Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Find Your Edge and Relax

So in yoga, I often hear this phrase, "Find your edge, and relax."

My personal translation of that line is,  "This is going to be challenging or difficult or uncomfortable.  I will probably want to quit.  I definitely will not want to relax and breath!"

We just got new copy machines at our school yesterday.  {Aren't we so fortunate--especially in the age of cut backs in everything?!}

We're all just learning how to use them.
I've heard lots of complaining.
It's new and different.
We're pushed to a little edge.

Have you ever noticed how we, as teachers, are the worst at being open to the challenging of finding our edge?  {Not going over the edge--that's different!!}  Of learning something new. Of doing the stuff we ask our students to do EVERY day.

And we can completely forget about the relax part--especially in the midst of a challenge or finding our edge.

Today I invite you to join me.  I'm going to find my edge--accept it for what it is.  I'm going to try to relax and take a few cleansing breaths.  It's going to feel good and be good.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blue Man

Sam is 3.5.  He is energetic and enthusiastic, and he's fighting for independence.  {That I find equal parts hilarious and frustrating!}

He loves art projects.  Our house is filled with artsy supplies, and most of them are hands off.  When he can get his hands on something, it's usually not just his hands!

I might just be starting my own Blue Man Group!  I smile EVERY time I look at these!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Heroic Start To The New Year

I've been disconnected from the online universe this week, because the new year was just getting started.  I hustled to get "stuff" done, and the kids showed up, and I think it's going to be a great year.

I decided at the very last minute {less than a week ago} to do a superhero theme.  I want the whole person in each of my students to be educated.  We're forming community, and they are going to have many opportunities to contribute to our school community.  I want them to be heroes, so I went for it a bit.

Here are some photos from the new and improved Room 14:

Super Improvers Wall
I love what I've gotten to use of
Whole Brain Teaching so far
Title page for our Reading and Writing Workshop Binder
(Sorry it's sideways!)

Here's where the Common Core Standards are going to hang out in our room.

Our Word Wall has new super powers!

Here's the little motto for the year that got the whole superhero ball rolling.

A hall display is already in progress.  I love this!

We have a whole black and red thing going on.  Those are the colors of our floor tile
 and the school colors--go Panthers!
I gave our restroom chart a little makeover to match!

My favorite bulletin board--because it was done in May by last year's students
for this year's class!

I've split up the classroom library for the first time ever.  It's in 6 different locations.
Poetry seems a little lonely over here.

Even lunch choices got in on the theme!

So I don't usually go hog wild into a theme, but I do like that a little bit can go a long way!

Do you have a theme in your class this year?
Do you have any superhero resources to share?

Brave Teachers daily email, Bright Spot begins next week.  {We would still love to have you sign up right HERE!}

Brave Teachers Fall Retreat is just around the corner--Sept 28 - 30,  Lakeside, Ohio 
More information and registration HERE

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Announcing The Brave Teachers Fall Retreat

{I can't even tell you how excited I am to announce this transformative annual event!}

Brave Teachers proudly presents:

Brave Teacher Fall Women's Retreat
September 28 - 30, 2012
Lakeside, Ohio

Our soul centered theme this year is  "Keep It Simple & Have Some Fun."
{We're focusing on resilience--not just surviving, but thriving!}

We will gather on Friday evening over good conversation, food, and drinks. We will have a little focus discussion and plan the rest of our time together, based on the needs of the group.  Saturday will be spent creating, journaling, talking, and adventuring.  Sunday we will wrap up the projects we started and enjoy our old and new friendships.

Doesn't it sound like pure bliss?


Brave Teachers provides food, learning tools, crafting materials, and surprises, 
And you arrive with an open heart, bedding, and whatever you need to be comfy for a few days.

Here's a quick video from last year.

Last year was truly amazing!  Everyone walked away with more in their heart than when they arrived.

