Sunday, February 9, 2020

Another Post for the Dreamers

Hey Dreamers. 

Have you read this yet?

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Go ahead and run over to Amazon and order it up.  I'll wait.  😀

So my teachers in the middle of Iowa are reading it as a staff.  And we had some great conversation about lessons 7-9.  I was thinking of you guys as we discussed it on Friday.

Let's focus on procrastination (and distraction), shall we? 

So we discussed the 5 minute rule that Jeff talks about in his book.  (Lesson 7)  And I tried it this weekend.  There was a task I needed to complete for this week to make my classroom work. (Create a set of Google Slides)  And it wasn't done.  And I didn't want to do it.  But once I set that timer, I was off and running on some work.  While I didn't finish in the 5 minutes, when I returned to it later, I was more focused and prepared.  And they are done for the week.  I'll return to this strategy again. 

As an educator, it's really easy for me to put off tasks, because there is always a distraction.  Something else to work on.  So another strategy I use is a work flow to manage tasks for each day.  Here's mine. 

Of course it's not executed 100% of the time the way I want.  (Hello, Life.)  But such a flow keeps me from getting distracted during the school day and putting off things that I need to get done. 

And it opens up the time I need to pursue a dream or two! 

How do you work through procrastination and distraction?  I'd love to hear about it!


Saturday, September 14, 2019

A Post for My #moveforwardanyway Friends


I've been thinking about our Dream Accelerator posts and where to go next. 

With school starting, honestly, I felt like everything was coming to a screeching halt.   My D word?  Doubt.  Big time.  Who am I to think that I can manage this dream and teach at the same time?

But two things have happened in the past 48 hours that made me think there is still a space for instructional coaching in the Lutheran Education system. 

First of all; this text message:

I mean.  I think I've "arrived" if you will as a church worker.  This is how it goes right? 😂😂😂
(By the way, this fall I've been paid in tomatoes, t-shirts and baseball tickets.  I wouldn't have it any other way...)  But on a serious note, this message reminded me that there is a space for this. 

Secondly, as I headed to my book study on Friday morning.  You know the one:

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A teacher who has also read the book, stopped me and said, "Maybe teachers have Dream Pauses in September."  She's a dreamer too, so this statement really resonated with me.  In July and August, it is easy to create work flows that you think will work in the fall.  September, for educators, seems to be a time of looking at an ideal work flow and looking at what can realistically happen.  For me, that has meant a lot of time with my family, as my high school son manages the freshman transition, running high school cross-country,  as well as some minor health concerns.  (In the past 24 hours, those concerns have subsided for now.  God is Good.  And prayer works.)

A "Dream Pause" seemed like exactly what to call it.  September brings the unexpected quite often. 

But The Dream can't stay dormant forever.  In order to move forward anyway, I was reflecting on this link that was shared in the FB group:  (Thanks Charles!)

As I reflect this morning, #4 is staring at me in the face.  There are two teachers telling me they want to work with me.  As I consider how to move forward anyway, for now, I'm going to focus on actually coaching these two friends to build some relationships and expertise.  I'll focus on reaching out to principals again in November or December. 

Now, hold my beer.  I can do this.  J. said so. 


Monday, June 10, 2019

Book Access: Yes They Can!

Hi Friends!

This is two of two posts on book access.  My hope is to inspire the communities who might have humble resources to support their communities. 

This winter/spring I read these two books:


Meanwhile, on social media, I saw the coolest thing!
You can read about Colby Sharp's 1800 dollar book grant and project here.  I was cheering this on from the middle of the Midwest.  And I wanted to do it too! 

Minor detail.  I didn't have 1800 dollars.  Or any dollars really.

However, in the spirit of looking at what I did have, I had bonus points.  You know, from our beloved book orders!

So, I turned those over to the kids.  Yes, they can choose books. I gave them flyers to look at.  They circled what they wanted.  We talked about why.  I placed an order.  And we ended up with a few of these titles:

This isn't the only "sports" book we ordered.  I also ordered books on gymnastics, soccer, ballet.  It was this year's class that informed me I didn't have any sports books.  (And they were right!)  So we ordered some.

Image result for llama kids book nonfiction
 A nonfiction read on Llamas.  I have many books on animals, but one voracious reader found one on llamas for me!


Of course, we would have ordered another round of Elephant and Piggie.  But I have multiple copies of many titles there.  So the kids had an opportunity to discover Jan Thomas!  And they love her.

What I've learned and been reminded of as we end this school year, is that book access is for everyone.  As a teacher, I can make that happen with a little creativity and commitment. 

What is your favorite (and cost-effective) way to ensure book access?


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Book Access: Join Us!

Hi Friends!

This is one of two posts on book access.  My hope is to inspire the communities who might have humble resources to support their communities. 

This winter/spring I read these two books:


If you haven't read them, I highly recommend you do! 

These two reads re-ignited a passion for the book access that is at the core of who I am.  The crazy notion that kids (and teachers and community members) need access to lots of books, everyday. 

Enter my Super Colleague, Sue who has also read these books.  We put our heads together this spring and came up with the crazy idea that maybe our school's summer reading log had finally run its course.  It was time to move on from the school wide summer reading log, and try something new! 

