Monday, December 16, 2013

Girls for God Holiday Celebration

One of the joys of teaching at Blythewood Middle is getting to watch a dynamic group of girls meet each Friday for a time of fellowship, prayer, and Bible study.  Girls for God is run by the girls themselves, and Mrs. Anna Reeves sponsors it--with waiting many an afternoon with them.  Friday they held their holiday party and I got some shots of them in action.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Teacher Gifting Advice, Just Sayin'

Just Sayin'. Here is a piece of advice for those of you who like to bake delicious treats for your children's teachers for Christmas. When your little munchkin helps you bake, and proudly announces to her favorite teacher that she baked them in love just for her, remind your precious dear to not pick her nose all period long . . . just after cookies got eaten by darling teacher.

Friday, December 13, 2013

ISTE Presenter--Atlanta, Here I Come!!!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be presenting in Atlanta next summer at the International Society for Technology in Education conference. This is my Session Title and Description: 
Session TitleFlipping, Blogging, and Google Driving, Oh My!
 Session DescriptionVideo-taping mini-lectures (quasi-flipping), teacher and student blogging, and Google everything (drive, dashboard, docs, forms, calendar, etc.) experiences will be shared!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Life Cycle of Flowering Plants

It has been a while since I have posted a video lecture from my class.  So I thought I'd add one so you can see what we are learning and how we are learning it.  
In addition to the video, students will have a Google Presentation to help them learn and notes to complete.  On their notes, they must fill out the first column with the main topic and the third column with an image or words to help them remember the notes in the middle.
Presentation:  Life Cycle of Flowering Plants
Notes:  Life Cycle of Flowering Plants

Monday, December 9, 2013

$1,202.42 raised for American Red Cross for Typhoon Haiyan Relief

In early November, Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm in recorded history, hit the Phillipines. Blythewood Middle school students and community were moved by scenes and reports of devastation and need. In an effort to join together and provide help, they  decided to collect cash donations for the American Red Cross relief efforts. Students were given the opportunity to wear hats at school all day as a special treat if they made a donation of $2.  Posters, signs, emails, and phone calls were made to make parents and the community aware of our one-day donation blitz. One week after the typhoon, dozens of Beta Club students held signs out in the cold car pool lines to collect spare change from cars. Students wore every size, shape, and color hat in support of the drive. We are pleased to announce that the Blythewood Middle School family raised $1,202.42 for the relief effort and presented the check to the American Red Cross.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Power of Introverts: An Essential Understanding for Teachers | Edutopia

The Power of Introverts: An Essential Understanding for Teachers | Edutopia

As an extrovert--it is hard for me to understand the mindset of an introvert. Reminders like this article of the needs and perspectives of my students are important. This article is pretty good--although, I think I probably ought to buy Susan Cain's book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking

My Homeroom!

My homeroom!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

AWARD! National Beta School of Distinction!

I am pleased to announce that we have just received a National Beta School of Distinction award!! 


Today we learned about a new way to present information!  It is called Voicethread!
Here is my first attempt at using Voicethead:

Photosynthesis 4th Period Winner

This is the winning video for 4th period of teaching photosynthesis to a class of 3rd graders. It was created by Trevor, Caitlin, Bradley, and Nolan.

Photosynthesis Video--3rd period winner!

This is the 3rd period winner that students created to teach photosynthesis to a class of 3rd graders.  It was made by Jayla, Shawn, Moziah, and Romero.

Photosynthesis Video--2nd Period Winner

This is the video teaching Photosynthesis to 3rd graders made by Mack, Tristin, David, and Saul:

Photosynthesis Video 1st Period

This is the winning video of 1st period explaining Photosynthesis to a class of 3rd graders
By Rylie, Jessica, Austin, and Lauren

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blogging for Kids!

My students will soon have their own blog on KidBlogger. . .  as a form of practice, I want them to report on things they are learning or wanting to do experiments on with and about plants.  So, if you are one of Mixson's kids, feel free to add your comments to this post.  ***Remember, use only your first name and last initial.  Do not give any personal information that could identify you.  And be sure to cite the title and author of the library book you found interesting/helpful.

From 5 Kingdoms to 3 Domains

Just as we once referred to the USSR as a country and now there are many more, so science is changing the way we look at classifying our living things. From the time I was a kid, I knew there were 5 kingdoms:  animals, plants, fungi, and then some others..... which are protists and monerans . . . I'm sure I couldn't remember the other 2 if I weren't actually teaching!
But now scientists are creating a new grouping:  DOMAINS.  Watch my video to learn how the classification system is changing.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Goodbye SNK, hello Science News for Students

Goodbye SNK, hello Science News for Students
One of my favorite websites for students is Science News for Kids.  They are going through a name change to: Science News for Students.  Who would have thought that when I started teaching 25 years ago, my students would have such access??

