Diary of a Rad Teacher

This journey began long ago and started with some rather odd beginnings, but somehow this is where it all ended up. Me, Adamm White Eagle Creel, becoming an elementary school teacher!

Who could have thought, that a 40 year old former Army soldier and former long haul trucker could become a rad teacher? Well, I mean I did, and had to struggle to get here, but it was worth it!

Along the way I learned a few new tricks to enhance my teaching potential, and incorporate technology into the mix. I would like to showcase some of that here:

Lesson planning is hard work sometimes

Just like with Star Wars the sequel is the best of the trilogy (to be clear, that is the original trilogy) this is a great mini lesson that I made thinking of a 3rd grade classroom trying to help Maya, who is NOT a fictitious bird, rather she is my support parrot. Over zoom classes she has been constantly on my shoulder and it was only fitting that students learned more about her, so I set up a 3 part series about her. This part uses maps to show where Quaker Parrots come from. And sadly, where they are banned as pets in the US.

Summertime road trips, what isn’t to love? As a former long haul truck driver I have driven all across the US, so I thought a lesson to label the states would be fun. So I put together a Jamboard activity to let students see how well they could do labeling the states on a blank map. The hardest part was making so many little sticky notes to move around, but the end result was worth it in my opinion.

This lesson was basic for a reason, but I think it does the job well. When learning new concepts having the different colors for things adds layers to the understanding. With the vocabulary words highlighted in the same colors used in the activity this was less done to make things “easy” and more done to build scaffolding to increase understanding. I attempted to use the colors closest associated with the words. There is also an option to print the sheet and color it in! See, learning can be fun!

I love to teach people new things, and learn new things. I am just sorry that I didn’t become a teacher earlier so I could help some people that really needed it:

Meet the Teacher

Starting off a new year, with new parents and new students is always fun. Getting to know people takes time, and is one of the best parts of being a teacher for me!

Here is a little book about me so you can get to know about your teacher. I am looking forward to learning more about each and every one of you throughout the year. Having a library of these books about everyone in class sounds like a great library to me, as well as something to look forward to this year!

This fun book should hopefully give you some ideas on starting to tell your story!

Multiples of 9

gray bicycle chain on orange surface

Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.

This lesson should help 3rd grade students learn a simple, and magical method for multiplying by 9 up to the 10s place. Larger numbers are scary at times, but the number 9 has some magical properties that help it to be less scary!

Helping Maya! Part 3

We are nearing the end of our Parrot unit, and have helped Maya gain lots of information about herself and other parrots, but there is still more to learn. Maya invites you to use her guide to help get information. While you explore the contents, think about which kind of parrot would make a good friend for Maya, and be sure to tell her in the quiz at the end! Click Helping Maya! or here to get started.

Maya invites you to also color a picture of her or a friend when you are done!

Color page courtesy of http://www.supercoloring.com under Creative Commons licensing.

Helping Maya! Part 2

Welcome again 3rd graders! Maya was very impressed with the knowledge about parrots that you all know! She is starting to find her place in the world, and again needs our help!


Parrots live all over the world thanks to them being wonderful pets.

In the wild most parrots are found in the warmer areas of the Southern Hemisphere in places like Australia, South America and Africa.

Maya was born in Vancouver, Washington, and lives in Portland, Oregon. But where did her ancestors come from originally? Let us find out:

The green area shows where Quakers in the wild came from. You can see they are a South American species of parrot. Maya’s ancestors traveled very far for her to end up in Oregon.

But what about the red?

In some states in the United States, Quakers are banned from being pets. This is because Quakers are very hearty parrots and are seen as an invasive species, one that disrupts the natural environment. Because of this there are states that keep Quakers out. That is sad for Maya, because she likes to travel.

Other Parrots

Now that we know where Maya comes from, she would like to know about other parrots. Think about, and even look up information on other parrot species. Where do they come from? Are other parrots banned in the United States? Be sure to let Maya know what you find out next time!

All pictures of Maya taken by Adamm Creel

Helping Maya! Part 1

Welcome 3rd graders! We are starting a science unit to help our friend Maya learn more about herself and others like her. Even those different than her! Maya is a PARROT! A Quaker Parrot. Since she is only a year old, she doesn’t know much about herself, so it is up to us to help her out!


