Wellness Wednesday

Self care is something I do not do well.

As a coach, I try to help people remember the ways they can take care of themselves. Hopefully, this will remind me! Several years ago I had mini 15 minute initial meetings with everyone in my school and asked them what was most important to them at that moment and how did they treat themselves. They were good questions to ask.

My self care looks like this:

I fast and exercise every day. I start my day with the morning routine that fuels and fulfills me. I learn something every day.

How do you take care of yourself? I would love to know.

Writing Prompt and an Announcement

Starting on September 23rd if you join my Patreon community you will receive a daily prompt for 100 days like the one above. We have a Slack community as well so you can join other writers.

September 23rd starts a special time period – the last 100 days of 2020! Can you believe it???

The last 100 days is the perfect time to give yourself a challenge. You can join mine or create your own. I would love to hear what you plan to do.

Last year I vowed to do one yoga pose a day for the remaining 100 days of 2019. A friend wrote 100 word essays. The possibilities are endless. You could answer the same morning and evening questions. I follow Karissa Kouchis who is a national trainer for Tony Robbins. She has challenged herself to answer the same morning and evening questions for the next 30+ days for a training. I have been answering them in my journal as well.

What questions would propel you into a new reality if you committed to them for 100 days? One of the exercises in Tony Robbins Personal Power class is to construct questions you ask yourself every day. I have a list in my Google Keep Notes.

Here are the questions I am using right now from KK:

Morning:

  1. What are you most happy about in your life right now? How does that make you feel?
  2. What am I most proud of right now? How does that make me feel?
  3. What am I most committed to right now? How does that make me feel?

Do you see a pattern here?

Evening:

  1. What have I been given today?
  2. What have I given to others?
  3. What have I learned today?
  4. How has today added to the quality of the overall investment in my life?

Happy writing! Happy reflecting!

I would love to hear your ideas for the last 100 days. It is a perfect time for a self imposed challenge!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome to the weekend! Since most people are still not traveling anywhere let’s pretend we are riding on a train to have an adventure together! We can order a fancy coffee beverage or just plain coffee. On this train, the coffee is amazing so you are free to order anything!

If we were sipping coffee I would ask you if you subscribe to my newsletter – if not, please click here!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you wrote several posts for my BYOB challenge from Ninja Writers. If you missed them, you can read them here.

Life Experiments

Six Ways to Be a Better Writing Teacher

Do You Know How To Rest?

Can I Ask You A Question?

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I am still in my program from Caroline Donahue called Write Free. This week we talked more about the critic and I learned more about mine. I thought I had silenced her but she just got quiet. I wrote every day of course. I have been writing with my Sarah Selecky prompts but have not been posting many to the Centered space.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I subscribed again to The Letter Exchange (LEX). LEX connects snail mail pen pals through listings in the magazine and provides a confidential letter-forwarding service. I joined in the late 90’s but due to moving around so much the last couple of years it didn’t work. While I was doing a task from The Artist’s Way this week I reminded myself and did a search. I wrote three letters on Saturday!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I walked every day. We have been using some new routes and have found a beautiful street to walk down.

Do you need another coffee? I am going to the barista and have him work his magic!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I am launching a Patreon page. I have wrestled with the idea of this platform for a while and feel like it will encompass all the things I create and provide in a streamlined way. There will be exclusive posts, workshops, write in’s, a private Slack channel, and coaching opportunities. Stay tuned for more details.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I started reading Great House by Nicole Krauss. I am not sure how I missed this book. It is about a writing desk and I love the way she writes her sentences. I am savoring it and reading it slowly. The History of Love was a great read during this pandemic. I want to learn more about Nicole’s process but haven’t been able to find too much.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I listened to two great calls with the author Amber Sparks. One was a small library event and she shared some stories that were new to me which was delightful. The second was an event hosted by Politics and Prose and you can watch that here. The other writers on this call are Laura van den Berg, Tania James and Rion Amilcar Scott.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you this post was inspired by https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ and https://www.savvywordslinger.com/bloghome. Check them out.

If we were sipping coffee I would love to hear where you would like to travel once we are allowed again. I cannot wait to get over to Germany for Oktoberfest.

Do You Know How to Rest?

What Does Rest Look Like to You?

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I am the type of person that thrives on action. I am always thinking and planning and using up all my energy by the end of the day is my goal. I use up the energy by pursuing things that light me up. This is my soul work. The question I ask myself is often, “How can I do this [insert action] at a level 10?” Level 10 is the best I can be at that moment.

But the last couple of days I have been mentally tired. I cannot focus. I cannot read for more than a couple of minutes. To leverage this feeling, I examined how I need to rest and rejuvenate. My rest doesn’t look like other people’s I have learned over the years. In the past, I also have not done this well.