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Science News for

I love Science News for!  Today, my students found an article of their choice to read--then they wrote about what they learned.  Check out our comments to see what they learned!!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Word Cloud Art: Word Mosaic

I'm trying to find the best word cloud art for my students to use on their License to Learn project that we are doing on our Lighting Team.
This one is from and is called Word Mosaic:
I haven't use it before, but it was VERY easy to create.  The students can print thier creations from the computer lab, but they will be in black and white, so I'm trying to find one that creates --the best for our needs. NOTE: was BLOCKED by our server!!! Kids weren't able to use it!!!
Last year I used Tagxedo--which was WONDERFUL, but it isn't working on my Chrome book.  AND it requires an installation on the computers.  I forgot about all that work!  (I would have to log in to every single computer in the lab, download the install, get an install password, type in, etc.  Too much work!)  But they were gorgeous.  NOTE: didn't work on our server!!! Kids weren't able to use it!!!
WORDLE is also a fabulous word cloud generator--but it isn't supported on the Chrome books. 
 Kids were able to use!!!
Which word cloud generator do YOU like to use???

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1st Binder Check!!

Friday, students will turn in their first assignments for a grade!  Below is the video expaining what their binders/assignments should look like.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How Does Your School Have Fun?

I was inspired by this article published in from BOB LENZ'S BLOG:

How Does Your School Have Fun? MARCH 19, 2013 Recently, I listened to a story on NPR's All Things Considered called"'Serendipitous Interaction' Key To Tech Firms' Workplace Design" that highlighted the cultures of innovation and creativity at Google and Facebook. The leaders of these organizations intentionally create opportunities for collaboration, learning and fun because they believe it will lead to the creation of better products and services.

I believe the Lightning Team that I am with at school--Christy Myllykangas, Sid Smith, and Jackie Cribb--have such talent that we could amaze ourselves!  The Welcome Back! video was just the beginning. The kids will respond in like kind--we can pull our their creative side ... and their joy will keep them learning!
Photo from Shannon Ryan--Whose family knows how to have fun

Saturday, August 24, 2013

jd 24/7: 60 Ways to Connect with Your Students

jd 24/7: 60 Ways to Connect with Your Students: Coming to school each day can become a hopeless task for some children unless they succeed at what they do. We ...

Great Post!!!--Worth the Read!--Kristin

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Concepts Avg. Retention Rate

The first 3 days are in the can. We (the students & I) spent quite a bit of time discussing how we could improve their ability to remember (learn) all the new material we needed to learn this year. 
On the first day, I showed the introductory video "Welcome to the MixsonZone" which went over my syllabus and The Mixson Way (my procedures, etc.).
On the second day, I had the students take out a sheet of paper and list everything they could recall from the previous day's video. Empty stares all around.  I gave them 1 minute. Not much.  Then I let them work in small groups to recall it together.  A little bit better.  Finally, I asked them what it would take to help them remember the info.  They said they wanted to watch it again, take notes, and have time to study it.  So that is what we did.
On the third day, I gave them a quiz.  Much better today. Then they could work as a small group to recall. Even better. 
We wrapped up our lesson with the following statistics called "Average Retention Rate for New Concepts" (from "The Learning Pyramid" National Training Laboratories, Bethel, Maine, Kurt Levin, Founder).

Average Retention Rate for New Concepts:
Lecture                                     5%
Reading                                 10%
Audio-Visual Aids                  20%
Demonstration                       30%
Discussion Groups                50%
Practice by Doing                  75%
Teaching Others/                          
Immediate Use of Learning   90%

We finished it up with the good old idiom, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." I can present the material, but the students have to learn it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 1 of BEST Year (25)!

I just finished DAY 1 of my BEST year of teaching ever!  This begins my 25th year.  I have never been so pumped and excited about teaching. All summer I spent gathering ideas and discovering new technology opportunities for my students.  AVID Training and emphasis on Common Core standards have been simmering along with all this technology. Students will get their Chrome books on Monday, and I am ready to get this party started!
Here is a video I created to explain my syllabus and the Mixson Way.

