Jedi Recommends Smooches

This blog is also about balance.  The work + play balance.
Thus, today we move away from educational topics to talk more lifestyle ones.

About a month ago, our favorite dog food company, Honest Kitchen, asked if any bloggers wanted to try some products and then blog about them.  I raised my virtual hand instantly and was chosen (Yay!).

Jedi does love Honest Kitchen, but this time we wanted to try some products that he had not tried before.

The first product he tried was called Smooches.  Though the name of the dog treat is uber-cute, the shape is even cuter.  Plus, Lil O's little kid hands are pretty cute, too - unbiased opinion, of course.

The eye-catching packaging of Smooches adds to its cuteness.  Every product Honest Kitchen makes is packaged creatively, in my design opinion.  And since I am a faux designer, I do have an opinion on things like this.

Apparently, the smell of the Smooches comes through the box.  Jedi was instantly intrigued and curious.  When I read the ingredients, I understood why.  The Smooches are made of all "real" food ingredients - no fillers, weird preservatives or pseudo-food-names I cannot pronounce.

As a dog mom, I am constantly taking moments here and there to train Jedi.  Here Jedi is trying to ignore the Smooch in front of him - probably because I am making him "leave it."  I love how he decided not to make eye contact with the Smooch.

As soon as I said, "free," Jedi went right for the Smooch.  We did this training session about five more times as I decided it would be best to ration the Smooches for the next few days.  I'm sure if Jedi was in charge of his training and treat-giving, the Smooches would have been gone that day.

But, we saved a few and he devoured every. single. one. of. them.  


The Smooches were gone a week later.  

However, sneaky me took a few of the Smooches and hid them for Jedi and his brother's reunion.  Yep, after a year of being a part, Jedi reunited with his dog brother, Didg.  There are so many details for that post, but let's just say, the two brothers enjoyed a few Smooches that day along with a ton of playtime and off-leash hiking.

Thanks, Honest Kitchen, for letting Jedi try a new product.  Soon, Jedi will try the Ice Pups and Wishes that were also sent.  By the way, the Ice Pups come in the coolest tin can with a pop-on lid.  The crafter in me is scheming how I will upcycle that can.

...I just love the attention to detail, creativity and lovely goodness for sweet Jedi.



Bloom's Taxonomy, Your New BFF {for Tech Tuesday}

SPECIAL NOTE:  If you aren't an educator, today's Tech Tuesday might not interest you :)

Educators and students, you can thank me later.  Yep, today's Tech Tuesday is going to be your new be fri.  

We all know Bloom's Taxonomy and use it.  Why not embrace this awesome, free, online, interactive version of Bloom's?  I love the name, too.  The New Differentiator.

Mr. Byrd and Mr. Bloom, my hat tips to both of you.

And since I am already anticipating the thank yous.  Dr. G and Professor SM, you are welcome!  This is the perfect resource to use in your assessment classes.

See, I have your back, educators and students.....



Bicycle Analogy

As you already know, Team Upcycled Education - the cycling team - is due to roll out late spring.  Sue, my life coach (have I mentioned how much I adore having a life coach?) is partnering with the team as a sponsor.  Yay!

Sue wrote a lovely blog post about coming full circle, getting involved with the team, and comparing a bicycle to life.  Yep, a bicycle analogy.  Does it get any better?

See for yourself here.



Alfie Kohn and Progressive Education

If you've been an Upcycled Education reader for a while, you know I adore Alfie Kohn as evidenced by this post here.

Why, you ask?  Just look at his passion.  It exudes from every cell of his body.

The City Neighbors Foundation Progressive Education Summit, Baltimore, MD 2013

Further, Alfie (if I may be so informal) is brilliant, well-read, timely, and unafraid.  When he speaks, his statements eloquently fly from his mouth and make history on the spot.  Case in point:  Professor KP's favorite quote from a recent City Neighbors Foundation Progressive Education Summit we attended.

What?  Alfie, did you just say something that powerful and meaningful?  Are you talking to me?

Well, almost.  Look at how close Professor KP and I were to Alfie at the Summit.

The entire audience could feel his passion and energy.  Even Amy and her husband from HOPE agreed and were wowed.

Alfie spoke mostly about progressive schools.  In progressive schools, students partake in not only hands-on learning, but minds-on learning.  Progressive schools tend to be project- and inquiry-based, extremely collaborative and community-connected, and take great care in educating the whole child.  Of course, progressive teachers need to teach differently. I love this quote from Alfie as it speaks to the role of a progressive teacher. And yes, this quote flew from his mouth like pure magic.

If you haven't familiarized yourself with Alfie and his work, visit his website here.  Then, do yourself a favor and read one of his books.  My personal favorite is his parenting book, Unconditional Parenting. It 100% applies to teaching, too!

All the best,


PS - Big thank you to Amy from HOPE for spotting the summit and sharing it with me.  Another big thank you to the City Neighbors Foundation for putting on such an inspiring event.  And one last thank you to my date, Professor KP.  

PSS - I wanted to leave you with one more amazing, Alfie quote....

Pantone's Spring Color Line 2013

You know how I like to change Upcycled's colors to celebrate Pantone's color lines for each season.