This is Maya. A one year old Quaker Parrot. She is young, and very eager to learn more about herself, and her natural habitat. Maya is a very talkative bird, in her own bird language, but is also working on using English words and phrases. Maya is a very intelligent bird. She loves to eat seeds, vegetables and fruit also. Sometimes she gets cheese and some meats too. Broccoli is her favorite food, and she will eat it every day if she can. Maya likes to play with lots of toys when she is not hanging out sitting on somebody’s shoulder.

Can you help teach Maya about parrots?

Take this short quiz on parrots to see how much you know. Don’t worry if you don’t know the right answer, neither does Maya, so it is a chance for us to learn together! And if you do know the answers, great! Maya really needs your help! The quiz can also be found here.

Here are some basic facts to get started:

  • The smallest parrot is 8cm or 3 inches long!
  • The largest parrot is 1m or 3.3 feet long!
  • Some parrots have the ability to mimic sounds they hear, even human words!
  • There are over 100 species of parrot listed as endangered!

All images of Maya were taken by Adamm Creel.


This lesson is for kindergarteners to explore nature around them and begin to recognize the different parts of a tree and how they are beneficial to everyone!

Trees are an important part of the environment that we all live in. They help make the oxygen we breathe, provide shade from the sun, building materials, and even fruit to eat. Trees also provide homes for animals.


  • TRUNK: The TRUNK is the tall part of a tree that we see above the ground.
  • BRANCH: A BRANCH is offshoots, or piece that spreads out from the trunk to hold the LEAF, FLOWER and FRUIT of the tree.
  • LEAF: A LEAF is often green, and is used to help the tree to capture light from the sun in a process called photosynthesis, where the sun’s energy is turned into nutrients for the tree.
  • FLOWER: The FLOWER is formed to attract insects and other animals to the tree to help with a process called pollination, which is how trees start the process of making more trees.
  • FRUIT: The FRUIT is what a tree uses to hold seeds. FRUIT is often eaten by animals, and people. This helps spread the seeds of the tree.
  • ROOT: The ROOT is the underground part of the tree that absorbs water and other nutrients from the soil, as well as keeping the tree from falling over.


Now that you know the parts of a tree, here is a fun activity.

  1. Go make a copy of the Google Drawing by clicking here.
  2. Move the words in the Word Box to the blank spots that match the part of the tree that the line points to.
  3. With help from your parents you can print the picture and color it in!

Photo by zibik on Unsplash

Worksheet can be found a Cool2BKids

Road Trip: The United States of America

4th Grade geography:

Learning the states names and locations is an important part of learning about our place in the world. By knowing where the states are it can make travel easier, and more fun. How many states would you have to go through if you wanted to drive from Oregon to Texas? To know that you need to know where the states are in relation to one another. This exercise is a fun way to do just that.

  1. In your groups go to the Jamboard and find your slide. (Group 1 is slide 1, Group 2 is slide 2 etc.)
  2. Move the stickies with the names of the states on them onto the map where they belong. (The east coast is harder because of the smaller states, it is ok to stack the names as needed)
  3. When everyone in your group is satisfied with your map call the teacher over to check your answers. (Be able to know which of the smaller states goes with which sticky if you stacked them.)
  4. How many States would you drive through to get from Oregon to Texas?

Jamboard link is: here.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Grumpy Old Gamer

I grew up with technology as it was advancing. I had a NES when it came out, SNES when it came out, I have had every PlayStation as they came out, I build my own PCs for gaming, and generally enjoy the internet and its collection of knowledge at a click of a button. I had a rotary phone at one point in my life, that was hardwired into the house, now I have a computer that just happens to make phone calls, track my sleep, make recommendations, and spy on me, in my pocket all day long. There are two main areas of technology that I think are the most used in my house:

Technology is the answer to all of my children’s questions:

“You know” I say, “You can look things up for yourselves, you have the same tools I do.”

“But I am using mine”

“I was using mine too! You can’t really pause this game man, I’m in a dungeon!”

“Yeah but you know how to look stuff up, you’re in college and stuff!”

“Just open Google, and type in your question, then the magic box spits out your answer.”

<blank stare in teenager>

*%&#, we just wiped. Let me put the tank on auto follow and look it up really quick, what do you need?”

“How many cups are in a gallon, we are trying to make a cake but don’t know if we have enough, but it looks like its enough, and we just want to double check before we waste anything.”

<stares in defeat>

Photo by Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

Technology facilitates communication:

“Did you get me anything from Dutch Bros.”

“Did you reply to the text I sent you asking if you wanted anything?”

“I was busy watching a video, I didn’t see any text.”

“Did you answer the phone when I called you?”

“I keep it on silent, I don’t like using it!”

