Take it Outside

Topics for this week include nature-based learning, positive affirmations, and reflecting in public.

Take it Outside
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Happy Friday!

T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #69

Hello Friends and Happy TGIF!

Although last week was Teacher Appreciation at my school, I realize for many other educators it was this week. I hope you received massive amounts of appreciation. Teaching is noble, and teachers are special people.

A big “Thank You!” to newsletter readers Joan, Laura, Lauri, Erin, and Erica for their kind comments. I was excited to put them up on the newsletter sign-up page. If you have a moment, consider replying to this week's email. How are you holding up here on the home stretch? What would you like to see more of in this weekly email? Do you know of any resources or ideas that would benefit our community? Do you incorporate reflection into your teaching practice? Would you like to participate in an interview? If you’re too tired,  just send me one word that sums up your current state of mind.

My goal each week is to try to send at least one useful resource or idea your way, and I’d love to reach as many people as possible. If you enjoy the TGIF Teacher Newsletter share it with two or three friends!

I’d also like to give a shout-out to Steve Wick for participating in the first Reflective Educator Spotlight. You’ll find his interview below.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Nature-based Learning and end-of-year checklist for Teachers
  • Positive affirmations and splendid uselessness
  • Educator Spotlight - Sharing and public reflection.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Take It Outside - Nature-based learning is on the rise in Australian schools, with purpose-built nature play spaces becoming more common. Research shows that outdoor play can improve students' academic outcomes and mental and physical health. This growing trend is not limited to Australia, as schools around the world are recognizing the benefits of incorporating nature into their curriculum and learning environments.
  • Photo Fun - The New York Times has a section in their Learning Network titled "What's Going On In This Picture?". It provides a photo prompt for students without any captions. Students can make inferences about what's happening in the photo and engage in moderated discussions with other students from around the world. I recently used one of these photos in my science class to review what makes a good hypothesis. We also identified qualitative and quantitative data. The students were curious and engaged throughout the activity.
  • Year End Checklist - An End-of-Year Checklist can help teachers wrap up the school year successfully, reflect on their teaching practices, and prepare for the upcoming year. The checklist includes organizing technology, cleaning and organizing the classroom, taking inventory, purging, reviewing scope and sequence, reflecting on the year, dreaming big, and creating a summer reading list. Completing the checklist can help teachers leave thoughts of school at school, and enjoy their summer months.
  • Educator Spotlight - Steve Wick completed a 30-day blogging challenge, sharing his experiences and ideas online to model the philosophy of being a lifelong learner and inspire others to do the same. By reflecting on our own practices and sharing insights with others, we can deepen our understanding of our students' needs and ultimately improve student outcomes. Writing and personal reflection can help us develop new ideas. Check out the entire interview here.
  • This Week’s Tweet - Using Portfolios for Assessment and Year-End Passages


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • I, Me, or We - The simple act of choosing between "I", "you", or "we" can affect your psychological response and the responses of others. Using generalizing pronouns can promote positive qualities and help reframe negative experiences. This can foster virtuous character traits, such as kindness and compassion. Try using generalizing pronouns, such as "we" or "you", in your speech and writing to foster empathy and understanding of others' perspectives.
  • Appreciate Yourself -Affirmations are useful tools that help to build confidence and resilience while reducing stress. They are especially helpful for educators who are working hard every day to shape the future generation but, may not always receive the appreciation they deserve. Here's a compilation of 61 positive affirmations for teachers to use in their daily self-care practices.
  • Splendid Uselessness - Joseph M. Keegin argues that pursuing activities that are “splendidly useless”, such as birdwatching or making music, can be just as valuable as those that are instrumental in terms of money or usefulness. Our culture values practicality and lucrative careers, pushing bright young people towards a narrow range of career paths. Performing activities that are splendidly useless can be nourishing and uplifting, rather than simply providing a quick mental or physical pleasure. It is not self-centered. Performing an activity entirely for its own sake, and performing it excellently, results in an impact far beyond what was - or could have possibly been - intended.


"There is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some people will test you, some will use you, some will bring out the best in you, but everyone will teach you something about yourself. Both positive and negative relationships teach you valuable lessons. This is an incredible step toward expanding your consciousness. The road to self-discovery requires help from others. As humans we are always seeking feedback and approval from others. That is how we learn and become better as individuals. No relationship is a waste of time. The wrong ones teach you the lessons that prepare you for the right ones. Appreciate everyone that enters your life because they are contributing to your growth and happiness." - Anonymous, (The Angel Affect: The World Wide Mission)

Favorite Things

  • Good News - Twin brothers, Davon and Tavon Woods, are walking 20 miles in each of the 50 states of the US to raise awareness about foster care and to open quality foster care facilities. The brothers founded Foster Kids Matter, an organization that raises support for foster children, to help young people who are aging out of the foster care system.
  • Summertime Socks - Prepare to be off-duty*.
  • Shower Thought - It's like a law of nature, you can't bend down to pick up dropped laundry without dropping more laundry. [source]

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