Monday, July 18, 2016

Countdown to the first day... 20!

I have only 20 days until school starts for students!  I can't believe my summer is almost over and I will have 20+ new faces staring at me in just 20 days... That's two-zero folks!

On Facebook, I saw where the Unshakeable Book Community is beginning another round of book club for Angela Watson's book, Unshakeable: 20 ways to enjoy teacher every day... no matter what.

I thought to myself, what better way to count down Back to School, than with a review of her book, one chapter per day.  For each chapter, I have included some resonating thoughts from Angela.  These quotes are nuggets of truth that I want to remember, and add to my positive thinking arsenal.  Yes, I call it an arsenal because some days "toolbox" just isn't enough to combat all of the negativity thrown at us as teachers.  I also have a section for My Classroom Application.  This is where I've chewed on the words from the book for a while and I am connecting her thoughts to my actual classroom, my life, and my kids.  I sometimes even link other authors, bloggers, or strategies and resources that I find useful that go with Angela's thoughts.

So today has our first installment - Chapter 1: Share your authentic self to bring passion and energy to your teaching.


Chapter 1: Share your authentic self to bring passion and energy to your teaching

Balance the “acting” with an integration of your authentic self

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • I can let my personality shine through in my decorations and classroom organization.
      1. I like bright colors, especially blue hues.
      2. I LOVE labels and want to label ALL THE THINGS!
      3. I am an advocate for student choice in the layout of a classroom, and do not feel tied to traditional seating options.
      4. I can bring an element of magic by adding some Disney touches to my classroom.
    • I can let my personality shine through in my teaching style, even though my curriculum is chosen for me.
      1. I have my own set of best practices and “go-to” techniques in my teaching repertoire.
      2. I choose the best routes for my students to help them get from Point A (where they start) to Point B (where the standards dictate they should be.  Although our destination is assigned and mandated, the journey and sights along the way aren’t.
    • I can let my personality shine through in the way I interact with students.
      1. I choose every day whether to be positive or negative for and with my students.
      2. I like to laugh and tell jokes with my silly boys.
      3. I like to gab with my girls about the newest fashion.
      4. I like to talk about movies and games with my entertainment-loving crowd.

The real you is memorable

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • I am a:
      1. Mother
      2. Christian
      3. Wife
      4. Daughter
      5. Sister
      6. Runner
      7. Reader
      8. Crafter

Build rapport by sharing who you are on a personal level

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • Share with kids all about who I really am - my likes and dislikes; my goals, wishes, and dreams;  my favorite things.
    • Cue The Sound of Music. As I read this section, I just kept, singing in Julie Andrews' pitch of course, "when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad. I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feeeeeeeeel, sooooo baaaad...." When I bring my favorite things into my classroom - my Roll Tide pumpkin carved by my mother-in-love, a beloved wooden hippopotamus figurine, my Minnie Mouse teacher
      statue designed by Jim Shore, a Bible verse plaque, a vase of pink tulips, a treasured letter K carved from a book that was a gift from a student - my classroom feels more personal to me and allows my students to see who I am as a person, besides Mrs. Kelley the enforcer of rules and dictator of reading skills. Our favorite things really can help to cheer up a bad day, or bad moment in the day.
    • On her blog, Angela shares an idea for Daily Connections to connect with each student individually.  What a great way to build rapport!! Check it out!

Be a storyteller: draw inspiration for teaching curriculum from real-life events

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • I draw inspiration from my hobbies, interests and daily life experiences to make meaningful curriculum connections.
      1. Running
      2. Playing with Harper
      3. Mr. Kelley (Jake)’s grad school days
      4. My dog Ollie
      5. Bible journaling / scrapbooking
      6. Cooking
      7. TV and movies
      8. Books I read
      9. Shopping with Ms. Lee (Misty)

What does passionate, authentic teaching look like for ME?

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • When I am passionate about a topic, I tend to be LOUD!
    • I enjoy classroom activities that involve my students discussing with each other and creating artistic representations of their learning.
    • I enjoy reading aloud to my students as they sit at the carpet.

Beyond passionate teaching: be a passionate person

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • As much as I feel like I am generally authentic with my kids, I have a hard time with not letting setbacks steal my joy.  This year I am going to focus on creating a Growth Mindset in my classroom for both my students and myself.  I need to model a growth mentality for my students so that they can grow into wonderful people who embrace growth rather than arbitrary achievements.

Your motivation at work is directly related t how you spend your personal time

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • I should make a calendar with to-do’s for re-energizing and track my progress with a sticker incentive chart!
    • Re-energizing activities I enjoy:
      1. Running
      2. Scrapbook / journaling / crafting
      3. Shopping (but not if I spend too much money)
      4. Going to the movies with my family
      5. Playing with Harper, especially outside
      6. Taking Harper to swim, music, art or gym
    • I read a post by Jennifer Gonzalez over at Cult of Pedagogy last year about finding your marigold. (You can check it out here.) IT was so moving to me both in looking for
      teacher companions and in BEING a good teacher companion. I am always given some new teacher in my building to mentor, and last year I actually bought myself a marigold as a reminder to be encouraging and uplifting. (By the way it died, which pretty much summed up the year I had in my own classroom, which is why my blog has been complete radio silence for almost a year... but alas, I will try again this year!)

Learn to manage your most important resource: energy

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • I need to include time estimates on my to-do’s, and also mental energy estimates.  That way I can choose tasks more efficiently.

When you increase your energy level, you get more done

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela
  • My classroom application
    • Ways to replenish my physical energy:
      1. Sleeping
      2. Healthy foods
      3. Running
      4. Getting a manicure or pedicure
    • Ways to replenish my mental energy:
      1. Spend a few minutes connecting on social media
      2. Crafting
      3. Sleeping
      4. Running

The secret to how some teachers “do it all”

  • Resonating thoughts from Angela

  • My classroom application
    • Create a Vision Board to keep inside my teacher planner. Just last week I read this blog on Scholastic's website about creating a Teacher Vision Board. I've been brainstorming exactly what I want to put it on it, but I haven't actually started gluing just yet. Let's face it, I'm having trouble just deciding which magazines I'm actually going to destroy to create this board. But now I'm thinking that I will create it and laminate it with the really really good lamination and make a planner cover out of it for my teacher planner.
    • Put a copy of my Mission Statement in my teacher planner.
    • Write a copy of my Daily Affirmations in my teacher planner.

Those are my thoughts about Chapter 1. I know this post was super long. The others probably will be too... There is so much to learn when you read one of Angela's books! If you stuck it out to the end, THANKS! I'm impressed with your perseverance! Leave a comment telling us what YOUR authentic, passionate teaching looks like!

See you tomorrow for Chapter 2: Allocate your time and energy wisely through productive routines

Thursday, April 14, 2016


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