Self Imposed Summer PD

Tony Robbins Apologizes for Saying Women Use #MeToo to Gain ...

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?

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and A Conversation

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Welcome back to the weekend! This week was full of transitions that didn’t feel all that transitional. I will explain…

Would you like black coffee or some tea? I also have ice water of course. I picked up some of the sparkly water. It is a nice change from the filtered flat water.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this last Wednesday was my official last day of the school year. Usually, there is a feeling of ending and beginning. There was no such fanfare this year. It didn’t even feel like the end of the year. I had to go into the building to gather my student’s items and bag them up but not everyone was there so there were no goodbyes. One of my team members retired and we have not been able to have a party.

There are lots of things I enjoyed about the sheltering in place. Working from home was not torture. It did require some reframing along the way. I would prefer not to teach kindergarten from the house this fall!

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my coaching program is going well. I am learning a lot and reaffirming a lot of feelings and knowledge I already have. Having the confidence to know that internally I do know what to do is confidence building. I am also reading a new book about communication. I am excited to learn more about how to do it more effectively.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my local library opened with full service on Monday. It was a thrilling day! I was able to pick up The Night Country, which is a book I have been waiting to read. I have been reading Untamed on the kindle. From a podcast I was introduced to this gem of a book too:

Ross Gay wrote an essay a day, starting on his birthday, about something that delighted him. I love this idea! With my birthday being next week, I may be inspired to start my own project.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we took the family ziplining this Saturday. This place was a little different than the last place we went to. There was a 30-minute drive to a privately owned bluff and forest area. There were 14 lines that we were able to zip down. There were two guides with us which was new and they taught us to brake. Two hours of being in the forest was an amazing way to spend a Saturday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I made seafood mac and cheese and it was delightful!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I ordered a beautiful journal from a friend and it arrived this week. It reminded me of a talk given by Jason Reynolds. The whole speech is amazing, but he talks about how we should give our feathers away. This journal reminded me how inspiring this talk was to me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been writing every day and posting my prompts to the private forum. I received some great feedback from my writing friends.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had some deep conversations with friends this week. Several about goals and where I get ideas. Several friends I have daily check ins with. One friend was performing at an open mic, another was submitting, and another we just talk about everything.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got a new phone this week. The camera from the old one was terrible and there are too many memories I need to capture for a mediocre camera. Every December, we do a yearly printed photo album capturing the memories and phrases every one said to be able to remember.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you two friends asked about my podcast being on Spotify, so I did the research and figured out how to apply to get it on there! Updates soon!

I hope your week was amazing! I would love to hear about it.

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!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

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Welcome back to the weekend! What a week this has been. There has been turmoil and change. Hopefully, we are all headed in a better direction.

I am having black coffee today. I have a few other varieties if you like.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this was the last week of online learning for my kindergartners. My team and I decided to create Bitmoji classrooms for these final 5 days. What an amazing resource this ended up being! I am going to incorporate these into my regular instruction next school year. A fantastic resource is Teaching with Neons on Instagram.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went into my classroom to close it up on Wednesday. Since January I started a new job, resigned from another, moved states, lost my voice, went through sheltering in place, and the list goes on. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn the new school system and curriculum this spring to be ready for the fall. When I begin the school year, I will know how things work and I am so thankful for that buffer. All my student items were put in paper bags and organized in the gym for pick up later this month. It is a strange feeling and not the “right” way in my mind to close the year but it is what we have. We did a dance party on Zoom with the kids on Thursday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my goal for this week was to write my Sarah Selecky prompt and post to the private forum. I am happy to say I have done this every day. I have also commented every day on other’s writing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my “Back to Zero” health and body program is going well. I saw a huge difference in my body this week on Day 14. The movement every day, at least 3 huge glasses of ice water, and fasting is working. I feel better, have more energy, and will be fitting back into my pants very soon!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my #the100dayproject is going well and on track. Somehow, I had gotten a day behind so I am thankful for the update emails from the host of the challenge. The story is forming one sentence at a time.

Do you need a refill? I have some ice water as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am studying more about decisions and preferences, priming, Janning, and the gap I want to close. I have been looking at my schedule and anticipating the ways it will go well and anticipating the things that might mess it up. I also color-coded my Passion Planner today. I had been using the photocopied version in a binder but purchased the real book when they went on sale during the sheltering in place. I am using the 4ish blank months of pages to write down writing prompts, tarot spreads, and quotes. I went with color pencils this time. I used to use highlighters and prefer this method.

If we were having coffee, I would give you a hug and thank you for sharing time with me. I send you happiness and light this week as you move through your week.