DAY 1: On the first day of school, I like to take pictures of each of my students.  My mom took pics of us on our first day, and they are precious to me.  The pictures also help me to learn my students names and faces faster (yes, I study them at home!).  
(Silly Boy!!!) 
And have you ever seen such a COLORFUL child?
 (Check out his shoes & socks!):

Another 1st day activity involves 8.5" x 5.5" name cards.  I let the students decorate the cards with things that teach me a little about them.  And, yes, I literally take these cards home every night the first week to study my kids.
In addition, our school is in True Teams, which means all my students have 4 teachers.  We are the Lightning Team.  Jackie Cribb, Christy Myllykangas, Sid Smith and I are leading this pack.  We had all the students join together for a brief meeting 2nd period, and this looks to be a great adventure for all of us!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Arbor Day Contest

Richland County K-12 students are invited to participate in the 2013 Arbor Day Contests, "Trees of SC."  Contest categories include writing, videos, posters, and bulletin boards.  Winners will receive $25 cash prizes and will be recognized at the SC Arbor Day Celebration at Harbison State Forest in December.  The submission deadline is November 8, 2013.
Richland Soil and Water Conservation District
This looks like a GREAT project idea!  Lots of CHOICE for presentations, and CA$H is involved!  Whoop!  I hope I get some winners!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Plants For Kids Website

Plants for Kids:  Bringing the Science of Plants into the Classroom
This site has great experiments--like this shoebox maze to show TROPISMS! (I LOVE THIS EXPERIMENT!!)

This is what their homepage looks like:
Their website is sponsored and maintained by the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, DE. 

Flippin' Lesson: Lab Safety

I'm taking taking a course on FIZZ Flipped Classroom Training program for the next 6 weeks.  One of my goals is spend LESS time lecturing and MORE time for labs and projects. My first assignment is to videotape myself lecturing 5 class lessons.  So I just finished a couple of tapings (where will I find the time to do this when school starts???!!!)
So here is a sample of one of my first video lectures:
Ok, go ahead, tell me what you think!

Friday, August 2, 2013

"I Flip, You Flip, We All Flip" Video Help

Keith Hughes Explains How to Make Flipped Classroom Videos  

This 24 minute video was helpful to do so me technical stuff using a iMovie.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The FIZZ Flipped Classroom Training

For the past 9 months, I have really been wanting to FLIP my classroom--or at least try it for a while. The notion of Flipping involves video recording the lecture part of instruction for students to watch so they will have more time to do all the practice of learning in the classroom.  I even took a 10-hour professional development class on it last November with Dr. Chuck Holland at Richland 2. I tried it a couple of times, but didn't stick with it or feel very successful when my students took a quiz on the material I had "flipped". But I got really inspired to try it again when I heard Dr. Lodge McCammon speak at the SC Midlands Summit in June.  He had some great suggestions.
So, now I will apply for his free training & participate in his institute.  I have to make video of myself as a part of my application.  

This is the training I'm interested in doing:
FlippedClassroom Training Program
[t e a c h e r]

Facilitated by Dr. Lodge McCammon and Katie Gimbar
Supported by, the Friday Institute and SAS

The purpose of the FIZZ Flipped Classroom Training Program is to provide teachers the time to explore and ask questions about flipped classroom practice and resources.
During this free 40-hour training you will be
publishing lecture videos and planning for class time. By
the end, you will be prepared to flip 20+ lessons.
Select one of our online programs below to get started.

Next 5-week training: August 10th - September 15th (application deadline is August 3rd). Click here to learn more!
New self-paced training is available - click here and check it out!

Read the 2013 Fizz FCTP Report here.

Embrace the disequilibrium.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When Corn Doesn't Pollinate Well

In this video, Mrs. Mixson explains how corn gets pollinated and what it looks like when it doesn't work.  She is joined by her good teacher friends, Casey Ellisor, Deb Childs, Christy Myllykangas, and Anna Reeves at Mrs. Child's annual pool party.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Playing In My Classrom is Required!

And here is another great one from Mia MacMeekin An Ethical Island:

Reflective Teaching

I need a reminder of this about a month after school starts. . . and every week thereafter!  And I'm really loving this author: Mia MacMeekin and her Blog:An Ethical Island.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Organization 101: Books and Websites--Science Style

So many resources, so little time!!! In my professional life, I am notoriously organized.  Every idea, worksheet, test, resource, etc. has a proper place by unit--whether it be in the file literal cabinet or on my computer.  With technology moving at such a fast pace, I've come to need to catalog of all the resources available per unit.
This morning I began a never-ending journey cataloging books and websites pertaining to my units of science (similar to the one I created when teaching Social Studies several years ago--containing hundreds of books related to teaching ancient history; but that's another story). Here it is (or will be!):
Books and Websites--Science Style 

My 6th grade science folders [for Google Drive, Bookmark Folders, Pinterest, etc.] are the following:
6 1 Inquiry
6 2 Plants
6 3 Animals
6 4 Weather
6 5 Simple Machines
6 5 Energy
P.S. I'm just getting started with this spreadsheet, so check back with me in a few months if you want to see some real resources! --Kristin

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?

As I'm gently rocking in my grandmother's vintage white metal lawn chair, the mosquitoes are about to carry me away.  We have had a month of daily rains, and these little suckers have multiplied exponentially.  I ran across this article in on why mosquitoes bite some and not others, and I thought it might be a fun idea for students to research when we are doing our Animals Unit. why-do-mosquitoes-bite-some-people-more-than-others/

Read more: 
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

and a little follow up article in the Wall Street Journal:
    • By 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ted Talk: Hey, Science Teachers: Make It Fun!