Born was:  Books on the Lawn. 
To support reading in the summer in our school and neighborhood community, we have worked on the following framework:

1.  Meet us on the lawn of our school at the scheduled dates and times.  These dates and times happen to coincide with summer care pick up times, Vacation Bible School pick up times, and Back to school times. 

2.  Pick out some books that you would like to read.  Take them with you. 

3.  If you have some books to exchange with us, that would be great.  If not, come see us anyway and take some books to read! 

4.  Free Chipotle?  Well.  Yes.  If you know me, this is also very exciting.  #burritobowls.  Also, our families can be served by an opportunity to receive a free meal. 

Here is an example of the bookmark that we sent home with students for the summer:

(I'm not a graphic artist by any means. Please be nice.)

How are we obtaining books to give away?
We started with a collection that we had donated to us when we launched our Free Little Library.  As teachers and families are weeding their collections, we are taking donations.  Sue and I are scouring sales.  As I sit in the rural Midwest this morning, I am sitting on a stack of Gordon Korman books I picked up for 1.25 at a consignment store.  

As I dream about this, I envision it growing by leaps and bounds.  (Free books and free food would serve our community well.)  The idea of giving the books away as summer goes on, as well as free food, would have the potential to support many families.  

But today, two teachers and their super colleagues at school are off on a humble mission to increase book access for our students and our community.  What does summer reading look like in your community?

Tomorrow (or Saturday), I'll write about how reading these two books impacted book access in my classroom.  



Saturday, April 6, 2019

LetsWrite2019: An Update

Well.  Let's look at these writing goals, shall we?

My writing list for 2019:

1.  Participate fully in the Slice of Life Challenge in March.  Well.  This did Not happen.  

2.  Keep a writer's notebook-some guided and some not.  Collect stories and thoughts here.  I am doing this.  A notebook and Google Keep are helping me gather ideas and stories.  

3.  Post here 2-3 times a week.  Link to Slice of Life and What Are you Reading?  Nope.  

Okay.  So what does this mean?  

I think it means I'm still re-finding my rhythm when it comes to writing.  Some things have happened this year that have me dreaming this year!  Including building Legacy Foundation for teachers, and some other ideas as well.  Writing definitely plays a role here.  I'm just relearning where.  

I'm brainstorming as I write this.  Here are some revised goals for 2019:

1.  Write everyday.  Some public and some not.  
2.  Continue to keep a notebook.  Keep collecting thoughts and stories.  
3.  A post here.  Post somewhere new?  Maybe the goal is to reflect on what the story is these days.  

On a side note, if I am reflecting, my One Little Word should probably be "Rhythm".  Or "Unsettled."  As I'm finding mine...again.  It is my favorite part of being an educator.  I'm not afraid of the disruption and the learning that is taking place.  

I'm so thankful for communities such as this, Leigh Anne, that help us to stay connected.  Thanks for going on this journey with me!  


Must Read in 2019: An Update

Hi Friends!

It's been a good year of reading so far!  In the middle of the Midwest, we had terrible weather this late winter, and we spent many days on the couch reading.

As things have thawed and warmed up, I have fallen behind a bit in this last month to stay on pace, but I think I can catch up!

Currently Reading:


Just Finished:

Finished so far:




Up Next, Hopefully before April is over.  It is lofty, but I have 2 hours each week, where I am sitting at the park waiting for my Big Kid to finish soccer.  (I'm like the teenage version of Uber these days...but that is another blog post...) 


So.  2 of these books were in my original plan.  2 came from winter trips to the book store.  And 3 are a result of our book fair last week. 


Sunday, January 6, 2019

#LetsWrite2019: One Word

Hello!  So we went back to school on Thursday and Friday.  It really was a perfect way to reenter after Christmas break.  We had 2 new students in our class, and so we took those two days to look at our classroom community and just reengage with each other.  It really was awesome.  (And yes, I did do a face plant on my couch on Friday, but it was still awesome!)

My favorite part of last week was looking at our community and thinking about how we can take care of each other for the rest of the year.  So I introduced One Word to my first graders.  

I was nervous.  I was pretty sure it wouldn't work.  I was wrong.  

So, we talked about letting Jesus guide our New Year together.  I showed them the work I did with my One Word.  

Mine is Joy.  
As in seeing God's goodness in everything, even when it looks messy. 
It just fits this year.  

We talked about what I would do practice Joy!
1.  Give High fives and hugs after lunch recess to say "Welcome back!"
2.  Say encouraging things as often as I can.
3.  Smile-even when it's hard.  

And then I set the kids up!  
I did choose a set of words to choose from:  Love, Joy, Peaceful, Kindness, Focus, Hospitality, Sharing
I also chose Bible verses to go with them.  
Kids were allowed to choose a word that they were excited to guide them.  (If they would have asked me for a different one than what was here, I would have said yes.)
We looked at some examples of kid work in making some art work to go with the word.  
Then, off we went!  Let's look at how it went, shall we?

If you don't spend time with first graders:  
1.  You can sit by me.
2.  You can be my friend.
3.  You can play with this.  

I think we are off to a great start!  I loved the conversations and thought that went into the work that the kids did with this project.  They are posted in my room for reference if we need to see them again.  

Do you have One Word?  Want to share?