If you're not familiar with Lakeside, it is a gorgeous Chautauqua community on the shores of Lake Erie.  Spending an autumn weekend in this setting is a gift unto itself.

Here's what you receive with your investment:

  • 2 nights lodging
  • coaching time with Brave Teacher Mim
  • simple meals Friday evening through Sunday morning
  • workbook of the weekend's lesson and support activities
  • all the materials to create a keepsake project
  • a intimate setting to relax in the company of brave women like you

Brave Teacher Mim is happy to respond to questions.

If this transformative event is calling to your heart, sign up now, as space is very limited!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prepared For Speed or Endurance

I've been thinking about the difference between preparing and training for speed or endurance.  I only got to see a little bit of the Olympics, but it was so obvious that speed and endurance are really different when looking at the bodies of sprinters and marathoners.  Sprinters are a rock of muscle--built to release  a lightening fast burst of energy and speed.  Marathoners are lean {and another type of solid muscle!}  The marathoner also uses their strategy and planning during the event--when to move, how to pace, and so much more.

This got me to thinking about the school year while I was out on a walk this morning.  Some teachers are so prepared for the first day of school.  They have perfectly color coordinated everything.  They have folders and bins and notebooks and bulletin boards all in the exact right place.  This is all good, as long a everyone remembers that the school year is REAAAALLLLY LLLLOOONNNNNGGGG!

I'd like to encourage us all today to spend these last few days preparing for the endurance bits of school.    I know that we have to be ready for the first day, and I have open house the evening before school starts.  But the part of the year that requires us to dig deep is not the first week, but it's usually around February of March.

Let's agree to plan and prepare so that we will still be in top teaching form on day 120 as we are on day one!

Brave Teacher Tribe is beginning a daily email, the Bright Spot.  It will be a little message of positivity all along the school year.  Sign Up Here!

Friday, August 10, 2012

How about daily encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment?

What if I told you I want you to have your best school year EVER?

What if I told you that you deserve a dose of encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment--every single day you step into the classroom?

What if I told you that a revolution is stirring?

What if I told you that you could be more soul centered in your work and life?

What if you could count on a bright spot everyday?

Join Brave Teacher Tribe to receive a Bright Spot email most school days--launching August 27.

You are sooo worth it!

Wishing for everyone out there the best school year EVER!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's going to be different this year?

One of the things I love about teaching is that it's new every year.  We get a fresh start!

Over the summer my creative and intuitive juices start to flow, and I start to plot and plan what is going to be different about the new year.

Actually my plotting and planning for this year started at the end of March when I attended a class about connecting and creating a community with students.  The course was based on the Circle of Courage from Reclaiming Youth.  In a nutshell it is a holistic approach working with people.  I've always had a bent toward this sort of work, but the push for standards diminished the time I could commit to it.

Now I'm looking forward to creating space for my students to contribute to our school community by volunteering in the office, with the custodians, and in other classrooms.  I believe this is going to be transformative!

The first thing this summer that got me really excited about going back to school was attending the Whole Brain Teaching Midwest Conference.  I'm anticipating employing lots of these strategies in my classroom.

This is going to be my second year to do a paperless newsletter and to hold daily class meetings.  I'm looking forward to polishing those up a bit.

I'm a planner.  I usually spend crazy amounts of time planning and creating over the summer.  I've had a faulty bit of thinking on this because I was always planning based on the kids who just left me.  I've decided that despite my notebook full of ideas I'm going to wait until I spend a little time with the newbies before I plot out stuff like a year of writing lessons.  {This does strike a little fear in my heart, but I think it will be more effective, too.}

I'm also employing some secret strategies to take care of myself so that I can better connect with my students, their families, and my coworkers.  You can see some of that over at Brave Teachers!

What's going to be different with you this year?

