The Choices We Make

J.K. Rowling once said, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” As we reflect on our own teaching experiences, we must not forget to think about the choices we make. Do you choose to be proactive or reactive to difficult situations that you encounter with your students?

Food for Thought:

  • Be receptive to feedback from your colleagues and principal
  • Increased opportunities for student voice
  • Ask for support and/or assistance when needed
  • Increased amounts of common planning time with grade level peers
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Noise or Quiet

A wise person once said, “Destruction has noise, but creation is quiet.” As we reflect on our teaching experiences, are we providing appropriate opportunities for students and/or colleagues to be creative?

Food for Thought:

  • Look for the positives in all our day to day expectations. Encourage each other to succeed
  • Increased opportunities for creative opportunities through less teacher talk and more student talk
  • Be still and listen to your students

Discourse

A wise person once said, “Dialogue is a back and forth conversation that enables mutual learning.”

As we reflect on our teaching experiences, are we providing enough opportunities for students to engage in conversation with each other and/or the teachers?

Food for Thought:

  • Increased amounts of peer-to-peer discourse activities
  • More opportunities for accountable talk related to specific higher order thinking questions
  • Increased opportunities to talk with your colleagues to share Best Practice around peer-to-peer discourse activities

Having Fun

Dr. Suess once said, “It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.” As we continue to think about our own teaching and/or learning experiences, are we incorporating fun? Are we providing fun opportunities for children to succeed?

Food for Thought:

  • Incorporate at least one fun activity into a lesson each day
  • Allow students to have a voice in their learning
  • Plan a monthly fun day (student choice activities)

Your Mountain is Waiting

Dr. Seuss once said, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way.” As we think about or own teaching and/or learning experiences, do we work to overcome our mountains? Do we ever stop and think about mountains that we might be creating for children?

Food for Thought:

  • Work to identify obstacles for you and your students
  • Provide opportunities to listen to your students
  • Work together to overcome your mountains by creating a safe and supportive learning environment
  • Model perseverance and stamina

Solitude

Laurence Sterne once said, “In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.” As we think about our own teaching and/or learning experiences, how often do we establish a calm and peaceful learning environment?

Food for Thought:

  • Incorporate mindfulness breaks into a typical day
  • Provide opportunities for students to “be still and listen”
  • Provide for effective transition and/or movement breaks

One Less Defeat

Maya Angelou once said, “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”

Reading this reminds me of a recent situation that I encountered with students. Several of them were really struggling with a new skill. My philosophy has always been to push kids to excel by stretching their limits. This particular group of students does not respond to this. On this particular day, all of the inappropriate language and teacher bashing hit a critical point in which I was forced to make a decision: stay engaged with the group or leave them be. Ultimately, I chose to stay engaged and posed a challenge to them: offering them a choice to be creative in your insults, i.e. no swearing allowed. This indeed took them by surprise, as I opened an “outlet” for them. Immediately, we took a quick break and tackled the next work task without any fail.

Food for Thought:

Know your students

Anticipate difficult spots and plan accordingly