Lately, I've felt the stress creep in. Looking at the calendar, the timing is about right. School is in full swing, the breaks are few and far between (no fall break for my school district), the work is piling up. Oh, and the gloss of "this is all new and shiny!" is wearing off. Kids are getting tired. Their work is getting harder. You get the idea and if you are a teacher, you know what I mean because you are living it. That's not to say I don't love my job. I do -- I love it to the tips of my little dressy flats --, but if you pour your soul into this job the way the work demands, it's stressful. It just is. So as teachers, we have to not only constantly work to create the best lesson and to build lasting relationships with our students, but also to keep stress in check so that we can be our best selves -- the selves our students need. So this week, I've taken a deep look at mindfulness as a way to combat the stress both in my own life, but also in the lives of my students. Here's what I discovered along the way.
Early in the school year, our Reading team approached my co-librarian Susanna and I asking if they could regularly bring their students to the library for a quick lesson and book checkout. We jumped at the chance to develop this natural partnership and began to plan the first skills lesson: visualization. We chatted with our reading colleagues, did some searching on the web, and pulled together several different activities for our students with the goal of encouraging them to use all of their senses. These strategies could be used on one day or split apart to re-emphasize the skill over several days.
One of the things I love best about teaching is that my teaching practice evolves constantly as I learn what works best for kids. Teachers are always searching for education's holy grail -- the activity, the lesson, the strategy that will help students do their best work, their best thinking. In last week's post, I briefly touched on a video I recently came across. It focused on low-stakes writing (or writing to learn). If you haven't seen it, you can (and should!) watch it here.
Take5: Writing to Learn, the Science Fair, Midterm Election Learning, Student Mental Health, and Libraries as Life.
This week's Take5 touches on writing to learn and the power of science fairs. Plus, we highlight ways to bring the Midterm Elections to life for your students and outline the steps one state is using to teach kids about mental health (and remove the stigma surrounding it). And to finish: an eloquent story about libraries and how they represent the legacy so many of us work toward in life. So pour a cup of coffee or tea, put your feet up, and read Take5 for a little educator inspiration.
Longtime readers of BubbleUp Classroom may recall that my secret librarian admission is that I'm not a huge fan of book talking. In a quick conversation with a student, I may offer short book talks, describing a few titles at the shelf. However, book talking five books to a class of 30 students, leaves 25 of those students without one of those compelling reads. So, I'm constantly looking for other ways to share books with kids -- ways that get as many books as possible into their hands, giving them lots of choices. This posts offers a few strategies to work into your routine as you aim to connect readers with great books.
This week's Take5 addresses lots of different things that I have been thinking about lately: the value of mindfulness for teachers, removing behavior charts from classrooms (which, perhaps, are quite the opposite of mindfulness), and what teaching content looks like in our present information-rich world. Are skills like critical thinking and creativity becoming more important than content? I read an interesting approach to the issue of time (specifically the time to innovate) in education. And finally, practical tips for supporting teens with better sleep. Happy Tuesday!
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