Follow Your Intuition

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As a teacher, you have to follow the curriculum, programs and the textbook series the corporation adopts. Most public corporations have adoptions of materials on a rotating basis. The year span between adoption depends on the state and money distribution. The number of years between subject areas can also vary widely. Corporations spend a large amount of money on these materials and the expectation is to follow them. As a coach, I agree with this ideal…mostly.

There is never one program that is a cure-all for your students. A teacher must constantly differentiate based on student needs. Teaching is an art where nuance is required. A knowledge base of your content is important but a teacher also has to synthesize info so others can learn it. Many factors play into a strong teaching strategy and most can be learned. Our natural tendencies can make certain aspects easier. There are fundamental skills such as conveying a proper objective, motivation techniques, the ability to give academic feedback and how to structure and pace a lesson. Methods for teaching problem solving and thinking is imperative as well. To accomplish these skills you must know how to develop relationships with your students. 

The nuance enters when you must decide what you believe as a teacher. You have to have a philosophy you can use as a measuring stick to what you are willing to accommodate for and what you want to fight back on.

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5 Creative Ways to Start A Meeting

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The first 3–5 minutes of any meeting I facilitate starts with a Brain Drainer. The term originated from an amazing educator named Dr. Rita Brodnax who I had the pleasure to work within the late ’90s. She taught me in order for people to learn they have to defocus to refocus. Her brain research fueled the ways she presented. She explained the brain acts like a sponge and can only take so much “water” or information. It has to be “squeezed out” to learn something new. She started every meeting differently and was a model of engagement in the classroom and workshop. Some Brain Drainers were less than 30 seconds and some were up to a couple of minutes. Many involved talking to someone.

Here are 5 Creative Ways to start your next meeting that will get people talking — in a good way!

  1. Use a Riddle

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Weekend Coffee Share

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s sit in these comfortable chairs around my oak table and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning but I can make you iced coffee if you prefer. Even though it is summer it doesn’t stop me from drinking several hot cups. I think I will bring us glasses of ice water just for variety.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we tried to make a water balloon slingshot with bungee cords and duct tape. It was a hit or miss success and then we ordered one from Amazon. It worked better but still needs some finesse. We are working on the technique but the kids had fun.

What would we talk about if we were having coffee at your house?

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Rule #3 For Writing

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An examination of my writing rules one at a time.

Rule #3: Find someone to read your writing who is NOT a writer.


My training as a long distance runner is primarily solo. My running career started with runs on the treadmill. Eventually after 8 months I joined a running group. The group gave me perspective about how fast I was running and how many miles a week I ran compared to other runners similar to me. It was not a judgment just a reality and perspective check.

Writing can be the same way. Writing is a solitary act but we need to share our writing. Writers need community -of writers and readers.


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73 Questions! Who could Resist????

I was nominated by The Wellness Blogger for this challenge inspired from a Vogue Magazine Series which interviews celebrities and other public figures. The questions are designed to allow you know more about my likes and lifestyle, so you will know a bit more about me. Plus I love a good list of questions.

The 73 Questions

  1. What’s your usual Starbucks order?
    Caramel Macchiato or just black coffee. For a little while they had a chili mocha that had chili pepper in it! It is my absolute favorite.

2. What does your workstation look like?
At school, there are piles of books and papers everywhere. My workstation at home is the bed so that means the laptop or my notebook and pen.

3. Favourite food?
Pizza — always pizza. I could eat it everyday.

4. Favourite authors?
Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link — this is a huge list but I will keep it to two!

5. What do you think of open relationships?
Not for me but to each his own.

6. What is your favourite video game?
PacMan

7. Guilty pleasure treat?
Another drink.

8. Favourite movie?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — the old version with Gene Wilder

9. Favourite book?
Children’s: Where the Red Fern Grows

Grownup: Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones

10. Twitter or Instagram?
Twitter

11. Desktop or laptop?
Laptop, definitely.

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?
Always choose love over fear.

13. What project are you working on right now?
Working on a polished collection of short stories.

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My Nominees: (No obligation)

C.H Schoen

Marta

Lexi

Christine

Alli

Carol Anne

How To Develop A Library of Stories

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A simple exercise to make conversations and teaching more interesting.

The word belonging keeps coming onto my radar. Belonging is a large component of engagement in education. It is one of the current buzzwords but applies to everyone. Humans have a need to belong which can be simply being part of a tribe. In the current environment, these people are real-life friends and online in many people’s lives.

One powerful way of connection is through story.

Developing a library of stories was a takeaway from my Jim Knight training in the Spring. A library of stories can be defined as a cheat sheet of memories to jog your memory when you need a story to illustrate a point or for entertainment.

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3 Things to Remember as A Writing Teacher

An honest post

1. Put Your Ego in Check

Yes, you are the adult. Yes, you are a trained professional. BUT, your student is still the writer. They do not have to take your suggestion no matter how much older you are. This applies to kindergarteners thru adult learners. You respect them and they respect you. It is a give and take relationship.

I see so many little people writers by third grade who are terrified to go outside of directions. Some seem to have lost their ability to be creative for the sake of doing what is expected. Please do not take your students’ creativity away. If you have to segment a time slot for the wild abandon of student writing to happen to keep your own brain in check — DO IT. Sometimes it is ok to not know what is going to happen. If you want students to take risks and be vulnerable in their writing you have to make space for it.

2. Be A Writer Yourself

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10 Things About Me that Might Surprise You

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  1. When I was a toddler I used to hold my breath and make myself pass out when I was mad. I used to do this over trivial things like not wanting to eat my green beans. My parents took me to a sleep study to find out their daughter was just stubborn. They were not happy.
  2. I had scarlet fever when I was 4. I still have vivid memories from the hospital of being on an ice machine and in ice baths. I remember them coming to take blood with the tackle box looking case. The experience scarred me for life and I avoid doctors.

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Both Sides – A Poem

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Both sides

are contained

The shadow and the fit for public consumption

The shadow is a bit too bitter for most

People think they want to see the real you but that is a farce

They pretend

The real is uncomfortable for people

They do not want to face what they do not understand

Nor do they want to

They are caught up in their own bubble and cannot escape

She looks out from the cottage window to the water

It is calm today and the first ice is forming

Soon we can walk across to the land

So will the animals

The trees protect the house from eyes and intruders

It is better in a fight to know both sides

Better to know my whole self rather than hide

We are not at the beginning anymore

We are in the middle

We are a force of nature

Are you ready?

We are tired of hiding.

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Read the poem here on Medium to clap and respond.