Writing a book was time-consuming. Counseling students is tiring. But I love them both! What do I not love? Marketing my own materials! I keep trying to remind myself that the goal of writing a book was to be able to reach educators and students outside of my bubble, but we are not in the business we are in because we like the spotlight on US…we like to give it to our work babies and work fams! …so, what do I do?? Hire my daughter who knows all about social media and the art of marketing!
Are you on Facebook for networking? Follow and share my new author page for updates on Responding to Student Trauma, webinars, Free Spirit Publishing , and resources for educators!
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??!)
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.
During Winter Break I got to regroup with family and become re-energized by searching out new books and resources for good information that I can return to school with and hit the ground running. This break I was delighted to find a series called “What Were You Thinking?” on the Audible audio platform. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you HAVE TO. It was just what I needed to be able to take a step back and get my head back in the crazy mind of my middle school kids.
In every language and for many generations parents have been asking their children, “what were you thinking?!”. I know I heard this repeatedly in my own teen years, and now instinctively say it to my 12 and 7 year olds. Spoiler alert: they’re not thinking.
It really got me thinking about just how much technology and sleep deprivation plays in the decision making of students. Every generation has it’s own level of knuckleheadedness, but with the advent of accessible and constant internet (think: smartphones, tablet, gaming consoles, Google Docs, social media, oh my!) has added a whole new layer, and we’re not even close to being in control.
I started thinking about all of the educators who have said “I can’t do this forever” burnt out from constant 504 meetings, student apathy with assignments, and unfiltered student communication. How much more can we handle?! But alas! We are only in the infancy of seeing the ramifications of putting an iphone in the hands of a toddler, and as we learn more about that, we may also learn more about how to curtail these hazy side-effects and rise our kids up to their true potential.
More to come on this, as I was so inspired I had to write it out. I submitted a blog post to my beloved Free Spirit Publishing and can’t wait to hash out the details!
Our division director recently recommended the outstanding book, The Other Wes Moore. I am so glad he did! It has really been the inspiration I needed to hit this year head-on. This story of Wes Moore is one of resiliency, love (self and family), hard work, barriers, control, and grasping opportunities large and small. I don’t think I’ve felt this moved by a book since my all-time fav Man’s Search for Meaning (seriously, V. Frankl is my boyfriend and BFF4L). I want everyone to read it! I feel compelled to talk about it and share this really incredible story. People like this are so profound and thoughtful that it feels like they are talking to you, and it accompanies you at work, in ethical dilemmas, and in small choices throughout the day. Insight of our new educational catch-phrase, it’s the ultimate example of “growth mindset”. (You too, huh? I think we might all be getting the same professional development this year!)
When I found out about the accompanying student version of his book, I was really excited (PS- I am really annoyed with the unlinked ‘k’ but I’ve already spent a ridiculous amount of time on my formatting OCD. Carry on.). After reading it, I don’t think I could pass it through in Middle School. Though I believe whole-heartedly in sharing the truth of living and life with students at the middle grades in order to help them make decisions before they are confronted with them, I can also understand the position of our school systems in ensuring we respect the wishes and shelters of their parents. Sometime it can be hard to do this; to know what could benefit a student, but to have to dial back and be conscious of our roles in their lives as secondary to the people who are responsible for raising these children throughout their life-span. Man do we get attached, don’t we?
Even so, I have been toying with ways that I can get this book and story into the hearts and minds of the educators and students in my school family. I’m thinking maybe a Donor’s Choose to purchase a copy for each staff member? A little gift to remind them how influential we really can be in the lives of our students. Sometimes the only voice that believes in them. Sometimes the only portion of their day in which there is peace and stability. I’m also thinking about applying for a grant to have Wes Moore himself come visit the students. I just need to share-I’m obsessed! My poor principal.
It also got me thinking about the characters that are accessible to our students. Wes Moore’s story will resonate with all students, but it is also inclusive of minority populations that are not typically represented in this exceptional light of success. Not because they are not out there, but because those are most often not the characters that are given recognition and reinforcement. I’m finding (through reflecting on my own education and the really superb training I get in my division) the need to make these stories available to our students. Young successful black men, strong-willed women, uniformed mentors of all colors- if society will not give our children their exposure, we have to, in education, make it our mission.
Man, I am really in my feels tonight. This can only mean I’ve been reconnected with my kiddies and am feeling my profession. So good, for real. Read it!