Truth and the Mighty Pen

Topics for this week include writing by hand, Close reading, Black History Month, and media literacy.

Truth and the Mighty Pen
Photo by / Unsplash

TGIF Teacher Newsletter


TGIF Teacher Gadgets and Gifts
Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day. Here are some teacher-approved gifts and gadgets that will bring smiles in and out of the classroom.

Happy Friday!

It feels good to be knocking on the weekend's door. Here are three things I've been pondering this week.


Do you ever pick up your phone in those moments when you feel like you have nothing to do? What would happen if you just sat there and let your thoughts go wherever they wanted to? I suspect some of the greatest ideas and breakthroughs came from these quiet moments.


I enjoyed this list of 10 life-changing ideas from Sahil Bloom:

(1) There's no such thing as a loser who wakes up at 5 am and works out, (2) Energy is not finite, (3) No one has it all figured out, (4) Direction over destination, (5) Who not how, (6) Increase your luck surface area, (7) Default to trust, (8) The waiting room is always full, (9) The good old days are happening right now, and (10) Time is your most precious asset.

Here’s my addition to the list, “Action is the antidote for “All Talk” moments.


Sometimes, when anger runs high, the best thing you can do is stand down. Timing is everything.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Benefits of writing by hand.
  • Close Reading and Black History Month resources.
  • Politicians agree that median literacy is essential.
  • The power of silence.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • The Mighty Pen - According to a study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, handwriting has more benefits for the brain than typing. Handwriting activates the brain, stimulating learning and memory by requiring communication between visual, sensory, and motor cortices. In contrast, typing requires less brain activity and communication between different areas. Some may argue that writing by hand is something from the Stone Age. I would argue that it provides balance, it's good for kids, and there are things from the past worth holding on to.
  • The Truth - Many states recognize the need for media literacy education to help students navigate the increasing spread of disinformation and deepfakes on social media. These classes aim to teach students critical thinking skills, the ability to differentiate between fact and fiction, and the importance of understanding the motivations behind online content. It seems like a no-brainer, but this idea is polarizing in some states. However, a few states have made bipartisan efforts to allocate funding and resources for media literacy training.
  • Read Closely - Close reading analyzes texts deeply and critically, focusing on the details, language, and structure to understand a text's meaning and purpose thoroughly. Here are some Close reading lesson plans, strategies, and activities to explore.
  • Resource - February is Black History Month; explore these teaching and learning resources.
  • Social Spotlight - I was able to achieve my class trip teacher goals.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Shhhh- Silence is a powerful and important thing that exists beneath all sounds. By embracing silence, we can relax, refresh our bodies, and feel connected to the world around us.
  • Think Time - Reflection is an essential tool for personal growth. “By building intentional reflection into our daily lives, we build the muscle we need to navigate life with greater clarity, resilience and authenticity.” When you take the time to analyze what's working and what's not working, it's easier to choose things to let go of.
  • Writing Benefits - Writing has psychological benefits, including increased happiness, improved clarity of thinking, assistance in coping with difficult times, promotion of gratitude, organization of thoughts, and facilitation of learning. If you take time to write about something you just learned, it helps it stick.


"When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points." —Confucius

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Knock Me A Kiss by Louis Jordan

Favorite Things

  • Body Electric - Explore technology's impact on our bodies and learn how to live better with our devices.
  • Great Word - Blatherskite - A person who talks at great length without making much sense. For example, the students looked at the teacher as though she were a blatherskite.
  • Vacuum-insulated- Teacher Life Tumbler* - Vacuum-insulated Thermos travel coffee mug.
Trust Me, I'm a Teacher Shirt

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