Life Experiments

How Trying Something New Can Help You Be A Better Teacher

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Someone who follows their curiosities is far more interesting than someone who does not. Life experiments are fun challenges that allow you to play with an idea.

I love to read life experiment memoirs. A.J. Jacobs has made a writing career out of this idea. He tried different skills or lifestyles and writes about it. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell is also one of these books. Another is The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders. I find these books inspiring to try something new.

Several years ago I went to a conference (will these even happen anymore in real life? Jury is still out…) and the speaker talked about an experiment with questions.

I love great questions. They lead to fantastic conversations and insights. Questions are great ice breakers and I have used ,”What music are you listening to in your car right now?” and “If you could live 5 imaginary lives, what would they be?” I even did a question and answer experiment and wrote about it using the 36 questions that lead to deep connection.

Inspired by the conference, at the next workshop I taught I only asked questions. I made no statements at all. i answered all questions with a question. In theory, this seems like a simple task. Humans like validation I learned. I wanted to see how my teachers would react if I turned everything back on them. Part of my personality is to be the person who gives a direct answer and my teachers know this. It isn’t always the answer people want, but it is the honest one. Many teachers come to me as a coach wanting me to give them permission to do something. In this meeting, I answered every question with a question and it drove them a little nuts. There was some anger in spurts as well. Some questions I asked were simple, “Well, what do you think?” and “How would that look in your classroom?” Finally at the end I told them what I had done. They were relieved and then we discussed how much we rely on validation and feeling seen with answers in workshops and even conversation. They talked about how they felt during the meeting and couldn’t pinpoint what it was that was making them uncomfortable. The questions made them feel unsure about what they were contributing. It was exhausting and I haven’t tried it again. Some of the teachers turned the tables on their students and asked only questions within the next week. It allowed focus on asking great questions in the classroom too.

Following your own self imposed challenges can lead to some fun. I have done challenges like eating vegan for two weeks. I learned I love cheese on my pizza and don’t want to give that up. I also learned how much dairy is in processed food that shouldn’t be – like lentil soup. I read labels much more carefully now.

Summer break allows me to experiment with time. Every summer there is always a reading project. One year, I read books only in one genre and another a whole author’s backlist. I have written many times about my Bradbury Trio challenge. Ray Bradbury, the famous brilliant author, said to be a better writer a short story, a poem, and an essay before bed. This experiment has changed the way I write. The input of wonderful writing and structure has shaped my owns words on the page and I am grateful to all the writers who are my models.

Last summer I imposed “The Writer Schedule”. I imagined what my schedule would look like as a full-time writer and followed it. My first thoughts are about creation in the morning. I wrote short stories and submitted them. I revised my novel. I entered contests. I also observed the world, created experiences, wrote at the coffee shop, made trips to the library and used bookstore, read, listened to podcasts and wrote down these impressions. There was also time for writing conversation with other writers I know. I recorded my wild life as Mary Oliver would have wanted me to. There were also naps. Many details made it into stories and some were just for me in my notebooks.

What experiment will you try?

Ideas to Try to See What Happens

  1. Copy a poem every day in your notebook
  2. Declutter one item per day for 30 days
  3. Perform a random act of kindness for 30 days
  4. Journal every day
  5. No social media for a week
  6. No reading for a week
  7. Walk in the forest
  8. No coffee for a week
  9. A news fast
  10. Cold shower for 3 minutes to start your day
  11. Buy nothing new for a month
  12. Go ziplining
  13. Rent a canoe
  14. Try a weird fruit you never have (you may have to YouTube it to figure out how to eat it!)
  15. Compliment a stranger every day

Growing and sharing these stories with your students is fun. Seeing their reactions to something they didn’t expect you would do is a glorious feeling. Even if the experiment doesn’t go well, you will always get a great story out of it!

I would love to hear which experiments resonate with you. Do you have one I haven’t thought of? Let me know in the comments.

Six Ways To Be A Better Writing Teacher

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I have been able to attend several writing conferences through my work over the years. One that had profound impact on me was the writers at work hosted by Ruth Culham in Sun Valley Idaho. I did not know the landscape could be so beautiful in a place I associate with potatoes. This education celebrity met with her small circle of authors every year to plan workshops for the year. Then she opened it up to other educators. The travel there had been adventurous for me with a small plane flying through a thunderstorm. It reminded me of the first time I was on a plane when I was 6 years old.

