 3rd grade students LOVE using the computer.  In my classroom, we use the computers once a week to do IXL Math (15 minutes practice required by the district), Freckle for math fact practice, and to create Google Slide Decks.  That's it; limited screen time to approximately one hour per week.  I think school is for direct instruction and time to show what you know.  I know that once my students go home, they will spend quite a bit of time on devices.

*What AI cannot replace:

1.  Hands-on learning.

2.  Interacting with peers.

3.  Interpersonal skills.

4.  Listening to people!

5.  Ability to focus and stay on task.  

6.  Cursive.  Writing your signature is so important and so individual!

7.  Executive functioning:  keeping a desk and materials organized.

8.  How to measure and use a ruler.  I was talking to a plumber last night who explained that he needs to measure every day and convert these measurements.  His new apprentices are struggling with this skill.  

*What AI helps with:

1.  Reviewing academic skills.

2.  Finding information (so much easier than needing to go to the library to use an encyclopedia).

3.  Online meeting:  great replacement when meeting in person is not possible.

4.  Text to type.

* Some random thoughts:

1.  Last week my students were arguing a lot about unnecessary things:  "She's staring at me..."  I am truly worried about how communication skills are developing.

2.  During my review, the principals told me that I need to let my students struggle more vs. scaffolding.  "They need to learn to work for their education."  My students prefer to NOT struggle because it's too easy to get on the computer which provides the information but NOT the understanding.

 Now that I have written this post, I realize that I will stick to using computers once a week in school.  I would prefer to work on social/emotional and hands-on learning.  Plus, my students love hearing about the "old days:"  growing up in the 1960's and 1970's.  In such a short time, the world has changed dramatically in good and bad ways.  Hearing about life before technology and learning about history are interesting!


Fabulous Friday Favorites!

Happy Fantastic Friday!  Today I am delighted to link up with Momfessionals and A Little Bit of Everything for:

Spring Break Getaway Put On Hold

Our family has a 15 and a half year old black lab mutt, Gabi.  A few weeks ago, Gabi had an episode:  she collapsed and could not walk.  The next day we took her to the vet who prescribed additional painkillers and sent her home to be comfortable.  She also gave us a list of euthanasia vets.  That was one month ago.  Gabi is comfortable and eating.  However, my husband and I were so worried that her health might deteriorate that we canceled our vacation to Puerto Rico.  We got airline credits and a refund from the hotel.  The cost of canceling was $200:  $100 per ticket for one set of one way tickets from one of the airlines.

Here is the miracle dog in one of her favorite places on Earth ~ her front lawn:

First Laundry of the Season on the Clothesline!

Right before April vacation, we had two days in the 80's.  The kids were miserable:  "We need air conditioning."  Ha!  My reply:  "They don't turn on the air conditioning until Memorial Day!"  There is a reason for this in Massachusetts:  The really warm weather doesn't arrive until mid-June.

Luckily, the sun was out last week, and I was finally able to hand out my laundry:

New Outdoor Furniture!

My friend and I went to Home Sense.  Outside in front of the store, I saw this furniture set.  I asked my husband to come to the store, and he agreed that we should buy it.  It looks amazing on our new screened in porch, too!

Great Book I Am Reading

I am thoroughly enjoying this book:

This book is easy to read and delightful.  Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character.  The family home is on Pineapple Street in Brooklyn.  The mom and dad have moved to an apartment on Orange Street.  Consequently, the son and his new wife, Sasha, live in the family home.  Sasha is a "regular" person while all the other family members grew up with incredible wealth.  This book underlines that money does not equal happiness and an easy life.

Make sure to visit the link-up to check out more amazing blog posts!

As always, thank you for visiting the blog today!  I really appreciate you checking in!


Teachers on Strike: Not an Easy Experience!

Hello!  Happy Friday!  I'm happy to link up with Andrea from Momfessionals  and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything to tell you about what it's like to be on strike as a teacher in the winter in Massachusetts.

Please note:  All information in italics is from a Boston Globe article from January 30, 2023.


During the pandemic, the mayor offered the teachers a 1 percent raise on the condition that he would make it up to us at our next contract.  I bet you can guess what happened!  The Mayor, School Committee and Union sat down to negotiate for over a year:   Contract talks in Woburn have been ongoing for more than a year between the School Committee and the union, which represents about 500 teachers, nurses, teacher aides, and others.  The Union had us vote on the new contract, and the teachers rejected it.  

The biggest sticking point was the pay for paraprofessionals.  Their base pay was $22,000 per year.  Consequently, we have several opening with people choosing other districts with a base pay of $30,000 or more.

Now the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) gets involved to help resolve the contract issue.  Eventually, we started doing "rolling" work to rule:  each school has a different day to follow the contract to the letter after holding signs outside for 20 minutes. 

Several months pass quickly by with no agreement.  The Union holds a vote on whether or not to strike.  The strike began on Friday, January 27, 2023.

The Strike Begins

On Saturday we all went to the center and picketed.  Here are some students from my school and one of the moms:

Monday through Thursday, the strike continues with no resolution.  However, support from the community continues:  
Educators in Woburn were not alone in their demands during Monday’s strike as students, parents, and other community members joined them in support.

Friday arrives.  There is no resolution.  The temperatures are dangerously cold.  There is a schedule wherein each school has a 30 minute picketing session.  There was also a live press conference in front of the Boston State House.  I volunteered to go because I needed an adventure!  Here the group of teachers from my school (I'm wearing the purple hat!):

Click here to watch a news clip.

Today, Sunday, February 5, 2023, and the contracts are complete, but the Mayor wants us to reimburse the City for the expenses incurred during the strike:  $250,000.  Right now, a return to work agreement is being written and agreed upon by all.  The amount owed was "reduced" to $225,000, and the return to work and the new contract were approved.

Closing thoughts:  Striking is hard work both mentally and physically.  I really missed teaching my students.  The good news is that the paraprofessionals' new salary will be close to $28,000.  Going back to work last week was exhausting for teachers, but our students were definitely happy and full of energy! 

Make sure to check out more great blog posts here!


Happy Dr. MLK Day and Friday Favorites!

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Weekend! 

Hello!    Today I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea for:

The Pilgrims and Morning Messages

Right now we're learning about the Pilgrims (better late than never!).  I love incorporating academics into my Morning Messages.  Check it out!

MWRA = Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Our school was so lucky to have a FREE visit from the MWRA!  The kids learned about where the water comes from and where it goes after we use it.  In addition, we learned how all building are attached to a water main.  The project included drawing local building and making sure they were attached to the water main:

What Students Are Supposed To Be Learning in Social Studies

Several years ago I participated in an Atlas project for curriculum development for Social Studies.  I wrote about my experience in my Morning Message the next day:

meaning of the Pledeg of Allegiance

During the professional development, I was noting all this information my third graders were supposed to know. Last week I decided to ask this year's students about the Pledge of Allegiance.  Needless to say, we need to revisit the topic.

I'd love for you to ask your students to see what their answers are ~ especially if they're a bit older.  Next week, I'll be reviewing the Pledge of Allegiance question again!

Story Structure 

Our standards-based report card requires us to assess out students in these two areas:
*Demonstrate an understanding of story structure.
*Determine and summarize important ideas and details of a text.

Click here to get your freebie!

As always, you are the BEST for checking in and visiting the blog today!  Thank you!

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