What do you think - change the colors now or wait a bit for a possible summer palette?  By the way, according to Inc. magazine (Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013), Monaco Blue is "thee" color for spring 2013.

Do you agree?


Favorite Fonts @ PicMonkey {for Tech Tuesday}

Do I need to say more?  

Click here to read the original post about PicMonkey as a lovely {free} alternative to Photoshop.

I just LOVE the new Amatic Small Caps font, don't you?



Life Updated: Winter Edition

I told 2013 I was coming for it and I really am....
  • Busy and sooooo elated to get Team Upcycled Education together.  Did you apply to be on the cycling team?  If not, do so here.
  • All good cycling teams have sponsors.  The sponsor line-up is almost complete -  wait until you see the amazing sponsors.  Woot, woot!  
  • If I had a dime for every winter hike and run I take lately, I would have an entire dollar!  Ha! Finally, the mid-Atlantic region is getting snow.  
  • I've got one word for you...Annie.  Do you know where I'm going soon?  Lil O is thrilled.
  • I updated the post about Lil O's first job offer.  The updates are listed at the top.
  • Pinch me.  I have another amazing group of college students this semester.  Education will change for the better - you mark my word!
  • The other day I was running down the driveway to pick-up Lil O and her friends at school.  I heard another mom say, "I want her energy," meaning me.  Yep, I feel energized and ready to conquer my dreams....all lined up in their queue.
  • Mr. UpCyclist had a birthday recently.  I think he is getting more handsome each year.  (I would put a photo of him in this blog post, but I think it might embarrass him).  However, you can see a photo of him here on Instagram.  My sneaky way of gettting around that.....
  • Our family is in week seven of family ice skating lessons.  I am tapping into my old rollerskating skills.
  • We have connected with Jedi's brothers who were also adopted. We are planning a reunion.  I wonder if Jedi will remember them.   Hmmm.....

What are you up to, Upcyclists?


Pinning with Purpose

Today, I've borrowed the name from a Pinterest class I took on Skillshare and I am sharing my students' curated, special education pinboards with my colleagues.  Since you may not work at my college and attend the workshop, here are the links I plan to share at the workshop....

Did you know you can tell a story with your pins?  See this unique story here.
If you have more links or helpful articles, please share.
My best,

The Little Things Make Me Happy

I mean really.  Can't a paper clip bring a girl joy?

It's the little things..... one silver paper clip + pink polka-dot washi tape = happiness

Smiling on this Monday,

How I Blog

I thought I would start a new series, How I Blog, to share some of the things I've learned about blogging over the past two years.  Yes, it has been two years since the birth of Upcycled Education.  Our toddler is growing.

Since my personal calendar dictates my life, I thought I'd start with the topic of when I post.

There used to be a predictable formula to my weekly posts.  Tuesdays were Tech Tuesdays.  Wednesdays were bonus Wednesdays.  Thursdays were Theories on Thursdays and the weekend - usually Saturday - was reserved for a Craftucation Nation post.  However, I started to feel guilty and a bit stressed if I didn't live up to that schedule.

Susan from Crafterhours - who is not only a blog mentor of mine, but a girlfriend - advised me to ditch my formula and blog when I felt like it.  Ahhh...that made all the difference in the world.

Now, I blog when I want to - though, I still like the alliteration of Tech Tuesdays.

I generally use a paper calendar - like the one above from Paper Source (thanks, Mom!) - to keep track of current and future blog posts.  Most blog posts I write days or weeks in advance.  There are only a few posts I write that day or that morning.  Since I use the Blogger platform to blog, I simply write a blog post and choose a date and time to release it.  Right now, I am all blogged up for two weeks!  Though, you never know....I might throw in an extra post or switch days/times around if something feels more urgent.

I know some bloggers who write a blog post and release it immediately.  Not me.  I like to write my posts, revisit them, schedule their release times, reread the posts one or two more times and then, the blog posts go live on their scheduled days & times.  I am glad I reread my posts several times.  I always find errors in them - mainly in spelling.  Ugh.  I need an editor.

And if you are wondering what time I like to release the posts...4am.  Yep, I like to give our early-bird Upcyclists something to read over their tea or coffee in the morning.

What about you?  Do you blog?  What is your post schedule like or lack thereof?


Turn and Talk

Over this past weekend, I attended a local progressive education conference.  One of the workshop leaders used the Turn and Talk strategy instead of a traditional Think, Pair, Share.  I liked two things about Turn and Talk.

1.  The alliteration.  I am a sucker for that literature concept brought to life.

2.  I sometimes like to just start talking about a concept or lesson with someone else.  I don't always want (or need) to reflect on it first by myself.

Plus, I would say I am a bit of an expert on Turn and Trader Joe's, waiting in line at the post office, at Joann's as my fabric is being cut....Ha!


Join Team Upcycled Education! Applications are NOW OPEN!

UPDATE:  We are no longer taking applications for the team.  

Check back next year in January 2014 to apply.

Want to be considered for UpCYCLED Education's Cycling Team?  Fill out the application below or link to it here. Team riders will be announced in Spring 2013.  Woot, woot!