Topics for this week include teaching comprehension, improving your brain health, and limiting digital distractions.

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Happy Friday!

TGIF Teacher Newsletter #84

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After the first day of school this week, I went home and gave myself permission to lay down on the couch, just for a few minutes. Out of nowhere, I heard my daughter telling me to wake up. Evidently, I was snoring too loudly. I'm wiped out, but it was a good week.

I hope you are finding your "back to school" groove and are able to recharge some over the weekend.

In this week's newsletter…

  • Teaching comprehension strategies is essential, but it is also important to have a content-rich curriculum and to embed comprehension instruction within it.
  • Personal development and wellness resources include building habits to improve brain health, limiting digital distractions, and using the Forest app to stay focused.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Comprehension - Teaching comprehension strategies is important for reading comprehension, but it is also important not to focus solely on specific skills. Strategies should be taught explicitly and gradually integrated. Explicit instruction in comprehension strategies has a strong research base, but it is also essential to have a content-rich curriculum and to embed comprehension instruction within it. Balance wins again.
  • Stretch Yourself -In what ways are you going to stretch yourself into new territories this school year? Have you considered using choice boards? Here's how Aviva Dunsinger is planning to support teachers using choice boards as a reading specialist. I really appreciate her sharing this idea publicly and asking for feedback. If you need permission to try something new, crazy, and fun this year, I'm giving it to you. Stretch yourself.
  • Wiley Veterans - Experienced teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers due to stress and burnout, which have adverse effects on the school community and student progress. While some teachers are finding support through self-care and community care initiatives, schools need to invest in veteran teachers as leaders who can help improve staff well-being. Without this support, the revolving door of new teachers will continue, and the profession will suffer. When veterans feel supported and empowered to lead school culture improves.
  • Resource - As I said last week, one of my goals this year is to improve how I use interactive notebooks with my science and social studies students. I put this resource together as I was preparing for the school year. You’ll find downloads, examples, and resource links. I hope it’s helpful.
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Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Brain Health - Building five daily habits can improve brain health and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These habits include taking walks with friends, meditating for ten minutes, gratitude journaling, keeping a consistent bedtime, and picking up a new team sport that combines physical activity, learning, and social engagement.
  • Digital Rabbit Holes - Have you ever gone down a digital rabbit hole and spent more time there than you would like? Digital technology is designed to capture users' attention, leading to a culture of addiction and a decrease in human agency. To reclaim some control, you can try using browser extensions and news feed blockers to limit distractions, practicing meditation to improve focus, using VPNs to decrease exposure to targeted advertising, setting productivity timers to manage time more effectively, and demanding more from technology platforms to align with human values and prioritize well-being.
  • Focus App - The Forest app can help you stay focused and plant real trees on Earth.


"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." — George Lucas

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Superhuman by Bishop Briggs

“You don't need

Nobody to save you

There's always sun when the rain's through

And you might not believe it but I do

I just want you to see

You're superhuman

Bulletproof as can be

I know the truth is

You can do anything”

Favorite Things

  • Article - This Rolling Stone article discusses 50 of the worst television network decisions ever made, ranging from show cancellations to poor casting choices and bad timing.
  • Showerthought - Smart people are often wrong, but what makes them smart is that they correct themselves. when proven wrong. [source]
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