Sunlight and Flowers #SOL18

Day 3 of Jim Knight coach training was yesterday.

There was a slightly different mix of coaches at this training. I drove into the city this time which was pretty stress free and the drive was full of sunshine.

We used feedback cards after Jim established a procedure for them. Red/Yellow/Green cards can be used with students to show answers really quickly and can also build community. Jim Knight said, “There is power in a collective response.”

A lot of the conversation was around relationships.

We learned how to use several data collection measures which are awesome and actionable. I have used several over the years but these were deep and focused.

One of the specific strategies we talked about was creating a learner-friendly culture. Bill Stickland opened a school that has beautiful things everywhere you look, a building that is full of sunshine and fresh real flowers.

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He believes that change can only happen if you see change, including your surroundings. I have the book on hold at the library and am looking forward to it coming in.

Many of the conversations throughout the day continually reminded me that little things matter to ALL people. The thoughtful note, the smile, the nod, the acknowledgement of you being in front of someone…and the sunlight and the flowers.

How do you make your learner space inviting? This could be a writer space or a teaching space. What are your sunlight and flowers? Enjoy them today and share with someone else.

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Slice of Life: HOPE #SOL18

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Hope is a concept that has come up several times over the last couple of weeks. At my FABULOUS Jim Knight training for coaching HOPE is an integral part of the IMPACT CYCLE for coaching. It is a HOPE that teachers and students can get better at what they do and learn.

Jim Knight says there are 3 attributes for hope:

  1. You need to aspire to some type of goal
  2. You need a pathway to get there
  3. You have to have agency – the belief you can get there

Anne Lamott also has a new book out called Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. She wanted to write a book about all the hopeful things she knew in a world that is surrounding us with negativity and hopelessness. I picked up this book from my library holds yesterday and cannot wait to dig in. Solinet is another author who has thoughts on hope.

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What do you have to say about hope?

I hope to have an impact in my job every day. I have hope that the 8th grader I am teaching to read will continue to grow from his pre-primer level. I hope that the sense of peace and connection that has been nurtured over the past weeks will continue with my fellow coaches. 

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”– Samuel Smiles

Henry’s Questions #SOL18

I often use Todd Henry’s questions when I am coaching and when I am reflecting with fellow writers. Here are my answers for today.

What are you working on?

I am working on my novel in progress for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). I am 45, 000 words in. I can see the finish line of 50,000 by Friday. It has been so much easier this year with the support of my Storyaday group of writers.

What is inspiring me?

I have been reading Kathy Fish’s flash fiction. I really would like to get into one of her flash fiction workshops. I will try when she offers it again. It fills up quickly.

My husband and I watched a documentary about Bill Murray and how he starts random acts of fun. It was inspiring to keep myself open and available.

My Storyaday writer group is inspiring me.

Two Writing Teachers is always inspiring for teacher blogs and prose.

Where do I need prodding?

Right now, I don’t need any external motivation. I am internally motivated for the moment. 

Thankful #SOL18

My Regular Run Route on the Bike Trail

I am thankfully off this week from work. The days are for rest, reading, fun,  and writing. Last weekend, the family played homemade Jeopardy and Pictionary. The children even made questions to test the parents knowledge of our children. We rocked it of course!

This morning I watched Friends show bloopers and laughed harder than I have laughed in a long while. The laugh that feels like you are doing an ab workout.

I am thankful for time and weather to allow me to run. I have logged 10 miles in two days. I forget how the runs fuel my creative mind. I thought of poem lines, new clubs for school, an ending for my novel, and other essay topics. 

I am thankful for my writing. I am to 35,000 words for my NANOWRIMO which is National Novel Writing Month.

I am not just thankful this week. I am thankful every week. This week allows me to be extra thankful for what I have in my life. 

What are you thankful for?

Snowy Morning #SOL18

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The first snow descended yesterday as I drove home from work. The tiny flakes sprinkled my windshield and melted from the warmth of the car. It continued to happily come down throughout the evening. Dinner was pot roast and homemade bread which made for a perfect evening.

This morning the roads are shiny reflecting the lights of the cars as they plug along. The blue sky was light just before the sun came all the way up. The grass looks like it has powdered sugar sprinkled on it.

Snow makes me happy

Winter makes me happy and the coziness it brings.

As I pulled into the parking lot it rained leaves to remind me that we are still in fall, not yet winter.

#happy moment

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Where is the Daylight Saved? #SOL18

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Routine is engrained in us.

We have the patterns we engage in because we love them and patterns we follow because we have to. Ultimately, I understand that the “have to’s” are a choice as well but we don’t want to have an accident or get fired.

Daylight savings time is a break in the routine that is out of our control. I read the articles about how certain states are trying to end this practice. I had read someone state it was expensive that I thought was odd. There are added wages for certain jobs because they work overnight. Doesn’t that even out for the company when we spring ahead though?

I am not sure we are saving anything – why is it called that? Yes, there is the sun in my eyes on the morning commute now and it is dark when I come home. I didn’t save any sunshine. It isn’t in a bottle that I can open when I need it. It isn’t in a Sunshine bank account that I can withdraw from.