This Ted Talk by Tyler DeWitt has some good pointers for teachers!

Remind Me (Google App)

Here is an app worth testing to see if it could help kids remind themselves to complete homework.... if we can't find a simple solution on the Google Calendar.  (I'm thinking the TASKS on Google Calendar should work fine.)

Remind Me

What Do You Want Kids to Do with TECHNOLOGY

I REALLY want to make this true in my classroom this year!

Maker Camp--2013

Maker Camp -- a free, virtual camp that teaches campers to make cool projects, go on epic virtual “field trips” and meet awesome "makers" -- is back for its second summer. Follow +MAKE to get started and read all about it on the Official Google Blog:
This looks like fun, too!  I"ll have to try it!


Create your own song using
It is on-line, so no apps have to be downloade.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Amazing Earth! Presentation

Here is a presentation I created to go along with our atmosphere/weather unit.
Amazing Earth!
It is amazing how many variables are in place to support life on earth!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chromebook Shortcuts (More)

These shortcuts were posted on Thanks Susan Neal, for showing me the list!

Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts

Page Shortcuts

Page Shortcuts
Page UpAlt + up arrow
HomeCtrl + Alt + up arrow
EndCtrl + Alt + down arrow
Scroll down the current web pageSpacebar
Print the current pageCtrl + P
Save the current pageCtrl + S
Reload the current pageCtrl + R
Reload from scratchCtrl + Shift + R
Zoom in on the pageCtrl and +
Zoom out on the pageCtrl and -
Reset to normal zoom levelCtrl + 0
Stop loading the current pageEsc
Bookmark the current pageCtrl + D
Find (Search the current page)Ctrl + F
View page sourceCtrl + U
Alt + Click on a linkOpens the link in a new background tab
Toggle the display of the Developer Tools panelCtrl + Shift + I
Toggle the display of the DOM InspectorCtrl +
Take a Screenshot of the Current PageCtrl + Switch window

Tab and Window Navigation

Open a New WindowCtrl + N
Open a New Incognito Window (Private mode: doesn’t keep track of history or cookies)Ctrl + Shift + N
Open a New TabCtrl + T
Open a FileCtrl + O
Close the current tabCtrl + W
Close the current windowCtrl + Shift + W
Reopen the last tab that was closedCtrl + Shift + T
Go to a specific tabCtrl + (1 – 9)
Go to the last tab in the windowCtrl + 9
Go to a specific windowAlt + (1 – 9)
Go to the last open windowAlt + 9
Go to the next tabCtrl + Tab
Go to the previous tabCtrl + Shift + Tab
Go to the next open windowAlt + Tab
Go to the previous open windowAlt + Shift + Tab
Go back (previous page in history)Backspace, or Alt + Left arrow
Forward (next page in history)Shift + Backspace, or Alt + Right arrow
Open the link in a background tabCtrl + Click on a link
Open the link in a new tab and switches to the new tabCtrl + Shift + Click on a link
Open the link in a new windowShift + Click on a link

Editing Shortcuts

Select allCtrl + A
Select the text in the address barCtrl + L or Alt + D
Select next word or letterCtrl + Shift + right arrow
Select previous word or letterCtrl + Shift + left arrow
Move to the start of the next wordCtrl + right arrow
Move to the start of the previous wordCtrl + left arrow
Page upAlt + up arrow
Page downAlt + down arrow
Undo the last actionCtrl + Z
Copy to the clipboardCtrl + C
Cut to the clipboardCtrl + X
Paste from the clipboardCtrl + V
Paste as plain text without formattingCtrl + Shift + V
Delete (forward delete)Alt + Backspace

Browser Settings and Navigation

Show or hide the bookmarks barCtrl + Shift + B
Open file managerCtrl + M
Open history pageCtrl + H
Open downloads pageCtrl + J
Open task managerShift + Esc
See list of available keyboard shortcutsCtrl + Alt + /
Visit the help centerCtrl + ?
Configure monitor displayCtrl + Full screen
Move focus to the top-right status area without using the mouseShift + Alt + S
Open the wrench menuAlt + E
Toggle accessibility features (when not signed in with a Google account)Ctrl + Alt + Z
Note: This article applies to both the Acer Chromebook and Samsung Chromebook.
We hope this Chromebook hotkey list has been helpful. While this list includes mainly the shortcuts most people are most likely to use, we have eliminated a few of the more esoteric shortcuts for simplicity’s sake. Remember, to see the complete list of all available keyboard shortcuts on your Chromebook, press Ctrl + Alt + ? at any time.