I would love to hear how your week was!

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.

Back to Zero

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Fourteen days ago I made the decision to take back my health. I know how to take care of myself. Many times we know what to do, we just choose to not do it. There are short term and long term consequences to this thinking.

Now taking back my health is a true statement, but a consequence of this idea is also weight loss and that is on purpose. This is the heaviest I have been in years. As someone who prides herself on her appearance, looking in the mirror 15 days ago was a hard pill to swallow. I have allowed myself to emotionally eat. I have allowed myself to think, “Just one more piece won’t hurt.” Let me tell you – it hurts.

One decision I made was to drink at least 64 oz of ice water a day. We are White Sox fans and have souvenir glasses so that makes it easy to measure. Two of those babies filled up do the trick. Once I made the decision, it was easy. My brain knows when I make a decision that is what we are doing. The weather here has been hot so drinking the water has been simple. I also choose water over any other drink.

I also decided to go back to intermittent fasting. This works for me. I know it because I ate this way before I knew it had a name. I am going to play with the different types of timing schedules. I typically do the Warrior schedule which is 20 hours of fasting with a 4 hour eating window. I am intrigued by the 24 hours of fasting 2 days a week.  The last 2 days I have waited for the 24 hour mark since I last ate and have noticed significant body changes. I am uncertain if it is due to the 24 hours or just that I have been fasting for 2 weeks!

I have weight to lose from the stress of the last couple of years , major transitions, and the coronavirus sheltering.

I am moving everyday as part of this plan. I run and walk. I have affirmations I write for myself everyday. I went through Tony Robbins’ The Body You Deserve Workbook. I also have habit stacked push ups and movements from Chalene Johnson’s workouts. I do these several times a day.

I was too embarrassed to weigh myself. I have a number from the health check as part of the requirements for my new teaching job. I have pants that didn’t fit two weeks ago.

I am making progress and am happy. It is working. I feel better and have more energy. Soon I will be back to the size I am supposed to be and all those pants in the closet will fit again.

It’s not easy, but I know I will never go back to where I was.

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?

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation On the Last Day of May

Today is the last day of May. What was the most impactful event of this past month? It seemed to fly by compared to the last 2 months of quarantine.

Thanks for joining me for coffee today. I am glad we are able to chat. I am having some french vanilla black coffee. What would you like today?

The weather was cooler last night which I was thankful for. The heat was too high this week and we had to turn the air conditioning on. I see money flying out of the vents with the cooler air.

If we were having coffee I would tell you today is filled with a lot of endings for me. For one, the Storyaday May challenge is over. This year’s challenge was a lot different than years past. The prompts were mostly guest posts with the 10th anniversary. The host used a new platform too. Honestly, it was discombobulating for me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote every day. Quarantine has been the time of 3 prompt mornings. June starts a new pattern. I am still in the thick of my Sarah Selecky Intensive Prep class so that prompt and transcribing will continue.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I did an energy challenge for the month of May. After listening to Dani Shapiro’s Skillshare class I added the quadrant exercise to the daily reflection. In Dani’s quad exercise, you list things you did, things you saw, something you heard, and a doodle. This helped me focus on what was important to me for the day. I always learn about myself with this challenge.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am doing the Happy Camper’s Club with Nicole Rivera. I am excited to be with this group of women again. There is a schedule of Zoom meetings for the week that I want to join!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am taking my health back. I am back to fasting and taking my food seriously. I have exercised every day and am feeling really good. The weight needs to come off by the end of June.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we went horseback riding on Tuesday. It was super fun and it was the first time the kids had gone. I haven’t been since I was in Colorado. There were a couple horses that were on the lazy slow side (labeled by the stable person).

If we were having coffee I would tell you I start my coaching program tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited. I think this is really going to help me hyper focus on what I need to do moving forward in addition to all the things I need to come back to that I already know.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I subscribed to the New Yorker. Did I tell you that last week? Sorry if I am repeating myself. I do love it. The magazine comes into the mailbox and it feels good to get mail again.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I posted about identity on Llama Tuesday. I am going to be thinking about this concept a lot over the next several weeks. You can read that here: https://tammysreadinglife.wordpress.com/2020/05/26/identity/

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about fall. This coming week I will close up my classroom for the summer. It is not the end of the school year I had anticipated by far, but isn’t that how life goes? I need to find a place to do printing close to me. I will utilize the copy center through my corporation more for sure this year.

I would love to hear about your week!

Happy last day of May again! What are your goals for June? What are the most important actions you need to take care of?

Until next week…