Friday, February 26, 2016

Sitting here alone again

Why must I have to sit? I still want to do things.

I just posted on a TPT forum just to see if I get ANY visitors.

I sit here alone and just dream of my days teaching middle school and working each day with my students and mentoring student teachers. I miss those days. Now I spend my days TRYING to email my former fellow teachers but none seem to have time for me  anymore. Retired and off the screen so to speak.

A lot of them have retired themselves and I never hear from them. The ones who are still teaching just forgot about me I guess. Three years retired and I guess I just don't matter anymore.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why even take history?


Facts, subjects and themes are important. But ask me whether our students must have a particular historical fact set about our state, country—or others, for that matter—and my answer will be that we are asking the wrong question. To frame the efficacy of history in terms of facts remembered and test scores achieved misses what is valuable about historical study. The value of history is as much in its process as it is in its outcomes.

Test scores do not make or break you as a historian.

The process of historical inquiry—and what it teaches students along the way—is history’s greatest reward. Studying history teaches that society is not stagnant. Studying history teaches us to question how and why things change, who drives those changes, whose interests are served by them and who gets left out of the equation. History teaches that human actions have consequences.

Analysis of past events teaches students to ask probing questions, challenge preconceived assumptions and to recognize that humans have the capacity to be both very, very good and very, very cruel.

Analyzing historic documents teaches us to be careful readers. To be skeptical of one side of the story. To be aware of our own biases. Most critically, history teaches us who we are. I am a Scot-Irish, a Texan, a citizen of the United States, teaching Louisiana history and loving it. These identities mean nothing without a historical backdrop to set them against. “We swim in the past as fish do in water,” wrote historian Eric Hobsbawm. “We cannot escape from it.”

Our students may not go on to all be historians, or even remember the hundreds of facts they learn in a given year. But through history they can become more disciplined and rigorous thinkers. They can be challenged to be more independent-minded analysts, and, I would argue, more compassionate human beings—skills that historical study inculcates and that lead directly to life and career success.

The best reason to study history is not to memorize facts, but rather to experience the historical process and learn to interpret facts in a thoughtful, independent and meaningful manner. If we are to continue to foster national greatness and prepare students to independently assess an increasingly complex world, we should continue to promote such thinking.

The debates and headlines too often miss these nuances—which is why I’ve suggested that history take a cue from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and invest in what I’ve termed “History Communicators.”

On the surface, history may seem less in need of such help than, say, physics. But we should not assume that history needs no help communicating itself. I am currently working with writers, scholars, journalists, student teachers, mentors and public historians—to convene a series of workshops and develop teaching new ways to communicate history and historical concepts to non-experts.

Through these and similar efforts we historians have an opportunity to better espouse history’s value and ensure we don’t fall behind in producing outstanding, independent thinkers who have the confidence to draw their own conclusions. The current concerns over history curricula may be opportunities to voice that message more clearly.

I believe that we must not be afraid to separate history from myth, fact from fantasy. Perhaps the best reason to study history is to understand what humans are capable of doing to one another—and how we have the capacity to correct such injustices. That is a valuable lesson for any student, this back-to-school season and beyond.


I did a number of FREEBIES yesterday to upload on TPT. They generally look like these...
Plus I have many more just to maybe build up a following.
I have just been reading a blog about being consistent if you are blogging. I would be if anyone cared.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bucket List 101

You got it. I need to have a "Bucket List" before I kick the bucket or get to old to do anything. Due to my medical problem and my lack of funds I need to make my list NOW before it get even more TOO late. May of the things I have wanted to do are pretty much out of reach so here goes - my Top Ten Bucket List....

1. I want to win the PCH $5,000 a week for life contest.
2. I want to stop going to the bathroom every 2 hours at night.
3. I want to sleep well every night.
4. I want to sell even more on TPT.
5. I want my health to get better, allowing me to do more.
6. I want to walk better and more which means my 'drop foot' gets better.
7. I want to be able to spend more quality time with my GD.
8. I want to live to be in my 90s like my dad and FIL - that is at least 27 years.
9. I want to keep this blog up til I am at least 90+.
10. I want to leave room for anything I have not thought of.

You noticed I did not say a thing about getting back to teaching/coaching/umpiring. I have mentally give those up.

While I am thinking about MY bucket list I am still working on items for my TPT store such as...
It keeps me active doing something that works my brain.
Now back to my bucket list - lets see.... 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blogging too

You never know what's going to hit you, when inspiration is gonna strike, or when it is going to hit. You just have to be ready. It is kind of like it was when this blog struck me. It came out of the blue, the words "life-long learner". I know what it means but it still baffles me.