Would you like some light delivered to you by email?
Join Brave Teacher Tribe!
A revolution is stirring!
Would you like a little soul centered message sent directly to your email most days of the school year? Sign up for the Brave Teacher Tribe.  This is a brand new group.  {Even if you receive Brave Teacher Updates, you MUST sign up to receive the emails throughout the school year.}  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Recap Of A Week In Lakeside

We already had an amazing week at Ocean City, Maryland, so we thought we might not go to Lakeside this summer.  We couldn't do it!  We felt like we would regret it, so we went.

It's like no other place on earth.  Lakeside is a Chautauqua community.  It's the only place I know where you really can let a kid go on their bike.  It's hard to explain to people who have never been there.  {Sometimes I say it's like Dirty Dancing, without the dirty dancing!}

So here is some of what made it extra special for us this year:

How much have you grown this year?

I loved walking so much!

Always look forward to the zen rock art!

African Wildlife Safari, Port Clinton, Ohio

Sunrise over Lake Erie

Marblehead Lighthouse

Sam and Virgil on a daily dip in the lake

Playing in the sand for hours.

Sam felt a little autonomous on the dock

I hope you made some memories this summer!

Join Brave Teacher Tribe!
A revolution is stirring!
Would you like a little soul centered message like this sent directly to your email most days of the school year? Sign up for the Brave Teacher Tribe.  This is a brand new group.  {Even if you receive Brave Teacher Updates, you MUST sign up to receive the emails throughout the school year.}  

Monday, August 6, 2012

10 Reasons I Love My Public Library

I LOVE my public libraries!  I am a bibliophile!  I can't believe how many resources I find at the library to use in my personal and professional life.  {If you don't use your library, you should!}  If you live in a small town, most little libraries are part of bigger groups and can get loads of stuff to you.

10.  The library is FREE to use.  Actually taxes do pay for some of it, but it's amazing!

 9.  They give away suggested reading lists for grade levels.  They also have tons of resources about literacy.

8.  My son goes to one or more story times each week.  I've been amazed at the quality of these programs.  He is learning how to participate in groups, listen to stories, choose books, and do little art projects.

7.  The library shows movies on a big screen every week.  Our little family saw Snow White this summer.  It was Sam's first experience in a dark room with the big screen.  {Way better than paying for a movie he might not sit through!}  There are TONS of other FREE events for patrons of all ages.

 6.  I read thousands of dollars worth of magazines each year for FREE.  This is NOT an exaggeration!

 5.  I check out tons of teacher books.  I'm so glad I'm over thinking I should buy a book because it has one good idea in it.  I get loads of good ideas, and then I get to make them my own, rather than just copying someone's idea.

 4.  The librarians always have ideas for books I might like to read aloud to my class.  They also suggest new books and series of books.

 3.  The library allows me to check out a couple dozen books on one topic, so that everyone can work on say a science project or just expand their knowledge at one time.

 2.  Books In Boxes--I can check out a class set of books--amazing!

 1.  The Bookmobile comes to our school.  Kids LOVE that they get to choose from many cool books that aren't in the school library.  They can also order books.  It is a magic 30 minutes when we return to our classroom, and kids are reading what they choose--pure magic.

These are really just some of the reasons why I LOVE my library and the librarians who give such gifts to our community and students!

Have you thanked a librarian recently?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy August and Brave Teacher Tribe

Dear Brave And Amazing You,

I hope you're having an amazing summer.  I am!  I've made amazing memories and  spent good time with my little family.  We're on the second vacation of the summer!  I feel truly blessed.

I've made a few really cool artsy projects.

Best of all for me, I'm overflowing with great ideas for the new year--for my classroom, for my students, for my school, for Brave Teachers.  {Sometimes I worry that this will be the year that I never refill my creative well, but some how it always happens!}

One of my favorite ideas is that I'm inviting all teachers of anything and everything to join the all new Brave Teacher Tribe.  It's going to be revolutionary!  You will receive an email most school days with a bright burst of bravery!  These emails will be packed with encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment in small morsels that you can carry with you as you do the amazing work of teaching.