What Do You Meme?

Topics for this week include phonics instruction, using stories to connect with students and mental liquidity.

What Do You Meme?
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Happy Friday!

T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #67

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Hello Friends!  This week seemed like three weeks rolled into one. Happy TGIF and Have a Great Weekend!

In today’s newsletter…

  • Phonics instruction is vital for word building.
  • National Teacher of the Year utilizes stories for teaching and connecting with students.
  • Explore mental liquidity, real self-care, and admitting mistakes.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Science Says - The era of “the science of reading” is here. Focus on the building blocks of words and provide explicit instruction on phonics. Colleges of education have been slow to move away from the balanced literacy approach.
  • Tell Me a Story - Learn how the National Teacher of the Year, Rebecka Peterson, uses stories to teach and connect with students. Kids are more likely to tackle academic challenges when they feel like they’ve been heard. Listening to over 100 kids tell their stories is a time commitment that pays off in the classroom.
  • Memes - A meme is a humorous image, video, piece of text, or other type of media that is spread widely online, often through social media platforms. You can use the power of memes to create and teach class rules, learn new vocabulary, and check for understanding.
  • Map it Out - Using mind maps helps students improve their memory, organization, and problem-solving skills. Here is a resource I put together along with some ideas and examples. My 8th graders are currently in the process of creating mind maps for our Forces and Motion unit.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Mentally Liquidity - It’s important to develop the ability to quickly abandon beliefs when the world changes or when new information is discovered. This “mental liquidity” will help humanity remain nimble enough to make changes when needed.
  • Real Self-Care - Do you know the difference between “real” and “faux” self-care? The four principles of “real” self-care include setting boundaries, developing self-compassion, clarifying your values, and then developing a personal solution. You know, the one that works for you.
  • Own It - Do you know someone who is hesitant to admit their mistakes? Admitting when you’re wrong can improve your reputation and lead to personal growth. Recognizing your mistakes makes it easier to learn from them.


"If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is the law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality." — Socrates

Question: Reflect on a time when you were attached to a particular outcome, whether it was getting a job, a promotion, or something else. What did you learn from that experience? How did it shape your perspective on the role of expectations in your life?

Favorite Things

  • The Kindness Conspiracy - Years back I started a group on Kiva to provide micro-loans to people worldwide. It’s really a cool concept. My team has provided 97 loans for a total of $2575.00. Maybe you’d like to join us. Here is some data that highlights our impact. Make a loan, change a life.
  • Shower Thought - Power without knowledge is dangerous but knowledge without power is straight-up frustrating. [source]
  • Good News - Jim Fullan, 56, decided it was time to go to college. He has also earned a spot on the Montgomery County Community College baseball team. Fullan says, "It's nice to have dreams of doing things, but when you actually do them, it's so fulfilling.”
  • Gadget - Wheel of Fun Spinning Whiteboard Wheel* - This has the potential to add some fun and excitement to the classroom.
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