“I guess that’s why I have this delicious Dutch Bros. and you have water.”

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Photo by Hugo Brightling on Unsplash

Photo by Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

The Art of the Pen:

1. Writing a Book Report

Reading is a fun way to learn new things, expand your vocabulary and maybe most importantly to exercise your imagination! There are times that you have to read for school, and they may not be the most fun but they don’t have to be negative experiences! You can still have fun with a book report.

Start off by reading the book

  • Read the book in a comfortable place
  • Take notes on things that surprise you
  • Imagine you are the hero of the story
  • Remember how you feel as you read the story

Now that you have read the book, time to write your report.

When you begin writing refer to any notes you took, and try to remember how the book made you feel. Were you bored? Excited? With those memories of the book in your mind start to write:

  • What was the main plot of the book?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What did you like about the book?
  • What did you dislike about the book?
  • Would you recommend the book to your friends?

Finishing touches

Now that you have written out your thoughts on the book, take some time to be creative! Draw a picture of your favorite scene in the book, or maybe make a collage from magazines that remind you of a character, or scene and add that to the report as a cover!

2. Create a story

You have read other people’s stories, some you liked, others you may not have liked. So now it is time to write your own story! Will there be dragons? Maybe car races! Your story can be anything that you find fun and exciting!

Come up with an idea

Think about other stories you have read, or maybe have done book reports on. What about them was interesting? You can use those ideas to begin your own story! Did you read a book about super heroes, and you think it would be fun to write about being a super hero? Great, write about super heroes!

Layout your story

Every story starts with a beginning, how does yours start? After that there is a middle, where all the action takes place. What do you want in a story, is there a superhero battle with a super villain? Finally your story needs an ending! Did the hero win? Did the princess slay the dragon?


What better way to finish off a story than with a good illustration! Pick a part in your story that you think is the best part, and draw how you see it. Maybe you want to just draw the main character, that’s ok too. Think of all of the books you have read, and how the covers looked, how the illustrations inside looked as well. Do any inspire you?

Dancing with a Devil: The Art of Dungeon Mastering

For several years now I have been a Dungeon Master, or DM, for several groups of adventuring parties in several different table top role playing games. There are several things that no matter what game system you run, be it Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, or even Feast Of Legends (the role playing game made by Wendy’s. Yes, THAT Wendy’s) that will help you to improve your craft at the table.

Do not be afraid to try things.

The rules to most every game I have run acknowledge that they are more of a guideline, and can be adjusted for your group. If you want a level 1 party to fight a dragon, let them fight a dragon. You will have to do some adjusting to the dragon’s power to make it a fair fight, but if you feel up to it, go ahead and do it. Adjusting monster stats is a good first thing to try, and most of the larger published materials have instructions on how they recommend doing it. It can not only be fun, but very rewarding to players when you try something that they have not yet done, and it works. It can also not be fun if it doesn’t work.

Don’t be afraid to apologize.

You are going to try things that fail. You are going to kill party members. If something you try doesn’t work, and fails horribly, that is ok. Apologize, talk to your players, and if needed retcon the encounter and keep going. Players are people too, and will make mistakes, and acknowledging this will help everyone to have a better game experience. But don’t apologize for everything, only gross miscalculations on your part.

Learn from other Dungeon Masters.

Nobody knows everything, that is just how it is. I have been doing this for years and still I learn new tricks from more experienced DMs. YouTube is a great resource for finding inspiration. To get you started here are 3 of my go to favorites:

You are God, the Devil and Bob so enjoy it!

You control the world! MUWAHAHAHA! So if your characters foolishly make a deal with Bael, one of the Dukes of the Nine Hells, it is you that gets to decide the terms of the deal, and how(un)favorable they are to the players. It is also you who the player will pray too before going into the dragon’s lair to complete a quest. At the same time, you are also random tavern sweep that the players decide is their best friend in the whole world, even though you threw him in there to have a convenient plot hook, but now you are stuck having to name Cecil, and make sure he interacts with the players when they are in town, because Cecil is now their mascot and they love him… it would be a shame if something happened to Cecil…

That’s it. Try things, apologize if they mess up, learn from others, and have fun! seems pretty straight forward, and it is. It is also super fun and enjoyable!

Buying all of the books and dice and miniatures and extra stuff can get out of hand, just ask my wife and bank account. So if you are looking to legally get started but don’t know if you will continue playing here is your start:


The first link is to a free RPG system that is funny, and well written. The second is to a web based dice roller that can easily be used if you do not own a set of dice.