I LOVE the fact that I can and do still teach students and teachers something new almost EVERY day, it is so cool.

I tend to watch TV and think, "Why didn't they say that?" I was watching a Civil War 360 today and thought about the Confederate money they were showing and describing - the host was from Louisiana, and he never even said anything. I have taught this for years. The 'term Dixie comes from Louisiana's own $10 note - a Dix in French'. It was the amount paid for cotton back in the 1850s and 60s. The Dix - or Dixies - lead to the song.

There are just so many strange topics that come to mind as I sit here "retired". I still want to teach. I want to offer my knowledge to the students. I want to offer them a few 'tidbits' to help them in their life-long journey.

Finished another TPT item for my online store:

Monday, February 15, 2016


I spent my morning flipping through tons of blogs but most of them came up being elementary. However, I did find a few middle school blogs such as and . I did find a few very interesting elementary ones also such as  and

I did get the dog out for his business before it began to rain so that was good.

I also slept pretty good last night and my cat let me sleep til about 6:45 anyway.

I began my day pulling MORNING BUS DUTY/MORNING DUTY/'LUNCHROOM' DUTY/HALL DUTY all before class even begins. Then I told to take roll/collect money/takes for this/that item all within 15 minutes before class starts. Then I also have to wait that child or children who is late and also have to deal when that student/students who misbehaves. After that I can finally start my lesson when the announcement's come on and disrupts my teaching. Finally my 60 minutes lesson is cut down to less than 40 minutes. I have to have my 'bell-ringer', my Do Now activity, my quick review of yesterday's work, my 'opening' questions, and my limited material for today, plus finish with my 'exit ticket', BEFORE the bell rings – PLUS I have to be at my door to 'monitor the hallway' between class while watching my own class and student behavior inside my classroom.

 Now I get to 'teach a class without all the interruptions – I hope/think/pray for. It has NEVER happened – but at least I can hope anyway. During this hour SOMEONE will get me off track and ask some question that will not allow me to get to my 'exit ticket', BEFORE the bell rings. I WON'T get to monitor the hall either. This hour I have to talk to a student who missed their assignment/who does not understand what we just talked about/needs something extra.

 Now the next class is entering before the last class is out the door. Suddenly I don't get to totally do my 'bell-ringer', my Do Now activity, my quick review of yesterday's work, my 'opening' questions, before the questions start. By the time the lesson REALLY starts – if at all – I have less than 20 minutes to mentally 'revise' my lesson and change what I have planned on the fly. And I know I HAVE to get to the door and monitor the hallway BEFORE someone complains that I'm not doing my job.

By the time I done with 'monitoring' I have a very few minutes for my 'planning time'. Time to grade papers/run copies/take money to the office/meet with student(s)/go to bathroom etc. All before I have to monitor the hall again – before LUNCH DUTY.

LUNCH DUTY consists of standing and watching students on the pavilion after lunch or after they don't eat lunch. Its 30 minutes of hell just being the prison warden. I have to hang there till they all leave to back to class – there is NO door monitoring this time. I'm just glad to get back to my class with my classroom in one piece.

This hour starts with NO bell-ringer, no Do Now, barely any review of yesterday's assignment. I spend time just TRYING to settle them down from after lunch and/or lunch recess. I MAY get 15 minutes of lesson in IF I'm lucky before I have to get back to the door and pull hall duty.

Finally, last hour, I generally get to my 'bell-ringer', my Do Now activity, my quick review of yesterday's work, and my 'opening' questions. But I don't get much done in the way of the lesson since I NEVER know how long afternoon announcements will take – they may be brief or very long. I NEVER get to my exit tickets.

When the bell rings I have to rush the students out so I can pull afterschool duty/bus duty etc. bus duty alone is general 30-40 minutes but at least I get out of the faculty meeting – if I'm lucky.

Finally I get to stop and do all the things I SHOULD HAVE/FORGOT TO do during the day. Go home on time is NOT and option. I generally get CHASED out of school by the custodian locking up.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Alone again

It seems like I am alone most days. Only because I can't seem to work, can't/don't want to be driven around.

Been spending my morning looking through, researching, and creating items for my TPT account for Louisiana's Women's month/Music month.