I read the other day that if you have decided to rest yet you are worried about what you are not accomplishing then you are doing it wrong.

What does rest look like to you?

Sometimes rest or slowing down is the way to refuel your mind and creativity.

I love data and research so of course I used my Enneagram type to look up ways to rejuvenate. Some of the ways I listed in my Passion Planner:

  1. Enjoy morning routine and coffee ritual
  2. Laugh
  3. Run
  4. Fold towels (or some other mundane task)
  5. Read
  6. Help someone learn something
  7. Bask in the sun
  8. Listen to a podcast
  9. Be the gift fairy

I execute Level 10 well when I am thinking about my mission. I do not always do so well with the rest side of the coin.

For example, I am the type of woman who moves every day. I have been doing a daily walk/run depending on how I feel for over 70 days now. I know it doesn’t always have to be an intense walk. In order to rest, I need to walk at a slower pace and enjoy the scenery. I need to not be in a hurry to get to the next thing or to be done. I need to enjoy the moment. If I am compelled to run, I run. But if I am going to do rest at a Level 10 there is likely to just be walking.

Planning for the day or the week can be rejuvenating for me because I anticipate obstacles which then calms my mind. I can marinate on how I can show up at a level 10 for them all.

Writing is always rejuvenating for me.

What is your soul work? Where are you putting your energy?

Reading: I reread “Cuisine des Mémoires” by N.K. Jemisin just to enjoy it. It doesn’t mean that if I want to write down a favorite line it is not rest. I just have to pay attention to how I feel.

I know I need a rest day because I have been frustrated the last couple of days and cannot pinpoint why.

I have to pay attention.

I delight in the butterflies and the grasshoppers. the mama horse that takes the apple from me. The collage technique I play with.

Sometimes rest doesn’t look like laying around.

What what does rest look like during COVID? There are still many areas of the nation that are in lockdown. Many people I know do not leave their houses unless it is necessary. Zoom can be just as exhausting as a string of social obligations.

Rest may look different now to you since the world is different. Sometimes it can be hard to rest when there are too many people in the house, especially if they are on a different schedule than you are.

What does your ideal rest look like to you today? How can you make at least one thing from that list happen?

I have been thinking about things I have done in the past that I enjoy but have been neglecting. One of which is playing with collages. I have been inspired by Austin Kleon and his tape collages on Instagram. I also have been missing letter writing. I have a few friends I snail mail occasionally but I have resubscribed to The Letter Exchange. It is a magazine and forwarding service for letter writers. You can read more about it here.

I challenge you to find a new way to rest today – even if it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

Let me know what you come up with in the comments!

Synchronicity #SOL20

How a request was met with an answer…

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Several days ago I wrote a post called, “The Delight of Connections,” about wanting to connect with a specific type of educator. You can read that here. Luckily, I have this community of teacher writers and it has changed my life for the better. I am so glad to know there are so many teacher writers out there. There are friends that I see their names or the names of their blog and I know I am in for a reading treat, especially on Tuesdays.

Lately, I have felt a bit lost. There is uncertainty that every one feels hovering around the next couple of weeks. I struggle with how I feel about it. I never shy away from hard work or new learning. I thrive on growth, but I cannot wrap my head around the details to plan because I have none.

When I am uncertain I try to find other people who are doing it better than I am. I learn from everyone I interact with. This was the reasoning behind the post: to find someone in a similar situation to find some solutions and validation. The post was liked, but there were no comments. That sometimes happens of course. Not every post we write resonates with someone and compels them to respond.

Sunday a friend reached out in text and we started talking. As a coach, I went into her room frequently. She is one of those teachers I love working with because her teaching light is so bright. Every time it was a joy to enter her room. Her kids learned and were happy to do it. They were fun and had humor in their room. I listened to them perform their readers theatre just after winter break and the students were amazing and expressive. I will never forget that day.

This friend mentioned she knew one of the ladies that had applied for my job when I left. Through the text conversation I learned she was teaching fifth grade but had been a coach and a kindergarten teacher in the duration of her career! This new connection and I had an amazing conversation over Instagram.

If there is something you are seeking, ask. You never know how the answer will show up for you. I remained open to it and am pleased with this new connection. I thought it would come from the blog. It is a delight it came through a random conversation with a friend who doesn’t even know I have a blog! Be open to what comes. I love it when our needs are provided for in such unexpected ways.

Have you experienced Synchronicity lately? I would love to hear about it.

The Delight of Connections

100+ Preschool Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Finding our tribe is important. It helps us belong and feel comforted that there are people that are like us. Having diversity in the group helps us learn from people who are different from us as well. No two people are exactly alike and that is a good thing!

