John Wooden's Socks

Topics include research on recess, rewriting books, and classroom management.

John Wooden's Socks
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Happy Friday!

T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #64

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Thirty-Day Challenges are a powerful tool for personal growth and development. By committing to a small challenge for a short period of time, you will build new habits, break old ones, and learn more about yourself in the process. 

In today’s newsletter…

  • Research - Kids need recess.
  • Art - Protect art, protect history.
  • Classroom Management - High expectations, repeated practice.
  • Happiness: Strive for growth and contribution.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Take It Outside - Only nine states in the U.S. require schools to provide recess to students despite its importance in childhood development and learning. Researchers argue that recess should not be considered a privilege but a critical component of the school day. Bills in California and Washington are being considered to make recess mandatory in schools, but some protections for the practice have been scaled back. Sneak a recess in when you can, and if you can’t do that, try a brain break. It’s good for kids and teachers too.
  • Leave James Alone - Efforts are underway to change Roald Dahl’s classic children's books to make them less edgy. It’s this very edginess that makes books and life more interesting to readers. Rewriting something as the world changes can blur the emotions and feelings from that specific moment in time. Protecting art protects history at the same time.
  • Classroom Excellence - Taking time to tweak classroom management strategies can help promote excellence in the classroom. Add high levels of detail to your expectations and model them. Try having your students practice the procedures. They should continue to practice until improvements are made. The key word here is “practice”. I’m still working with one of my science classes on entering the classroom properly. We’re not there yet, but the message is being sent that we keep at it until we get it right. Maintaining a high level of excellence helps teachers create habits of success that can become part of the students’ identity. This reminds me of John Wooden and socks.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Slow Down - The mundane moments in life hold clues to unlock its meaning.  What if we made a point to slow down and appreciate the beauty around us, even when it seems small or insignificant? In stillness, gratitude becomes easier to find.
  • Brain Hack - Are you feeling unmotivated? Harness the power of dopamine to get stuff done. It's like hacking into your own brain to trick yourself into being productive. Use rewards to create positive feedback loops and keep yourself motivated.
  • Happy Mindset - Happiness is tough to pursue directly, it’s a byproduct of living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Instead of setting a “Be Happy” goal, strive for growth and contribution. It’s in the process of striving for these two things that happiness appears. This mindset shift can lead to a more fulfilling life with a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction.


"We live in time - it holds us and molds us - but I never felt I understood it very well. And I'm not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time's malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing - until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return." - Julian Barnes - The Sense of an Ending*

Hit or Miss

Oh you see
I gotta be me
Ain’t nobody
Just like this
I gotta be me
Baby hit or miss ("Hit or Miss", Odetta)

Favorite Things

  • Good News - Electricity from renewable energy just surpassed coal for the first time in 2022. In many parts of the country renewable energy is becoming the most affordable option.
  • Shower Thought - The real gauge of friendship is how clean your house needs to be before they can come over. [source]
  • Serendipity - I've written before about how working on this newsletter and website has become a form of personal and professional development. I was recently contacted by Eduporium. They came across a few of my posts, asked for an interview, and published an article. Here it is. It was a great experience. The picture does a great job of showing how little hair I have.

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