Friday, February 12, 2016


AZO is a WASTE of money. And I don't mind telling EVERYONE I meet. I even posted this on their website. $25 down the tube. They just DON'T work at all.

54 pills later and NOTHING. 49 cents a pill and NOTHING!

Last night was the worst - getting up every hour to go to the bathroom. Luckily I went back to sleep super quick each time.

I got up, saw my granddaughter off to school, and read the paper, ate my oatmeal and posted here.

Now I have to go walk the dog.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

90th BD

Wow. What a number. 90 great years. My wife's dad just hit 90 years old and he is still in good health. He is having a few mental issues. But who doesn't. I'm 60+ and are having a few issues, my wife is a year older than me and is having a few issues. 90 looks pretty good to me. My own dad hit 92 before he passed away and he was still fairly sharp.

We took him out for lunch today, along with my sister-in-law. We all had a good meal and great conversation. Not bad for four OLD people.

I just mailed off a form so that the state can refund my money they have been holding for years. I'm not sure what the problem is since we have been living at the SAME ADDRESS for over 40 years. The tax refunds all have our address so what is the problem?

It is not a HUGE amount but it is still a REFUND. I had to email them four times before they FINALLY sent me the forms, highlighted to get MY money. One refund goes back to the days when I was in college - pre-1990, one refund is from a bank overage from pre-1991, and the other is a refund from a tax from pre-1980.

All the addresses are the same - OUR ADDRESS - so what's the holdup? The state of Louisiana just want's to keep MY money I guess.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Out in the warmth

Sitting outside in the sunshine is really nice when you can get it in February. it has been sort of cold the last several weeks but now it is nice. The weatherman calls for a couple of nice days before the next cold front slides through.

I can hardly see my laptop curser while sitting out here on the front porch. I have the screen in the shade but the sun is just to bright. I'm watching my cat chase birds. He will NEVER catch them but he does like chasing them.

I have been by myself all day. My wife went to my granddaughters school mass this morning then to lunch we her, afterwards she went to her dad's house where she has been hanging out with her sister who is in from Fort Worth.

The day has not been bad - just QUITE. The dog and cats don't talk but they do require a good bit of attention. They either want in or out most of the day.

I have sat on the porch, walked the dog, surfed the internet, texted my sister, had lunch and supper, and read part of a book.

Ash Wednesday

Friday, February 5, 2016

Glad I go back to sleep quickly

No matter how many times I get up each night, I go back to sleep VERY quickly. My use of AZO seems not to be working yet and I am getting disappointed in the product. I was first disappointed in the price, which cost me over $25 for 54 pills. But I'm sticking with the program for now.

I did "sleep" well last night - that means it could have been much worse but I did sleep from 9:30 to 7, and only got up twice during the night. I can live with that for now.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Night before last was bad but I got through it just the same. I was up every two hours it seems, then when I got back to bed I was out in just a couple of minutes.  I am waiting on AZO to kick in in a day or two and then maybe...

Last night was better but not great but better. Once I got up to put the cat out of the bedroom, I went back to sleep and did not wake up or get up till nearly 8AM. That was good or 'gooder'.

Today I spent the day walking the dog, chasing the cats around, and watching TV, checking emails.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


It wasn't a great night last night but not a bad one either. My AZO product did not work -

but it was not supposed to. The box said to take it 3 times a day for two weeks and I JUST got started. Here's hoping it will work in the long run.

I have been searching Pinerest for ideas that I can turn into history worksheet items. I spent the morning looking through school webpages for teacher friends who I can 'steal' from because they NEVER send me we stuff I ask for.

I ended up fixing a second bowl of oatmeal this morning just because I was hungry. Now I going to go wake up the dog and take him out for his "business trip" then come in and feed him.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Still plugging away

I still plugging away at much of nothing but I am still uploading simple items to my TPT store.

I know I will never make a killing but it's something at least. Today I will be staring more uploads in US history and World history which over time will help make a few more bucks.

Last day of first month of 2016/first day on new month

It is the LAST day of FIRST month of 2016.

I'm glad its over but sad to see it come. There are many, many bad things about this day. First, it means I'm getting OLDER and that's really sad.

Second, it means one day closer to the end which is scary. I have always known the day was coming but now it FEELS closer. The nights have been more unusual in that I'm up every couple of hours but than again I'm asleep again like normal. I think I gonna try...

just to see if any of them work for me. One more pill in my pill box.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Now it is day one of the NEW month. I had a great sleep last night. Up only once and woke up at 7AM and ready to go.