I will be teaching kindergarten this fall, hopefully in person. I will be incorporating play, centers, loads of writing and reading, priming, EL education, and protocols. This is not an exhaustive list.

One of the things I do is incorporate my personal passions into my classroom. If there is something I become obsessed with – like llamas, for instance – they find their way into my teaching. I believe this shows my students that the things they love are important as well. I had a student one time that put a pickle in her stories. For some reason, she was obsessed with them. It became a fun game how she could incorporate them into her writing and her speech. She learned she could play with words and it was accepted in the room and encouraged.

My education experience feels unique and I want to close that gap. I am sure I am not the only one who is a writer, a coach, and a classroom teacher. I plan to go back to coaching after a year back in the classroom. I believe the classroom experience makes me a better coach especially in a new district. I continue to write and publish. This makes me more of an authority to my students when they know this information when we have writing workshop.

My students will see themselves as readers, writers, and problem solvers on day 1.

My goal is to form a mastermind of like minded educators in order to fuel each other to take risks and learn from what we experience with our students. Does this appeal to you?

Comment or email me at tammybreitweiser@gmail.com – I would love to connect.

Monday Delights

An Exercise in Paying Attention

Several weeks ago a book came into my circle of influence called

The Book of Delights: Essays - Kindle edition by Gay, Ross ...

Ross Gay decided to write an essay about a daily delight starting on his birthday. I was delighted (ha ha) when I found this idea and started logging my own delights. I started with essays, but then switched to logging my delights in my Keep notes or in my Passion Planner.

What delights you?

Here is a small list of mine:

  1. The Delight of a little bit of shade with trees on my sunny running route.
  2. The Delight of a discovery of a pattern.
  3. The Delight of sparkle water. This is what I call the carbonated water in a can like Perrier. This is my new favorite drink.
  4. The Delight of hearing the perfect phrase on a podcast when you know the Universe is working FOR you.
  5. The Delight of being in a canoe on the Wisconsin River with the perfect weather and the perfect company.
  6. The Delight of mail! Deliveries and surprises.

I would love to hear about your delights!

If you would like to read more about this idea click here.

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins

Welcome back to the weekend! The time is flowing now that we are on the other side of the July 4th holidays. I am not sure about where you live, but it was a lot quieter this year for us. The next neighborhood over lit some that were pretty but there was no noise after 9pm. I was soooo thankful.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I walked on the Ice Age Trail this week and some trails at a “new to me” state park. The mosquitos were having me for lunch so we ended the hike a little early. It was lush and green I was getting swarmed!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am sad my 10-week prep course for Sarah Selecky’s Story Intensive finished this week. I am looking forward to the next steps and digging into the course at the end of August. I have made some good writing friends in the forums and am happy our time together is not over. I am lucky there is another community that will hold me over til the August 24th start date.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it has been hot hot hot here. Yes, it warrants the three hots. It doesn’t stop me from my daily exercise but it does promote walking over running. My route is 98% sun. I do have the best tan I have had in years!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we took the kids canoeing on Friday on the Wisconsin River. It was perfect weather and beautiful scenery. We paddled for 3.5 hours and no one complained. We saw a bunch of party people on rafts. We were in red canoes and named “The Big Burrito” and “Shenanigans” which made me laugh.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my friend Annie has her website up and running. I love her journals. She has other products. Be sure to go and sign up for her newsletter. You can do that here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a podcast this week about my writing process. You can listen to that here. The link is at the bottom of the post.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I would love to hear about your week! What was the most inspiring thing that happened to you?

Chocolate Read Alouds #SOL

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When was the last time you read aloud to someone?

When was the last time someone read aloud to you?

My commute used to be two hours per day. (Now it is 10 minutes! That is an upgrade). I become reliant on podcasts to try to satisfy my insatiable quest for knowledge. It also seemed like a reasonable activity to pass the time with.

I struggle with audiobooks. There are few books I can tolerate the whole text on audio. I find this odd. I also have an internal fight with myself about whether audiobooks “count” as reading. I have seen the research that the brain doesn’t know the difference, but my reading mind has a different opinion.

The Overdrive app from the library is the way I choose to sample audiobooks. I keep trying. The one book I have listened to with success is The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern.  If you have not read it, and you like magic and adventure I highly recommend it. The Starless Sea is also a treasure.

I made the connection that audiobooks and podcasts are simply me being read aloud to. Something that is a cornerstone of my classroom, and probably yours as well. There is nothing that inspires and sparks conversation and writing like a good piece of text.

