New Year Eve !

The last day in calendar. I would like to thank all those people who were on my side at the time of difficulties, those who helped me to get through it, those who really lended me their ears when I shared my lame thoughts, those who surprised me with little things, those who showed so much love on me which at times made me think if I even deserve it, those who made me smile and laugh. Special thanks to all you people here in my blog and followers who spent your precious time reading my blog and enjoyed. I feel so full. Thank you so much guys for making this year so great. Let the Universe kiss you with its good will. ♥

Thank you 2019, for all the lessons and blessings to mastering and moulding me.
Great Cheers to 2020 ! ✨💫 Love & Peace to all.

© Yashica Priya

Carnival Elation Cruise Ship Review

Oh Ship! It’s a Mother Daughter Trip!

My Mom exposed me to cruising as a teenager when we took our first Carnival cruise to the Bahamas. Over the years, we have sailed to Bermuda, Cuba, and all over the Caribbean aboard Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines. I chose the Carnival Elation because the ports to Grand Turk and Amber Cove were destinations we have never visited.


We were on the Upper Deck (6) with an ocean view. I prefer natural light in the rooms.

Cabin U161 Aft section by the elevators.

Carnival allows door decorations. Christmas day is my Mom’s birthday, so the steward showed some love with a few gift certificates and on board credits.


The Lido Deck 10
21 and up Serenity section on Deck 9
Christmas and Hanukkah in the Atrium lobby deck 7
Carnival Waterworks on Deck 11. I preferred the lounge area on Deck 11 more than the cramped up Serenity loungers. Best view for sunsets.


The food on the Carnival Elation was better than what Norwegian offers. The buffet area was called Tiffany’s. The two dining formal areas had the same menu except one was for cruisers who selected their time and the other was “Your Time Dining.”

The buffet food tasted better than the dining rooms. Other choices were a deli, Guy’s Burger, and the BlueIguana Cantina. One drawback to having the Guy’s Burger on the Lido deck is constantly smelling beef during the day. This would annoy me if I were vegan.

The highlight of our dining and overall Elation experience was paying additional for the Chef’s Table. We savored a 13 course meal in an intimate setting that began with a champagne toast in the Atrium.

We moved to the galley to see where 320 chefs and servers operate the ship’s culinary operations.

Liver pate (tastes like caramel)
Fresh parmesan and olives
Salmon and rosemary
Shrimp with bacon infused ice cream
Melting Chocolate Cake preparation

After cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the Sous-chef led us into a special room for a VIP dining experience.

Personalized menu
Tweezers used to make the perfect presentations.
Spring Peas & Matcha Soup. We mixed the herbs with sprigs of chives held together with a cherry tomato and pineapple top.
Honey butter with pastry
Berkshire Pork Belly, Shrimps
Lamb, beets, pumpkin squash
Smoking cloche for veal
Veal, crushed green apples in light cheese broth
Olive oil poached sea bass, white asparagus & white miso
Quail, wild rice made with 5 variations of mushrooms, parmesan and pepper threads

Red and white wine pairings were flowing for each course leading up to the two desserts. We were given the option of coffee and tea to cap off the evening.

Citrus Cream- lime snow, elderflower caviar
Chocolate Hazelnut- basil moss, cocoa logs, chocolate soil

The servers presented each of us with the recipe for Carnival’s popular melting cake and group photo copy taken at the beginning of dinner.

Cruise Fashion

Most cruises have a formal night on the 2nd full day of the sailing. Because it was the holidays, Mom and I wanted to be classy on every night.

Mom in Duke’s piano bar

We made the most of our 5 days aboard the Elation. For a ship that has been refurbished in 2018, there is still room for improvement. I saw other Carnival ships in the ports and they looked kinda rusty as well. This was never my experience on Norwegian or Royal Caribbean.

Also, the dress codes were not enforced. I saw durags, hair bonnets, PJs, and swim attire in dining areas. Getting hand sanitizer was optional prior to touching serving utensils. There were two family spades tourneys going on at the dining tables. I had a flashback to college dorm days with cards slapping and trash talk.

Some of the teens were unruly and running all throughout the ship. They talked crazy to the stewards and lacked home training. On the bright side, all of the staff were very friendly. Unless it is a new, mega ship this will be my last cruise aboard Carnival.

