You Don’t Have to Be Busy to Make a Difference

Recently, I read an article about the top 5 regrets of the dying, as documented by a nurse in palliative care over the course of her career. The #2 regret was, “I wish I didn’t work so hard”. #4: “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. #5: “I wish that I had let myself be happier”. Both of the later can correlate as effects of the #2 regret. This past weekend, my husband shared an article with me, hoping that it would hit home (and it did!) about how “our insistence on staying busy can have damaging effects on our mental well-being: more stress, exhaustion, burnout, and an inability to focus on the present.” That article led me to another incredibly honest and candid post about “The Busy Trap”, which drew the following conclusions…

  • Life is too short to be busy.
  • Inspiration comes at idle moments.
  • We all want to matter, to be important. Communicating that we are busy makes us feel that we are meaningful, that we must matter.

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A Read Across America, Dr. Seuss WebQuest Activity

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 4.58.46 PMLast year, I created a Dr. Seuss WebQuest for my 5th Graders. Please feel free to use it to kick off Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s Birthday with your class. This activity is best for Grades 4-6. My class had a great time exploring Dr. Seuss and his books throughout this quest last year. I anticipate it will be just as big of a hit this year.

Project Idea: Students complete a WebQuest to learn more about Dr. Seuss and his books. They then use this to inspire them to create their own Dr. Suess characters. This WebQuest is motivating to students as it allows students to explore and learn at their own pace.


  • Students will use online resources to learn about Theodor Seuss Geisel, the writer, poet and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss.
  • Students will explore books written by Dr. Seuss, discovering new books and reflecting on personal favorites.
  • Students will create their own imaginative Dr. Seuss inspired character.
  • Students exercise technology skills to compile learned information in a Microsoft Word document. Students will: create a bulleted list, insert a table, use shading to fill table background, use text alignment tools and insert headers.

In Dr. Suess’s words, “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” (From: Oh, the Places You’ll Go) – Click HERE to view and begin my Dr. Seuss WebQuest.

I use the Dr. Seuss inspired characters created by students for another activity that I will post about later.

About Read Across America Day – March 2nd is National Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. In elementary schools, this day (or a portion of this day) is set aside to celebrate reading. This annual celebration takes place on March 2nd each year, Dr Seuss’s birthday, and exists to raise reading awareness and motivate students to read. My school also kicks off One Book, One School on this day.

Student Anaphora Poems Inspired By Absolutely Almost

My class finished Absolutely Almost over a month ago now, but as we cleaned up our Google Drive accounts today and organized our writing folder, we were able to revisit some of our previous work, and I realized how much I liked the anaphora poems they created after this read aloud. At the end of the novel, Albie recognizes all the things he can do, rather than those ANAPHORAhe cannot (as he did in the beginning of the novel). Inspired by this ending, my students were tasked with writing their own “Things I Know” poems.

This was a fun assignment that shows just how honest students are and allows them to celebrate what they know. At the end of the school year, I will put a book together of each students poems and stories from the year. This one is definitely going in there.

Below are a couple of examples.

Things I Know

By Student B

I know that I always have to put the cap on my pen when I’m done using it

I know that parents are sometimes scared, but don’t show it

I know that I don’t have to believe in what other people think, but what I think

I know that you can’t have friends when you’re not a friendI know that being proud of who you are (1)

I know that I’m not that good at math, but at least I try

I know that whenever I’m scared I’m not alone

I know that if you want a neat drawing you can’t draw outside of the lines

I know that if you want to accomplish something you have to work hard

I know that I can’t always get what I want

I know that being proud of who you are is important

There are a lot of things I know

Things I Know

By Student C

I know my way around town.

I know school is good for me, but I’m not ready to believe that yet.

I know that I struggle at some things.

I know that I’m not the best at baseball.

I know that I’m lactose intolerant.

I know that people will be mean.I know that being proud of who you are (2)

I know I’m not perfect.

I know nobody is perfect.

I know how to throw a nasty slider.

I know I’m sad 3 of my friends left California.

I know that Aroldis Chapman’s fastball can reach 106 mph.

I know that I take longer to do things.

I know a good baseball when I see one, Golden, with grass stains, and the seams are soft, but not so soft that I can’t get a grip.

I know how to say the rosary.

I know that the tree is Stanford’s mascot.

There are a lot of things I know.

Things I Know

By Student A

I know that God and my family will always love me and that I am blessed.

I know that Michelangelo’s Pieta is in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy.

I know the first 22 elements in the Periodic Table by heart.

I know that people with Autism can do a lot of things really well and they have feelings too.

I know how to run 5 miles without getting tired or sore.

I know that there are 206 bones in the human body.

I know that when my dog Bella bats her hanging bells on the patio door she has to go outside.

I know how to make banana chocolate chip bread without a recipe.

I know a lot about golf but mostly I know that golf teaches me all about life itself.

I know that Ketchikan, Alaska is famous for its totem poles and bald eagles.

I know a lot of things but I know how much I DON’T know and still have to learn too!