There is an art to reading aloud. There is a pizazz that is needed. It should not be tortured or boring or “just something that needs to happen.” The magic of reading comes through your voice and expression and is a good read aloud. I think this is what I search for in a podcast as well. The voice matters.

Reading and writing are so connected aren’t they? I tell students all the time to please write how they talk because I do not want to read the same pice of writing from my class. Anything can be boring if you have to read it 20 times!

When I was a reading specialist I was honored to know a woman who would read aloud in a meeting and transport us into the book. She was a wise reading specialist and full of experience that I learned from every time I spoke with her.

Lester Laminack can also read aloud to me any time and I am transfixed! His book, Saturdays and Teacakes is a wonderful picture book memoir.

There is a quote that reading aloud should be like chocolate, not vitamins – or maybe I just made that up. Read alouds should be treats, and sometimes just done for fun. Yes, as teachers we are always looking for the craft lesson. Fun is a lesson too.

We cannot encourage reading for fun if we never model it.

I like to think that I listen to podcasts as a substitute for being read aloud to. It makes my heart happy and my soul too.

The magic of read aloud is a talent that many teachers possess and is key to exciting children to read. I hope that I continue to find audio books that are worth the time. Any suggestions in the comments are welcome!

This Spring, reading aloud looked different for my students. Many links to authors reading their books and Bitmoji classrooms with themed read alouds were used. I also read aloud on Screencastify which was a whole new experience. I never realized how many faces I make to emphasize the sentences!

However you read today may it be fun! You never know though – you might get inspired along the way.

If you need something new to listen to my podcast on Friday will be all about education. Pop on over to Soundcloud and take a listen. The Accidental Inspirationalist is always less than 10 minutes! Listen Here!

Priming Script

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After my intial thoughts about priming in kindergarten there was a larger response than I anticpated.

After more thought I decided to make a script to try. This is a rough draft and after I try it with kids I am sure it will be revised. I am hoping this will give others an idea of what I am thinking.

I have done priming myself for 4 days and can tell you it is amazing. There are YouTube videos of Tony Robbins leading priming exercises if you wish to try some for yourself. I imagine it would be easier to do with the audio cues rather than trying to read it.

Priming Script

Good morning! Today we are going to start our day in a very special way. It is going to get our brains ready to learn and be at school. I bet it will even make our learning conversations that much stronger.

Everyone, please stand. Excellent. We are all going to take a deep breath in…hold it, hold it…now let it out. Good.

We are going to do that again but this time when you breathe in I want you to raise your arms like this: (model bringing arms straight up clapping hands at the top, over the head)

Then we are going to breathe out and bring our arms back down like this. (model for students)

Let’s do this three times.

Breathe in 1

Breathe out

Breathe in 2

Breathe out

Breathe in 3

Breathe out

Great – how do we feel?

Wonderful.

The next part is I want you to think of a something you are thankful for. It could be something big or small. It could have been a hug from your mom this morning, your breakfast here at school being super tasty today, the last time you saw your Grandmother. It could be something that happened not long ago or something from a long time ago.

You can close your eyes if you want. I want you to think about that memory and pretend you are there all over again. Like a movie inside your brain. Try to see yourself. Feel what it was like in the place you are remembering. Remember what it feels like.

I see big smiles! The room already feels different, doesn’t it?

Take a deep breath in again – try to fill up your lungs with as much air as you can like you are filling a balloon inside your chest!

Ok, now I want you to think of a time you were really happy. Remember is just like when you did with the time you were thankful. It might have been a birthday, a party, going swimming, a hug from someone, your pets, whatever makes you happy!! Think about how you felt. Take yourself back to that moment! Oh the smiles are even bigger this time! 

Ok, now we are going to think of a time you were proud of yourself. Now this would be something you did that someone in your family noticed you were doing and told you how happy they were with you. Maybe you cleaned up after your dog, or you helped your sister. Maybe you did a really great job at something and you were so happy with yourself. Think of that moment now. 

[This one may be a little harder for 5-year-olds. I may add one of the memories at a time and not do them all at once over the course of a week. Showing some youtube videos covering emotions may be helpful as well.]

The last one, I want you to think of something you want to do in the future. Maybe it is get your mom a special present or you miss someone and want to see them. Maybe you want to make a goal in soccer or be able to do a cartwheel. Imagine yourself doing this thing you want.

All these happy feelings have made our classroom feel so wonderful! I want you to think about these positive feelings and then think of someone you love that we can send them to. We are going to imagine all these wonderful feelings like a blue light that is blasting out all over the school, the town or maybe even the whole world.

FANTASTIC!

Ok, everyone open their eyes if you had them closed and then do a little stretch.

We are now ready for our day!

Please feel free to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts.