Now, if you don’t know by now that I adore Kid President, you need to see this post, and, well, pretty much any of these. That is why I was so excited to find that We Are Teachers is offering a set of free Kid President printable posters here. And I just got my own laminator, so I am going to be making good use of it. (I never knew I wanted to laminate so many things until I got this little gadget!) By the way, We Are Teachers has a lot of other sets of free printables that you can find here, including 5 free kindness posters which I’m ready to laminate and post anonymously in numerous public places or maybe just hire a plane to drop like leaflets all over the country…
As I posted last week, our family has been on vacation. This is how our relaxing trip began (at 6 am):
“The Uber is here! OMG why isn’t everyone ready? I told you it would be here at 6, and it’s here! We need to wait outside. Where is the key? You can’t find the key? Fine! I’ll lock everything and go out the garage door. Take my stuff.”
5 minutes later in the Uber, “Where is my black bag?” Assured that if it was with my stuff it got put in the trunk.
15 minutes later at the airport, “You didn’t put my black bag in the Uber?!!!!!” Apparently it was not with my stuff.
And that’s when the Uber driver reassured me that he could quickly bring me back to the house to retrieve the black bag that basically had everything in it we needed for the trip and have me back to the airport in plenty of time. My husband smartly did not point out that we would not have had this extra time if he hadn’t insisted we get to the airport early. He knew, I am sure, that I would have snapped back that I wouldn’t have left my black bag at the house if he hadn’t made me get up at such a ridiculous time.
You might think that this was a terrible way to begin a vacation and you would be right. However, what could have become an escalating crisis resulting in a missed plane and a potential divorce actually turned into an enlightening car ride that made me appreciative of all of the amazing people we meet during life’s journey. So, I have decided to dedicate this post to all of the awesome people I encountered during our vacation, beginning with the Uber Driver who volunteered to drive 30 minutes alone with a hysterical woman who placed ridiculous value on a “black bag” which no one but the woman seemed to believe existed.
Anh, the Uber Driver – Anh heard “Proud to be an American” on the radio as we traveled back to my house and confided in me that the song always makes him cry. He is so happy to be in our country and that his daughter is able to go to school here. He choked up as he spoke about the people who have died for our freedom, and vented his anger at his former homeland where they apparently spend a good amount of the school day teaching students to hate Americans. Anh is the epitome of American patriotism.
Linda, Steven, and Nya at the Cellar Door Bookstore – Our travels began in Riverside, California where our daughter was competing in a tournament. After a failed trip to Palm Springs (where it was literally 118 degrees), my husband and I despaired of doing anything but going to the local mall to watch movies. (I don’t recommend 47 Meters Down if you are planning to ever swim in the ocean again.) . The Cellar Door Bookstore was a refreshing oasis in the middle of a blistering hot trip. I adore independent bookstores, especially ones with resident dogs like Nya. I bought a lovely book called, All These Wonders, which is stories from The Moth. Linda and Steven were so friendly and full of advice that I seriously considered moving to Riverside just so I could work in their store.
Lisa at Game Seeker – We finally got to migrate from southern California to Santa Barbara, where we discovered this delightful shop on State Street. I love games, but usually end up buying them online. However, Lisa reminded me why it is so important to patronize local stores like hers. She is very knowledgeable and personable. When she learned I had chosen the game Dog Pile for my classroom (gotta work on those spatial reasoning skills), she recommended something I had never heard of called Plus Plus, which she said would provide hours of building fun for my students.
Crystal at Stanford – My daughter and her friends wanted to tour Stanford while we were in California. By the end of the tour, I was ready to auction off everything I own just so I could attend. Crystal, our tour guide, was as enthusiastic about Stanford as Anh is about living in the United States. She showed us her own Foldscope, a paper microscope that had been invented at Stanford, told us about all of the hands-on opportunities she has had since she began last fall, and passionately spoke about the dedication of her professors. Crystal pointed out one science building on the tour where Stanford co-hosts a 24-hour live feed with MIT, stressing that Stanford believes in collaboration rather than competition.
What struck me about each of the people mentioned above was the enthusiasm and passion they brought to their work. Through my interaction with each of them, I felt inspired and ready to embrace my life with more zest.
And so I leave you with an image and quote provided by Inspirobot, an artificial intelligence inspirational quote generator, that seems to perfectly deliver the message of this post.
Nope. Wrong one.
Probably the reality check I need most of the time. But still not the right one.
This one hurts my head.
Yep. That’s it.
In my latest post for Fusion, I wrote about some of the common misconceptions that teachers have about managing behavior, and gave suggestions for alternatives. You can read all about here.