One of the speakers was Ralph Fletcher. He talked about how all teacher needed to be a writer with a lowercase w. The only difference between a writer with a capital and lowercase w is that capital w writers get paid. If you write, you are a writer.

As teachers, we need our students to learn to write in order to express themselves. I have found through my coaching and my own education experience that writing scares the hell out of most people. There is not a lot of instruction in writing in teacher prep courses. Why would you expect your students to do something that you are unwilling to do?

My Action List:

  1. Bradbury Challenge
  2. Unpack the Text
  3. Learn Through Your Ears
  4. Write in the Edges
  5. Challenges
  6. Join a group of creatives or writers

Bradbury Challenge

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Ray Bradbury said read one poem a night, one short story a night, one essay a night, for the next 1,000 nights.

This is his formula for an MFA. It works.

It is impossible to not be a better writer if you follow this formula. Read what you like from authors you like. It does not have to be any way connected to the grade level you teach.

recommendations:

Essays: Natalie Goldberg, Ray Bradbury, Zadie Smith, David Sedaris, Roxane Gay

Short stories: Nancy Stohlman, Kathy Fish, Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link

Poems: Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Naomi Shihab Nye

Unpack The Text

When you read a piece you particularly write then study it. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What works in this piece and how does it make me feel?
  2. How did the author achieve this feeling in me?
  3. What are my favorite lines?
  4. What can I try in my own writing that the author does?

Action: Write something inspired by the text you studied.

Learn Through Your Ears

One of the ways I take advantage of extra time is to listen to podcasts. I love writing podcasts in particular. I listen to podcasts mostly in the car and during workouts. There is a rotation but I always learn something.

Favorite Podcasts:

  1. Why is This Good? Naples Writers’ Workshop
  2. How Do You Write? Rachael Herron
  3. The Writers Well Podcast J Thorn and Rachael Herron
  4. How Writers Write
  5. Stop Writing Alone Nicole Rivera
  6. Qwerty Marion Roach Smith
  7. Fierce Womxn Writing
  8. Good Life Project
  9. Any podcast with Karissa Kouchis as a guest.

I also like audio courses. I have been listening to Tony Robbins and his Personal Power 30 day program and his Beautiful State training.

Listen to what fuels you and write down the memories and stories that come to mind as you listen. Write about those ideas.

Write in the Edges

I learned a long time ago that if I want to make sure I do something, I have to schedule it.

Write now, open your planner/schedule and plan a 10 minute writing time for the next 7 days.

During that time write:

  1. A memory
  2. Whatever comes to mind
  3. The story about one of your notes
  4. A reflection of a favorite line from something you read
  5. A new story based on a title of something you have read
  6. Morning Pages
  7. Anything in response to a journal prompt
  8. How you are feeling in that moment

My advice is also to carry a notebook and write down ideas that strike you, an overhead conversation, an interesting detail, a 5 senses description of where you are throughout the day. I strive for at least 10 snippets a day.

If you don’t like the notebook use a note taking app on your phone. I am partial to Google Keep. It backs itself up (I lost a whole note app full of gems I can never get back – a whole other story.) You can share notes and also easily make it a Google Doc. You can also use voice to text in this app which works for me when walking or driving. If you run and try to talk there are weird connections of words the device will pick up!

Challenges

Challenges give me a structure and a schedule. There are small challenges and large ones but I gravitate to 30 day or 100 challenges. Some examples are: Storyaday May and September, NANOWRIMO, #the100dayproject, Five Minute Friday (FMF), and Two Writing Teachers blogging.

Storyaday: This challenge is hosted by Julie Duffy and it is just what it sounds like: one story a day for the month of May and/or September. I have challneged my middle school students to do this challenge as well.

NANOWRIMO: National Novel Writing month. This challenge is to write a 50,000 word manuscript in the month of November.

#the100dayproject: A creative challenge that starts at the beginning of April. The artist creates something every day. In 2020, I wrote a random sentence every day and am creating a short story based on these sentences. Some people do post it note drawings, or doodles, or paintings, or 100 word essays, or poems. It is up to you!