Seas ‘n Greetings

Kelsie Lou

Source: Carnival Elation Cruise Ship Review

My 2019 Highlights

The post describes my 2019 Highlights. I did this for four main reasons:

  1. We, especially as teachers, should spend more time reflecting on what we are doing well – our accomplishments. Often, we don’t get the recognition we deserve. Too often educators feel too timid or undeserving to publicly acknowledge their accomplishments believing that others will perceive them as braggarts. (Self-disclosure: I actually spend way too much time being critical of myself so this is actually really healthy for me to do.)
  2. I believe and include in the bio I share for conference presentations and PD consults that one of the major responsibilities of the modern day educator is to share resources, learning activities, thoughts, and insights with other educators. I do so through this blog and my Twitter account.
  3. I have a “nice box” which, for me, is actually a basket. It is where I put cards and gifts I have received from my students over the years. I tell my pre-service teachers to start one so that when they are feeling ineffective, challenged, or disillusioned, they can go to it for a boost. This post will act as a type of “nice box.”
  4. Finally, I am a strong proponent of being a reflective practitioner. For more about this, see Stephen Brookfield’s book, Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. Blogging, such as this post, is part of my reflective practice.

Here is my list.

I had a book on maker education published by ASCD.

I really love the maker movement. I have always had my students make things. As such, I was often seen as an outlier by the other teachers and principals at my schools. Now that it has become more mainstream, there is a much greater acceptance by my colleagues (and it helps that I now have an amazing and supportive principal). Words cannot describe how exciting I find this movement and hope it stands the test of time in our schools.

Writing this book took about two years but it fits with my mission of sharing resources, learning activities, and ideas with other educators. Given the amount of work it took, I am proud of this accomplishment. The description of the book is:

Transferring this innovative, collaborative, and creative mindset to the classroom is the goal of maker education. A makerspace isn’t about the latest tools and equipment. Rather, it’s about the learning experiences and opportunities provided to students. Maker education spaces can be as large as a school workshop with high-tech tools (e.g., 3D printers and laser cutters) or as small and low-tech as the corner of a classroom with bins of craft supplies. Ultimately, it’s about the mindset—not the “stuff.”

In Learning in the Making, Jackie Gerstein helps you plan, execute, facilitate, and reflect on maker experiences so both you and your students understand how the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of maker education transfer to real-world settings. She also shows how to seamlessly integrate these activities into your curriculum with intention and a clearly defined purpose (

I keynoted and presented a workshop at Edutech Asia in Singapore.

Sketchnote Made During My Keynote

I did a keynote in front of 1000+ people. Due to this anticipated audience size, I was worried about it for months. Because I focus on active participation, I asked them to make a one page book and then answer some reflection questions. It didn’t go over as well as I would have liked (yes, being self-critical) but I did something I feared. I also (re)learned I am a facilitator of experiences rather than a public speaker.

Slides from my keynote:

The final day I did a full day workshop. I was excited about having teachers and other professionals from Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, and New Zealand attend. This was way more successful – the participants being very engaged and excited. Here are the slides:

I did some very cool activities with my gifted students.

I love designing and implementing cross-curricular project-based learning with my gifted students, grades 3rd through 6th. Below are blog post links to some of my favorites from the 2018-19 school year.

Social Entrepreneurship

This is one of my favorites . . . ever. I am now in the process of doing it for a 3rd time with a current group of students. For more about this project, visit Here is a video of a few of my students delivering raised monies to a local charity.

Design a Shoe

Game Jam: Designing a Video Game

I passed my ISTE Certification

ISTE Certification is a competency-based, vendor-neutral teacher certification based on the ISTE Standards for Educators. It recognizes educators who use edtech for learning in meaningful and transformative ways (

Doing the portfolio for the ISTE certification was a bear of a task. I worked on it for weeks for several hours a day during this past summer. I did enjoy the process of aggregating and discussing some of the edtech projects I have done.

Santa’s 🎅 Run for our Kids 5K

Santa’s Run for our Kids

Winter Haven, Florida

December 21, 2019

I was on the first thing smokin’ outta Louisville for Winter Break. My Mom and I were on a mission to compete in another 5K. The Christmas themed race is organized by the Winter Haven Optimist Club. I had the option of running a 10K, but I was not waking up at the break of dawn for a 7 am starting time.

I knew the course route from running the 10K a few years ago and placing 2nd place female overall. The race plan was the same as the Turkey Trot; race hard then go back and help my Mom finish.

The 6:00 miler racers took the lead as I settled into my happy pace. I was alone for a half mile until I heard jingle bells. I knew that meant competition. Game on!

Just as I expected, there was a lady making me put in work. She played it smart by using me as her pacer and staying a stride behind me. I made my mind up that if she passed me, I would get her at the finish. We hit 1.5 miles, both bypassing the water stop. She made her move and lead by about 5 strides. With less than a half mile to go, she stopped for whatever reason. I made my way to finish 2nd place female overall.

I was not happy with my time being 28 seconds slower than the Turkey Trot. We had some head wind, but the humidity was low and I felt fine health wise. Maybe the missing sprint at the end is what made my time slower.

Next, it was time to double back and get my Mom. She trimmed 1:30 off of her last 5K time and earned 1st place in her age group.

Mom finishing strong.
FITniche Sponsor awarding my Mom 1st place Age Group.
Finisher shirt, medal and Age Group Medal.

My brother, Brad flew in the next day. He hasn’t been on “The Blog” in a while. We had time to catch up argue on the drive to take my Mom and I to Port Canaveral.

One type A personality. One type B. Guess which is which.

My Dad has been behind the scenes also. He has lost a lot of weight as a complication from dementia. Unfortunately, he had a minor fall that resulted in a partial hip replacement the day after these photos were taken. Life happens. Embrace life and the people who matter the most.

Brad, Kelsie, Big Phil. I stay getting side eyed.

Merry Everything, Happy Every Day!

Kelsie Lou

Source: Santa’s 🎅 Run for our Kids 5K

Utilizing Technology in learning a language

UtilizingTechnologyLearningLanguageI’m a big fan of self learning. During this period, I’m very busy with many things including learning Italian!

The most famous apps in this field are Busuu and Duolingo. Yet subscription isn’t really needed, the cost is very affordable.

I used to love Duolingo more as it has its own way to force you memorizing words… However, after the recent update, Busuu is more convenient to me – not to mention its social part. You won’t go wrong with either. Don’t expect to be fluent using any or both though. It’s just a good start, up to intermediate level!

Additionally, I’m using those two ebooks:

  • Complete Italian Grammar by Marcel Danesi
  • Essential Italian Grammar by Olga Ragusa

A notebook with a pen/cil is required of course. So, an iPad is plus!

I remember when I was learning English, there were many books (hard copies) along with audio cassettes and the notebooks in addition to a whole bunch of colored pens. Have I mentioned the size of the dictionary?! I needed a big bag then… Now, it’s only my iPad with the wireless AirPods!

Our Heritage Journal

Our Heritage Journal is a UGC care listed journal for research publication. Our Heritage Journal provides a forum for sharing the timely and up-to-date publication of scientific research and review articles. The journal publishes original research papers at the forefront of humanities and social sciences. The topics included and emphasized in this journal are, but not limited to, Linguistics, Commerce, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Economics, History, Environmental Studies, Business Administration, Home Science, Public Health, Political Science, Demography, Cultural Studies, Ethnography, and Sociolinguistics.
Journal Title (in English Language) Our Heritage
Publication Language English
Publisher Department of Training And Research
ISSN 0474-9030
Co-Publisher Eduindex
Discipline Arts and Humanities
Subject Arts and Humanities (all)
Email id
UGC-CARE List Group Group B
The topics related to this journal include but are not limited to:
• Anthropology
• Business studies
• Communication studies
• Corporate governance
• Criminology
• Crosscultural studies
• Demography
• Development studies
• Economics
• Education
• Ethics
• Geography
• History
• Industrial relations
• Information science
• International relations
• Library science
• Linguistics
• Literature
• Media studies
• Methodology
• Paralegal
• Performing arts
• Philosophy
• Political science
• Population studies
• Psychology
• Public administration
• Social welfare
• Sociology
• Visual arts
• Women studies