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TGIF Teacher Newsletter #85
The beginning of the school year always seems awkward to me as expectations are taught, I slowly learn the names of new students, and all the procedures are practiced. Halfway through the week, I felt momentum kick in and things started to click.
One of the highlights of this week came from a robotics expert who brought a robot to show the students. I completely underestimated how awesome that would be.
Working in a school is never boring. Each week is full of unexpected highlights. I hope you have experienced a few yourself over this past week 😀.
Have a great weekend!
In today’s newsletter…
- Emotional fitness, and resolutions.
- Teacher attention-getting strategies and ways to help introverted students participate in class, brain-break ideas for students, and a book recommendation.
Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.
- Attention Class - One of the most consistent challenges a teacher faces is trying to get the attention of every student in class simultaneously. It's really easy to fall into the trap of raising our voices to get the quiet we need to teach and give directions. Some effective alternatives include hand signals, sound effects, and other nonverbal cues that can help maintain a positive classroom tone. Here are 7 attention-getting strategies to try out. My personal favorite is simply raising my hand. It takes some practice with students, but it saves my voice.
- Speak Up - Help introverted students speak up in class. Introverted students face many challenges in collaborative learning environments. Brett Vogelsinger, an English teacher in Pennsylvania, has developed creative strategies to help introverted students participate in class discussions. His strategies include "white snow, yellow snow" and "basketball-style" discussions where students write down their responses before discussing them.
- Restore Neurotransmitters - Brain breaks can help prevent students from feeling overwhelmed and provide space for reflection, joy, and connection during a packed school day. Try incorporating brain breaks that involve physical activity or activities that increase restorative neurotransmitters like dopamine. Breaks are a crucial part of the learning process. Here's a brain break resource geared toward high school students; however, some of them could be modified for other ages. I think the first idea I’ll try is “5,4,3,2,1”.
- Resource - Frayer Model Fun - Use this classic vocabulary strategy to get to know your students and to help them get to know each other. This can also be a fun way to introduce the Frayer model to your students so that they will be ready to use it in the content areas.
- Social Media - Science notebooks are starting to take shape.
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Personal Development and Wellness Resources
- 7 Traits - Emotional fitness is an important component of effective leadership. Seven traits of emotional fitness are self-awareness, empathy, mindfulness, curiosity, resilience, communication, and play. Leadership is more attainable when your “mental house” is in order.
- Resolutions - Are you one of the nine percent of Americans who can stick to their New Year's resolutions for the whole year? Strava data shows that 53 percent of runners who set yearly mileage goals for 2023 are on track to achieve them. Taking small steps on a consistent basis will add up over the course of the year. If you’re on Strava and would like to connect you can find me here.
- Book - Atomic Habits* - Our staff has started reading the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear together. Recently, we participated in a conversation cafe to discuss the first two chapters. One of my favorite quotes is, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. In the same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day, and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.” I think I am going to enjoy the rest of the book, and if you haven’t tried a conversation cafe with your students, I think you will like it.
"It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well." — J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7*))
Teacher Commuter Playlist - Golden by Aloe Blacc
"There's a whole lot of good to go around
Keep your head up your feet on the ground
Lay your troubles down
And you'll see everything get better
As long as we work together"
- Good Questions - What is Life?
- Dogs and Persistence - A repetitive jailbreak leads to adoption. Scout found himself a home and a purpose.
- Gummy Bears and Bike Rides - A few highlights from this past week include watching my 8th graders complete the Gummy Bear investigation and cycling in Door County. These are a few traditions that signal the end of the summer and the beginning of another school year.
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