FMF: Hosted by Kate Motaung Kate posts a word on Friday with a great visual. You write with this word for five minutes.

Two Writing Teachers Blog: Every Tuesday, teacher writers post on their own blogs and link up on the TWT blog. In March there is a daily blog challenge where there is support and lots of comments.

Join A Group

There are lots of groups to choose from. Lots of time if you take a class or workshop you can find people you want to continue to talk to after the course is over. There are many writing groups online that are more public like Twitter and Instagram.

There are communities you can join such as Storyaday Superstars, Ninja Writers, Sarah Selecky Writing School, Teachwrite, and Jackie Aston. Almost every author you follow has a connection to a community somewhere. I found Storyaday by Googling several years ago. Find your people!

The point is you want to find a group that is nourishing to you. Some are paid, some are free but you may have to try a few before you find the one where you fit.

Connection

After you try one or all six of these ideas, your brain will start to make connections to how this translates to your classroom. It can even be one of the things you write about during your scheduled 10 minutes.

If you write, you are a writer.

Your students will listen to you more as a model of being a writer rather than being someone who just talks about writing. There must be action.

Next Right Step

Make a change in your writing life today. Write something. Buy a notebook and a pen you like.

Your students will thank you.

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What Story Are You Telling Yourself? #SOL20

I write every Tuesday and share on the Two Writing Teachers blog. Join other teachers that share their writing and thoughts.

Think about a time you were teaching and you CRUSHED it! It was one of those lessons that went so perfect you wish you would have taped it or that your principal was in the back of the room frantically writing the notes of how brilliant your classroom is.

What were you doing? What had you done before the lesson began? What are your students doing? What were you saying to yourself?

What were you wearing? Where were you standing? Did you have a Powerpoint? What materials were out?

Get yourself back into that moment. See it in your mind’s eye and feel what it felt to be in that moment.

***

I have several moments that I like to come back to from my 25 years as an educator. One is from early in my teaching career when I was teaching first grade. We had gathered on the floor in a circle to share our writing journals. I had established a clear rhythm of family meeting that ended with a read aloud and then we wrote a group chart and then students wrote independently. I sat in the circle with everyone and had given the directions that someone would read and then we would ask questions about what was not clear and then also tell the writer what we loved about the writing.

I started the activity and guided the first couple of writers and the comments. Then my kids took over. They asked each other questions and took turns like expert writer workshop participants. I was awed. I slowly backed out of the circle because they didn’t need me. I watched as my students gave helpful feedback and suggestions. The writers knew the piece was still theirs and if they didn’t like the feedback they didn’t have to use it. I was so proud of my little students. My heart was so full that day.

I can literally tap into this experience because I have associated it within my physiology by my right hand tapping on my upper chest, right under my neck. I can get back to this moment by triggering the memory with the hand motion. I know young students are capable of doing great things because I have seen it. Even if I haven’t seen it with my own eyes I know I can find studies and stories from other teachers who have with their students. I can piggy back off their experience to fuel my own.

Over the next few weeks, I am creating a teacher identity that exemplifies what I want to accomplish this school year no matter what it looks like.

Here are some of the questions I am asking myself:

What adjectives would you use to describe yourself as a level 10 teacher?

What outcomes do you want to consistently create over the school year?

What actions do you need to take to ensure those outcomes are reached?

What mantras do you need to remember to bring you back to your goals? I wrote about this one here.

What three things if I do every day at school will guarantee I have a successful day?

What gives me energy during the school day and what depletes it?

What beliefs do I have about school, my students, and my teaching? Are they limiting or empowering?

I would love to hear about your teaching moment that you brought to the forefront of your memories!

Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already! I would love to connect!

The Delight of Connections

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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.

Do You Have a Mantra? #sol20

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I have been thinking about mantras. What are the phrases you repeat to yourself? Are they positive or negative? Are you paying attention?

Within my group coaching program I am working on a higher level mantra this week. As I was listening to my coach this morning I was thinking about my mantras for school.

What do you repeat to students constantly? I am not talking about the behavior corrections here. What academic feedback do you give to students to encourage the behavior you desire in them?

