Check out my latest post with Free Spirit Publishing for a lesson you can use with your kids (or staff!) to combat trauma response and learn self-care! ❤️
My quarantine baby is finally coming along! I have had the pleasure of working with Free Spirit Publishing, who has helped me make one of my dreams come true! Read, reach out, and let me know what you think!
We have very little control these days. This can feel a bit claustrophobic, and makes a scary pandemic situation even scarier! One way you can help students feel more in control is by arming them with information about biology and the ways that our bodies work for us without us even knowing. I’m looking forward to finding a way to embed these videos into a lesson for students to learn more about immunology so I figured I’d share! (how cool is this chick by the way??!)
Clink the link above for some amazing student comments on race and the classroom. These kids are also working with another teacher and I and developing a professional development opportunity for our school. I WANT TO BE THEM WHEN I GROW UP!!!
Ok, the verdict is in for my city. We will begin the year virtually, and see where the virus takes us. I know that the emotional fallout from not getting to be with kids will happen in due time, but for now,
I’m obsessing my brain is in overdrive trying to think about how I will establish my presence and connection with my new 6th grade babies this year!
Because we rotate with our students, 6th grade is so important for me to be able to build strong rapport with my kids so I can set my tone, expectations, and norms to ride us out through 8th grade. Luckily, my mouth (and hair btw) is big enough to reach them even through my computer screen!
One thing I have wanted to do is set up one of those fancy Google Bitmoji virtual classrooms I’ve been seeing. I’m still trying to figure out how I will get it to them, but the fun part is in the design by far! I started with these two resources and they have provided everything I have needed to create my room:
Take a look at my virtual classroom below and let me know what you think! Click on some of the little images for an interactive experience.
As we await news of what our school year will look like, many people have weighed in on the great debate about how to best keep kids mentally and physically safe.
I don’t know what the answer is.
What I do know is that when we do get to go back to our daily grind outside of the home, in my house, there is one population that will suffer the greatest: our already spoiled pups that are now on a new level of rotten!
I’m participating in my second linocut print exchange! This one is inspired by a student from a couple of years ago. The title is 8th Grader, and I drew an image of her that haunts my mind often.
She would sleep on my office couch during times when her home was particularly unsettled. She had more life experience than me and taught me a lot about struggles that had previously felt so far away from my world- intense familial drug use at young ages, assault, generational prostitution, addiction, abuse, and the many things a family will go through to get by. I have unfortunately had many students who live in crisis, but her situation was a different universe of normalized trauma. She never disclosed these circumstances as complaints, they were peppered throughout our everyday communication. It was no different from other students who stop in daily to tell me about their relationship.
She disappeared to Florida, had said she would be fine once she could secure a financial set-up like her mom and the trucker. I think about her almost daily still. I miss being able to put eyes on my students to see that they’re still safe, or still there.
Being that I moved schools this year, I have only had this short year with my great new group of kids. Next year they will go off to high school and need the skills and good stuff to be ready to tackle the challenges they will find there. We spend so much time prepping for registration and talking about classes, graduation requirements, and logistical transition needs, that we forget that if the kids don’t have the skills to carry out these more mundane check-boxes, it’s nearly pointless! With all of this in mind, I started to freak out that I wouldn’t be able to get them properly prepared for their next phase, and that old feeling of letting them down started to creep in.
After getting a hold of myself and realizing I was being melodramatic (the hallway hormone osmosis factor), I thought back to a session I attended at the Virginia School Counselor Association this year on small groups. And viola! I decided to go in that direction. I started by establishing a couple of groups based on things I have heard through conferences, parents, and teachers as being barriers to success. And came up with five groups (the four here and one more for my perfectionists!).
Currently I am developing the each lesson. I settled on four sessions each so that I can try to do it twice before our standardized testing starts. In the meantime, I sent a letter to teachers outlining the project, and included an easy strip of paper that they could use to suggest kids. These groups are turning out to be so fun to plan, and I am really excited to get started with them in February.
Next up, I need to develop and permission slip for kids and start to get information out and lock in a schedule. My hope is that these groups can be part of my larger effort to help kids start to learn skills to help them operate without the assistance (corner cutting, entertainment, or otherwise) of technology. Updates to come!!