I have said before:

Daylight savings time is JET LAG with NO TRAVEL

As always, in life and in teaching there are adjustments to be made. In a week, I will be used to the new routine, but I will still be searching for the sunshine.

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Simply Tuesday #SOL18

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My refrigerator masquerades as a freezer in my office. It likes to pretend. This is normally helpful for quickly making my Diet Coke cold or keeping “emergency” lunches on the days I forget to pack my sustenance.

However…

It is not a good thing when you forget you had an extra can of DIET COKE in there overnight. When you open the fridge to enjoy the frosty beverage you find frozen coke all over the bottom and a bulging can that looks like something from a horror movie.

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Then you kick yourself for being in a hurry the afternoon before and not remembering to take the can out of the fridge to avoid this situation.

Oops…I am more upset I lost a can of Coke rather than the mess!

#SIMPLYTUESDAY

 

 

 

Genius Hour Update #SOL

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Yesterday I met for a second time with my 7th graders who are participating in Genius Hour. The 45 minutes was the highlight of my school day.

This is what it looked like:

  • The students finished their analog planning on the sheets
  • Whip Around Share Out
  • Assignments were given for each group of what they need to do before next Monday – mostly research.

I am super excited about the projects and how they are shaping up!

Here is a sampling of the projects:

  • Two students are planning The Random Happiness Project
  • Two students are planning a motivational presentation to be broadcast for the entire school
  • One student is making a People of Michigan City presentation to show what our community really looks like
  • One student wants to raise awareness of elephant poaching and to give people 3-5 action steps of what they can do to help

Notes:

  1. It is interesting that one of the most talkative girls is having trouble narrowing her big picture idea to an actionable list. She wants to jump in with both feet and no plans! It is very telling for her process. A place I need to intervene.
  2. The buzz of work, while the time was clicking away, was energizing. You know that buzz when great ideas are flying around the room – THAT was what my room sounded like yesterday at 11a.m.
  3. Two projects sounded the same when they did their “elevator pitch” in the whip around but we unpacked it and came to realize the end results were different: one focus was truly happiness and the other was motivation. The audiences were different as well. It was a great discussion about focus and intent.
  4. I need to take some pictures of the students. We were so busy I forgot! They are so excited about this time and I hope to capture that feeling in their expressions.
  5. I am loving this process because it is teaching students to be lifelong learners which is a basic philosophy I have had since I started teaching.

What is exciting you about education today!?

Are you a Genius? #SOL18

 

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#Thisitheyear

This is the year I will start programs for students.

I started Genius hour yesterday with a group of 7th graders.  My school moved to block scheduling this year which allows the opportunity for remediation and enrichment with students during an Impact time. I am taking advantage of this time opportunity!

I conducted a writer’s workshop a few weeks ago which was successful and took place during a consecutive 5 days. Genius hour will take place over 6 weeks. The group of 10 students meet once a week to work on their projects.

I introduced the concept to the students last week and they were able to sign up. No one had heard about the idea before I spoke about it but they were very excited it was inspired by Google. I told them a few facts and then listed several ideas of projects that could think about.

Genius hour is time for students to pursue a personal interest, make something, and share it with the world. It could be a program, a blog, a game, a video, or anything they imagine. It can solve a problem or showcase a study.

Yesterday’s agenda:

  • Video 
  • Brainstorming
  • Joined Google Classroom
  • Read aloud: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spears
  • Discussion about perseverance and making things that don’t look like what is in our heads
  • Students took 16 personalities test

 

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This is another video I found helpful about general concepts about Genius Hour.

Results of day one:

  • One of my students wants to make a motivational video to share because she feels it is needed. She is thinking about staging it like a TED talk.
  • Several students are thinking about starting programs or clubs for their fellow classmates
  • Several students are thinking about starting fundraisers for local community organizations
  • One student is thinking about a photography project.

They are all THINKING and wanting to CREATE! It was a glorious day and I cannot wait to see what the end of 6 weeks looks like!

What have you created today, no matter how small?

 

Follow the White Rabbit #SOL18

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Photo by Tejas Prajapati on Pexels.com

 

One of the philosophies I try to live by is

Follow the White Rabbit: Be Brave.

What does this mean to me?

It means that I need to allow myself to follow the unknown even if it takes me into Wonderland.

It means that I need to move out of my comfort zone INTENTIONALLY.

I believe that fear is somewhat imagined. Our brains like to work ahead about what MIGHT happen. It is the same rabbit hole we can go down with the idea of what we SHOULD be doing. I have to not allow this thinking to stop me from experiences and knowledge that will make my life richer.

Great moments cannot happen if I refuse to experience them.

Yesterday I was interviewed for a podcast I listen to regularly. It is going to air in February so I will be posting that information later but it was a white rabbit moment for sure.

I am starting several programs at work that I am excited about but there is an element of the unknown. The potential for greatness is vast.

Following the white rabbit means I have to pay attention to opportunities that are presented to me – I cannot let them pass me by because I hesitated.

Where will you follow the white rabbit?