My favorite phrase to tell students, especially when we are working on something new or difficult is:

I am the facilitator in my classroom. My students need to trust that what I am providing for them is something valuable. It has to be the right fit for them – not too hard, not too easy, just enough productive struggle. Students need to feel that I know what I am talking about. This is why I share my writing with students. I believe you cannot teach writing well unless you are a writer in some form yourself.

Several years ago I was talking to a colleague about writing prompts. She had expressed frustration about her students not writing well to the prompts she was giving to them. I asked her if she had provided a model for them. She had said no because she didn’t want them to copy hers. In the past, she had provided models only to have carbon copies of her piece come back to her.

We talked about the gradual release framework (I do, We do, You do) and then came back to the model.

She decided to write her own version based on the prompt. She gave herself her own assignment. Do you know what she found?

She had trouble writing the essay.

Huh.

It occurred to her if she was in her 40’s and didn’t have enough experience to write a layered piece then 8,9 and 10 year olds would not be able to either. She had to change the prompts she was giving to her students. There would need to be changes to the actual prompt or scaffolding and some group research would need to happen first.

Sometimes we have to do the work first in order for it to be the highest good for our students.

I would love to hear about your mantras and beliefs from your classrooms!

Leave It To A Teacher #SOL20

An Innovative Way to Make Readable Text

My superpower is teaching students to read. It doesn’t matter how old they are. I can hear nuances in their process and am able to fill in the cracks so they can make quick progress. 

I also pay attention to what they are interested in and what they need.

When I was teaching first grade way back in 1996 I needed books for my kids with decodable and familiar text for them to practice with accuracy. There was no Teachers Pay Teacher or Pinterest back then. I had to find an easy solution.

That solution was using PowerPoint for bookmaking.

When I was a novice teacher, I took risks constantly with my students. I found the ideas that worked in my classroom were based on research I found later. Dr. Richard Allington and Marie Clay were huge influencers to me. I just continued using them because they worked.

I teach kindergarten now and even with the internet resources available, I still have the need to make books for my students.

I have given books to students and said, “I saw this and thought of you.” then watch as they read it whenever they can. I have also said, “I created this just for you.” It yields the same result: Reading.

I started teaching teachers my technique when I was nurtured by the Tech Trio. These were three technology education teachers employed by my first corporation. They also encouraged me to write a proposal to share my techniques at the Indiana Computer Educators conference. This conference would be the first of many I presented at over the course of my career.

The solution for me was to take a presentation program and turn it into a bookmaking program.

The design was simple. The text would be at the top of the page with a picture to help the student read. 

The first book I needed was an environmental print book. The first day of class I have students read me the book. Then they get a sticker . I tell them someone asks them what the sticker is for they are to tell them they read a book!

The idea that my students are readers the first day solidifies this identity for them. There is no arguments. There are no limiting beliefs that they are too young. They just did what they thought was impossible.

We add to class books as the year goes on, highlighting the uniqueness of that class. One year we had to have a hot Cheeto page. 

I created books with their spelling words, their sight words, the vocabulary words for the reading focus that week, favorite class words. 

It created the environment for them to be authors.  I didn’t have to tell them to do it, it was a regular practice. Soon they learned to make their own books.

PowerPoint and Google Slides allows you to print the pages so you can run it through the copier and staple into the books immediately. If you duplicate the page and print 2 to a page then you just have to cut them in half. There is no sorting that way and saves you tons of time.

Creating books contributed to my outcome of nurturing readers and writers. What a reading community it is!

What Gap Do You Need to Close? #SOL20

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In education, we talk about gaps all the time. The gap of learning where children start and where we want them to go based on standards and minimum requirements. Sometimes it is how we can enrich a child that has special potential. 

We are always minding the gap.

Summer is the time for educators to examine the gaps within our own knowledge and experience and fill that to become a better instructor.

So I ask you today, what gap do you need to close for yourself professionally?

Over the course of the spring many of us had to close gaps in our knowledge arsenal quickly. I learned how to make Screencastify videos, how to be comfortable trying to teach through a screen, how to create and take a virtual field trip, how to engage students over a Zoom meeting, and how to make and manipulate a Bitmoji classroom.

I am always learning. 

