Five grade nine girls in Denmark have created quite a stir with their science project. The girls began to question the role their cell phones played in their sleeping and concentration difficulties. Lea Nielson, one of the girls in the group, explained “We all thought we experienced concentration problems in school if we slept with our mobile phones at the bedside, and sometimes we also found it difficult sleeping”. Their school didn’t have the  equipment to enable the girls to test the hypothesis that cell phones at the bedside cause concentration and sleeping problems, so the girls chose to explore the effect cell phone radiation has on plant life, specifically  the effect cell phone radiation has cress seeds.

The girls divided 400  cress seeds into 12 trays and placed 6 trays into two  rooms. Both rooms had the same temperature and received the same sunlight. All trays received the same amount of water.  In one room, the girls placed  two routers that emitted approximately the same type of radiation as an ordinary cell phone next to six trays of cress seeds, and  in the other  room the girls didn’t  expose the last six trays of cress seeds to any radiation from routers. Twelve days later, the girls observed, measured, weighed and took photos of the results. The results were amazing: the cress seeds not exposed to radiation from the routers thrived; but, the cress seeds next to the routers and exposed to radiation  didn’t grow at all. In fact, some of the cress seeds mutated and others died.  Nielson noted,  “It’s really frightening that there is such a big effect, and we were really struck by the results”.

It doesn’t follow that just because radiation from cell phones negatively affected the cress seeds in the girls’ experiment, that radiation from cell phones at the bedside would negatively affect people’s concentration and sleeping habits. But, the fact that the cell phone radiation had such a negative impact on the cress seeds, does give one cause to ponder. After conducting the cress seed experiment, Neilson notes, “None of us sleep with our mobile phones at our bedside any more. Either we keep them at a distance or in another room. And we always turn off the computer”.

Research needs to be conducted into the effects of cell phone radiation on concentration and sleeping habits. But just in case, I’m not keeping my cell phone at my bedside any longer. I have problems sleeping soundly through the night. Perhaps all the wifi routers are exacerbating my sleeping problems.


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sight wordsHi everyone! Elona invited me to be a guest blogger, and I jumped at the chance! My name is Heather Rice, and  I write sight word songs. What’s a sight word song? It’s a song that spells out a sight word. I began writing sight word songs to help my daughter Sarah, who has Autism and moderate mental impairment.

Sarah was really struggling to learn her sight words. She was so frustrated that she began to pick at her skin with anxiety the minute the sight word cards came out.  I knew I needed a different approach. But what else could I try? When I thought about it, it occurred to me that the one thing she was good at remembering were the words to songs!  That’s when I began writing songs to spell out sight words.

I write my songs to the tunes of well known children’s songs, like “Row, row, row, your boat.”  I keep each song short, and I repeat the spelling of the sight word. Also, all of songs have a “hook.” Either the song is funny, or it tells a story. (Actually, most of my songs do both).

To help Sarah learn the song, I began making Power Point slides and worksheets to go with each song. Each song uses clipart to illustrate the song, and a great deal of the clipart was ordered especially to fit the song. Each song comes with 3-5 worksheets. Every CD also comes with a Power Point presentation that includes a slide for each song. I don’t charge extra for either the worksheets or the power point presentation that comes with each CD.

I hope you’ll listen to the sample  Sight Word SongsI have three different CD’s available. One for pre-k. One for kindergarten, and one for Ist grade. Each CD is $15.00, and has between 20-23 songs on it. You can purchase a sight word CD at:
Thanks for listening!

Heather Rice


Comment by Elona Hartjes


Thanks for agreeing to be a guest writer on my blog.  

 Necessity is the mother of invention. Heather was inspired by necessity to create her sight word songs, Power Point  presentations, and the work sheets.  I’m delighted that Heather wrote me to tell me about her experience trying to teach her daughter sight words. the sight word songs she wrote, and the fact she is making her sight word songs  and supporting materials available to us  at the teachers- pay- teachers site. I believe in  differentiating instruction to honour students’ interests and strengths and that Heather’s CD’s and accompanying materials would be a valuable teaching tool to this end.

 I find Heather’s Sight Word Songs  very engaging. Just today, I heard an interview on the radio that talked about what a powerful teaching and learning tool songs can be for students of all ages. Using songs as an instructional tool is an excellent  way to differentiate instruction and honour a student’ s strengths.  In Sarah’s case, Heather honoured her daughter’s strength of remembering words to songs to help Sarah learn to read sight words.  I’m glad Heather has made her CD’s and support materials available to us at the teachers-pay-teachers online store. Teachers need to support one another.





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I enjoy using digital tools in my teaching practice. The Educlipper looks full of potential. I’m certain students will be engaged by it and I like the way it enables me to keep track of student assign,ents in a simple way. I also like the way I can give feedback to students by video if i choose to do so. I think giving feedback orally is valuable and would be easier for me to tell a students what their strengths and weaknesses are using Educlipper. I think it would be worth taking the time to learn the program because it seems simple enough. I’ve embedded a video clip so you can get a sense of how valuable a tool Educlipper could be in your teaching practice.

eduClipper – Getting Started with Assignment Portfolios from AdamBellow on Vimeo.

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At the beginning of the semester when my students and I are co-constructing our classroom agreements, I tell my students the way I see it is that teachers are people first and teachers second. I’m a person who happens to teach. Then we discuss how we can demonstrate respect for me as a person and for me as a teacher. Students don’t find it too difficult to explain what it means to respect me as a person, but they find it more difficult to explain what it means to respect my role as a teacher.

When I say that I want my students to respect my role as their teacher, what I mean is I want my students

  • to respect the subject I teach even if it might not be one of the compulsory subjects;
  • to appreciate the value of education and the fact that the right to attend school is universal and free in Canada (paid by taxes) for all students to the end of grade 12; and
  • to be grateful for my professional and personal efforts as a teacher on my students behalf.


Friedman, I. (2006). Classroom management and teacher stress and burnout. In C. M. Everston & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management (pp. 925-944) New York: Routledge


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