Here are some of my other articles on Fusion:
- The 7 E’s of Classroom Design
- 9 Great Ways to Encourage Students to Ask Questions
- 7 Fundamental Pieces of Advice for New Teachers
- 21st Century Skills: 17 Ways to Demonstrate the 4C’s of Hermione Granger
- 10 Signs You Really Are a 21st Century Teacher (And May Not Know)
- 21 Tips to Create a Classroom Culture of Laughter
- 15 Actionable Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Engagement
- 25 Creative Ways to Incorporate More Project Based Learning into Your Classroom
I despise routine, mundane activities. My daughter inherited this attitude, unfortunately, so we often find ourselves at an impasse when neither one of us feels motivated to do something that needs to be done.
She rides a shuttle bus from her magnet school each day, and her responsibility is to text me when the bus leaves so I can meet her at its destination. My responsibility is to keep reminding her to text me so the rest of our afternoon doesn’t turn into angry accusations about who forgot who.
The other day, she actually remembered to text me as she left. Usually, I try to reward this with a response like, “On my way!” or , “Okay!” Feeling a bit perverse and bored with always giving the same answers, I decided to text, “ocean,” instead.
“?” she texted back.
I don’t know why I texted “ocean.” Moms aren’t supposed to do random, unexplained things. Why did I type “ocean” of all words? Where did that come from? How was I supposed to follow that?
“Joel,” I texted next, feeling that I might as well make her think I had gone completely insane.
When I parked at the school to wait for her bus, I sent one more word – “goat.”
Unsurprisingly, my daughter had raised eyebrows when she finally got in the car.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“You’re supposed to figure out what all three have in common,” I said – as though this had been the plan the whole time.
“They all have o’s?” she asked.
After a few more guesses, she resorted to Google on her phone.
“So, apparently, a guy named Joel saw a goat jump into the ocean,” she said.
“Yeah. That’s not it, either.”
Google finally rewarded her after she sifted out all of the suicidal goat links.
“They’re all Billy’s!” she exclaimed.
“This is fun! Let’s do it again! I might actually remember to text you if this is what happens every time.”
Her last statement penetrated my teacher brain, reinforcing something that I’ve known for awhile but never considered applying to our minor daily Battle of the Texts.
We all enjoy challenges that are in our Zone of Proximal Development. In fact, they can engage and motivate us. I observe this daily in my students when they make faces about tough math problems or reading passages – yet beg for more after they’ve succeeded. It’s why activities like Breakout EDU and the Wonder League Robotics Competition missions are so popular. These problems are novel and require deliberate thought, but are achievable with hard work.
Many of us struggle with how to motivate our children and/or students. Rewards seem like bribes, and punishment causes resentment – which is never productive. We want our young people to develop intrinsic motivation instead of becoming eternally dependent on a carrot or a stick. That ZPD contains the secret. Find that activity that makes them think a little harder, but is within their reach, and their eventual success will make them hunger for the next challenge instead of dreading or avoiding it.
By the way, it has been two days since the first random, accidental text. So far, my daughter has not forgotten to text me and even, much to her delight, was able to solve one of my puzzles without any help from Google. Of course, you don’t have to think of your own puzzles like this. Tribond is a game with the same purpose, and there are plenty of resources on the internet that are similar. If you want something a bit harder, check out “Kennections” by Ken Jennings.
My latest post for Fusion is out, “15 Actionable Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Engagement.” There are plenty of other great posts by writers from around the world on the Fusion blog, so it’s definitely worth a visit! One recent one that I enjoyed was, “30 Inspiring Quotes for Teachers that will get You Through the Day,” by James Johnson.
Two of my other past Fusion posts are:
- “25 Creative Ways to Incorporate More Project Based Learning in the Classroom”
I pulled lots of good resources together for each article, so you will definitely find at least one new idea in each post!
My latest blog post for Fusion Yearbooks has been published. It’s called, “15 Actionable Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Engagement.” You should check it out!
Lately, as I work on keeping a growth mindset, I’ve been wondering how fine the line is between persevering and being foolishly stubborn.
As I was preparing for our Parent/Teacher meeting tonight during which we will be discussing Mindset, by Carol Dweck, I came across a video clip on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog that reminded me that the line may be a fine one – but it’s usually much further away then I imagine.
I’m not a huge football fan, and I’m not particularly fond of people yelling at me as a method of encouragement. But this scene made me wish I could have a coach that would push me past my imagined limits with as much love and determination as the man in Facing Giants.
It also made me wish I had a script writer who could help me create inspiring dialogue for my classroom 😉
For more Growth Mindset Resources, check out this Pinterest Board.