The dreams about school have already started for me. I dreamed I changed classrooms with a teacher I taught with several years ago. I was teaching intervention groups in the hallway. I was trying to order a calendar set and worried it wouldn’t come in on time.

Usually, the dreams don’t start until August but this was an unusual school year for me. Not only did I have to conquer the pandemic constraints to my job but I also changed jobs and states. This was the change I desired. The teaching from home and the ending of the school year was not my choice but as a kindergarten teacher, you have to be adaptable.

I have a professional book to read for school this summer. I am making lists in my passion planner of things I want to buy and do this year with my kindergartners. I have excitement to start the school year already. 

I have a list of books I will try to find at the thrift shop for my classroom. I am looking at the activities and protocols I will teach the first week. I pay attention to my Pinterest feed and am making materials to use with my students. I am going to use Canva more to make certain items visually appealing. I have the time now and can play without the pressure of having to push it out immediately.

I am a risk-taker in my classroom. If an idea comes to the surface we try it and see what happens. I am open with the kids about this. I tell them – if we like it and it works we keep it. If not, we chuck it.

I will have a spot on my board for something interesting that day. It might be a quote, a picture to make them think, a question of the day, or a fun word for them to use.

I am going to do priming exercise with my kids every day to get them ready for learning. It is a combination of breathing and visualizations. 

To keep me on my toes I have decided to write an article about education every week. This is easy to remember with Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life challenge.

One of the things I want to bring to my kids this year is delight. School is supposed to be fun. I have to figure out how to layout my room. Thinking through some of the activities I want to incorporate into the day will help with this task as well.

To close the gap, I will study and make sure to take notes. How will you?

Self Imposed Summer PD

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One of the ways I am striving to be a better human and teacher is to always be learning. Part of my self imposed curriculum this summer is the teachings of Tony Robbins. I am working with one of his Peak Performance Speakers, Karissa Kouchis. 

One of the concepts Tony Robbins (TR) talks about is the 6 Human Needs. As I was listening to a workshop recording it occurred to me these apply in a special way to how I run my classroom in regards to my students. 

  1. Certainty or Comfort 

All humans search for what they know for sure. Students are no different. This is why agendas work in classrooms and why some students are constantly asking what is next when you don’t tell them. When there is not enough certainty, students will react and try to create it on their own. This is not always pleasant. Students do not know sometimes why they are doing something – they are simply trying to get their needs met. This is another reason the culture of your classroom is so important for students to be comfortable. 

  1. Uncertainty or Variety 

Now, these first two seem to be in conflict with each other since they are opposites. When we have too much certainty,  then we get bored and start looking for adventure. This is also where students get in trouble. When they get too comfortable and there is not enough variety, they will create their own variety. Creating variety that is appealing to your students can go a long way in having everyone’s needs being met. This is why we change where we are sitting, encourage brain drainers and movement, we change groupings of students, and the way we share information.

  1. Significance 

Children need to be seen for who they are. They need to be worth attention and purpose. This is an important component of relationship and knowing who our students are. I am sure that I could ask any one of you reading this who is a teacher what certain students in your class like or dislike. You probably know the names of their dog, what foods they don’t like and who they were mad at last week. This is why greeting students at the door is important and also asking when student’s behavior changes.

  1. Connection 

How many times have we said relationships are the most important factor in a classroom? I am going to say it again – RELATIONSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT!  It is a human need for everyone to have connection. 

  1. Contribution and Service 

Knowledge and input is important but so is giving and doing for others. Random Acts of Kindness was an example TR brought up in one of the recordings. I have seen classroom and school projects that have encompassed this idea. Students need to be able to have opportunities to help others. This is sometimes learned through home or church, but it is our responsibility as teachers to provide opportunities as well. 

  1. Growth 

We are always learning. Children are naturally curious. The main goal of students for achievement. As teachers, we want students to learn and achieve. We want them to reach the standards as a minimum and to learn to chase their curiosity. We provide them the tools for them to pursue learning on their own. I always want my students to be reading, writing, and problem-solving even when it isn’t assigned.

