being a teacher, being me, inspiration, review

A Must Read Book for Educators

Several years ago, I read the book Awakened by Angela Watson and her words changed who I was as a teacher (and person).  I did not know Angela much at that time, I admired her from afar, but was so profoundly moved by how her book helped me move away from negative thoughts, that I contacted  her to express my deep gratitude.  A few years later, I am lucky to call Angela a mentor and inspiration.  I still keep my Awakened mindset and recommend the book to any teachers I meet.  Well, Angela has done it again with her new book Unshakeable – 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day…No Matter What.

Even as a somewhat veteran teacher, I found so many great ideas within the pages of this book.  Angela is a no nonsense writer who crams inspiration into every single page.  She isn’t just trying to inspire us to change, she is giving us ideas of how to do it, and the best part is that many of the ideas are so ingeniously simple, yet powerful, that I implemented some on the very first day of reading.  From redefining my vision to many minor changes I can do to re-energize myself and my classroom, I am so grateful I got to read this book.  So while I do not use this blog to recommend many books, I typically do that on another blog, I knew that I had to highlight this book to all of you who follow on here.

So if you know a new teacher who needs some inspiration.  If you know a fellow teacher who could use some great new ideas.  If you know that this is the summer you need to be inspired and re-energized; read this book.  And then recommend it to others.  You will be glad you did.

From Amazon:

Don’t wait for teaching to become fun again: plan for it! Unshakeable is a collection of inspiring mindset shifts and practical, teacher-tested ideas for getting more satisfaction from your job. It’s an approach that guides you to find your inner drive and intrinsic motivation which no one can take away.  Unshakeable will help you incorporate a love of life into your teaching, and a love of teaching into your life. Learn how to tap into what makes your work inherently rewarding and enjoy teaching every day…no matter what.

being me, review

The Ones That Meant the Most

We can all see our statistics and see which posts are the ones people read the most.  And yet those numbers don’t always convey those that meant the most to the author.  So I thought why not highlight the ones you may have missed, the ones that speak the loudest of the last year, the ones that meant the most.
  1. Those Things We Carry
  2.   Teachers carry more than the responsibility of teaching students.  

  3. The Story of My Brother The Onion Boy  How there is no such thing as meaningful punishment.
  4. What is Their Sentence?  We often discuss what our own motto would be but I would rather think of what my students’ sentence would be.
  5. What Type of Difference Do You Make?  We all know that teachers make a difference in others’ lives but do you think of what type of difference you make?
  6. He Was Right There – Words to My Father.  How one man choosing me to be his daughter changed my life.
  7. Saying Goodbye.  Letting go and giving thanks to my cat.
  8. Do Teachers Have the Right to Privacy?    The title explains this fascinating discussion.
  9. Teachers Save Lives Too – We Just Don’t Get Paid Like We Do.
  10. An Ode to the Lost   Saying goodbye and letting go to the child that never was.
  11. We Say and Yet.  How our words do not always match our actions.

So there you go, some that meant the most to me this year r came from the most personal place.  I do not know if I will take a break here from blogging, I will blog if the mood strikes me.  So thank you for reading this year and take care.

math, review

Math Obstacle Course

The point has been reached in my 4th grade EDM curriculum where the kids start to really spread out as far as their abilities.  I knew I needed a review day but did not want to start at the whiteboard droning on.  Enter the math obstacle course!

The idea was simple: 5 different obstacles or stations, 3 volunteers, self-paced kids and a final project.  The five stations were:

  1. Rounding numbers
  2. Multi-digit multiplication
  3. Long division
  4. Build a Buck (adding and subtracting decimals)
  5. Fraction of Game

I recruited one fabulous parent volunteer to run the long-division station, had my fantastic special ed. teacher teach a different way of doing rounding, and then had the incredible ELL teacher teach at the multiplication station.  I ran the game stations and did various check-ins.

The students were told they had to complete all 5 obstacles before they could get to the final station; Build your Dream House using pattern blocks (they had to label them, so that was review all the way back to the 1st unit of the year).  They decided where they went, and then set their own pace.  Kid could get re-taught certain concepts if they needed it or they could choose to do the challenge questions right away and see if they completed the obstacle right away.
I drew a map of the obstacles on the board, explained the concepts, and off they went.  They loved it!  It was a bit of organized chaos, but the connections I was able to share with kids and witness them make just floored me.  All students completed all 5 obstacles, even those who needed some extra review, and they loved the creative final project.  Many of the students were eager to share their dream houses and all brought them home.  
I will definitely be doing this type of review again and could recruit more volunteers if needed.  To see the challenge questions and course card, click here for English version and here for Spanish version.