After some journaling and thinking about how this applied to me in the context of education, I concluded for my own needs of certainty and uncertainty it manifested as me transitioning from teaching to the coaching job. The uncertainty of the daily schedule and working with teachers counterbalanced the certainty of education and my knowledge. At the time I first transitioned, there was a whole new school and program to learn as well.

I can also see why EL education is so appealing to me. It covers all the human needs within their curriculum, including the service component. Giving to others is not a standard part of most ELA curriculums. I find the first two important with the balance. This is why I use EL protocols for students to share and learn from each other. 

I am just at the beginnings of examining this list and all it will encompass for the fall but it is exciting to think about.

I would love to hear which one resonates with you the most. Are there needs you do a great job with your classroom already? Is there one that seems lacking?

Sunday Delights

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There is delight in Sundays. Even during the quarantine, Sunday feels different. Time is a unique component to life. It flows or it stalls.

Sundays are for looking forward and looking back. These are things that happen no other time of the week. Sundays used to be for running long with friends. It was my worship. Now it is a time for reflection.

Sundays are for being outside in nature. Today I went for my walk. I didn’t worry about running today. I enjoyed the sun on my face. The feeling of health and being smaller. Today marks day 24 of my health program “Back to Zero.” I need to get back into a size zero which is what this means. I am in the process of losing the weight I have gained over the last couple of years and the quarantine.

But on my walk today I felt tired. I had thought if it had rained, I would have not gone. I actually went the longest mileage I have all week today. A friend reminded me, “You’re waterproof, you know. Rain is no excuse.” I remember after she types this that I have run most of my running races in rain. In fact, a half marathon was delayed for rain. It totally messed my race up.

Sundays are for reading. I look forward to the Sunday newsletter from my friend Jenna. There is always thoughtful and insightful sentences from her. It makes me think. It often inspires my own writing. I am also reading Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins, and Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

Sunday is for planning for the week. I do my Janning (journaling and planning together). I look at the items on the calendar and write about how I can make them all level 10. I anticipate the things that can mess it up and formulate a plan. I make an action items list.

Sundays are for writing. Every day in my world is for writing but Sunday is the day I write my weekend coffee share. It is my virtual cup of coffee with my friends. I reflect on the week I have had. Sometimes it is just a list of the things I have done and want to remember. Sometimes I share insights that I make.

Sundays are for getting ready for the week. Today is special. It is the first Sunday in a long time that I do not have to get ready for work and school on Monday. There is a weight to that emotion that is unexpected.

Sundays emit different feelings. It used to be the day to go to my Oma’s and have dinner. It used to be the day I visited friends.

What do Sundays mean to you?

Decisions not Preferences #SOL20

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June is my month of renewed power.

I have returned to what I know about decisions. When I make a decision, I do it. There is no compromise. My life has changed when I made the decision. Usually there is a plan that goes along with it to make sure there is action.

One example is I have decided to take my health back. One factor is to drink more water. I have decided to drink 64 oz of ice water daily. Most days it is more but I know if I drink 2 White Sox souvenir glasses worth I am good.  I am not preferring to be more hydrated…I am doing it.

I want to live my life doing the things that light me up. Feeling good in my body is one of them.

Another way that I light up is when I can share the things that I am learning and that are important to me with my students.  

One of the concepts I was introduced to this week is called Priming. It is just what it sounds like – you prime yourself for the day. Today is my second day of participating in a priming exercise and it is powerful. The first time I cried and I am not a crier. The emotions gripped me so fiercely it was the only way to let out the emotion.

As I was on my walk today it occurred to me I can do this with my class in the fall. I am going to incorporate a priming exercise in the fall with my kindergarteners. They are going to learn how to start their day with breathing, gratitude, happiness, pride, and projection.

I will solidify the plan for the fall but the skeleton pieces are as follows:

  1. Deep breathing with body movements
  2. Space for them to honor something they are thankful for
  3. Space for them to bring them back to a moment they were happy
  4. Space for them to learn what pride is and for them to be brought back to a moment they were proud of themselves
  5. Space for them to think of something they want to see themselves doing in the future

If we start the day this way I can invite influence for my students to have the best day possible. We will all learn from each other.

I am so excited to have made this decision.

I am also excited to start using the EL Education Kindergarten curriculum with my students. I cannot wait to teach them protocols.

What decisions have you made today?